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Dear Santa

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 24 November 2014
As I write this I am terrifyingly aware of how quickly Christmas is looming and then how to offer constructive options for what to put in a Christmas stocking and under the tree.

No matter what your religion there is no use trying to hide the expectation for presents as, dare I say, we live in a society utterly focused on “things” and “stuff” and “belongings”. I’m not saying it’s a totally negative concept; however, sometimes it seems the delight is more in the quantity and largesse rather than the expression of love and gratitude.

So have a think about the following as an alternative to the latest fad toy and brand name blingy thingy…

A regular date with your children where everyone gets to choose a fun activity (bowling, arts & crafts, a picnic, bike riding, mini-golf) or maybe just a regular movie night at home with popcorn and all the trimmings.

Sign them up for a magazine subscription, library card, to tap into your child’s curiosity or membership at the zoo, science museum or gym. Maybe you could find an adults and kids yoga or swim class to enjoy together.

Similarly, find a drawing or singing class, chess club, dance, riding, drama, skateboarding, indoor climbing, to give them a challenge for something new they might not have considered. Even if it doesn’t work out it’s not a failure but a learning experience and an adventure into the unknown.

Family coupons like an extra half hour before bed, my favourite dinner, sit and read with me, Anything Goes (give 3 options), cupcake baking & decoration, or something unique to your family. Children love personalised and thoughtful activities and usually the messier the more opportunity to giggle and be creative.

Outdoor supplies to get stuck into the garden together; board games, puzzles or cards for a rainy day or the evening; or you could visit a charity shop together to pick out dress up clothes for your afternoon tea date back at home.

Dear Santa, this year I’d like to give my children my imagination and time. I’d like to create new memories. I’d like my children to feel the joy of family and love. (Oh and if you have any magic sleeping dust for sprinkling on my children at night for an occasional morning lie-in, I’d like a box full please, to share with all my sleep deprived friends of course).

Winter Wonderland opening night

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Friday, 21 November 2014
Last night’s opening night of Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland heralded the start of Christmas. This huge extravaganza is now truly a part of London’s Christmas calendar and we Young Ladies About Town were invited to the VIP night. We shared a mulled cider (or two, maybe three) with The Lady favourites including Princess Beatrice, Helena Bonham-Carter and husband Tim Burton. Kirstie Allsopp was also in attendace, along with half the cast of Strictly Come Dancing, including Brendan Cole and his lovely wife Zoe, and Anton Du Berke (who hugged Father Christmas). If you love a celeb in mittens as much as we do, then this was the grotto to be seen in!


Winter Wonderland caters for all ages and is great for families and children, and  has everything you need from bars and food stalls, giant ice rinks, a Ferris Wheel and countless fairground rides for all ages. If you are going with anyone who loves a bit of magic and ice, you must visit The Magical Ice Kingdom. Themed with ice sculptures of giant knights on horseback, dragons with glowing eyes and  swords cast in blocks of ice, this is King Arthur’s kingdom in frozen form. If you love magical fairy tales, Arthurian legends and a bit of Narnia style you will love this.

We were in heaven as soon as we were greeted by a pair of ice wolves howling at a blue ice moon and set in a woodland forests. Suddenly Hyde Park was far, far away and we had been whisked to the Artic world, where hats are needed as the room is set at -12 degrees to keep the statues in pristine condition. We squealed with delight at the ice squirrels, growling bears and sound of galloping horses as a frozen joust scene appeared around a corner.


The pièce de résistance? You can sit on two giant ice thrones and have an official photograph taken (as we did in a Beckam wedding vs White Witch mash-up). We didn’t want to leave and was slightly disappointed to discover that Hyde Park wasn’t covered in snow and icicles, but since Winter Wonderland is open till early January, maybe there’s still time for the real magic to happen.

Dates: Friday 21st November 2014 – Sunday 4th January 2015 (closed Christmas day)
Times: 10am – 10pm daily (except 21st November – opens from 5pm)
Entry: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is FREE to enter, there is no admission fee however charges do apply for some attractions including the Magical Ice Kingdom, Ferris Wheel and Ice Skating
Online booking:

Words by Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

I am having an affair with my best friend's husband

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 20 November 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,
I have done something unforgivable and I feel so bad about it. I am having an affair with my best friend's husband.
It started in April and I want to finish it, but he is my soul mate. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but I can't stand the worry of my friend finding out. I know she would be devastated if she knew, but I just cant help myself.  I have been on my own for a year or so, and the three of sometimes go out together.  I knew he was keen on me, but it was me who instigated the affair.
I love him so very much. Should I just carry on seeing him and act like nothing is happening, or should I tell my friend and ruin our friendship?

Patricia Marie says...

Women do tend to believe they are in love when they have an affair.  Men can be more opportunistic, but women need to feel more emotionally engaged - and the effect can be devastating.

You say this man is your soul mate, but the reality is what sort of man has an affair with his wife's best friend? If he means what he says about wanting to spend the rest of his life with you, why have you not run off into the sunset together?

Many mistresses wait forever for their lovers to leave their wives, and when forever never comes, they are left heartbroken. How do you know your not just a bit of escapism for him - just a bit of fun?  It may not be the first time he's had an affair and promised his mistress the world.

If your friend did find out about the affair, there's every chance your lover would go running back to his wife, and you'd be left with nothing. I urge you to find the strength to end this relationship before this situation becomes destructive. Consider shifting your energy into finding your very own man, rather than waste your time on somebody else's. We can't help who we fall in love with, but everyone is worth more than being someone's mistress.

However, if you two are genuinely in love, then he should do the decent thing and tell his wife, who deserves to know her husband has cheated on her and her best friend has betrayed her.

You need to be sure he's worth it because you are set to lose your best friend forever.

Have a dilemma? Please email  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

All power to the duvet day

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Tuesday, 18 November 2014
We’re all muttering the same thing.  Like a broken Mummy record.

“Such a long term this is!” “If only they weren’t so exhausted!” “these short dark days are getting to us” “… just got to keep going…”

Except that Mini and I decided to call a stop to it all today.  There she was dressed and ready to head out of the front door when I decided to take a closer look at her pale face, watery eyes and red, sore nose.  And there I saw the light: keeping the show on the road isn’t always the way forward.  Because sometimes the horse can simply refuse to jump.

Before I could say ‘pass me the Calpol’, she had run upstairs, whipped off her uniform and was lying on the sofa in a onesie.  And she has hardly moved since.  Only to write a few Christmas cards, sketch a little in her scrapbook and squeeze some prescribed juicy oranges.  

In my book, these days are called Duvet Days.  Staying at home and doing a little nothing, recharges those running-low batteries and  (hopefully) avoids any lurking sickness.  And it’s forced me to stay put too.  The two of us have caught up on her school stories (with no one to interrupt), sorted out the mess which was her bedroom and even done a little festive online shopping too.  So break the record and give someone you love a Duvet Day this week.

Pets and kids

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 17 November 2014
My childhood pet was a goldfish. I wanted a barn owl but mum bought me a goldfish. I couldn’t cuddle or pat Sunny but he was a good listener when I was sent to my room and needed to voice my frustrations. Although I daydreamed about telling John Travolta whose face was plastered on my walls, how unfair my life was, Sunny’s meditative laps of his fishbowl brought me calm.

A family pet, whether dog, cat, or chameleon, encourages a child’s social, physical, emotional and cognitive development.

Keeping the family pet alive and hygienic can be a child’s first step in taking responsibility and even if part of the routine falls to you, there is still a mutual understanding and need for being reliable. Pets make a good vehicle for learning a concept I’d wish more adults would also embrace.

Because of the special bond that often develops between pet and child, pets can sometimes fill the role of comforter. Since the relationship is non-judgemental, a hurting child might be more willing to trust a pet than a person, and with this trust comes companionship, an early practice for socialising.

As 25% of UK households have a dog it’s a great opportunity for children to get outdoors to play. Or maybe take the pet guinea pig for a walk in the stroller. Take vegetable scraps to the bunny in the garden. Spending time with animals away from electronic gadgets in the fresh air is healthy for both body and brain.

Research has also shown that pets make great reading buddies at home and at school. Some schools have reading programs, a fun experience for kids especially if they get nervous reading in front of other kids and adults.

“I think it takes away the children’s inhibitions when they’re reading so they’re not judged by their peer group or anybody”, says Mary Sulter who runs a Canine Classrooms Program in Australian Schools.

“It’s really beneficial and not only for reading but their overall development and self-confidence”, she adds.

So consider adopting a wonderful addition to your family, one that is right for your situation and one that will benefit the family, including mum and dad.

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Daily tip from the lady archive

"BEAUTY may fade and riches be lost, but a sense of humour ripens with the years, and cannot be stolen. It remains a very real solace, and a talisman against the ills of life."

The Lady. The Invaluable Possession 2nd May, 1912
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What the stars have in store for you this week.November 21 - 27

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Q: A recent survey has revealed the Top 10 things British women would love to do but are too scared. Have you done any of the following?

Sing in public / karaoke - 10.6%
Ask for a pay rise - 6.2%
Travel or holiday alone - 27.7%
Do a naked photo-shoot - 6.2%
Get a tattoo - 3.8%
Have a bikini wax - 4.9%
Get your hair cut very short - 10.6%
Ask someone out on a date - 3.8%
Quit your job - 19%
Have cosmetic surgery - 7.3%
The voting for this poll has ended on: 13 Jun 2014 - 09:12

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