Monday, Apr 21st

Last update12:43:14 PM GMT

Lifestyle

Footballers' Wives star tells single parents 'you're brilliant'

Gingerbread: "They deserve praise, not criticism, for the brilliant achievements they make"

Footballers' Wives, Spooks and Strictly Come Dancing star Laila Rouass has helped launch a campaign to tell the 1.9 million single parents in Britain that they are "brilliant" and let them know there is practical advice and support available if they need it.

The actress is backing Gingerbread's You're Brilliant campaign, which aims to reach out to the one in four families headed by a single mum or dad and offer them the support they might need in the current economic climate.

Gingerbread supporter and single mother Laila said: "Most single parents are strong, capable people doing their best for their children - we're all likely to know someone bringing up a family alone for one reason or another, and the vast majority do a great job of it.

"As a single parent it's hard not to be affected by the negative stereotyping that still goes on.

"Sometimes everyone needs to be told they're brilliant, and I'm pleased to support Gingerbread in doing just that for single parents."

Gingerbread said many single parents had told them they were fed up with attitudes that cast them as scroungers if they did not have a job, or as bad parents.

Six out of 10 single parents managed to juggle a job with bringing up their children, and most of those on benefits were keen to work but couldn't find jobs that fitted in with school times, or couldn't find childcare, according to Gingerbread.

With single parent families set to be affected more than most groups by the Government's planned cuts, Gingerbread is urging single parents to get online or pick up the phone and get practical advice to help them make ends meet.

Fiona Weir, Gingerbread's chief executive, said: "Single parents are raising happy, healthy children and most are holding down a job too.

"They deserve praise, not criticism, for the brilliant achievements they make."

As part of the You're Brilliant campaign, Gingerbread is launching a new website providing expert help and information, including vital money-saving tips, job-search advice and support with sorting out issues around separation.

Centred around a forum for single parents, the website will enable single parents to share information and support each other.

Single parents can join up free as Gingerbread members via the website, giving them access to a range of member benefits and discounts.

Ms Weir added: "Now more than ever, single parents are facing a really difficult time because of the economic downturn.

"This is why we believe it's the right time to launch Gingerbread's new website and offer single parents the helping hand they may need."

Gingerbread works nationally and locally, for and with single parent families, to improve their lives. It aims to champion their voices and needs and providing support services.

For more information go to www.gingerbread.org.uk. The charity's Single Parent Helpline can be reached on 0808 802 0925 and is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, with late opening on Wednesdays until 8pm.

By Emma Foster, Community Newswire

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Survey: 10% of Brits only wash bed sheets six times a year

23% only do the laundry when dirt marks start becoming embarrassingly visible

Ten per cent of Brits only clean their bed sheets six times a year, a new research by Indesit has revealed.

Unless the sheets noticeably start to smell, a fifth of Brits wouldn't even consider washing them.

And 23 per cent only do the laundry when the dirt marks become embarrassingly visible.

The average person will tackle the sheets once a fortnight, but only if they no longer smell fresh or look dirty.

The shocking figures emerged in a study of 3,000 people, which also revealed that 92 per cent of people love the feeling of getting into a clean bed, but can't be bothered to put in the leg work.

Four in 10 people say the reason they don't wash the sheets more often is because they get stressed having to re-make the bed.

And 61 per cent rarely iron their sheets if they have made the effort to wash them.

Incredibly three quarters of people polled acknowledged that they should make more of an effort to clean their home - in particular the bedding - more often.

But 49 per cent of Brits would much rather spend their spare time drinking in the pub, and 43 per cent would rather socialise with friends than do housework.

The Indesit study was conducted to mark the launch of the UK's first 'Party Launderette'- a trend which originated in the US.

A spokesman for Indesit said: ''There's no two ways about it - doing your laundry is a chore that has to be done.

''Most Brits would rather be out with their mates or drinking down their local rather than stuck indoors with the washing machine.

''In acknowledgement of this, we are bringing the 'drink and dry' craze from the US to London's East End from the 15th October - giving people the opportunity to get their washing done while partying the night away.''

In addition to cleaning the sheets, the study also shows people are pretty lax when it comes to other household chores.

The average homeowner vacuums just once a week when they can no longer see the carpets under the mud, dust, and food and drink spills.

The average bathroom will only get cleaned once every eight days, regardless of how many people have been using it.

And dust is left to build up on ornaments, side boards and shelving units for over a week.

Even the dishes aren't done as regularly as they should be in most households - as the average person washes up just once a day rather than after every meal.

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Kylie most inspirational breast cancer celebrity

She has inspired many women to be more direct about their own fears

Kylie Minogue has been voted the most inspirational breast cancer star in a recent online poll conducted by market-leading mastectomy-wear specialist, Amoena.

The star's willingness to speak openly and honestly about her treatment, helping to raise awareness of breast cancer, propelled her to the top of the Amoena celebrity hotlist, which also included Linda McCartney, Olivia Newton John and Sally Whittaker.

Kylie also inspired many women to be more direct about their own fears, encouraging them to believe they would get through their ordeal.

As well as looking to celebrities for inspiration, many women said that support from family, friends and other women who had also been through breast cancer treatment, was the biggest motivator.

Rhoda White, Amoena's marketing manager says: "Undergoing a mastectomy can badly damage a woman's body confidence and self-image, and celebrities like Kylie play a vital role in raising public awareness. But women also take great encouragement from seeing how well their peers cope with breast cancer."

To prove the point, Amoena has used breast-operated women to model lingerie and swimwear in its latest marketing campaign: "We hope they will show other women just how good they can look after breast surgery," says Rhoda.

The new range of mastectomy-wear by Amoena can be purchased online at http://www.amoena-online.co.uk, by mail order on +44(0)845-072-4027 or from the company's showroom in Hampshire.

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How women can ignite their sex lives by talking dirty

The Dirty Talk Handbook teaches women how to drive men wild in bed with mind-blowing dirty talk

Keeping sex life exciting is a problem faced by couples in relationships the world over. The sexual spark often fades and intimacy can become boring, mundane, or even non-existent. Even if a couple once couldn’t keep their hands off each other, it’s common for people’s sex lives to reduce to the once-a-week-Friday-night-quickie-before-bed routine.

Reigniting that spark is an equally common problem. Couples in long-term relationships often struggle to find new ways to make sex exciting, and many long for that heart-fluttering giddy feeling they had when their relationship was new.

But now women everywhere are discovering how to recharge their sex lives by driving their partners wild in bed with mind-blowing dirty talk. Written by relationship expert, Evan Michaels, “The Dirty Talk Handbook” is a new book available for download from his website, www.DirtyTalkTips.com.

The book allows women to transform their sex lives by helping them build confidence in the bedroom, and discover the things men secretly crave women to say during sex.

“What sets this book apart is that it’s written by a man for women,” says Michaels. “It’s a no-holds-barred exposé of what men really want when it comes to dirty talk”

Recognizing that some women may be apprehensive about suddenly talking dirty in front of their partner, Michaels has developed a step-by-step system that helps women practice and build their confidence before they take the plunge.

“Women don’t want to sound like porn stars in bed,” says Michaels. “And nor should they. I encourage women to think about dirty talk differently - to make it a healthy part of a healthy sex life.”

“First, it’s important to increase self confidence, learn what men want to hear, and take things at your own pace. But before they know it, many women say their sex lives are way better than when they were first with their partners.”

The book features detailed tips on how to deliver sexy, natural dirty talk, as well as how to use different techniques in and out of the bedroom, such as talking, texting and e-mailing. With hundreds of examples of things to say and phrases to use, women also learn how to figure out what type of guy their partner is and what will turn him on. Advanced techniques include mastering body language, facial expressions and voice control for even more powerful dirty talk and how bedroom games and role playing can add another dimension to talking dirty.

www.DirtyTalkTips.com was founded by Evan Michaels from Vancouver, BC, Canada to help men and women learn how to spice up their sex lives in fun and exciting ways by discovering the art of talking dirty. With the help of Jess Summers, Evan has created dirty talk handbooks for each gender from the other’s point of view - each written by a member of the opposite sex. Evan is pleased to report his relationship is as exciting and sizzling as ever!

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Pregnant women from ethnic minority groups at higher risk of listeria food poisoning

HPA studies show that neighbourhood deprivation also a major risk factor

There is a higher incidence of listeriosis in pregnant women from ethnic minority groups and, overall, in people living in more deprived areas, research from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revealed.

Listeriosis is a rare but severe food-borne disease, caused by infection with listeria bacteria. It mainly affects the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, but can also pose a significant risk to pregnant women, their unborn babies and newborns. Early symptoms may include a self-limiting flu-like illness and an upset stomach, but the infection can cause more severe illness such as septicaemia or meningitis and can lead to abortion and stillbirth in unborn babies. Uncomplicated listeriosis can be treated effectively with antibiotics.

Between 2001 and 2008 there were 1510 cases of listeriosis, 181 of which were in pregnant women. Of these, almost 40 per cent (66 individuals out of 181) were women from an ethnic minority which was established from the first and surname of the patient. The proportion of pregnant women with listeriosis from an ethnic minority increased from less than a quarter of the cases in 2001 to over half of the cases in 2008, with the greatest increase being from 2006-8. This increase was over and above what could be expected given changes in the population structure of England and Wales during this time.

Dr. Iain Gillespie, Head of Listeria Surveillance at the HPA said: “During pregnancy women are advised to avoid certain foods that may be contaminated with listeria. These include undercooked ready meals, soft cheeses, cold cuts of meat and pâtés. This HPA study suggests that these food safety messages may not be reaching, or may not be heeded by, all pregnant women, particularly those from ethnic minorities.

“It is important that all pregnant women know what foods should be avoided for the sake of their own health and that of their babies, so food safety messages for preventing listeriosis in pregnancy may need to be targeted more clearly to those that appear to be more at risk, including women from ethnic minority groups.”

In an additional study, HPA surveillance data on all cases of listeriosis between 2001 and 2007 were compared with population data and indicators of deprivation. For all patient groups, it was found that there were more cases of listeriosis in the most deprived areas of England compared to the most affluent.

Additional analyses showed that as a whole, listeriosis cases in deprived areas were more reliant on convenience stores and local shops (e.g. butchers, bakers, etc) for their food shopping than the general population, and that patients’ risk behaviours with food changed with increasing deprivation.

Dr. Gillespie said: “This study suggests that deprivation is an important risk factor for listeriosis, especially in older people and in pregnant women. Our evidence suggests that people living in deprived areas rely more on smaller local shops and convenience stores to do their shopping. Smaller premises have been linked to a lower microbiological standard of food in many studies, so UK Government food safety policy should continue to focus on small food businesses for this reason.

“In addition, risk behaviour with food has been found to be a factor and this emphasises the importance of access to advice on how to avoid listeria infection. Food safety advice on avoiding listeria infection must be tailored to the most vulnerable groups and communicated effectively.”

The two HPA studies were published in a recent edition of Eurosurveillance.

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