Christmas time is a special time of year, for friends and families to meet and enjoy some precious time together. For those who require additional support throughout the year, a carer is a crucial part of everyday life, particularly during the festive season, but what does that mean for the carers themselves?

Here, our friends at Ability Superstore look at five things about carers over Christmas, that you might not necessarily be aware of.

  1. 30% of carers won’t have a break over the Christmas period

According to research by Carers Trust Wales, around 370,000 people throughout Wales provide care for a friend or family member, particularly over Christmas. Not only that, but these carers are often unpaid, giving their loved ones a helping hand simply out of the goodness of their hearts.

On top of this, around 30% of these carers often spend the Christmas period without a break and those that do receive a break will spend this well earned recuperation time, doing chores.

  1. Many won’t be able to make the most of the festive season

During what’s meant to be the most wonderful time of the year many carers find themselves feeling tired and struggling to switch off from taking care of those in need. This comes from research by Revitalise, whose quest is to support unpaid carers and work towards finding additional support for them.

  1. Their usual support is often lost over Christmas

Caring for others can be tiring and stressful, especially when there is little to no support. A lot of the time, friends and family set off on the road for their Christmas break to visit family further afield, which often means that carers are lacking the usual support they would have. Not only that, but with public services closing up shop for Christmas and sometimes even Boxing Day, it can become a little more difficult to take care of those who need them over Christmas.

  1. Their role is crucial over Christmas, particular for the routine

Routine is so important for those with mobility requirements, to be able to get up, showered and dressed, and on their way with their day. Without carers over Christmas, they would find it difficult to make the most of the festive season, especially when preparing for friends and family to visit. For some, it’s even more important that they see a familiar face coming to help them each and every day, making their carers particularly important over Christmas.

  1. It’s all worth it, to give someone a happy and normal life

Amongst all of the stresses and strains of caring for another, inevitably it is an extremely rewarding thing to do. Not only can you see the support you are giving and the benefits it has to their everyday life, but you can go home feeling you have given something to someone else.



There are many problems and issues that can be a problem during pregnancy. Some require medical help and treatment, but the more common issues are uncomfortable and frustrating. Here are five common pregnancy issues and what you can do about them.


#1 Bladder and bowel issues

As well as the weight of a growing baby, your body during pregnancy will be gripped by a surge of hormones. Both combine to cause problems relating to bladder-control and bowel issues.

For example, some women find they need to urinate more frequently, whilst other women find getting to the toilet on time is almost impossible. Constipation is also common amongst pregnant women.

There are solutions;

• Using high quality incontinence products for women can help manage accidental leaks of urine
• Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles that control the bladder and the bowel, helping you to ‘hold on’ to urine as you make your way to the bathroom
• Constipation is helped by eating more soluble fibre and increasing water intake; sip water through the day rather than drink a glass all in one go

#2 Morning Sickness

Severe morning sickness can result in hospital treatment, something we are all more aware of since Kate, Duchess of Cambridge suffered crippling morning sickness during both her pregnancies.
Although called ‘morning sickness’, the feeling of needing to be sick or actually being sick can last all day or occur at any time of day. You can feel very uncomfortable but the good news is that morning sickness does not place you baby in danger.

Caused by the surge in hormones in early pregnancy, finding what works for you can make those early few weeks a little more bearable;

• Eat smaller meals and more often – not eating can make nausea worse
• The same goes for drinking – sip drinks, rather than have a large drink in one go
• Limit fatty and spicy foods
• Some women find cooking intensifies morning sickness – try and prepare food when you don’t feel nauseous
• Eating a dry biscuit before you get out of bed in a morning can help

#3 Backache

Being pregnant places a strain on muscles and ligaments, with some women finding that they back aches from early on in pregnancy right through to full term. This dull ache can make standing, walking, sitting and lying down uncomfortable and this lack of relief can quickly tire you.

• Avoiding lifting heavy thing but if it cannot be avoided, bend your knees and keep your back straight
• Move you whole body when you need to turn, rather than twisting at the back
• Wear flat shoes as this will help to distribute your weight evenly
• Sit with your back straight and well-supported
• Get plenty of rest, especially in late pregnancy

As women’s incontinence pads can help to manage bladder weakness, exercise can help to manage an aching back. Gentle exercise, such as swimming and gentle walks, can help to strengthen muscles and ligaments.

#4 Headaches

Some women find that they suffer from more frequent headaches during pregnancy. In most cases, it is caused by a surge in hormones which may explain why some women when not pregnant suffer headaches around their period.
Headaches can be worse in the first few weeks of pregnancy and steadily improve as the pregnancy progresses. Although uncomfortable for you, they are not affecting your baby.
If you develop headaches in the second half of your pregnancy which are at the front of your head, it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, pregnancy induced high blood pressure. It is important you discuss headaches with your doctor or midwife.

#5 Vaginal Discharge

During pregnancy, your body undergoes a whole raft of changes. A common pregnancy issue is vaginal discharge and although unpleasant, it is normal.

It happens for a few reasons;
• The cervix, the neck of the womb and vaginal walls are softening ready for the birth and this causes discharge
• This discharge is also nature’s way of preventing infections from travelling up into the womb
• Towards the end of pregnancy, this discharge can increase and be confused with urine; if this is happening, women’s incontinence pads can be a useful means of managing it.

In late pregnancy, you may have a discharge known as a ‘show’. This is a thicker mucus and may contain blood. This is the plug of mucus that is in the cervix coming away, ready for labour and birth.

If you are concerned about any issues or problems, talk to your GP or midwife.

Five Common Pregnancy Issues That Women Can Experience

HARTMANN Direct have a range of women’s incontinence pads, ideal for use during pregnancy and after birth too.

Firework safety is an important issue all year round with the increasing use of fireworks to mark occasions like birthday and of course New Year’s Eve.

firework safety

As we are approaching 31 December fast, NCC Home Learning has put together a quiz on firework safety. This quiz is aimed to see if you are aware of the dangers associated with fireworks.

I tend to avoid using fireworks and have since becoming a parent. It some ways this seems a shame as I remember family events as a child with Dad taking charge of the firework display. All the local community got together and I was so proud that my Dad handled everything and insisted on health and safety.

I thought I had a relatively good knowledge on fireworks so was shocked to only get 5 out of 8 answers correct in the NCC Home Learning Firework Safety Quiz. This is stuff we need to know that can prevent injury and potentially save lives.

NCC Home Learning offers a course orientating around fire safety which can be found here:-

Firework Safety Quiz

Take the firework safety quiz and let me know how you get on.

As we strive for the perfect Christmas the last thing we want is Christmas chaos!

Is it time to rethink that? We can watch the adverts and read the magazines telling us how Christmas should be done. If we blog, the pressure mounts as we see what bloggers and vloggers are up to over the festive period. It it time for us to do things differently and to embrace the Christmas chaos?

1.Christmas dinner – I am quite proud that years ago I worked out that we could save ourselves a heap of stress by letting the children decide what they want to eat. So it might be sausages instead of turkey and chocolate pudding instead of Christmas pudding. They can each choose what they want and it works for us. It cuts down on food waste too. Last year we had toad in the hole followed by Mississipi Mud Pie!

2. Christmas tree – I got rid of our tree and decorations in a big decluttering exercise not long ago. Now the children have said they still want the house to sparkle. So this year we are doing it the home-made way making a tree out of branches from the park and our decorations out of pine cones. It will be fun to do it differently and with a less of a commercial edge. I will also be making some stockings or at least attempting to.

3. Gifts – I usually buy too much and as the children have got older, all they really want is gaming stuff. My teenager took his sack of presents upstairs last year and I found them not played with. So this year they will get stuff they actually wand and that I can afford. Any savings I manage to make will go to the local Foodbank teaching the kids a valuable life lesson.

4. Guests – After a stressful Christmas a few years ago due to a pompous guest, I decided that Christmas Day would be just our little family unit. It means I don’t have to feed the five thousand and try to please people with different tastes. The only thing that got me through that Christmas long ago was when my daughter spread polysterhene “snow” all over the said guest’s room serving up the sweetest revenge without me having to do anything.

Forget perfection! Good enough will do and chaos tends to result in the best memories anyway.

3 Little Buttons

Every day matters and I think you believe this more as you get older. Perhaps because we have lost loved ones and become aware of our own mortality or just because we value ourselves more, every second starts to count much more.

A New Year is just around the corner and I think many of us will be happy to see the back of 2016. Political decisions may not have gone our way and lots of us are reeling from so many deaths this year of folks who inspired us with their writing, comedy and music.

So what will you do with 2017?

Do you like a paper diary? I know there are apps and stuff but I personally love the look and feel of a good diary. I am happy to recommend the Every day matters diary which encourages us to have a year of inspiration for the mind, body and spirit. Sounds good right?

I love the A5 size diary because it is so attractive and not just on the outside. It is very colourful inside with a vibrancy that cheers the soul. If you are a fan of inspirational quotes and affirmations, this is the diary for you.

The diary works as ordinary ones do so you can keep track of your appointments and to-do lists. However, you can also use it as a personal development workbook as it has searching questions and monthly themes such as positivity, love and empathy.

There’s a section for your to make important notes at the back so that you can launch yourself in a super-charged way into 2018.

Every Day Matters 2017 Diaries
A Year of Inspiration for the Mind, Body and Spirit
By Dani DiPirro
Paperback- £12.99 (Desk Diary), £6.99 (Pocket Diary)