Protecting ancient woodlands

Woodlands are something which I have always taken for granted.

Growing up, my siblings and I spent most of our days away school making forts, climbing trees and playing hide and seek between the branches and leaves of various woodlands and green spaces, I took for granted that these places would always be there.

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I thought, rather naïvely, that all such spaces were protected. Who wouldn't want to ensure that woods and forests were protected from development and destruction? When in reality, there are little to no protections for our ancient woodlands.

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The vast eco systems and wildlife that call the ancient woodlands of the British Isles home need to be preserved, protected and cherished for generations to come, not consigned to history books and photos.

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At present there are 709 ancient woods across the UK under threat, most likely some of these woods are ones you and your family enjoy spending time in.

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If you want to see these woods preserved for our own and future generations, could you think about signing the Enough is Enough campaign on behalf of the Woodland Trust

**this isn’t sponsored or anything, this is just something I feel rather passionate about**

What to expect when your child has day surgery

I had thought that I was an old hat when it came to having a child go through day surgery, we went through so many with Ethan when he was a baby that I naïvely thought I knew what to expect. Alas, surgery for a 3 month old and a 7 year old are vastly different.

Ethan in PICU under sedation

On an emotional level, I think regardless of age and previous experience, there will always be a level of fear that takes over when your child has surgery.

Approximately 7 out of 10 surgeries can be performed as a day surgery, so chances are that if your child needs surgery, they’ll be in and out within the day.

In the weeks or so leading up to the procedure you will get official confirmation of the appointment and instructions from the hospital as what you need to do to ensure your child is ready for surgery.

**Please read the letters, notes and instructions and follow them, to ensure you and your child are as prepared as possible**

Before surgery day

Each child will react to the news they need surgery differently, you know your child, so judge accordingly.

Ahren is a worrier. We knew if he had too long to dwell on his surgery he’d panic and get himself in to a state. So we waited until 2 days before his surgery to tell him. This wont be ideal for every child, but for Ahren it worked out perfectly, a mild freak out and some reassurance from us and he was ok, not jumping for joy, but he didn’t have to wait too long for it to be over with.

We went over the procedure with him, what to expect before, during and after. He rather liked the idea of a day time nap whilst his brother was at school!

Morning of surgery day

Depending on the timing of the surgery, your child will be allowed a small breakfast and then have to starve until after their surgery. We followed our usual morning routine until 7:30. We kept Ahren distracted with games, reading and other such activities all in hopes of keeping his mind off his surgery and the fact he couldn’t eat or drink.

It also helped me, keeping him distracted stopped me dwelling on it!

Booking in for day surgery

Having arrived at hospital and reported to the reception desk we were seen by a nurse, anaesthetist and surgeon. Each of them took the time to introduce themselves to Ahren and explain hat they would be doing. This helped immensely with calming both his and my nerves. This is also standard practice from our experience over the years, even in an emergency situation, someone has come out to explain what was going on.

Prepping for surgery

Depending on the type of surgery, your child may have to change in to hospital gown.

You are then taken in to the room where your child will be knocked out. Once your child is on the bed the nurse will attempt to distract him, most likely with some sort of ‘Where’s Wally’ picture on the wall whilst the anaesthetist is placing the mask over their mouth. As your child chats away they are slowly being ‘taken under’ and before you know it, they’re asleep.

Now, this is where it can get scary, it’s normal for your child to “fight” the anaesthesia.

Ahren literately tried to throw himself off the bed whilst bending himself in half, the nurses expect this and have lightening fast reactions. It looks horrible, but is a normal reaction and nothing to worry about, I wish I had been warned of this before hand.

At this point you can give your child a quick kiss and you’ll be escorted to the waiting area whilst your child is whisked away for surgery.

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Whilst you wait

I’ve passed more hours whilst my children are in surgery than I care to count, so I’ve learnt a thing or two about those hours.

Go for a walk. Not too far, you want to stay close to the hospital, just don’t wait in the waiting room. Every time a door opens, an alarm sounds or a nurse hurries past you will assume the worst, don’t do that to yourself.

Get a coffee, make phone calls or go have a cry if you need to.

You’ll be given an approximate timescale for when your child is due to be in Recovery, make sure you are back about 10 minutes or so before then.

Waiting in recovery and discharge

Each child reacts differently, some take awhile to come back round and others, like Ahren, wake up raring to go and ready to walk out the door.

Take heed of the aftercare instructions, even if your child seems 100% they’re still recovering from surgery, no matter how minor. Ask any questions you have, if in doubt about something, ask!

Also make sure you have been given contact details for after hour emergency care.

Back at home

A slow and lazy rest period is ideal, don’t let them feast after their pre-surgery starving, simple and bland is best until all the surgery drugs are out of their system.

Follow the instructions from the discharging nurse, if they say take the following day off school, no matter how alert your child seems in the morning, keep them off school.

Before you know it, your child will be back to their usual self and you can put the worry away until the next worrisome parenting moment.

Blogging, the changes I’d like to see!

With the start of the New Year social media is inevitably awash with posts detailing their blogging aims and the changes many are planning to introduce to their blogs. Rather than come up with a list of “blogging resolutions” which I most likely wouldn’t follow, I thought I’d go for a different approach, and instead share what I’d like to see change within the blogging community as a whole.

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Conversation

The blogging community is vastly different to what it was when I first started blogging 7 years ago, despite more channels than ever to communicate with each other it often feels like you’re shouting in to a void. There’s this idea that you need to have a presence everywhere, which leads to link dropping and not much in the way of conversation.

So, I’d like to see a return to conversations, be it on blog posts in the comment section, or on social media discussing the merits of a controversial or inspiring blog post, more conversations and less link dropping.

Link Dropping

There are so many bloggers out there who are disgusting link droppers.

Dropping links multiple times an hour, every hour, of the day is too much.

The same blog post link dropped 7 times a day for over a week is too much.

The same blog post being posted on to every single social media outlet at the same time, numerous times a day, is too much.

Look at your own twitter feed and see just how many links to your own blog you’ve dropped in the past 24 hours, if it’s more than there are hours in the day, it’s too much.

Relevancy

There was absolutely no need for you to be sharing your 2014 Easter Shopping Haul in December 2016, nothing you purchased then would still be available! That competition you ran 8 months ago is also no longer relevant, by all means write a blog post about the item which you featured in the original blog post, but don’t give folk the impression they are in with a chance to win something when they aren’t. Sharing these sort of posts, when the relevancy of them is now obsolete is plain ol’ scummy, you get the clicks whilst the blog reader is left wondering why you just wasted their time.

Fawning

I do realise and appreciate that some folk relying on their blogs for an income, so I recognise that there will be a certain degree of fawning over services and products. But, really, that “blah” was so life changing that you can’t stop harping on about it. A genuine opinion and appreciation of something is easy to detect and carries more weight than some of the obviously fake praise for something you and the rest of the the blogosphere are trying to sell to your audience.

On that note, we need more bad reviews, I do not believe for one second that all those positive reviews are genuine.

Perfectionism

Blogging over the years has become sanitised, less emotive and raw.

It seems the vast majority of bloggers follow these supposed rules and rarely do they step outside of the acceptable structures, going so far as to apologising when they don’t post for a few days, touch on a topic not usually among their repertoire or even for being a tad ‘controversial’.

The idea of pigeonholing oneself to a certain topic or “brand” is so restrictive, broaden your horizons!

It would be wonderful and so inspiring to see more raw blogging, a more honest less sanitised approach, which is after all how blogging started.

I love blogging, both the writing of one and reading others, but there is much about this community that leaves a great deal to be desired, I’m hoping that 2017 is the year when blogging returns somewhat to its origin, not the competitive, isolating, number chasing chore it seems to be for many.

Happy Blogging!

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