Horse’s surprise visit helps bring back memories

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Memories flood back for elderly care home resident

Photo horse surprise mccarthy holden

A horse made a surprise visit to a care home in Surrey as part of a nationwide initiative to help the elderly revisit their hobbies and “bring back memories”.

Care UK’s Long Lost Hobbies programme sees residents return to their favourite pastimes, including flower arranging, knitting and letter writing, in efforts which the company says are particularly beneficial for those with dementia.

Spurred on by the initiative, staff at Milner House in Leatherhead organised a surprise visit by Rosie the horse for 90-year-old Frank Grace, who said the experience made his day.

Mr Grace previously worked in a horse sanctuary and was once a keen horse rider.

“Horses like Rosie have always made my day. You shouldn’t be afraid of them, just because they’re big,” Mr Grace said.

“Love them and they will love you in return.”

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Michele Belch, a manager at Milner House, said: “We had a fantastic time revisiting Frank’s hobby and taking Rosie for a walk around the garden.

“Revisiting a past hobby, such as horse riding, can help bring back memories, as well as providing an enjoyable way to connect with others through a familiar activity that once brought joy,” said Ms Belch.

“Residents and team members at Milner House have loved revisiting their favourite hobbies and discovering new ways to pass the time from younger generations.

“It has been wonderful to hear residents talking about how they first discovered their favourite hobby and the fond memories this interest created.”

How to prevent insect bites and stings as the weather warms up

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Spring is here and so are the insect bites

Spring insect stings mccarthy holden

Here comes the sun – and shorts, T-shirts, sandals, picnics and afternoons outdoors – hurrah! But all this means insect bites and stings might be more likely too.

Besides being itchy and sore, Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy says bites and stings may take several days to disappear – and can become infected with bacteria.

“Insect bites can also worsen eczema,” says Lee. And while most people will only have relatively mild symptoms, they can also cause more serious allergic reactions – including life-threatening anaphylaxis.
“For all these reasons, it’s a good idea to take steps to minimise your risk of being bitten or stung,” she advises.

James O’Loan, CEO and pharmacist at Chemist4U, says some of the best ways to do this are: “Applying insect repellent, keeping food and drink covered when eating outdoors, and staying calm if you encounter wasps or bees.”

Lee shares the following advice…

Spring insect stings mccarthy holden


“If a wasp flies nearby or lands on you, don’t flap your hand. Just stay still and let it fly off,” says Lee. “Wasps only usually sting if provoked.”

She suggests wearing shoes when walking on grass. Wearing white or pale-yellow clothing has also been found to help keep wasps at bay.

“They have a very sweet tooth and highly sensitive sense of smell, so are instantly attracted to a picnic. Try filling a jam jar with jam, ginger syrup, or beer, plus add a little washing-up liquid, and place it a short distance away from your food,” adds Lee.
And if you get stung: “If the sting is still in the skin, remove it gently with your fingernail or using a piece of gauze. Don’t use tweezers as you can squeeze more venom into the skin.

“Wash the area with soap and warm water and pat dry. Apply a cold compress for around 10 minutes. Elevate the limb or area if possible. You may want to take paracetamol or ibuprofen if it’s painful. If it’s itchy, try some antihistamines.”


“Bees are gentle and will only sting if frightened, so when one comes near you, keep calm and still,” says Lee. “Although it can be hard to avoid the impulse, avoid swotting it. It’s likely to simply fly away.”
Stay away from flowers, as bees feed on the nectar inside flowering plants. “Bees like sweet things too,” adds Lee. “So always keep food in sealed containers and don’t leave sweet foods outside uncovered. Don’t leave half-drunk cans of fizzy drinks hanging around.

“If bees appear, don’t jump up and run away in a panic. Get up slowly and move cautiously in the opposite direction. Bees don’t like panic.”

And if you get stung: Same advice as a wasp sting.

Spring insect stings mccarthy holden
Hornet Alamy/PA


“Hornets are extra-large wasps, so follow the advice about avoiding wasp stings. Don’t wear perfumes, or any fragranced body products – they love the sweet smell,” cautions Lee. “They also love the smell of sweat, so don’t get too hot and sticky!”

Also, avoid clothes with bright colours and floral patterns. Eat picnic foods quickly, seal everything up, and dispose of waste promptly and carefully. Close dustbin lids and keep car windows rolled up.

And if you get stung: Same advice as a wasp sting (but note hornets do not leave their sting behind).

Spring insect stings mccarthy holden
Mosquito Alamy/PA


You can try out gadgets like the Thermacell Mosquito & Midge Protector (prices start from around £25), or wear scented bracelets to try and keep pesky mozzies away, but you might be surprised to hear the colour of your clothes makes a real difference to whether or not you get bitten. “Go for light coloured clothing, or beige or khaki. Don’t wear black leggings as they will bite through thin fabric,” says Lee. “They can even bite through jeans!”
Lee advises liberally applying a certified insect repellent containing DEET, before you leave the house, and don’t forget exposed areas such as your neck, fingers, ankles and wrists.

“Mosquitos love stagnant water, so don’t go near ponds. Other sources can be blocked guttering, or other collections of water, such as a watering tray underneath your plants.
“Mosquitos are attracted by some smells, such as lavender, so again, avoid any perfumed body products,” she continues. “They dislike the smell of lemons.
“Citronella candles are ineffective because although mosquitos don’t like the lemons, they’re attracted by the increase in carbon dioxide from burning the candle.”

And if you get stung: “Wash the area with soap and water, and pat dry with a towel,” says Lee. “Apply calamine lotion to help relieve the itching. Apply a cold compress for five to 10 minutes. Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if it’s painful. Try antihistamines for itching, or ask the pharmacist for advice.”


“Horseflies are most likely to be out and about at dawn and dusk, although they can bite at any time,” says Lee. “They also love piles of manure, so avoid stables and farmyards.”

She says to take care walking in long grass or beside stagnant water such as ponds, lakes and marshes. Wear long-sleeved tops and trousers, tucked into your socks. Wear a sunhat or a cap, with some form of neck protector. Again, wear light colours and avoid perfumed products.

Lee recommends to try Picaridin insect repellent spray for horseflies. Also, they dislike the scent of peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, rosemary and basil.

And if you get stung: “These often cause a blister at the bite site, but avoid scratching the top of the blister, even if it’s itchy. Clean the area using cotton wool with plain soap and warm water, and pat gently dry.

“It’s not a good idea to use other remedies like vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, as these have been shown not to work,” says Lee. “Apply a cold compress for five to 10 minutes. Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if it’s painful. Try antihistamines for itching.”

If you have a bad reaction…
With any insect bite or sting, if you have a bad reaction or symptoms get worse, seek medical advice.

“A normal bite or sting should heal within a few days” suggests O’Loan. “The pain and inflammation could be made worse if you have a mild allergic reaction to the bite or sting, but this should normally pass within a week. If you’re worried about a bite or sting, speak to your pharmacist to find the right treatment.”

Any possible signs of anaphylaxis should be treated as a medical emergency. This includes difficulty breathing, feeling lightheaded, faint or confused, a fast heartbeat and unconsciousness, as well as symptoms like a red, itchy rash (hives), vomiting and swelling.

Spring greens and 13 ways to work the freshest greens into your scheme

Interior design green McCarthy Holden

Interior Design Spring Greens

Interior design green McCarthy Holden
PA Photo/Blinds2Go

We’ve been favouring green in interiors for some time now – and this must-have hue is right on cue this season, with all those gorgeous green shoots emerging outdoors.

And who can resist bringing a touch of nature-inspired calm into their home? From sage green and leafy ferns to trailing foliage, these freshly picked homewares will make your space feel fresh and spring-like in a cinch.

Here’s our pick of the best decorative evergreens to shop right now…

Interior design green McCarthy Holden
PA Photo/Piglet

Forest Green Bedtime Bundle in Stonewashed French Flax, from £227, Piglet in Bed
Luxe linen in a gorgeous green not only looks fresh, but keeps you cool in in the summer and comfortable in cooler months. Pair with crisp whites for contrast, or go all-out green and style with the beautifully soft Baa sheepskin rug in sage green for extra wow factor.
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Interior design green McCarthy Holden
PA Photo/Oliver Bonas

Simeon Woven Striped Green Cotton Runner Rug, £69.50 (other items from a selection), Oliver Bonas.

This gorgeous geometric striped green runner lends itself to a garden room or hallway, and with a pale pink border at either end, it can be teamed with blush pink cushions for a tasteful aestheti

Interior design green McCarthy Holden
PA Photo/Lime Lace

Tallavera Wallpaper – Seville Collection – Cole & Son, Rose & Spring Greens on Terracotta, £154 per roll, Lime Lace.

The great thing about a wonder wall of beautiful blooms, once you’ve hung your favourite bouquet, it’s a low-maintenance centrepiece from there on in. With its Spanish influence, this Seville collection is a fast-track to a suntrap of your own.

Interior design green McCarthy Holden
PA Photo/Blinds2Go

Tuiss Kentia Linen Leaf Roman Blind, from £34.85, Blinds2Go.

When you’re really after a spring refresh and want to create a courtyard garden in your kitchen, these leaf print roller blinds let in just the right measure of daylight for your indoor oasis.

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