Multivitamins, Hospital and Shoes


My 20-year-old daughter is at university and not eating the best foods. Can you suggest a good multivitamin/mineral to send her?

Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Alive Once Daily Multi-vitamin Ultra Potency by Nature’s Way, a whole-food product featuring a wide range of natural ingredients to help support bones, colon, eyes, heart and immunity as well as increasing energy levels. Free from sugar, salt, yeast, wheat grain, dairy, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. £28 for 60 tablets (two months’ supply). Another good choice is My Favorite Multiple Energizer by Natrol, which provides the full recommended daily amount of 19 essential vitamins and minerals (all derived from food sources), plus energy-enhancing ingredients. It’s also free from yeast, milk, egg, artificial colours and flavours. £16.50 for 60 tablets (two months’ supply).

Make Hospital Hospitable for Little Monkeys

Most adults feel a little anxious about going to hospital, but for children even a blood test can be terrifying. In addition to those who are referred by their GPs, children and young people account for one in four admissions to A&E. As well as upsetting themselves, frightened children can take up a lot of staff time. Now a sensible and comforting resource called Monkey Wellbeing (, supported by NHS Patient Experience, helps children (and their parents) to understand what is going on.

The notion of using a monkey as a child patient came about when Helen Sadler’s 18-month-old daughter Josephine, now seven, had to undergo two serious and complicated operations. ‘She was born with a malformed lung and a cyst in her chest cavity. We didn’t know if we would be able to bring her home so we wanted to make sure her time in hospital was a really big adventure.’

As a primary school teacher, nursery nurse and ‘most importantly, a mother’, Helen knew the power of storytelling. But she also realised that ‘to take it all on board, little ones need lots of time to revisit the subject, so I wanted to do something lasting, rather than explaining in speech every time’.

Using pictures of an engaging-looking monkey (Josephine’s favourite toy), Helen created a storybook to explain Josephine’s experience simply and clearly. The staff at the Alex Children’s Hospital in Brighton were impressed. ‘One nurse told me Josephine was incredible. Instead of being frightened by the machines, she was laughing and mirroring the beeping noises they made.’

The handwritten Monkey book became so popular at the hospital that the surgeons asked Helen to produce it professionally. Her husband Daniel did a 100-mile sponsored walk to pay for the first tranche of printing. And Monkey Wellbeing was launched. Today there is a huge range of topics covering many aspects of children’s health and wellbeing. It is eminently practical, even down to checklists of things to take into hospital, both for children and parents. There is also a Monkey glove puppet, £9.95.

In 2013, a Monkey Wellbeing teaching pack was sent out to every primary school in England. An evaluation of its impact by Liverpool John Moores University concluded that the interactive resource was ‘useful, engaging and informative, catering to a wide range of abilities, including children with learning disabilities’.

‘Being prepared makes these situations easier for the whole family, especially for the children,’ says Helen.

PS Josephine (pictured above with mum Helen) now has a three-year-old brother Barnaby.

Three of the Best Healthy Shoes

Neo Velcro leather school shoes by Vivobarefoot, from £55,
Our seven-year-old boy tester loved his ‘very comfy’ (and tough, says his mother gratefully) shoes, which are designed to allow the foot its natural movement, and have a ‘genius’ removable insole for when feet grow half a size. In black or dark brown.

Shoe Therapy python-effect loafers, £79,
With a special moulded sole that has been medically proven to help improve your posture and relieve back pain, these super-chic flats will take you from dawn to midnight in comfort. Great for during and after pregnancy too.

Nordic Grip Wets boots, £44.95,
Outdoor gals of all ages love these funky waterproof ankle boots, which feature soles with nonslip IceLock technology and cosy micro-fleece inside. In coral, saffron yellow, olive green, navy or black.

Health Notes | ,