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My boyfriend constantly puts me down

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 21 July 2017
Dear Patricia Marie,

My boyfriend constantly puts me down, particularly when we are out with friends, and it is really starting to cause a problem. He says it is just his sarcastic sense of humour, and all his past girlfriends have found it amusing, but I am starting to lose my confidence when I am with him.

I am reasonably attractive, with a slim figure, but have always had low self esteem, ever since my mother walked out when I was 14 years old, and my father made it obvious I was a nuisance to him.

It has taken me a long time to accept myself as I am, and although I don't want to break up with him, I also don't want to start feeling bad about myself again. If I try to talk to him about it, he just gets angry, and says I have no sense of humour and that he is only joking, but he does seem to pick up on all the things I don't like about myself and make them into 'jokes'.

Is there anything I can do to make him stop?

Patricia Marie says...

People who constantly find fault in others, are generally insecure and unhappy within their own lives. It's unhealthy for any relationship to be filled with constant criticism and you need to let your partner aware of how much he is jeopardising yours. Perhaps he grew up with a critical parent, was bullied himself, or maybe he is carrying regrets or resentments from previous partners.

This man is able to make you feel worthless because you are allowing him to, and constantly facing such negativity is quite understandably wearing away your happiness. If you really want to salvage this partnership, calmly ask him why he feels the need to verbally attack and belittle you. I suggest you make it clear that you will not tolerate this behaviour any more. If he realises how much he is hurting you, and genuinely wants to address his issues, this will be a good start, but if not, you have to ask yourself why you would want to stay with a man who is making you so unhappy.

If you can't make a decision right now, have some time apart, to allow you to re-evaluate your feelings. It could be that your boyfriend's attitude has reignited in you painful memories from the past which you may not have dealt with at the time, and I therefore believe you could benefit from some counselling. This will empower you by building your self esteem, enabling you to think more clearly, and help you make better decisions both at this present time and in the future too.

You may come to a decision to sever ties, but remember, no relationship is ever a waste of time. If it doesn't bring you what you want, it teaches you what you don't want, and do keep in mind, all endings bring new beginnings.

I recommend you read: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum: A Step by Step Guide to Help You Decide to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship.
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Alexandria Imperiale Perfume Launch at Fortnum and Mason

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Monday, 17 July 2017
by Annette Kellow

There is nothing more exquisite than entering the prestigious Fortnum and Mason store. From the two suited footmen holding candlesticks as you arrive, to the freshly made confectionary and the rows upon rows of deliciously boxed champagne- I always say nothing bad can ever happen there!

This week I was cordially invited to the launch of Xerjoff's Alexandria Imperiale perfume exclusively made for Fortnum and Mason (very tempting to say Fortnum's and Mason's but apparently that is rather frowned upon!)
Arriving at the prompt hour of 8am I was immediately ushered in by a very regal looking red suited doorman. The best part of this was that no one else was in the store and I had a clear view of the wonderland. You could hear a pin drop whilst there was a sense of magic in the stillness (and also the temptation to run around and go on a massive shopping spree).

I went up to the perfume floor to be greeted by the brand ambassador Costa, who looked and notably, smelt divine. He instantly took me on a mini-tour of the Xerjoff brand.
Alexandria Imperiale is a couture perfume created by Sergio Mimi which has beautiful hints of rose, lavander and cardamom. It comes from the Xerjoff brand which Sergio founded 10 years ago.

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Alexandra Imperiale comes from the Oud Stars collection which is created with distinguished distillations and pure Oud from the plantations of Laos.

The extensive research and limited production of Oud Stars has been developed with the firm intention of creating a special luxurious creative collection, of this perfume emulates in abundance.

I also love that is quite a glamorous scent and Costa informed me the layering technique is often used with Xerjoff to create a profound long lasting essence.
Otherwise known as 'Fragrance cocktailing' it doesn't mean to start spritzing all your leftover perfumes on (as I imagined a new use for all my old ones that I'd chucked in the bottom of my drawer!) but creating a balanced fresh scent, which Costa is highly trained in.

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And please can we just talk about the bottle! Encasing a fusion of nature, passion and artistry, the gold leaf style sweeping lid and beautiful burgundy bottle give it the allure of a jewel amongst treasure.

After a little layering, it was time for some feasting. Fortnum and Mason laid out the most beautiful spread including fruit granola, pain au chocolate, hot cross buns, juices and coffee which of course I heartily indulged in. I can see why Fortnums food department has been raved about since 1738 and rumour has it even the Royal family are fans.

I couldn't resist trying it all and when Costa noticed me nibbling he said, 'Darling your having so much fun eating, if I ate that much I would have to wear two pairs of Spanx!'

I probably should have listened to him but at least I was wafting with delicious Xerjoff perfume- so I suppose all was not lost.
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I've fallen in love with a man I met on the internet

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 07 July 2017
Dear Patricia Marie,

Three months ago I met a man on the internet, and we speak at least once a day. It sounds quite ridiculous for me to say this, but we have fallen in love, even though we are both married to other people. He has two young children and I have three. Luckily he lives a great distance away, otherwise I would be tempted to meet up and embark on an affair.

My husband and I just don't communicate anymore, and every time I speak with this other extremely attentive man, who makes me feel wanted and desirable, it reinforces how bad my marriage has become.

I know what I'm doing is wrong, and I do still have some feelings for my husband, but I am struggling to give up the excitement of the other man.

Can you see a way forward for me?

Patricia Marie says...

The online environment is the perfect breeding ground for fantasies because it allows us to ascribe all the wonderful qualities we want in a partner to someone we've never met. It may seem harsh to digest, but falling in love on the web is more desperation than reality.

You have stepped into a dangerous make-believe world and, if allowed to continue, you could become depressed, and resent your husband for what you cannot have, which could turn into a very difficult situation. Your relationship with this man is not real. It is simply a form of escapism from what has become a dull marriage.

What is real is what you have, which you should be working on keeping, not putting your energy into something that could become your downfall. Maybe your husband would start to communicate better if you focused more on your family life, and stopped betraying him for fantasy passion. You need to realise that at times every marriage has problems, and working together to solve and get through such difficulties is what bonds and enhances the relationship.

You say you still have feelings for your husband, so build on those feelings. Get away with your husband for a short break, or even an overnight stay. Spending quality time talking and relaxing together will hopefully enable you to start enjoying each other's company again. Nevertheless, to reconnect with your husband, you must let go of your fantasy and fully disconnect yourself from this other man. Go and pull the plug on that computer, and get back in the real world.

For further help and support, I feel you and your husband could benefit from attending Relate for some counselling sessions. (relate.org.uk) 0300 100 1234
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Dukes Picnic; A Quintessentially English Affair

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 29 June 2017
by Annette Kellow

What could be more summery than a delicious picnic Hamper, a very sunny green park and scotch eggs galore? Add champagne and your best friend into the mix and there is not much else that could top a perfect summers evening.
This week I had the pleasure of being invited to what can only be described as a very quintessentially English affair by the historic Dukes Hotel.

Winner of Worlds Leading Classic Hotel at the World Travel Awards, since 1908 the Hotel stands on one of the most historic areas of St. James and they have recently introduced summer picnic hampers to their award winning menu.

The hotel has been a favourite of both the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Royal connection is still strong, with the hotel's emphasis on tradition being one of its biggest draws.

The Dukes Picnic Hamper is specifically targeted as a luxurious service. Indeed on arrival we were greeted by a very friendly butler who had impeccably organised everything for us, from the plates to the food to the oh-so important blanket (of which I had a mild panic en route as I realised I didn't bring one for my friend and I!)

I was joined by best friend and fellow chatterbox Millicent who was in need of some relaxation after she had been working solidly for 8 hours!

Expecting to have to walk across Piccadilly to get to the Park, we were delighted when our lovely butler slipped us through a Dickens style alley tucked behind the hotel, straight in to the lush grass of Green Park. He even had our spot perfectly picked out (under a tree, near the walkway and not too near other people).

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Often with picnics you expect to be slightly comatose after eating as they are often filled with copious amounts of bread, cakes and general naughtiness but we were delighted to see our picnic was healthy indulgence!

Poached Loch Duart Salmon, New potato salad with tarragon mustard and chickpea salad with cucumber, feta and mint. Also chicken brochettes, Chorizo & goat's cheese scotch eggs and British artisan cheese with chutney and oak cakes- it was all too good! We popped the cork of our bottle of champagne and got straight down to the business of having a good natter.

As it was a warm summers evening there was lots of people also relaxing close by and my dog Dorothy took it upon herself to go and introduce herself to as many people as she could, on one condition- that she could roll over and they would stroke her. After doing that to at least four separate groups, then running around like a mad thing, she took a stick over to a man who was asleep and woke him up by putting it on his chest! This was followed by then rummaging around our chicken leftovers and running off with part of a scotch egg. Clearly she had not read her Debretts handbook of etiquette that day, so we had to constantly rescue her from mischievous scenarios much to everyone else's amusement!

Luckily our champagne bubbles combined with warm summers air made it quite a breeze and followed by our lemon posset to finish, it was exactly what one would expect from a beautiful summers evening- A quintessentially English affair.

Dukes Picnic Hampers are available throughout the summer and can be booked at 0207 318 6574
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My dear friend found out a few months ago that she has cancer

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 23 June 2017
Dear Patricia Marie,

My dear friend found out a few months ago that she has cancer. In a few short months she has changed from a vibrant, feisty woman into a quiet, constantly complaining one.

When I visit her she spends the whole time telling me how hard her life now is, and how unfair it is that she has cancer. She nags her husband and barks out orders to him. She shows no interest in what is happening in my life at all. I try to entertain her with stories or offer to play cards with her, or take her out, but she does not want this.

I don't know what to do. I feel I have to push myself to visit her, and that makes me feel very sad as we used to be so very close, in saying this, I still very much want to be there for her.

Patricia Marie says...

When the threat of severe illness affects a loved one, it isn't always easy for family or friends to know how to deal with the situation. It is perfectly understandable that you are finding it hard to talk to your friend about her feelings and concerns, but if you can allow her to speak about what's making her angry, expressing her feelings may help her to feel better understood. It could be she is feeling anxious and hopeless, causing her to be irritable. She could resent you speaking about a way of life she may no longer have. For now, let your friend lead the conversation, and in time hopefully she will be better able to share your news.

A cancer diagnosis can cause doubts and uncertainty, and the future could seem suddenly dark and unpredictable, which can be very frightening and may cause your friend to feel she has lost control of her life. Empower her. Encourage her to decide what she thinks would make her situation more bearable. Perhaps you could both work together on accomplishing even the smallest realistic goals that could have a huge positive impact on the way she feels. It is also important for you to receive some help at this time. Do call the Macmillan Support Line, as their dedicated team are there to advise on ways to care for those suffering from cancer. Their knowledge and experience will give you a greater understanding of this brutal disease, and enable you to be more empathic of your friend's emotions.

You may have to accept that your friend is unable to be as she was, but the most valuable thing you can do for her now is simply be there for her and no matter how low her mood, continue to be the devoted friend you clearly are. Do remember, caring for someone with cancer is a strain, but it can be intensely rewarding and make one feel proud of finding the strength, courage and kindness to help a sufferer going through possibly the toughest battle of their life. Through your compassion you will experience the true value of what's important in life - both love and life itself.
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