Holy mackerel where does the time go?

I have to admit that I am not sure if this blog thing is going to continue. I don’t feel the urge to keep going right now, mostly because I don’t seem to have anything to write about that may even be remotely interesting for you all to read. Writing a blog of my life and the stuff in it needs to be interesting and quite frankly it isn’t.

Whilst I contemplate the whole blog thing I may as well provide an update on the Worldwich of Sam.

Flipping heck what has happened since February…… Well the summer holidays are upon us. for once the weather seems to be holding up. I am off for the next 2 weeks but there are no plans cos hubby has changed his job and is now a taxi driver. He loves this …. a lot. Maybe my blog can be full of the stories he comes home with… and maybe not! Because of this recent change in work there has been a slight impact on the finances and going away anywhere is off the cards. Thats 2 years on the trot as it happened last year when I changed my job and cocked up the holiday plans. Anyway we are staying at home. Yesterday was a trip to Wingham Wildlife park near Canterbury. Pleasantly surprised actually. Better than Howletts Zoo to be honest and many many more of the animals were actually visible. I guess that the anti caged animals lobby may argue that this is not a good thing and quite frankly I have no desire to get into the semantics of this but we had a good few hours watching the lemurs climb over people and the meerkats standing up on their hind legs and the otters who are quite simply so fricking gorgeous.

I have bought Savannah a sewing machine and am introducing her to the world of sewing but again I am struggling with mojo and don’t know what to sew. we are trying to learn the basics like threading up the machine and winding the bobbin on etc so its early days but she has made a fully lined tote bag with my support and seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Other plans include a maybe trip to London (finances pending), Broadstairs water gala next Wednesday oh and Pokemon hunting. I am not going to apologise for being one of “the masses” playing this game as I am thoroughly enjoying it. I get out of the house gets my steps up for my Fitbit and generally stay fit. I am not running at the moment due to potential arthritis in my big toe and I don’t really know how this is going to pan out but walking is good.

Anyway going to leave you with some pictures of bags and animals until next time TTFN xx


Dear Eastenders, What about COPD?

It is a very rare thing for me to use my blog to discuss my work but I feel the need to say something and for those of you who have no desire to read anything health related please look away now. The things I am about to say are my own opinion and are not representative of any NHS organisation or other health agency in the UK.

For those of you who follow Eastenders you will be aware that Carol has found a lump in her breast and is being referred for further investigations. Entertainment shows like Eastenders and Coronation Street have, over the years, played a huge role in educating and informing the public on issues such as cervical cancer, HIV and AIDS and breast cancer. I have never seen diseases like COPD being dealt with though.

Cancer was diagnosed in some 325,000 people in 2010 and in 2011 160,000 deaths from cancer were recorded. It is predominantly (but not exclusively) found in the older age groups of our communities. COPD is also common in later life and it is likely that over a million individuals currently have the disease in the UK. Deaths from COPD are approximately 25,000 per year BUT when you consider that it is estimated  that there are some 2 million people who are likely to have COPD but not been diagnosed this number could be higher and death has been attributed to other causes on the death certificate.

If our light entertainment agenda is to entertain and educate then surely we need to be focusing on other diseases as well. What about Dot Cotton being diagnosed with COPD then? She has smoked for as long as I can remember and likely fits the criteria for being at risk.

Why should we be bothered about focusing on a disease that is seen to be caused by smoking? This disease places a huge burden on our society and needs to be addressed. An economic analysis of patient responses to a survey in the U.K showed that COPD places a high burden on the healthcare system and society with annual direct costs estimated at  £819.42 per patient, and indirect cost at £819.66 per patient resulting in total per patient costs of £1639.08. The cost impact of the disease was particularly marked in secondary care, as a result of inpatient hospitalizations, amounting to 54% of direct costs.

Lets put aside the insensitivity of that last statement and focus on the real issue. Smokers and ex smokers are fast becoming vilified in our society and these people that we need to be aware of their symptoms and go to their GP are feeling like they can’t because they will be told that their illness is their own fault and to go away and deal with it. Whilst it is true that COPD is a chronic irreversible disease there are interventions available to people to manage their disease and to try to maintain their health. Despite the obvious burden of COPD in this country, there is a lack of recognition of COPD among the general public. Eastenders is missing a trick here in helping raise the profile of a disease that has significant personal and societal impact.

So come on Eastenders, what about doing a storyline on COPD.

Heat / Ice pack

I have had to take a couple of days off work with awful muscle spasms in my back. It is right at the base of my lung on the left hand side and boy when the spasm occurs do I know about it. When the spasms occur they literally take my breathe away and I have been know to make pathetic wimpy noises when they occur as well!!!!!! There is no warning or pattern but some things make it worse like getting into the passenger seat of the car. Getting into the drivers seat is fine or it was yesterday I have not tried today!!!

Anyway I can’t take anti-inflammatory meds so I am left with paracetamol. TBH it is not a pain that paracetamol can help with so I am stuck with resting and moving in equal amounts to try to stretch the offending muscle. I know that heat and ice can help so I have made myself a little heat / ice pack. I have made these before but I made huge beasties and I wanted something a little smaller and et voila.

30 seconds in the microwave or a couple of hours in the freezer and its all ready to help with your pain. Personally I prefer heat but cold is a recognised therapy as well. The filling is plain old long grain rice.

What do you think then? I am off to sit quietly for a while with my heat pack in situ. Fingers crossed it helps cos I hate taking time off especially with something as silly as a muscle spasm


Further thoughts…..this does not have to be for aches and pains, I have just realised that I can use these when I am camping to heat my hands up. Well I could if I had a little microwave with me. Mmmmm next thing on the camping list – a little microwave 😉


poppies by Samantha Halliwell
poppies, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

I have a new camera. It is a Canon Powershot SX 40 HS. It is a bridge camera between point and shoot and a DSLR and I am trying to learn how to set it manually so I don’t have to rely on the Auto mode.
These poppies were shot in Auto mode and it is a fair shot but there are so many more things I want to be able to do with a picture. I have Photoshop but struggle to understand it so to learn how to set my shots up so minimal tweaking is needed post camera shoot is my ideal aim.
Other news I have finally sat my exam for my COPD module so I just have an essay to write and am currently searching for the literature to support my work and then reading. I am off to France soon so I want to try to get all the reading done before I go and knuckle down to writing when I get back.

Anyway I hope you are all well and I will see you all soon

Handmade Lanyard

Handmade Lanyard by Samantha Halliwell
Handmade Lanyard, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

I have been wanting to get a different lanyard for my work ID badge for some time and bizarrely had not thought I could make it then last night I suddenly realised I could!!! Bit of trial and error getting the ribbon to lie correctly but ta dah!!! here it is!
What do you reckon?

Good grief……where does the time go?

Sorry, sorry, sorry I can’t believe it is over 20 days since my last post. How bad am I??? Kinda shows how things have been of late though. Tony has had to travel about 1 1/2 hours up the line to work so has been staying with his mate who he is doing the work for. This means that Monday to friday I am a single mum at the moment and  TBH I find getting up for work in the mornings challenging when Tony is here so to get up earlier has been a bit difficult to say the least, still we are fine, girls delivered to school and childminder on time every day, lunches made mum to work on time also. Evenings are a bit different to usual, I thought I would sew all the time but I have found myself in bed by bout 9.30 each night and I have discovered Bear Grylls. That man is simply amazing. I am slightly in awe of him I know a lot is for the camera but read his story and he has done some truly amazing stuff and at such a young age too.

So anyhoo, the long and the short of it is I have not done any sewing BUT I have started to get my head around crochet finally after a few strops. You Tube was the most helpful, I found books really hard to understand strangely. HAving got my head around the simple basic stitch I am not actually sure I enjoy crochet but I would like to learn more so that I can crochet the wrist warmers in this months Mollie Makes magazine. These are simply gorgeous so I plod on LOL. Unless anyone out there in blog land wants to make them for me ;o)

Anyway I must dash, food to prepare for my sunday roast and ironing to do bleurgh!!!!!


I love gingham!

P1040622 by Samantha Halliwell
P1040622, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

OMG I never thought I would hear myself say that but I do. I have a MASSIVE apology to make. It has been so darned long since I blogged that I bet you all thought I had disappeared forever! LOL – no such luck. Here I am.  I have been MIA cos I started my new job which I am loving but I work Monday to Friday now office hours and had not realised how much that cut into my computer and blogging time. Now that I am getting settled I should be able to get into a routine and it won’t be so long in future before my next post.

Anyhoo what else have I been up to? Pillows and cushions. The gingham heart you can see is part of a design I have made for a pillow slip I was asked to make for a friend. The fabric is from my most fav current fabric supplier Fabric Rehab, called the Yummy Mummy Vintage Rose and Gingham Bundle. I wonder if Tony would mind it as bunting for the camper.

Speaking of camper we are off on our hols soon. Not long at all. I am sooo looking forward to  a break. We are going to the South of France with some friends camping and are going to have a fantastic time. Hope the weather is way better than it was in Camber a few weeks ago. That was rough…extreme camping we called it!

How are you all? I do love hearing about what you are all up to so don’t forget to leave me a comment, tell me what your summer plans are?

TTFN xxx

Neck pillow tutorial

So here I am feeling quite sorry for myself following a fall on my garden steps at the weekend whilst carrying my basket of washing to hang out. I twisted as I fell and have got back spasms which are really painful and even worse unpredictable. One minute I can be relatively fine and then next in agony! I have had 2 days off work already and am off for at least one more hoping to see GP tomorrow. Anyway…….I have been able to get some sewing done, short stints so as not to sit in one position for long. I have been thinking of making a neck pillow for Savannah for use in the car when she goes to sleep and today I finally got down and made it. This is my first attempt at the pillow and I think it needs a little refining but you will be able to use the principles to make your own.

The pillow is a basic horseshoe shape which I free hand drew onto pattern paper. I only drew half of the horsehoe and then laid the straight edge against the fold in the material.

Step 2 cut out 2 of these shapes. I used a dotty fabric for the top and a wincyette for the underneath as it is soft.

I know I know they look like toilet seat covers!!! place them right sides together and sew around the edges. Don’t forget to leave a gap to enable you to turn the pillow in the right way.

Turn it out the right way and stuff. It is a case of personal preference as to how firm you stuff your pillow. Using ladder stitch close the hole and ta dah! there you have it ….one neck pillow for car journeys!

Yes I know it still looks like a toilet seat but it is a comfortable one!!! Savannah can’t try it out cos she is in bed so she will see it in the morning. Me I best be off now I have an early appointment with a GP surgery to wait outside for them to open so I can get an appointment…excellent system I know!!!!!


PS I would love to hear what you think about my tutorial and I would love to see any that you make!

A day in the life…..

….of Sam.

Up at 6.25, shower get ready to go to work. Arrive at work at 6.55, apron on, linen trolley filled up and get patients up and out of bed. 7.35 handover from night staff, check blood forms are complete for all patients I am responsible for today which amounts to 10. I have my pretty darned fab student with me who is very nearly qualified and an agency nurse joining me at 8am. 8am begin drug round. Morning drug round is the heaviest round with most patients on multiple meds. I do all the checks for the day such as manual handling checks, falls screening, bowels, food charts, fluid charts etc, some of these are completed at various times during the shift, some of them are once per shift only. 9am morning handover to the multidisciplinary team occurs. Today is not to bad cos I only have to hand over my 10 patients I am not in charge of the whole ward. At 8.50 I realise that the agency HCA has not arrived so my poor student is doing all the washes alone. I ask the nurse in charge for help. Following handover I make a couple of phone calls to check that residential and nursing homes are coming to assess patients for discharge and to check on the progress of fast track requests. Handover for me starts around 9.30 and finishes around 9.40. Now breaks start. I start to help another member of staff wash a patient, do her leg dressing then it is my turn for break. Someone else takes over and I get 15 mins for a cuppa and a bacon and egg roll.

Back to the ward, my student is doing amazing and after finishing the patient she is with she goes off for her break. I try to get a leg dressing done but get waylaid by the patient who wants a commode and then has an accident which needs to be cleaned up. By now it is 11.30. My student is back from her break and gets on with another leg dressing whilst I take down dressings on another patients legs and assess them. I then redress these legs. One patient needs to be transferred to another ward for rehab so I contact that ward and hand the patient over, in the meantime I have spoken to this patients relatives to inform them of the transfer. an INP is being undertaken this afternoon so I need to check that the paperwork for that is completed. Dinners are beginning to arrive so transfer can wait till she has eaten. 12.15 I begin my lunchtime drug round, this is a nice quick round made even more efficient due to my diligence at the morning round! 12.45 the late staff arrive so I complete the drug round (IV antibiotics) hand over to the afternoon staff finish off any little bits and pieces and then at around 2pm I start to write up my patients notes for the morning. This can take 20 mins to 45 mins depending on how much needs to be written and how many interruptions I get. Today is a good day I finish my shift at 2.45 exactly on time.

I walk home about 7 min walk and get in before Tony does from picking Savannah up from school. Tony and Sas get in about 10 mins later. I discover that the drains work that is due to be carried out tomorrow is now cancelled as the drains are apparently blocked due to poor installation. I have lived here 12 years never touched the drains and never had a problem with them being blocked but that makes no difference. 4pm Imogen gets in from school. At 4.30 I ring my insurance company to make a claim to discover it is highly unlikely that they will cover the problem either as it does not look like accidental damage. At 5pm I ring Southern Water they are going to send a guy out to see if he can help. I have effluent in my garden!

6pm we sit down to dinner all of us round the table. We chat about our day or mostly about the girls day at school. Spend most of my time explaining to Savannah what vegetables she is currently eating, we had a vegetable medley of cherry tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, red pepper and yellow pepper. She was not at all fond of the aubergine!!!

7 ish Imogen gets picked up by her grandad and goes to the gym with him and her 2 cousins. My dad is a retired police officer who still works at our local police station as a civilian and he goes to the gym at work. 8ish the guy arrives about the drains, the problem is ours and not that of Southern Water so back to square one.

I am tired I am going to bed got another early shift tomorrow and it all happens all over again!

My life is not exciting, nor is it dramatic it is just my life, much like many others I guess.


How very annoying.

I have just spent 10 mins writing my blog post for today moaning about how unwell I feel and the fact that I have taken today off sick which I hate doing cos I feel a let down. I navigated away from the page and when I came back all the post was gone. Needless to say I cannot be bothered to write it all again. Lesson to be learnt…save the draft and you lucky people don’t get to hear me whinge. Yay I hear you all say!!!

Other news….Tony is still growing his Mo don’t forget to show your support by sponsoring him if you can you can check out progress and sponsor him here

Both girls are at home today which is nice shame I don’t feel well cos we not going out but the weather is so foul not a good day for going out anyway. I can feel a DVD fest coming on most likely dictated by Savannah as long as it is not 3 repeats screenings of Grease I don’t mind.

Right, I suppose I had better drag my sorry ass out of bed and see what they are both up to downstairs I can hear crockery banging around which means Imogen is cooking.