It has been almost a year since I last posted. There are reasons, in fact, last year finished in a way I would never expect it to – as explained here.

If I was to hazard a guess when things started to be a bit different than usual (as of course I was in denial as described) it would probably be around May-June-July time before we headed to Australia.

So all the things I wanted to write about on here that we visited in Australia were kind of shelved because I was so very tired. Plus some things I wanted to do I was too tired to go to.

BUT! We did get to Rottnest Island and we saw Quokkas. I fell off my hired bike (which is weird in itself, I never fall off bikes apart from that other time when I did) and just felt tired a lot.

We went up north and stopped by The Pinnacles on the way back which were amazing to see.

Did I have the energy to type anything up? Nope. Because by the time we realised something was badly wrong I was having the operation and resting up and time had flown by. Photos are just as good I think.

I’ve noticed my typing is different after the operation, I’m a bit more blunt. I’m getting used to it. I’m not being rude, it’s just how things now seem to be. I also can’t type as well any more – lots of typos, and as someone who always typed fast and didn’t get many errors it’s a bit weird for me. Nothing I’m beating myself up about, just another side effect of all this stuff.

This isn’t about my head here, I’m just making sure 2023 has a post up – and here it is.

Why Being Perimenopausal is Really Irritating

I’m comfortably in that very late 40s perimenopausal stage of life, with all the things that are bundled up with it. It’s not fun.

You’re fast asleep, happy in the land of nod when suddenly you are dripping with sweat. You have to wake up, open the windows and get to the toilet to run some cold water on your hands. Anything to make it feel better. You go back to bed and immediately it is too hot. So you kick off the covers and lie on top. But then you’re too cold. So you go back under the covers and you’re too hot.

Repeat to fade for the next four hours…

Or how about during the day? You’re boiling, a little desk fan to keep you cool which mostly works. However, every now and then something gets to you. Something very little but before you know it your face is bright red, your upper body is on fire. Your face a delightful shade of beetroot and it won’t go away.

Welcome to hot flashes. They come when you least expect them and are quite the inconvenience. You’ll almost certainly start experiencing them when you’re perimenopausal.

So many businesses are making moisture wicking pyjamas which help. Alas the kind of money most of them cost, it’s too much to try it out to know it works. However, I’ve spotted M&S have a range which seem reasonably priced. Uniqlo do their Airism range too which look like they might be helpful during the day.

I’ve also heard taking black cohosh or sage can help perimenopausal symptoms like hot flashes. I’ve ordered some from Amazon (affiliate link) which I’m hoping will work.

A poor night’s sleep leads to a bad day in the office trying to remember what you’re doing – oh the brain fog. The obvious solution here would be a nice strong coffee, BUT; you should really avoid too much caffeine if you’re experiencing hot flashes.

I’ve cut most caffeine out of my life and mostly drink decaf now. Our local cafe CyCo in Coulsdon do an amazing decaf which tastes as good as the real thing. Keeping hydrated is the most important thing for me. I drink plenty of water throughout the day.

I’ve also read a good Vitamin E supplement can help, although that’s on the pricey side. I’m keeping with the black cohosh for now.

The perimenopause is the stage of life when you get these symptoms (and a bazillion more), but your periods haven’t stopped. When you’ve had no periods for a year you’re classed as in menopause.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

I’m well into my later years of life these days, properly perimenopausal and waiting for it all to stop (I give it a couple of years). If you were to look at the symptoms of perimenopause there are many. One which has reared its ugly head in the last year has been an itchy scalp. I was sent some samples of Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner to try, to see if they made a difference.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner is a new brand to me and one I was keen to try. They look at what makes a scalp itchy and try to fix that problem. I have a very itchy head occasionally, I often wonder if H has picked up headlice from school. It’s that kind of an itch, and never looks good in public when you’re scratching your head.

I switched all my shampoos to non-phosphate ones which has helped, though the itching reappears by the end of the day or overnight. So would the Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner make a difference?

I like the smell of the shampoo – the juniper smell reminds me of a nicer T-Gel. I didn’t need a lot for my long hair, and made sure to concentrate on the scalp area. You need to keep it on your hair for a couple of minutes then rinse.

I received a booklet with the products which explains the science behind an itchy scalp. Rather than type it all up word for word, here’s an explanation. Basically, most shampoos don’t deal with the problem the way they should – whereas these do. The ‘Controls Skin Cell Growth’ part explains it best. My mum has terrible psoriasis on her scalp and nothing fixes it (I might treat her to some of this) – probably because it isn’t being treated properly.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner works some kind of magic, my head wasn’t itchy for an entire day. You use the shampoo fairly frequently to start, decreasing over time until you’re using it once or twice a week.

They don’t test on animals too, the shampoo and conditioner are vegan and cruelty free. 

The conditioner is soothing and easy to apply as well. I found I didn’t need to use it every day, just once or twice a week. 

At almost £17.50 for 250ml the shampoo isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny for itch-free days. If you have a flaky scalp and you’re not sure how to fix it, I highly recommend Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. The Tony Maleedy site is here, you can also buy it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

I was sent the Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

How to Deal with a Sick Child on a Flight

Obviously if you’re on a flight this isn’t going to be much help unless it’s one with Wifi on board (these things do exist. Something like $15 for 3 hours. Considering what we pay each month this felt quite reasonable) But anyway, the last thing you’ll do while on a flight is to go to the internet to find out how to deal with a sick child on a flight. So…

How to deal with a sick child on a flight. You don’t run to the toilets, barging past the queues, a la “make way, make way, lady with a baby” scene in Grease. Mainly because a lot of people in the queue might not speak English so just think you’re a bit rude.

Besides, once said child is in one of those tiny toilet compartments, there’s barely room for you as well. It just does not work.

However, said tiny toilet compartments do have a plentiful supply of sick bags in them. You just need know where to look. I did as I’m nosey. I always open all available drawers to find out what’s in there for my first visit on the flight. So do that, then you’ll know.

So I grabbed a load of bags and ushered H back to her seat. She felt a bit odd sitting waiting to be sick, but then it’s a far more pleasant experience than sitting over a toilet on a plane. Trust me on this.

With the sick bag positioned right under her chin to catch drips, we were left waiting. And waiting. And a bit longer than that.


“uuurrgh I’m going to be sick” she said as she then promptly almost filled an entire bag. It’s important to know that each bag has a tear-off strip on it which needs doing before it can be used. Everything was well contained, none of the projectile variety.

It’s at this point it’s handy if there are two of you travelling with your child who is vomiting into the aforementioned bag. That way, the other parent can help with the switch. Unless he’s asleep, that is.

I found that hitting him in an urgent manner on the arm and saying “WAKE UP SHE IS BEING SICK” works well. Shaun jumped into responsible parent mode and got the next bag ready, which again H filled.

At this point an airline steward came along and realised what was up. I asked how to deal with a sick child on a flight, and what he would recommend (while holding two sealed sickbags, my seatbelt fortunately not fastened as that could have been awkward). He offered to make H a ginger tea – which is exactly the right thing. She needed fluids and ginger is a good thing. So he went off and did that while I headed back to the toilets clutching two paper bags full of sick.

“MAKE WAY I HAVE SICK” I said pretty clearly while holding the two bags in front of me the same way I would have with a dirty nappy. This worked. They live in the toilet bins. So fold them up well at the ends because.. well, urgh if you don’t.

After that H was much better. We think it was probably a mixture of not sleeping and the bumpy ride across to Australia. Let’s face it, you have your own tv which has Harry Potter, The Trolls, Moana, Sing and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – you’re not going to want to sleep. Oh, and the fact Singapore Airlines feed you a LOT of food.

Once we landed she had colour back in her cheeks, although was ready to sleep and pretty much did. The following day she was fine again.

So let that be a vague lesson in how to deal with a sick child on a flight. It involves queue barging, paper bags, sealing the bags securely, talking to the airline staff and helping your child not be too distressed. It also helps a lot to have some wipes in your hand luggage. Never assume the days of wet wipes are gone once your child reaches a certain age.

Singapore Airlines also had some mouthwash in each toilet which you dispense into a cup for a good swish. I recommend it after you’ve finished the ginger tea, mind. It’s a bit of a taste clash otherwise.

view from the plane, How to Deal with a Sick Child on a Flight

Ten Years

It has been ten years.

Ten years since my dad died. Ten years. How did that happen? I can remember so much but also so little. My daughter grows up having never met him.

Taken away too young by cancer. Bowel cancer which had spread to his liver. Too late to save him.

Only 64. He had all the signs, and yet nobody thought it could be that. He had tests and more tests until they revealed the truth. “a matter of months” was what they said. Four months later it was over. Friday 13th October 2006.

We were there. Sitting in the hospital, in our own room. York hospital didn’t have a cancer ward at that time. My Dad was on a ward where people go after having hip replacements. It was a happy positive place which was quite nice to go in and out of. It wasn’t a place someone went to die.

We stayed awake with dad. He was barely conscious, having uttered his last words to us on the Monday, breathing his last breaths.

I hate cancer. I hate that it has affected my family, and will continue to do so. My mum (who is still alive) has had it twice. H has been  brought up knowing what she needs to look out for. By the time she’s an adult there will be a cure, I hope.

Ten years though. What has changed in the last ten years? I’m not sure. Are you seen quicker by a doctor these days? When dad got his diagnosis his treatment started. He had chemotherapy, to try and shrink the tumour.

Back then he was considered too young for the regular bowel cancer screening, as you had to be 65. These days the age is lower. I’ve had various tests offered to me at 46 underfunded wonderful NHS.

Things are changing, People are still dying.

Ten years though. How? Please read the Beating Bowel Cancer links above, pass them on to a parent. If it helps save a life then that’s a good thing.

Dad at Marston Moor

Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up with Team Dory!

Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington have launched a summer of activity, encouraging families to join Team Dory and ‘just keep moving’ with Disney, Change4Life and the Amateur Swimming Association.

Tom Daley Change 4 Life Team Dory

Tom Daley filming at the London Aquatic Centre for a new campaign from Disney, Change4Life and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).

Team Dory would like to invite you for a brand new 10 minute Shake Up in association with Disney, Change4Life, The ASA and the release of Finding Dory.

British sporting champions Tom Daley and Becky Adlington have joined forces and are encouraging children to ‘just keep moving’ this summer, as they launch nationwide interactive family swim sessions and a brand new 10 Minute Shake Up campaign – all inspired by the new Disney·Pixar blockbuster, Finding Dory.

The campaign from Disney, Change4Life and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) sees the launch of themed family swim sessions at hundreds of pools across the UK as well as new 10 Minute Shake Up activities, in a bid to make exercise fun and help children get the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they need each day.

Rebecca Adlington Change4Life Team Dory

Becky Adlington filming at the Manchester Aquatic Centre for a new campaign from Disney, Change4Life and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).

The Finding Dory inspired swim sessions, which are co-created with the ASA and run from 22ndJuly until 4th September, will provide an hour of in-water storytelling for the whole family, teaching children key swimming skills as they are taken on a journey with Dory and friends, led by trained instructors.

The Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Ups with Disney are back for a third summer to encourage children to get the 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity they need each day with fun 10 minute bursts of activity. For 2016, there are even more interactive Shake Ups than last year, including those inspired by the new Disney·Pixar film, Finding Dory, which set a box office record for an animated film when it opened in the United States in June.

British diving champion Tom Daley, alongside double Olympic Gold medal-winning swimmer and mum Becky Adlington are supporting the initiative. Tom is starring in a series of short films, which show that even serious athletes can take time for 10 minutes of fun, whilst Becky is sharing her top tips for inspiring children to get active in and out of the pool.

To coincide with the launch of the campaign, Disney, Change4Life and the ASA commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 children aged 5 to 11 and their parents on their attitudes towards physical activity. The survey revealed that three quarters of children aged 5 to 11 (73%) want to do more physical activity, and 56% of children miss taking part in school PE lessons over the summer.[i] Finding ways for their children to be active is a challenge faced by families, with 61% of parents saying they struggle for ideas during the school holidays.1

 The research showed that more than half of children (55%) said that swimming is one of their favourite ways to keep physically active during the summer holidays.1 39% of 5 to 11 year olds also said that they would want to go swimming more often if they could go with family members.1

Physical activity helps children build social skills, boost self-confidence, improve bone and heart health and maintain a healthy weight,[ii] yet just 21% of boys and 16% of girls currently meet the national recommended level of activity of 60 minutes each day.[iii]

 Campaign ambassador Tom Daley comments:
“Most people look at professional athletes and see the years of training and dedication they have put in, but do sometimes forget that what we do is also really fun and exciting. I’m a massive Disney fan myself and can’t think of a better way to get kids enjoying being active than combining their favourite stories and characters with exercise – whether that’s a Finding Dory swim session where families can learn key ASA skills or a Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up game kids can play with their friends in the park. For me, showing that sport is not a chore and really has a fun side is an important message and I’m thrilled to be supporting this campaign”.

Campaign ambassador Becky Adlington comments:
Since I stopped competitive swimming a few years ago, I understand how tricky it can be to fit exercise into a busy routine – and also make it fun. As a mum, it’s even harder. But I’m passionate about inspiring the future generation to get active and that’s why I’m supporting this summer’s campaign from Disney, Change4Life and the ASA. The summer holidays can seem really long but there are loads of great ideas to get kids up and about with new 10 Minute Shake Ups, and what better way to spend time together than enjoying a family swim session where you’re learning key skills.”

Search Change4Life online for Disney and Finding Dory inspired 10 Minute Shake Ups and don’t forget to book your swim session today at www.disney.co.uk/justkeepmoving. We signed up for the Just Keep Moving sessions last year and received our Team Dory pack in the post last week too, so keep an eye out!

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins

We were approached to try some Bioglan Smartkids vitamins. H has had a few issues recently, so I figured it was a win-win situation and we put them to the test!

bioglan smartkids vitamins

Bioglan Smartkids vitamins are a new brand to me – and indeed, they’re quite newly launched in this country.

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins Brain formula

We were sent the Smartkids Brain Formula – which helps support normal brain function, learning and memory, and healthy growh – and are 30 citrus flavoured chewable squirts. They have a high DHA, Omega 3, six B vitamins and iron too. Unfortunately H hated the taste – and Shaun tried one and said it felt like fish oil with flavour – so this wasn’t really for us. I didn’t try it being vegetarian!

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins fussy eaters

We were also sent Smartkids Fussy Eaters Multi vitamins, which include fruit and veggies as well as multi vitamins. They help maintain healthy growth, immune function and healthy bones – and I’m pleased to say these ones went down much better – in fact, she was asking for a second one! The vitamins in these Bioglan Smartkids vitamins are sourced from sixteen types of fruit, vegetable and herbs, which is good to know. They’re also blackcurrant and strawberry flavour.

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins Brain formula tablets

The Brain Formula tablets come in a crunchable tablet which the liquid comes out of when crunched, whereas the Fussy Eaters Multi are a more straightforward tablet.

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins fussy eaters tablets

Has it made a difference? We’ve had a rough month and a bit with H, where she’s seemed to pick up lots of little things making her quite run down. I’ve since found out she has two molars (the 6-7 year ones) plus one of her front teeth is ready to cut through the gum – so I’m wondering if that has lowered her immunity. Nevertheless, when she started to take the Fussy Eaters tablets, she definitely started to be on the right side of being well.

Both packs of Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins can be ordered direct, and sell for £9.99 a packet – within each packet you get 30 tablets. The Brain Formula tablets are here, and the Fussy Eaters ones are here.

We were sent a pack of each for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. 

Weightloss Update – 2

Okay, so things are on track. I had a blip though, it was almost like I was doing so well I had to sabotage it, and so put some weight on instead – thanks to eating badly and making sure it was really bad.

Weight Watchers logo

I have no idea why I do this.

I worked hard the following week and by weigh-in day I’d still managed to lose weight, so I must be doing something right.

My last weigh-in had me at 13 stone 5, a loss of 9lb, and having joined on the 10th January, I’m 1lb off qualifying for the Weight Watchers deal to get my money back (10lbs in 8 weeks)!!

I just hope the WW app doesn’t tell me off for not tracking my food every day. I’ve also stopped tracking my steps – my data usage on my phone went through the roof, so I’ve disabled everything in the background for now – and am looking for a good pedometer.

I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, and I also know I’ve probably got points left, but quite frankly, I’m too tired to eat more. Work is busy (and even the blog is suffering for it) – and I’m busy.

But most of all, I’m losing weight. I’m being sensible with food. I’m being stricter with myself apart from weekends when I will have a glass or two of wine as I’ve behaved through the week. We even went out on Tuesday night with H and her “boyfriend” and I had pizza and didn’t put on weight. I know this is fine for a one-off and not something I can keep doing, mind. That was my problem last time.

As far as how this time compares to last time, I’m definitely much more relaxed about it all. I know I can lose the weight, it’s about keeping it off and staying sensible, but knowing I can have an occasional takeaway and not beat myself up. I’m doing a lot of walking and this helps too.

But anyway, I’m pleased – those pounds are going – while they’re not dropping off, they’re going and that’s all I want!

Back on Weight Watchers.

There. I’ve said it. I’ve officially come out again. I got too fat. I comfort ate through a lot of last year for various reasons. I reached 14 stone just after a large Pizza Hut pizza that I had scoffed in next to no time, thanks to being unhappy and hungry. I’d always said when I reached that weight that I’d go back on – so yes, I’m back doing Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers logo

This time I’ve paid for it myself, I’m not working with them, and I’m turning around my bad habits I’ve fallen back onto. You can’t beat a takeaway on a Friday or Saturday which we were doing – just the one, mind. But the weight crept back on. It got really bad around my birthday when we went for Afternoon Tea, followed by a further, posher one a few days later where I ate cakes, cakes and more cakes and oh boy it was GOOD.

Great Fosters Afternoon Tea

I know the score. Track your food and track your activity. Fortunately my phone has a step tracker in it, so that’s switched on and I’m hitting my targets a couple of times a week which is good – and the steps I’m achieving give me three or more points a day, which don’t end up being used.

So from weighing in at the start of the year at 14 stone, I’m already down to 13 stone 7.5 which I think is bloody good going. I didn’t even try very hard, just stopped helping myself to the biscuit tub at work – although yesterday found out one Oreo Cookie is 2 points – the same as a Weight Watchers Chocolate Bar. Heheh.

I’ve been stocking up in Poundland, whose selection isn’t as good as it was when I last did Weight Watchers – and getting additional bits in my weekly Ocado shop. With me making progress I am starting to feel better about myself, so that’s progress.

Weight Watchers has changed though since I did it. I can now track things easily on my phone (I couldn’t before), and when I can’t find it straight away, I can scan in the barcode which makes life much easier. I am rubbish at tracking every day, but know that, and also know I don’t go anywhere near my daily allowance. For example – here’s the food I’ve had today.


Apple and Pineapple (0 points)


Pack of Quavers (3 points)


Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself Egg and Cress Sandwich (7 points)

Evening Meal

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Parsnip soup (3 points – damn you parsnips) in the Soup Maker plus 1.3 Weight Watchers Naan Breads 4 points).  This is not the soup, it’s an old one but the picture will do.


I have a daily allowance of 30 points, and that only uses 20 of them, leaving me 10.

I have walked 6050 steps today, which gives me an additional 7 points I can use, so 17 in total that could be used on treats if I fancied it. (I earned 12 yesterday doing pilates for an hour as well – but I was too tired when I got home and fell asleep from 9pm!)

So far, so good. Plus Weight Watchers are doing a deal at the moment, where if you lose 10lb in 8 weeks they’ll give you your money back – now if ever there was motivation to try, that’s it! Well I’m three and a half weeks in and I’ve lost seven. I reckon I can do it. You can still try too – you can register with that deal (and Quidco offer cashback too) until the end of February.

Shaun said at the weekend “I don’t want to get diabetes” – something we’re both at risk of getting – and it gave me yet another kick up the backside. Although I do worry when I hear H on the Wii Fit saying “oh I just want to lose two calories doing this” – at least it means nothing to her right now….

Sim's Life

A Healthy Me – July

Hurrah! Things are changing. I seem to have a new-found energy and am bounding into everything, although it has caught up with me a bit this week, resulting in an almost 12 hour sleep on Monday night.

I am losing weight! MyFitnessPal is working (when I remember to do it), and the days I do workouts I’m told I’d be under 15 stone in five weeks. Now, whether I am or not, it’s motivating me and that can only be a good thing.

So… Weight. I’ve lost 3lb! Which is good news. Now 13 stone 6 again, and it’s wobbling between the 6 and the 5, so hopefully the rest will follow soon.

Cholesterol spots. Visited the optician for an eye check, she checked the back of my eyes as far as diabetes issues go, and it all came back good. She mentioned the spots, and I didn’t realise, but you can get a cholesterol test done at the chemist now, so I’m going to get mine checked again when I find somewhere locally.

Exercise. Here’s where it all goes a bit bonkers. I didn’t realise all the classes in the gym are free (I assumed you paid), I have a gym buddy or two, and have been doing my Wednesday Workouts, Tuesday Pilates, Friday Pilates and as of this week, Legs, Bums and Tums Mondays. It’s still early days, but it makes such a difference to have someone to go with, even if we’re just pulling faces at the back as it’s SO hard. My abs are thanking me too by aching constantly. I was sent a Foam Roller (affiliate link) to review on Amazon a few weeks ago which I’m also incorporating into my routine at home – mainly to help while planking as I find that really tough. My upper arms and wrists are not strong (as witnessed at last months Pole Fitness class). I’ve got my Powerball Techno (affiliate link) out again which helps take the RSI pain away – I’ve had it for a few years now and swear by it.

Food. Much better, occasional biscuit (singular), no chocolate around period time like I can do, and generally a much better diet. Of course, using MyFitnessPal and logging all exercise (including walking) means I can earn an occasional biscuit so I don’t have a guilt trip about it.  I think my Spiralizer-a-like is already not working properly, but I’m not sure if it’s the vegetables, so will give it another go… serves me right for not buying the real thing. Maybe.  My meals every day for work are Sainsburys ‘Be Good to Yourself’ egg and cress sandwiches, and a pack of Quavers (from a multipack), as they’re low calorie – this means I’m spending £1.25 on my lunch every day rather than meal deals, which makes a LOT more sense.

So yes, there’s July. Bring it on, August!