Black and White stripes from Gudrun Sjoden

Gudrun Sjoden is a brand that I can always turn to for a great quality, wear anywhere, dress. Using a range of Eco cotton, this Scandinavian brand assures you of a product that looks great, washes well and is kind to the environment too. My most recent Gudrun dress is the short dress in Eco cotton and elastane blend, and this is the sort of dress that can be dressed up or down, and is in a non crease fabric that makes it perfect for throwing in a holiday suitcase – a total no brainer.

Short dress in eco cotton and elastane now £48 click to visit Gudrun Sjoden

Short dress in eco cotton and elastane now £48 click to visit Gudrun Sjoden

This is such an easy to wear dress – no buttons, zips or fastenings, you simply pull it on over your head. The style is a stripy sundress, but the monochrome means that this is a smarter option, you could add a blazer or a cardigan and a low heeled shoe to make this office appropriate, or throw it on over a swimsuit to hit the bar. The cotton is of a slightly thicker variety, ensuring the fabric is not see thru and the length (just above the knee) makes this suitable for pretty much any age to wear.



Black and white stripes create a perfect canvas for adding a splash of colour. I loved the beads worn by the model in sunshine yellow, so opted for the same shade in my own bag and necklace, but red, orange or a neon pink would look just as good.


I wore the dress on a very hot day and it kept me feeling cool, and yet the dress was substantial enough to not feel underdressed (some sundresses just feel too floaty and transparent, you wouldn’t really wear them anywhere other than the beach). The stretch in the dress also makes it a comfortable option, and I love the slightly boat neckline, so much more interesting than a vest shape.




This dress is currently in the summer sale at Gudrun Sjoden, reduced to £48 from £64, and as this is a dress you will wear over and over again, in a classic design and fabric, I think this is a real bargain buy. There are also different colour ways, watch out for a candy striped white version on the blog next week.

Gastric Banding Procedures – Are They Safe?

For people who are morbidly obese, and for whom conventional weight loss methods are no longer effective, weight loss surgery is something that might be considered. One of the most popular of these procedures is the gastric band, not to be confused with the gastric sleeve. There are many reasons as to why this one is so popular, not in the least because it carries very few risks and because insurance companies usually provide coverage for it. However, just because it carries few risks, doesn’t mean it carries no risks at all. It is important for you, if you are considering the procedure, to be aware of these risks so that you can properly decide whether or not it is the right option for you.


The Safety of the Gastric Band

Of all the different weight loss procedures, the gastric band is considered the safest of all, with the gastric sleeve coming second, and the gastric bypass last. One of the reasons for this is because it is done laparoscopically. In fact, the procedure is now advancing so much that some surgeons are being trained in performing it with just a single incision.

However, even the gastric band is a surgical procedure, which means that problems are possible. Bleeding and infection are always possible with abdominal surgery. Usually, this happens almost straight after surgery, which means doctors tend to spot it before you even leave the hospital. Another risk, which will not be spotted as it happens, is that the band can slip. In this case, further surgery will be required to either replace or remove the band itself.

With all gastric surgery, there is the chance of bloating, blockage, and acid reflux. Usually, these three conditions are caused by you not following your diet properly, or the diet not being appropriate. You must discuss this when you have your next consultation with your nutritionist and/or dietician.

One particular problem with the band is that it can deflate, loosen, or even disintegrate, although this is rare. You will have to have regular consultations with your physician, as they will be able to see whether you are progressing properly, which means the band is working. The band deflating, loosening, or disintegrating are also the only three problems that have the potential to be life threatening if they are not addressed properly.

mos health pix paul lewis..  Gastric band specialist Mr Paul Super..patient Kim Beedie at Hartlands Hospital Birmingham. gastric band showing how the centre membrain inflates

Should You Have the Surgery?

Choosing to have surgery is a huge decision that will impact all of your life, for the rest of your life. Hence, before you commit to it, you need to properly consider your options. Overall, however, most of those who have had the surgery will tell you that it is more than worth it. Yes, there is a chance of complications, but that chance is minor. And the chance of developing complications as a result of being morbidly obese are far more realistic, and also far more likely to shorten your overall lifespan.

Rent at The Old Rep Theatre

It is the classic musical of modern times, a tour de force that has a back story just as tragic as the one that unfolds on stage, and, last night, Rent, the updated version of La Boheme, opened at the Old Rep Theatre Birmingham with a brilliant ensemble performance.


Rent is the story of a group of artistic bohemians living in East Village, New York during the early 1990s. The talented bunch include a dancer (Mimi), a film-maker (Mark), a guitarist and lead singer (Roger), a transsexual woman (Angel) and a teacher turned anarchist (Tom Collins). They live an impoverished existence and, in the case of Mimi, Collins and Roger, their lives are blighted by AIDS and drug abuse. Their hand to mouth existence is further thrown into jeopardy by they threat that they could be evicted from their home by their former friend and flatmate Benny, who has married into money and now owns the apartment building they live in. We follow the friends from Christmas to Christmas as they fight to just survive in a New York that is unforgiving and unaccepting of the ‘have-nots’ in society.


The whole cast is just brilliant, and it is hard to single out performances, but Jessica Singer as Mimi is captivating in her portrayal of the promiscuous but vulnerable dancer. Her beautiful voice brings tears to the eye, especially when she sings the lament ‘Without You’. Tom Tilley and Rhys Owen make a wonderful couple as Angel and Collins, their romance is touching and poignant, and they play it to perfection, with Rhys Owen showing very raw and powerful grief during the performance of  ‘I’ll Cover You’.

rent 2

Joe Ashman is a good lead as Mark, holding the production together with his asides, almost acting as a narrator, worried that he will watch all his friends die, whilst Timothy Gough does the mean and moody fading rock star perfectly, capable of stubbornness and tenderness in equal measures.

rent 1

The stark industrial set is a perfect, sparse backdrop to a musical that talks about ‘What you own’ as an indication of how we are perceived in modern times, whilst the classic score is full of songs that remain in the mind long after the curtain comes down.

Rent is a modern classic, you shouldn’t miss it.

Rent is at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham until 30th July, For times and ticket information, click here.