Media clogging up GP surgeries?

My friend told me about recent news headlines informing us that ibuprofen is linked to an increased link in heart attacks. With suspicion and cynicism, I raised an eyebrow and thought “whatever”. With everything, I turned to Google and typed in “ibuprofen causes heart attacks” and I found the NHS commentary on the subject. As you can see, this page is dated 10th May 2017. These headlines have been re-awoken three-four months after this article was first published (or last edited).

Well, I don’t believe much that the newspapers publish. I think that 99% of all things written in the newspapers are only good enough to be used as toilet paper. It’s not very often that you read well balanced, unbiased information. People who know me offline and know my opinion on media outlets such as Sky News and The Mirror might understand my shock at the NHS claiming that these sources were accurate and balanced (in the May 2017 version of events).

In this example (that ibuprofen causes heart attacks), there has been some scare mongering / fear instilling headlines – misleading the readers. I think the people on websites such as Reddit might refer to these headlines as “click bait”. According to the NHS page (linked above) “common painkillers may raise risk of heart attack by 100%” is actually referring to a painkiller that hasn’t even been available in the UK for the last 13 years!! The first question that should be asked about this article is how are they allowed to put articles like this out in public circulation when it is clearly false news…???

So, the discussion the other evening was: “have you seen the headline that ibuprofen causes heart attacks?” which led to me reading the NHS page… The following morning, my friend (the same one as the evening before) was giving me a lift and he asked “how many people do you think are clogging up GP surgeries this morning because of the newspapers yesterday?”

I think that was a rather thought provoking question to ask. All of those people regularly taking NSAIDs – how many of them are genuinely concerned for their health now that they have read these newspaper reports?

I tend not to listen to much that the news is reporting. I would far rather do my own research, especially when it comes to my health. If ibuprofen is so dangerous, it wouldn’t be available to buy for less than 50p in the supermarkets without a prescription and a doctor scrutinising whether it is safe for use in individual patients.

I have been doing some reading on the subject and I am struggling to find any concrete information which shows us any information about the people in the studies which have led to the conclusion that NSAIDs lead to the increased risk of heart attack. Did everyone in the study have a heart attack? How many of the people who had a heart attack had an underlying heart condition? How many people in the study had underlying conditions which could have led to having a heart attack?

I think people sometimes laugh at me when I laugh at the newspapers. I don’t read a newspaper. As far as I am concerned, their only use is as emergency toilet paper. But, with some of the stuff that I read in the papers, the only thing I can do is raise an eyebrow and laugh. When I do read a paper, I rarely finish an article because I wonder what kind of a reaction the author is trying to achieve. Are they deliberately trying to instil fear or even hatred?

When my friend asked the question about how many people were clogging up their GP surgeries because of the newspapers, I wondered whether he had a point or not – and I suspect that GPs might have seen an increase of patients wanting to discuss their NSAID medication because they fear that they are now at an increased risk of a heart attack. I suppose that the newspapers are only trying to convey the news, but when the Guardian is deliberately writing misleading headlines and referring to a drug that hasn’t been available for the last 13 years, I have to wonder if the media is trying to destroy the NHS? What a better way to put the NHS under pressure than to publish headlines (which people might not follow up and read the entire story) and have a load of vulnerable patients turn up at their surgeries to discuss a drug that they are probably safe to continue using! Surely, those on long-term painkillers are often the people who regularly see a doctor, who would also be keeping an eye on an up-to-date clinical picture and then would be able to advise on pain relief usage accordingly?

(Now they say that low-fat diets are killing us quicker…)


31 today


I have had to schedule this post because I’m off having fun. I’m having a day out, like I treat myself to every year. However, this year, it’s not quite what I had planned. In a few weeks I’ll treat myself to a proper day out. I will write in two weeks (today) about what I’ve been up to lately to explain my ‘rough time’. But, today is my birthday, and I can celebrate it no matter where I am.

The last 365 days have been another 365 days of learning and discovering. I won’t list 365 things of what I’ve learnt or discovered – you’ll get bored and I can’t remember what they are/were! But I have discovered and/or learnt these 10 things about myself in the last year…

  1. Within reason, there is nothing that I can’t do. Seriously. I didn’t think that I could do what I’ve done in my garden alone – but I have (with a little ‘help’ from Flossie). I have had to ask for help (advice) and I will need someone with a chain saw (or something similar) to help me do some bits, but otherwise, I think I’ve done a pretty good job.
  2. I really am stronger than I think I am. I am so proud of how I have handled my life since April/May. I don’t think it – I know it – I’ve done a really good job.
  3. My youngest siblings look up at me, and look to me, more than I realise. I fix their world’s with Pinterest boards, hugs, messages, cards and stupid pictures.
  4. I’m never too old to learn new skills – whether that is to do with maintaining my car, or looking after my house, or managing myself (like a business), or skills to do with my interests.
  5. I have willpower – I have quit smoking and I have not killed Flossie. That is proof in itself…
  6. It’s ok to turn to microwave dinners and tinned food. It’s not a statement to say that I have failed in looking after myself. It’s not a statement that says I don’t care about my nutrition. It is a statement that says “I can feed myself”. And, they’re not all that bad. It’s only ever short-term. I’m not planning on turning to this cuisine as a permanent way of eating.
  7. It’s ok to say “no” and it’s ok to say “foxtrot oscar”. If you disagree with me telling people to do one, then you might as well do one. I won’t suffer morons in my life to keep other people happy. Nor do I want to facilitate judgmental people in my life.
  8. I’m not a doormat. People think I am because I’m always willing to help others. I’m kind (apparently). But I recently learnt that I’m not a doormat. I can’t and I won’t be walked over. See point 7.
  9. I learnt that my interests change. Drawing pretty patterns doesn’t appeal to me as much as it used to; I’ve swapped it for discovering new soups to try! I have ditched a lot of the rubbish that I used to watch in favour of tuning into Inspector Morse in the evening. And, I’m not as quick to pull the chips out of the freezer as I am to cook vegetables! I’d say they’re ok interests to change!
  10. I’ve learnt that zero-hour contracts, working minimum wage jobs with unsociable hours is nothing short of exploitation. I vow to make my dreams come true by the time I’m 32! I have another 365 days to make it happen – it will, you’ll see!


3 words to describe my life

My brother once described my life as being “one long holiday”. My life isn’t easy. In March 2007, my life somewhat changed. However, I suppose, on some levels, my brother could be right. I take my jobs seriously (because I need a job), but I don’t live to work. I work to live. Life is far more important.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think I would describe my life as:


I’m such a sucker for the sea – I love the sea. I love everything about it – the sight, the smell, the noise and the way that being beside the sea evaporates everything… I can pass a lot of time beside the sea or just watching the scenery in general…


The knife doesn’t denote that life is a fight… It’s supposed to denote fun – because, that knife has brought me hours of fun in my garden. Some might have seen it as a challenge, but I saw it as a good place to go and have fun with my iPad headphones in. Sophie Ellis Bextor and I have danced around my little yard, slicing ‘n’ dicing…

Easily pleased…

I find my own entertainment. Whether I’m creating my own shadows on the wall, or if I’m watching my sunflower grow, or I’m sat knitting, or I’m just pottering around, dancing with the Henry Hoover, I find my own entertainment… Sadly, the Henry Hoover isn’t always plugged in for a little boogy around the living room…

3 good thoughts

Despite what the media would lead us to believe, we have a very good NHS.

I’m currently going through a rough time, but I can’t complain about anything (except, maybe, hospital food). The treatment I am receiving is as fantastic as that from my home-town-hospital – the staff are really supportive, caring, empathetic, understanding and sensitive. Everything has been explained to me and I haven’t been ridiculed for being scared, asking ‘stupid’ questions, or crying from the pain I’ve felt. No one has patronised me and told me “crying won’t help”. No one has treated me like I’m stupid. It’s a far contrast from some teaching hospitals which I’ve been a patient in…

I have a good circle of caring relatives and friends around me.

I know that I want to mostly be left alone, but I know that I have good family and friends who are at the end of the phone. On top of that, I have some wonderful friends who are just at the end of the road.

Living alone is ace!

It’s nearly 11:30 on a Saturday morning. I’ve had my music blaring out since 9am. I’m still sat in my pyjamas. I’ve alternated between sitting at my desk and lying on the spare bed to watch the sea. Not only that, I can sing terribly at the top of my lungs…

My view this morning – would have been nicer if I had boats to look at 😉

Tomato & Lentil soup

My 12-year-old half-sister and I share a liking for soup. Except, neither of us particularly enjoy what comes out of Flossie’s kitchen. See, Flossie thinks she’s a good cook. She creates strawberry scented cement (and flavoured if you’re able to taste it), mayonnaise with the texture of boiled egg (instead of using mayonnaise to bind the boiled eggs), and questionable flapjacks amongst other things. Yet she claims that she is good at cooking. 

I promised the 12-year-old that I would make her a little booklet of all the soup recipes that I have tried and enjoyed. My most favourite soup is the potato and onion soup which my Grandad makes (neither Flossie nor Nanna can compete (sorry Nanna)). However, there is a soup that I recently made that my friend couldn’t get enough of. Selfishly, I was wishing it would cool quicker so that I could smuggle it into the freezer and keep it for myself. Yes, I am bragging. I made a good soup which I have written up for my blog and for a 12-year-old girl.

Instead of me making the young lady in question a little booklet, she has found me on Pinterest so I have created us a private board where we are sharing our favourite pins – mostly soups and cake recipes! At least by using Pinterest, bits of paper can’t be lost or kept for “safe keeping”!

So, this blog post and soup is dedicated to the Imster…

Tomato & Lentil Soup (makes 1.7 litres)

You will need:

  • 10 salad tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 mug of lentils
  • 200ml stock (I use vegetable stock)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • Salt and pepper to season

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the ingredients are soft. Remove from the heat and blend down. Serve with crusty (fresh, not stale) bread. 

(And ignore Flossie – you don’t need a potato because you have the lentils!!)

5 tactics to living alone

These are some strategies that I have fine tuned over the last year. It might just demonstrate how lazy I am…

Cooking for one is a bit boring. In the ideal world, I would have a servant who comes and cooks my dinner for me. But I haven’t got one, so I have to compromise and pretend that my microwave is my servant. If I cook a meal (for example, a curry/casserole), I do it in the crockpot, ladle it up and freeze it (home made ready meal). If I make a pie, I cut it up, and freeze it. If I cook a chicken, I freeze it to reuse it. I freeze a lot of things because it’s cheaper to buy in bulk than it is to buy small amounts. It’s much more cost effective (and kinder to your health) than eating from the Chinese take away each night.

Cleaning is a chore. I keep my cleaning to a minimum. I don’t spend an entire day, once a week, cleaning. I spend 10-15 minutes, once a day, on one room. I have a rota. For example, Wednesday’s are the day I ‘blitz’ the kitchen – I wipe the microwave, brush the floor, put things away and make sure nothing stinks in the fridge. I’m not a dirty person, but I can be messy; if I knew that I had to clean the entire house in one day, I wouldn’t. Then I would have a rat problem or something.

Loneliness can be tear inducing. I get lonely, sometimes, living alone. That’s when I put on the trashy DVDs, I do a chore, I do something I enjoy, I pick up my phone, or I log into Skype. It’s important to have a ‘backup’ for those lonely pangs. If I didn’t have these backups, I would probably go home to Nanna and Grandad or take up alcoholism as a new career path. I also talk to Henry Hoover, if I feel exceptionally lonely.

Being a slob is so much easier to hide when you live alone. There’s no one to ‘out’ you. If you want to only clean your bathroom on a Tuesday, and don’t mind bathing in your own leg hair stubble, no one is going to know. If you don’t want to do your laundry, you won’t have anyone shaming you for being a slob, or complaining that you’re not doing their laundry. You just have to make sure that no one finds out. If your laundry or rubbish is spilling into the street, you could run the risk of being exposed. If you have visitors, it might be wise to close a few doors to deter access. If you have guests, you might want to buy some new mugs so you don’t serve them tea from saucepans. Or, try and make yourself look as though they’ve interrupted you mid-chore buy strategically putting the washing inside the machine and leaving a hoover in the middle of the room.

Lists sometimes save my bacon. Now I live alone, I don’t have Nanna and Grandad making lists and doing the lists for me. I have to write my own lists and complete my own lists. If I run out of loo roll, it’s only me to notice, and it’s only me to fix this problem. If I see a job that needs doing, no one else will notice and no one else will do the job. Therefore, if I don’t write my own list, I don’t remember what I have to do or buy. It’s a bit embarrassing when you only have kitchen roll to offer your friend when they ask to use your loo. If only I wrote loo roll on my list…

Chicken & Stuffing Pie 

The other week I gate crashed a lunch date. I’d been given a menu to look at and one item in particular intrigued me: chicken and stuffing pie. I had to have it…

The pie was yummy – chicken and stuffing in a pie served with chips, peas and gravy. That’s when I said to someone at the table that I would probably put the peas inside the pie so I didn’t have to chase them across my plate. The pie was delicious. It was really, really yummy. 

I had no choice. Either I have to frequently drive ~20 miles to eat the pie or I have to make my own pie…

But if I make the pie, can I make it better? I gave it a go:

  • Shortcrust pastry – cooked the base briefly.
  • Cooked 3 chicken breasts and chopped them up.
  • Made a mixture of sage and onion stuffing from a packet. Stirred in the chopped chicken.
  • Stirred in peas and defrosted spinach.
  • Added a tiny bit of gravy to make the mixture sticky (not wet).

Then I crammed (squashed) the mixture into the pie base before stretching the pie lid over the top. I baked it in the oven for 35 mins. I brushed the pie in gravy that I had added to the filling.

I’m actually quite shocked that food this tasty can come out of my kitchen…