Little Mix Get Weird Tour Review

The UK’s biggest girl band, Little Mix, Get Weird with fairy tale sets, sparkly outfits, bright lights and plenty of hit songs at Leeds First Direct Arena.

I’ve got to be honest here. If you told me five years ago that a girl band from X-Factor were going to be doing their world tour for their third platinum-selling album, I’d probably have laughed about it. Everyone knows not many girl bands become so popular, especially a manufactured girl band whose individual dreams were to each become a solo pop star. And on top of that, for the merged artists to follow in the footsteps of the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud, we all know is hard to believe.

Little Mix have somehow managed it though. Now the UK’s biggest girl band, they have ditched the whole X-Factor label and gained the “Get Weird” factor. And what’s not to like? With a fairy tale themed glitzy show based on their hit song Black Magic, Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Ann Pinnock and Perrie Edwards have split their 90 minutes of sass, energy and hits into segments, each part of the show displaying a different fairy tale scene like a proper musical performance.

20160326_205005Beginning the show with flashes of light and an explosion of glittery outfits in the First Direct Arena, Little Mix kicked off the Leeds concert by flying in the air whispering “all is lost and love is tragic, cast a spell, it’s called black magic.” Adding a dance sequence of pops and shaking hips to the song Grown, their silk pyjamas get ripped off to reveal red and pink sequin leotards. With a big dance intro with their gorgeous male dancers, how can you not be intrigued?

The sold-out show’s set list was definitely the best with throwbacks to their classic hits Change Your Life, Wings, DNA and, let’s not forget, Salute! Salute! They then went down into the deep dark woods with Lightning where trees were on the stage, like a real theatre set. They had it all, the props, the pyrotechnics, the choreography and let’s not forget them voices!

The show was just hit after hit with the whole arena causing an uproar of praise and amazement as Jesy burst out that famous, on point, note in the single Secret Love Song Pt. II. They even threw in a remixed version of How You Doin’ and made space for a bit of Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love to expose the girl power attitude the band have developed.

When singing Weird People, the plasma above showed a music video they had put together exclusively for the song. With pink, yellow and blue lights brightening up the stage they did, in fact, get weird. Continuing their outstanding fairy-tale themed story, they played the song The Beginning via the screen as an interlude while having an outfit change. They then lit up the stage blue for an a cappella of The End where everyone heard Perrie’s emotions pour out.

But who could say no to the sassy, hair flips in Hair? Not me. And they just had to end the show with the cracking song Black Magic, I mean the whole show couldn’t be a Get Weird Tour without it!

20160326_215135(0)I do wish they’d have sung Clued Up, cause’ you know it’s underrated but! I’d still happily go see them again and again. Five stars for definite!

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To read the published article on Northern Lights CLICK HERE.

Little Mix Get Weird Tour to come to North East

Representing all the women, Salute, Salute. Little Mix are back and ready with their Get Weird Tour.

This month girls Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall return to the North East with their BFFs and group members Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson for their major UK arena tour, Get Weird, at the Metro Radio Arena on Thursday March 17.

Little Mix announced the news after the release of their UK no 1 hit single, Black Magic.

After selling over 7 million records, gaining two platinum albums, performing at the Brit Awards and having two nominations for British Single of the Year and British Artist Video of the Year the girls are ready for more!

With special guests Nathan Sykes and JAGMAC, the girls have had to add extra dates, including two additional Newcastle dates of Saturday April 9 and Saturday April 16 after a phenomenal demand of their tour.

Kicking off in Cardiff they are visiting 14 cities in the UK and then continuing throughout Australia, Asia and Europe, closing on 25 June 2016 in Madrid.

So get ready fans and GET WEIRD!

Little Mix hit the Metro Radio Arena on Thursday March 17. 7,30pm. Ticket cost from £25.00 each.

To read the published article on Northern Lights CLICK HERE.

Divergent: Allegiant Preview

The third instalment of the Divergent Series, Allegiant, will be released on the big screen on 10 March 2016 with a whole new twist to the faction world.

Following the action filled Divergent and Insurgent, Allegiant will be split into a two-part film.

Based on Veronica Roth’s New York Times best-selling books, Tris (Played by Shailene Woodley) and Four (Played by Theo James) will continue the sequel’s story with impossible choices to be made about love, hate, confusion and sacrifice.

Going far and beyond the only city they have every known, the battle continues with their lives on the line, threatening the whole of humanity.

Entering a new world outside the fence of Chicago far more dangerous than before we have to brace ourselves for The Bureau of Genetic Welfare. For more information for viewers and fans, the official trailer is out now!

To see the full article at Northern Lights CLICK HERE.

All Star Converse

I am in the process of creating a Music Magazine for my Dissertation at University. I am making a products page for what to wear to festivals. Converse seem to be the main shoes to wear lately. I have also got sunglasses, Hunter wellies and fedora hats on the products page. If anyone had any other ideas it will be much appreciated.All star Converse


Converse high top
£17 –

Converse high top
£33 –

Converse high top
£38 –

Converse green shoes
£48 –

Converse high top shoes
£31 –

Converse blue shoes
£38 –

Converse blue shoes
£28 –

Converse red shoes
£34 –

Converse blue shoes
£28 –

Should the invisible, become visible?

In Britain alone one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Half of these mental disorders can begin before the age of 14 and around 20 percent of children have a mental disorder. But this is not widely known among the population.

Hayleigh Perry
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illnesses and most people do not even know half of them. People with a mental illness are more dangerous to themselves than they are to others and this is why a lot of people think the world needs to be more educated about them. Hayleigh Perry, aged 19 and a sufferer of depression, said: “Most people don’t even believe I have a mental illness.”

The Mental Health Foundation believes raising awareness about mental illnesses is key because they are not visible. Each year all the mental health organisations, including The Mental Health Foundation, raise awareness of mental health through a World Mental Health Day. Each year they “join together in shining the spotlight on a particular aspect of mental ill health”. This year, on October 10, the theme was Dignity.

As Professor George Christodoulou, President of the World Federation for Mental Health stated: “Dignity is a word that has a number of meanings, none of them precise — but we all recognise dignity when we see it, and more importantly, we recognise the lack of it when it’s absent.”

This year’s theme aims to express the ways in which all aspects of mental health are linked to dignity and highlight the importance of mental health. Prof Christodoulou explains that for the dignity theme, their material “looks at dignity in mental health from several directions”. This ranges from mental disorders to treatment and care.

Jacqui Walls, a ward manager at Springwood, North Yorkshire, works with the elderly who suffer from dementia. She believes it is not only the younger population that should aware of mental illnesses. A lot more elderly people are diagnosed with dementia than the young. In fact, one in six people over 80 have dementia, with 850,000 people having dementia in the UK and only 40,000 being under 65. This was not recognised enough in the past but now Ms Walls says: “A lot more people are aware of the illness so primary care is paid to give assessments and diagnose the elderly with dementia. A lot of health professions and public services are being made aware of mental illnesses.”

The Alzheimer’s Society believes that if we could delay by five years the onset of dementia it would save 30,000 lives every year. The care and treatment for people who are over 65 are improving rapidly now, though, because individuals are becoming aware of the signs and are recognising the illness. This means the elderly are living longer and happier because people now know how to treat and look after people with the illness too.

This is only one mental illness but anyone can experience a type of mental illness. It does not matter whether you are in a high well-paid job or if you are on benefits, mental illnesses are everywhere. Every year the Mental Health Foundation helps to inform people of mental illnesses by confronting ill-informed people to help them understand mental health problems. Through research, they have realised that mental illnesses cause such an impact on people’s day-to-day lives that they believe informing every person in the world means that mentally ill individuals will have more support from their family, friends, or even colleagues. By providing the world with facts and figures about mental illnesses they believe they can prevent people with mental illnesses to not feel as isolated as they may do.


Rethink Mental Illness is a charity which supports almost 60,000 people every year to get through a mental health crisis and realise they are not alone. They have over 200 mental health services and 150 support groups across England. Their whole aim is to help, give advice and information and raise awareness of mental illnesses. Nia, The Media Officer at Rethink Mental Illness says friends and family should let them know that they are not alone: “Quite often it’s the small things like asking them if they are okay, sending a text, inviting them over for a cup of tea. That’s what our Time to Change campaign is all about. You often do not have to be an expert or be worried about saying “the right thing” — it’s about being there and listening.”

Mental Health First Aid International, MHFA, is another organisation that provides help and advice towards friend and family. They offer courses to teach the public first aid in mental health so they can assist people who are having mental health problems or having a crisis. Betty Kitchener, CEO of MHFA, said: “People need to know that mental illnesses are illnesses just like other illnesses. They need to know how to recognise mental health problems in a person and how to give them help. They do not need to be mental health practitioners to have these first aid skills.”

MHFA has an action plan called ALGEE that they teach the public to follow in mental health situations. The plan has five actions:

Mental Health First Aid International, Rethink Mental Illness, The Mental Health Foundation and the World Federation for Mental Health are only a few of the organisations which support, give advice and information and raise awareness about mental health. This awareness and support needs to continue so people who do have a mental illness feel dignified and not isolated in this world. So, please, raise awareness for mental health and make the invisible illnesses more visible so people can be helped.

Duncan Spencer 12171207_10206644868013585_1467812578_o.jpg

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Stop animals suffering from our vanity

Millions of animals suffer every year in the name of beauty. How many animals suffered for the makeup you’re wearing right now?

Whilst you’re getting dolled up with the latest mascara, lipstick and blusher, animals in labs are doing the same; only once they’re ready they’re dissected. Scientists apply your moisturiser onto a rabbit’s eye to test for sensitivity, but this can irritate or even blind them. As you are applying your foundation, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, mice and rats are being locked inside tiny cages and tested on for the rest of their lives. Does this make you want to wear your make-up now? I hope not! Animals are fighting for their lives every day because of the choices you are making about what products you buy. These animals are counting on you to stop and take action by purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics.


In 2011, 11.5 million animals across Europe were being tested on; 4 million of these were right on your doorstep, being experimented on within the UK. Despite animal testing now being banned in the EU, this doesn’t stop top brands conducting these tests for their products that are being sold in other countries like the US or China. Did you know 80 percent of the world still uses animals for testing cosmetics? Carla Owen, Director of Campaigns and Communications at Cruelty-Free International, explained, “Countless rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice and rats suffer and die worldwide in routine animal tests for the ingredients that go into deodorant, lipstick and shampoo.” This gives YOU, the people of the UK a choice on whether you buy these products which have been tested on animals before being sold.

All you need to look for is the leaping bunny logo. It is printed onto every product in the world that has made a promise to always and forever be cruelty-free; this is managed by Cruelty-Free International. They dedicate themselves to help stop experiments on animals worldwide. They have so far played an instrumental role in achieving the ground-breaking European ban on animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients. Carla Owen said, “We are now working globally to achieve similar bans around the world. Israel, India and New Zealand now have the same testing and sales restrictions in place as Europe. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, and Vietnam are making strides toward ending cosmetics testing on animals and China has lifted the animal testing requirement for certain cosmetics produced within the country.”

The Body Shop is all about the leaping bunny. With being one of the top-high-street brands in the UK, they are one of the main brands Cruelty-Free International backs. They make sure none of the products they sell have been tested on animals and are committed to being a cruelty-free brand. Sharon is a Sales Advisor in The Body Shop, Sunderland and she explained, “Most people are unaware that many companies are still testing on animals, other companies include numerous ingredients into their products which can irritate the skin or be toxic for the human body. We only put in our products what is needed and what is essential for the repairing and maintenance of the skin.” All products in The Body Shop are vegetarian-friendly and a lot are also vegan-friendly which means none of their products contain animal ingredients either.

Forever Living is another international cosmetics company against animal cruelty. It is recently becoming a major brand in the UK with its well-known ingredient of Aloe Vera. Only one range of their products are not vegan-friendly and this is because it includes pollen. However Cheryl Reid, Forever Living Business Owner and Business Coach, told me, “Although the bee products aren’t vegan-friendly we have the best and most humane way of keeping our bees, so no bees are ever harmed in this process.” All their products are full of natural ingredients and she admits she wouldn’t sell the products if they weren’t cruelty-free. “Animal testing for cosmetics is completely unnecessary and often cruel. We don’t need to test on animals for cosmetic reasons, so many companies manage to test their products without doing so, which proves it’s manageable.”


Vegan cosmetics also play a big part in fighting against animal cruelty. Not only are their products leaping bunny certified but they also dedicate themselves to not include any animal ingredients. Gem is the Beauty Blogger at Buff Beauty who writes and dedicates her life around vegan cosmetics. Her opinion on animal testing is one you should consider if you want animals to be free from tiny cages; “It is both archaic and barbaric; I cannot comprehend how the workers can even carry out the processes. In this age, there is certainly sufficient technology to test ingredients and products without pain or suffering.”

“As someone who’s tested hundreds of products across the mainstream and vegan beauty sectors, I can tell you there are tonnes of cruelty-free and vegan options that are just as good, if not better, on the product efficacy side. There’s certainly no need to compromise to create any of your favourite looks.”

No matter what look you are going for according to Gem there is always an alternative cruelty-free brand to complete it. She believes that all animals shouldn’t be tested on and should be able to live their lives free and not in cages. However, a lot of the public are not aware that even though animal testing is now banned in the UK, the same brand could still be using the animal testing method in other countries for their products.

So if you want to help these animals and use more cruelty-free products she suggests, “Sites such as Cruelty-Free International and The Vegan Society are such a help and there are so many fab beauty blogs where you can find the best options for any budget, want or need.”

World animal day, October 4, is an important day to all these organisations, raising awareness to the public about issues such as animal testing on an international level. Every October 4th the world celebrates everything about animals. This day makes us recognise how much of an influence animals have on our lives. Gem became vegan on World Animal Day, “It totally opened my eyes; I’ll never ‘unsee’ what I’ve seen and am proud that veganism now extends into my work as well as my lifestyle.”

As a consumer, you can help by purchasing cruelty-free products. Carla Owen says, “Hundreds of cosmetic and personal care brands are now certified cruelty-free under the Leaping Bunny programme, including popular international brands such as Neal’s Yard, The Body Shop, Paul Mitchell, Urban Decay and Dermalogica. Leaping Bunny certified products are also found and sold in many large high street and supermarket chains, including Marks & Spencer, Superdrug, The Co-op, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.” Shopping at these places and checking the products you’re buying are cruelty-free is a brilliant way of showing how much you care about stopping animal testing on cosmetics. The world doesn’t have to like this; products can be tested through quicker, more reliable ways which don’t involve the harm of animals!

Against Animal Testing

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New University of Sunderland Presidential Team

The roles for the future Student Union’s Sabbatical Officers were announced last Friday night at the Bonded Warehouse by the previous President Chloe Jackson.

After a week’s build up, the announcement of the next president, Bilal Ali Raja, was made for the upcoming academic year, beating two other candidates David Metcalfe and Siliviya Katetakova.

It was a very stressful week for all the candidates working long hours promoting themselves through various forms including, pamphlets, leaflets and posters.

But the work paid off after Camille ‘Millie’ Thomas, Kirsty Paterson, Abraham Obinna and Daniel Punch all won the places of Vice Presidents.

Each Vice President has a different role; Camille ‘Millie’ Thomas as Education Officer, Kirsty Paterson as Community and Events Officer, Abraham Obinna as Wellbeing and Engagement Officer, and Daniel Punch as Societies and Sports Officer.

Millie was once the Well-Being and Engagement Vice President but she has now won the vote to be the Education Vice President.

She said how exciting the change in roles will be: “I’m most excited about the challenge of changing roles from Wellbeing to Education, as well as a shift in focus on my priorities.

“I feel really optimistic about the year ahead. However I mostly feel extremely grateful to every student who voted for me, and cannot wait to start.”

Her top priorities are: Listening to students and gaining as much feedback as possible, with an increased focus on London Campus students, working closely with student reps and try to develop a head rep system, and follow up on many of the requests and problems students face and see what difference she can make to their student experience.

However becoming a Vice President is new to Daniel but he said: “It’s a great honour to actually become Vice President of Sports and Societies! I’ve worked very hard to get into this position.”

“I have always wanted to get the job and I finally have it! I cannot describe in words how happy I actually am! It’s ideal as I am currently doing a sports coaching degree and with the experience I get with this job, I can finally drive for future jobs that are involved in sport.”

As these officers have the power to make a positive change to student’s lives in all areas and improve the student life, Daniel’s aim is to provide help to all the societies as he said: “My first plan of action is to listen to the current presidents of all societies and gather as much information to individually help them. I believe if the idea is reasonable and achievable I will work my hardest for them, I understand there is a budget but I will work my best to make sure all societies get the most help possible.”

He is eager to take on his new role as Vice President: “My ultimate priority is that all societies have equal chances and drive for the win. I believe there is enough talent across this university to win major events.”

Millie is just as eager as she added: “The first thing I am going to do once in post is set up weekly ‘visit your VP’ sessions, where students are welcome and encouraged to come and speak to me about any Education focus issues, this will be across all campus’s rotating as fairly as possible.”

Abraham was lost for words: “Words cannot be used to express how I felt after I was announced as the winner of Vice President of Wellbeing and Engagement.

“The first thing I intend to do is to thank the students. I appreciate every single one of them.”

These elections offered the chance to really dedicate yourself to a role and to be heard by your voters to become a voice of the students.

Kirsty Paterson is privileged that she has been given the chance to represent the students: “The first thing I plan to do is talk to as many students as possible, obviously I am only one person with one viewpoint which I would like to expand to ensure I represent the whole of the student body.”

As there are more than 16,000 students at the University of Sunderland they will have to work hard especially since the total voter turnout increased by 60 per cent which were the highest votes since this election started.

For more information on the new Sunderland University Student’s Union team go to Or to see the final voting tally go to

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A Life in the Day: Dancing is job, my passion, my hobby and my life

Cheryl Reid, 20, Dance Teacher and Gymnastics Instructor at Dance Expression, talks about how creativity is her world from teaching to being artistic

I must wake up – it’s 8 o’clock as usual and there’s so much I need to do.  I live with my parents and my 2 younger siblings – yes I’m the eldest – in a town called Malton in the North of Yorkshire. There’s a lot of rushing around on mornings as my Dad has work and my younger sister, Kirstie, has school so they’re both out the house not long after I wander downstairs. My dad, Dave, works at the North Yorkshire Highways but he used to work in the armed forces so our family lived in Germany at one point. Kirsty, only 15, has a busy year as she has her last year of school so she is working towards passing all her GCSE’s.

The first thing I do is grab a bowl of Coco Pops like I do every single morning and let the chocolate blend into the milk. Then I sit with my mum and brother as they sip their hot drinks. My brother Jason, who is 16, is always in the house at this hour as he has just started part time college and he’s only there three days a week.  On the other hand, my mum, Andrea, works shifts at Hambleton Court, a care home in Norton, so she is usually in when I am.

There’s a knock at the door, its 9am and my granddad is here as he always is. Ever since grandma passed away granddad comes round every day for a short while – it’s nice company for him since he has to live in an empty house now. He eventually sits down once he has a cup of tea and shows his disapproval of the programme by tutting as Jeremy Kyle starts.

Once granddad has left, I get my art station set out. Painting has always been a massive hobby because of my Nana – she took me to art class every Wednesday. And even though I did not do it for GCSE’s, I have always had the creative mind of an artist.

I put it on an old, scruffy table cloth, that’s covered in paint, on the living room floor and paint avidly for a few hours. I paint with water colours for this painting; with blues and greens mainly for the background. But then I paint with black and white colours – little rounded ears form and big black eyes. I create a canvas covered in pandas. It is for my boyfriend’s little sister. She has been begging for a panda painting after seeing my previous work for weeks now. My inspiration has always come from other people and what they want; I paint what they tell me too. But I don’t just paint, I also hand decorate ballet shoes.

I decorate ballet pointed shoes dancers wear with fabric pens and glitter through a pattern I have created on a piece of paper. Now I have my own Facebook group which I post up my arts and crafts work so I can sell it. I sell the pointed shoes so it helps me on the side for all my hard work and the equipment I have used.

Lately I have a new favourite obsession. I began doing Paper Art the other week and so far I have made a few. You have to be careful as its carving patterns into one piece of paper so sometimes it’s difficult when you have a lot of detail to cut out with such a sharp blade.

Since I start work at half 4, I have a late lunch which means it’s my main meal of the day. So I gulp down some chicken salad but then I have to grab a big slice of chocolate cake. I mean I try and be healthy but when you’re a dance teacher, you don’t need the gym because you exercise every day!

 I’ve always been a dancer, always. From as far back as my childhood I was dancing at Dance Expression, where I now work. At just 14 years old I was an assistant in baby ballet class and when I reached 16 I became involved in choreography at dance shows at Norton College. The teachers at dance school always knew I wanted to be like them one day. So as soon as I turned 18, they were more than happy to train me up to become one of them. Now it just feels like I do a hobby I’m passionate about, it doesn’t even feel like I’m working most of the time.

Before work I need to change into my dance gear. It’s the only clothes I own that are designer. Pineapple studios are branded on my sports bra and top while I wear my black leggings and dance shoes.

To me, it’s a fantastic job. Half of my best friends are three-year-olds and each day of the week is completely different. One day I could be teaching four-year-olds street dance then another day I would be teaching baby, senior and adult gymnastics. I even teach drama and cheerleading, which can be a great exercise for the children. I have embraced drama ever since I was 10 years old so teaching the younger generation reminds me of my younger days.

But my favourite class is contemporary dance. It’s so emotional and flexible that you can express anything you want through your physical movement. I describe contemporary as anything that doesn’t have a routine to it so me and the pupils make it up to the music. At the moment the young students are learning a contemporary routine to Imagine Dragons and I have incorporated some British Sign Language into the routine.

I may finish work around 8 but then I have to make sure all the children have left, it’s my responsibility to look after them until their parents get there. I don’t mind because they are my students and this is my job. When the little dancer’s parents arrive, I always stand chatting to someone either about their daughter’s progress or how well their son’s learnt a routine. The parents could stand talking for hours about how proud they are if they could – bless them. But I don’t have all night, sadly enough.

I have to rush home for a shower and by the time I’m refreshed, it’s such an effort to really do much of anything. On a Wednesday night it’s a ritual to see my best friends but tonight it’s time to turn the TV on and catch up with Corrie (Coronation Street), snuggling down in my red fluffy onesie that my grandma bought me, with a cup of hot chocolate.

 I’m never in bed by 11 because it takes half an hour to put on my entire eczema creams and take my inhalers for my asthma. Once I’m comfy in bed, I lay staring at my phone looking at what’s been going on with everyone’s lives on the popular social media – Facebook. It eventually makes me tired enough to fall to sleep.

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Did the Liverpool Care Pathway really need to be demolished?

Since the controversy over the now demolished Liverpool Care Pathway and a new approach to end of life care was announced in June by the Department of Health, the Commons’ health select committee has launched an inquiry into the whole system. They are examining the palliative and end of life care including what changes and improvements need to be made in all areas. But does this care plan need to be investigated or was it just the Liverpool Care Pathway being misread?

Sally Cliff, who was once a Palliative Care Lead Nurse, now a Deputy Ward Manager at Malton Hospital, said: “I think the public don’t have a clear understanding of what palliative care is about.”

The Liverpool Care Pathway, LCP, was a generic approach to care for the dying that ensured care was given to everyone, who was thought to be dying, in their last hours. However because of the criticism in the media and complaints made by relatives and the public, the LCP has now been removed.

Cliff believed the complaints made by relatives were because of the lack of communication between them and the staff, she said: “If there was communication between the relatives and staff, then we wouldn’t have had these complaints.”

Marie Lewis, another Nurse from the North Yorkshire Hospital, said the lack of communication was from healthcare professionals and doctors not explaining it properly – “A tool is only good if the people who are using it understand how to use it.”

Cliff said the LCP did work well at Malton Hospital. If a patient was on the LCP, they would be reviewed every three days and if a patient was improving then they would be taken off the care plan.

The LCP did not mean the patient was left for dead like all the negative articles in the papers were saying.

Lewis said: “The media doesn’t help because they always tend to pick up on the bad points when it’s used for the good so the public misunderstands the use of the care-plan.”

Like Cliff explained some relatives were distressed because nurses will not resuscitate when a terminally ill patient’s heart stops as they believe it’s their time to go with dignity. To the papers, this would be turned into a negative article about the care-plan.

But Cliff said before using the care-plan, the nurses would rule out any other illness which they could treat before putting the patient on the pathway as they would only be on the care-plan if terminally ill.

Also, as Cliff is on the National Gold Standards Framework team, GSF, she hears all the discussions revolving around palliative and end of life care including how to improve the quality of care so it leads to better outcomes for their patients.

The latest news from the GSF meetings is that the new care-plan guidelines for the palliative and end of life care are now available for nurses around the UK.

However Cliff has informed us the guidelines are similar to the Liverpool Care Pathway but with a few differences and with a new name of “Last Days of Life pathway”. These guidelines are yet to be put into action so it is unsure whether this care-plan works better than the LCP or will it gain a just as bad reputation?

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It’s an Idopathic Intracranial Hypertension Life

Imagine your head feels as though it’s been crushed by a vice, a headache unlike anything you’ve ever felt before… All because you had taken a birth control pill.

Hayleigh Perry, now 19, was left with unbearable headaches after being prescribed with a birth control pill to help with her acne problem. “Imagine your head feels as though it’s been crushed by a vice, a headache unlike anything you’ve ever felt before, where every part of your head hurts and the pressure is unbearable, and it’s a pain no-one can see,” Rachel Turner, original owner of the IIH Support Forum, described the condition of a rare illness called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH). It only affects every one or two people in 100,000 and Hayleigh, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, has this illness.

It began at the age of only 15 when she was trying to get rid of her skin problem. What she didn’t know was that it would cause unbearable headaches and migraines right behind her eyes. Everyone, including her family, thought they were just migraines but her mother soon realised the sheer pain Hayleigh was receiving was irregular. She said: “It came across as this idea at first because of my large sensitivity to light and irregular pain behind the eyes. The pounding to the head was like someone was constantly taking a mallet to my skull.”

IIH does have these symptoms, though. IIH is a rare condition which a lot of people are unaware of. This is because you cannot be screened for it, the only way anyone knows you have it is through exhibiting the symptoms and having a scan to see your eyes and brain. Headaches are the main symptom and can be mistaken, like Hayleigh and her family thought, for migraines.

As Hayleigh did not know this, visits to the local doctor began. “I started taking a mixture of painkillers; paracetamol and codeine,” she said. “These, of course, had no effect. So came more visits to my GP. This time onto a migraine relief tablet. Pizotifen, this of which did not work neither.” After many trips to the doctor, it came to a point where the doctor did not know what to do himself.

As it is a rare condition a lot of GPs have not heard of IIH or even treated someone with the condition before. This meant, like Hayleigh’s doctor, they would not understand the symptoms. Referring Hayleigh to a paediatrician at the local hospital was all her GP could do. “This was a huge step into finding out what was going on,” she said. “After taking a look at me my paediatrician sent me on my way with some stronger painkillers, and an appointment for an MRI scan.” At the age of only 16, she was having to mature quickly in order to understand what was happening in her brain.

Despite all of the progress of finding out what was wrong, by January 2012 she was admitted to hospital with an increasingly bad headache. Not only that but it was made worse with a throat infection, glandular fever and a urinary tract infection. “I was admitted for five days and in that time I was given a lumbar puncture; a procedure in which clear bodily fluid, Cerebrospinal fluid, is drained off the brain through the spine to release the pressure in my head,” she explained. The doctors examined her MRI scan and it determined this was no brain tumour, this was, in fact, a rare condition, IIH.

IIH is a neurological condition that still to this day has an unknown cause, only symptoms can determine the condition. Intracranial pressure builds up around the brain without any existence of a tumour, just like with Hayleigh. It can arise spontaneously and obscurely and there is no cure. It does not matter what gender, age, race, body type or background you come from, anyone can get IIH.

Hayleigh’s doctor immediately prescribed her with Diamox, a medication that decreases the symptoms of altitude sickness. This helped her lose fluid quicker as this medication helps decrease the build-up of bodily fluid. But this brought bladder problems which interfered with daily activities. She said: “I would constantly need to use the toilet which in any case was not pleasant for me.”

The medication did work for several months until her vision started to become blurred and her headaches began worsening once again. Each time it resulted to another lumbar puncture. After deep research, it was established that the pill she was taking for her acne was the main cause of her IIH to the extreme. Without being on these tablets they noticed a big difference in the amount of pain and suffering. Although she will always be diagnosed with IIH, the acne tablets are thought to have been what triggered the condition.

A few other IIH sufferers have been through a similar situation to Hayleigh, including Rachel Yeo, 26, from Wales who developed IIH from taking Minocycline to reduce her acne. According to research, it is rare for an acne drug to do this, and scientists have still not proven the exact cause of IIH, but it has happened in a few instances.

For now, Hayleigh is in remission but for others with IIH they are not so lucky: “I am not as severe as some of the other sufferers out there, but with IIH, you can never tell when things might change for the worse.”

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