Who is the Smartest Woman You know?

A few years ago there was a pretty fab campaign for  Clinique Smart Custom Serum.  It Starred one of my fave Beauty experts Caroline Hirons (whom I discovered on Twitter, and who is as funny as she is smart), and it  celebrated smart women and their qualities. For Caroline Hirons, the smartest woman she knows happens to be her mom, something I can totally relate to.

If you have read the Sam Haskell memoir ‘Promises I Made My Mother’ you will probably find yourself agreeing that although you meet many people in the course of your life, it is your Mother you still turn to in times of need, in times of stress, even when you are way past 40, but still need someone to put their arms around you and tell you it is going to be OK. Sam Haskell rose to the top of a very successful career at the world famous William Morris agency, and felt he did this by holding onto the values and life lessons that his mother instilled in him during childhood. These helped him to retain his pride and dignity, even when working in the often morale free world that is Hollywood.

I’m so with Sam! My mom is my heroine in so many ways. She was a teenage mom who proved to be the best mom any young girl could wish for – clever, funny and most certainly smart. She was a stay-at-home mom until I was 12, and then went back to work and rose to the top of her career path. Now she is almost 64, still working in management and is as great a grandmother to her three grandchildren as she is a mom. My son Joe just adores her.

Life lessons from my mom, I have them in abundance and they certainly still guide the way I live my life. She taught me that you can do anything if you try, that you can be opinionated, intelligent, funny and outspoken without needing to be brash, rude, egotistical or offensive. She taught me that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing in heels (although she does wear them slightly lower these days) and that you only have one skin, so you most definitely need to look after it, she certainly never sleeps in make up.

I get my love of fashion, of animal print, of Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, of T Rex  and The Beatles all from her. She is inspirational, and most definitely deserving of the title smart woman. My love of reading, of old movies, of animals and travel, all come from my mother, but she also taught me that manners cost nothing and that if you can’t say or do something good, then maybe you should say nothing at all.

You can have lots of friends in your life, but you only get one mom, and I totally struck lucky with mine.

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On holiday in Menorca.

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my mom and me!

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At Marco Pierre White’s in Birmingham.

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Mother’s Day with my mom and sister.

 

Visit London this Spring

It’s our capital city, and no-one would argue that it is also one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Of course I’m talking about London. Spring is a fabulous time to visit, the parks are in full bloom and everything looks better with a bit of sunshine. I have put together a short guide of places to visit this Spring if you are heading for a day out, a quick City break, or a longer trip. Don’t forget to look into getting a London Pass which could help you save money on a range of unmissable attractions, including historic buildings, sporting venues and beautiful gardens.

Harrods

Harrods is a must visit at any time of year.  As well as being an absolute icon of shopping and retail history, it is also a wonderfully stunning store, with incredible architecture that you can enjoy even without making a purchase and getting one of those little green bags.

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A River Thames Cruise

A river Thames cruise is just the best way to see the great city of London. They operate a hop on/hop off ticket so you can choose the parts of London to see in more detail, and you can also get more glamorous packages which include a gourmet meal or a dinner dance. There truly is no better way to enjoy the city, and all its incredible bridges, including the iconic Tower Bridge.

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Wembley Stadium

For lovers of football, a trip to Wembley Stadium is a must do. The stadium runs tours regularly and there is also a pretty brilliant stadium megastore where serious football fans can make a huge dent in their spending money. Make sure you get lots of photographs of that famous Arch.

Carnaby Street

It’s no longer the centre of cool London like it was in the 1960s, but Carnaby Street and the surrounding area is still a great place to find independent boutiques, vintage shops, and branches of more unusual High Street stores – Monki and Irregular Choice amongst my faves. Carnaby Street is still a place to find an unusual gift, independent food vendors and some pretty good street entertainment.

 

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The Shard

If you want to get a view across London, then the viewing platform from The Shard is certainly the best place to get it. You can see almost 40 miles across the city from the platform, and your ticket is weather guaranteed, meaning that if the day turns out to be foggy or drizzly, you can come back for free.  If the view doesn’t take your fancy you can always check out the  growing retail arcade situated on the pedestrian route between London Bridge underground station and the main entrances to The Shard.

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Architecture, Architecture

If, like me, you are interested in beautiful buildings and interesting architecture, then London is the city to visit. It has everything to savour, from the Art Deco beauty of the Hoover Building and the Daily Express building, to the Regency buildings of John Nash, and the artistry of Sir Christopher Wren. The newer architecture is also interesting and awe inspiring. Take a bus tour and just enjoy the sites.

Ensure Your Child’s Safety When Driving This Winter.

When driving, it’s a big responsibility transporting any passengers, and extra care and preparation is needed when younger children are in the car.

Are you really driving as safely as you can?

Keeping Your Car in Tip Top Condition

You need to make sure your care is road worthy, that tyres are in good condition, oil and water and screen wash is kept topped up, and that you have a battery charger for those cold winter days when it just won’t start. For the best equipment for your car, you can look at Best Buy Auto Equipment  who can also be a stockist for car parts if you find your car suffering from problems with the engine, clutch etc. Here you can find out the answers to questions such as how much does it cost for a car lift? and can get the best price for equipment.

Distractions

Even taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be extremely hazardous. In a few seconds you’ll have travelled several yards, and in that time the situation in front of you can change rapidly.

Are you prone to, say, looking at the radio or heating controls instead of the road? Do you tend to look back to address people in the back seat? Try to curb these tendencies. You owe it to your passengers to maintain focus.

Preparation

Ensure you know the laws regarding child seats. Make sure young children are properly seated and secure. If you’re using child seats, are they still up to the job? Can you fix them securely?

Have you remembered to switch off the airbag if your child is seated in the front? Indeed, can you switch off the airbag in your model of car? If not, be careful of what size child sits in the front as an airbag going off could injure rather than protect them.

Why not re-acquaint yourself with the rules of the road? Your knowledge may be outdated, so check the Highway Code and try some of the questions asked in example driving theory tests.

Check that you have the correct car seat.

Check that you have the correct car seat.

Tiredness and being alert

Do you drive when tired or fatigued? If so, be aware that reduced reactions can have dire consequences. It’s important to take breaks or not even drive in the first place if you think you’re not 100% alert.

Using phones and other equipment

While against the law, do you still use your mobile hand-held while driving? As in ‘distractions’ above anything that takes some or all of your attention off the road is highly dangerous to you and your young passengers.

Use a hands-free Bluetooth device if your car doesn’t have it built in. Even then, protracted and in depth phone conversations on the move are not advisable.

The same applies to adjusting music devices such as iPods or stereos.

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Margins for error

While modern cars have many safety features designed to reduce the likelihood of accidents, don’t become complacent. For example, in wet conditions slow down rather than rely on your car’s anti-skid features such as stability control and anti lock brakes to get you out of trouble.

Safety equipment is there to help as a ‘back up’ but it can’t compensate for irresponsible driving.

Using sat nav

While sat navs make a big difference to finding the way in unfamiliar territory, be aware of your actions while following directions. When you’re told to turn or change lanes, don’t forget to take the usual precautions such as checking the mirror and indicating properly.

Set Sat Nav before you start driving, or stop to reset it.

Set Sat Nav before you start driving, or stop to reset it.

Safety first

Driving yourself and young family members about is a major responsibility, and there’s much you can do to be safe. A lot is common sense, but preparation and keeping your focus on the driving plays a major part. While you must focus on seats etc, remember that the vast majority of the things you can do to ensure your child’s safety involves your own performance as a safe, responsible driver.