Kiss It Better in February

Kiss It Better CarmelFrom September 2002 for nearly a year,Carmel Allen’s nine-month old daughter Josephine didn’t make a sound.  ‘I would see big tears rolling down her baby cheeks but she couldn’t cry.  It was so distressing,’ remembers Carmel. The underlying reason was that ‘Jojo’, as she is known, had a stage 3 neuroblastoma tumour squashed against her windpipe (trachea) obstructing her breathing. To increase the oxygen supply she was given a tracheostomy at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) where ENT surgeon Ben Hartley inserted a tube in her neck at the front of the windpipe, meaning no sound could come from her mouth.

That was in September 2002.  In December, after two rounds of chemotherapy, Ben Hartley and cardiac surgeon Martin Elliott worked in tandem for eight hours to remove the tumour. The ‘trache tube’ was finally removed in the summer of 2003.  Today Jojo, now 11, is so well that Carmel was told she should be more worried about her crossing the road, ‘which I think is pretty marvellous’.

In 2004, Carmel set up the Kiss It Better appeal to raise funds for research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer.  ‘I called it that because throughout Jojo’s silent months, I continued talking to her and whenever she was visibly upset I’d say 'kiss it better' as all mummies do’, explains Carmel.

One child in 600 under 15 years of age is diagnosed with some form of cancer. But there are relatively few cases of each kind so the way to give children the best chance of a cure with minimum side effects is for GOSH to run clinical trials with other centres.  Well-designed trials have enormously increased the survival rate.  For instance, all forms of childhood leukaemia used to be fatal; now over 80 per cent of children are cured.  The money raised by Kiss It Better currently goes towards employing and training specialist research nurses and support staff who are crucial to these trials.

For the sixth year running, beauty brand Clinique is partnering Kiss It Better.  This year Clinique has created a Limited Edition Kisses from Clinique set, with the six best-selling shades of iconic Superbalm Moisturizing Lip Gloss, which will be sold exclusively in House of Fraser stores nationwide and online at during February, with half (£12) the £24 purchase price going to Kiss It Better (buy here). Clinique and House of Fraser will also donate £2 for each Clinique lipstick or lipgloss sold at House of Fraser stores nationwide.

You can also buy a range of adorable Valentine's cards from the Almanac Gallery, including one designed by Jojo Allen called Free Love.  Almanac donates 30p for each card sold to Kiss It Better.  Look under the Get Involved section of the Kiss It Better website.



If every child matters, it follows that every teacher matters.  But teaching, however rewarding, is a demanding and stressful job.  Former deputy head teacher Kath Dunning, my expert reviewer, highly recommends Every Teacher Matters, £14.99 (buy here at, by emotional resilience specialist Kathryn Lovewell.  Her mission is to reduce stress in schools and promote wellbeing through mindfulness, a way of paying attention to what is going on in the moment with kindness and curiosity, both in the teacher’s own life and in their teaching.  Much of it is as simple as giving yourself ten minutes daily ‘head space’ to be still, quiet and rest your mind: ‘in a busy life we often forget this’, says Kath Dunning.



The YOU Magazine team has been soothing tired muscles and aches and pains - and here's what they've found most effective...

MAGNESIUM SPRAYDeep Heat Patches/£6.25 for four at - buy here.   Some wizardry means these heat when opened, warming muscles and reducing pain and stiffness for up to eight hours.  There are also double size patches, two for £4.47.

Vitabiotics Jointace Gel, £8.10 for 75 ml at - buy here.  With glucosamine and chondroitin, plus oils of ginger, lavender, eucalyptus and clove bud, this gives instant relief for aches and pains.

Magnesium Oil Joint Spray, £12.30 for 100 ml at - buy here.  Most of us are deficient in magnesium, which, among many other functions, helps to relax muscles and ease joint pain.  Topical application or a magnesium salts bath helps it get absorbed five times faster than oral supplements.



Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) – the detergent used in many personal care products, including emollient creams for eczema and baby wipes – is a known skin irritant.  They are also routinely included in toothpastes and are linked to mouth ulcers.  Several readers have said that once they used sulphate-free toothpastes their ulcers healed and did not return.  The natural brand Green People offers a certified organic, sulphate-, fluoride- and artificial sweetener-free range, including Citrus & Aloe Vera, Mint, Children’s Spearmint & Aloe Vera Toothpastes, each £3.50 (find them in natural food stores nationwide or at here).  In the Sensodyne range for sensitive teeth, Original, £3.20, is SLS- and fluoride-free, Pronamel and Repair & Protect are sulphate-free but contain fluoride, both £3.99 (at chemists nationwide).