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Pass the Panadol please

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Friday, 05 September 2014
Some days are going to be tough. That’s life.

The Dalai Lama may be the happiest person on earth but even he must suffer the occasional ache. Whether he succumbs to a pill to help him along is not really any of my business and who am I to judge him anyway.

I’ve witnessed parents, carers, nannies, grandparents, all surrender, or is it crave, chocolate/crisps/a glass of wine/beer/ice cream to cope. My downfall is salad bowl size of muesli & yogurt to satisfy the hunger of room full of sweaty yoga types.

So when I heard the following story from a teacher, it gave me pause to consider what our seemingly harmless behaviour may be instilling in the young minds who observe us.

 “I was asked to assist with a crying five year old who was refusing to go back to class. His problem was huge. Huge to him. He didn't have money for the Mother's Day stall.

Me: Hey it’s OK. Not everyone has money for the stall.

Him: (backing up)

Me: Have you got a daddy at home?

Him: (nod, yes)

Me: I think your daddy might buy you something to give to your mummy. What's mummy's very favourite thing? Chocolate?

Him: (shakes head, no)

Me: What then?


We established HIS favourite thing was jelly beans and he was given five, cheered up and went to class”.

Me: Note to self to have a quiet chat with mum”.

The empathetic adult in me laughed when I heard this. The responsible adult and nanny then realised the poignancy.

Children have ears and eyes and hearts bigger than we imagine and give them credit for. They soak in everything, good and bad, that happens around them. Just because they may not understand, they do learn from these moments.

I’m not advocating you hide in the laundry or under the table to munch on your mars bar and skull your wine, just temper and be aware of what your children will pick up from what you do.

Dinner with Jimmy

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 08 May 2014
Last year, there was a 4 week waiting list for this pop up restaurant. With just a three-month run, you were a lucky duck if you managed to grab a seat for supper.

Happily, Jimmy's Underground Pop Up Restaurant is back! Running from May to July, diners can delve into the subterrenean dining room in trendy south London to enjoy a multi-course dinner or lunch. Thursdays is Bordeaux and Burgers night (a delectable combination) whilst Fridays and Saturdays offer five courses of ethically sourced, seasonal and downright delicious dishes.


Even better, the pop up is sitauted in the cosy basement of the DVine Cellars wine shop, so you can buy vino to enjoy with your meal with no corkage charge!

Us Young Ladies About Town will be visiting as much as we can possibly manage. See you there!

For more information visit

A little English sparkle...

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 09 September 2013
Row upon row of vibrant, green vines stretch out into the distance. Beyond them, an undulating green horizon and a clear blue sky. A handsome winegrower talks about his craft with engaging charm, and the promise of a tasting hangs enticingly in the warm air.

vineyard landscape

Are we in Burgundy, or Reims? No: Hampshire, actually. Cottonworth Vineyard to be precise, and our host is Hugh Liddell, who in the space of eight years has transformed part of his family’s farmland into a successful winemaking enterprise. 

As we walk around the estate, Hugh enthuses about the soil: it is chalky, very similar to the Champagne region, with the advantage of having three soil types in the same field – perfect for growing the grape varieties that make up sparkling wine. The key thing about chalk is that it ‘stresses’ the vines slightly, so they produce better fruit. As he explains, ‘if the vines are a little stressed, like a great artist or poet they seem to react by producing a more interesting and complex result.’

vineyard vines

We learn about the intricacies of rooting systems, developed to make the vines resistant to certain diseases. And picking the perfect time for harvesting is a decision that can bring about an epic vintage or the loss of a whole crop.

I stop to admire the rose bushes in bloom at the end of each row. They are not just decorative: like the canary in the coalmine, they serve to flag up early symptoms of downy mildew, so the vines can be treated before the pest takes hold.

vineyard rows

The science behind the alchemy of winemaking is a real eye-opener for someone like me, who for years has been more than happy to enjoy wine with very little idea of how it all works.  Hugh trained in Burgundy, initially with a view to becoming a wine broker. When he told fellow students that he wanted to make his own wine in England, they thought it was a great joke. But fast-forward eight years and English wines are no longer the poor relation to their continental counterparts. The critics are taking note, as are the high-end bars and restaurants that have started adding them to their menus.

vineyard juanitahugh

Back on the lawn at the Liddell family home, with two adorable Italian truffle dogs and an enthusiastic terrier, we get down to the serious business of tasting. The sparkling white is creamy and clean, with a bold note of citrus-fruit sharpness. The sparkling rose is my favourite, its pale salmon-pink colour reminiscent of vintage silk slips, known in French as pelure d’oignon. Crisp and elegant, it could hold its own among the smartest of French fizzes.  (I have since served it, without disclosing its label, to a very grand dinner guest, who complimented me especially on my choice of ‘champagne’.) vineyard bottles

In my opinion, this is the one to buy in quantities, great for a late-summer drinks party – at £144 a case it is exceptionally good value, too. We also sampled a white Burgundy – I don’t normally do white, but this fragrant and surprisingly full-bodied offering has converted me – and a garnet-hued Pommard from Hugh’s other vineyards in France.

I used to turn up my nose at anything sparkling that wasn’t champagne, but this is no longer the case.  If you don’t believe me, go to one of Cottonworth’s tasting evenings and try it for yourself. Matched with delicious food, each of the wines is served in generous quantities – more quaffing than tasting, really.

A very presentable and clubbable chap who can make his own wine – what else could a girl want? Sorry to break the bad news, ladies, but the divine Hugh is spoken for: his graphic designer girlfriend is responsible for the soon-to-be-revamped Cottonworth labels.

For details or to place an order visit

Words by Juanita Coulson.

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