Parenting The Modern Way

Parenting The Modern Way

Reading Time: 5 minutes


Parenting the modern way

The ways in which people, including those who identify as LGBT, can create a family, have evolved greatly over the years. Modern families are wonderfully diverse, and it is a huge positive, that society is more accepting of different family structures. Jemimah Fleet, family solicitor at B P Collins, who specialises in modern parenting, offers advice on the routes available to creating a family.


Surrogacy is a way of building a family where a woman, who does not intend to be the baby’s mother, carries and gives birth to a child for someone else, whether that’s a single mum or dad, heterosexual couples or same sex couples.

Surrogacy is possible both in the UK and in some countries around the world. Currently the Law Commission is reviewing the UK’s outdated surrogacy laws, which do not meet the interests of those involved in the process.  For example, there are various legal obstacles such as the surrogate (as the birth mother) is always considered the legal mother and the intended parents can only apply to court for a parental order, to be recognised as their child’s legal parents, once the child is born. This inevitably places the child in an uncertain legal limbo until legal matters are resolved. This process can take months to finalise – a delay which is both frustrating and creates uncertainty.

The Law Commission’s consultation will help to reform the law which hasn’t changed in decades and aims to ensure the child’s best interests remain the key focus and provides reassurance to all those involved on the surrogacy journey.

Donor conception

Many parents also choose to build their families through donor conception, particularly single women and lesbian couples, who conceive with a sperm donor.

A clinic sperm donor may be chosen, where the clinic will match with a donor who is anonymous at the point of donation.  The law surrounding anonymity changed in 2005 and identifiable information is now available to children, who are conceived with donor sperm, if conception was in the UK.

Some may choose to use a known sperm donor, who could be a friend or family member. A key advantage is that there may be a continuing relationship with the donor and you will have more background information about them.  But the relationship and the intentions of the donor may need to be managed carefully. Having a pre-conception agreement on the arrangements moving forward, which could vary from minimal involvement to full co-parenting, could be invaluable and hopefully avoid a dispute in the future.

It’s important to remember that legal parentage can be more complicated in these arrangements as the law only allows two legal parents. The birth mother will always be the mother but identifying the second parent will depend on the circumstances of conception.  It is vital to seek expert advice to ensure that the full legal position concerning parentage is understood.


B P Collins work with many clients embarking on a co-parenting arrangement, which are usually single women or men; or sometimes friends deciding to conceive a child together.  There has also been a surge in people “self-matching” online, having a child together, but continuing to live separately and co-parent. In a similar way to donors, the relationship between co-parents needs to be managed very carefully and we would advise creating an agreement to ensure expectations are aligned. This will again help to avoid disputes in the future and establish a strong foundation for raising the child.

For further advice on modern parenting, please contact Jemimah Fleet on or call 01753 279046.
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Reading Time: 3 minutes


How many of us are really holding it together in these crazy unprecedented times.   It really is the wild west with the unpredictability of the Pandemic and life as we know it.

How do we survive and come out of this without permanent damage to our already fragile mental wellbeing.

These are the questions that are being posed on every level to psychologists and we are desperately seeking answers.

Andy White

A highly accomplished psycho therapist call Andy White has a theory of his own through tried and tested means and has written a book ‘Going Mad to Stay Sane’, which talks about how to turn ‘sanity’ on its head by staring fear in the face to overcome it.  How our self-destructive urges become our salvation. Patients in his care have experienced life changing outcomes in times of high anxiety and depression.

Another revolutionary phenomenon are The Speakmans, a highly successful husband and wife team whose revolutionary therapies have taken the World by storm, with unparalleled outcomes for those suffering with fears or phobias.

Nik & Eva Speakman

Nik and Eva Speakman have appeared recently on daytime TV to announce that Dutch scientists have validated their treatment method and claim it to be more effective that those recommended by the NHS or World Health Organisation.

How critical in these burning times of fear as our mental health issues soar out of control with overwhelming feelings
of doubt and desperation.

We are turning to mindfulness as our only solution in these terrifying times, and are seeking solutions far beyond our comprehension or that modern medicine can provide.

To experience The Speakmans in conversation with the Wonderbirds log onto the WonderbirdsShow. The show is
being aired on Friday 17 April or you can see it in catch up on the Wonderbirds Facebook page.


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Reading Time: 6 minutes


As we are told to wash our hands for the duration of a hearty ‘Happy Birthday” and to stay close to home if at all possible, I am not sure it will make a difference.

I remember several years back a very adventurous friend of mine from the States was resolute on taking her trip to Asia at the heart of the SARS outbreak, saying that she would rather realise her dream to travel to the destination than be afraid of the outcome.  I really admired her for that and she was of course perfectly safe.

The Covid-19 virus is a virtually unpredictable and unfamiliar virus that seems to attack the elderly and more infirm of our species.  Perhaps this is why there is a chill running through the country and our government as we try to contain it.

Allways use a tissue and dispose of carefully

But if you can cast your minds or at least your history books back to the Plague of the 16th Century, you may begin to understand how remarkable it was when four robbers survived, even having been in direct contact with the bodies of those who had died with the deadly disease as they raided their graves and bodies.  But they put it down to a secret remedy.

I met up with another friend again recently who swears by this ancient remedy, and is even more determined to carry it around with him with the threat of this virus.  He comes into contact with people all the time, and has so far been exonerated from flu and virus infections for several years since he has been inhaling the preparation.

Things to look out for

The Four Thieves remedy originated from Marseilles around 1760 when these four vagabonds were arrested and traded in their secret cure and prevention of the disease that was wiping out a nation.   Yes, that’s right they did a deal with the government (or the devil) to get themselves a reprieve from being beheaded.

So how effective is the essence?  I suspect that it is 90 percent self-belief that you won’t get it and 10 percent the actual remedy itself.  But that is my own interpretation, and as in all old wife’s tales or herbal remedies, I do believe there is an element of truth in all of them – with the exception perhaps of bloodletting!!

The original recipe hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937 and is said to be a copy of the recipe displayed on the walls of Marseilles at the time of the Plague:

The Four Thieves remedy

Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of camphor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.

Another recipe called for dried rosemary, dried sage flowers, dried lavender flowers, fresh rue, camphor dissolved in spirit, sliced garlic, bruised cloves, and distilled wine vinegar.

 Anti-bacterial and anti-viral modern-day solutions

Four thieves vinegar include various herbs that typically include sage, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, along with garlic. Additional herbs sometimes include rue, mint, and wormwood. It has become traditional to use four herbs in the recipe—one for each thief, though earlier recipes often have a dozen herbs or more. It is still sold in Provence. In Italy a mixture called “seven thieves’ vinegar” is sold as a smelling salt, though its ingredients appear to be the same as in four thieves’ mixtures.

Modern day version

But in our modern day, we can buy it here on Amazon as an aromatherapy preparation, and as a result of the recent directive, I am now going out armed with both Four Thieves essential oil and a good hand gel, as I would like to take a tip from my courageous American friend, who was adventure lead and didn’t allow anything to deter her from living her life.

After all, when your number is up …… and I am a great fatalist and a believer in the Law of Attraction which has served me really well for many many years.


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A New year resolution – Celebrity Beauty Blogger Debbie Arnold ‘legs’ it into 2020 – in hot pursuit of Carole Middleton!

A New year resolution – Celebrity Beauty Blogger Debbie Arnold ‘legs’ it into 2020 – in hot pursuit of Carole Middleton!

Reading Time: 5 minutes


We all know that New Year resolutions are frequently broken – but by going public I will have to go through with mine … and it’s not about losing weight, giving up drinking or anything as simple as that.

My 2020 New Year resolution is to be seen in a bikini on the beach this year – to have the confidence to pull it off with style and grace and without any wobbly bits!

The reason for this dramatic and rather public outburst is yes….. Carole Middleton. She is gorgeous! The pictures of her in the media last week – on the beach with Pippa wearing a bikini – are nothing more than sensational!

So how does Carole do it? Not one ounce of fat, no cellulite and no old skin!! She’s older than me too, and I’m sure it’s to do with being an ex BA air hostess. My friend Jacky was also cabin crew, and she has the same incredible figure… maybe it’s all those flights at 50,000 feet?….but more than that it is the discipline that they have, which helps them look as good as they do.

So as I am comparing notes, my daughter Ciara Janson is stick like too, and a mental picture of her and I together on the beach would look more like Beauty and the cellulite Beast! So I actually owe it to myself to get into shape and look as fit and fabulous as I can.

The thing is, my legs have never looked that good. Not even as a teenager. From the knees down mine are very shapely but knees up not a pretty sight. To have smooth shapely legs are a passport to looking younger and sexier….so that is my mission.
So I began my investigation and yes, there is help to be had, and there are some amazing experts out there who can give us a helping hand in the leg department.

There are tons of non-invasive treatments that are available at good cosmetic clinics in the UK- with thermarge, ultherapy, cool sculpting… the list continues. I will certainly begin by badgering my good friend Lesley Reynolds, at Harley Street Skin Clinic to assist me with my ultimate challenge. Lesley is the Queen of cosmetic sculpting, and I know I am in safe hands with her and at this superb clinic.

‘The Leg Doctor’ Dr Jean-Marc Chardonneau is apparently an excellent ‘leg’ expert. Ladies have been known to pay up to £15k to be cellulite free and vein-free, but worry not, for just £800 he can do cryolipolysis for fat knees, ankles and thighs. This involves freezing fat cells which the body then re-absorbs and expels and for a mere £450, he can do a radio frequency treatment which stimulates collagen production to firm the skin. (I’m sure Carole knows him but perhaps she just has good jeans (genes!).
Somehow I will get those legs – I will eat good healthy food – I will endure some weird treatments – I will exercise – I will moisturise, brush and exfoliate. I vow I’ll do anything! Those legs will be mine and I will share the journey with you! So thank you Carole Middleton and watch this space as I ‘leg it’ into 2020.




Debbie x


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Reading Time: 5 minutes


Fame was once bestowed only upon the revered members of the Nation like Kings or Queens, successful Scientists and gifted writers or performers.  People who had actually achieved something, or of course who were born into Royalty.

In recent years though we have seen a rise in reality TV, from Celebrity Get Me Out of Here to Any Way is Essex, pulp viewing but hugely popular nonetheless, and producing huge reality ‘stars’ who endorse products, open high profile events and even switch on the Christmas lights due to their popularity.

X Factor and The Voice has also lead to huge exposure for thousands of budding singers and performers, who even if they win are not guaranteed a career, but certainly achieve their 15 minutes of fame that everyone seems to be seeking.

So what happens when you achieve that fame or notoriety?  Does that mean your problems are solved and you live happily ever after?

Well let’s take a look at that belief a little more closely.  The best way to start is to take a look at movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Robin Williams who both took their lives as their fame was just not enough to block out the pain of their suffering.

Princess Diana was another good example of being the most famous and revered woman on the Planet but was one of the unhappiest as she couldn’t live with her own demons and the fact that her husband actually did not love her.

When speaking with a well know analyst recently whose patients are mainly the rich and famous, she told me that the majority of her clients can’t cope with the fact that fame does not ease the pain.

She couldn’t share her confidentiality, but told me that anxiety and depression with several of her well known clients had actually increased as a result of them becoming famous.

I am not talking to you from a great height.  In fact, I too have known many struggling actors and performers and been one myself, with huge talent but have never ‘made it’, whatever that means.  It does seem unfair that ‘fame’ is sometimes just the ‘click of the switch’ that happens to random people for no particular reason, whereas true talent is often ignored and left behind.

So what is the solution if the stars are aligned and we are transported in the World of celebrity and fame without even trying.  It has happened to a small section of the Nation and is well deserved if as a result of a special achievement or accolade.   This seems to have a more favourable outcome with people like Marie Curie who discovered a ground breaking cure for cancer.

But what about the wannabes who just want to get into Love Island without very much substance to back it up?  Take a look at the majority of the contestants of these types of shows, who have already disappeared into insignificance or one or two that have taken their own lives.

What value is fame, and how does it serve us.  Only you can answer that, but it is food for thought, and I would love to hear your own take on fame as I am still searching for the answer, not for fame itself but why it is so important to so many people.

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