Next week is my birthday.


I’m going to be 45 years old. Can you believe that? FORTY FIVE. I was 31 when I started writing this blog, just a baby. It feels like so much time has passed, and yet barely any at all, which is scary, but I try not to think about it too much.

I’m now half way to 50. Gawd. I really need to get on with my 50 things before 50 list.

The thrill of birthdays has worn off for me after 45 years to be honest. It’s definitely not like being eight years old and spending weeks in advance pouring expectantly over the Argos catalogue. I remember that excitement though and so to celebrate my birthday I’m giving someone else the chance to feel it by giving away £150 to spend on toys and games at Wowow Toys.

(Thanks guys at Wowow Toys for getting on board with the idea.)

Wowow Toys sells a huge range of indoor and outdoor toys, from electric scooters and cars to arts and crafts – they really have something for everyone. They’ve got loads of big name toy brands too, including Peppa Pig, Hey Duggee, Paw Patrol and Hot Shots.

Just imagine what you could buy with £150! Four year old me would definitely be choosing the ride on electric unicorn carriage, but even that is under £100, so you’re really going to be able to fill your basket with £150 to spend.

slummy single mummy

Little me would have been super excited about a ride on unicorn

View Post


Yesterday at approximately 7.43am I picked a fight* with a terrifying man on a bicycle. He was one of those stocky types, stubbly, about my age, who looks like they spend their Friday nights in Wetherspoons with a copy of the Daily Mail under one arm, ranting to anyone who will listen about YOUTHS.

I was innocently walking the dog along the pavement next to a busy main road. It was a normal sort of pavement i.e. just the right size for a woman and her golden retriever, and we were doing very nicely thank you very much. About 100 metres away I saw the man, cycling towards me, on the pavement.

I saw him see me, he saw me see him see me. He did not slow down.

There was not going to be room for us to pass without one of use making a move to accommodate the other and I was FUCKED if that someone was going to be me.

(For context, I had had a difficult night sleeping on the sofa whilst holding hands with the dog, who was asleep on the floor, too sad to be alone because she’d been to the vets to have her toenails trimmed. Also I am a 44 year old woman and I am easily fucked off.)

The man on the bike kept coming. I stopped and stood still, staring him down.

At this point he looked frankly surprised, like he had imagined that as soon as I saw he was a MAN, I would understand that meant he had right of way and would immediately throw myself and the dog over the wall and into a bush in deference to his clear superiority. He was even more surprised when, as he drew close to me, I threw up one arm, (I have a frozen shoulder), and shouted, in despair, as though he was the 79th pavement cycler I had met that morning, ‘THIS IS A PAVEMENT!’

He stopped, leaning to put a foot on the ground, ready to launch his defence.

Had I ever tried cycling on this road, he asked me, going on to detail the numerous pot holes, blind corners and the sheer volume of traffic that meant it was impossible for him to do so. ‘You’re allowed to cycle on the pavement if you don’t feel save,’ he said aggressively, waggling a finger.

(I wondered if I was allowed to kick a bike out from underneath someone if *I* didn’t feel safe. I suspect not.)

I was taken aback. I was fairly sure this was a bullshit rule he had just made up, but he said it so confidently that I hesitated for a split second to get my bearings and he took the opportunity to cycle off, along the pavement naturally, tutting and shaking his head.

I thought of many clever and amusing things I wanted to say back to him as soon as he’d left, such as ‘perhaps you’d feel safer if you wore a HELMET’ and ‘get in the fucking bin you absolute dickweed’, but it was too late. My only consolation was that the man in his early twenties, who had been cycling on the pavement behind him, had at least had the decency to dismount and push his bike past me, head hung low in terror and shame. (I imagine.)

‘Thank you,’ I said to him with as much authority as I could muster. He scurried past in silence.

I Googled the legalities when I got home and of course it is ALWAYS ILLEGAL to cycle on the pavement unless it’s a bike lane. Ha!

I’m not saying I would go as far as to prosecute a child, but a full grown man, riding at speed towards a nice woman and her beloved pet, thinking he has the right to be there, to simply barge his way along the pavement and through life in general just because he’s a man and looks like he might be the sort of kick a dog – I would happily see him serving a life sentence.


cycling on the pavement


*This may have been a slight exaggeration. 


Your credit, when used appropriately, can be a great tool for building your financial standing and health. However, it’s also incredibly easy to misuse, by getting into debt, picking up catalogue loans, and otherwise borrowing more than you should, leading to future stress. Here, we’re going to look at the steps you can take to avoid unnecessary debt when possible, helping you save yourself the money and the hassle.

Stop and think before you make a purchase

One of the easiest ways to use more credit than you anticipated is to buy something you don’t have the money for. In order to stop this, one of your best strategies is to stop and think about whether or not you really want to buy something. The Motley Fool and various other expert sites recommend waiting before you make any unnecessary purchases. Some say you should sleep on it to see if you still want it when you wake up, but depending on the expense of the purchase, you might want to wait for even longer.

Always look for savings

If you are going to end up buying something, then you should at least make sure that you’re not paying as much as possible for it. There are online apps that can, for instance, help you find the best possible deals, vouchers, and comparisons so that when you’re buying something, you can find a better deal for it most of the time. You can also look at ways to save money when travelling, to cut the costs of your commute, and other ways to save a little extra on your most routine expenses.

Don’t let presents drag you down

Birthdays, anniversaries and, the biggest one of them all, Christmas, come around every year. However, it can still catch you by surprise how expensive they are. You should ensure that you keep a financial diary, including how much you want to spend, on gifts for each of these occasions, and save ahead of time, tracking how close you are to your goal. Services like Park Christmas Savings can make it a lot easier to make sure that you don’t get caught off guard by the sheer expense of gifting at the end of the year. A little setup now can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Build an emergency fund

Aside from saving for those specific expenses in the future, what about the vague expenses that you don’t yet know about? Having some kind of financial buffer can prevent you from having to rely on dipping into debt, and the emergency fund is the most classic form that this takes. Find some room in your budget to put aside for a rainy day. It’s often recommended you set a goal of building up three months’ worth of income to complete your emergency fund, but whatever you can set aside isn’t to be sniffed at.

There are almost always options other than debt when it comes to your finances. If you do have to take on some debt, however, make sure that you have the plan to pay it back as soon as you can.


Do you harbour a lot of wanderlust in your heart? You’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people want to go on big adventures every year, and we’ve all got that bucket list of dream destinations stashed in a drawer somewhere! But with the pandemic getting in the way, and while it was much safer to stay at home, those dreams have been dashed. 

Indeed, during that time some of us have even forgotten why we love travelling so much in the first place! But if you’re keen to reignite that passion this summertime, we’ve got some tips below that’ll help you find your way again. 

travel tips after covid

Dive into the Travel Community

Seeing as many people love to travel, you’ll be able to stumble across an online group with very little effort! Join as many as you like, as many as you find interesting, and make some friends in these circles. People who have been to the same places as you, or people who have visited dream destinations you’d like to know more about – ask questions, get chatting, and reignite that travel passion through a few good conversations. 

Pick a Country and Think About What You Could Discover

If you don’t have any plans to go somewhere at the moment, why not throw a dart at a board and let fate decide? Because every destination could be a great place to visit, and who knows what you might find there? 

A new food you love, art and music you’ve never experienced before, hospitality you can’t find anywhere else, and maybe even a new home! Heading off on an adventure could lead to an indefinite leave to remain application that’ll see you moving to an exciting new country you’ve quickly come to love. Indeed, the more you’re willing to let yourself try something new, rather than visit a same-old destination one more time, the easier your travelling passion will come back to you. 

Go on Some Day Trips

If you’re not up to travelling for long periods of time yet, don’t worry. You can slowly build your tolerance for it again by going on day trips in/around your own town or city. Get used to being on your feet again, especially in a train squashed up against other people, as well as sitting for hours without being able to stretch your legs. After a while, the memories will come flooding back! 

Revisit Some Memories

Speaking of memories, why not dig out some photos and think about the travels you’ve gone on in the past? Going over these memories and picking out the smallest details of what you enjoyed can help you to find this love again. Maybe it was walking on sandy beaches, or talking to other tourists, or witnessing nature in all its glory? Let yourself reminisce and you’ll soon be booking another trip. 

The pandemic caused many people to lose their spark for travelling. However, you can easily get it back using tips like these! 


Spring flowers tulips

Flowers have long been a popular gift for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day. But did you know that flowers can also be associated with your zodiac sign?

Each flower that you get from a local shop or flower delivery in London, has its own meaning, with many people believing that the symbolism of the plant is much more important than the size of a bouquet. As every zodiac sign has its own characteristics, it is only natural for them to have a flower that suits their personality. In this article, we will share the best flowers for each zodiac sign.

What Is the Zodiac?

The zodiac sign, also known as the astrological sign, refers to the position of the sun at the time of a person’s birth. There are a total of twelve zodiac signs, each represented by a specific time period in the year and associated with certain personality traits, characteristics, and symbols.

The Zodiac has been used for centuries in astrology as a way to predict and interpret human behavior, personality traits, and life events based on the position of the planets and the stars at the time of a person’s birth.

Flowers that Represent Each Zodiac Sign

Every zodiac sign has certain flowers that represent it and are associated with the personality traits or symbols of that sign. Here are 12 flowers that perfectly reflect each zodiac sign personality.

Honeysuckle for Aries

Aries are known for their strong will, determination, and assertiveness, and the honeysuckle’s bright and bold colors are said to reflect these qualities. Honeysuckle is a beautiful and fragrant flower that has been associated with many different meanings and symbols throughout history.

Lilies for Taurus

Lilies are a great choice for Taurus as they are known to represent beauty, luxury, and elegance. Taurus is an earth sign that loves all things beautiful and indulgent, making lilies a perfect fit for their personality.

Lavender for Gemini

Lavender is the perfect flower for Gemini as it represents their dual nature and versatility. Geminis are known for being adaptable and versatile, and lavender is a flower that can be used in a variety of ways.

White Rose for Cancer

White roses are the flower for Cancer as they represent purity, innocence, and new beginnings. Cancers are known for their nurturing and caring nature, and white roses symbolize the pure and innocent love that they have for their loved ones.

Sunflower for Leo

Sunflowers are the flower for Leo. It represents the warmth, vitality, and energy that Leos exude. Leos are known for their bold and confident personalities, and sunflowers symbolize the same qualities.

Chrysanthemums for Virgo

Chrysanthemums are a perfect choice for Virgo as they symbolize the qualities of purity, perfection, and loyalty that are important to them. Virgos are known for their attention to detail and their desire for things to be just right, and chrysanthemums symbolize the same qualities.

Blue Roses for Libra

Blue roses are not naturally occurring, but they can be created through a process of dyeing or genetic modification. This uniqueness and rarity align with Libra’s desire to stand out and be different from the crowd.

Dark Red Flowers for Scorpio

Dark red flowers, such as deep red roses or burgundy dahlias, are a perfect match for Scorpio’s intense and passionate nature. The color red is associated with power, strength, and desire, which are all traits that Scorpios possess.

Carnations for Sagittarius

Carnations are the perfect match for Sagittarius’ free-spirited and adventurous nature. These flowers come in a variety of colors, but the pink and purple shades are particularly fitting for Sagittarius.

Pansies for Capricorn

Pansies are great for Capricorn as they represent their practicality, wisdom, and loyalty. They can be given as a thoughtful gesture or used in home decor to bring a sense of stability and calmness to their space.

Orchid for Aquarius

Aquarius is known for their independent and unconventional nature, and the orchid is the perfect flower to represent this sign. Orchids come in a variety of colors and shapes, making them unique and diverse, just like Aquarians.

Water Lilies for Pisces

Pisces is a water sign, and the water lily is the perfect flower to represent their dreamy and imaginative nature. Water lilies are known for their beauty and serenity, and they grow in still waters, symbolizing the calm and peaceful nature of Pisces.

As you can see, flowers have a special meaning and can highlight the personality and characteristics of each zodiac sign. It is a simple and creative way to show friends and family that you value their personalities and interests. The next time you want to give flowers, remember that choosing flowers based on the recipient’s zodiac sign can convey extra meaning and appreciation.



  • Which Zodiac Sign is Always Lucky?


There is no particular zodiac sign that is always happy or lucky, as mood and luck levels can be influenced by various factors, such as experiences, circumstances, and personality. Each zodiac sign has its own strengths/weaknesses and can be happy if they focus on their strengths and overcome challenges. Some zodiac signs may be more able to find and maintain happiness because of their positive traits, such as optimism, enthusiasm, and adaptability. But ultimately, the level of luck depends on the individual personality and life situation.


  • Is it Possible to Get Two Zodiac Signs?


No, it is not possible to have two zodiac signs. The zodiac sign is determined by the date of birth so a single person can belong to only one zodiac sign. The date of birth determines the position of the Sun in the zodiac at the time of birth, which determines the zodiac sign. However, there are some cases when people believe that they can have a second zodiac sign due to different influences or other astrological factors. But from the point of view of traditional astrology, each person has only one zodiac sign.


  • Which Flower is the Most Gifted?


There is no definitive answer as to which flower is most commonly given as a gift, as this depends on various factors, such as occasion, personal taste, and traditions. However, some of the most commonly given flowers are roses, tulips, lilies, chrysanthemums, gerberas, and carnations. 


  • What are 2 Rare Zodiac Signs?


There is no clear answer as to which zodiac signs are the rarest, as the frequency of births depends on various factors, such as birthplace and culture. However, there is some evidence that certain zodiac signs are rarer than others. For example, the zodiac signs Scorpio and Aquarius are believed to be relatively rare, as they are less common in most regions of the world. However, it is important to note that these are only general observations and that the frequency of births depends on various factors and can vary from region to region.


injury at work

Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere – including work. No matter how careful you may be, accidents still occur unexpectedly and may require medical treatment. 

Knowing what steps you should take if an incident does arise will allow the required medical treatment and ensure you get the proper compensation. This blog post outlines essential steps you must follow if wounded on the job.

1. Report Your Injury

The initial step when you are suffering an injury on the job should always be to notify your supervisor or manager immediately, no matter how minor it seems. By doing this, your employer can take all the steps needed to ensure your well-being and that of your co-workers.

As soon as you report your injury, give as much detail as possible about what transpired and any symptoms you are experiencing to assist your employer with assessing and taking necessary actions – for instance, supplying medical attention or filing worker’s compensation claims as appropriate.

Not reporting an injury quickly could result in you being denied worker’s compensation benefits. Yikes! So even if reporting it might embarrass or alarm you, you must report it as soon as possible to ensure benefits don’t get denied due to delayed reporting. 

2. Seek Medical Attention

After reporting your incident to your employer, the next step you should take is to seek medical care. This may involve visiting an on-site nurse or first aid station, making an appointment with your primary care physician, or going directly to the emergency room – among many other possibilities.

Even if your pain seems minor, seeking medical assistance to ensure its severity doesn’t worsen further and documenting its extent is essential if pursuing worker’s compensation claims.

Be sure to provide an account of what happened and any symptoms you are experiencing when seeking medical assistance, so your provider can accurately diagnose and treat the ailment appropriately. This will enable them to offer proper treatments.

3. Document Everything

After reporting and seeking medical care for an injury incident, you should ensure that everything associated with it is appropriately documented. This means you should write down related details, such as any symptoms experienced and limitations experienced, and keep records of all appointments or treatments received.

Alongside medical documentation, it’s also crucial that you keep a record of any communication with your employer, insurance provider, and legal representation, whether through emails, letters, or phone calls. Documenting everything that happened is crucial for several reasons. 

This is important because it ensures you receive proper medical treatment and compensation after an incident.  Also, it serves as evidence if filing worker’s compensation claims or legal actions are necessary. By documenting everything related to your wound, you can help secure your rights as an employee and receive appropriate care and compensation.

4. Know Your Rights

Should work-related accidents cause injuries, you must understand your legal protections, including worker’s comp benefits, medical treatment, and protection from employer retaliation.

If your employer rejects or retaliates against your worker’s compensation claim or takes action against it in response, legal assistance could be invaluable in safeguarding your rights and ensuring both sides respect them. 

An attorney can guide you through the legal system while advocating on your behalf for better treatment of their workers’ comp claims. However, knowing your rights is still very important in case an incident occurs.

5. Consult a Lawyer

If you have been hurt at work and are incurring significant medical bills, lost wages, or other damages, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney might help guide the legal process and secure maximum compensation. In addition, an experienced personal injury lawyer is equipped to inform you of all your rights and options as they pursue justice on your behalf.

When seeking legal representation for yourself or a family member in workplace injury matters such as Council Claims, selecting an experienced practitioner with solid credentials who understands your unique requirements is critical. Some lawyers offer free consultations, providing an ideal opportunity to assess whether they match you and your situation. Take this time to ask them about their experience, track record, fee structures, or their plan to handle your case.

It is also important to note that not all workplace injuries require legal representation. For example, legal assistance might be unnecessary if your pain is minor and your employer provides sufficient medical care and compensation.  On the other hand, should significant damages arise and neither the insurance provider nor the employer offers a fair wage, an experienced lawyer could be invaluable in seeking justice on your behalf.

6. Returning to Work

Now that your injury has been reported and documented, you must take any necessary steps to return to work. This may involve attending all medical appointments doctors recommend as part of treatment/recovery plans or simply communicating with employers about your progress.

After receiving medical clearance to return to work, any accommodations or modifications needed must be discussed with your employer. Depending on the severity of your pain, accommodations could include modified work hours or temporary job duties while you recover –  this communication openness with employers ensures a healthy transition back.

7. Prevention Is Key

Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2020 alone?  Ouch! This is why prevention is so important when it comes to workplace accidents.

To minimize the possibility of injuries in your workplace, you should ensure that all safety measures are taken to stay safe, including following all safety protocols and procedures, wearing appropriate protective equipment, and reporting any hazards to the supervisor immediately.

Prioritize both physical and mental wellness to reduce injury risks in the workplace. This means getting enough restful sleep, staying hydrated, eating healthfully, and controlling stress levels effectively –  taking such measures will lower workplace injury risks while creating a safe working environment.


In conclusion, it’s imperative that any time an accident occurs, you take immediate action to safeguard your health and rights as an employee. This means reporting it, seeking medical treatment, documenting everything, knowing your rights, and more. 

By following these steps, you will ensure you receive both proper medical attention and compensation in a workplace accident situation. Stay safe!


The world has changed exponentially since we were children. We were brought up never to get into cars with strangers, and never to speak to people that we’ve never met. Now, we call strangers with cars to our homes and hop into them via Uber, and we sign up to online dating sites because the world has become a place where we are working so much to survive that we don’t have time for a social life. In the early days of the Internet it was very common to never meet somebody in person that you’d only met online. 

You may have seen in Harry Potter that Arthur Weasley once warned Ginny never to speak to something if you could not see where it kept its brain. It’s a nice sentiment, but most people have normalized Internet dating and in fact, there are some people out there who have gone from Internet dating to Googling the K-3 visa requirements together because they’re going to get married. There are plenty of people who go online and meet the love of their lives, but there are others that it doesn’t work for so well and you often see those stories in the news headlines. The most important thing is safety, so here are some tips that you might need before you meet somebody online.

safety when meeting someone online

  • Vet them before you meet. It’s smart to give out as little information about yourself as possible online, but it becomes a little bit hypocritical if you expect the person you’re going to meet to give out all of their information. The irony here is that your very first goal should be to vet someone first before you meet them. You can find them on LinkedIn, or other social media sites to verify whether or not they are truthful about their jobs or about their relationship status. You can also run a background check if you have the ability.


  • Talk on the phone first. You have to build up a relationship when you meet somebody online, and it doesn’t mean meeting them the same day that you have your first hello. Swapping phone numbers and having a few FaceTime conversations or voice calls can really be helpful to make sure that you feel safe when you go to meet them in person.


  • Only meet in a public place. When you do feel comfortable enough to meet somebody off the Internet, make sure that you are only meeting in a public place. Do not allow them to come to your home to pick you up, and do not allow them to take you home at the end of the date. You need to be able to keep your address private for as long as possible until you feel like they can be trusted. Having a taxi driver to and from the venue is important.


  • Tell a friend. If you plan to meet somebody off the Internet, screenshot their picture that they have given you and any FaceTime videos that you do together you should screenshot a picture of them while they talk, and hand that picture to a friend. Then give your friend their license plate number, and the location of your date so that they can follow up with you. Activate the Find My Phone Finder on your phone and keep your friends linked to that so they will be able to find you should something happen. It sounds over the top, I know, but it’s also a good way to keep yourself safe.



Did you know that more than 91% of people have been in a long-distance relationship? Thanks to the internet and improved communication, more and more people are managing to maintain a relationship with someone who lives further away.

But does that makes things easier? The reality of long-distance relationships is that they can be challenging, and when you factor in unexpected events like the pandemic, these types of relationships can be even harder to maintain. So what’s the secret behind a successful one? Let’s take a look.

long distance dating tips

Make the time

When your partner isn’t physically present day to day, you need to make sure you make some time for them. It’s easy for the rest of your schedule to take over, leaving you and your partner feeling unconnected.

Make the time for calls, texts and even letters or emails – having regular contact is important and even if you just ask how their day is going or what they’ve been up to, you can help maintain that regular contact that’s vital for maintaining a relationship.

Get organised and plan meetings in advance

Always knowing when you’re going to see each other next can help keep things exciting, but it can also help make the sting of missing someone a little easier to bear. Plan as many dates in advance as you can and make sure your next meeting is always confirmed. This can also help you get organised, so other events don’t clash with the quality time you want to spend with your partner.

Check in about where things are heading

Long-distance relationships are usually only temporary – at some point, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to get closer together, especially if you want to get married or start a family. Have these conversations when you’re ready to make sure you’re both on the same page and to put some sort of plan in place. There may be some complexities like needing a UK spouse visa or finding new work to get in place before you can commit to being in the same place. Ensuring you both have the same aspirations and aims for your relationship will help avoid disappointment and stop either of you from wasting your time.

Plan some surprises

Planning some surprises is a great way to show someone you care, and there are lots of creative ways you can do this. Arranging for gifts to be sent is simple to do, and you could even arrange some surprise trips for you both to enjoy.

And remember, just because you can’t get physical with each other, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some sexual activity. Phone sex, sexting and even video sex are excellent ways to make up for that physical contact and keep things fresh and exciting. Regular sex can be important in long-term relationships, so try some different things to see what you both enjoy.

Put yourself and your feelings first

A long-distance relationship can be very difficult emotionally. And while you may want to make things work, it’s important to check in with how you’re feeling and ensure the relationship works for you. Putting your own feelings first is important, and if the relationship no longer makes you happy or nothing’s going to change, you may need to think hard about whether the relationship should continue.

Maintaining a long-term relationship is hard, but with some effort, you can make things work. If it’s meant to be, things will work out the way it’s supposed to and you can look forward to a long and bright future together.


By Eddie Jones, partner and head of medical negligence, JMW Solicitors

As parents, our utmost desire is for our children to be safe, healthy and content as they grow. However, there are times when unexpected health conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can influence our child’s development.

Cerebral palsy is a serious condition that arises due to brain damage sustained during pregnancy, around the time of birth or during the newborn period, resulting in lifelong physical and cognitive impairments. Early detection is essential to ensure your child receives the most suitable care.

To support parents in identifying the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy in their babies, we have prepared this guide.

Cerebral palsy: the basics

Cerebral palsy comprises a group of disorders caused by damage or abnormal development in the part of the brain responsible for movement, balance and posture. It is estimated that around 30,000 children in the UK live with cerebral palsy, with 2-2.5 out of every 1,000 babies developing the condition.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary significantly from one individual to another, ranging from mild limb weakness to severe muscle spasms that inhibit movement. Common long-term health issues associated with cerebral palsy include:

  • Physical weakness, stiffness and difficulties with muscle tone and spasticity
  • Irregular posture, poor coordination and impaired fine motor skills
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Communication and speech challenges
  • Learning difficulties

The exact causes of cerebral palsy are not always identifiable. However, it may result from certain genetic factors, prenatal trauma or other causes, such as:

  • Bleeding in the baby’s brain, or insufficient blood and oxygen supply during a challenging birth
  • Infections affecting the mother during pregnancy
  • Infections affecting the baby, such as meningitis
  • A severe head injury during infancy
  • Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • Kernicterus/hyperbilirubinemia

Recognising the signs of cerebral palsy in infants

Cerebral palsy signs and symptoms usually develop during the first few years of a child’s life, and may differ depending on the type of cerebral palsy and the child’s age. To help you identify potential signs of cerebral palsy, we have broken down the symptoms by age group.

For infants younger than six months:

  • Your baby may feel stiff or floppy when held
  • Your baby’s head may sag when picked up from lying on their back
  • When held, your baby might overextend their back or neck, giving the impression of pushing away from you
  • Your baby’s legs may stiffen and cross when picked up

For infants aged between six and 10 months:

  • Your baby may struggle to roll over when lying down.
  • Your baby might have difficulty bringing their hands together or raising them to their mouth
  • Your baby may reach out with one hand, while the other remains balled in a fist

For infants older than 10 months:

  • Your baby’s crawling might appear lopsided and uncoordinated, with some limbs dragging behind them
  • Instead of crawling, your baby might resort to hopping on their knees or dragging themselves by their hands in a seated position

As a parent, it is also crucial to monitor your child for any developmental delays. For example, if your child has not learned to sit after eight months or walk after 18 months, this could potentially indicate cerebral palsy or a related disorder.

If you suspect your baby may be displaying signs of cerebral palsy, then seek medical advice. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor questions so you can understand all of your available options. With early intervention and appropriate care, you can improve your child’s chances of achieving a positive outcome.

Treatment and care for children with cerebral palsy

The treatment and management of cerebral palsy depend on each child’s specific needs; by choosing the right option for each individual, it is possible to significantly improve the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy.

Some of these interventions include:

  • Physiotherapy to help build muscle strength and promote more natural movement
  • Speech and language therapy to address communication difficulties and assist with swallowing issues
  • Occupational therapy to provide support with daily tasks
  • Medication to manage physical symptoms, such as stiff or tight muscles, which can improve comfort and mobility
  • Educational support tailored to the child’s needs, including accommodations within special or mainstream schools, to ensure they receive an appropriate education
  • Surgery to address orthopaedic issues that may arise due to the condition

If you suspect that medical errors during pregnancy, birth, or the newborn period contributed to your child’s cerebral palsy, it is essential to consult a specialist medical negligence solicitor. They can help you explore financial compensation options, which can assist with covering the costs associated with treatment, equipment and additional support services your child may require throughout their life.

Ultimately, an early diagnosis can be crucial in empowering families to make well-informed decisions about their child’s care and treatment. Early intervention provides parents with an opportunity to discuss various treatment options, set achievable goals for their child’s development, and seek professional advice and support.

Facing the possibility of a cerebral palsy diagnosis can be incredibly challenging and frightening for parents, but your love, understanding and support can make a world of difference in helping your child to navigate the challenges they may face. By staying informed and proactive, you are equipping yourself with the knowledge and tools needed to help your child maximise their potential.


sensory play ideas

Sensory play is a vital tool to help babies learn about the world around them. It involves stimulating their senses through different textures, colours, shapes, materials and sound. Research has demonstrated that sensory play can have several benefits for babies, including cognitive, motor and physical development.

Babies’ brains are like sponges, constantly absorbing and processing new information. Sensory play experiences help to build neural pathways in the brain, which are essential for learning and problem-solving. An example of this is learning about the permanence of objects. Prior to learning this, babies perceive an object to have been lost when it goes out of sight. However, through games such as ‘peek-a-boo’, where babies see your face disappear and then re-appear again, babies learns that objects are actually permanent.

Through exposure, you can teach a baby about different textures, such as rough or smooth surfaces. You can also teach them to recognise different colours and shapes, particularly in their early days as they develop their eyesight. Sensory play also helps to develop your baby’s fine motor skills, as they use their fingers and hands to manipulate different objects. This is important for later development, as it will help them with everyday tasks such as writing, drawing, and even typing on a laptop.

How can I give my baby sensory experiences?

There are many different types of sensory play that are suitable for babies, depending on their age and developmental stage. For example, babies as young as six months can enjoy playing with soft toys, looking at black & white contrast cards or playing with small rattles. They can also explore different textures, such as sand, water, and play dough, which provide a range of tactile experiences.

Sensory play can also be incorporated into everyday routines, such as bath time, tummy time and meal time. For example, bath toys such as cups and sponges provide a range of sensory experiences. They may also enjoy playing with small musical instruments such as mini pianos, castanets and tambourines, purpose-built to help them experience different sounds.

As babies grow to become toddlers, they can engage in more complex sensory play activities, such as using tweezers to pick things, placing objects through shape sorters and balancing pieces. These activities help to develop their creativity and imagination, as they learn to express themselves through different media.

How can I easily find sensory toys that are suitable for my baby?

We, at Grow With Me, offer a subscription box that gives babies access to sensory toys appropriate to their age. This takes out all the hassle of having to constantly research which toys are appropriate and safe for your child.

Our toy box subscription runs for 0-24 month olds. Each box contains high quality sensory and wooden toys, which includes rattles, sensory balls, mini musical instruments, contrast cards and many, many more! Our research-based play box has been designed to improve motor skills, imagination, independence and creativity, all whilst having tons of fun!

We recently launched our quarterly box, which costs £60 for 3 months, which works out at just £20 per month. Each box contains 6-9 toys from leading brands such as Hape, Lamaze and Bigjigs. This subscription includes everything you’ll need to give your baby the best sensory experience in their younger years. It also contains 2 books to read to your child, many of which contains sensory cues in the form of different textures, colours and occasionally sounds!

Written by Vishal from Grow With Me


Gatlinburg itinerary

Dubbed the Gateway to the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a picture-perfect alpine town nestled at the foothills of Mt. LeConte. Surrounded by cascading waterfalls, rolling hills, and verdant wildflower meadows, this enchanting town beckons families and travelers with abundant indoor and outdoor recreation.

This mountain resort town is home to over 100 scenic hiking trails, scrumptious cuisine, state-of-the-art amusement parks, and rich historical heritage. Families with children have much to rejoice in, for Gatlinburg is home to innumerable child-friendly attractions. Children are bound to fall in love with the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ripley’s Aquarium, while Dollywood delights everyone.

Two days aren’t nearly enough to experience this delightful destination and all the attractions it offers. But if you must set priorities, we advise loading up your itinerary with must-have experiences to witness the best of Gatlinburg. Read on to explore some iconic attractions and experiences to make the most of your 2-day Gatlinburg getaway.

Hiking Adventures in the Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smokies are home to breathtaking natural beauty and striking diversity. One can hardly return from a weekend getaway in this spellbinding region without connecting with Mother Nature. The trails originating from Gatlinburg will lead you deep into the park, lined with spruce-fir forests, cascading waterfalls, and wildflower meadows.

We advise reserving an entire day for outdoor excursions and choosing trails that align with your skills. The Great Smokies are home to over 100 scenic trails, including beginner and child-friendly nature walks. You can start the day with a scrumptious breakfast in Gatlinburg, feasting on local specialties like biscuits with sawmill gravy and cornmeal. Then, pack a picnic basket with local treats and set out on a 3.5-mile roundtrip through the park.

The hike begins at Clingman’s Dome, the park’s highest point, covering the most enchanting section of the legendary Appalachian Trail. As you make your way through the spruce-fir forest, you will reach Andrew’s Bald in about 2 to 3 hours. Andrew’s Bald is a mesmerizing spot to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the entire valley.

This trail is brimming with fragrant meadows and heaps of picnic spots where you can munch and click insta-worthy moments. Depending on your interests, you can explore a wealth of other trails that may seem more rewarding. For instance, hikers interested in exploring the heritage of early Cherokee hunters should embark on the Indian Gap Trail.

Some other rewarding walks include the Abrams Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Laurel Falls Trail, and the Trillium Gap Trail.

Dine, Shop, and Unwind at The Village

End your hiking adventure in downtown Gatlinburg’s most exciting destination: The Village. Infused with old-world charm and contemporary comforts, The Village features 27 boutiques, restaurants, and galleries to dine, shop and relax. Adults and children adore the hustle and bustle of this vibrant destination, brimming with decadent treats and local artisanal fares.

You can spend time shopping at trendy boutiques, feast your eyes on local art, and shop for prized antiques and artisanal crafts. The Village is modeled after a quintessential European village with adorable brick pathways and lush greenery. Strolling through the walkways is soul-satisfying, with picturesque views of alpine waterfalls and rolling hills.

Sign up for Gatlinburg’s Iconic Theatrical Dinner Show

Gatlinburg’s themed dinner shows are world-famous and a brilliant strategy to combine dinner with a gripping theatrical performance. If you’re looking to save money, this experience is a stellar combination of unpretentious fun and multi-course meals. You can choose your show from various options featuring unique entertainment and cuisine.

The Hatfield and McCoy Family Feud is ideal for comedy lovers who want to dance, sing and laugh the night away. The acts are downright hilarious, and the menu is brimming with indulgent country classics, like fried chicken and pulled pork.

Dolly Parton fans would love Dolly Parton’s Stampede – an action-packed performance that pays tribute to the country music legend. The Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show is indeed Gatlinburg’s most iconic dinner show, with rip-roaring performances and beautifully choreographed action sequences. The show takes place in full-sized pirate ships surrounded by a magical indoor lagoon.

Guests can enjoy a rich four-course meal featuring pan-fried chicken, herb-based potatoes, Buccaneer biscuits, and sugar-cured ham.

Guided Tours, Sightseeing & Indoor Attractions

We advise reserving Day 2 for guided tours, sightseeing escapades, and the innumerable indoor attractions that complete the Gatlinburg experience. Children adore visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, a wondrous site to discover rare aquatic wonders. Families and visitors can interact with the animals, feed sea turtles, and waddle with penguins.

Automotive aficionados must visit the Hollywood Star Cars Museum – home to 40 cars from iconic Hollywood movies and TV shows. This museum features two Batmobiles, General Lee’s cars, and multiple vehicles from the Fast and Furious franchise.

Paranormal enthusiasts must sign up for the famous Gatlinburg Ghost Tour, which starts from the Holiday Inn Resort. This nocturnal tour will lead you through Gatlinburg’s spookiest streets, introducing you to sights of famous hauntings. On this mile-long tour, you will discover some of Gatlinburg’s most popular ghosts and spirits and explainable ominous occurrences. Needless to say, this tour is not recommended for the weak of the heart.

History buffs can visit the Historic Ogle Log Cabin, the residence of Martha Jane Huskey Ogle – Gatlinburg’s first residence. This lovingly preserved cabin will transport you to the 19th century with its traditional architecture and well-maintained fixtures. The surrounding woods are brimming with local plantations and early settlements where one can learn fascinating details about the heritage.

Parents eager to find an interactive learning experience should take their little ones to the Gatlinburg Space Needle. This 400-foot tower offers sweeping panoramic views of the valley from its observation deck.

The Anakeesta outdoor adventure park is another incredibly rewarding destination for families, with immersive attractions for adults and children. You can embark on a thrilling ziplining adventure through the mountains or enjoy the vistas on a mountain coaster. Anakeesta is home to the majestic Vista Gardens – a botanical garden featuring immersive exhibits.

Final Thoughts

Attractions and experiences are abundant in Gatlinburg, and one really has to set priorities when planning a 2-day itinerary. We advise extensive research into the local attractions to find experiences that align with your core interests. First, you need to identify the activities that constitute your bucket list in Gatlinburg.

For instance, if hiking is a pursuit you wish to prioritize, then conduct research to find the right trails. Likewise, if you want to explore the historical heritage and plantations, then find the spots that will enrich your vacation.


How do you define your values? What are the things that guide how you behave on a day to day basis, how you interact with friends and family and the wider world?

That was the question I pulled from my pack of cards today, when I decided it had been a while since I blogged and I needed to stop thinking about what to write and just get on and do it.

What are the most important values?

It was an interesting one to pull out as I’ve just finished listening to Lost Connections by Johann Hari, an amazing book all about the true causes of depression and anxiety and how we can go about fixing them.

I came of age as part of the generation embracing the idea of ‘brain chemistry’ as the one stop, magical explanation to depression. Although not depressed myself, I was well versed in the idea that depression is simply down to low serotonin levels, nothing you can do about it, nothing society or the government needs to feel responsible for, just plain old chemistry. View Post