How’s your hearing?

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Don’t suffer in silence, EarLab can help get you enjoying life again

It can be difficult to tell someone you think they need to get their hearing checked. Even for older people, the stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids leads many to ignore the problem for years.

Hearing loss can be frustrating but also socially isolating, meaning people withdraw from busy environments or background noise.

Even from the age of 40, without ear disease, we start to lose our ability to hear high pitched sounds. Some, with a family history of hearing loss or with ear disease, will lose hearing more appreciably at a faster rate. Hearing loss in this respect is due to inner ear loss (sensorineural) and not usually reversible.

Some hearing loss, however, is conductive. This means sound cannot get to the inner ear due to obstruction in the canal (wax, infection, abnormalities) or problems with the ear drum and bones of hearing.

I would encourage patients with hearing loss to get checked out by a professional. A good start is to have the ears checked and cleared of wax at which point a proper assessment of the ear health can be made. After this hearing tests and occasionally referral to an ENT clinic may be advised.

l Mr David Walker
Consultant ENT Surgeon, EarLab, Haslemere

Ear wax removal and specialist advice
£85 for both ears

Wildlife garden & nature photography competition

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

We’ve teamed up with Adam Henson to invite you to send us pictures of the wildlife in your garden – or local park – and win seeds to help improve biodiversity

One of the UK’s best-known farmers and TV presenter Adam Henson has launched a range of British Wildflower Seeds, the first product line to launch from his new online store, Wildscape.

Developed in collaboration with leading experts in ecology and sustainable agriculture, Wildscape promise to create beautiful spaces, bringing joy to all those who experience them and creating essential habitats to foster biodiversity.

“I believe everyone should consider growing wildflowers,” says Adam, “not only are they beautiful native British blooms, but they also support local biodiversity. No matter if it’s a small pot in an urban setting or large garden, wildflowers create a mini ecosystem right outside your window, attracting a variety of birds, insects, and other delightful creatures.”

Someone who is doing their bit for nature and enjoying it is Chris Waymouth who has shared some pictures of some creatures in his Buckinghamshire garden.

“I was brought up in a small village in Northamptonshire and my father was a lover of wildlife and the outdoors,” Chris tells us. “I used to roam the fields beside the River Nene, absorbing all that the countryside had to offer.

“I used to roam the fields beside the River Nene, absorbing all that the countryside had to offer.”

“As a youngster I wasn’t allowed to touch my father’s prized Rolleiflex camera. I had to make do with a Kodak Brownie, until I was given a simple Agfa for my 21st birthday and this really kickstarted my lifelong interest in photography.

“When I met my wife she had some pro-quality Canon kit and this took me to another level. Digital cameras arrived on the scene and this was another step forward. Finally, three or four years ago, I became pretty serious about my hobby and invested in a mirrorless camera with extremely high resolution and I’ve expanded my range of lenses to seven. These include macro for close-ups of insects and flowers etc, and very long telephoto lenses for bird and wildlife shots.

“My garden in Jordans backs on to beech woods. It is not a showpiece; I prefer a more natural look including a wild area at the back. It is through here that my four-legged visitors arrive: muntjac, roe deer, fox, badger, hedgehog, not to mention the two or three rabbits who are usually trimming my lawn when I pull back the curtains in the morning. Plus, of course, the squirrels. I enjoy stretching my longest lenses to maximum reach to get full-face shots of all of these.

“Then there are the birds. Lots of them! I have half a dozen feeders in the front garden and a couple at the back and clearly the word is out among our feathered friends that this place is good for a meal or two. The list of regulars include all the usual garden birds: robin, blackbird, song thrush, chaffinch, bullfinch, blue tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, dunnock, wren, jay, green and great spotted woodpeckers and just recently a brambling, not to mention the ever-present woodpigeon, collar dove, magpie, jackdaw, crow, green parakeet and the red kite circling majestically overhead.

“Although I do not have a huge array of flowers, there are plenty to attract bees and a variety of bugs and this is where the macro lens comes into its own, capturing the subject at 1.4x life size. With the high resolution of the camera (a Canon EOS R5) I can then “crop” (zoom into) the photo once it is on my computer and end up with some highly detailed, sharp images.

“I have something like 35,000 photos on my computer – here are just a few for you to enjoy.”

To enter, upload your pictures to Instagram or Facebook and tag @roundandaboutmag with the hashtag #RAphotocompetition to be involved and we’ll choose a winner to receive the seeds. The competition ends June 1st.

Green & easy! Wonderful watercress recipes

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

May brings us the start of British watercress season, thanks to The Watercress Company’s recipes

Watercress is packed with over 50 vitamins and minerals, including exceptionally high levels of vitamins C, E and A, folate and calcium.  It is also rich in iron (nearly twice as much as spinach) that’s more easily absorbed, making it an essential addition to any vegetarian or vegan diet.  

Another little-known fact about watercress relates to amino acids; compounds that play many critical roles in the body, including regulating the immune function and building muscle. The best sources of essential amino acids are animal proteins like meat, eggs, and poultry but, unusually for a plant, watercress has a full complement of the nine essential amino acids.

Hot honey salmon  & watercress salad


• 80g watercress

• Two salmon fillets

• One lemon, quartered

• One avocado, sliced

For the hot honey:

• 50ml honey

• Two garlic cloves, halved

• 1-2 tsp chilli flakes

For the quick pickled red onions:

• ½ red onion, thinly sliced

• 2tbsp vinegar – white wine
or apple cider

• ½ tsp salt

•1tsp sugar

“Watercress has a full complement of the nine essential amino acids”


1.        For the hot honey, warm the honey gently in a small pan. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and allow to infuse. Once fragrant and spicy, remove from the heat.

2.        For the red onions, in a bowl or jar with a lid, add the sliced onion. Pour over the vinegar before sprinkling
in the salt and sugar. Give it a mix, or shake, to combine and
let it sit while you prepare everything else.

3.        Brush one side of the salmon with the hot honey. Lay it coated side down in a hot pan and cook for five or six minutes. Brush the topside with a little more of the honey, flip and repeat.

4.        To assemble the salad, split the watercress between two plates. Add ½ the avocado to each plate. Top with the salmon fillets and a spoonful of the red onion. Drizzle everything with a little more of the hot honey.

5.        Serve with the lemons, squeezing fresh lemon juice over everything.

Ä Roast broccoli, Parmesan & watercress salad


• 140g broccoli florets, about half a head of broccoli

• 40g watercress

• 30g Parmesan, shaved

• 15g pomegranate seeds

•Oil, salt & pepper


1.         Preheat the oven to 180°. On a baking tray, arrange the broccoli florets. Spray or drizzle a little oil over the broccoli and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10-12 mins, until the broccoli is cooked.

2.         In a bowl, toss the cooked broccoli together with the watercress and arrange on a plate. On top, shave the parmesan over the salad. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds for a pop of sweetness.

For these and other inspiring watercress recipes, visit or find LoveWatercress on Facebook and Instagram

Support for better sleep from Simba

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Tossing and turning? Hot and bothered? We’ve teamed up to offer some tips for a sounder slumber thanks to the team at Simba

We’re constantly told how important a good kip is for our health. However, if you struggle to get the recommended sleep, this can only add to the feelings of tiredness and anxiety.

As the Simba team recognise, there are many reasons for not getting enough sleep, not least that the nation is home to an estimated 15 million snorers, keeping 78% of partners awake! Lack of sleep and stress are common bedfellows and can create a negative feedback loop that can be self-sabotaging.

Our body temperature and room temperature can have a big impact of our sleep cycle which is regulated by the circadian rhythm and light and dark cycle. Temperature for sleep is important, as the body cools itself down by sending heat away from the core and towards the extremities using vasodilation. Cold feet may disrupt this process, so you may find bed socks will help you to nod off more easily.

No matter the time of year, the ideal sleeping temperature is between 15.5-19.5C (that’s 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit). As a general rule, your bedroom should be cooler than other rooms in the house and babies need to sleep in a cooler room (between 16C and 20C).

As any woman aged over 40 will know, trying to maintain a steady temperature all night can prove impossible, with many bedrooms becoming a sweaty, anxious landscape (partner or no partner) in the wee hours.

There’s more bad news for bad sleepers. A higher body temperature is associated with a decrease in restorative REM or slow-wave sleep. During this phase of the sleep cycle, the body ceases most-temperature regulation which makes us more sensitive to the ambient room temperature, and more likely to wake from overheating. Lack of REM sleep leads to grogginess, impacts the immune system, memory, and focus.

And it’s not just hormones, of course: globally, night time temperatures are increasing faster than day time temperatures due to the climate crisis.

So what can be done? Creating good sleep hygiene, and a wind-down bedtime routine without screens has been proven to help, as has opening your windows and cutting back on stimulants. Certain types of mattresses can be warmer than others, so if you’re overheating at night, it’s worth switching from a memory foam mattress to a cooler mattress. Mattresses that promote airflow and use cooling technology can help reduce episodes of overheating and improve overall comfort.

Clever choices of bedding will also help, including The Simba Renew Bio™ fill. The clever sleep experts at Simba have crafted the down-like soft and warm breathable duvet for a non-clammy feel. The fresh, cotton outer features the Stratos® temperature control tech to help dissipate excess heat. We can assure you that this sleep saviour can have you sleeping like a baby (not the best example, as new parents will attest) instead of being at the mercy of those hot night time flushes. It’s also made from recycled PET bottle fibres, biodegrades at end of its life and almost totally dissolves in about two years when deposited in a landfill environment.

Watch this space for more info and a competition to win a Hybrid® Mattress Topper in our March competition.

For more tips or to browse please visit

A home from home

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Birtley House Nursing Home is unique and unlike other care homes

At a time when new care homes are opening across the South-East on a weekly basis, Birtley House offers its residents a very different proposition. It takes years to build a true home, a bank of trusted staff and an excellent reputation, as we have done. 

Established in 1932, and a fourth-generation family-run business, the owners of Birtley House live on-site and our history and experience in care means we truly understand what it takes to create a genuinely homely environment whilst offering the highest quality service not just in care but with quality of life for the resident at the heart of it.

We pride ourselves on creating the ultimate home-from-home stay that exudes a vibrant, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We encourage our residents to feel at home by bringing their own furniture and personal belongings, so they have familiar home comforts available to them. Birtley House prides itself on no specific visiting times, and with ample parking on site, family and friends can visit whenever they wish.

Birtley House provides specialist care services for both long and short-term stays including respite, and convalescent care, palliative care, or end-of-life support. Boasting a strong care team, Birtley House has on-site well-being staff such as physiotherapists, and an in-house chef creating delicious and nutritious food throughout the day, much of it sourced from our own large kitchen garden.

We offer potential residents a variety of accommodation options including nursing home rooms and our unique West Wing apartments, both of which have 24-hour nursing care on call. We also have an over-65’s retirement development of two-bedroomed supported-living flats, designed to provide a calm and worry-free life for those who are looking for more independence and flexibility, and who don’t require care just yet.

We always say that the best way to decide if Birtley House is right for you is with a visit. When you enter any care home, you will get an immediate feel as to whether the atmosphere and environment suit you, and what you are looking for. We are here every step of the way to guide you with impartial advice, and help you make an educated choice that is right for you.

For an insight into life at Birtley House, please take a moment to look at our social media accounts. Additionally, there is an independent website which publishes verified reviews from both residents past and present and their relatives, and our entry can be found here. We are very proud of our 9.9 out of 10 review score on

Find out more at, call 01483 892 055 and email [email protected]

Love your liver

Karen Neville

Health & Nutrition

Tiffany Redman of Point9 Acupuncture, Henley, has some tips for how we can all get 2024 off to a healthier start

What can we do this January to kick-start our health for 2024? Giving our liver some love after all the festivities is a great start!

In acupuncture, the liver plays a crucial role in regulating emotions, storing blood and ensuring the free flow of energy throughout the body. The liver is known as the Commanding General of the body, having more than 500 functions.

If there’s an imbalance in the liver it can lead to various health issues, emotional changes, digestive problems, menstrual irregularities, insomnia to name a few. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is the organ that governs a woman’s health more than any other organ.

What can you to if the above resonates with you? Book an acupuncture appointment. Alternatively nourish your liver with a good clean diet, think about eating the rainbow and eat your last meal by 7.30pm so the liver can detoxify itself. Studies have shown a link between liver damage and external pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticides.

Even chemicals in your house cleaning products can cause your liver to work extra hard. One way to reduce this exposure is to switch to more natural cleaning products or even make your own.  Good Housekeeping offers a great guide:

Your Skin is your largest organ and at its most vulnerable when wet. From soaps to moisturisers/ oils/ serums/ talc/ bubble bath/ shampoos and conditioners. All of them may contain chemicals which the liver then has to contend with. Switch to natural alternatives such as Tallow,

Learn more or book an appointment for more help at

Care is not just for Christmas

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Almost 1.5 million people feel more lonely at Christmas than any other time, do what you can to make this one full of love and joy

Christmas is a time of great joy and celebration but for many, especially the elderly, it can be an unwelcome time bringing sadness and loneliness.

It’s important to stay connected with any older friends or relatives, invite them to family get togethers and events, how about an uplifting carol concert or a trip to the panto? A simple outing to a garden centre for example with a seasonal display may make all the difference. Some may be content to enjoy just staying in the warmth and comfort of their own home so always make sure your attentions are welcome, they may not want to join in the excesses of the season.

If there isn’t time to pop round in person, pick up the phone, a tech savvy elderly person may benefit from a video call, just seeing a friendly face can make all the difference. Perhaps set up a rota among yourselves to vary the calls and keep in touch.

Help with the shopping, many grandparents will love the opportunity to spoil their young relations at this time of year, they may need help to seek out suitable gifts. Offer to go shopping with them, many will enjoy having some company on their visit to the supermarket, involve them in your shopping visit, if they’re coming to you for the festive season ask them what they would like to eat too.

Consider their mobility too, icy surfaces and wet conditions can make getting out and about tricky and make elderly people more susceptible to falls. Check their home and access to it is safe to walk on, make sure they have any extra walking aids if necessary and if you’re not able to get them out and about, try a ‘dial-a-ride’ service or other community transport scheme.

You may need some extra support at this hectic time of year. There are plenty of companies and agencies who can provide a helping hand. Perhaps you just need someone to pay your relative a visit, as little or as often can be arranged? A live-in carer will help in the home, offering round-the-clock care for them and peace of mind for you. Respite care offers short-term support. Christmas has many demands on time and if you’re going away this may be an option.

Help make this Christmas a little more joyful for an older person.

Don’t be afraid to cry

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Columnist Robbie James says: ” I have an inability to cry but that doesn’t stop me from feeling sad”

I cannot cry to save my life. Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t cried for a good few years. Then one evening after a couple of wines I heard Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers (one of the greatest love songs of all time) and I sobbed for the next 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t crying for any particular reason, my body just fancied a change, and I’m relieved because I missed the feeling you get after you cry – it’s so cathartic and calming. Almost like it’s a natural thing to do, who knew!?

We love to be sorry for crying don’t we. How often do we hear ‘’I’m so sorry I don’t know why I’m crying at such a silly little thing’’. It actually bothers me that I don’t cry more. Sometimes my family or pals think I don’t care as much as them about things. Of course I do, I absolutely do, I just cannot squeeze tears out of my eyes no matter how many times my beloved Scotland get knocked out of the Rugby World Cup.

I substitute crying for running until I can’t run anymore. If I’m feeling good that day, I’ll listen to music that encourages those feelings. But if I’m feeling a bit sad, I’ll absolutely run to Adele. I go and see a therapist every month regardless of how I’m feeling, but I’m there for the same reason every time I go. To learn about my brain (and by the way, it’s a task we’ll never actually fully complete, that’s important to remember).

It’s great to see so many people advocating looking after our brains on Instagram, and the intention is a good one. But we love to encourage each other to try and feel better instantly. It’s a natural instinct to avoid feeling sad, but to my completely untrained brain it doesn’t feel particularly healthy. 

We see people saying ‘’I haven’t been feeling great recently but I’m through it by doing this and that, and if you do these things you will be too. Come on. Do them. Hurry up. Feel better, do it now. SADNESS IS BAD’’. Surely this invasion tactic ultimately teaches us nothing. There will always be periods of sadness or low mood, and if we don’t bother to try and understand them when it’s happening, we’ll be in no better place to cope with it when it comes back around again. 

At the same time, when things are going well and we’re feeling good – we never really stop and think – ‘’why is it that things are good? What’s making me feel this way about stuff?’’. If we understand and notice the triggers then maybe that might come in handy one day when we’re feeling awful about everything. To use the classic ‘’treat your mental health like your physical health’’ analogy – most of us hygienic lot don’t only go to the dentist when we’ve lost a molar, we go every six months to check all is ok – if it is, great, at least we’ve checked up.

So in short, let’s embrace every feeling, we don’t have to run away from sadness. If you take time to understand rather than fight your brain, you’ll probably be in a better place in the long run. Oh, and if you cry at anything and everything, keep doing it. I’m jealous.

Head for Headway Surrey open day

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Every 90 seconds someone is admitted to a UK hospital with a head injury. Here is a special chance to come and see inside Headway Surrey, you never know when you might need our services.

Headway Surrey covers the whole of the county and offer face to face services, and online sessions.

Come and have a look around, we will have a display of some of our work and activities, some art and some of the tools that we use to help people to rebuild their cognition and executive skills, meet the Hospital Link Workers who visit surrounding hospitals to support those admitted with a brain injury and their families, meet the Joint CEOs, Rehab Coordinators and Assistants and Trustees, find out just what we do at Headway Surrey and if we can help you, or alternatively if you can help us.

We are holding the Open Day for anyone who might have an interest in our local Surrey wide charity, and an interest in brain injury, whether a brain injured person, a family member, medical or care professional, potential volunteer, potential Trustee or Chair, or potential local company looking for a worthwhile local charity to support.

Headway Surrey Joint CEO, Sonja Freebody, says: “We are delighted to open our doors for people to just pop in. We want to help as many as people as possible, so please come and have a look around. You might be a professional who wants to know more, you may be a person with a brain injury, or perhaps you are looking after someone. You might be looking for a local volunteering opportunity. Come and find out.”

The Open Day is on Friday 13th October from 10am-4pm at the Headway Centre, Headway House, 21 North Road, Guildford, GU2 9PU.

No booking required, just turn up. Free entry. We have five spaces directly outside the office and there is free on road parking along North Road, Stoughton Road and Cardwell’s Keep. Refreshments will be available (tea, coffee, cake and biscuits). Donations welcome.

There will be raffle tickets on sale to raise much needed funds and Christmas cards and a small selection of gifts (early Christmas shopping). We have some great prizes and vouchers coming in. If you can’t attend but would like to purchase some raffle tickets, please go to Open Day | Headway Surrey.

What causes a brain injury?

Well, it can be from stroke, road traffic incident, sports accident, trip, fall, assault, combat, domestic violence, hypoxia (lack of oxygen), aneurysm (bleed on the brain), brain tumour, encephalitis, meningitis, carbon monoxide poisoning and many other things.

Headway Surrey has a wide range of services that can be accessed at different times of people’s recovery journey. Such as: 1:1 support, group sessions, counselling sessions, helpline, drop-in sessions, coffee mornings, social sessions, art, creative writing, boccia, young people’s group, walking and talking group with speech and language therapist students, online professional lunch and learn sessions, 6-week online courses for those with a brain injury and a separate one for family members, we can help survivors obtain a Brain Injury ID card.

If you can’t make the date, then please do contact us at anytime and arrange an appointment to look around. More details at Home | Headway Surrey and enquiries can be made to [email protected] 01483 454433

Frimley goes pink for organ donation

Karen Neville

Health & Nutrition

Organ Donation Week runs from September 18th to 24th and Frimley Park and Wexham Park hospitals will be lit up pink, the colour of the donation card

This year (April 2022/ March 2023) 39 organs were donated at Frimley and Wexham Park Hospitals, irreversibly changing 39 lives. 

This is a fantastic result for Frimley Health, however, more than 50 per cent of the population still have not registered their decision about donating an organ. To put this into context, although there were 3,029 transplants last year nationally, there are still over 7,000 people on the transplant list. Of those who are waiting, 782 are in the South-East region, of which Frimley Health is a part, so there is still a long way to go.  

With Organ Donation Week just around the corner, 18th-24th September, it’s vital we raise awareness of this important issue in the hope that more people will register their decision at  NHS Organ Donation and make their wishes known to their loved ones so that even more people can be saved. 

To highlight this issue and help start conversations, we’ll be going pink! 

Throughout Organ Donation Week, we will be lighting up our acute hospitals – Frimley Park and Wexham Park in pink – the colour of the Organ Donation card. 

Talking organ donation with Frimley Health specialist nurse

To explain the process of organ donation, we spoke to Brooke Timms, specialist nurse organ donation, who has been based at Frimley Park Hospital for the past 18 months.  

Brooke, who has been a nurse for the last seven years has worked in various intensive care units ever since she graduated from the University of Greenwich. Her passion is helping those who are most in need on their road to recovery. 

Why organ donation?

I have always worked in intensive care where organ donation is a part of all end-of- life care considerations. Working in intensive care during the Covid-19 pandemic was incredibly challenging and unfortunately many patients did not survive their admission. After the pandemic I wanted a change of direction. I have always been passionate about advocating for patients and their end of life wishes, and so becoming a specialist nurse in organ donation seemed the right path for me. 

Working as part of the organ donation team is a privilege. It’s also rewarding as more than 50,000 lives have been saved through organ donation and transplantation in the UK. 

Can you explain the process of organ donation?

The journey of organ donation involves many people and several different organisations – though the patient and their family and friends are always front and centre. 

When a patient is referred to the service as part of their end-of-life care planning, usually by the intensive care unit, our first responsibility is to access the organ donor register (ODR) to ascertain whether the patient has registered an organ donation decision in their lifetime. This is essential as we need to be aware of their wishes prior to continuing our assessment. We then work to assess the patient’s organ donor potential. If they are in a position to be able to help others through organ donation, we will have a discussion with the patient’s designated next of kin, family and friends to ascertain their end of life wishes.  

As a specialist nurse my role is to support those involved and to ensure the process is as safe as possible for everyone. We collect important clinical information and once this is complete, begin to look for potential organ recipients.  

Once suitable recipients are found, specialist transplant retrieval teams come to the hospital to perform the organ donation operation. Once organs are retrieved, they are transported to the recipient hospitals to be transplanted – to give the precious gift of life. Wherever possible, we contact families to let them know how their loved one’s organs have been used to save lives, something we know gives them great comfort at a difficult time. 

What myths would you like to debunk?

When speaking with families they often feel their loved ones would be unable to donate their organs due to certain medical conditions or age. This is untrue. While there are some conditions that mean organ donation cannot happen, in the majority of cases tissue donation, such as corneal (eye) donation can still go ahead – giving someone the life changing gift of sight.  

What would you like to highlight about organ donation?

There is a profound disparity between ethnic groups, organ donation and transplantation. As of 2021/22, people of Asian heritage accounted for 3% of deceased organ donors but made up 18% of those on the transplant waiting list. Similarly, those of black heritage represented 2% of deceased organ donors but made up 10% of the transplant waiting list.  

Organs are more likely to be matched to someone of the same ethnic background and therefore it’s vital that we’re reaching out to all communities. In 2022/23 the consent rate for those of black and Asian heritage was at 40% compared to the consent rate for white donors which was 71%.   

Changes since Max & Kiera’s law?

In 2019 the Government initiated the opt-out law change, meaning that everyone in England was considered to have no objections to becoming an organ donor if they had not registered an organ donation decision. Also known as Max & Kiera’s Law after Kiera who courageously donated her heart to save a young boy named Max.  

Since the law change, we’ve found that people are talking more about organ donation and their end of life wishes which is great, but we need them to continue to do so. Although many are aware of the law change, it is still paramount that people register an organ donation decision. This is simple and easy to do, you can register online at:, by calling 0300 123 23 23, picking up a leaflet or by registering on your driving license or at your GP.  

Hardest and most rewarding parts of the job?

The hardest part of this role is that I see a lot of people experiencing the worst times of their lives, losing their loved ones, however it is a privilege to be able to support them. The most rewarding aspect of this job is being an advocate for the patient/donor and their families to ensure that their precious end-of-life wishes are met.