Friday, 4 March 2022

Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) 2022 - Our GP Experience - TRIGGER WARNING



 TRIGGER WARNING 
POST CONTAINS INFORMATION OF EATING DISORDERS & TREATMENT


Welcome back...

I have a very personal post for you today and one that is very hard for me to post, this week 28th February to 6th March 2022 is Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2022 or EDAW 2022. I do always try to post during EDAW to try and raise some awareness of Anorexia and Eating Disorders as they are very close to my heart and also I know first-hand that awareness is so desperately needed. 

Most of you will already know, but for those of you who are new to my blog and may not know, my eldest daughter Cole (Nichole) suffers from Anorexia, and she has done for almost 18 years, in August this year it will be 18 years, not an anniversary I care to be reminded of or one I can never forget. 

Each year EDAW covers a certain subject and this year the eating disorders charity Beat are campaigning for UK medical schools to implement comprehensive training on eating disorders. They want their supporters to share their experience of seeing a GP about eating disorders and they also have an open letter for people to sign in support of them. I will link that later if it's something you're interested in signing. 

A few weeks ago, I asked on my Instagram stories how much training my followers thought a GP had on eating disorders during their entire medical degree which is approximately 5 years. I screenshot some of the answers I got so I could include them in my post today. 

EDAW 2022

EDAW 2022

EDAW 2022

EDAW 2022

Would you be surprised to learn that in 5 years, a GP has less than 2 hours of training on eating disorders and 1 in 5 medical schools in the UK don't cover the subject at all? 

EDAW 2022

EDAW 2022

It is absolutely appalling and not the fault of the GP, I am not berating them at all. What hope can any sufferer or parent, carer, friend etc have in finding out how best to help their loved one when visiting their GP which is usually the first port of call, when they have next to nothing training on the subject? It must be frustrating for all concerned. 

Since this year for EDAW Beat want us to share our experience with GP appointments for Anorexia, I am going to share our story/stories and how we got on. 

Our First GP Appointment

The first time I took Cole to the GP Cole had already been suffering from Anorexia for a long time, she wouldn't ever go to the GP, I tried and tried but she refused. When I finally got her there he told me Cole was Anorexic (no sh*t Sherlock) and referred her to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) I thought this was the answer to all my prayers, I thought that CAMHS would be a wonderful department who knew all about eating disorders and would cure my daughter, I thought I finally had light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.

How wrong I was, CAMHS was a complete waste of time, they didn't have specialist eating disorder experience, and Cole saw around 3 different people, all of who were only concerned with what she ate, or rather didn't eat. One lady actually told us to get Cole a pet, we had a dog but she said to get something small that she could sit and pet after meals to take her mind off food and eating so we got 2 house rabbits. To cut a very long story short, our rabbits lived 11 years and Cole is 31 in July and still Anorexic, great advice wasn't it? But as parents, myself and Simon (Coles dad) would have done anything if we thought it would make her better.

Fast forward a couple more years, Cole had been through CAMHS without success and also been an outpatient at a young person's psychiatric hospital in Manchester, this was also a waste of time, this was a unit where they had both inpatient and outpatients and all were children aged from around 8 to 17 who suffered from serious mental health issues, it wasn't the right place for Cole at all, all they did was show her rooms and say "if you don't eat you'll end up in one of these away from your mum and dad and your sister" helpful, not!! They also accused her of all sorts of stereotypical anorexic behaviour which for triggering purposes I won't go into, and they strip-searched her numerous times without my knowledge. Cole hadn't done any of the things she was accused of, Cole has Aspergers Syndrome and can't lie, I repeatedly told them this but they didn't listen. After a huge formal complaint, Cole didn't go back there. 

I took Cole back to the GP, she was around 16 at this point, it was a waste of time, the GP ( a different one from the 1st one) told us that Cole was now classed as an adult in the eyes of the NHS and that there wasn't (and still isn't) any NHS help for eating disorders in our area, and not just our area, the whole of the North West of England. And that was that she just dismissed us like rubbish, I cried and said what was I supposed to do and she shrugged her shoulders! 

When we got home I began googling how to get help and private health care, we couldn't take out private health care for Cole because she already had the diagnosis of Anorexia a pre-existing condition. So I googled some more and then found that if I got an appointment with a private EDU (eating disorders unit) I could apply for funding from the PCT, I spoke to someone at the private EDU and said we were looking into remortgaging our house to pay for Coles care, we had an appointment a week later. They advised me against doing that and told me to push for the funding, they said if we remortgaged and paid for the care, the NHS would see it as us "going in the back door" and we wouldn't get NHS help if any were to become available. 

So once again, I took Cole to the GP, she was new and had only been at the practice a number of weeks, my mum came with us for moral support, I explained that we needed a referral to the private EDU so we could apply for funding for treatment. And I nearly fell off my chair when she said "that's fine, who do I refer her to?" I explained and that was that the ball was rolling, finally after over 3 years.  

So now we had the referral,  we applied for funding, we were rejected over and over until the last time we applied. I rang the department for what felt like the millionth time and I spoke to a lady and basically pleaded with her to help us, she had a very young daughter and I asked how would she feel if in years to come she was me and her daughter's life was in someone else's hands? Not long later, we found out we had the funding. 

Cole did go through private care for her Anorexia but sadly it didn't help at all, the treatment is always about upping calories, putting weight on, weekly weigh-ins, blood tests, mixing with other girls and boys with eating disorders and learned behaviour. After over a year of treatment, Cole was told she was being sectioned under the mental health act and she was given a month to live, she was 17 years old, Simon and I were absolutely terrified, I can't put into words how horrific it was. Because of Coles Aspergers the Dr at the private EDU decided being an inpatient would do her more harm than good, and sectioning her wasn't right, he thought she would pick up too much learned behaviour from the other patients, so he decided she should do "inpatient at home" she had to stay in the house 24/7 and could only go out for 20 minutes to the supermarket to choose foods once a week if driven there and back. She was unable to go to school, she was in the lower sixth form at school and studying for her A-levels, and had only been there a month. I bought books and used her textbooks and taught her myself, I hadn't ever done any homeschooling and had no experience at all. 

Cole hated being at home all the time and she missed out on so much, I was glad she wasn't an inpatient but it was extremely hard too. Cole did do well and eventually, when she was around 19 she was at a healthy weight, if still very underweight for her height. Sadly I soon recognised the behaviour in Cole to suggest she was struggling again, and unfortunately, it wasn't long before she was back at square one. 

Once Cole turned 18, I could no longer take her to the GP,  or ask for referrals, as an adult, it is up to her to ask, it wasn't and still isn't up to me. Since then she hasn't had any treatment for her Anorexia, she doesn't want to get better, it kills me every day, people often say "can't she see what it does to you?" of course she can, but the eating disorder is much stronger than she is, I have spoken about the Anorexic voice previously and it is just too strong. 

One other thing about GP appointments which does happen to lots of people and not just people with eating disorders, every single thing Cole has a GP appointment for, they blame her Anorexia, every single thing, it is infuriating and doesn't help Cole have any faith at all in the GP's. We did have one GP for a few months who was incredible, her mum had suffered from Anorexia for all of the doctor's life and she knew so much about it but she left after a short few months, it was such a shame as she was brilliant and understood. 

So as you can see, our GP experiences haven't been great but with less than 2 hours of training, I'm not really surprised. I think more training is definitely needed, training on the anorexic voice for one would be useful, knowing that a person's weight doesn't define an eating disorder, you don't have to be emaciated to be Anorexic. BMI needs scrapping, the need to know that there isn't always a reason for an eating disorder, some people are predisposed to mental health issues, especially if their family members have mental health issues, I was told Cole was always going to be Anorexic, she was predisposed to it, there isn't always a reason, sometimes it is control, but not always.  I wish I could write what I think would help for GP's in training but I'm pretty sure nobody would listen to me. 

If you would like to sign the open letter from Beat to campaign for more training for GPs, you can sign that HERE

This post is already super long and is about the GP training and our experiences of GP appointments with Anorexia so I don't want to divulge too much about other things, but I feel like I have so much more to say so I think it's best if I write another post about how I realised Cole was Anorexic, signs to look for, myths, the voice and Henry, how to get help for an eating disorder and other things, that may help someone. 

I will post that post in the next couple of days. 

Below are several websites and helpline numbers for those who may need them. 

I hope this post has helped Beat with the theme for this year's EDAW and I hope it's helped you understand some of our story of how we are living with our child having an eating disorder.


See you next time, thank you for reading
Zoë x

If you or anyone you know may need to contact someone about eating disorders, you can use any of these:

   Anorexia and Bulimia Care (ABC)

Advice and support for anyone affected by eating problems.

Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT)

Information about family therapy, including a directory of therapists.

Beat

0808 801 0677 (adult helpline)
0808 801 0711 (youthline)
0808 801 0811 (studentline)
Offers information and advice on eating disorders, and runs a supportive online community. 
Also provides a directory of support services at HelpFinder.

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

Information about cognitive behavioural therapy and related treatments, 
including details of accredited therapists.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

Professional body for talking therapy and counselling. 
Provides information and a list of accredited therapists.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Produces guidelines on best practice in healthcare.

Overeaters Anonymous Great Britain

Local support groups for people with eating problems.

Papyrus HOPELINEUK

07860 039967 (text)
Confidential support for under-35s at risk of suicide and others who are concerned about them. 
Open daily from 9am–midnight.

Samaritans

116 123 (freephone)
Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS

Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. 
Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).

Student Minds

Mental health charity that supports students.

Tommy's

tommys.org

Information and support for people affected by stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth.

YoungMinds

0808 802 5544 (Parents Helpline)
85258 (Crisis Messenger for young people – text the letters YM)
Committed to improving the mental health of babies, children and young people, including support
for parents and carers.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Dog Friendly Pancakes Recipe


Dog Friendly Pancake Recipe

Welcome back...

Happy Pancake Day! 

Today in the UK it is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day as it's more commonly known, and lots of you will be having pancakes tonight, today I'm going to share with you a dog friendly pancake recipe so your furry family members don't have to miss out on pancakes, they are perfectly safe for dog to eat and if you add a little honey, you can eat them too.  

My daughter Alicia made our furbaby Bear some earlier and he absolutely loved them.

 What You Need

2 Eggs

2 Bananas 

A Blender

Honey (optional in small quantities)

Blueberries (optional)

Peanut Butter (optional)


Method

🐾  Cut the bananas up into small pieces and add to the blender, then add the eggs to the blender and blend until you have a smooth consistency.

🐾  If you don't have a blender, a smoothie maker, Nutri Bullet type thing or a hand blender will be fine, or you could mash the banana really well with a fork and hand whisk the eggs. 

🐾  If you want to you can add honey to the mixture, my daughter didn't add honey to Bears but you can do. 

🐾  Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, Alicia used a spray olive oil but you could also use coconut or rapeseed oil. 

🐾  Pour the desired amount of the pancake mixture into the pan and cook until lightly browned and then turn over, or flip and cook on the other side. 

🐾  Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside to cool, once cool you can add any toppings of your choice, or should I say your dog's choice. Bear loves peanut butter and blueberries so Alicia spread a little of the peanut butter on the pancakes and added a few blueberries. 

🐾  You could add any toppings your dog likes, including fruits, natural yoghurt and peanut butter, please be very careful using peanut butter as some brands contain an ingredient called xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs and can be fatal if consumed. Some brands also contain palm oil which isn't as toxic for dogs as xylitol but could give your fur baby an upset tummy, the best type to buy is one that is 100% peanuts and nothing else, we use THIS ONE from Morrisons. 

🐾  And finally, serve and watch your dog enjoy.


I thought I'd share some photos of Bear with his pancakes earlier, they are too cute not to. I hope you like them.


Dog Friendly Pancakes Recipe

Dog Friendly Pancakes Recipe

Dog Friendly Pancakes Recipe

I hope you enjoyed finding out how to make dog friendly pancakes, please let me know if you make them and if your dog liked them. 


See you next time, thank you for reading
Zoë x


All items/products featured on Mammaful Zo are 

PR samples unless otherwise stated.

Links may be affiliate links.

Please see my Disclaimer for more details.


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Friday, 25 February 2022

My New Cold Cup From Bear And Moo UK

Bear & Moo UK
Welcome back...

Today I want to share with you a lovely small business called Bear And Moo UK.

Bear And Moo UK is a small business in the UK run by the lovely Katie,  Katie is a fellow blogger who I have got to know more and more over the last few years, and would now consider a friend, she is a really lovely, genuine, down to earth person. When she launched her business, I was so happy for her and excited for what was to come, and when she launched, I loved the first items she listed and since then have loved everything she has listed, I honestly don't think there is anything I don't like that she sells, which by the way, is all hand made by Katie. 

What Katie says about Bear And Moo

A beautiful range of gifts, personalised items and prints perfect for any home. Choose from our new range of personalised gifts and homeware or our lovely illustrations for any room!

Bear and Moo UK was set up after rediscovering my love for drawing and illustrating. Whether you’re looking for the perfect print for your children’s room or playroom or if it’s a fun print for your living room, Bear and Moo UK have some excellent options available. 

We offer personalised and custom pieces as well as standard prints. We print all our products on premium high quality photo paper. All products are printed A4 and arrive unframed. 

In addition to our prints, we are now offering personalised gifts and personalised homeware. From front door sign plaques to the ever popular cold cups, decals and more. 


My Personalised Confetti Cold Cup - £10.00

Bear And Moo UK Cold Cup

I absolutely love my cold cup, it's so pretty and colour changing too, once filled with liquid the confetti becomes bright, it's so fun. I love the personalisation too, when I was growing up, I couldn't ever find anything with my name on, Zoë was an unusual name back then so it wasn't ever available on anything my friends had. That didn't help with it being unusual, plus I got so many negative comments about my name from peers and adults my parents knew so I hated it, then David Bowie named his son Zowie, pronounced Zoë and as you can imagine, my life was hell in the playground. 

It must be the child in me that still likes things with my name on, but even when I find something, there aren't any umlouts over the E, those 2 dots, and to me it isn't my name without them. 

Bear And Moo UK Cold Cup

When I was chatting to Katie and choosing the font and colour I mentioned I liked the font number 6 as it had a heart over the letter I and I love anything with hearts on, I was so touched when Katie made my cup and included the umlouts but also heart shaped umlouts, it doesn't get better than that! 

Bear And Moo UK Cold Cup

The cup comes with a lovely rainbow twisted straw that looks brilliant especially when the confetti changes colour. I drink Pepsi Max in my cup and it's totally fine, the lid is secure and doesn't leak and the cup is also fine after being dropped numerous times too, I haven't been throwing it round, I drop things a lot because of one of my medical conditions. 

The cup also came with a lovely cup shaped care card, it is so cute! 

Bear And Moo UK Cold Cup

One of the reasons I wanted the cup is due to struggling with certain things, I don't want to delve into my private life too much but I was struggling a lot and had been using empty 500ml Pepsi Max bottles that my family would pour some Pepsi Max into for me, I had wanted a cup with a lid and straw for a while but hadn't found any I liked, as soon as I saw Katies, I loved it, and I am so glad I have it, it isn't only lovely, it has really made things a lot easier for me. If like me you struggle or know someone who does, then the cup would be brilliant for you/them, it really has made a difference for me and it looks pretty too, so it's a win win. 

I'm sure you can already tell, but I adore my cold cup, it's made such a difference to my life and I get so many compliments on it too. I highly recommend it, and if you're not looking for a new cup, check out Katie's Etsy Store anyway for a browse, she has some really lovely things and I'm sure you'll find something you love. 

To check out Katies Etsy store click on THIS LINK you won't be disappointed I promise, and if you would like to buy the Confetti Cold Cup like mine, you can find it with this THIS LINK it is easy to order using the drop down boxes and if you don't want to order via Etsy, you can order direct from Katie by contacting her on the Bear And Moo Uk Instagram account by clicking THIS LINK

Do you shop from small businesses? Or do you own a small business? 
Chat with me in the comments below.

See you next time, thank you for reading
Zoë x



All items/products featured on Mammaful Zo are 

PR samples unless otherwise stated.

Links may be affiliate links.

Please see my Disclaimer for more details.


 

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Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Valentines Gift Ideas For Dogs

Welcome back.

After what seems like the longest January in the history of mankind, it's finally February, the month of love and almost Valentines Day. 

I see a lot of gift ideas posts for partners at this time of year, but I thought I'd mix it up a little and for Valentines this year, I have a gift ideas post for your dog, after all, our fur babies are loyal, caring, they love us unconditionally, and best of all, they don't lie and mess us around, sounds like the perfect Valentine to me, but don't tell my partner. 

I have found some gorgeous gift ideas for your furry friend, so I shall stop rambling and get on with the task in hand, each product description will include a direct link so you can find the item without having to google. 


VALENTINES GIFT IDEAS FOR DOGS


1. Heart Print Personalised Bandana - Yappy - £7.99 - Direct link here

2. Valentines Day Bone Pet Chew Toy - Shein - £2.00 (random selection) - Direct link here

3. Fuzzy Yard Candy Hearts Dog Toys - dfordog - £11.95 - Direct link here

4. Zippy Paws Jigglerz Valentines Day - Amazon - £16.39 - Direct link here

5. Personalised Dog Heart Shaped Biscuits - Yappy - £6.99 - Direct link here

6. Edible Dog Valentines Card - dfordog - £5.75 - Direct link - here

7. Love Bites Personalised Treat Tin - Yappy - £9.99 - Direct link - here

8. Love Heart Easy Attach Pet Bow - Skinny Dip - £6.00 - Direct link - here

9. Valentines Hearts Dog Bites - peacewiththewild - £2.90 - Direct link - here


I hope you liked my choices of gifts for your doggy, I loved looking for them and Bear, my dog enjoyed helping me look too, although I think he thought he was in for a very nice Valentines Day this year. Whilst looking I discovered some great websites so I thought I'd share a bit of information on those too just incase it might be helpful for you. 

Websites I Found & Loved

Yappy

I really liked the Yappy website, it is brilliant if you have a dog or cat or if you're buying a gift for someone who has a furbaby. You can create a profile for your pet, I created one for Bear, I put in his breed, name and gender, then chose his colouring from a range of options and then each personalised item shows Bear on it, like the images above, it's really cute and they have some amazing things and not just for Valentines, there is a lot of choice for lots of occaisions, a brilliant website. 

Peace With The Wild

I must admit I hadn't heard of this company before searching for products for this post, but I'm really glad I did, they are a family run business, who work with small independant brands who all believe in a greener future by using the most natural ingredients and recyclable/biodegradable packaging and they have a huge range of plastic free products, as a family they have been trying to live waste free for quite a few years and they echo this in their business too, they have a brilliant ethos and the products they sell look lovely, and there is something for everyone. 

The dog treats I included in this post contain no nasties, we feed Bear on a grain free and natural product diet, and we buy treats to mirror this, the treats I shared are grain free and natural, they contian peanut butter, strawberries and carrob, that's it, no preservaties, no nasties and the packaging is plastic free. 

The product range includes cleaning products, makeup, pet care, gardening, food and drink, mama and baby and much much more, they are definitely worth a look, I will definitely be placing an order soon, if you're interested in the website, you can find it with this direct link, here

Dfordog

Another great website selling so many great products for dogs and cats too, there are lots of items to choose from, including beds, collars, leads, toys, clothes amongst other things, I could get lost down a rabbit hole browsing their website, I'm really glad I found it and again, I hadn't heard of it before searching for items for my post. You can access the website via this direct link here.

I also didn't realise how much choice for pets there is on the Shein website, there is absolutely loads of things on there and all at really affordable prices. 

And lastly, a photo of my furbaby Bear, my little blog helper. 

My little helper

Have you heard of the websites I've mentioned today? 

Which is your favourite item from the ones I have shared? 
 

See you next time, thank you for reading,


Zoë x



All items/products featured on Mammaful Zo are 

PR samples unless otherwise stated.

Links may be affiliate links.

Please see my Disclaimer for more details
















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