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My Mother Needs Help

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 27 February 2015
My mother is an alcoholic and it's affecting us all. I now live quite a distance away so only visit a couple of times a month. Mother is supposed to be caring for my dad as he is disabled. He has a carer but not at weekends now. Someone from social services has to come weekends as she forgets to give him his medication and cook for him. The family have done so much to try to help her. My brother took her to the doctors who did liver tests and said she would die soon if she did not stop drinking. She refused to go back to Alcoholics Anonymous after two sessions. My mother says she is seeking help, but it's all lies. She has anti-depressants but doesn't take them. She hides alcohol all over the house. If we throw it away she buys more. Bills are not getting paid. The grandchildren don't want to visit her as she is always intoxicated. I am getting married soon and would love her to be at the wedding, but I know she will be drunk. My sister has advised me not to go out of my way to help, as she tried and it made her ill. How can I get my mother to stop drinking?

Patricia Marie says.....

You ask the same question many family members of an alcohol dependent want the answer to, sadly, the reply is never simple. Alcoholism is a family disease - if one person is drinking to excess, everyone around them is affected. Alcoholics are often in denial, blaming circumstances or people around them for their addiction. They are unable to see how badly their destructive and hurtful behaviour affects those who love and want to help them.

Alcoholics Anonymous recommends ' detachment with love' - as your sister discovered, if you don't allow yourself to stand back a little it can affect your health. You have to accept you cant stop your mum from drinking, only she can choose to do this. If alcoholics are not ready for help, efforts by family and friends trying to force them to admit to the problem, usually causes more resentment, and its only when the consequences of their drinking becomes painful enough will they reach out for help.

Do remind your mother how much you love her, but you cannot help her if she is not willing to help herself, as it is destroying your life, and concerned that unless she gets professional help soon, she will cause lasting grief to all her family.

Whether she chooses to get help or not, do contact: The National Association for Children of Alcoholics, 0800 358 3456 ( An excellent organisation offering tremendous support for people in your situation.

Finger Sandwiches, Scones, And A Nice Glass Of ...Beer!

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Friday, 27 February 2015
What tipple do you normally prefer with your afternoon tea? There's a Beer for That's new campaign has seen them pairing with award winning beer sommelier Marverine Cole to give the longstanding British tradition of afternoon tea a makeover... with beer!

So send back that glass of bubbly you order and go for a different type of bubbles. We went to a special launch and got the chance to try the pairings and are definitely converts.

If you're intrigued, here are some great pairings to try next time your ordering your finger sandwiches and scones.

Mini Finger Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on granary bread paired with Cascade Single Hops
The lilting citrus and floral nature of the Cascade Single Hops makes a lovely contrast to the light smokiness of the salmon, with neither overpowering the other. A perfect starter!

Egg Mayonnaise and Mustard Cress on white bread paired with Hoegaarden
The aroma of orange peel, coriander and spiced citrus flavour in this Belgium wheat beer perfectly compliments the sharp taste of the Mustard Cress, while the light-bodied texture of the Hoegaarden contrasts against the density of the egg mayonnaise.


Cheddar Cheese &  Celery with a Chive Mayo on granary bread paired with Fullers Vintage Ale
Beer makes a fantastic match with cheese, and some say even better than wine does! A strong cheddar needs a strong ale to stand up to its rich flavours, and the malt in Fuller's Vintage Ale combined with the cinnamon pineapple and marmalade notes rests easily against the fuller flavoured mature cheddar, making it a delicious combination.

Tuna Mayonnaise on granary bread paired with Heineken
The citrus notes of the Heineken compliment the taste of the fish just like a slice of lemon, while the lightness of the lager also cuts through the mayonnaise, refreshing the pallet.

Honey Roasted Ham with Mustard Mayonnaise on white bread paired with Innis & Gunn Original
Brewed in a whisky barrel, Innis and Gunn Original is a classic golden honey colour with a lovely creamy and warming finish. It tastes even better alongside a honey roasted ham and mustard mayonnaise sandwich, as the hints of toffee, vanilla and oak really bring out the sweetness in the ham.

Coronation Chicken & Spinach on white bread paired with Pilsner Urquell
A fail-safe combination as the crisp hoppy aroma and gentle fizz of the Pilsner Urquell goes hand-in-hand with the creamy texture and taste of the coronation chicken, while the smooth taste of the pilsner stands up well to the gentle spices.

Sweet Treats

Vanilla Macaroon paired with Thornbridge Wild Swan
Thornbridge Wild Swan is white gold in colour, and the aromas of light bitter lemon and the subtle spicy undertones provide a tasty yet sharp contrast to the soft sweet vanilla flavor in the macaroon!

Viennese Whirls paired with Meantime Raspberry Wheat and Carlsberg
The fruity and refreshing taste of the Raspberry Wheat is the perfect partner for the butter jam middle of a viennese whirl, while the biscuit sandwich goes perfectly with the lightly hopped wheat flavor of the beer – some might even say that Meantime Raspberry Wheat is the liquid version of a vinesse whirl!

Chocolate Eclairs filled with Whipped Cream Paired with Meantime Chocolate Porter
The natural mocha flavor of the four different roasted malts combined with the addition of real chocolate during maturation gives Meantime Chocolate Porter a strong, a rich coco flavor, while the creamy center of the chocolate éclair pleasantly lightens the taste!


Pistachio Macaroon Paired with Theakstons Old Peculier
This rich, dark, smooth-tasting beer is most enjoyable with Pistachio Macaroon, as the complex character highlights the nutty flavor of the Pisachio.

Treacle Tart Paired with Bacchus Kriek
This delectable tangy, sour cherry beer provides a mouthwatering contrast to the sweet, sticky treacle tart, bringing you the ultimate sweet treat in beer and cakes.

Chocolate Macaroon Paired With Little Valley Stoodley Stout
Stoodley stout is a rich, dark stout. With chocolate and crystal malts mixed with oats and wheat, and a rich, creamy roasted flavor, Little Valley Stoodley Stout proves to be the perfect accomplice to a chocolate macaroon for a double chocolate treat!
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My Husband's Driving is Dangerous

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 26 February 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
My husband's driving is becoming increasingly alarming. We are both in our mid-60s and retired, and frequently travel to visit our son and his family some 50 miles away.

Trips with him at the wheel feel erratic and dangerous, with him ignoring speed limits and road signs, and crossing lanes with scant regard for other road users. After a car journey, I feel a nervous wreck. I also worry when he is out driving on his own as he is often fiddling with the radio or adjusting his satellite navigation device. Any attempt to pass comment or discuss this simply meets with hostility, however I approach it.

What can I do?

Patricia Marie says.....

Enraged drivers are so out-of-control that they endanger the life and health of their passengers, fellow motorists and pedestrians. Therefore, with your safety and those of others at issue, your husbands erratic driving is an extremely serious problem.

You need to sit down with him - not when you are in the car - and ask him directly about his unacceptable behaviour behind the wheel. Talking about his anger and loss of control, could well prove an outlet for your husbands feelings, rather than him suppressing them until they explode on the road.

How does he handle other difficulties in his life? People who display road rage often have many issues and if addressed could improve their aggression. It's unmanaged stress and emotions that cause bad driving. Could your husband be angry at you, and consciously or not, be using his driving to make a statement? Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for his dangerous driving, and he needs to find new ways to manage his anger. I would recommend that he pay a visit to his G.P. who can refer him for some anger management.

However, if he gets defensive, dismisses your fears or blames other road users for his attitude, I would make alternative travel arrangements. Just because your husband won't put your safety first, it doesn't mean you can't.

London Fashion WEAK

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 25 February 2015
It's a funny old week of fashion business, with catwalks spinning around the cities of the globe quicker than you can say Tom Ford or Victoria Beckham. Tottering over in heels, the droves of fashionistas land in our capital on a mission to show, tell and meet their favourite designer, brand or a la mode idol. Many hell bent on being snapped by those with a snappy photography habit before sipping a cocktail or two with equally passionate trend-followers.

In reality though, it's enough to make you feel weak, at more than the knees. Not enough hot meals to go round, endless walking/standing in stilts and often dressed in the least comfortable attire – in some vane (or maybe vain) attempt to be noticed.

And then there's the sweeping wave of FOMO too. Top of the shops is always going to be Top Shop closely followed by Burberry as the hottest ticket in (show) town. Elbowing in to get a first glimpse at those styles, faces, trends, images... what's in and what's out... who's in the frow?

Before long the city empties out and the colourful creatures fly on, while I'm left wondering if this frenzy of fashion is a moment of weakness or simply a week of passionate pester-power to fuel our next (fashion) purchase?

The Scottish Guide to Country Dressing

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
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on Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner at The Punchbowl, Mayfair hosted by Archie and Karen Hume from A Hume the famous Scottish county clothing shop beloved by locals, international visitors and the Duke of Roxburghe for whom they produce his estate tweed.


Classic country sports and associated clothing from wax jackets, green wellington and tweed is part of our national identity, and it's a look that especially the Italians, Americans and surprisingly The Swedish love to emulate. A Hume in Kelso is where they all head for bespoke tweed suiting and traditional customers service. A third generation shop run with passion for heritage, we listened to how Archie has worked with their own archives to create a new tweed to celebrate the shop's 85th anniversary.

Made up of green, blue and lavender- the green represents the Scottish country side, the blue the River Tweed and the lavender represents the Heather Moors. "I look at old designs and let them sit with me, I overlay a thread and colours and see which work, which colours speak to me". Made in local Hawick mills using water from the River Tweed, the passion with which Archie talks about his history and their customers is second to none and clearly woven into the fabric of each garment as the wool itself.


I totally get why people travel form all over the world to go there; however recognising this can't always be possible they have embraced the digital age and developed an online presence that has just won them two coveted fashion industry award with Drapers – Independent Retailer of the Year and Best Independent Multi-Channel Operator. It's a winning mix, the clothes that we want, a good clear website and human customer service at the end of a phone who have a proper conversation with you. It's the attention to the small details that this independent shop offers that makes the big differences.


I like that the tweed caps are named after his friend's farms in the Scottish Borders. I like that they know generations of local families by name, and I like that I can sit at my desk in London and order my favourite, and apparently EVERY woman's favourite, Dubarry Galway, tan in size 6!

Just like their tweed, A Hume is a classic company intertwined with history and love and sure to endure many more Scottish seasons with us.

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