Author Archives: Harriett provides us with 10 fun tips for grandparents at Christmas

Christmas is a great time for families getting together and different generations bonding over wonderful traditions. However, for the generations with the biggest age gap it can be difficult to find common ground and for them to find an activity that they will both enjoy. Here’s a few ideas for when the dinner has been eaten, the presents opened and the Queen’s speech watched on Christmas day or any of the surrounding dates.

Gifts they can both enjoy

If you are picking the present from your child to their grandparents try and choose something that they both might enjoy such as some of the ideas below. A simple game, or toy like a yo-yo, may be fun or sweets are likely to go down well!

Introduce each other to their childhood games

As with the yo-yo, there are likely to be games played by the grandparents in their youth that today’s children will enjoy. On the other side of the coin, Grandma may enjoy having a go on a game app on the tablet, or joining in with a game you play at home.

Do some of the Christmas cooking together

Maybe this could be the start of a new tradition, so while mum or dad take care of the main bits of the Christmas meals, Granddad and grandchild can prepare the dessert or one element of the main course. Just make sure the main cook is not too inconvenienced!

Put on a performance

For the more musical or theatrical perhaps Grandma can direct or star in a play or musical display with the grandchildren. A simple play about Christmas, re-enacting a favourite story or singing a few carols will provide some honest entertainment before everyone has their traditional nap.

Make some Christmas crafts

Christmas provides a great opportunity to get the arts and crafts kit out. See if Granddad wants to help to make some decorations or drawing some festive scenes. If it is in the days running up to the main event, they could create some Christmas cards to be exchanged on the day.

Take a favourite DVD

Films such as Frozen or other Disney favourites appeal to all ages. Have a family viewing of the little ones’ favourite film and watch Grandma become the latest fan of the animated classics.

Go for a ride out

This is one which can benefit from the help of care at home services. If there is another person to help out with the domestic tasks, then it is perhaps worth stepping out and seeing a local tourist attraction such as zoo or aquarium.

Complete a jigsaw puzzle

Here is one classic activity enjoyed by young and old. Bring a few puzzles of different levels to the Christmas Day gathering and see what they can achieve when they put their heads together.

Get the photo album out

It will be interesting and educational to show the youngest family members pictures of the family ancestry, especially ones which show the grandparents in their younger year.

Go for a walk

A nice brisk Christmas Day walk can help everyone digest the big dinner and the change of scenery will have benefits to everyone’s mood and health.

See the full article here

Yo Yo

Feeling under the weather campaign from the NHS

By on 11 10, 2014 in elderlyHealth and Wellbeing

Today we share a post from The NHS: Top doctors urge people not to store up health problems if “feeling under the weather”


The NHS has launched its national public awareness campaign in a bid to persuade people to seek advice early from their local pharmacist if they are ‘feeling under the weather’.

The campaign, ‘feeling under the weather’ has been launched to encourage people, particularly older people and those with existing respiratory conditions, to nip health problems in the bud by seeking early advice from their local pharmacist.

Every year the NHS sees a huge increase in numbers of emergency admissions to hospital over the colder months. Those with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis are particularly vulnerable, and for frailer and older people, even the common cold can become more serious.

Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s clinical director for acute care, said:

“As a doctor who has spent some 30 years working in A&E, I know we have to do better at helping people stay well, not just picking up the pieces when they fall seriously ill. The NHS has not spent enough time broadcasting that message in the past.”

“Every winter, doctors and nurses see a big increase in the number of older and frail people who are admitted to hospital because of respiratory or other chronic conditions usually worsened by immobility, the cold and viral illnesses.”

“People often don’t seek advice for wheezes, coughs and sneezes because they don’t think it’s serious enough, or they don’t want to waste their pharmacist’s time. But no problem is too small for your local pharmacist, who is a highly trained and trusted source of health advice.”

Building on the success of last winter’s campaign and the evidence base for the urgent and emergency care review, ‘feeling under the weather’ aims to relieve pressure on A&E departments by promoting earlier access to health advice and self-care information from community pharmacy services or NHS Choices.

NHS winter planning started earlier than ever before this year, with hospitals, GPs, social services and other health professionals coming together to identify local pressures and respond in every area of the country.   The NHS is determined to protect the good standards of service that patients deserve, despite the very considerable pressures we anticipate over the winter months.

Dr Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for NHS England, said:

“Pharmacists and their teams are well trained and well placed to be able to offer advice to people seeking help. They can provide medicines advice and support for minor ailments, advise you about how to manage a long term condition and tell you if something needs more urgent medical attention from your GP, or even your local hospital.”

“You don’t need an appointment and many have consultation areas so your local pharmacy is a good place to start when you’re feeling unwell.”

“We would encourage people to seek help from their pharmacist when they first feel unwell rather than waiting until it becomes more serious.”

This year’s awareness campaign targets people aged over 60 years old, as well as the carers of older people. It encourages more use of the self-care information about minor ailments and illnesses on the website NHS Choices, as well as more use of the services and advice available in community pharmacies.

The public will see posters on bill boards, phone kiosks, shopping centres and supermarkets, including sites near pharmacies. Adverts will also be run in national newspapers, magazines and a range of websites, as well as on commercial radio stations. Posters are being sent to pharmacy services for display.

Many people are not aware that they can get advice on minor ailments from their local community pharmacy service. Expert help can be provided to people for them to manage their long-term conditions or for ailments such as a bad cough, wheezing, a cold or sore throat. Many pharmacies have longer opening hours than the average GP practice, and most have a private consultation area. If people need to see a doctor, they will be advised accordingly.


Arthritis Research UK Marketplace

By on 10 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

On Friday 17th October, Visbuzz were lucky enough to attend the Arthritis Research UK Marketplace. The event aimed to speed up the realisation of ideas and maximise the impact for people affected by arthritis, improving quality of life.

Arthritis Research UK is the charity dedicated to stopping the devastating impact that arthritis has on people’s lives. As well as new treatments and therapies, good inclusive product design, aids and adaptations can have a transformative effect in enabling people to live well with a long-tern condition.

There were multiple opportunities to meet people involved in the funding, design, development, manufacture and sale of innovations that can help people with arthritis live pain-free, independent lives.

We were able to share ideas, network with and learn from the experts and receive important information and advice. The event had a packed itinerary including VIP speakers, workshop sessions delivering a mixed and interactive programme, and themed exhibitor zones.

Speakers included Baroness Sal Brinton who provided the key note speech. She has been a Liberal Democrat peer in the House of Lords since 2011 and she was appointed co-chair (and Liberal Democrat spokesperson in the Lords) for health in November 2013, an area she has personal experience in as she has rheumatoid arthritis.

We heard from Professor Alan Silman – Medical Director and Director of Policy and Health Promotion, Arthritis Research UK, discussed why innovation within product development is important and how it is key to listen to those affected by Arthritis when developing products.

Liam O’Toole is the Chief Executive Officer, Arthritis Research UK and responsible for leading their workforce in their fight against arthritis. Liam helped us to understand more about Arthritis Research UK and the work that they are doing.

Visbuzz also attended a talk from Allyson Reed – Director of Corporate Relations, The University of Warwick, providing information on how universities can support the innovation process.

The day was informative and energising and it was excellent to listen to some of those affected by arthritis, hear their stories and get their perspective.


Be Prepared As The Seasons Change: What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Today, the weather has turned. We have been so lucky over the summer that the dark, wet weather we are usually so ready for comes as a bit of a surprise. We can hold onto the fact that summer was good to us, however as autumn turns onto winter, the days become shorter and many of us try to fight the instinct to hibernate.

The weather can have a big impact on our mood, and it is good to be aware of some of the reasons behind this so we can prepare for the winter season and how it can affect us.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern and is thought to affect about 2 million people in the UK.  The symptoms of SAD recur regularly each winter and usually start between September and November, continuing until March or April and are similar to those for depression.  These include a lack of interest in life, lethargy, feelings of anxiety and an inability to cope.

Treatments for SAD include counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and antidepressants, which are used to treat other types of depression. SAD can also be treated with light therapy which for some people can improve mood considerably. Light therapy involves sitting in front of, or underneath, a light box – a lamp in various designs with a very bright light.

SAD is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year so light therapy can work by simulating the sunlight that’s missing during the darker winter months. The additional light encourages your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (the hormone that affects your mood).

You can find out more about SAD, symptoms and treatment from the NHS Choices Website.



Dell for Entrepreneurs

By on 09 22, 2014 in communicationTechnology

Dell for Entrepreneurs has announced its Founders 50 Fall 2014 cohort – the second class to join its Founders 50 initiative, and we are very happy to report that Visbuzz is included. We have been identified by Dell as a company to watch this autumn. Companies have been chosen based on their record of disrupting their respective industries through innovative products and creative solutions.

Dell believes entrepreneurs are the foundation for innovation, economic growth and job creation and works to empower entrepreneurs around the world to pursue their endeavours by providing them with the tools, technology and resources they need to be successful. Dell has a history of supporting entrepreneurs both within Dell, and externally, with Dell Ventures, Entrepreneur in Residence, and the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network – which have all given Dell the opportunity to further empower high-growth startups while  creating lasting customer connections.

The Founders 50 continues this effort while specifically honing in on companies that have technology as a backbone, are on the verge of becoming household names, have received venture capital or high-level angel funding and are poised for rapid growth and expansion, including sales, revenue or expansion in new markets. Founders 50 companies receive access to consulting and technology resources needed to scale; capital; marketing and branding support; sales enablement and the opportunity to explore new partnerships within Dell; as well as key networking and mentorship opportunities with business and industry leaders.

When Founders 50 companies complete their two-year term, they become Founders Club Alumni, joining more than 115 other companies who have participated including Skyera, CloudFlare, Everloop and Mass Relevance. 

Dell Founders 50 Fall 2014 Class
Dell’s Fall Founders 50 participants, of which Visbuzz is one, exemplify how innovative technology solutions can be used to effect positive change and catalyse business growth.

Find out more, and see a list of all 50 companies here.


Staying in Touch

By on 09 08, 2014 in Activities

Last week marked the beginning of new stages of life for lots of children and young adults. New schools, new classes, new teachers, new friends, and with some people getting ready to start college and university, the mix of excitement and trepidation could be felt in the air. Parents watching children grow up faster and faster trying to hang on to them as long as possible, before they grow up too fast.

We all go through different stages in our lives, and after having a bit of a clear out last week, I found some letters in the loft. My memory is not to be relied upon so I find photos and letters really nudge my memory and help me to remember previous events, friends and general happenings. The letters were from people I had been friends with at school, and from friends at college and even a friend from work. As technology has become more advanced, we generally move forward with it, so I had forgotten the amount of letters I used to write. Now it is an occasional card to friends.

We make friends throughout our lives, and we have different friendship groups depending on the activity we are involved in. School friends, neighbourhood friends, work friends, friends we meet through clubs, friends we grow up with. With the advent of social media, children growing up now will have Facebook friends they may never even meet, however these people can still be a valid source of help, support and enjoyment.

I am still friends with some people from school, and university and I cherish those friendships and the history we share. Looking at the pile of letters, some of the people who I wrote to as a child, or as a teenager, I no longer see. I wonder how they are and what their lives have become, however just because I have limited or no contact with them now, it does not diminish the impact we had on each other’s lives. Every friendship, kind word and smile will have made me into the person I am today.

So, here is to all the children with new beginnings, and new friends who will shape them into the amazing people they will become.


Playing in the woods.

Today we share a post from The National Trust and their Outdoor Nation Blog posted on August 15, 2014.

It’s not just children who need play, argues Fiona Harrower, Visitor Experience Manager at Hatfield Forest.

Virtually all of my favourite childhood memories involve playing outdoors.  Even now, when I’m meant to be grown-up, I still can’t resist a puddle or balancing along a fallen tree.

Den building at Hatfield. © Fiona Harrower

For the last couple of years we have celebrated the national Play Day at Hatfield Forest with one goal: to encourage play with no play equipment.  With a thousand acres of woodland and grassy plains to explore this should have been a realistic challenge.

Or at least you would have thought so.

But I’ve noticed that many of our visiting parents are desperate for a trail to follow, a map to highlight where to play, actual trees and logs signposted as okay to play on.  Whereas their children, when allowed to just play freely, are quite happy to find their own spots, make their own games and use their imagination.

So our role is to teach the parents how to play in the outdoors, as the kids are experts at it already.  With a large number of veteran trees, we have an added challenge of balancing the promotion of natural play with the conservation of Hatfield Forest.

The 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 campaign has helped us to promote our no need for play equipment message, by giving us a tool to spark families’ imagination.  The scrapbooks, and even more so the stickers, are a big hit.  Our top play activities at Hatfield Forest are tree climbing, den building, making grass trumpets, exploring inside a tree and making mud pies.  We hold Wild Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays and have over 150 children participating each week.

Pie making during Mud Week! © Fiona Harrower

But play isn’t limited to Wednesdays only; it’s something we promote every day.

Play is one of the simplest ways to get kids outdoors.  The health benefits are clear.  Ask a child if they want to go on a five mile hike and you may get a moan, but spend hours running through long grass, climbing trees and building dens and they won’t notice they’re ‘exercising’.

Play is a universal way of connecting people to the outdoors.  It’s something children intrinsically know what to do.  We just need to give adults the permission to play too.

My 30 days of Adventure.

By on 08 26, 2014 in ActivitiesAdventure

My 30 days of Adventure.

On 25th July, along with Psychologies magazine, I started my 30 days of adventure. As of Saturday 23rd August my 30 days were complete. I must say, it was not easy. Adventure is such a big word. It is powerful and full of expectation and promise. Well, I made it work as best I could.

My 30 days of adventure included a wide range of activities, and these activities conjured up a plethora of emotions. Some activities were peaceful and led me to times of thoughtfulness and contemplation, these included paint by numbers, magnet craft and a walk in the park in the sunshine. In contrast, the result of me saying yes more meant I socialised more often, spoke more to people that I already knew, and got to know those I did not. I got involved in different running clubs and visited new places. These activities made me feel happy and gave me a sense of achievement and fulfilment.

The activities that were particularly adventurous for me were those that were right out of my comfort zone, those that made me think “really, me, oh dear!”. In this group I include driving someone else’s car, joining a new social group, driving to new places and in particular taking a new route which included an extremely small single lane track.

There are still some adventurous activities from the past 30 days to come to fruition, for example on one day I booked tickets to the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women and the Games are about survival in the face of adversity and the strength of the human spirit. I’ll be going to watch the Games in a couple of weeks.

My adventures will go on, and I will continue to be more open to things which are not part of the routine, and will no doubt drag some unsuspecting individuals with me along my way. I must simply remember to keep saying yes more.

Find out how Psychologies got on here.



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