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My dear friend found out a few months ago that she has cancer

Posted by 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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Churchill Film Celebration at the War Rooms

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
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on Monday, 19 June 2017
by Annette Kellow

It has been 28,161 days since Churchill was in power but his strong beliefs and iconic quotes are still in full force, putting the Great in Great Britain. This week Churchill the film will be released by Lionsgate and in celebration I was invited to a pre-release talk at the War Rooms in Parliament.

My first thought was, how vintage! I love 1940s history and have always been in marvel at Chruchills defiant attitude throughout the war.

On arrrival I was ushered downstairs into the map room, the most secret of all the rooms in the building. Inside were secret decoding telephones, maps with pins to mark incoming boats and some sugar cubes which he kept in a hanky at the back of his drawer.

Surely they couldn’t be real and have lasted all this time? I was assured they were and that Churchill always used all of his sugar rations but forgot these two!

As we went through to his bedroom, we were informed that maps were his favourite. So obsessed was he that he even had one erected opposite his bed to study at a moments notice should he need to. One of the other writers on tour with us was also very keen on maps and was looking in detail. As there was a table in front he decided to kneel down to check out Australia, then he accidenly kicked Churchills bedpan- I was in fits of giggles imagining what Churchill would have said at that!

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Churchill was not only a very clever man but incredibly private and knew how to keep a secret. As we walked along another corridor we were shown a door with an ‘engaged’ sign on it. Assuming it was a lavatory we were corrected that Churchill would pretend it was but secretly take calls in there to the White House. The etiquette of someone standing outside a toilet would have been frowned upon so he would be left well alone to discuss important affairs- although people may have wondered why he was spending so much time in there!

As we entered another part of the war rooms there was a large quote on one wall-

‘We are all worms but I believe I am a glow worm.’

Although Churchill suffered from dark depression he also loved humour and after watching a pre-screening of Brian Cox taking on the role of the great leader, I realised he was also rather glamourous too.

He loved Savile Row suits, chauffeur driven limousines, gold Breguet pocket watches, Pol Roger champagne and he always smoked 8 fine cigars a day.

The only guilty pleasure he indulged in was Red label Johnny Walker, apparently a cheap and accessible drink one, whilst he loved nothing better than to get up on the roof of Parliament and watch air raids with a little tipple.

We finished off the day at the HMS Belfast, the grande ship currently docked at London Bridge which Churchill had wanted to accompany the invasion forces on D-Day, but was dissuaded by the King under the terms it was not safe. The ship now sits on the Thames with a beautiful panoramic view of the city. I enjoyed touring the captains room and control centre whilst the sheer size of the 11’000 ton ship is to marvel at. Even now after 50 years of his death, I got the feeling Churchill was a determined, strong caring individual that cared deeply about his country and as he famously loved to say, ‘Attitude is a little thing that always makes a very big difference.’

Churchill by Lionsgate is currently showing at cinemas now.
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A Day at Bicester Village

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
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on Friday, 16 June 2017
by Katrina Schollenberger

Lady.co.uk have recently partnered up with Debrett’s and Bicester Village to bring readers a series of style tips for a variety of occasions on the social calendar. From Henley Regatta to Ascot to the RHS Flower Show, Debrett’s guide readers through dress code, while Bicester Village offers a world of discounted designer goods to select outfits from.

I was invited to Bicester Village to experience a day of luxury shopping first hand. Bicester, just North West of Oxford, is 45 minutes by train from London. Bicester Village, truly a designer brand haven, offers up to 60% on names like Gucci, Prada, Dolce and Gabana, Dior and more. Even high-end high-street brands like All Saints and Calvin Klein are featured, with some new season pieces hidden amongst the racks. 

The village is utterly pristine, with manicured hedges, modern décor and fun pop-ups around every turn. Staff in uniform are happy to help with any questions you may have about shops or train times. I had anticipated to have a browse around the shops and not spend any money, but I ended up spending a total of five hours browsing the selection of goods. I was astonished at the difference in retail price and the prices Bicester village were offering, it almost didn’t seem plausible! Each shop had everything from shoes and accessories to dresses, skirts, trousers and coats, I felt I had to truly scour every last corner.

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Just before I headed to lunch at Bicester Village’s Farm Shop, I purchased a fabulous red Gucci cross body bag, with navy and red stitching and a golden Gucci bee applique. I saved £240 on what the bag would have originally cost, and I was completely in love. I headed to Farm Shop with a big smile on my face before enjoying a roast chicken, lettuce and aioli sandwich accompanied by fries and salad.  Farm Shop offers fantastic options for lunch and dinner, and stays open until 10pm for late shoppers.

I did a little more light shopping at Calvin Klein and Kenzo before heading home. Shoppers are able to leave their bags with staff in a secure area should their purchases be a little heavier to carry around. I sat in the Bicester Village lounge with water and relaxed on a luxurious comfortable sofa before a staff member gave shoppers a 5 minute train warning. All in all, it was a day of shopping that couldn’t possibly be surpassed!
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I feel like I am beginning to hate my newborn son

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 16 June 2017
Hello Patricia,

I'm sorry to bother you, but I just don't know what to do, and I am embarrassed to talk to my husband or friends. Six weeks ago I gave birth to my son. My husband and I have been trying for so long for me to become pregnant, and I had almost given up hope, and then suddenly my pregnancy test came out positive. We were over the moon, decorated the nursery, went out and bought all the nursery furniture, buggy, car seat, clothes and so on, and waited with eager anticipation for the day to come when I could hold my child in my arms. We had a few minor worries with the scans, and I did put on quite a lot of weight during pregnancy, but we were quite literally counting the days until he arrived.

But now he is here I just can't bond with him. He cries all the time, I am getting no sleep, my body looks saggy and flabby, and I actually feel I am beginning to hate him, which I know is a dreadful way to feel, and I could never explain that to anyone who knows me. And I am just so tired, keep bursting into tears for no reason, and can't cope with the fact I can't do anything as he is so demanding. I know it is taboo to say so, but I wish he had never been born. I don't want him anymore. I hate myself for thinking this way, and you are the only one who knows. I have family and friends I could turn to, but worry they will think me a failure. Please don't reply if you are going to judge me. I don't know where else to turn. If I tell the midwife, she will probably have him taken away from me and then everyone will hate me. Help me, please!

Patricia Marie says...

Do not apologise for seeking the help of which you are very much in need. Indeed, I am extremely saddened by your letter, and hope that I can enable you to see why you may be feeling the way you do. Commonly known as the 'baby blues', most women feel emotional and overwhelmed after experiencing childbirth and becoming a parent, particularly when having to cope with new demands on both their time and attention, as well as getting little sleep. However, this wouldn't normally last for more than a few weeks. Nevertheless, Post Natal Depression (PND), which I believe is what you are suffering from, is when there are intense feelings of unhappiness, lasting for weeks or months, and a difficult struggle to bond with the baby. Whilst this must be extremely upsetting for you, please remember, you are not alone. In fact, around 1 in 10 new mothers suffer from this, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. PND, is an illness that often requires treatment, therefore, I urge you to seek professional assistance as soon as possible. Your GP, will not judge or criticise, but want to help you and discuss a treatment plan for your recovery. You could be offered counselling, antidepressants, or a combination of both. Your health visitor too, is there to support you and could offer solutions to assist your crying baby.

There are ways you can help yourself, such as taking baby for walks in the fresh air, which is an enjoyable form of exercise and should lighten your mood. Ensure you sleep when you can, eat healthily, and also, do try to open up to your family and friends. After all, a problem shared, really is a problem halved. Bear in mind too, that every new mum has issues around their post-baby body, so please stop being so hard on yourself. In time you can get back into shape, but for now your priority is getting the appropriate help so you can start to embrace motherhood. Once you begin to feel better, and you will, I recommend you join one of the many mother and baby classes available, where you won't feel so isolated, as you would be able to share any fears or anxieties with other new mums who are experiencing similar - and your little one would have great fun making friends too. I feel by receiving the help and support you deserve will make a huge difference to the way you are feeling. Hopefully you will soon begin to see yourself not as a failure, but be proud to have created a beautiful baby son who you will go on to very much enjoy and cherish forever.
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Opera Afternoon Tea at the Royal Albert Hall

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 16 June 2017
by Annette Kellow 

On a wet and rainy Saturday afternoon I couldn't think of a more perfect place to visit than the grande and prestigious Royal Albert Hall. I had been invited to the Opera Afternoon Tea, a truly unique event, which consists of a luxurious tea combined with tiers of sandwiches, sweet treats and homemade scones in the elegant surroundings of the Hall's Verdi restaurant, whilst experiencing a live performance from one of the UK's most promising operatic talents.

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I have always had a soft spot for the Royal Albert Hall as it was one of the first places I visited in London as a child and I can never get over the sheer scale and detail of the Grade I listed building, so it was an absolute joy to be back. I had brought my friend who I hadn't seen for four whole months and lets just say, we had lots to catch up on! So when we were greeted by a glass of fizzing champagne on arrival it was a welcoming surprise (and what better way to start a good conversation?)

Our lovely waitress explained the menu of teas sourced worldwide, and after deciphering which ones had the right hints for our preferable flavour, the tier arrived!
It was filled with the most scrumptious classic english sandwiches; egg cress, cucumber, salmon and cream cheese with an abundance of mouth-watering cakes, macarons and scones.

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I was excited to see the singer who would be gracing the stage (as they have a different one per event) and had looked up online that it would be the British born Soprano Alexandra Stenson. She is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and English National Opera's prestigious Opera Works training program.
She has appeared at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and has worked for companies including Opera North, British Youth Opera and Opera Holland Park. Roles performed include Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Fox in Cunning Little Vixen and she will also be returning to Opera Holland Park this summer to play the role of Claretta in Leoncavallos Zaza.

Alexandra looked utterly divine in her long flowing black dress, and beautiful raven hair whilst she sung so magically, we even stopped drinking our tea and nattering to stare in awe! The Royal Albert Hall is the perfect place for live opera, the acoustics and high ceilings all compliment music and song whilst everyone was besotted with Alexandra.

Afterwards a few people got to meet and chat with her, and she seemed to have quite a fan base whilst the afternoon closed with a fresh pot of tea and another glass of champagne (why not?)

It was the perfect way to wind down from the week with a quintessentially British afternoon tea and a captivating opera show within London's most iconic venue, it made you feel like you were transported into a world of relaxation- and besides where else could you find such an ideal place to hide from the pouring rain?
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