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Smart kids

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 20 October 2014
Children are taught 1 + 1 = 2, reading, and writing, for an equal start in life. But where and how they are taught is far from equal and varies greatly on the school they attend.

The notion that a university education ensures more success in life is quite ingrained in society, education being fundamental to prosperity. So how do you provide your children with the opportunities to excel and fulfil their potential?
Catherine Stoker is an Education Consultant who advises parents how to choose a school best suited to each child’s personality and ability. “Their educational focus is not just on academic excellence, but on offering pupils diverse opportunities to develop their capabilities in Sport, Music, Art and Design, or The Arts.”

The right school may not always be the best private institution money can buy, “…as a shy child may need to build their confidence through the small, nurturing environment of a private school, while a sibling may be out-going and confident, so attending the right state school may suit them just as well,” she suggests.

Another avenue to consider is joining an after-school or weekend club. A US study from Brigham University reports, “...teenagers who take part in extracurricular activities with students who achieve good grades, have double the chance of going to university”.

It reinforces the notion that peer groups do have an impact on behaviour, both positive and the not so desirable.

“Students who mix with bright students are more motivated and do achieve more highly. They will be mixing with kids with high aspirations and talking about university as a given, opening up a whole range of possibilities”.

Apparently the club or activity does not need to necessarily be academic to improve school grades, as the focus is to “hang out” in chess club, ballet classes, tennis coaching, or even art lessons with the smart kids. If your child is interested in coin/stamp collection or astronomy, the internet is a good place to start to find other like-minded enthusiasts, and maybe start your own club.

“Children who are with other high achievers will always tend to achieve higher because they are aware it’s possible and that they too can do it,” says the co-author Lance Erickson.

It may take more time and energy in your day to help motivate your children or simply drive them to and fro, and Mr Erickson warns that if you don’t “… they are more likely to end up living at your house because they won’t be going to university”.

“How long?”

I'm being humiliated by my married lover

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 16 October 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

I'm being humiliated by my married lover. He and I work together and have been meeting for sex since 2011. Everyone in the office knows about us - his wife is the only one who doesn't. But now he has started to see a younger colleague. He's taking her out for drinks and I'm sure they are sleeping together, even though he denies it. As well as having to endure the most dreadful atmosphere in the office,  I am now getting lots of amusement, pity, and total lack of respect from other members of staff, which I can't bear. How could he do this to me? What is wrong with him?

Patricia Marie says...

As you function in your own little world at work, married people may not seem very married, but the reality is, they are. Serious involvement with a married colleague means a future that is either very limited or very complicated. Nevertheless, there are times when those in failing relationships embark on another within the work place, and against the odds secure a happy ending - after all, we can't always help who we fall in love with.

However, in your case, I'm sorry to say, your married lover sounds like a Casanova. Some people are serial lovers and not happy unless they make regular conquests. They attract the vulnerable with their flattery and charm. However, once the thrill of the chase is over, they become bored and then its on to their next victim. This must be painfully obvious to your colleagues who are able to see right through him, hence, the tension you are feeling at work.  Naturally, now that your your lover is paying attention to another woman you are feeling angry and betrayed. But a man who can cheat on his wife can cheat on his lover too. Remember that saying "when a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy".

He has never made any proper commitment to you and his latest escapade should come as no surprise. Do not continue to feed this man's ego for a minute longer by showing you care. Instead, retrieve your dignity by finishing with him. As well as helping to regain the trust and respect of your co-workers, it will enable you to draw a line on this declining situation and find someone new who is worthy of you.

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

What scares you?

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 16 October 2014
What scares you?  I’ve decided that the oddest things scare me.  Losing my house keys, forgetting to pick up the Smalls from school and a packed-up washing machine are up there in my fear list.  But the eblola virus?  I’m just not sure that this is quite keeping me awake at night.

Someone sneezed in the Post Office queue this morning and within seconds a Daily Mail-purist granny in front of me began her ‘West African we’re all going to die’ rant.  But she’s not the only one.  Many a mum has questioned my thoughts on the killer virus and we even got a letter from the headmistress detailing Mini’s school protocol.

Of course, it’s not pleasant. It’s beyond hideous and it is dangerous too. But is it close enough to actually scare me?  It seems that the Boston Emirates passengers are not necessarily contaminated and so this news story is likely to be yet another (thank god) false alarm.  So, my views here are simple – let’s not over-hype the epidemic.  Health professionals and scientists are doing all they can to work out how to control and cure the virus and, while they do, perhaps don’t book that family holiday to Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, there’s a HUGE spider in my downstairs toilet…

A Woolly Weekend

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Although I attended embroidery classes for ten years as a child at my mother's request, I am not naturally creative when it comes to knitting and stitching. The only memory I can muster from those Saturday mornings spent felting, sewing and cross-stitching is when I stitched my cross-stitch project to my skirt – I can't imagine how I managed it, but I did. I can only aspire to have the levels of patience that the volunteers helping us displayed. I like to think that what I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm, but with age I have not improved. The scarf I have been attempting to make for my boyfriend, a work in progress since June, still resembles a cone cosy – I must have been going wrong somewhere!

However, the world of knitting and stitching seems to be reaching new heights, as demonstrated by The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace this weekend just past. The event ran from the 8-12 October and was open for five days this year, the longest stint yet.

The website details: 'The Knitting & Stitching Show is the largest and most highly regarded textiles and craft event in the UK and it's your opportunity to share your love of textiles with others.' The vibe was similarly inspiring; with the large exhibition area full of stalls as far as the eye could see. Patchwork was very particularly popular this year alongside plenty of woollen shawl kits to make at home.


Having previously visited the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop in Garriston, North Yorkshire, it was lovely to see the stand selling their unique goods. I am regretting not buying a teapot cosy kit which would have given me a wonderful teapot cosy that looked like a Wensleydale Longwool Sheep - after all, practise makes perfect!

Luckily there were stalls that fed the creative and the non-creative types, with a favourite of mine being Henleys Sweets. I was highly impressed by the owners inventive 'Rock Shots'. He has pioneered the idea of injecting rock whilst it is still soft, into glass bottles that you fill with vodka. You then leave the rock to infuse the vodka – a great present idea! He was also very liberal with handing out tasters of old-fashioned sweets and chocolate covered honeycomb which gave us more energy to keep powering through the many stalls there were to see!

Overall it was a lovely vibe at the show and a real hub of creativity. Lots of visitors were wearing their own creations and it was refreshing to see men, women and children excited by what was on display. I hope it was just as successful for the stall holders.

If you missed the event at Alexandra Palace, do not fear as the show arrives at Harrogate International Centre on the 20th November for three days. For more information visit:

Jasmine Crocker
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UKIP - what is it for?

Posted by Louis Barfe
Louis Barfe
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on Sunday, 12 October 2014
I don't know about you, but I hate being told what I think. Here is LBC's James O'Brien asking a UKIP supporter what his party stands for. Not what it stands against.  Tellingly, the chap doesn't have a clue, but he's certain of one thing. Immigration is "the question on everyone's lips". He claims to know what everyone is thinking, despite being a bit unsure about what he thinks himself. You don't speak for me, matey. The only question in my head right now is "Having had breakfast late, is it too soon to have lunch?".

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What the stars have in store for you this week.October 17 - 23

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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