Machiavelli would have been broken by dealing with children


Cunning and duplicity eh Machiavelli? You might have got it down to a tee with state craft but you wouldn’t have had a chance with kids. Not a snowflakes in hell chance in fact.

The eldest has a history of vigorous reluctance when it comes to going to school. Ned, five years his junior, has obviously picked up on this as he’s recently started struggling against going in to nursery. Vigorously. We’ve tried cajoling, threatening and everything on the wide spectrum in between. Today I decided to try something a little bit more Machiavellian. I asked the boy to have a chat with Ned, man to man as it were, because Ned really looks up to him.

Thus, two birds were killed with one stone; Ned was told to go in to school nicely by someone who’s opinion he actually values and we were able to build the boys self esteem too.

You know sometimes I amaze even myself.

A bit of nostalgia- it’s StarFleet!

Star-FleetThe other day when I was looking for something to watch on Amazon Prime, I stumbled across something from my youth that I’d almost entirely forgotten about- Starfleet (the English language version of Japan’s X-Bomber). I’ve never been able to find it to buy- it did come out in a £30+ boxset in 2009 but that was a lot for nostalgia- so when it appeared on my recommended tab on Amazon Prime, I almost fell out of my chair in excitement.

Starfleet originally screened on ITV in October 1982, a short while before Star Wars television première. It was a science fiction puppet show, with a story arc running over 25 episodes, aliens, a giant robot (the Dai X) and really awesome facial hair:

beards of starfleet

It was brilliant in the way a lot of kids telly back then was, only it used puppets rather than animation. People of a certain age will wax lyrical about The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Ulysses 2031, Jace and the Wheeled Warriors and even Dogtanian and the Three Muskahounds but until you’ve sat down with Starfleet, you’ve missed a treat. Brian May, from Queen, even enlisted the help of Eddie Van Halen to cover the theme tune, it was THAT awesome.

The direction is actually quite cool, especially given it’s a puppet/kids show but it is very much of it’s time; lots of dramatic zooms and pull focus work. Having said that, it’s still a good watch, even though it’s quite dated.

This is exactly the sort of thing that streaming services are brilliant for- not the stuff you’re necessarily desperate to watch but the stuff you’d like to watch but are priced out of buying because nostalgia isn’t often that cheap.

Review: LEGO 10593 Duplo Town Fire Station


There are a number of different Duplo fire stations but LEGO 10593 is the latest and greatest. LEGO kindly sent Ned his very own Duplo Town Fire Station to review, along with a cute little fire station tee shirt to go with it.

duplo1There is some sort of inherent little boy appeal with fire stations, and Ned has been hard to separate from his Duplo fire station. He had fun building it and has played with the fire car and the engine for hours on end.

There’s an awful lot of blocks in this set but it didn’t daunt Ned in the slightest, the instructions were easy for him to follow and it kept his attention throughout the build.

Needless to say he’s hardly put it down since finishing it, and if some of the games have been a little rough, Ned has been rather keen to rebuild the set when he’s been overly vigorous with the building.

The Duplo Town Fire Station is a big set and it retails for around £45 from all good retailers- Amazon

Universal Children’s Day – How to Protect Your Child from Flu

Universal Children’s Day was started by the United Nations in 1954 with the ultimate goal of promoting togetherness among children and awareness of what youngsters in certain parts of the world are forced to endure on a daily basis. Promoted and coordinated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Universal Children’s Day falls on November 20th each year.

Improving the health and welfare of children around the world is one of the key objectives of this important day, which is why it is a good opportunity to learn more about childhood flu, and how it can prevented.

Spotting the signs of flu

Flu (or influenza) can be a very unpleasant illness that can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • A dry cough
  • A fever
  • A blocked nasal passage
  • Aching muscles and joints
  • Extreme lethargy
  • A sore throat
  • A dry cough

While the majority of healthy children will gradually get better through sleep and good hydration, some children will develop complications, which can include bronchitis, an ear infection and pneumonia.

Can flu be prevented?

Particularly in children, flu is very hard to prevent, as it is an airborne illness that can also be spread by direct contact with others. The flu is spread through tiny droplets of mucus, which can get into the air through coughs and sneezes.

Unfortunately, the virus can be spread through indirect contact too. An example of this would be an infected child sneezing onto their hand, and then touching an object (perhaps a TV remote control or door handle) without washing their hands. The next person to use that object is likely to pick up the virus on their hands – and contract the flu virus after touching their nose, mouth or eyes. The chances of flu being contracted by children can be reduced by stopping them from touching their nose and eyes – but this is practically impossible where young children are concerned.

While a healthy diet and good hygiene practices can slow down the spread of flu, preventing a child from contracting this potentially deadly virus is very difficult if it is present in the immediate environment. This is why the child flu vaccine is now being administered to very young children in the UK as a matter of course.

Which children are particularly susceptible to flu?

Children who have certain health conditions are at a heightened risk of developing complications related to the flu virus. For instance, children with asthma, deficient immune systems, heart conditions and learning disabilities face an increased risk of developing serious complications if they contract flu. There are also dangers associated with children contracting the virus, which is why flu vaccination is recommended for younger children.

What is the flu vaccine for children?

A flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent a child from contracting the virus. The vaccine introduces a little of the virus into the body, which stimulates the production of antibodies – protecting the child from future infections.

Before having the vaccination, a child is assessed by a paediatric nurse. The child’s health on the day is monitored, and their entire medical history is scrutinised. If the child is deemed not well enough, there is a chance that the vaccination will be postponed until a later date.

The Portland Hospital offers the flu vaccine via both a nasal spray and an injection. The nasal spray is a weakened form of the vaccine that is sprayed inside both nostrils. However, children under the age of two are not suitable for the spray – they must be given the flu vaccine via an intramuscular injection.

A doctor will advise parents on the best way to administer the flu vaccine based on the child’s age, as well as any underlying health issues. Children who have certain long-term illnesses might be given annual flu vaccinations as a matter of course.

Universal Children’s Day is all about promoting the welfare and health of children, including tackling the global flu epidemic that is afflicting the world’s youth. As flu in children is a potentially dangerous illness, prevention over treatment is usually the best course of action.

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by The Portland Hospital – the only private hospital in the UK dedicated exclusively to the care of women and children. For more information, please visit –