How to Take Care of a Cat or Kitten

I became a cat mom just over 1 year ago and it was a huge step since previously I considered myself a dog person. Anyway, my children kept asking for a kitten, the opportunity arose, and we adopted a cat. Here are some questions I pondered in those early days.

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  • Does my cat need a companion? Not necessarily. We adopted two kittens that were sisters, but sadly one died when she was hit by a car earlier this year. Her sister grieved for her, but she seems happy by herself now. I think cats get used to their surroundings just like we do.
  • Why should I get a cat tree? I wasn’t sure we could fit a cat tree into our living room, but I’m glad we did. We started out with a small cat tree for the kittens, and then bought a larger cat tree when they grew bigger. The kittens loved playing on it, and now our adult cat uses the scratching posts several times a day, she sleeps on her cat tree, and she uses it as her safe space when she wants to be alone.
  • How often should I pick my cat up? I don’t think cats are particularly cuddly, but again it comes down to the individual. Our cat is used to being picked up and cuddled regularly, and sometimes she demands to be picked up and cuddled. Other times she scratches us and runs away when she wants to be alone. You will learn to recognise your cat’s body language and will be able to communicate with them as you get used to each other.
  • What food should I give to my cat? Another tricky question, but one that we answered through trial and error. Our cat eats both wet and dry cat food. She loves her cat biscuits and eats those for breakfast and lunch. She eats wet cat food for dinner (when she isn’t eating the dog food)!
  • Should my cat be allowed outside? We agonised over this question for a while but knew that we couldn’t keep our cats indoors when our dog regularly uses the garden. We do live on a busy road, and unfortunately it didn’t work out for one of our kittens. She was a born adventurer and I believe she was too busy for this world. Her sister still goes outside regularly but she has a night-time curfew so that we can be sure she is safe.

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#MummyMonday Autumn Special Offers for All the Family

Autumn has landed and so have this week’s exclusive special offers for you and your family. Check out the free gift + discount from Pooch & Mutt, stock up on seasonal slippers and hoodies from Kudd.ly, and check out the brand new Vanilla Pumpkin skincare collection from Body Shop.

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FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE at Pooch & Mutt!

Receive a FREE bag of Dental Meaty Treats with every order. Please note these will automatically be added to basket at checkout. Valid today only (26th September).

25% off for all customers. Use Code: AUTUMN. Shop now.

30% off when you spend £70 – Use Code: AFP73070 – Shop now.

Can you smell autumn approaching? Time to cosy up and pamper that body with our scrumptious Vanilla Pumpkin range. Drop our fizzing Bath Bomb in the tub and take in that fragrance. Enriched with vanilla extract from Madagascar, your nose will twitch as it discovers the sweet, warm, baked pumpkin scent with hints of hazelnut caramel, maple syrup and almond milk. There’s seasonal glow on tap with all our Vanilla Pumpkin products.

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Educational Toys for Kids

Here is a quick guide of educational toys for kids that make ideal birthday presents, Christmas gifts, or would be useful additions to your nursery, school, or playroom.

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Learning Resources Good Behaviour Buckets Social Emotional

Available from Maqio Toys

I like the look of these and wish I had seen them when my children were younger. They are colourful, cheerful, and help your child to explore their feelings and express themselves more easily.

Learning Resources Sensory Fidget Tubes

Available from Maqio Toys

My children love fidget toys, and these sensory fidget tubes look great. I want to play with them! They are classroom-tested, teacher approved, and are useful for SEN groups, including children and adults.

Learning Resources MathLink Builders-STEM Explorers

Available from Maqio Toys

Knowledge and understanding of Maths is an essential life skill, and I am pleased that the subject has become much more accessible in schools now compared to when I was a child in the 1980s and 1990s. This toy is colourful and looks fun, offering children a chance for creative play while learning important Maths skills at the same time.

Toy Mania Fidget Fun Box Ultimate Set of 8

Available from Maqio Toys

Our house is full of fidget toys, and I don’t mind this toy craze as I play with them myself! This box offers great value for money, and I found that a box of fidget toys bought online made great party bag fillers for my daughter’s 9th birthday party. I gave out fidget toys for party game prizes, and all the children that attended loved their gifts.

Learning Resources GeoSafari Junior Talking Microscope Educational Aid

Available from Maqio Toys

One of my daughters is a budding scientist, and toys like this microscope offer a great introduction to what could be a valuable and exciting career path. It’s never too young to start the kids off on their life journey!

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Study finds that only 6% of video games feature a female protagonist 

  • 69.3% of video games feature a standalone male protagonist. 
  • 13.3% of video games feature at least one male and one female protagonist. 
  • 8.7% of video games allow the protagonist’s sex to be determined by the player at the start of the game. 

A new study has found that only 6% of video games feature a single female character as the lead protagonist. 

Online gaming site Solitaired analysed 150 popular video games that were released between 1985 and 2022, and were available across different gaming platforms. The study looked at the campaign or story mode for each of the games in question, and at the sex of each of the game’s main protagonists. 

It found that across these titles, only 6% of games featured a female character as a standalone protagonist – just nine of the 150 games included in the study. Of these nine games, two of the titles were sequels in the Portal and Tomb Raider franchises. 

The games featuring a single female protagonist were; Portal (2007), Portal 2 (2011), Beyond Two Souls (2013), Tomb Raider (2013), Life Is Strange (2015), Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015), The Walking Dead: Season Two (2013), Horizon Zero Dawn (2017) and Star Wars Battlefront II (2017). 

A staggering 69.3% of titles (104 out of 150) featured a lone male protagonist in the game’s campaign, with some titles including multiple male, but no female, protagonists. Action and war-based games were some of the biggest offenders, such as Call of Duty 2 (2005), which features three male protagonists that the player assumes control of during the game’s three different campaigns. 

Grand Theft Auto V was another game featuring three male protagonists, yet no option for a female lead in the story mode of the game – a theme that is consistent throughout the video game franchise. Rockstar recently announced that Grand Theft Auto VI will buck this trend by featuring a female protagonist for the first time ever, who will be one of the lead characters in the franchise’s latest instalment. 

13.3% of titles (20 out of 150) featured at least one male and one female protagonist, however games with multiple protagonists were still typically weighted towards a higher number of male lead characters.  

For example, some games opted for a 3:1 ratio of male to female characters including; Left 4 Dead (2008) and its sequel, Heavy Rain (2010) and Borderlands 2 (2012) all of which feature four main protagonists, only one of whom is female. Horror adventure game, Until Dawn (2015), showcased an equal split, with four male and four female protagonists that you can play as throughout the game. 

8.7% of the titles (13 out of 150) did not assign a sex to the protagonist, instead allowing the player to select this at the start of the game. These titles include The Mass Effect series, which allow the player to customise either Commander John or Jane Shepherd, The Elder Scrolls (Oblivion and Skyrim), as well as Cyberpunk 2077 and Far Cry 5. 

Neal Taparia, founder of Solitaired said: “For many years, gaming was considered a pastime typically reserved for males, but this is obviously an outdated stereotype. Female representation in video games is extremely important for creating positive role models for woman, who in reality account for a large proportion of the gaming community. 

“We have seen more of an inclusive approach from some developers, with games featuring a female protagonist or the option to select the protagonist’s sex from the outset. While there has been some progress in recent years; the findings suggest that video games have historically failed to portray women as lead characters throughout their stories.” 

This research was conducted by solitaired.com, a free, browser-based card game platform with more than 500 games available to play. 

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190,000+ Migraine attacks a day affect UK adults

Suzie Sawyer, Clinical Nutritionist, gives her SIX TOP TIPS on how we can manage this often-debilitating condition

The latest published data from the NHS and NICE reveals that there are currently 10 million[1] migraine sufferers in the UK and an excess of 190,000[2] attacks every day. Women are affected more than twice that of men – up to 25% versus up to 10%.

 These findings are also supported by a recent poll commissioned by the evidence backed Nature’s Way[3] collection of traditional herbal medicines and plant-based supplements – www.natures-way.com  which found that more than one-quarter (28.7%) of female UK migraine sufferers said that they experience migraine attacks at least once a week. 

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer from natures-way.com sees many people suffering from migraine in her clinic. She says “Among other common migraine triggers, diet, hormone fluctuations and exercise can also have a direct influence on the number and severity of migraine attacks. Knowing which foods trigger incidents is vitally important as well as taking regular exercise, particularly if you are sedentary for most of the day. All these changes to internal and external environmental factors can impact and irritate the brain of a migraine sufferer.  Trying to control them as much as you can is key – it’s all about keeping to a routine and staying on top of your nutritional intake, as well a working on hormone balancing, which includes blood sugar control.

Suzie’s six quick fixes to control the frequency and severity of migraine attacks naturally

Keep a food diary – Knowing which foods to avoid, and indeed foods to consume more of, is a great way to get to identify what may be triggering your migraine attacks. It may be useful to test for any allergenic foods and eradicate them from your diet. Also, keep a journal of which foods you think are responsible. However, foods that trigger migraines will vary from person to person, and some individuals may not have any food-related migraine triggers.

Why not try this quick and easy to prepare high protein, blood sugar balancing vegetarian quinoa dish?

  1. Take a magnesium supplement – Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for countless functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission. Evidence suggests that inadequate consumption of magnesium is associated with migraine[4]. Bearing in mind that magnesium is widely deficient in the typical refined western diet and confirmed by National Diet and Nutrition Survey Data[5] it’s time to supplement.   Boost your magnesium intake with a daily dose of Nature’s Way Magnesium Complex Citrate Blend capsules. Alternatively, plug all your nutrient gaps, including magnesium, with a high potency multivitamin and mineral, Alive! Ultra Wholefood Plus range.
  1. Practise Yoga – Practising yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life. Taking up yoga may even help reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines. A study found that people who practiced yoga for three months had a significant reduction in headache frequency, severity and associated symptoms, compared to those who did not practice yoga[6]. There appears to be a causal relationship with stress[7] and migraines so if yoga is not your bag, maybe deep breathing or meditation therapies may be helpful.
  1. Avoid strong pongs! – Strong odours like those from perfumes and cleaning products can cause certain individuals to develop headaches and trigger migraines. A study that involved 400 people who experienced either migraine or tension headaches found that strong odours, especially perfumes, often triggered headaches[8]. This hypersensitivity to odours is called osmophobia and common in those with chronic migraines[9]. If you think you may be sensitive to smells, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke and strongly scented foods may help decrease your chance of getting a migraine[10].
  1. B-nutrient savvy – B vitamins are a group of water-soluble micronutrients that play many important roles in the body. For example, they contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis and help turn food into energy. Some B vitamins may have a protective effect against migraine headaches. Several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, (B12) and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce symptoms[11], [12],[13] . Try Alive! B-Complex Gummies which can help plug any nutrient gaps, giving you renewed energy and vitality.
  1. Consider Feverfew – The herb Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) contains a wealth of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and other properties, including the ability to reduce production of histamine. Research suggests that the parthenolide compounds may also help reduce blood vessel constriction as well as acting on the brain’s serotonin system in a similar way to medications used to treat migraine[14].  By inhibiting the production of inflammatory prostaglandins severity of attacks are reduced. MigraHerb® Feverfew Migraine Relief capsules is a traditional herbal medicine used for the prevention of migraine headaches and is suitable for vegans.

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References

[1] https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/01/improved-nhs-migraine-care/

[2] https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta260/documents/migraine-chronic-botulinum-toxin-type-a-final-scope2#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20there,2%E2%80%9310%25%20in%20men.  Published August 2021

[3] Consumer omnibus survey among 1,030 UK adults. Commissioned by Schwabe Pharma (UK) Ltd and Nature’s Way UK. Conducted by Perspectus Global. Published Summer 2022

[4] Margaret Slavin et al. Dietary magnesium and migraine in adults: A cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004.

[5] Emma Derbyshire. Micronutrient Intakes of British Adults Across Mid-Life:  A secondary analysis of the UK National Diet ad Nutrition Survey. Front Nutr. 2018;5:55

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17501846/

[7] Anker Stubberud et al. Is there a causal relationship between stress and migraine? Current evidence and implications for management. J Headache Pain. 2021 Dec 20; 22(1):155

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23832131/

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22407655/

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17681021/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4359851/

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25598270/

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449397/ [14] Anil Pareek et al. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L): A systematic review. Pharmacogn Rev 2011 Jan;5(9):103-10

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#BookTalk: Scream meets The Shining in Curse of the Reaper 😱

Best described as Scream meets The Shining, Curse of the Reaper is a page-turning horror story about an aging actor who is haunted by the slasher movie villain he brought to life.

Library Journal says: “At times deliriously fun and delightfully gory… This book is a must for fans of the slasher genre, but it also offers a sickle-sharp critique of the expendability of actors fed into the Hollywood machine.”

About the Book

Decades after playing the titular killer in the 80s horror franchise Night of the Reaper, Howard Browning has been reduced to signing autographs for his dwindling fanbase at genre conventions. When the studio announces a series reboot, the aging thespian is crushed to learn he’s being replaced in the iconic role by heartthrob Trevor Mane, a former sitcom child-star who’s fresh out of rehab. Trevor is determined to stay sober and revamp his image while Howard refuses to let go of the character he created, setting the stage for a cross-generational clash over the soul of a monster. But as Howard fights to reclaim his legacy, the sinister alter ego consumes his unravelling mind, pushing him to the brink of violence. Is the method actor succumbing to madness or has the devilish Reaper taken on a life of its own?

Buy the Book Here.

About the Author

Brian McAuley is a WGA screenwriter who has worked on everything from family sitcoms to horror films. He received his MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University, and he teaches at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, where he currently resides. Curse of the Reaper is his first novel.

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London Lovers Gifts Available at English Heritage

Looking for the perfect souvenir or gift from London? At English Heritage Shop, we have you covered. Shop our range of London inspired gifts today.

See the full range here. Don’t forget to use your EXCLUSIVE influencer discount code (see below).

London Bus Toffee Tin

Transport back in time to the 1950s with this London bus toffee tin. The highly detailed tin is shaped like an iconic double decker bus and features a whole host of characters through its windows.

Our Price £8.00 – Shop now.

The English Heritage Guide To London’s Blue Plaques

‘If people want to find out about our London history, they can go and just stand for a minute outside and look at a house where you know that person has lived –I think that’s just wonderful.’ Dame Judi Dench.

Our Price £17.99 – Shop now.

London Skyline Mug

Celebrate our beautiful capital with this London Skyline Mug. Featuring a hand drawn illustration of famous London landmarks with pops of bright red, this mug is a great gift for someone who loves to visit the famous city.

Our Price £16.00 – Shop now.

London Tube Sign Hanging Decoration

Remember a visit to London with this hanging decoration. Shaped like an iconic London tube sign, this highly detailed, handmade decoration looks great when hung on a Christmas tree, window or hook within the home.

Our Price £10.00 – Shop now.

London Art Deco

The Art Deco style gained prominence at the 1925 Paris Exposition, after which each nation seemed to adapt its own distinct architectural style.

Our Price £11.99 – Shop now.

Great Houses of London

Great Houses of London opens the door to some of the greatest and grandest houses in the world to tell the stories of their owners and occupants, artists and architects, their restoration, adaptation and change.

Our Price £45.00 – Shop now.

London Bus Necklace – Tatty Devine

Wear an iconic piece of English history with this red bus necklace by British designer Tatty Devine. This necklace makes a great gift for a lover of all things London.

Our Price £35.00 – Shop now.

Your EXCLUSIVE Influencer Offers

10% off all orders – Use code: EHS10AFF – Shop now.

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10% off All Orders at English Heritage Shop

At English Heritage Shop, you can now save 10% off all orders! Simply use code “EHS10AFF” at checkout. Code excludes sale items. Expires 2nd October 2022.

Mounted Knight with Lion Rampant Shield

A highly collectable piece of historical memorabilia, this exquisite model features a medieval knight in full military regalia posed on a horse standing ready for battle.

Our Price £55.00 – Shop now.

English Heritage – Heritage Mead

Celebrate England’s rich history with this award winning 1 star Great Taste 2014 traditional honey-flavoured mead produced exclusively for English Heritage.

Our Price £14.00 – Shop now.

Poppy Golf Umbrella

Be prepared, whatever the weather with our Poppy Golf Umbrella. This classic style umbrella has a red outer with a lovely poppy print inside.

Our Price £25.00 – Shop now.

Kids Roman Shield

Become a brave Roman soldier with this roman shield. Inspired by the historical Roman scutum, the bright red and yellow shield is sure to protect you from your enemies.

Our Price £12.50 – Shop now.

English Heritage Castles Monopoly

Swap Pall Mall for Goodrich Castle and Mayfair for Pendennis castle in this special English Heritage Castles edition of Monopoly.

Our Price £35.00 – Shop now.

Mini Medieval Chess Pieces

Celebrate the medieval history of England with these mini Medieval chess pieces. The handmade pieces are inspired by the prominent figures that appear in the architecture of medieval cathedrals.

Our Price £175.00 – Shop now.

The Original Den Kit

Encourage your children to discover the great outdoors with this Original Den Kit. The kit comes with everything they will need to create their very own waterproof den.

Our Price £44.00 – Shop now.

How To Cook the Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

Learn to cook the Victorian Way with Mrs Avis Crocombe, head cook at Audley End in the 1880s and now – as played by Kathy Hipperson – an international YouTube star.

Our Price £25.00 – Shop now.

Terrazzo Crescent Necklace – Cream

Add a subtle pop of colour to your outfit with this crescent shaped necklace. Carved from a cast piece of resin and attached to a brass batten, the cream-coloured necklace features a scatter of neon colours to create a truly unique piece.

Our Price £24.00 – Shop now.

London’s Blue Plaques Scratch Map

Keep track of your travels around London while viewing English Heritage’s blue plaques with this scratch map. The A3 map includes the names and places of 220 blue plaques throughout the capital city.

Our Price £13.00 – Shop now.

Your EXCLUSIVE Influencer Offers

10% off all orders – Use code: EHS10AFF – Shop now.

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#FreeForAllFriday Offers including 70% OFF Sale + Outdoor Clothing Discounts

Check out today’s FreeForAllFriday offers on outdoor clothing and UK fashion brands that I support:

(I earn commissions if you shop through the links below)

Based in sunny Dorset, Brakeburn designs clothing, footwear and accessories for women and men. Get up to 70% off all men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Grab the best value bargain on our great quality clothes and accessories. Shop now.

Rolpa Half Zip Pullover | Women’s – Was £64.95, Now Only £34.95! Shop Now.

New Elder Henley Shirt – Now Only £94.95! Shop Now.

Over 50% Off – Sajilo Skort – Was, £74.95, Now Only £30.95! Shop Now.

Asha V-Neck Top – Was £34.95, Now Only £17.95! Shop Now.

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Latest offers at the Poppyshop

The Poppy Shop has an extensive range of products from iconic poppy jewellery and clothing to stationery and homeware and everything in between.

There is something to suit everyone’s taste. What’s more, 100% of the profits from every single purchase made at the Poppy Shop go directly to the Royal British Legion to help fund their valuable work!

See below for the latest offers:

RBL Luxury Milk Chocolate Bar | Only £3.99 – Shop now.

RBL Prosecco and Raspberry Milk Chocolate Bar | Only £8.99 – Shop now.

RBL Prosecco Fizzy Drops Sweets | Only £3.99 – Shop now.

Buy one, get one free, in the Sale Collection – Shop now.

Platinum Plated Lily of the Valley Jubilee Bracelet | Only £34.99 – Shop now.

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