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When I read Angela Ahrendt’s letter to her daughters on International Women’s Day it suddenly dawned on me that there might be a reason why I am a hopelessly directionless single parent and she is a hugely successful international leader. […]
Good for Angelina Jolie for speaking up about her recent surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed last week as a preventative measure against cancer. Below I have been sent some advice on ovarian cancer. Commenting in the […]
Some excellent suggestions for how to make yourself happier from Chiara Fucarino:- There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t […]
Oh dear. Well here we go then. A "be careful what you wish for" moment. I've been asked to write a post as a "travel blogger" on the essential things I take with me when I travel. Now I am feeling like a fraud. Because I have no idea what to say or what to recommend. I am the most haphazard packer in the world. Generally take 85 pairs of pants and one shoe. Haven't co-ordinated anything or dressed according to the weather. Guaranteed that I will be wearing jeans in boiling hot weather because I've forgotten anything lighter and I can't possibly wear the skirt I've bought because I've forgotten to have a leg transplant before I arrived and/or waxed/buffed/plucked/sprayed/exfoliated/coloured in/bandaged..... So WHAT am I going to say?? THINGS YOU DEFINITELY DON'T NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU ON HOLIDAY 1. Children 2. Too many books. 3. Too many magazines. 4. Too many sweets/chocolates 5. Too much duty free booze 6. A huge suitcase - I am astonished by how much you can fit into the approved hand luggage bags these days - unless you are doing long haul there is no need to put a bag into the hold. 7. Eight hour cream by Elizabeth Arden - all travellers swear by this and it's awful stuff. Stinks and makes you go yellow and nobody will talk to you on the flight if you do what they tell you and rub it all over your face and go immediately to sleep - trust me I know - I did it and I looked like a burns victim on the way to the nearest specialist unit. THINGS YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY TAKE WITH YOU ON HOLIDAY 1. Passport. 2. Waterproof mascara (Mac or Lancome VG) 3. Favourite moisturiser in a small pot. I like Kiehls stuff and you can get little samples to take with you if you're only going for a few days. 4. Buy solid foundation and powder so that you don't have to worry about liquids and get your shampoos/suncream etc when you're at the airport or at your destination. 5. Take facial cleansing wipes - much easier (Simple ones are good) then again, no drama when going through customs. 6. Umm. Cashmere jumper (or squishy one anyway) or neck rest for plane. Very good when want to go to sleep. 7. Ipod. 8. Speakers 9. Ear plugs (not necessarily related to number 8 but possibly) 10. Lip balm on plane as very dehydrating as I've already mentioned (I like Vaseline but others say it's not at all good for your lips - otherwise that stuff called "Nipple Cream" which looks like colostrum is good (although don't use it at same time as 8 hour cream) if you want to talk to anyone on the flight. I used to travel a lot when I lived in Hong Kong and then Australia. Many long haul flights. That was back in the days when you could still smoke on the plane. Good grief. Can you imagine that now. The entire back of the plane all standing around drinking and smoking like they were at a party. Unsurprisingly I recall being sick on planes quite a lot in my youth. Drink some alcohol if you want but not too much - will help you sleep but VERY dehydrating so drink water too. My best top tip is that if you arrive somewhere miles away for a holiday and the time difference is massive and you suffer from jet lag then the way to avoid it - because we all suffer from jet lag if we try hard enough is just get on with it. Pretend you're a doctor or a nurse or somebody who works through the night and do not under any circumstances, once you've landed make any comments about what time it is back home. Change your watch to the new time and just pretend you're a little bit tired and get into the swing of it. Mind over matter. Works every time. I will try and think of some proper beauty thingys soon. I haven't really done very well. Sorry. But ps, if you're still with me here and am feeling sorry for me perhaps you could vote for me in the travel section of the BIB awards - it's nearly the last chance... To vote for me you just need to click on the link below and then scroll down to the number 10 category in the "GO" shortlist and my entry is under Family Affairs and Other Matters:- http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/bibs_shortlist THANK YOU x
I am struggling here, listening to the radio about the number of 13 year old girls who have been given the pill as an implant in their arm without their parents knowledge. There is a debate going on about it as I write. Steven Blake from the Brook Advisory Clinic says that although they like to encourage girls to speak to their parents they have to make decisions based on each individual child and that "health professionals are making very fine judgements" all the time. Well. I don't dispute that. I'm sure they are. But increasingly, I have a problem with professionals making decisions for our children without our knowledge. Parents get a bad press whenever children go off the rails. We are meant to stay married to give our children the best chance of turning into "normal" adults and if they are rolling drunk in the street then it's our fault ultimately too. I accept all that to a degree - I've always been one to wear the "It's All My Parents Fault" badge when I go out. What I do not accept is that if my children are still living under my roof and therefore I am ultimately responsible for their overall wellbeing - is it right that some random "professional" who I have never met and who doesn't know the whole picture simply puts a child on the pill. We have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world - well, perhaps that has something to do with the fact that somebody somewhere decided it might be a good idea not to involve the parents in the decision making process. It's not so much about not knowing whether they are having sex with anyone in particular (although that frankly is bad enough) as much as hoping to be aware of their overall physical and mental health. There are side effects to the pill. If a 13 year girl is having hormones dripped into her and is consequently putting on weight, getting spotty, moody, unhappy and we don't know why - is that helpful in any way? Shouldn't we attempt to be armed with as many facts as possible? Not to mention suddenly wondering why our daughter's are no longer wearing sleeveless tops around us because there is a little fan shaped device bubbling under their upper arms. To be honest I even have a problem with the fact that if your 18 year old child still lives at home and lets say has a run in with the law and you get a phone call about it - nobody will tell you the details because "they are now adults" - well they might be considered an adult, but if they are still living at home then shouldn't we as parents know what is going on in order to know what to do next? AND DON'T START ME ON DEPRESSION. If your child is still living at home but feeling depressed they can go and speak to a doctor, be given drugs which can cause serious side effects including suicidal tendencies and psychosis and yet the person living with them and caring for them as best we can does not know??? So suddenly you could be living with a depressed child and not know where to begin or how to help because we don't know all the facts. How does that work? Shouldn't we all be working together?
The Guardian had a whole section on Divorce in the paper this week. One of the articles was entitled "How To Get The Perfect Divorce". Well, in my opinion there is no such thing as the "perfect" divorce, even if you don't have children, it is painful. I heard on the news last week that websites are being used more these days for advice and support, instead of lawyers. This is a good thing - lawyers obviously have their place but the money they charge you for what you think is a five minute letter or piece of advice is frankly astronomical. I think there should be different fee levels for lawyers - we, as bruised, traumatised civilians should NOT be charged their corporate hourly rate - I think it is OUTRAGEOUS. Not only that, but most of us have to go through the exact same process if we are getting divorced, give or take a few pensions, bonds, children - perhaps we should request a reduction for a group rate? Or a buy one, get one free? When there are children involved, it becomes an ongoing drama with endless issues. Our latest drama is that one of Builder Bloke's children has announced he wants to come and live with his father, after an argument with his mother. This is a big deal and all I can do is encourage BB to be as sensitive as possible. Children, when they have the option of two houses probably always think the grass is going to be greener albeit temporarily and I have to hope that in any arguments I have with my children we can resolve our issues before it gets out of hand. I have friends who have suggested their children go and live with their father in the heat of the moment and bitterly regretted saying it, because in several cases they have. It is not easy and if you are thinking about divorce, think very, very carefully about the ongoing fallout. There are however ways to help ease the pain if you are thinking about divorce and here is some advice:- 1. Try everything first. If your children are tiny or you have been through some other trauma try and recognise that this may be the cause of your misery and disappointment in each other. You may not need a lawyer. Try counselling or mediation first. Try and avoid an acrimonious divorce at all costs. This will be expensive, traumatic and ultimately affect the children. 2. Don't expect your lawyer to offer you emotional support - it is not a good use of their time (aka your money). Find a therapist and go together - if that is too hard then go and see a therapist on your own. 3. Even if you think you can reach an agreement about the division of finances/assets/children if you are going to proceed with divorce, it is worth spending an initial couple of hours with a lawyer who has been recommended to make sure you are getting a reasonably fair deal. You need to like and feel comfortable with your lawyer - you may want a rottweiler, but not everybody does. Get a friend to go with you to the first meeting to help take notes. You won't be thinking very clearly. 4. Mediation is very helpful but they are not their to give you specific advice so be careful that you don't start it too early. Make sure all the financial arrangements are clear by then. 5. Buy a large file and keep things organised. This will fill up depressingly quickly. 6. It will probably take a while to reach the final financial settlement. Try and do as much of it together (with a bottle of wine and a calculator). It will save you a fortune in legal fees. If you can't you should think about "collaborative" law whereby both parties and their solicitors sign a participation agreement in order to deal with things in a non-confrontational way (sometimes easier said than done). All meetings are conducted together. 7. Don't be surprised if things get nasty when trying to agree finances. You have to try and stay strong and firm on the areas you feel are important. Pick your battles. Let some stuff go. "There is no doubt that many men treat the whole divorce issue as a business deal. Many women get very emotionally attached to the family home" says Lloyd Platt. You have to try and see the bigger picture, which is not easy in the circumstances. For any of you out there who happen to stumble on this post - please let me have your thoughts and any advice. Would love to hear from you.