Wednesday, 29 August 2012

'Childhood smacking and later mental illness examined'

For the last couple of months i have made it part of my routine to have a look through the latest news on the nursing times. At first i found the articles very hard going in terms of the language used and the topics but also very interesting, i know it may be strange for a 17 year old to be interested in such things but the health or ill-health effects everyone and is therefore very important in my eyes.Personally,i  like articles that not only answer questions but leave you with many more questions.

While, have my daily fix  i came across this article that caught my eye.

'Childhood smacking and later mental illness examined'
“Adults smacked as children have higher risk of mental illness later on,” the Daily Mail boldly reports.
The news is based on a study that investigated whether there was a link between children who were physically punished (for example, spanked) but not abused, and the development of a mental disorder such as depression or alcohol and drug abuse as an adult. This study was based on the results of a nationally representative US survey of 34,653 adults. It found that harsh physical punishment (which stopped short of child abuse) was associated with mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse and personality disorders.
Although this is an interesting study, it provides no evidence of a causal link between physical punishment and development of a mental disorder later in life. This study also relies upon self-reported information, with adults asked to recall being punished as a child. Both of these facts limit our ability to conclude that smacking causes mental illness. As such, the headline in the Mail is misleading because it does not take into account the limitations of this study.

The following types of abuse were excluded:
  • severe physical abuse (being hit so hard it left marks, bruises or caused an injury)
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • physical neglect
  • emotional neglect
  • exposure to intimate partner violence (having an abused mother)

    However the results suggested that the follow mental health problems were more likely to occur:
  • major depression
  • dysthymia (subthreshold depression)
  • mania
  • hypomania
  • any mood disorder
  • panic disorder with or without agoraphobia
  • social phobia
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • any anxiety disorder
  • any alcohol or drug abuse or dependence
  • paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal
  • antisocial, histrionic, borderline, narcissistic
  • avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive
  • Although the researchers attempted to use validated questions to assess harsh physical punishment and child maltreatment, this was determined by self-reporting, which makes the results less reliable. It is possible that adults did not correctly report whether they were punished or not.
  • Participants were asked to recall events that took place in their childhood. This also may affect the results as it relies purely on the memory of the adult. 
  • The participants were also asked to recall whether their parents or adult carers had problems with alcohol or drugs. Ideally, this would have been confirmed through clinical records or by collecting this information from the parents themselves. However, the researchers did not do this.

According to the researchers, 32 nations around the world have banned corporal punishment of kids, however the US and Canada are not among them. In the UK, parents are allowed to smack their children without causing “reddening of the skin”.
The researchers say that while other studies have examined the link between physical punishment and a broad range of mental health disorders, none have done so in a nationally representative sample that controlled for several types of child maltreatment.
All 34,653 adults were interviewed face-to-face by a trained interviewer. Most of the questions asked were based on a five-point scale (never, almost never, sometimes, fairly often and very often). Childhood physical punishment included events occurring before the age of 18.
To assess physical punishment, the participants were asked: “As a child how often were you ever pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit by your parents or any adult living in your house?”. Those who answered “sometimes”, “fairly often” or “very often” were considered to have experienced “harsh physical punishment” and were included in the analysis. Harsh physical punishment included acts of physical force beyond slapping, such as spanking.
Overall, 1,258 (5.9%) of the participants reported harsh physical punishment, without experiencing more severe child maltreatment. The main findings were:
The researchers conclude that harsh physical punishment (in the absence of child maltreatment) is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse or dependence and personality disorders in the general population. They go on to say that their findings “inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment” and that the findings provide evidence that harsh physical punishment is “related to mental disorders”. While the researchers suggest that policymakers might consider making a statement that physical punishment “should not be used in children of any age”, they do not call for a definitive “smacking ban”.
This study provides some evidence of a link between harsh physical punishment and lifetime adult mental disorders. It does not provide any evidence that one causes the other. Importantly, there may be many other medical, personal, social or lifestyle factors that contribute to adults developing a mental disorder. There are other limitations to this study, which the authors freely admit:
As a result, the headline that “adults smacked as children have higher risk of mental illness later on” is misleading because it does not take into account the limitations of this study.

Trust, the daily mail to be misleading! As a child I was never a bad, never really in trouble. But the one time I did do something really bad, i cant remember what, I did get a smack on the bum for it, yes i cried not because it was sore but because i shocked but i never did what ever i did again and from then on i was more careful. I learnt my lesson, that little smack never did me any harm in fact it was a good life lesson for me.

In my case, smacking was a good a thing however the study fails to mention that all children are different and react differently, e.g. being smacked may make a child never do what ever they did again or it may make they do it more as they want to punish there parents for smacking them and therefore repeats the action that got them mad in the first place.

What do you think, is smacking good or bad?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


I need to decide what i want from life, do i want my eating disorder to control me for the rest of my life and stop me from achieving my dream of becoming a child nurse?

The answer is no! I look back at old photos and only recently have I realised just i how different i look, just have much healthier i looked and no have gaunt and pale i look :(

But i'm scared, i dont to get big and be the size i was before. The thought of putting on weight is just too scary, i dont want to go back into hospital but i was the only place i could put on weight, as i just cant seem to make myself do it, as i put it off and off , in the hope that it will just go away and everything will be fine!

But i cant keep pushing it aside, i need to face the facts and the sooner the better!
The fact is i'm ill and underweight and my eating disorder is controling me!
I wish i had a normal relatioship with food i really do, i dont see it the way other people do, it should be a joy, an  experience, an delight, instead it's a number, a cal,a gram of fat, sugar!



Breakfast, was honey flavoured ready brek and raisin, i must confess i was lazy i couldnt be bothered to warm up milk over the stove so used water boiled from the kettle!

Snack, i was a bit peckish at around 10:30-ish so i had a look in the fridge and come across a little childhood favourite, i didnt even know winnie the pooh yoghurt were still being sold! i opted for banana flavour, the other flavours include strawberry and apricot but i love anything thats banana flavoured.

Lunch, was minestrone soup, yes from a can, but it was really nice so nice that by the time i remembered to take the picture the bowl was empty ;) i also have so crackers on the side to dip in, yum yum.

Snack: it was actually sunny! so i had a blackcurrent flavoured ice-lolly, very refreshing. I forgot to take a picture, oops!

Dinner was my version of Sunday dinner, a grilled chicken breast, veg, plain mash and two small potatoes. Ever since my ED i have been unable to add sauces such as gravy and opt to instead have a things very plain. The rest of my family have a more traditional english sunday dinner, which this week consisted of chicken breasts, veg, roast potatoes (normal size) yorkshire pudding, stuffing and creamy mash potatoes drowned in lots of gravy. The meat is the only thing that changes weekly in the sunday dinner and varies from the following: chicken, beef, turkey, pork.
Dessert, so my ED was screaming NO!!! but the real lucy who had a very sweet tooth and just a couple of years a ago would have happily finished off a whole lemon meringue pie, opted for a small piece, one that would not make me feel too guiltly.

Breakfast- was the same as yesterday but will a slice of wholemeal toast and jam.

Snack- this is not my usual snack but i started work at 12 and knew that my lunch break would therefore be around 3 o'clock so i needed a snack that would fuel my first few hours of work, so i had a small bowl of ready brek.
Lunch- sorry no photo, i was at work plus a lot of people were there at the time and they might have found it a bit weird if i started taking pictures of my food. But i have the same thing for lunch anyway, so i'll get a picture up soon, i have a chicken pitta pocket, ice-gems (i know not very healthy with all the sugar but for someone with an ED i think i was being very brave, plus they have hardly any fat, and there is the ED talking!) apple and crispbreads. Washed down with an ice-cold glass of diet coke! who care i needed the pick me up i was thirsty and it was so refreshing!

Dinner, got home at around 6-ish so dinner was at 6:30, later than i would usually have it, only by an hour. I have pasta and chcken in a tomato sauce with some hidden red peppers and cherry tomatoes, yummy yummy yummy in my tummy ;)

Supper- after i long convo with a friend on the phone, it had been so long since we last spoke, i could have talked for hours and hours. Anyway after all that talking i was a bit peckish so have a bowl of dry cereal, cheerios as a matter of fact.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Arts and craft and popcorn review

Over the past 2 years or so, I experimented with different types of arts and crafts, some a lot more successful than others.  I’ve tried chocolate making, knitting, card making, sewing- such hobbies appear to be making a comeback and are now considered rather ‘cool’ to do.

Knitting has become one of my most enjoyable hobbies despite my sister’s constant  teasing saying that I’m old lady! But do you know what, I don’t even care.

I personally find knitting very relaxing and a brilliant way to distract myself from unwanted thoughts, during both of  my inpatient admissions for anorexia, I found knitting was something I could do before and after meal times to help stop from getting anxious and to then take my mind from the rather disturbing thoughts running though my head after eating.

However, knitting has now become more than just a distraction technique, as nowadays a rarely need to use such distraction methods but I continue to knit just for pleasure. It has become a routine that I knit something for each of my friends birthdays and now they except me to do so, which does put abit of pressure on me to do so making it seem more like a chore than a hobby, especially as I do have school work and a part-time job making that kind of on demand knitting hard to fit in.

REVIEW: popcorn

Peter popples popcorn, golden syrup flavour
I brought a box of 10x20g for £6.89 making it around 70p per pack which isn’t too bad on the old wallet. The only problem is that you have to buy online which can be a bit of a pain, especially for a 17 year old who has school every weekday and therefore is unable to wait around for a delivery.

I wasn’t very adventurous and went for the golden syrup flavour which was delicious and not too sweet .The only problem was that the flavouring ‘powder’ wasn’t very evenly distributed despite my best efforts to shake the bag, resulting in some very sweet pieces of popcorn and some very plain pieces. The 20g bags were bigger than I thought they would be, I obvious overestimated the weight of popcorn but after eating the whole bag I wasn’t very full and found my tummy making funny noises now long after.

However for those, who are watching their calories these little bags of light, air-popped popcorn are brilliant. Here are some nutritional stats for all 4 flavours per 20g pack.

GOLDEN SYRUP- ‘makes toffee popcorn taste so yesterday!’
80kcal,  1.66g fat,   0.2g saturated fat,   1.32g sugar,   0.14g salt

SALT & VINEGAR- ‘plenty of ping and zing!’
79kcal,  1.66g fat,   0.2g saturated fat,   0.48g sugar,   0.18g salt

CHEDDAR CHEESE- ‘tastes like melted cheese on toast’
80kcal,  1.9g fat,   0.32g saturated fat,   0.18g sugar,   0.16g salt

FRUIT CHUTNEY- ‘tangy and sweet all at once’
79.2kcal,  1.68g fat,   0.2g saturated fat,   0.88g sugar,   0.2g salt

I would recommend buying the sample box first, which has a bag of each flavour for only £2.19!

 Metcalfe’s topcorn
I went through a phrase of being a little bit obsessed with popcorn as you can gather. During my obsession I treated myself to a bag of Metcalfe’s topcorn sweet’n’salt flavour. I’m not usually a fan of salty popcorn but decided to give it a go anyway and I’m so glad I did it was amazing the mix and sweet and salt was just right not too salty, not too sweet. The whole 5minutes the bag lasted I was in heaven!

The only places near where I live that sell this heaven in a bag which is metcalfe’s topcorn is greggs and boots at 85p a bag which for a 17year like me is a lot of money for a relatively small bag, considering you could easily go to ASDA and get a 500g bag for less than a £1 too!

There are 4 flavours of metcalfe’s topcorn- I have only tried 2 (sea salt and sweet’n’salt)
Here are some descriptions and nutritional stats per pack:

WASABI FLAVOUR- ‘our wasabi flavour adds a tangy, sweet, mustardy kick to our topcorn. Mild but enjoyably confident’
I was too scared to try this flavour, though fear of not liking it and it being a waste of money and I would be left hungry!
121kcals,  0.5g sugar,  6.5g fat, 0.7g sat fat, 0.2g sodium

SEA SALT FLAVOUR- ‘lightly tossed in natural sea salt’
As a previous hater of salty popcorn I have been converted however I would still chose sweet over salty any day, I’m just not a fan of salty things.
108kcals, 0.1g sugar,  5.6g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 0.24g sodium

CHOCOLATE CRACKLE FLAVOUR- 'Thin strands of delicious chocolate crackle drizzled over our sublime skinny topcorn. Made possible by our hand built warm chocolate drizzling conveyor'
At first, i really wanted to try this flavour but i have to admit that the calories and sugar content did put me off, i think it's a waste of calories especially as popcorn never fills me up!
212kcals,  21.6g sugar,  2.9g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.07g sodium

SWEET 'N' SALT FLAVOUR-'We didn’t want to make you choose between salt & sweet.These two taste bud tinglers have been mixed for maximum flavour, it might sound wrong but it tastes so right.'
i was in heaven, end of!
115kcals, 4.9g sugar, 4.8g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.13g sodium


Saturday, 25 August 2012


Being a huge disney fan I couldn't resist seeing the film Brave which came out about a week ago here in england.

I don't want to spoil the film for anyone but i will say that it is an amazing film and that i do now officially have a new favourite disney princess.....Merida


I am slightly baised as my grandparents are both scottish and therefore i can actually understand the scottish accent, which can be very difficult if you're not use to it!

But the moral of the film is one that is very heart-warming and has taught we that yes, it's good to have dreams and aspirations but also that my parents just want the best for me even if they appear to moaning or nagging.

Here is a couple of 'typically' scottish, as believed it are not they eat more than just haggis ;)1. Scotch broth- is a soup consisting of barley, carrots, turnip, swedes, leeks, kale with meat such as lamb, beef and chicken.

2. Mince and tatties- was my favourite dinner growing up, i loved my granny's mince and tatties with lots and lots of vegetables. Plus it's simple and basic

3. Scottish stovies (yumm)- basically it's a stew, containing potatoes and onions, with left over roast beef, corned beef or mince in a rich gravy sauce.

4. Skirlie or stuffing- oatmeal with melted butter and fried onion with seasonings thats then be put in the oven and baked. My sister loves this and can eat a whole bowl of it just of it's own or she mixes mashed potatoes in with it so it looks like cement!   

5. Caramel shortbread- traditionally consists of three layers; a shortbread biscuit base, a caramel filling and a milk chocolate topping.
6.Edinburgh rock- it's hard to explain what it is, really but as a child i use to love it as its so sweet as it basically just sugar! probably not the best combination a young child and sugar!
7. Tablet- my granny's tablet is a massive hit at school. It's so addictive! Tablet is usually made from sugar, condensed milk, and butter, boiled to a soft-ball stage and allowed to crystallize.

8. Iru bru- The icon of scottish beverages. A bright orange fizzy drink, i can't really describe the flavour as i dont know what to put it into words.

9. Empire Biscuit- typically considered a traditional scottish snack. The typical Empire Biscuit has a layer of jam in between two biscuits. The top is covered with white icing, usually decorated with a glace cherry in the centre. In Scotland however empire biscuits are most commonly topped with a little sugared jelly sweet. My granny use to get as all a empire biscuit weekly, if we were good!
10. Tunnocks wafter- are the correct name, Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Coated Caramel Wafer Biscuit, is a bar consisting of 5 layers of wafer, interspered with 4 layers of caramel the whole bar is then coated in milk chocolate. Heaven!, i did actually have a tunnocks wafer today as a little treat!
The wrapper is partically rememberable.

 i have promised myself i will blog everyday and take photo's of my meals and activities of the day.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Brick Wall

Yesterday was results day in the UK, i had been dreading this day for months.

I awoke at 6 o'clock with a swamp of butterflies in my stomach and a lump in my throat.
I manage to eat my normal breakfast of weetabix with soya milk and wholemeal toast with jam, before making the pain stakingly long walk to school, that 30minute walk felt like a life time!

My friends were waiting at the school gates just like we had planned and we all slowing walking into school, every step felt like a huge effort. I don't know why but i get so nervous when getting result in actual fact i was more nervous then than i was for the actually exams themselves.

After, a little game of ping-pong in my head of whether or not to open the envelope.I manned up, took a deep breathe and carefully opened the envelope.

The results were are fellowed:
English Exam- C
English Coursework- B
Overall English grade- B

Not to bad i thought, a B was what i was predicted. I had revised hard for the exam and was happy with the overall grade. I come to accept the fact that i would never be an A*, A grade student a long time ago, however i still dream of one day opening an envelope and seeing an A* next to Biology and English.

Biology Exam- D
Biology Course coursework- A
Overall Biology grade- C

My heart sank and all i wanted to do was cry, i knew that i found the exam hard but i wished, hoped, dreamed that a miracle would happen.  All i wanted was B, just a B. I revised so hard for that exam, i made my sister do spelling tests of me and i did every past paper available and got my teacher to mark, the results from the past papers were all B and C (and maybe an A for one but i can't remember) i thought i was on the right track but obviously i hadn't done enough revision.
So were does that leave me in my journey of becoming a nurse?

I need to get an overall B in Biology, therefore i have decided to resit the exam with the aim of getting a C or B in possible, i will work my little socks off. However i have to bear in mind that i already have 2 exams at that time my A2 english exam and my first A2 biology exam. So i'm going to start my revision early.

I really really really really want a B in biology and English by the end of next year and i am prepared to do anything to achieve those grades. As without those grades I don't stand a chance of getting into the top universities for nursing.


so let the hard work begin!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

I was looking after my little sister today ( i say little she's 14. but she's disabled and has a much lower mental age so it can sometimes feel like a looking after a young child).

I had promised her that we would bake, something i tend not to do. I only avoid it because i end up doing all the baking and don't let my sister do any however this time i was good and let her do all the mixing, pouring, icing and decorating while i just measured out the ingredients, put the cakes in and out the oven and did the washing up.

However, it was when we were letting the cakes cool down, that i was truly inspired. We had the TV on and were watching the programme something special on cbeebies, I'd heard of it and seen little bits here and there but never actually sat down and watched a whole episode.

Well what can a say, Justin Fletcher is a real gem, he's amazing, there should be more people like him. I'm trying to learn British sign language at the moment myself, I'm working my way through a set a DVDs, its a long process but I'm determined to master it. I'm taking it slow as I don't want to neglect my studies but so far i am really enjoying it. I do it in front of mirror which seems to be helping, i think!

I did however find something special very useful which is why i think i will watching more episodes. But more importantly i was shocked at just how good my sister was at sign language, i knew that she had done a bit of sign language at school and has been watching Justin Fletcher programmes for a long time but still considering her difficulties i was very impressed.
She's always been a fan of those types of programmes. I remember she loved Dave Benson Phillips, he did nursery rhymes  in makaton, we actually still has the video until very recently, she loved, she must have watched it a million times.

I do however wish there were more programmes like that as many children do have difficulties communicating and programmes like something special really do help to open up different methods of communicating to them, plus it's one of the few programmes my sister really enjoys and understands.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dancing Eye Syndrome

(see how my sister's eye's turn white with the flash of the camera)
At the age of 2 my beautiful baby sister was diagnosed with Dancing Eye Syndrome, being at only 4 at the time this meant little to me.

'What is dancing eye syndrome mum?' i could have been a millionaire if i was given a £1 for every time i asked my parents that question.

Since, then i have been interesting in the causes of such illnesses. My sister's diagnoses caused me questioning many things including my faith 'Why did God chose my sister, my parents- what have they done to deserve this'.

But then this leads to the following question, who does deserve to be ill?
the simply answer is no-one!

After, researching dancing eye syndrome for myself.....
Dancing eye syndrome or Opsoclonus-myoclonus is a rare condition which causes the eye to move very jerkily, as if they were dancing- hence the name dancing eye syndrome. Such eye movements are also accompanied by the jerky movements in other limbs particularly the arms.

The condition mostly affects children, however adults can be affected also. In the UK 5-10 children a year are diagonosed with the syndrome

Typically, a previosuly well child, like my sister who was born perfectly 'normal' will become irritable and unsteady which in my sisters case was hard to identify as at the same time she had just begun walking. However the condition worsens over a just a couple of weeks or so, and the child becomes more miserable and then is  unable to walk. My sister also had a tumour in her stomach which may have made it harder for the doctors to diagnosed but i have to admit that she was let down by the doctors who kept on sending her away and telling my parents that it was nothing.
The cause of the condition is not known with certainty but it's thought to be an auto-immune condition in which antibodies which are normally directed to repelling infections and foreign material introduced into the body, start acting against the body itself.

In the case of DES it is believed that antibodies are directed against areas of the brain concerned with coordination and with personality and learning. In approximately 10 per cent of cases the condition develops as a complication of neuroblastoma, a tumour of childhood which is, in the majority of cases, self-curing. It has been suggested that it is the immune-based process of rejection of the tumour which acts indiscriminately on parts of the brain which are structurally similar to the tumour which is being destroyed. Despite exhaustive studies, there is no evidence that neuroblastoma is present in the majority of children with DES but it is thought that an immune-based process is present in all. Occasionally, viral infections seem to trigger the illness. A neuroblastoma was present in the case of my sister however she is just one case.

I do urge people to have a look at the website.

Monday, 6 August 2012

'Laughing, Yummy cupcakes. Getting together...and helping families affected by cancer'

         ( I am aware of the giant spot on the end of my nose, it appear this morning, just my luck ehh!)


My Macmillian coffee morning kit arrived!
The pack has some really amazing stuff, i felt really guilty as the pack was free which makes me even more determined to raise lots and lots of money for Macmillian.

The pack included:-A guide  to plan your coffee morning
-A DVD about Macmillian
-Range of different Posters
-Thank-you Posters
-A3 bunting pattern sheet
-Pack of 6 balloons
-Pack of 6 Doilies
-Money box
-A recipe for Banana loaf
-Sheet of 15 stickers

Now all i have to do is bake lots of yummy treats, any recipes or ideas would be grateful :)
i have a few ideas:
-Lemon Drizzle slices (my sister is a pro)
-fairycakes (plain and chocolate)
-Cupcakes (Plain and chocolate)
-Cookie Pizza
-Jam tarts
-Chocolate chip cookies
-Scottish tablet (my granny makes it, and its to die for, once you try it you'll be a addicted)
-Ice buns

This was my attempt at a giant cookie pizza :)