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Au pair turnover

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 30 October 2014
‘Oh DO write about your au pairs!’ I have been begged many a time.  But, if I’m honest, the stories are best told over a bottle of wine and, besides, name-and-shame has never really been my game.  Not really.  But, as one packed her bags this weekend, we found ourselves reminiscing over our international lodgers at Sunday breakfast.  The good, the bad and the ugly weren’t our specific categories but we did take a closer look at our statistics as Mini scribbled down the long list of foreigners who have lived with us over the last seven years.

‘We’ve had more au pairs than Tottenham’s had managers!’ He chuckled as I quickly tried to justify our rather rapid turnover.   Of course, it’s not all down to the girls as I suppose we’re not in the least bit perfect and living with a family can’t be easy either.  Some girls are homesick, while others are blinded by the freedom of being abroad without their parents.  But the idea is that they really do enjoy their taste of London while finding the Smalls (and less small housemates) amusing, fun and not too noisy.

So, in anticipation of the impending arrival of our next unsuspecting victim, I’ve dusted the bedroom and crossed my fingers that we can make this one a winner.

Dining out

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 27 October 2014
Children are messy. Sometimes loud, naughty and frustratingly disobedient. And yet there are parents who expect cafes and restaurants to smile politely as they step over little Sarah in the midst of a tantrum or balance a tray of hot drinks as Mr Timmy dashes past.

"If you are looking for a cafe with a children’s menu, baby chinos, a play area, lounges for your children to jump on, vast space for your prams, an area for your children to run rampant, and annoy other customers, whilst you are oblivious to them - then the short answer is No we are not child friendly," was the online response from a café owner who had one too many exasperating moments.

And rightly so.

It perplexes me why parents imagine their little darlings would somehow miraculously become little angels when dining out or that fellow customers could be enchanted by their disruptive misbehaviour.

"I have been subjected to children emptying salt and pepper shakers into my fireplaces, parents changing nappies on my lounges, kids grinding their own food into my carpet, parents sitting babies in nappies in the middle of dining tables, kids running around the cafe like it's a formula 1 track, jumping on the furniture, screaming - just for fun - not pain, and encouraged by their parents, upsetting the rest of the customers and I'd really just had enough,” the post continues.

Parents, nannies, grannies, and pops, I blame you for putting too much responsibility on the children in your care. Why do you expect them to behave differently from when you ask them to sit still at your dinner table at home?

So before you venture out with the mini-me’s in tow, check out the child-friendly establishments who welcome you with open arms. They love chaos, the crumbs, are deaf to the squeals, have extra toys if you’ve forgot yours, and most of all; they want you to come back again, and again.

And let me allow our weary café owner the last word.

"And yes, I am a mother. A single mother at that. Instead of being a "burden" on society, I scrimped every last penny and put it into this cafe, and I'm very proud of it. When I have to stand there and watch people disrespect and damage MY belongings and property, it breaks a piece of my heart every time”.

I'm having a moment

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 23 October 2014
Excuse me, I’m having a moment. A ‘where am I going? ‘what’s next?’  ‘how old is middle-age?’ type of moment.  Yesterday I blew out the candles, Lady Y’s perfectly chocolate birthday cake has already been polished off and I’m that inevitable year older (than 42).  So here I am left having some sort of moment.

On a morbid mission, I found myself turning to Google questioning: life expectancy for women in the UK and the search engine (which practically sang happy birthday to me yesterday…) today spat out some awful age younger than my very sprightly parents.  Wikipedia was no better, informing me that ‘middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age.’  Now, no one can honestly persuade me that I’m still in young adulthood.  Surely that time passes when your tiny toddlers don’t sleep and, to be honest, anyone who partied their way through ‘young adulthood’ will know that that morning after feeling signifies when this period of your life is well and truly over.

As I dug further, I found that various attempts had been made to define middle age for all those having a moment.  Is this because we are all desperate to fight its onslaught?  Or would all those 60 year olds KILL to be middle aged again?

One particular source advised that we should divide our predicted life span into thirds.  But I’m not sure that this is the answer.  From what I can remember, the first third was spent wanting to grow up.  The second I spent clearly oblivious that I had indeed grown up.  And the third… oh dear… is absolutely why I am now having this moment…

I dislike my daughter's boyfriend

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 23 October 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

I was so thrilled to see that The Lady now has an agony aunt as I have been deeply concerned lately about my daughter and would welcome some help.

Jenny (my daughter) who is 19, and lives at home with me, has a boyfriend who seems intent on controlling her life.  He tells her he loves her but from my point of view he seems to be very dominant over her.  If she gets ready to go out and he doesn't like her outfit, he will tell her and she will immediately go and change.  If she suggests that she would like to go out with her friends, he will say he wants to accompany her, and that it is strange if she doesn't want that.  If she doesn't text and ring him constantly, and be always available to receive his phone calls, then he accuses her of seeing someone else.

They have now been dating for six months, but he has mentioned getting engaged and I feel this would be disastrous.  What can I do to make her see what he is doing? I really dislike him to the point I just want him to find another girlfriend and leave my daughter alone.

Patricia Marie says...

You're a mother and of course you worry about your daughter. She may be 19, but is still your little girl and your need to protect her from an abusive boyfriend is perfectly understandable. However, if she's not complaining about him and prepared to put up with his behaviour, then you have to accept she is a grown woman with her own mind and capable of making her own decisions.

By telling your daughter what to do would merely be mirroring her boyfriend's controlling behaviour, and the last thing you want is to cause friction between you and your daughter by expressing your dislike of her boyfriend. She will not only resent you for interfering, but worse, she could even consider leaving home. At least whilst shes living with you, you're able to keep an eye on her, and be there for her when she needs you.

Concentrate on bonding with your daughter - spend some quality time together. Offering a loving, compassionate, concerned and non-judgemental presence will create trust. And if she does open up to you, be prepared to advise. Remind her that domestic violence often starts as mental abuse, with the abuser controlling their partner, including choosing what they wear and dictating their friendships.

Standing back and watching our children make mistakes is the hardest thing for any parent.  Nevertheless, you can still be her hero, but let her be her own hero too, by allowing her to solve her own problems, and learn from any bad decisions.

For your continued support I recommend reading:  BUT I LOVE HIM: Protecting your daughter from controlling, abusive relationships by Jill Murray. Finally, the National Domestic Violence Helpline offer a free 24 hour helpline: 0808 2000 247. It may be wise to make this number available to your daughter.


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

Champagne and the City

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Wednesday, 22 October 2014
As someone who considers herself to be pretty au fait with Champagne, I was curious when the invite came from Champagne house Jacquart for its 50th anniversary and launch of their new ‘Mosaic collection’. I will admit I didn’t know them as well other brands but, partial to an odd glass or two, I wanted to find out more.

Trendy City venue SushiSamba - known known for its spectacular views - didn't let us down and twinkling lights of London were providing a perfect background to the sparkling Champagne. They always say you should make a dramatic entrance and the glass external elevator that whizzes you up the 39 floors was party fascinating, partly terrifying, but boy – what a way to start a party!

Champagne-Jacquart-Oct24-02-590

Inside we were treated to waiters swirling around with Magnums of Champagne Jacquart Rosé. I have to say that I found it absolutely delicious – rosé can be overly sweet but this has a perfect balance and very easy to drink. Handy considering I had around six glasses in total!

Laurent Reinteau, Managing Director of Champagne Jacquart, explained how it was founded in 1964 and their vineyards represents 2400 hectares, which accounts for 7% of the total Champagne region. Not bad for a brand unheard of by many.

It’s easy to be snobby about Champagne and wine, and personally I like to keep things simple and go with what I like. Now admittedly, drinking Champagne while overlooking The Gherkin is a fine introdcution to a new brand, but I look forward to seeing Champagne Jacquart become a more recognised name and drinking more of it in the future. Currently stocked in Mayfair, I would recommend it...After all, it’s nice to be in-the-know and introduce others to a new label.

Champagne Jacquart Rose Magnum, available from www.hedonism.co.uk priced at £84.70

Words by Kitty Buchanan-Gregory


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