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Bear in town

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 26 November 2014
It’s nothing to do with the fact that Lady Y makes the best EVER marmalade.  Nor that Peru is high up my bucket list.  Or that I have a (secret) thing for brown fluffy bears… But I’m just so over excited that Paddington comes to town this weekend.

Yes, in case you’re been hiding in his little brown suitcase, Michael Bond’s character – aka Peru’s furriest export - will hit the big screen this Friday all duffle-coated up and wearing his floppy red hat.  And I’m sitting here remembering what I most love about London’s favourite bear.

-  First and foremost, his hilarious mishaps.  And of the long list, the overflowing bath accident will always remind me of when exactly the same happened to my brother.  (Except worse, his escapade brought down the whole bathroom ceiling.)

-  The rather specific instructions to look after this bear fill me with affection.  Reading the tales to my Smalls when they were younger, reminded me just how much we should take care of those who are lost, misplaced or just alone in a foreign train station.

-  Those infamous ‘hard stares’ taught to him by his Aunt Lucy.  I use mine regularly, with much effect.

Essentially, Paddington is an outsider trying to make sense of the world.  Keen to do everything correctly (and yet he’s a bear so therefore doesn’t know how), his adventures are amusing and reassuring in equal measure.  Either way, my memories are fond, so I’ll just polish off one more marmalade sandwich, and I’m off to see my labeled bear.

Marvelling at meditation

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Meditation is in. It's official. There are countless books on the topic, 'workshops' popping up all over London, and just last month this Young Lady About Town interviewed a very famous male singer who was raving about the benefits of his practice.

And yet for many - myself included - the idea of actively not thinking still seems a bit alien.  Why sit doing nothing for 20 minutes when you can read a book? Watch television? Mix a cocktail?

meditation-1-590.jpgYou can meditate anywhere (dappled sunlight not required)

According to Graham Doke, a meditation expert and director of the Anamaya centre in Kensington, this doing nothing actually does a lot for your wellbeing. The way he explains it is quite simple: all babies are born with a blank slate - they are not angry, frustrated or sad. We learn these emotions and behaviours, and over time they literally affect our neural pathways. This means that is you frequently get angry, you will continue to do so, because that pathway is well-worn and easy for the brain to use.

The good news is that we can reset these pathways and utilise more positive ones. Instead of anger, for example, you can learn to feel compassion. Instead of frustration, you can learn patience. Instead of sadness, you can feel hope. You get the picture. This relearning (or resetting if you like) is where meditation comes in.

Attending a one-on-one session with Graham is both illuminating and relaxing. Sitting cross-legged in a dim room, his soft voice encourages me first to concentrate on my breathing, then takes me on a mental journey designed to encourage a sense of calm. Every time a rogue thought threatens to interrupt, he tells me to simply acknowledge it's presence but not 'jump into' it.  

meditation-2-590Expert Graham Doke

'Meditation is not complicated, but it's not easy,' he explains. Switching off is a challenge, but Graham certainly enables me to quieten (if not entirely dispel) my mental chatter. The ultimate goal of meditation, he says, is to occupy the 'mind-like sky'. This is the space below your thoughts - your even, unruffled consciousness. Thoughts are like clouds in this sky: you can observe them, but you don't have to engage with them.

It can take weeks, months or years or meditation practice to achieve this state. When you do, Graham explains, the sense of peace is almost euphoric. Not everyone can have access to a meditation teacher, however, which is why he has created the Anamaya app.  This not only includes guided meditations (with Graham's own deeply soothing voice) but also insights into the theory behind practicing, and a way of monitoring your progress. The idea is that anyone can do it anytime, anywhere.

Even after one session, this Young Lady came away a little bit lighter and a lot more zen. Fired up by this revitalised energy, when I got home I managed to read a book and watch television and mix a cocktail. Perhaps doing nothing enables you to achieve more in the end...Armed with the app, I plan to find out.

For more information on the Anamaya app click here. To download the app click here.

Dear Santa

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 24 November 2014
As I write this I am terrifyingly aware of how quickly Christmas is looming and then how to offer constructive options for what to put in a Christmas stocking and under the tree.

No matter what your religion there is no use trying to hide the expectation for presents as, dare I say, we live in a society utterly focused on “things” and “stuff” and “belongings”. I’m not saying it’s a totally negative concept; however, sometimes it seems the delight is more in the quantity and largesse rather than the expression of love and gratitude.

So have a think about the following as an alternative to the latest fad toy and brand name blingy thingy…

A regular date with your children where everyone gets to choose a fun activity (bowling, arts & crafts, a picnic, bike riding, mini-golf) or maybe just a regular movie night at home with popcorn and all the trimmings.

Sign them up for a magazine subscription, library card, to tap into your child’s curiosity or membership at the zoo, science museum or gym. Maybe you could find an adults and kids yoga or swim class to enjoy together.

Similarly, find a drawing or singing class, chess club, dance, riding, drama, skateboarding, indoor climbing, to give them a challenge for something new they might not have considered. Even if it doesn’t work out it’s not a failure but a learning experience and an adventure into the unknown.

Family coupons like an extra half hour before bed, my favourite dinner, sit and read with me, Anything Goes (give 3 options), cupcake baking & decoration, or something unique to your family. Children love personalised and thoughtful activities and usually the messier the more opportunity to giggle and be creative.

Outdoor supplies to get stuck into the garden together; board games, puzzles or cards for a rainy day or the evening; or you could visit a charity shop together to pick out dress up clothes for your afternoon tea date back at home.

Dear Santa, this year I’d like to give my children my imagination and time. I’d like to create new memories. I’d like my children to feel the joy of family and love. (Oh and if you have any magic sleeping dust for sprinkling on my children at night for an occasional morning lie-in, I’d like a box full please, to share with all my sleep deprived friends of course).

Winter Wonderland opening night

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Friday, 21 November 2014
Last night’s opening night of Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland heralded the start of Christmas. This huge extravaganza is now truly a part of London’s Christmas calendar and we Young Ladies About Town were invited to the VIP night. We shared a mulled cider (or two, maybe three) with The Lady favourites including Princess Beatrice, Helena Bonham-Carter and husband Tim Burton. Kirstie Allsopp was also in attendace, along with half the cast of Strictly Come Dancing, including Brendan Cole and his lovely wife Zoe, and Anton Du Berke (who hugged Father Christmas). If you love a celeb in mittens as much as we do, then this was the grotto to be seen in!

Winter-Wonderland-2

Winter Wonderland caters for all ages and is great for families and children, and  has everything you need from bars and food stalls, giant ice rinks, a Ferris Wheel and countless fairground rides for all ages. If you are going with anyone who loves a bit of magic and ice, you must visit The Magical Ice Kingdom. Themed with ice sculptures of giant knights on horseback, dragons with glowing eyes and  swords cast in blocks of ice, this is King Arthur’s kingdom in frozen form. If you love magical fairy tales, Arthurian legends and a bit of Narnia style you will love this.

We were in heaven as soon as we were greeted by a pair of ice wolves howling at a blue ice moon and set in a woodland forests. Suddenly Hyde Park was far, far away and we had been whisked to the Artic world, where hats are needed as the room is set at -12 degrees to keep the statues in pristine condition. We squealed with delight at the ice squirrels, growling bears and sound of galloping horses as a frozen joust scene appeared around a corner.

Winter-Wonderland

The pièce de résistance? You can sit on two giant ice thrones and have an official photograph taken (as we did in a Beckam wedding vs White Witch mash-up). We didn’t want to leave and was slightly disappointed to discover that Hyde Park wasn’t covered in snow and icicles, but since Winter Wonderland is open till early January, maybe there’s still time for the real magic to happen.

Dates: Friday 21st November 2014 – Sunday 4th January 2015 (closed Christmas day)
Times: 10am – 10pm daily (except 21st November – opens from 5pm)
Entry: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is FREE to enter, there is no admission fee however charges do apply for some attractions including the Magical Ice Kingdom, Ferris Wheel and Ice Skating
Online booking: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Words by Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

I am having an affair with my best friend's husband

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 20 November 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,
 
I have done something unforgivable and I feel so bad about it. I am having an affair with my best friend's husband.
 
It started in April and I want to finish it, but he is my soul mate. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but I can't stand the worry of my friend finding out. I know she would be devastated if she knew, but I just cant help myself.  I have been on my own for a year or so, and the three of sometimes go out together.  I knew he was keen on me, but it was me who instigated the affair.
 
I love him so very much. Should I just carry on seeing him and act like nothing is happening, or should I tell my friend and ruin our friendship?

Patricia Marie says...

Women do tend to believe they are in love when they have an affair.  Men can be more opportunistic, but women need to feel more emotionally engaged - and the effect can be devastating.

You say this man is your soul mate, but the reality is what sort of man has an affair with his wife's best friend? If he means what he says about wanting to spend the rest of his life with you, why have you not run off into the sunset together?

Many mistresses wait forever for their lovers to leave their wives, and when forever never comes, they are left heartbroken. How do you know your not just a bit of escapism for him - just a bit of fun?  It may not be the first time he's had an affair and promised his mistress the world.

If your friend did find out about the affair, there's every chance your lover would go running back to his wife, and you'd be left with nothing. I urge you to find the strength to end this relationship before this situation becomes destructive. Consider shifting your energy into finding your very own man, rather than waste your time on somebody else's. We can't help who we fall in love with, but everyone is worth more than being someone's mistress.

However, if you two are genuinely in love, then he should do the decent thing and tell his wife, who deserves to know her husband has cheated on her and her best friend has betrayed her.

You need to be sure he's worth it because you are set to lose your best friend forever.



Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  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


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