Elderly relatives are much-loved family members but it can be challenging to know how best to support them. It can be difficult as they get  older to accept that their independence is less than it once was so you do need to tread carefully. Here are my 5 tips for looking after elderly relatives.

Treat them as the individuals they are

Your relative is a unique person with their own particular needs, interests and hopes. Bear this in mind when considering how to help them best. For example, when my elderly father needed extra help after my mum died, he insisted he would not move in with us unless there was independent space for him. This resulted in us moving house so he could have an annexe with his own kitchen, lounge, bedroom and bathroom.

Research equipment and technology that can help them

Sit down with your relative and really consider what their particular needs are from mobility aids to Telecare. You need to look at the place they are living. Often your elderly relative will hold out against moving from a house they have lived in for many years as it will be full of magical memories. An example is that  you  might need to install a curved stairlift in some residences.

Consult charities for carers

You may not see yourself as a carer or like the label. However, accept that you do care about your relative and know that there are so many local, regional and national charities that can help you. That might be with information, ideas, peer support or counselling. It is a sign of strength to reach out for support. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your relative as it means they will get what they need that much quicker.

Realise that your relative’s needs may change over time

My late Dad lived with us for only two years. When he first moved in, I was so caring to the point where he got frustrated and told me he had not moved in for me to look after him. He did his own cooking and laundry. One day, I realised that he could no longer work out how to work the washing machine. After that, I stepped in and did his laundry. When looking after elderly relatives, you have to be vigilant in the same way as you are with young children. Things change fast and you may have to react as quickly.

Enjoy the special moments

When you are looking after elderly relatives, you can make some very magical memories that will sustain you when they are gone. It’s important to enjoy the special moments perhaps when you have a hug or a really good giggle. Your elderly relative was probably there for you at some point in your life and it’s a privilege to be able to assist them in their later years.



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What are you most looking forward to about Christmas? For many of us, it is all about seeing family and friends including those that we struggle to catch up with at any other time of year. Travelling by car is often the best option as you may be delivering lots of presents and food along with the usual luggage for a trip away from home.

Preparing your car for Christmas

A famous song at this time of year screams “It’s Christmas!” but we also need to remember it is winter so weather conditions can be tricky. Preparing your car for Christmas alleviates stress and could possibly save your life. You neglect this pre-Christmas task at your peril.

A trip to Northampton

I remember visiting my cousin and his family in Northampton one Christmas. We definitely had the white Christmas and black ice was a real danger. I was so pleased that my Dad always carried out regular services on the car at places like Calmac Tyres AutoCentre. The fact that he was an advanced level driver was also reassuring.

Good car care

It’s vital to check that your tyres are fit and compatible to drive on wet or icy roads. Neglecting regular car servicing is false economy. Make sure that all the necessary things are checked like exhausts, batteries and oil. Have you checked that your car’s air conditioning system is functioning properly?
Guaranteed by VOSA Calmac Tyres Autocentre provides highly skilful services and MOTs in Northampton. Book your service with them today!

You really don’t want to breakdown at Christmas

A car breakdown is always stressful and especially at this time of year. The loved ones waiting for you to arrive will be worried if you are late. You don’t want to be missing out on any of the festive treats or the opportunity to make magical Christmas memories.

Car servicing is good if you intend to sell your car at some point

Eventually you may want to buy a newer car or one more suited to new family circumstances. Potential buyers will be checking whether you car is well looked after. Car services on a regular basis mean your car will look great under the bonnet and you can be someone who is really interested in buying will want to check under there. Invest in regular services rather than a once a year overhaul and you will protect your safety and your finances in the longer term.


Despite what Hollywood movies have lead you to believe, the signs of going into labor can be rather subtle. When you are waiting to go into labor, you might be surprised to realize how confusing the signs can be. Sometimes, expecting moms can experience signs of labor several days before the actual birth takes place. Take a look at the following 7 signs that you are about to go into labor.

  1. Backache

Honestly speaking, your back has probably been aching for months already. But, this back pain is slightly more particular. Known as ‘back labor’, this is the type of pain that occurs when the contractions begin, but are localized in the lower back because of how your baby has positioned itself. You may even start to feel aches in your groin as well due to the muscles and joints getting ready for the birth.

  1. Ligaments start to loosen

During the duration of your pregnancy a hormone, relaxin, gets released. This hormone serves to help your connective tissues to loosen up. This then helps your pelvis to open and allow you to give birth. Relaxin, however, does not only loosen up the connective tissues that hold the joints in the pelvis together. Relaxin will loosen all your joints, therefore, you may be clumsier than usual. The closer you get to your labor day, the more clumsy you will feel.

  1. The Mucous Plug is Released

Mucous blocks the cervix in order to protect your growing baby. As the cervix starts to dilate, this plug will be released. Since it is not always released intact, some women do not realize it.

  1. Diarrhea

You can develop diarrhea or even just loose stools from prostaglandins hormones. Your body may also develop signs of diarrhea a couple days before labor as a way to empty out the bowels, helping the uterus to contract effectively.

  1. Contractions

Contractions are caused by the uterus contracting and release, helping to dilate the cervix and then help the newborn move down the birth canal. Braxton-Hicks contractions are mild contractions that expecting mothers can experience a few weeks before labor. Labor contractions get progressively more intense until you feel an intense tightness in the front of your stomach. Some moms have found devices like Bloomlife smart contraction monitor  when preparing for labor.

  1. The ‘Nesting’ feeling

Some women suddenly feel the need to organize their home, clean everything, or just make sure the home is more than ready for the baby. Others feel as if they are becoming sick, and feel more tired. If you suddenly feel a change in energy levels, it could be your body telling you that it is almost time for labor.

  1. The “Lightening” Sensation

Some expecting moms will feel this sensation, as if their baby has dropped, when their baby is preparing and moving towards the cervix. It does not necessarily happen the day of labor, it can even happen a couple of weeks before going into labor.

Always remember that your labor signs can be different to what you might be expecting so pay attention to your body, and treat yourself well.


You find me just a few hours away from my milestone birthday. I have had a really tough week causing me a lot of heartache and making me question some of my key life choices. On top of that, I need to value life because I was lucky the other day to survive when travelling in a car when the brakes suddenly failed. There is lots more but perhaps some things really don’t need to go on the blog.

At core, I am perhaps stronger than I think and more special than I am often treated so let’s get back to my fantasy birthday wish list.

N is for nudes. I have loved nudes for years possibly since seeing some amazing pencil drawings in the Master’s Lodge many years ago. I wish I had taken down the name of the artist as I remember the Master saying they felt the artist would do very well and that they had made a very good investment. It appears I may be getting a large painting of a nude woman for my birthday. The painting already holds memories because of where it is currently displayed and if I do get it I suspect it will stay with me for life.

O was a letter I struggled with but a friend suggested an overseas trip would fit the bill. I would love to visit Italy next although long-term I want to go to Russia and fulfil that childhood dream.

P is for perfume because my current bottle of Poison is running out fast. I don’t know whether to replace it or try a new fragrance entirely. I like bold in your face perfumes. P is also for penguins as I love anything related to them.

Q is super-easy as it is for all things Queen. Don’t Stop Me Now and all that!

R is for Radox as I still think it is so very lovely in the bath.

S is for seals because I have loved them ever since visiting Gweek Seal Sanctuary with my parents as a child. When they asked what I wanted to do on the last day of our holiday, I insisted we return to see the seals and one in particular who had been shot through the head. I wrote to the founders afterwards and they wrote back and I had an autographed book about the place for years on end. S is also for soaps as I love those quirky home-made types with vibrant fragrances.

T is for tantalus because I miss the ones my parents had holding 3 decanters. I don’t know why I found it so exotic perhaps because it was locked and I had no idea where the key was kept. T is also for theatre because it is perhaps the thing in life I love most. I have not been a lot for the last two decades, one of my great joys lost in the marriage and parenting mix. This needs to change. It is my life too!

Unconditional love – this was a friend’s suggestion and it is something I crave. I am not sure I have ever had it and it must be wonderful.

V is for vin or wine but as I will spend my milestone birthday with new French friends let’s leave it as vin.

W is for wok because I do not have one currently. My first was bought by a college friend for my 21st and it sparked an interest in Chinese food and one pot cookery.

X is for Xylopone because I want one. It really is as simple as that.

Y is for yoga. I have always wanted to get into this and made some attempts but never seem to stick with it. Again the issue is about me taking time to work on myself rather than just cleaning, working and parenting.

Z is for zebra-patterned knickers because I was struggling and an old school friend suggested this one. Well, why not?

Which of my choices do you like best?

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Many of us find selecting gifts for men a challenge. As women, our tastes can be very different and it is hard for us to get inside our men’s heads. To make matters worse, getting them to actually communicate what they would love can be an uphill battle. So if you want to treat a man in your life but don’t know where to start, here are 5 great ideas for men’s gifts that should help put a huge smile on his face.


Isn’t it great to see the return of watches on wrists? I think there was a period where we thought our mobile phones would do when it came to telling the time.  We forgot that watches can express individuality and are a key style item. I love a watch with a good leather strap and a really interesting face preferably showing different time zones or similar.


It is easy to see jewellery as the domain of women but why not treat the man in your life to a jewellery item that he can show off and keep long-term as a memory of a special time together. I remember college friends wearing bracelets and how fine they looked often choosing one that showed who they were as a person. Nowadays, there are beautiful and creative bracelets for men available or perhaps your man would prefer a pendant necklace?

Key chain

A lot of men I know love a gadget and a really simple one is a key chain with various useful items kept conveniently all in one place. It might include a screwdriver and a bottle opener which as we know can get you and your man out of many an emergency situation.


Bags are a good option for most men although obviously you should take his individual lifestyle into account when making your selection. If he like to be outdoors a lot, a rucksack may be  the very thing. Perhaps he travels a lot on business and would like a retro looking holdall in leather? Hip packs are a great option for the festival goer in your life. You could even pop an extra present inside the bag as another treat.

Old favourites

If you decide that none of the above are quite right for your special someone, you can fall back on old favourites like scarves, gloves and even socks. This is where you can bring in your creativity in finding brands that are new to him online. When it comes to shirts which always go down well with my husband, I have gone for a Charles Tyrwhitt men’s shirt and am so excited to see him open his gift come Christmas morning. If all else fails, if you get a gift card you can be absolutely sure that he will like what he buys but I think a personal touch is better as it really is the thought that counts.

Image from https://www.ctshirts.com/us/mens-shirts/

What would you love to buy the man in your life?





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