Friday, 25 April 2014


During the 20th Century there was a change, a huge change, an important change.  There was an increase in the availability of ice-cream.  As technology advanced and cheap refrigeration became common, ice-cream became more available, more affordable and more popular.

A good friend of mine, someone that I have now known for quite a long time, recently commented: "There are two things in life I just couldn't do without - good friends and ice-cream."

Yes, that about sums it up.  I know a couple of weeks ago in my HAPPY BLOG I posted the photo that explained that 'Happiness is regular sex and potatoes' and a photo that comments that you 'can't buy happiness but you can buy tea, and that is kind of the same thing'... and yes, there are probably other things too that do constitute happiness or that do contribute towards happiness or that make you happy.  Of course there are, in an ideal world.  But actually; 'good friends and ice-cream', yep, they are probably the two things in life, the two really important things.  Well they are a good starting point, a very good starting point anyway.  For me, I'm really not sure how I'd cope for very long without tea and probably chocolate too - so that is the three main food groups Tea, Ice-Cream, Chocolate.  But for the moment I shall concentrate my thoughts on friends and ice-cream.

Ice-Cream has kind of got 'all fancy' in recent times.  You can buy tubs of really quite exotic flavored ice-cream.  Baskin-Robbins is one of the largest chains and suppliers of 'luxury' ice-cream.  It was founded in 1945 by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins and the company is known for its '31 flavors' slogan, with the idea that a customer could have a different flavor every day of any month.  The company now boasts that it has developed over 1000 varieties.  Blimey.  And then there is Ben & Jerry's which began in 1978 and of course Haagan Daaz which started in 1921.  All providers of quality indulgent ice-creams of the more extravagant type.

So I thought, now is probably a good time to expand my ice-cream knowledge and sample a few of the wide range of different decadent flavors available.  And indulge - All in the name of research.  And as I am researching ice-cream, I thought best to research it with good friends.  I didn't even have to ask them twice, that is how good friends they are, we juggled the diaries, husbands and children (their husbands and children) a bit, and it was all sorted.  That sort of friendship really is invaluable, it really means a great deal.  That my friends are prepared to support me.

These are my 'Book Group' friends.  We were a 'Cinema Group' but we didn't go to the Cinema.  So, we decided we would change and be a 'Book Group', but to be honest we don't read that many books either.  We read Wine Labels!   We are just a group.  A group of friends.   We might not be a very good group, but we are enthusiastic, and enthusiasm counts for a great deal I think.  We were up for the research challenge.

The ice-cream flavours we had to consider were:
  • Haagan Daaz: Praline and Cream
  • Ben & Jerry's: Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Greek Style Frozen Yoghurt
  • Sainsbury's: Salted Peanut and Caramel
  • Sainsbury's: Chocolate Brownie
  • Sainsbury's: Cookie Dough
The evening also involved:
  • Bailey's Coffee
  • 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' DVD
  • Terry's Chocolate Orange
  • Wine
  • Chatting
  • Laughing
  • Planning Future Meetings
Our conclusions:
We had a jolly lovely evening.

So, all that is left for me to say, is: 'Thank You Ladies'.  Thank You Elise, Vicky, Donna and Lynsay.  What WONDERFUL friends I have.  It has to be acknowledged that right from the outset their commitment to the cause really was admirable.  I think that some future research meetings will absolutely need to be arranged and held.  I really do definitely think we have demonstrated the determination and the commitment, and that we can resolve some of the other important pressing issues of our age.  Such as:
Wine: Red, White or Rose?

But, I think we have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that 'good friends and ice-cream' really are two of the things, two of the things that really do count in life. 

Friday, 18 April 2014


"You've got MS?".  "OOOooohhh, there's an APP for that!".

What?  Seriously?  An APP?  Do you mean a 'Mobile Application'?  Do you mean a 'Mobile Application' for MS?  An APP, a 'Mobile Application' for MS for my Mobile Phone?  Is there an APP for everything these days?

Apparently, yes there is!   Pretty much.

There are approximately 200 people every week that are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).  The National MS Society estimates that around c. 100,000 people in the UK have MS, and there are approximately 2.5 million people worldwide who are thought to be living with the condition.

There is currently no cure available for this autoimmune disease, although there are treatments now available to slow the progression for people with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS); drugs which aim to reduce the severity of the relapse and the frequency of the relapses.

There is no cure, but now there are APPs; Smartphone APPs - for both Apple iPhones and Android Phones, which can keep you informed and can even help you to manage your MS. These APPs aim to inform and aid those with the disease, and to assist them to live a more comfortable life with MS.  There are various APPs - some generic, some more specific to deal with more precise aspects of the disease, for example there are APPs specifically related to Anxiety.  Blimey.

The 'MS Diagnosis and Management' APP was developed in collaboration with the National MS Society and, in my opinion, is a good starting place, if you are looking for an APP with an overview of general information relating to MS. The APP is free for both iPhone and Android.  The APP is informative, discusses the four disease courses: Benign MS, Relapsing Remitting (RRMS), Secondary Progressive (SPMS), and Primary Progressive (PPMS) and features up-to-date information on the diagnosis, classification, and management of MS.

There is an APP which has been created with the caregiver in mind.  There are APPs which help to keep track of your health records and act as Journals.  The APP 'MS Journal' may therefore be a helpful APP to help keep track of important aspects of the condition, such as medication.  There are some APPs that give expert advice and some that offer more general help and support. 

There is an APP called 'Momentum Magazine' which is free for both iPhone and Android, which again has been developed by the National MS Society. Momentum Magazine, is a quarterly publication, and is apparently the most widely read MS-related publication in the world covering all aspects of the disease, and living with the disease.

There is also an APP which acts as an 'MS Pedometer' helping those with MS to monitor their mobility, to encourage them to keep active and exercise, all of which can be an issue for people with MS, due to fatigue, muscle weakness, and/or vision problems.  With so much to keep track of each and every day even the healthiest individuals, without 'brainfog' could forget important tasks. The memory of someone suffering from MS may not be quite as quick and astute and may be significantly impaired and slowed (due to cognitive dysfunction) so it could be extremely useful to have information easily accessible on a Mobile Device or SmartPhone.  'MyMSTeam' is an APP and Social Network site designed for people with MS.

An APP I just found only last weekend, by accident is called 'Seeing MS'.  This APP is free for both iPhone and Android.  They also have a website:  The APP is a introduction to a global photographic project that visualises the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and is all about using photography to expose the invisible symptoms of MS.  There is video on their website and the video, which really is worth watching is also available on YouTube:

Technology really is amazing.  The speed with which technology is being designed and developed is incredible. We live in an age of technological development and advancement.  The internet is an immense and exciting source of knowledge and information,including audio podcasts and BLOGs all of which are helpful and useful and informative and can be accessed and shared though computers, tablets and through the modern technology that is your Mobile Telephone.

Friday, 11 April 2014


I haven't seen the film 'War Horse'.  Of course I haven't seen it.  I love horses, and I am still traumatized from having read 'Black Beauty' when I was c. seven years old.  And even though this is 30+ years ago, these things stay with you.  I really don't think I could face watching the film 'War Horse'.  The trauma.  The upset.

Both the film and the play are based on the book by Michael MORPURGO (an acclaimed children's writer).  'War Horse' was a best-selling novel in 1982. The 2011 film adaptation was directed by Steven SPIELBURG.  I know that Benedict CUMBERBATCH is in the film, and Tom HIDDLESTON and that knowledge does make it rather tempting, but emotionally, I still don't think that I am ready.  I know that I'm not.

But, I have to say that the stage play looked amazing. 

The stage production has met with much critical acclaim and received much attention due to the amazing and innovative 'horse choreography' i.e. the use of 'life-sized' horse puppets.  The stage production has been in the West End since 2009.  It has been on Broadway, and has toured the UK, US, Canada and Australia; and has won a host of awards.

The stage adaptation from the National Theatre on the South Bank was being broadcast live into cinemas, so after much deliberation, I thought that I would like to go and see it.  My lovely brother kindly got me two tickets.

I was in Mrs. PHILLIPS class when I read 'Black Beauty' (my first year of Junior School, c.7 years old), so I thought I would ask May (I am allowed to call her May now) if she would like to accompany me to watch 'War Horse' (and seeing how it was her husband who had taken me to the Cinema to see 'The Railway Man' see previous CINEMA BLOG) I thought that May deserved a treat and a night out with me!).

So we (May and I) went to the Odeon - Freemans Common, in Leicester to see 'War Horse Live' - a broadcast direct from The National Theatre, in London. Firstly what a fantastic idea.  To broadcast live The National Theatre’s internationally acclaimed production of 'War Horse' into cinemas around the world.  To be able go to the cinema to see a live show.  To enjoy a live theatre experience in the comfort of your local cinema.

It really did feel like you were watching a live production, I mean you are, but it doesn't seem, or at least I didn't think, that the live performance lost anything by being shown on screen.  We even had ice-cream in the interval at half time.   It was ACE.  I did really enjoy it.

They are broadcasting 'The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time' on 22.05.14; the adaptation of Mark HADDON's best-selling novel - so hopefully I am going to go and see that too.  I wished I'd have known about the 'Coriolanus' broadcast on 30.01.14, with Tom HIDDLESTON and National Theatre Live’s broadcast of 'Frankenstein', directed by Danny BOYLE, with Benedict CUMBERBATCH and Jonny Lee MILLER, on 30.10.13. 

If you are interested in more Information regarding National Theatre Live it is available on the website:  I wholly recommend it.  Give it a go.

Friday, 4 April 2014


I'm tired.  Shattered.  Worn Out. Constantly.  Permanently.  It doesn't matter what time I go to bed.  It doesn't matter what time I get up.  Even if I have a little nap.  I'm tired.  I am more than tired, much more, I have fatigue.

Fatigue plays a huge part in MS; in fact almost everyone who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) also has Fatigue.  Fatigue certainly plays a role in the MS of a large number of those living with the condition (according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), around 80% of those diagnosed with the condition will experience fatigue at some point during the course of the disease).  Fatigue certainly plays a significant and crippling part in my MS.

Fatigue is an unimaginable exhaustion; but even the word exhaustion really is quite inadequate to explain how tired I actually feel.  It’s a debilitating symptom, a massively debilitating symptom of the disease that is not remedied at all by resting or by a little nap or even better quality of sleep.  And it isn't helped by the fact that the exact cause of MS-related fatigue remains unknown.

Some times I have a nap from which I can awaken dazed and confused and equally as tired as I was before I went to sleep.  Or I awaken not knowing if it is morning or evening, what day of the week it is, if I have been asleep for an hour or 24 hours.  And then I feel lazy.

I am not lazy.  People who know me, who have known me a long time will corroborate that I really am not lazy.  But that is how I feel.  I don't even have the energy some days to do the things that I enjoy doing, to do the things that I really really want to do.  I hate those days where my 'get up and go' 'got up and went'.

Fatigue is a 'hidden symptom' of MS.  It can be hard to understand.  It is difficult to explain.  It is difficult to understand that MS fatigue is very different to the tiredness and exhaustion that people experience as part of everyday life. 

Like everything with MS, the causes of fatigue can be complex.  Sometimes it can be linked to medication, sometimes to dehydration, sometimes to depression or anxiety.  So if you are feeling the effects of fatigue try and be a little bit kinder to yourself, and just try to accept that this is a cruel aspect of this cruel disease.