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Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 29 June 2015
And the winner is .... (drum roll)... The Netherlands.

According to UNICEF, the 3.5 million Dutch children under the age of 18, won the the lottery of life to be born in a country where they are ranked the "happiest children in the world".

This happiness measure considers five criteria, including:-
• material wellbeing
• healthy and safety
• educational wellbeing
• behaviour and risks, and
• housing and environment.

I would suggest the sixth and most important yardstick is that their parents (so says the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, aka, SDSN) are the happiest humans on earth.

If you believe the statistics, and that adults are happier because they have someone to count on, have a perceived freedom to make life choices, and are more generous than the rest of humanity (along with a few other vital points), of course their children should be blissfully frollicking amongst the tulips.

So is it too far a stretch to accept that happy parents produce happy offspring?

Are Dutch mummies happiest because they enjoy the ideal work life balance of all OECD countries? Maybe it's the Dutch happy daddies who play a more equal role in child-rearing by having part-time jobs and being more hands on? Or could it be the regular weekly Oma (grandmother) day where grandparents help out and are more involved in comprehensive childcare and development?

The Dutch education system appears to be less competitive and there is no homework whatsoever for children under the age of 12, who are encouraged to enjoy stress free leanring in a relaxed environment.

I can hear the Tiger Mummies and Daddies protest about the necessary incentive and focus lacking in this concept, and yet Forbes rate The Netherlands as the 11th best country in the world for business and it ranks 12th in total number of milionaires.

Impressive for a small country I say.

I could ramble on quoting studies and numbers and experts who explain the many factors that contribute to happiness. However, from what I know and see, children feel most loved and secure enjoying family time with parents who play games, read, or take a walk with them.

Sharing your time shows your children you care.
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I'm hoarding animals

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 26 June 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I am having some problems with my neighbours lately. The cause is the number of dogs and cats that I now have in my home.

It started with me taking on a friend's animals when she was the victim of domestic abuse and could no longer look after them, but soon after that, I heard of some newly born kittens which the owner was going to drown, as they were an unwanted litter, so I said I would take them on. Then an elderly neighbour died and I couldn't allow his children to have his little Yorkshire Terrier put down, so I volunteered to have her. And it has continued so that at the moment I have 23 cats and 8 dogs in my 2 bedroomed house.

Unfortunately the cats go into the neighbouring gardens and mess, which I cannot really do anything about, and the dogs do not all get on with each other, so there can be quite a lot of barking at times. However I could not possibly give any of them up as they have already all had traumatic lives. What can I do? I am worried that the RSPCA will be called and will take them away from me.

Patricia Marie says...

Animal hoarding is a very serious issue and needs to be addressed. It is clear you only ever wanted to love and care for these animals, yet somehow you have lost your way and things have escalated out of control. You have too many animals for one small house, particularly as you are not able to provide adequate space for them to run and exercise, or train and clean up after them all.

I believe the sad stories behind each pet you have accepted has influenced you in making the wrong decisions. You say you don't wish them any further trauma, yet you need to see that actually the animals are clearly stressed as demonstrated by the constant barking. It seems inevitable that you will receive a visit from the authorities and could risk losing all your pets. To avoid the distress this will cause, I urge you to act now and contact either the dog warden for your area, through your local council, or the RSPCA, as both will be able to offer immediate help and advice. Their main priority will be to ensure the needs of the animals are being met, which in your case are not, and will more than likely suggest the majority need to be re-homed. To make this less painful, perhaps you could work together to find suitable new homes for them. I'm sure you can see that this would be beneficial for the animals. For further reassurance you could even ask their new owners to send you regular updates.

You do need to look after yourself too. I believe you are suffering from seriously low self -esteem. It seems you have been struggling, unable to say 'no' and feel a strong sense of responsibility for others. Attempting to say 'yes' to everyone can often result in bad decisions being made, hence the appalling situation you now find yourself in. I would recommend a visit to your GP who could refer you for some counselling to address your emotional state of mind, and thereby assist you in making better decisions in the future.

I'm sure when things become more settled, you will look back on this situation, and be proud of yourself for doing the right thing.

RSPCA, 0300 123 4999

BNP Tennis Classic at Hurlington

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Thursday, 25 June 2015
Ah the sounds of summer and the BNP Paribas Hurlingham Tennis Classics; - the chink of champagne glasses, the gentle thump pf the tennis ball being lobbed across a net, me shouting “GORAN I LOVE YOU” as Mr Ivanisevic comes on court. I love this place and not just because my sporting crush gave me a wink, the big 6’4’ Croatian tease.

Hurlingham is the fabulous location for this secret pre-Wimbledon warm up, an oasis of duck ponds and 42 acres of gardens, manicured croquet lawns and a Georgian country house setting this is where the elite of South London come to get away from it all. Stepping into this private member’s club is like stepping into the private world of the tennis players and coaches where only the great and the good are allowed. Greats such as Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Maria Sharapova have previously played, legends this year including Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski will casually walk past you in the bar before playing a game by the rose garden. The up and coming ATP Players will sweat it out for those key extra games before Wimbledon starts; this is where the names of the future are made, and those of who carved out a slice of tennis history all come together.

The whole event is dreamy, we snuggled into our seats with some Pimms and watched a great opener of hot newcomer the 18 year old Grigor Dimitrov comfortably win his match, I say newcomer but he’s is the youngest player inside the World’s top 20, and in 2014 reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon painfully knocking out then defending Champion Andy Murray in straight sets. He’s a future legend in the making.

For the official legends double match the PR team very kindly giving me a seat directly behind the lusciousness of Goran – I was a whisker away from leaping over the fence and giving a big hug before security gave me a knowing look. The sun shone, we watched brilliant tennis and it was just all wonderfully relaxing. if you want to see great tennis up close and personal then come to Hurlingham, it’s exactly how a quintessentially British sports event should be run.
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Smug, a mug or offspring as thugs

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 19 June 2015
'Are you still writing that blog?’ asked one of the other dads at Sports Day.
‘No, she got a REAL job’ He jumped in before I could answer.
‘Oh I used to read it a bit said the other dad', as if I wasn’t even present. 'It was even quite amusing at times.’

And we all know what this particular dad meant. He had enjoyed reading about those who I openly criticized, from time to time. Not really a good trait or one which I’m proud of, I hasten to add, but one that I continue to do.

So, why on earth can’t I help myself? I promise it’s not that I think I’m so much better than others. I really don’t. Mostly I suppose I’m pretty fascinated by people. Who they are, what they feel and why they say this, that and the other. Plus, for the most part, those who are smug, a mug, live in a fug or have offspring as thugs DO tend to wind me up.

Just how high Isabella can jump, how beautifully little Harry sang with the local choir, which fish pie they can rattle off in 10 minutes flat… it’s all eye wateringly painful.

He’s much more longsuffering of fools we happen upon. Less judgmental and more accepting of all. Almost immediately, I make up my mind and wish with all my might that I’m at home reading my book, paintbrush in hand or lying horizontal watching a film.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is with less time to write (what I fancy) and less posts to fill, I’m just as scathing but more in my head than on the web.
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My husband has ED

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 19 June 2015
I am not sure if this is a suitable problem to write to The Lady, so please accept my apologies if it is not. I have been married for 4 years and my husband and I have always had a healthy sex life, but a few months ago he developed ED (Erectile Dysfunction) which is now tearing our relationship apart. It is not the fact that we cannot have sex. It is that he has totally closed off to me and pushes me away emotionally and physically. I so want to support and help him, but I find his constant rebuffs and refusal to discuss it extremely hard to cope with. I hope that if you choose to answer my problem in the magazine, it may help others too, as from looking online I see there is a great deal of advice for the man in this situation, but the effect on the man's partner is not really covered.

Patricia Marie says...

Your letter highlights the sensitivity around the subject of erectile dysfunction (ED), which society shouldn't shy away from, considering this medical disorder affects 1 in 10 men in the UK alone.

Putting a huge strain on a relationship, ED can be difficult and frustrating for both men and their partners to cope with. It's never easy for the man as it can often make him feel frustrated, powerless, and hopeless. He can question his masculinity, and worry about being perceived as a failure in the eyes of his partner. Yet, as you're experiencing, it's just as difficult for the woman, especially if she measures her self-esteem, femininity, and desirability by how her partner responds sexually, and is therefore particularly vulnerable to fears of abandonment and rejection.

Open and honest communication with one another is essential in strengthening your relationship as you work through this together. Easier said than done, but for you to start feeling better and more in control, you need to know you're doing your best in supporting and encouraging your loved one. Your husband may be feeling scared of the unknown. If he hasn't attended the doctor's already, offer to go with him. Reassuring him that ED is a very common and treatable condition, may enable him to open up and share his concerns.

As difficult as it may be, can you gently encourage some physical affection outside the bedroom where he wouldn't feel pressurised. Holding hands or a gentle hug could speak volumes and offer great comfort at a time when there is no sexual intimacy. If he continues to reject you, ask your husband directly "What can I do to be supportive of you?" Respect his reply, but try to take good care of yourself too.

You needn't despair or feel isolated, there is help and support out there for you; The Sexual Advice Association, offer a sympathetic telephone helpline for the partners of ED, and have a wealth of information on their website. Also, The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, can put you in touch with a local sexual psychotherapist in your area to offer ongoing support as a partner of someone with ED.

The Sexual Advice Association: 020 748 67262
The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists: 0208 543 2707
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