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My mother is an alcoholic

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 17 July 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

My mother is an alcoholic and it's affecting us all. I now live quite a distance away so only visit a couple of times a month. Mother is supposed to be caring for my dad as he is disabled. He has a carer but not at weekends now as someone from social services has to come, as she forgets to give him his medication and cook for him.

The family have done so much to try to help her. My brother took her to the doctors who did liver tests and said she would die soon if she did not stop drinking. She refused to go back to Alcoholics Anonymous after two sessions. She says she is seeking help, but it's all lies. She has antidepressants but doesn't take them. She hides alcohol all over the house. If we throw it away she buys more. Bills are not getting paid. The grandchildren don't want to visit her as she is always intoxicated.

I am getting married soon and would love her to be at the wedding, but I know she will be drunk. My sister has advised me not to go out of my way to help, as she tried and it made her ill. How can I get my mother to stop drinking?

Patricia Marie says...

You ask the same question many family members of an alcohol-dependent want the answer to. Sadly, the reply is never simple. Alcoholism is a family disease - if one person is drinking to excess, everyone around them is affected. Alcoholics are often in denial, blaming circumstances or people around them for their addiction. They are unable to see how badly their destructive and hurtful behaviour affects those who love and want to help them.
Alcoholics Anonymous recommends ' detachment with love' -  as your sister has discovered, if you don't allow yourself to stand back a little it can affect your health. You have to accept you can't stop your mum from drinking, only she can choose to do this.  If alcoholics are not ready for help, efforts by family and friends trying to force them to admit to the problem, usually causes more resentment, and its only when the consequences of their drinking becomes painful enough will they reach out for help.
Do remind your mother how much you love her, but you cannot help her if she is not willing to help herself, as it is destroying your life. Be firm, and emphasise you are extremely concerned that unless she gets professional help soon, she will cause lasting grief to all her family.
Whether she chooses to get help or not, do contact The National Association for the family of Alcoholics:  0800 358 3456, This is an excellent organisation offering tremendous support for people in your situation.

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

House invasion

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 17 July 2014
My house has been invaded, infested or perhaps even burgled. I had – initially – thought about calling the police or even Rentokil. But as it turns out, it’s simply the school holidays and these particular mites actually live here.

Obviously, there is a huge part of me who adores the time off with my Smalls. Forcing me to step away from my keyboard hours at a time, I love seeing them broken out of the constrictions of stiff uniform and hard fast school rules. And there isn’t a part of me which misses homework hour or the manic pre-school run rush either.

However, I do need a few days to adjust to their insatiable hunger, the comics on the stairs (pretty slippery when taken at speed) and utter bedroom chaos that would make any third-world slum look tidy.

The way I see it, there’s only a matter of years before they won’t want to climb the trees, transform their bedroom into a campsite or paint in the garden. And then I’ll be left for dust - so I’d better grin and bear it, at least for the next 8 weeks.


Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Last week I had one of those “times have really changed” moments when ten year old Tommy asked if he could google some important information.

Intrigued, I asked him to explain what was SO important that he could only find on google.

There’s a boy in my class who likes a girl in my class and he wants to find out how to get her to like him. He can’t google at home because his mum will find out so he asked me”.

Restraining bewilderment, suppressing all out laughter, and with the composure of my inner professional Nanny V, I had to enquire why a ten year old would imagine that google could provide more helpful information than his mum, his tutor, or me, females who know precisely what a girl likes and wants from a boy.

Tommy: “Oh Nanny V, you are SO old fashioned. Google knows everything”.
Me: “Oh Tommy, you have SO much to learn about life that google and computers could never teach you”.
Tommy: “Like what?
Me: “Where do I start?

Where DO I start???

So we discussed a couple of subjects like friendship and the concept of graciousness in winning and defeat when he plays football (also cuddles and how they make you feel good even when you are a ten year old boy who would never publicly admit to such behaviour!), so he could relate and understand, and so he could appreciate that life lessons come from experience and not technology.

I am not sure our discussion gelled. Actually, I wasn’t sure I gave him the correct information, so I googled “how to get a girl to like you” and I can report with great relief, my advice was spot on.

Life lesson #1, Nanny V is always right. #2, some old fashioned ways still apply today (and hopefully never change).

Rebeca Li fashion show

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Sinead-Fashion-1When I arrived at the Rebeca Li fashion show I was surprised to be greeted by a line of tall, handsome men in tuxedos, lined down a red carpet, all holding roses. As they handed their roses out to each of the girls coming in, they said “Thank you for being you.” (My only reply: ‘Can I have this treatment every evening please?’) And after a long day in London it definitely made me smile.

‘Being you’ is exactly what Rebeca Li’s fashion is all about.

Born in China, Rebeca’s fashion is inspired by the Silk Road and her Chinese heritage, and she designs her dresses according to inspiration she draws from the person she is making it for.

“I crafted my collection to carry a woman through the day, from work to play, with fabrics that hold their own and are transformed by the changing light,” says Rebeca.

“The collection was inspired by the cool light of London, the energising light of Shanghai, and the optimistic light of the stories of the Silk Road. My fabrics are sourced in China, where my roots lie, and have been chosen because of their texture and colour. My collection reflects deeply who I am, and what I want every woman to be: beautiful on every occasion.”

As we nibbled canapes and helped ourselves to the fizzy, the models were strutting their stuff on the catwalk. All the while, Rebeca talked about the personalities and styles of the women modelling and explained why she chose each particular dress for them.

Overall the evening left me feeling positive. A reminder that we as women, are not just cut-outs or mannequins for any old high street chain.

While Rebeca’s designer glad rags aren’t cheap (especially not for a young journalist on a budget!), what I took away from it was the positive message and the idea that if I needed a frock for a special occasion, she would be the one I would contact.

Bespoke clothes with a hint of magic, Rebeca Li’s fashion does exactly what it says on the tin: “Fashion is for woman, not the other way round.”

You can check out Rebeca’s designs and learn more on her website at

Written by Sinead Nolan

Naked wines tasting

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Naked Wines Event "Nothing makes the future look so rosy as to contemplate it through a glass of Chambertin." said Napoleon Bonaparte.

And I couldn’t agree more. Hence why I headed off to the Naked Wines UK Summer Tour, which took place from the 20 - 29 June.

The winemakers had flown in from all over the world to share their delicious wines and they would be covering 10 cities in 10 days.

How it worked was fairly easy for the seasoned wine drinker: turn up, pick up a glass, decide what you wanted to try and then taste the wine. There was also spittoons, water and crackers by the edge of every table, lest one get too merry.

Sinead-Wine-1My friend, a seasoned wine tasting pro, advised we start at the expensive bubblies before the masses got to them and work our way down to the cheaper wines. We started our rounds at the fizz, port and dessert wine stalls with a Villebois Brut from the Loire Valley in France, a Prosecco from Italy and a Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2007 from Kent in the UK, which kicked off the event with a nice zest.

Secondly we visited the New Zealand stand to sample some of the whites from Central Victoria, Hawkes Bay and South Eastern Australia, where among others we tasted a Marlborough Pinot Gris and a crisp, fruity Lay of the Land Destination Sauvignon Blanc 2013. It was here that I chatted a little to the Naked Wine representative (I must mention that he was fully clothed!), an award-winning wine grower himself, who had travelled half way around for the event. We chatted about all of the unusual names, such as the ‘The Rebel Reisling’ and ‘The Butterfly Effect Shiraz’. Who knew winemaking could get so creative? But I couldn’t keep him too long, there were eager wine tasters pushing at my elbows to get some of the best stuff...

Next, we were drawn to South Africa, where an Arabella Reserve in Unison was very popular among tasters. I spoke to an ‘Angel’ there (a Naked Wines ‘Angel’ is someone who has signed up to pay a certain amount every month and in return receives a hamper of unique wines of their choice every few months) who was very impressed with the scheme. But the winner of the wines that evening had to go to Argentina and Chile with their Kimbao Pinot Noir 2012 from the Metropolitana region of Chile, which proved to me one thing I had always wondered - yes, quality and price can make a difference. Also, that I would never be able to appreciate a cheap wine ever again.

After a little sit down and some food, we did the rounds of Italy, Germany and Austria, France (the favourite being a Domaine O’Vineyards Stranger Stranger 2007 from the Languedoc-Roussillon region) and of course Spain and Portugal where we tried a Negreiros Douro from Portugal (grapes squashed by foot, no less!) and a fantastic, full bodied Carlos Rodriguez Rioja Graciano 2012.

Finally, when all the wine was gone we realised it might be time to leave on our merry way. Four sheets to the wind, yet much more wine educated, we made our way home.

Naked Wines is a customer funded business who invest in independent wine. If you are interested in learning more about signing up go to

Written by Sinead Nolan
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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
More vintage tips

Housekeeper / Mother's Help

for a lovely family on a large estate in Hampshire.
You will be asked to run the house and also to take charge of the usual cleaning, to include Laundry.



What the stars have in store for you this week.July 18 - 31

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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