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Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 17 August 2017
The last week or so has been a frantic time for students up and down the country, with both the GCSE and A level results coming in. If the results are disappointing, it can cause emotional fallout for the student themselves and their parents, and cause problems between them...

Even if you are unhappy with your child's grades, try not to show this, as it could have a negative impact on their wellbeing. It is very important to remain calm and look to the future, so put aside your own wishes for them, look beyond the marks, and, at a time when they could be feeling disheartened and not good enough, remind them of their attributes, giving them reassurance that your love and approval are unconditional. Don't push them into making the wrong choice just to please you, as this may cause resentment in the future, and try not to compare their results with those of others, as even the most successful people in the world have had failures in their life. Make sure they have some time out to do their research and get as much advice as they can, before making any decisions and bear in mind that helplines are only a phone call away, so do encourage them to call sooner rather than later.

If you are a student, remind yourself that your parents ultimately just want you to be happy. It can be hard to see a way forward when you feel you haven't achieved, but learn from this setback, take responsibility for your results, and consider that if you work hard and commit yourself, your options are limitless. If you haven't been accepted at your chosen university, speak to your tutors, who have the skills and resources to help you explore your choices. Remember, there are always opportunities to improve yourself, whether in or out of education. Experience and other life skills are just as important as qualifications, so perhaps take a gap year, which will allow you time to think of alternatives that you may not up until now have considered.

Sharing life's challenges is a great time for parents and children to bond together, and, with mutual understanding and the right attitude, it can surely only lead to success...

There are helplines available for both students and their parents: The Universities and College Administration Service exam result helpline on 0808 100 8000 offers careers advice and practical support, and Family Lives can provide much needed emotional help on 0808 800 2222 or go on to their website: www.familylives.org.uk 
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My dog died six months ago and I am bereft

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Dear Patricia Marie,

My beautiful old dog Henry, died six months ago and I am just bereft. He was always with me whatever I did or wherever I went, and as I live on my own he was my companion and I would talk to him all the time. When I walked him, people would often come up and talk to me. Somehow when you have a dog with you it makes you more approachable.

I just feel so lost without him, and so lonely, made worse by the lack of understanding of those around me. I can't believe that my friends have been so insensitive and have hardly mentioned my loss. I have thought about getting another dog, but just don't feel that any other dog could replace him.

Thank you in advance for any ideas you can give me.

Patricia Marie says...

Many people, even our closest friends, can often feel uncomfortable talking about any losses we may have experienced. Because of this, we can sometimes feel isolated just when we need some support. This applies particularly after the death of a pet, as there are some, particularly those who have never owned one, who can't acknowledge the loss of an animal to be a cause for grief. However, be assured that you are not alone - there are many dog owners who are left heartbroken after losing their most loyal companion.

Allow yourself time to come to terms with your sorrow. Recollect the wonderful memories that can never be taken away from you, and hopefully you will soon begin to remember your beloved dog with more smiles than tears. Display a photograph of 'Henry' - it will help you to feel connected when he is in your thoughts.

There are many dog rescue organisations desperate for help, where you could perhaps volunteer to assist with looking after the ones at the centre and, therefore, benefit from having dogs in your life, but without the full responsibility, although I can't promise you won't become attached to these vulnerable animals. Spending time at such a place would also enable you to make like-minded friends and not feel so lonely.

If the only reason you can't face getting another dog is because you feel the new one wouldn't replace the old, yes, of course, no two could ever be the same, but a different dog could prove preferable to not having one. Do consider this, and you may just want to begin a new unique and perfect bond with another furry friend, who would thrive from the love and care you could clearly offer.

For a comforting read, I recommend: Goodbye Dear Friend: Coming to Terms with a Death of a Pet - by Virginia Ironside.
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Sainsbury's Edible Flower Masterclass Launch

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Friday, 11 August 2017
I have walked past the historic Bourne and Hollingsworth building many times but have never ventured in. Luckily for me I had a wonderful excuse as I was invited to the Sainsbury's cake decorating masterclass with Great British Bakeoff winner Chetna Maken who would be launching their very first range of edible flowers, released in stores nationwide.

On arrival the private kitchen in Bourne and Hollingsworth is pure vintage heaven! Fresh plants, flowers, a large table workstation and old rustic wooden beams greeted me as I sat down.

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I was handed a cocktail of Frose (this summers craze of crushed rose) adorned with flowers (full on Instagram worthy) and each of our placemats had cake stands and decorating utensils complete with Sainsbury's aprons- I whipped mine on straight away!

The first thing I noticed about Chetna is she is completely captivating. She talks in a relaxed manner and brought out some freshly baked cakes, one being rose and lemon, another pistachio, followed by blueberry. She explained that her preferred protocol is to use hints of flavour rather than over powering the tastebuds.

She began by using a fragrant smelling buttercream and spoke about how to make and achieve beautiful baking by not thinking everything has to perfect- infact she made it sound so easy!

After icing and layering the cake on stands she explained that the flowers are made specifically in England at the Vale of Evesham and include varieties such as tagete marigold, monkey flowers, viola and dianthus.

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She also told us an amusing story that some people go into Sainsburys hoping to buy a bunch of flowers then decorate their food and eat them ( apparently a big no-no as some flowers can be highly poisonous!)

Finally, it was showtime i.e time to make our own. The room was full of bloggers such as Monas Eyes and Little Sunny Kitchen and I was worried my icing was going to look like I'd done it with my eyes closed compared to theirs. But the smoothing utensils helped greatly and I figured if I went wild with the flowers hopefully no one would notice if I was a bit scrimp with the buttercream! And wild I went, pretty much covering one side of the cake (whilst hoping Chetna wouldn't see the other!)

After helping each other take photos, chatting, and nibbling on other fabulous Sainsburys goodies, I realised that working with food is not only beautiful, fun, creative and therapeutic- but it brought a bunch of ladies together that evening who bonded over the simple love of baking - albeit with the icing on the cake and the flowers to go with it.

Sainsburys edible flowers are now in store.
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Ockendon Manor Spa Retreat and OTEP Launch

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 10 August 2017
by Annette Kellow 

Sometimes in life we all need a little getaway. It can be a tranquil walk, a relaxing bath, some beautifully scented spa treatments... or a combination of all three!

Feeling like I needed a little TLC I discovered Ockendon Manor Spa and Hotel, based in Haywards Heath and handily just under one hour from London.

Arriving at Ockendon, which is set in acres of land with an abundance of flower beds, gardens and countryside I loved how peaceful the surroundings were and how friendly all the staff were as they helped me in looking rather disheveled from the rain!

My friend and I were excited to see our itinerary which had been carefully planned but first some snack indulgence! Off The Eaten Path are a new range of delicious snacks made with real vegetables. They have a high source of fibre whilst they come in delicious flavours such as sour cream, cracked black pepper or caramelised onion (naturally I simply had to try them all).

A lovely spread of all the flavours had been put out for us to nibble on (which we did more than nibble on by getting through a whole delicious bowl!)
We then had a walk organised with Devon based expert ramblers Two Blondes Walking, a duo with a wealth of information on how to get started in hiking.

annette-ockenden

We had a lovely afternoon finding our way through lush green fields and wooded areas close by. Two Blondes Walking are something of the connoisseurs of hiking, with a refreshing blog, authors of three books and some amazing tips which would make even the most fearful of walking get their waterproofs on and get outside! Their reason for this is to build confidence whilst we discussed the importance of how it can improve mental health and physical ability.

I think my favourite tip from them was that a long distance walk can burn a high amount of calories so it's good to bring snacks to keep you going (eating is recommended and you burn calories? I'm sold!) They also spoke of wearing layers of clothing that you can easily remove or add depending on the weather and I loved hearing their Devonshire tales of cold water swimming too.

After arriving at our hotel room, we delighted in all the details laid out. White fluffy robes, some Off The Eaten Path snacks and a small bottle of champagne greeted us. My friend Millicent and I decided to head straight to the outside jacuzzi which looked rather inviting, even though it had begun raining again! That didn't stop us as it was heated and we had a good chat before trying out the sauna and steam room. The staff were able to assist us in every way (even charging my phone when I ran out of battery) and the time melted away until it was evening.
After a long drawn out bubble bath and a small snooze, we visited the restaurant on hearing that their food was prize worthy.

Indeed there was a tasting menu featuring several courses but we decided to try the three course meal, which arrived with a delightful glass of fizz.
I tried the cod loin accompanied with a variation of fresh vegetables. It was so mouth watering we could see why the whole restaurant was packed within minutes of them announcing dinner!

The hotel rooms are also extremely cosy and inviting, and after all our walking, chatting, eating and swimming there was only one thing for it- off to bed. And as they say, a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.

Off The Eaten Path snacks are now available from leading retailers including Sainsburys, WHSmith and Ocado.
www.twoblondeswalking.com
www.hshotels.co.uk/ockenden-manor
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I don't find my husband sexually attractive anymore

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 04 August 2017
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have been married for just over 2 years to my second husband, who is kind and loving. The problem is that I don't find him sexually attractive anymore. I love and care for him, but, to put it bluntly, no longer fancy him. I am 52 and menopausal, so keep thinking this may be contributing to my loss of libido, which has now started to affect our relationship. Our sex life was good when we first met, but it is now almost non existent. I want our love life to return to the way it was, but don't know how to do so.

Thank you for reading my problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Patricia Marie says...

In the early stages of a relationship, sexual desire can be intense, and then generally replaced by deeper love, warm companionship and familiarity. Nevertheless, loss of libido can become a serious problem for many couples, and appears to become more common with ageing. Often when someone is withdrawing from intimacy, they tend to push their partner away, yet, ironically, this is the time when communication is more important than ever. For many couples celibacy can become a habit, and the only way to break this pattern is to start indulging again. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Do consider there are many psychological reasons for not wanting to make love, such as stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, and depression. Part of the desire to make love is purely physical. The rest is emotional. Relate can offer expert Psychosexual Couples Counselling which you may find beneficial. The menopause doesn't help either, and can have an impact on sexual feelings and behaviour, so eliminate any problems here by arranging a blood test with your GP.

Can you share with your husband your desire to rekindle the passion between you both? This should open up the channel of intimacy and help create a reconnection. Plan ahead for an intimate evening. It's surprising how sending a few flirty text messages throughout the day can instigate sensual thoughts. Prepare an easy supper, so you won't feel tired, enjoy a candlelit bath together, and see where this leads - which may not necessarily be to the bedroom. Variety really does help. There is nothing quite as boring as predictable sex. We can all take what we have for granted. Remind yourself of all the things you used to find seductive about your husband, then re-visit those memories, which could reignite the spark between the sheets.

I recommend: Reclaiming Desire by Andrew Goldstein and Marianne Brandon.

Relate: 0300 100 1234 www.relate.org.uk 
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