Thursday, 23 March 2017

Alzheimer's disease

Stages of Alzheimer's disease and its symptoms.

7 Stages and Symptoms.

The term “dementia” is used to describe a set of symptoms that can include memory loss, difficulty thinking, problem solving, or issues with language. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells, and because Alzheimer's is a disease that destroys the brain, it is one of the most common causes of dementia.

There was a post on Facebook recently with the following wording:

Firstly there is a difference between Alzheimer's and vascular dementia- Alzheimer's patients can have medication that helps their cognitive state whereas vascular dementia patients have a death sentence. They progress backwards to the point where they can't look after themselves and are in a newborn state. But unlike a newborn they lose the ability to swallow. Then the choice must be made as to provide a feeding tube or not.

Imprisonment in one's own rapidly shrinking brain is how a doctor described it to me. I wouldn't wish Dementia/Alzheimer's on my worst enemy. As the patient's brain slowly dies, they change physically and eventually forget who their loved ones are. Patients can eventually become bedridden, unable to move & unable to eat or drink.

Although I agree there is a difference I feel the above is badly worded and does does not help to spread positive awareness. It states that Alzheimer's can be controlled by tablets but vascular dementia is a death sentence. They both shorten life, and possibly if caught early enough there is some evidence that early medications may help to slow Alzheimer's progression, but not long term.

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease, affecting around 150,000 people in the UK. Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels.

The above ‘Facebook’ wording suggests Alzheimer's is a lesser, not as severe disease. This simply is not true. Both are utterly devastating.

Since there is such a variety of causes of Vascular dementia and therefore different degrees of damage, it's difficult to predict survival time for vascular dementia. Progression of vascular dementia depends on a number of factors including the extent of the damage in the brain. With Alzheimer’s the median survival rate after the beginning of symptoms is 8.4 years.

It is important to raise awareness, but it is crucial to make sure that information is factual and not misleading. Know the signs and symptoms and don't be afraid to seek advice and help. It is truly devastating diagnosis, but the quicker it is picked up, the more that can be done to help.

If you would like any more advice or just to chat please do not hesitate to comment below or email me directly. I will respond and do understand.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Happiness Day

International Day of Happiness - Monday 20th March

International Day of Happiness Logo

I am happy because is one month old today. Happy blogday to me. 🎉

Happiness to me is the love of and for my children and of course my pawsome furry trio.

German Shepherd, Jack Russell Terrier and Beagle dogs

So I got to thinking. What is happiness? What does it mean to you? What makes you happy?

Comment below and share with your friends, let’s start a conversation. I would love to know your thoughts.

Ten keys to happy living

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Yankee Candle


Yankee Candle votive and tealights

OK, hands up (or comment below) who likes candles? Even better, who loves candles? Yes, yes, me too.

I love my candles and I mean love my candles. They are in every downstairs room of my house. DadiSkilts, and SonSkilts just roll their eyes at me, but little do the understand the many uses that candles have. For one, they provide light, especially in a power cut. Have you seen Revolution? Exactly! They look pretty, and come in every imaginable shapes, sizes and colours to please everyone, but most of all they smell lush. This is a vital selling point when you own three, yes 3, dogs.

Now there are no prizes for guessing my favourite brand of candle (prizes come later), and now will be a good time to point out that that there are no affiliate links in this post, I have no ties to Yankee Candle, this post is purely from the heart. So did you guess correctly:

Selection of jar and tealight candles

Yankee Candle are my favourite candle brand. You simply get what you pay for. They genuinely smell amazing and truly last for hours. I have tried and do buy lots of other styles and types of candles, but Yankee are certainly a market leader in quality and are very reasonably priced, especially as many franchises and shops have offers and sales on, so you can often grab a bargain if you know where to look .
I prefer to use the large jar candles in my kitchen as they last and last if looked after correctly. I use the small jar and votive candles in my living room and conservatory, as I like to experiment with displays on my coffee table and try out all the different fragrances. I am also smitten with all the lovely accessories you can get for you growing candle hobby. The wick trimmer is a must for the large jars as is a topper.

Now at first I thought “Why do I need a topper”, that is an unnecessary expense, but I spotted a gorgeous patterned one in a sale and thought, why not. I am converted and fully recommend you invest in one if you haven’t already as they fit the medium and large jars and come in a plethora of styles and designs.

They are practical as well as decorative, jar toppers are specifically designed to enhance fragrance distribution by making the candle flame burn steadier. Jar toppers are specifically designed to reduce the effects of drafts, and I can confirm they do work. Not sure of the magic of physics how, but they do.

Now the exciting bit: Competition Giveaway.

I am offering a Yankee Candle™ Small Jar Candle in All is Bright fragrance. Worth £8.99.

Yankee Candle - All is Bright 104g

The traditional design of the signature classic jar candle reflects a warm, relaxed sense of style that's always at home. Convenient and easy to use, the small jar candle provides 25 to 40 hours of true fragrance enjoyment.

About This Fragrance: All is Bright has a blend of sparkling citrus scents drifting on warm musk.

Fragrance Notes:

Top: Grapefruit, Orange
Mid: Redcurrant
Base: Sweet Musk
Top note is the initial impression of the fragrance, middle note is the main body of the scent and base is its final impression.

To Enter: You must be a UK resident. Click on the Gleam competition dash board link below and follow the instructions to enter. This is my first competition hosted by Gleam, so if you spot any glitches, please do get in contact as I want this to go as smoothly and as fun as possible. There are multiple ways to enter and you can enter multiple times, so what do you have to lose. You've 'gotta' be in it to win it. Good luck everyone.

Yankee Candle Giveaway

Competition T&C
1: The Prizedraw is Open to residents in the UK only and must be aged 13 or older.
2: Closing date for entries is 8am Thursday 23 March 2017.
3: Winner will be chosen at random via Gleam’s 'Random Winner' Feature.
4: Failure to comply with mandatory entries will result in disqualification.
5: Winner will be contacted via Email or Twitter.
6: The winner has two weeks to claim their prize. If the winner does not reply in  that time, a new winner will be selected in their place.
7: Your Information will NOT be given to anyone. The Winner's Name and address will be used only  to send your prize.
8: Prize cannot be exchanged for money.

The following is taken from the Yankee Candle website and is their recommended instructions for use. I take no responsibility for how you choose to use and care for your candle.

All Candle Styles

  • Remove all packaging before you light the candle.
  • Trim the wick to 3mm (1/8") before lighting, and keep trimmed at all times while burning.
  • Always use an appropriate holder placed on a protected, heat-resistant surface.
  • Keep wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches or any foreign matter - this is combustible material and may cause a fire hazard.
  • Burn candles indoors, away from drafts, other heat sources, and any flammable objects or materials.
  • If smoking occurs, safely extinguish the candle with a Candle Snuffer, trim wick, remove trimmings and relight.
  • Keep burning candles within sight at all times.
  • Do not move candles while they are lit.
  • Handle with care; glass containers are fragile. Avoid glass to glass contact when removing or replacing the lid. Do not use if cracked, chipped or scratched. Do not refill with wax.
  • Do not allow the flame to touch the side of the jar. The jar may become hot. Handle carefully.
  • To minimize wax left on the sides of the jar, burn 3 hours at a time; it is normal for some wax to be left, the amount varying per colour, fragrance and burning conditions.
  • Prevent possible heat damage to the counter/surface by discontinuing use when 12mm (1/2") of wax remains.
  • Extinguish carefully before replacing the lid.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

I'm Never Ill


Author: Mark D Pritchard

Cover photo: Mark D Pritchard

Classification: non fiction

Why I chose this book: I wanted an insight into Mark’s journey and how it & his mind set compares to my own situation.

I have been following Mark on twitter for sometime now. I cannot remember exactly how I came across his feed but was drawn to his bio of surviving a brain haemorrhage and his wife's battle against breast cancer.

It was very recently though that I became aware of his book documenting their journey titled I’m Never Ill. The cover of the book doesn't necessarily immediately jump out at you, but it is a powerful picture to me, of the long, bumpy road ahead. It is neither a warm or exciting looking trip either, but instead more, cold and lonely looking. A very compelling image that embraces the story you are about to embark on.

A journey through brain surgery and beyond. by Mark D Pritchard

You may not be instinctively drawn to such a foreboding topic either. Brain surgery, brushes with death and serious illness are hardly uplifting subjects but what the story gives you is a detailed yet lighthearted insight into a subject that could affect any one of us at anytime. From the very first page the wording grabs hold of you. Mark opens with...

If we have something that people can benefit from or enjoy, there is no excuse not to share it. Maybe we have a responsibility to do so.

At several points throughout the book my reaction was one of Oh my gosh. Wow. Disbelief. Amazement. There were several moments when I physically slapped my hand to my mouth in shock and awe, I was continually gripped by the obstacles that Mark has had to overcome, and overcome them all he did, without wavering his resolve and positive outlook. All the time wanting to share his own journey in the hope of helping someone else on their path.

The way that Mark writes draws you in to the book and you feel is if you are right there on the hospital ward with him, with the rich descriptive language that he uses to visualise every aspect of his life, hospital stays and subsequent recoveries. I feel as if I am now a friend of the family, knowing his lovely wife Sarah (great name), his children, work colleagues and family.

He reiterates for you, the need to grab life by the reins, get out and enjoy. Yes we need to work to save for retirement, raise family etc, but everyone can find a balance and enjoy life too. You need wherever possible to adopt the mindset of working to live not living to work. For Mark, having a brain haemorrhage was, he says, the best thing that has ever happened to him. It helped him to remember that it is good to be alive. It helps me to know there is light at the end of the dark tunnel my own son is in on his lymphoma road trip.

I honestly recommend everyone read this book. It is uplifting, inspirational and a great read.

Further reading can be found on Mark’s website –  Here, you will find (amongst other things) a humorous chemotherapy blog. There is no charge, and #TeamPritchard are keen to share these with anyone who may find them interesting or beneficial.

Friday, 10 March 2017


My favourite 'P' word...Prosecco.

Anyone who knows me, and several who don't, acknowledges that I have a soft spot for an occasional glass of spumante Italian white wine.

After extensive research and product testing I can confirm that my number one favourite is Belletti Extra dry - Aldi circa £5 75cl. I love the taste, it is very palatable. I have had a bottle that was five times the price from a posh hotel in Pembrokeshire and had to put lemonade in which still barely made it drinkable. A crime against bubbles.

Belletti  Prosecco with flute from Wilko collection

My friends know me well and understand my love for the bubbly stuff. I received these lush gummies for Christmas from my BFF.  Just unscrewing the lid and having a sniff is enough to help lift one's mood. My very own sal volatile. 

Friars Prosecco Gummies

And this lovely collection from another dear friend. The Prosecco candle smells amazing trust me. I have yet to sample the bottle, It is not one I have had previously so will update this post with a review in good time. 

Prosecco collection, Gummies, Brut, Candle

I know that people are generally in one camp, be it Chamagne, Cava or Prosecco. Which are you? Comment below to let's us know. Let's start a sparkling survey. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017


Mother and Daughter holding hands

You look, but you cannot see. You listen, but you cannot hear. You follow, but you do not understand. 
You do not know me, but I know you. I will remember for both of us. I will sit with you, I will hold your hand. I do not judge, I only love.
I am your daughter, you are my mum

As a family we knew mum's memory was failing her many years before her diagnosis. For a while we laughed it off, next we buried our heads in the sand, then we became frustrated with trying to convince her to seek a diagnosis. None of wanted to face it. She was becoming very forgetful. Mixing us up with other family members. Wandering from the house because she didn’t know where she was. Frightened of the strange man in her house (dad). Going from the bedroom to the bathroom and getting ‘lost’. Random items being put away in completely the wrong place. Putting the washing machine on with nothing in or non washable items. Switching the cooker or stove on and walking away. Heating empty pans.

It was almost impossible to get her to see a doctor as she was adamant there was nothing wrong with her and in fact we were all trying to have her ‘commitied’. By the time dad did get her to see a doctor she was at a moderate to severe level when she received her diagnosis, so although she started on medication the decline was and has continued to be very rapid and in the space of a year she was placed into a care home, can no long speak beyond mutters or write and walking is becoming more challenging every day.

There was very little support post diagnosis. Although the Alzheimers society had been excellent via the phone, there are no services in the rural area that my parents lived. We were however able to secure the volunteer services of a befriender that lived locally that provided 2 hours a week care to give dad a break.
One bonus to rural village life, friends and neighbours help care and support you. There is much more a sense of community in rural areas, there are little or no services. No support groups. You have to travel a long way to access GP and other medical appointments.

Mum has now been in her care home for just over a year. She has so far received amazing care and it helps us to know she is well looked after and safe. It is a cruel and heartbreaking disease, more so on the family that has to grieve at losing their loved one when they are still very much alive. No two families deal with it the same way. There is no right way, only what ever works for your family to get through the darkest of days.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Crochet gloves

Crochet Finger-less Gloves

Small 4.5mm hook to fit young children and early teens. 
Medium 5.5mm hook on average fits larger child, small ladies. 

Fingerless crochet gloves

You need 100g of wool in your choice. I have used a variety of wool, but my favourite is Patons, Smoothie DK from CoatsCraftsUK. 

Instructions for SMALL and MED make 40ch, ss into 1st ch to form a circle.

Foundation Round: (WS) 3ch, miss first ch, 1tr into each ch to end, join with ss into top of 3ch, turn (40 sts).
1st Round: 2ch, *1tr/rf, 1tr/rb, repeat from * to end to finish on 1 tr/rf, join with ss into top of 2ch, turn.
2nd round: 2ch, *tr/rb, 1tr/rf, repeat from * to end to finish on 1 tr/rb, join with ss into top of 2ch, turn.
Rep 1st & 2nd twice more then 1st round again. DO NOT TURN (8 rows)
1st    2nd    1st    2nd    1st
Dec Round: 1ch, miss next st, 1dc into next st, (1dc, miss, 1dc) x6, miss next st, (1dc, miss 1dc) x6, join with ss, DO NOT TURN. (26 sts)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Main Pattern:
1st Round: (RS) 3ch, 1tr into base of 3ch, *miss next st, 2tr into next st, rep from * to end, join with ss into top of 3ch.
2nd Round: (WS), ss into centre of V st, 3ch, 1tr into same V st, *2tr into next st, rep from * to end, join with ss into top of 3ch, turn.
Rep last round 6 more times (8 rows). 
1 RS    2    3 RS    4    5 RS    6

Shape for thumb: R - L
9: (RS) Patt 16 sts, 2tr sp, patt rem 10 sts, join with ss into top of 3ch, turn (28 sts)
10: (WS) Patt 10 sts, 2tr sp, [2tr V], 2tr sp, patt rem 16 sts, join with ss into top of 3 ch, turn (32 sts)
11: (RS) Patt 18 sts, 2tr sp, [2tr V], 2tr sp, patt rem 12 sts, join with ss into top of 3 ch, turn, (36 sts).

Use main pattern for 6 rounds without shaping (17 rows)
1 WS    2 RS    3 WS    4 RS    5 WS    6 RS

18: (WS) Use main pattern for 10 sts, leave next 10 sts for thumb, patt rem 16 sts, join with ss into top of 3ch, turn (26 sts). 
Patt these 26 sts for 3 rounds. (21 rows)
1 RS    2 WS    3RS

22: (RS) 1ch, 1dc into each st to end, join with ss into first ch, turn.
23: (WS) 1ch, 1 round in dc. Fasten off. 

THUMB: (WS) Rejoin yarn to 10 sts left for thumb. Work 1 round in main pattern, then 2 round in dc. Fasten off. 

Pink crochet gloves in Medium size
Pink in Medium size.

I also have patterns for Large and XLarge sizes. If you would like either of these, please click on my KO-FI link and buy me a 'glass of prosecco'; in the message box state which size pattern you would like.

I also have several pairs of these gloves for sale in a variety of sizes and colours, all handmade by myself. See my ITEMS ON OFFER post for details.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Parenting 101

Am I an expert?

I don't have a certificate in parenting, but I can class myself as an expert only by my 17 years of experience. 18 if you include being pregnant, which is an achievement in itself. There are no exams you can take or really any rule book you can read and learn, because there is no definitive right or wrong.

I have wanted children since I was about 15 years old. I rambled about this fantasy in my first ever blog post way back in 2009, not long after receiving youngest son’s Autism diagnosis, but back to eldest Skilts for a moment. He is the reason I become a mum and as sappy as it sounds. THE BEST job in the world.

It was August 1998, I was living in my first house share rental, with then boyfriend. We had only been together 17 months and were up to our eyeballs with student debt, when we discovered the (unplanned) news that I was pregnant. Now didn't I just say I couldn't wait to become a mum, so you would think I would be ecstatic about the news. Oh no. The complete opposite. I was petrified. Wholly unprepared and totally clueless. The decision was made to move back in with my parents who were kind enough to not charge us any rent so that we could save for a deposit to be able to buy our own house.

We stepped onto first rung of the property ladder in January 1999. We had started to settle in when I went into labour on Tuesday 4th May. Up until this point my pregnancy had been text book, but my labour was to be anything but. Now I won't go into too much gory detail, or I risk putting you all off me for life, but it was genuinely harrowing and I came very close to not surviving. Baby got stuck and mummy hemorrhaged. I have a 7 hour blank from when I passed out to coming round not even knowing if I had had a baby or if he or she was ok.

Fortunately we both survived although I went on to suffer some PND although I did not immediately realise what the problem was at the time and chose to block out my worries and nightmares about the whole episode by organising my upcoming wedding to DadiSkilts. So in a period of a year, I purchased a house, gave birth and got married. Three of the biggest stresses you can experience in a lifetime and I did them altogether. I had a not unsurprising breakdown and signed myself up for 3 months of counselling shortly after becoming Mrs Skilts.

I am sure plenty of other people manage with all that life throws at them and that is great, and I know plenty more that don't. One piece of advice I will give is don't be scared to admit that you need help. Stress is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you have tried to stay strong for too long. We ALL need to be able to have a break. It is not failure. If you do not recharge your battery and oil your engine then you will fail.

In future posts I will share with you my experience of the following topics.
  • Controlled Crying 
  • Timeout step
  • Reward charts
  • Potato painting 
  • Patio chalks
  • I spy

Is there something else you would like to see covered or would you like to get involved and write a guest post on a parenting topic important to you. Get in contact either by commenting below or by emailing me directly. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, 4 March 2017


The following items are on offer with payment direct to my paypal account at, or in a few cases special offers are available via my KO-FI link on the right. Which ever method you use put which item you want into the message box on that link and be sure to Follow me by Email also, so that I have your contact details.

All prices quoted include postage and packing fees and all items are offered on a first come, first served basis. Grab yourself a bargin.

Fitbit One, with lots of accessories.

Sony Xperia Z3 - Damaged Screen.
Spares or Repair ONLY

LYDC inside, card slots and pockets
with pink lining.
LYDC London Red purse
£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

Dean Koontz books
£2 each or *Special Offer 2 for £3 on KO-FI link.

Tactical Pen
£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

NICA shoulder bag 32x36x15cm

Black crochet gloves S/M

£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

Black crochet gloves M/L

£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

Red Multi crochet gloves S/M

£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

Purple Multi crochet gloves S/M

£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

Pink & Blue Multi crochet gloves S/M

£5 on Buy Now or *Special Offer £3 on KO-FI Link*

Friday, 3 March 2017

Working from Home - Surveys

Why is it that most working from home job ads read like a scam? Basically because most are. I love the following witticism.

Does anyone want some work? I've got a huge job coming up and I need 3 people, 8 hours a day for 2 days. It will pay £1,500 a day plus hotel (if you're not from this area) and food for the job. Will also give £350 bonus if the job is completed on time!! Total pay for 2 days work would be £3,000. The dates needed are Feb 30th and 31st and you must be committed, well presented and must be on time!

That is basically how the vast majority of ads read. Offering the world without giving away any actual details and did you read it ALL, every word. Check the dates. Meh! Yet people fall for it every time. People like me.

I have a seriously ill youngest son and I am on my second ‘career break’. The second time I have been unable to work as he requires 24 hour a day care and I am struggling to cope. I have been looking at ways to boost our household income as a result and found an excellent article on Money Saving Expert about Paid Online Surveys. Now I like MSE, I trust the advice, so I thought I would give the world of surveying a shot. After all I have nothing to lose. Right?

The MSE article I read contained links to 26 companies, of which I chose to register with 15, as I wanted payment either by paypal or amazon vouchers. Others offer prize draws or high street vouchers. I have completed my first two weeks of full time, hard core surveying and I feel a great deal of effort is required for very little return. I have suffered neck ache and eye strain in addition to the need to collect copious amounts of points before you can redeem them for any rewards. For example I have 187 points with one company, £5 paypal is worth 182 points, but I cannot redeem any until I have earned 1000 points, which at currents rates will take approximately 20 weeks to achieve.

In the last 2 weeks I have earned enough for one payout from Opinion Outpost to the value of approximately half the cost of a cheap bottle of Prosecco from Aldi. That is all. Many surveys offer large numbers of points, you spend time on the pre-survey survey only to then get screened out and receive nothing. A couple will offer you a free prize draw entry if this happens. There are 2 companies that I am close to their points award threshold, so I will persevere and see if I can reach the required level. I will update if and when that happens, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.  

Working from Home Surveys

I have decided that I would rather spend my time and effort writing blog posts, reviewing products and hosting giveaways. I know that none of these will bring me in any pennies either, but they are far more fun ways of spending my time. I love interacting with you all, so be sure to leave a comment below with your own experiences or tweet me to start a conversation.  

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Book Token Giveaway - *COMPETITION*

World Book Day - Book Token Giveaway

To celebrate World Book Day on 2 March 2017 I am giving away a £5 National Book Token.

How to enter: Leave a comment on this post, answering the following question:
What is your favourite book of all time and why?

The competition will run from 8am to 8pm (UK Time) on Thursday 2nd March 2017, so get your thinking caps on folks. The winner will be picked by their most imaginative answer; chosen by myself, eldest Skilts and a neutral friend after the competition closes.

The winner will be contacted on Friday 3rd March to arrange delivery of your prize.

Good luck everyone.

MamiSkilts 💜

Homemade Hand Scrub

Recipe from Oakwood Aromatics

I absolutely adore this hand scrub and it is so simple to make you will not want to back to whatever you use now. I first saw this on Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Britain. I thought how simple it looked and it turned out even better than had expected. It is so easy and quick to make.


  • 4 Tbs / 60ml granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs / 30ml olive oil
  • Pinch of dried herbs, flowers or spice such as cinnamon. (I used dried Lavender)
  • 6 – 8 drops of citrusy essential oil
  • Combine all the ingredients into a small bowl and fill a jar and label.

To use your hand scrub, rub a small amount of mixture into your hands, working around each finger and into the cuticles.

Rinse well and pat dry. The sugar exfoliates gently. The oil will dissolve dirt and moisturise at the same time. Your hands will now feel like they’ve had a manicure! Simple but very effective, especially on hard-working hands.