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When thinking about stimulating a baby’s senses, most people focus only once baby is here. However, a baby has their first conscious sensory connection in the womb and from around 24 weeks gestation…
1. First Sensory Connections
From around 24 weeks your baby will begin to experience their first conscious sensory connections that will continue throughout their life. One of the easiest ways to stimulate this and their language development is to talk to them! By the time they are born they will recognize the familiar tones and patterns of your voice and by continuing to talk to them you will be developing their language skills.
2. NO screens!
We are seeing a huge rise in developmental delays, particularly language and also behavioral concerns and one of the biggest causes are screens! A baby under two (under 5 in my opinion) should not be given a screen as constant use can cause a malformation of neural pathways and subsequently developmental delays.
3. Essential oils
Oils are a great way to influence the first stages of your baby’s development such as creating a sleep routine. Creating a sensory oasis when they sleep with familiar essential oils helps to train the brain that this means sleep and encourage a deeper more relaxed sleep too!
Music too can help play its part in this sensory oasis. By using familiar music that is relaxing, such as nature sounds or soft classical will also encourage a familiar bedtime routine. It doesn’t need to stop there, you can use music throughout the day to create routines and familiarity; for example, soft jazz aids the digestion and so is a great accompaniment to meal times and you can encourage table manners too by sitting at the table nicely until the music stops.
You will be surprised just how much a baby can learn from what they touch, after all this is their first mode of experiencing most things. They will grasp your finger for security and build on that skill to experience many things including their first finger foods. I am a huge advocate of reading with babies (that’s the next tip) and books such as the ‘That’s Not My…’ range are full of different textures to help your baby to experience – don’t forget to tell them what they are experiencing too!
Reading to your baby is vital to many aspects of their development and of course one of those being their language skills. But, did you know that if you read to them whilst in the womb you are helping them to recognize familiar tones and patterns in voices as well as language patterns. One of my favourites is ‘Dear Zoo’ as you can be quite expressive in your voice.
7. Playing in Nature
You do not need lots of expensive toys and you really don’t need all the plastic ones! We live in a natural world and we are intrinsically linked to it, it nurtures our natural development, which is called the biophilia hypothesis, something Babyopathy is based upon. Playing in nature, laying babies on the grass and letting them feel it, playing in the dirt, and seeing and experiencing a multitude of colour and textures gives you a multitude of vocabulary and opportunities to stimulate development with things such as counting flowers or petals, collecting differential objects; large and small and colour groups etc. The world is literally your playground!
8. Natural Resources
We have already established that you don’t need the expensive toys and the natural world is your oyster when it comes to a playground. However, your home and the things in it are your resources! Wooden spoons and saucepans make fabulous instruments, pasta and other ingredients make great craft activities and messy play and even your magazines can be a source of photos for a collage. The list is endless but again offers unrivalled opportunities for language, special awareness, physical and emotional skills to name but a few.
9. No Over-stimulation
A baby learns by experience and example. They will copy everything you do as you will know from that first smile in response to yours that melts your heart. However, too much stimulation, is detrimental and can leave them stressed. If you are going to go somewhere or to a class that is a sensory overload, be aware of your baby’s signs of distress and leave for a more relaxed environment. I have seen so many babies leave some sensory classes red faced, in tears and completely over-stimulated and stressed, which then disrupts their sleep and feeding patterns and makes for a very stressed mum too!
You are the biggest source of your baby’s development. Yes, the odd class is fun for a social development point of view but you are their greatest teacher. A baby is a blank canvas, they do not know hatred, anger or prejudice for example, it is a learned behavior or a responsive one. Similarly, they do not know compassion, respect or manners so need to be shown. Most importantly, they will not learn anything if you are completely preoccupied with your own screen. Just as it is important for your baby not to use a screen, it is more important that you don’t (or at the very least limit it!). Your baby needs your time, your attention, your knowledge and experience and most of all your presence in the moment.
About the expert
Angela Spencer has owned and operated children’s nurseries for over 25 years – opening her first in 1993 at the age of 21 – and was named in the Top 10 most influential people in Childcare by NMT Magazine in 2017 before finally selling the nurseries in 2018. Babyopathy, Angela’s baby & child development programme, prioritises sensory stimulation and was named as Mother & Baby Magazine’s ‘New Routine for 2017. Her new book Babyopathy (2nd Ed.) empowers women to have a positive and relaxed pregnancy and early years.
New research from Emma’s Diary reveals that resentment is a key factor affecting the mental health of both pregnant women and new mums. Over a quarter (28%) revealed they have resented their friends for not adapting social plans to include them, while over half (51%) said they felt negatively towards their partner because they had a social life, were able to drink alcohol and had more energy. We asked psychologist Dr Kathryn Hollins to share her expert advice on how to overcome resentment as a new mum.
Becoming a mum is one of the most profound transitions in life. Everything changes. During pregnancy and the first weeks and months of your baby’s life you are responding to the intense needs of a dependent little being, who relies on you day and night. It is completely understandable if you are feeling resentful or jealous of those close to you for carrying on with their lives whilst your life has been turned upside down!
If you’re feeling resentful towards to those around you, the following tips will help to help ease how you may be feeling:
If you are feeling fed up and resentful whilst pregnant, reach out and tell someone. Dispel the myth that you are supposed to be blooming at all times and share your real feelings! Being tired and physically uncomfortable plus having to change your diet and drinking habits can feel really frustrating. Remember it is a time-limited phase.
When your newborn baby arrives, it can feel like an emotional rollercoaster whilst you recover from the birth and begin to get to know and understand your baby. Finding ways to embrace and accept this intense period of motherhood will reduce your resentment. It won’t last forever.
Instead of trying to carry on with everything you usually do, allow yourself to be in a motherhood cocoon for a while. This means asking for support from anyone who is available. Slow down, watch and listen to your baby. Be pleased if you manage to do one thing a day!
Let Others Help
Trusting and letting others develop their own relationships with the baby, and therefore giving you a break from 24 hour a day responsibility, will mean you feel less resentful. Having even a little space and time for yourself will help.
Talk to Your Partner
If you have a partner, talk with them about how you feel. When you are ready, start thinking together about how you want to share parenting your baby in the months ahead. Don’t feel constrained by what others do, instead dream and aspire for what works for you as a couple.
About the expert
Dr Kathryn Hollins is a Parent, Child and Family Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist in private practice. She has recently teamed up with Emma’s Diary to launch its #MyMindAndMe campaign. For more information about Emma’s Diary and it’s for a list of resources for pregnant and new mums who may be experiencing mental health problems, please visit www.emmasdiary.co.uk/wellbeing
Bakers, cooks and foodies, gathered on Saturday 8th June for the 7th annual Galvin Tarte Tatin Competition. Michelin-starred chefs, Chris and Jeff Galvin are famed for their mouth-watering tarte tatin and each year invite food enthusiasts to perfect their own tarte tatin creation, submitting their entry for judging by Chris, Jeff and a panel of high-profile foodie judges.
Jeff and Chris Galvin
The judging took place at the finals held at Galvin La Chapelle and Galvin HOP Bistrot & Bar in Spitalfields on Saturday 8th June, when 10 shortlisted bakers presented their classic French dessert for scrutiny by the judges. This year, Chris and Jeff were joined by Sunday Brunch presenter Simon Rimmer, top food influencer Clerkenwell Boy, food critic Richard Vines, Pastry Chef Graham Hornigold and food writer Felicity Spector in the judging room.
10 of the gloriously sticky-sweet, indulgent and mouth-watering French tarte tatins were sampled and Jonathan Barton from Maidenhead was crowned Galvin Tarte Tatin 2019 champion, winning tarte tatin for life, a trophy, his name engraved on a traditional copper tarte tatin dish displayed in Galvin La Chapelle, a £100 Galvin gift voucher, a Magnum of Galvin Champagne, as well as the Galvin’s cookbook, ‘Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe.’
Newly crowned Galvin Tarte Tatin 2019 champion Jonathan Barton, said: “It’s been a great day, I’m thrilled to have won! A big thanks to Chis and Jeff Galvin for hosting such a fantastic event.”
Commenting on the competition and winner, Jonathan Barton, Chris Galvin commented: “This year we received well over 40 entries of astounding quality. Jonathan’s tarte tatin was well balanced with a great buttery pastry – really delicious!”
Chris and Jeff have long since championed this traditional French dessert, passionately perfecting the recipe and serving the most stunningly-fantastic tarte tatin daily at Galvin La Chapelle in Spitalfields.
The secret to the perfect Apple Tarte Tatin
Chris Galvin says the secret to the perfect Tarte Tatin is crisp pastry and care over your apples – a real love of the dish always makes a difference too!
“We always make this dish in celebration of our nan,” says Chris, “who was a terrific cook and always made pies with the apples she grew in her garden. Our tatin has a great depth, a lovely crispy base and slowly cooked apples – I never tire of it. We couldn’t possibly change the recipe – it would cause anarchy in the restaurants.”
For those wishing to bake their own perfect tarte tatin, check out the recipe below for the Galvin Tarte Tatin with crème Normande
For the tarte tatin:
7 Braeburn apples, peeled, halved and cored
120g of puff pastry
110g of salted butter, softened
130g of caster sugar
For the crème Normande:
120ml of crème fraiche
40g of icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of Calvados
Begin by preparing the base of your tart. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 21cm round. Using a fork, prick the pastry all over then leave in the fridge to rest for 40 minutes
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
In a 20cm ovenproof frying pan – or Tarte Tatin mould, if you have one – spread the softened butter in an even layer, followed by the caster sugar. Arrange the apple pieces over the sugar, standing on their sides, with two halves lying flat in the centre of the dish
Remove the pastry round from the fridge and lay it carefully over the arranged apple halves, tucking any overhanging pastry edges down the sides of the pan. Place the pan on the hob and caramelise the sugar over a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, before transferring to the preheated oven. Bake for 90 minutes
Meanwhile, make the crème Normande. Combine the crème fraîche, icing sugar and Calvados together in a bowl and mix well. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving
Remove the Tarte Tatin from the oven and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes, before turning out onto a chopping board. Cut into 4 portions and serve with a generous spoonful of the crème Normande
Sam Katterfield, Senior Editor for travel search platform HolidayPirates, shares his top tips on the ten best national parks and private reserves, to visit this year.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Serengeti National Park, established in 1952, is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, with a resident population of lion, elephant, giraffe, birds, and more. The park, which covers a remarkable space of 14,763 sq km, has a wide variety of accommodations available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. Depending on what you are on the lookout for, you have the option to stay in one of the three sections in the park, ‘endless plains’; ‘classic savannah’, ‘dense bush’. The national park is perhaps most known for its ecosystem, which is one of the oldest on earth, and the migration of over a million wildebeest and zebras from the northern hills to the southern plains every October and November, and then move west in April, May, and June.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Situated on the border of South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, it is easily accessible from both Cape Town and Johannesburg. A safari tour in its 19,485 sq km park (which is bigger than Israel) gives you the opportunity to sight the Big Five: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and buffalo, as well as the Little Five: buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle. You also have the chance to see the birding Big Six: ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, Pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork. Kruger Park is a self-drive destination, but there are also guided tour operators.
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Maasai Mara is situated in south-west Kenya, and connects with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania that together form Africa’s most diverse and oldest ecosystem. Similar to its smaller brother, the Maasai Mara reserve is worth a visit for a chance to experience the wildebeest and zebra migration in July to October, and if you visit between December to February, when it is much dryer in the region, your chances of encountering the Big cats are increased.
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
If you want to go somewhere a bit more remote and exclusive, then Moremi is definitely the reserve for you. Located within the UNESCO listed Okavango Delta Game Reserve, Moremi covers around 40% of the reserve, and sees a beautiful balance between water, which is brought about by the annual flood, and wildlife. The Moremi is home to the most endangered species of large mammals: cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog, and lion, over 500 bird species, and over 1,000 species of plants.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park is home to a handful of private reserves that offer good value for money, for example, the Linkwasha Camp in the Linkwasha Concession is worth a visit. The access to the Ngamo Plains provides you with the possibility to get close to herds of elephants, zebras, waterbuck, as well as more unusual species, such as side-striped jackals, honey badgers, and bat-eared foxes, and a big variety of birds.
Madikwe Game Reserve (North West Province)
Due to its broad spectrum of habitats, including mountains, plateaus, seasonal wetlands, bushes, and savannah areas, the Madikwe Reserve accommodates a wide variety of animals. You can get the chance to spot the Big Five here, and there are more than 350 species of birds and insects. The accommodation in the Reserve is varied, but it specialises in private luxury. For example, the Madikwe Safari Lodge or the Makanyane Safari Lodge are equipped with private lodges including a pool and fireplace, and you can even enjoy private morning and evening tours.
Etosha National Park, Namibia
The Etosha National Park is a truly unique experience, and is the most accessible reserve in Namibia. Its main characteristic is a salt pan that is so large, it can be seen from space, but it is also the home to a wide range of wildlife. Spending time around the waterholes, you will have the opportunity to see black rhino, lions, wildebeest, and leopard. This visit for anyone that is patient, because waterhole spotting is all about patience – find a good spot, switch off the engine, and wait…
Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Singita Grumeti Reserves shares the western border with the Serengeti National Park. This is the ideal romantic honeymoon destination, as the reserve is the home of just five intimate lodges and safari villas. In addition to enjoying a crowd-free safari, you will be able to enjoy guided nature walks, night drives, hot-air ballooning, and horse riding.
Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda
Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the wild frontier region of Uganda, and is the most isolated national reserve in the country. It is also the home to some extinct species that cannot be found anywhere else in the region. But Kidepo is not only worth the trip because of its safari drives; it is also a great reserve to enjoy nature walks in and its cultural trails to the Karamojongs and Acholis tribes. In terms of accommodation, if you want high-end, then the Apoka Safari Lodge is your best option, but if you are after a more affordable option, then check out the Kidepo Savannah Lodge or Nga Moru Wilderness Camp.
Masoala Peninsula Wildlife Safari, Madagascar
If you are looking for a true adventure, and something unique, then a safari on Madagascar could be for you. There are a couple of options for you, but if you are interested in a rainforest safari that will provide viewing of lemurs, chameleons, and a wide variety of bird species, then the Masoala Peninsula is a good option. The Masoala Peninsula can only be reached by boat, which you can take from the capital of Antananarivo.
About the expert
Sam Katterfield is the Senior Editor UK and in-house travel expert for HolidayPirates – one of Europe’s fastest growing, free-to-use, travel search platforms and apps. Holidaypirates works with providing users with the best international value for money international travel deals. Since its inception in 2012, the company has grown into an internationally renowned travel portal, with a following of over 10 million on Facebook and 900,000 newsletter subscribers, achieving 30 million monthly page visits, 10 million app downloads, and having launched their services across 10 countries in seven different languages. For more information please visit www.holidaypirates.com
If you’re looking for the ultimate country destination set in picturesque surroundings, we highly recommend visiting the recently opened George and Dragon pub, restaurant hotel in the National Trust village of West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.
Following the continued success of his restaurant Plate in Shoreditch, Chef Owner Arnaud Stevens has created a delightful dining destination at the George and Dragon that allows guests to rediscover this historic 17th-century coaching inn, refurbished with 10 cosy guest bedrooms, restaurant and adjoining pub.
For those looking to escape the city and enjoy a relaxing country mini-break, the George and Dragon has 10 individually designed en-suite guest rooms. Decorated in a unique style combining eclectic antique furniture with the best of modern amenities, each room echoes the beautiful surroundings of the National Trust village of West Wycombe.
Rooms range from traditional four-poster beds to spacious family rooms, each taking advantage of the unique proportions of this storied building to offer accommodation that meets the needs of a variety of guests from couples looking for romance to mums and dads wanting to introduce their children to the pleasures of fine food and the great British countryside.
Known for his unique blend of French and British cooking influenced by his upbringing in the South of France and the cooking of his mother and uncle, Arnaud has taken over the reins at the George & Dragon delivering dishes which showcase the best produce to take the menu to the next level with reimagined country classics adding his signature culinary flair to old favourites.
Working closely with local suppliers within the area, Head Chef Arnaud’s refreshed menu at George and Dragon is inspired by what’s on his doorstep with game from E.J. Churchill amongst others. The offering centres around raw, flavourful produce and led to some of his most exciting dishes yet.
Starting with the guinea fowl terrine with a green kraut relish, rich in flavour and accompanied perfectly by homemade G&D sourdough bread with whipped creme fraiche better. Other delicious starters include the warming roast Cotswolds chicken soup with crispy sage dumplings and Cabernet Vinegar Marinated Beetroot with goat’s cheese.
Mains are split between sea, land and garden offering something for everyone. Carnivores will be delighted with the reimagined classic of the Chuck & Brisket Burger on a brioche bun with cheddar cheese and pale ale mustard mayo. Vegetarians are not forgotten with a delicious pearl barley risotto with butternut squash and Montgomery crispy buckwheat. Seafood fans will love the fresh roasted stone bass lemon, ginger and sprouting broccoli.
Lovers of the quintessentially British Sunday roast won’t be disappointed as Sunday roasts are still at the heart of the George and Dragon and a favourite of Arnaud’s; this season will offer the Roast Herefordshire Beef, Cotswolds Chicken with sage & onion seasoning and the Gloucester Old Spot Pork Loin with ripe apple sauce and the crispiest crackling, all accompanied by seasonal vegetables.
Whatever your preference, the menu at George and Dragon can be enjoyed by everyone, not just those following Arnaud’s reputation from Plate with a visit to this new restaurant but this charming eatery also welcomes the local residents of West Wycombe to try some outstanding food right on their doorstep.
George & Dragon
High St, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire HP14 3AB
Sticking to a budget or saving money doesn’t come naturally to everyone and with the added excitement of a new arrival, it can be easy to lose track of your baby product purchases. Advancements in technology and production have meant that parenting is not only different from what it was years ago but also far more expensive.
However, spending less doesn’t mean you have to miss out! The experts at PIWoP, a price drop alert tool, share their top money-saving tips when raising a baby:
1. Get creative in the kitchen
While formula is pricey, when your baby moves on to solids, little jars of goodness come at a cost! For an easy and cost-effective alternative, try tossing cooked veggies into a blender with a bit of water for quick and nutritious meals.
2. Try DIY
Larger baby items can be costly. While cribs and high chairs may be a necessity, where possible, creating hand-made mobiles and make-shift changing tables can save considerable amounts of cash. Topping an existing dresser with a changing pad can make for a perfectly functional alternative to a traditional changing unit, and the chest of drawers beneath work fantastically for storage! Instructions for this kind of crafting can easily be found with a quick online search or on platforms such as Pinterest.
3. Nice but not necessary
It could be argued that too many shoes for newborns are probably an unnecessary purchase, as nice as they look, until baby is walking, they are predominantly there for aesthetic purposes only! Non-slip baby socks will keep toes warm. The same can be said for the likes of a baby bathtub. Your baby will grow quickly and if you are looking to watch the pennies, the sink makes for an ideal bathing area in those early months.
4. Do your research
Many use 9 months of pregnancy to prep, which to an extent is advised, and no doubt the baby showers will mean gifts and advice as a new mother will come in abundance. However, you won’t know what products work for you or what give you more bang for your buck until you are practically using the products every day while caring for your baby. It pays to hold off, buy things that last, read the reviews and ultimately, be sure you need certain products before purchasing.
5. Avoid ‘panic purchases’
As most parents will know, the result of panic purchasing is far too many baby bits in the house that ultimately never get used. Stock up on products once you know you or your baby’s preferences. If you haven’t got time to scour the sales looking for the best prices, online tools like PIWoP can help. Simply create lists of the products you need, add the webpages these products appear on, set the price you are happy to pay and wait! The tool will notify you when the products you have listed reach the price you want to pay.
About the expert
Charlie Stopford Sackville is the co-founder of price-drop alert tool PIWoP. PIWoP notifies consumers when an item they have selected hits to or below their chosen price they’re willing to pay. Saving the trouble of checking every week if the item hits the sales. For more information on PIWoP, please visit www.piwop.com
When the sun is shining and thoughts turn to outdoor entertaining, what better way to welcome your guests than with a decadent, homemade iced cocktail? We have these five delicious recipes devised in collaboration with artisan West Country ice cream producer Baboo Gelato and Lloyd Brown, top mixologist and owner of the Grey Bear bar company. Enjoy!
Inspired by West Country pirates who have tired of rum and need a pick me up.
1. Add to a cocktail shaker a small scoop of Baboo Gelato hazelnut ice cream, 35ml of Somerset cider brandy, a dash of bay leaf syrup, 25ml of fresh lemon juice and 50ml of good quality cloudy apple juice.
2. Shake vigorously, to combine, then pour into a large tankard filled with cubed ice.
3. Garnish with coffee powder and drink through the froth.
A fragrant cocktail, conjuring up memories of English summers.
1. Place a large scoop of Baboo Gelato elderflower sorbet in a cocktail shaker.
2. Pour in 25ml of Porter’s Perfection vodka and 15ml of St Germain’s.
3. Shake hard without ice and pour into a coupette – the sorbet will form a small ball in the middle of the glass, and keep the drink chilled.
4. Pour Furleigh Estate Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine around this and garnish with candied elderflower.
Taking a Franco classic and giving it a complete West Country makeover!
1. Into a large wine glass add a large ball of Baboo Gelato blackcurrant sorbet.
2. Drizzle over 15ml of Godminster Blackcurrant vodka spirit and then top with Furleigh Estate Bacchus Fume.
3. Gently stir to combine and point towards France.
An English version of a mojito, with the perfect marriage of strawberry and cucumber flavours.
1. In a tall glass, add one scoop of Baboo Gelato strawberry ice cream and a dash of freshly squeezed lime juice.
2. Layer on a small handful of borage leaves, along with 35ml Lyme Bay Winery Luggers Rum and a touch of sugar syrup.
3. Mix everything together then add another small scoop of strawberry gelato, before churning again until the glass is frosted.
4. Top with a dash of prosecco and garnish with borage flowers and cucumber spheres.
In the Pink
Romantic rose, gin and pistachio flavours combine in this grown-up version of a coke float that’s sure to wow your summer party guests
1. In a tall glass add 50ml saffron infused Conker gin.
2. Add two drops of rose water.
3. Fill two-thirds of the way with bitter lemon.
4. Carefully add this to one scoop of Baboo Gelato pistachio ice cream and stir.
5. Once settled, garnish with rose petals and serve.
Baboo’s range of gelato and sorbet flavours are available in local farm shops, delis and at the Baboo kiosks in West Bay and Lyme Regis on a rotational basis. Visit the website www.baboogelato.com or follow @baboo_gelato on Instagram for more information. If you can’t find a stockist near you, use another good quality gelato or ice cream flavour to match.
About the expert
Annie Hanbury is the founder of multi-award-winning Baboo Gelato, deliciously authentic Italian style gelato and sorbets handmade by Annie and her team in Dorset. Having travelled to Italy where she trained at Bologna’s Gelato University, Annie learnt her craft from the world’s master gelatieres. Annie spent a year perfecting her recipes before launching the business in March 2015. Baboo Gelato now has several kiosks in the South West and supply to local restaurants, farm shops and delis including Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen. To find out more, go to baboogelato.com
Whether your father is a big softie or disciplinarian, workaholic or stay-at-home, we’ve got the best dapper gifts to suit almost anyone from stylish driving shoes from Hugs & Co to the PLIQO suit carrier that’s the size of a laptop bag and everything in between. Click here or the page below to read more…
For more gift ideas and product suggestions for the season ahead, click here to read the Spring/Summer Guide 2019.
Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and one of the medical team at The Online Clinic, shares her thoughts on alcohol consumption with advice on how to know when your drinking has become a problem with tips on cutting down and what to do if you or your loved ones are worried about your drinking.
It’s estimated that around 3 million people die every year due to alcohol consumption, according to a World Health Organisation report in 2018 – that makes up 5% of all deaths! 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the recommended amount, and 27% of people in the UK binge drink on their heaviest drinking days, according to leading UK alcohol charity Alcohol Change.
So, how much should you be drinking? The NHS advises that regularly drinking more than 14 units per week can be damaging to your health. 14 units is the same as 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
It’s always better to spread your drinking over 3 or more days, rather than binge drinking on just one or two. If you do drink 14 units per week, try to spread your drinking out over multiple days. Drinking dangers and the benefits of cutting down By regularly drinking more than 14 units a week, you risk developing illnesses later in life such as:
Damage to the nervous system
The less you drink, the lower the health risks. By cutting down your alcohol intake, you lower the chance of damaging your health.
Tips for cutting down
There are a few useful tips you can try to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink:
Set a limit on how much you are going to drink before you start drinking.
Keep a drink diary for or three to four weeks – note down every time you have a drink, including information about how much you drank and where you were. Compare your diary with your goal and if have trouble sticking to it, discuss this with your GP or another health professional.
Avoid your triggers – it’s a good idea to avoid situations in which you’re used to drinking. Certain activities, places and things can all be triggers that cause you to want to drink.
Let your friends and family know you are trying to cut down.
Alternate each alcoholic drink with something non-alcoholic such as a glass of water or a juice.
Swap your drinks for smaller sizes – have a bottle of beer instead of a pint, and a small glass of wine rather than a large one.
Set a budget on the amount of money you will spend on alcohol each week.
Take a break – have several alcohol-free days per week.
Treat yourself to a non-alcoholic drink such as a delicious mocktail.
When it might be time to seek help?
As alcohol consumption is so common, it can be difficult to recognise when you have a problem. Alcoholism is the most serious form of problem drinking, but even people who don’t necessarily suffer from an uncontrollable desire to drink should look out for warning signs, such as often getting into trouble because of your drinking, having other people warning you about your drinking or if you feel like your drinking is causing other problems in your life.
In cases where drinking has become an issue, it may be advisable to look at medication options that could help you control your alcohol intake. For example, Selincro contains the active ingredient nalmefene, which works by reducing the urge in the brain and making the sensation of drinking less enjoyable. However, your doctor will want to assess your level of alcohol dependence before prescribing any medication, so you will be asked to keep an alcohol diary and try other simple tips and support options.
As with all health issues, seeing a GP is a good place to start, and they can advise on the possible medications, counselling and help available.
About the expert
Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and one of the medical team at The Online Clinic (www.theonlineclinic.co.uk)
“Pa” is one of the first syllables uttered by babies. Whether you call him Pa, Papa, Pater or simply Dad, here are a whole host of gift ideas for Father’s Day from personalised chocolates to men’s grooming. Click here or the page below to read more…
For more gift ideas and product suggestions for the season ahead, click here to read the Spring/Summer Guide 2019.