Social Commentary

My Christmas List…

No, this is unfortunately not a Christmas Wish List, where I post lovely pictures and tell you all the things I am coveting, like a Daughter & Dixon faux fur gilet for my daughters or the Pomelato ring being sold at auction for Save the Children in the FT’s How to Give it Section: (well, at least it’s for charity).

This post is about the frenetic anxiety that is brought on by my Christmas To do List 2014, which 1) I haven’t even started 2) Has overwhelmed me so much that my friends wonder what happened to me they haven’t seen me in days 3) Has me in a literal panic:

1. Firstly, I need to get into the Christmas spirit: let’s decorate a Christmas Tree! Get all the boxes of old baubles and sentimental Christmas decorations from the dark depths of storage which are brought out year after year to create a Christmas spirit.

2. Wait, that means we actually need a Christmas Tree to decorate it. Must get tree. Add to that: Get husband to get tree. Nag, nag, nag: It’s his one Christmas chore: ‘Get a Christmas tree!’ It takes a lot of energy to nag, you know.

3. Open Christmas Cards. Each day, the guilt piles on as I open all these lovely cards, of smiling friends and families, and feel so privileged that people actually still use post offices and pen and ink. They have defied modern life and have actually used Royal Mail. Very risky.

4. Make Christmas Cards to lose the above guilt. Think about every step it takes: 1. find a picture, no the naked pictures of the girls on the beach are not appropriate I’ve been told. 2. Use some great internet site to make cards. 3. Wait to see if Royal Mail will actually bring them in time for Christmas. 4. Buy stamps and find addresses of all friends. 5. Actually write out addresses. I will need to practice my handwriting, it’s not seen daylight for the past 5 years. This is just never going to happen, is it? If anyone is lucky, they’ll get a Christmas card by Christmas 2015. 6. Post Christmas Cards. Definitely won’t get them until Christmas 2015.

6. Presents! Teacher’s presents, nanny presents, family presents and the list goes on. Eldest daughter has been so naughty this year I have threatened not to give her Christmas, Birthday, Easter or Halloween next year. Her response: ‘Mummy, you’re so naughty, Santa won’t be bringing YOU any presents.’ She has a good point. Youngest daughter: Anything from Frozen. How has this movie become a multi-million/billion dollar phenomenon?

7. Hallelujah for Amazon. I am sure I can find everything I need on Amazon. Frozen toys, Kindles, Books, and electronics. That’s pretty much all I’ll need for Christmas, isn’t it?

8. Presents for ILs: SIL, MIL, FIL, BIL. (FYI: ILs = In Laws). Let’s be realistic, my daughters may not even get presents, so the likelihood of my ILs getting presents is very low. I apologise in advance, I really wish I had more time, but it’s just not going to happen. Isn’t it the thought that counts? If I forget the teacher’s presents, my daughters will suffer all year long, my ILs don’t have a choice, they’re stuck with me. I will forever remain worst DIL (daughter-in-law) ever.

9. Did I mention all the Christmas events I need to go to?

11. Christmas Plays x 2: Eldest daughter is a Christmas angel, youngest daughter is Santa’s elf. They have learned to sing Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells in English, Spanish, French and in Sign Language. Bet your kids can’t do that. I now know how to sign Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer in English Sign Language. But that’s another 7 hours off my life: Going to play, wait for play, play, wait for child after play, walk home from play: 3.5 hours x 2 = 7 hours.

12. School Christmas Fair: Buy Christmas Presents to donate to Christmas Fair, and then go to Christmas Fair and buy back Christmas present. Can someone give me the logic in that? Can I just donate xx amount and forego the time and stress to get another 3 hours of my life back?

10. Christmas Dinner for Eldest Daughter’s Class: Lovely 3 hours of requisite socialising with my new mum friends, and in order not to be the Class Pariah.

11. Christmas Dinner for Youngest Daughter’s Class: Actually, let’s skip this one, I don’t actually know any parents from youngest daughter’s class since she doesn’t have any friends and I’m becoming more comfortable being the Class Pariah these days.

12. Daughter’s Christmas Party: Choosing a Christmas outfit, buying Cupcakes for Christmas Party, and dropping/picking them up from Christmas party: Another three hours gone from my life when each minute counts.

13. Adult’s Christmas Party: Finally! An adult’s Christmas Party! Time to pretend to be young again, drink too much, dance like it’s 1999, and forget that you will be woken up at 6am the next day by giggling elves shouting ‘mama!’ with a huge hangover. Then promise never to go to a Christmas Party ever again the following day.

14. Feel guilty and take kids to a Family Christmas Party, which is a lovely afternoon event of mulled wine, ginger cookies and kids playing together. Absolutely lovely, but feeling exhausted from the Christmas Party.

15. Take the girls to Winter Wonderland, it’s a Tradition! Ice-skating! Another tradition! But exactly when do I plan on doing this? And have you seen the queues? It’s worst than the Wildebeest migration and almost as bad as Oxford Street’s Christmas lights.

16. Go to the Christmas Pop Up Project on Fulham Road, a great event organised by mums with children’s arts and crafts like decorating Christmas baubles. I actually really want to go, but there’s actually no more time left in my calendar.

17. Take the kids to the theatre, everyone seems to be taking their children to The Snowman and I feel more guilt for not being a Cultured Parent and not appropriately taking my progeny to increase their brain cells to the theatre, museums and concerts.

18. Christmas Carols! Candles by Candlelight at the local church, or The Great Ormond Street Carols? Wait, I’ve missed them again, I’ll have to put them on next year’s Christmas To – Do list.

19. Birthday Parties: Now is anyone else inundated with birthday parties at this time of year? How very inconsiderate of parents making babies born in December. Really, more presents and parties to attend on top of the Christmas shopping? Just kidding. December babies are the best. 😉

20. Buy wrapping paper, then wrap actual presents. Even Kate Middleton ends up rolling her eyes after the 5th present to wrap.

21. Take Kids to Work Day. They actually love the Tube. Unlike their mum and half of the UK population. Great way to inculcate them into going to work.

22. Find a Fake Snow Machine and Fake Snowballs. Don’t ask.

23. Take the girls to see Santa. Winter Wonderland’s Santa equals two hours of waiting in line for 2 seconds for a picture with Santa. Westfield Santa is supposed to be great with a snow globe picture of your children and Santa, but Whiteleys will have to do: it’s the only place to see Santa without having to wait 4 hours in line and facing the crowds of WW or Westfield. And I love that it is for the National Literacy Trust and Santa’s present is a book. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Actually, the best Santa we ever saw was at our Jewish friends’s Christmas Party. They know how to throw parties. Best. Santa. Ever. Unfortunately, we are NFI’d this year.

24.  Come up with a Christmas Dinner Menu. This truly means I am a grown up, no matter how hard I fight it. I am now the one in charge of the Christmas Dinner and no one else will do it if I don’t. I should have found a metrosexual husband for that. More decisions to make, Roast dinner? What veggies? What dessert? How many for dinner? I will need to go to an actual grocery store, since Ocado doesn’t exist abroad. Panic-attack-inducing-thought.

25. Pack! Did I mention we won’t even be here for Christmas? But, this year, most people are staying in London. ‘Didn’t you know it’s the latest trend to stay in London for Christmas?’

Finally, I actually need to feed, dress, bathe, playdate & air out my little ones daily on top of this Christmas list… (And stop procrastinating by writing this post). Anybody feel as stressed just reading this list?

When I am 83y.o. I think I will really enjoy reading this post, looking back, and realising how great it is to celebrate Christmas with little ones and their Christmas Plays and Parties. So instead of waiting another 40 years, let’s enjoy every second of this Christmas, and see you next year!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah & Happy New Year 2015!!





The Colony Grill Room

Where… ‘I feel like Batman entering Gotham City’

The Beaumont Hotel

8 Balderton Street

Brown Hart Gardens

London W1K 6TF

0207 499 9499


Food: 3.75 stars

Ambience: 4 stars

Design: 4 stars

Service: 3.5 stars

Value: 4 stars

Overall: 3.75 stars


For those who missed last Saturday’s review of The Colony Grill by Giles Coren, who gave it a trillion rating, The Colony Grill Room has a lot to live up to. AA Gill also gave it **** (someone must have spiked his drinks). It is the latest restaurant from the Mushroom-Restaurant-Kings of restaurants, Corbin & King (Mushroom-Restaurant-Kings: restaurateurs whose restaurants open up like mushrooms growing overnight), who have opened their first hotel in Mayfair, the Beaumont. Their collection of restaurants famously includes the The Ivy, The Wolseley, Delauney’s, Colbert, and most recently Fischer’s. The Wolseley is my personal favourite, with its beautiful atrium room, which is floodlit with light, and a perfect stop for afternoon shopping on Bond Street, or for a naughty ‘sick day’ which makes you feel like a teenager playing hookie.


NHYM 2014

The Beaumont

When I arrived at The Beaumont Hotel, I immediately felt like I was Batman arriving in a restaurant in Gotham City. The big, white, imposing building with up-lighting with an impressive structural and architectural sculpture by Antony Gormley on it’s Upper Left Corner, a cross between a gargoyle and The Thing from the Fantastic Four, could easily hide some bats, a bat helicopter, or a Batman Villain like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze. The lobby entrance is very Art Deco, with beautiful dark wood and white leather armchairs, art deco mirrors and black and white tiles; this is not your typical London hotel experience with swanky modern or minimalist Phillipe-Starkesque interiors. It is quite the opposite; it is a new hotel which tries to look old-school old, despite being born in 2014, it pretends to be born in 1924. Especially entering the Hotel bar, do you feel this even more so. There are three walls full of black and white photographs of Silver Screen Actors, with a bar called Jimmy’s, you wouldn’t expect anything less. It is working hard to make itself a classic, even before being one.


NHYM 2014

The Restaurant

The wait for the table was excessively  long, but luckily for us, the American bar was dark and enjoyable enough to keep us waiting for 45 minutes (which our chippy host was not too impressed with). The Restaurant is retro, old school, and very masculine with heavy leather banquettes. It was like entering a Film Set; I could imagine Jessica Rabbit having dinner in the corner with Warren Beatty in a room full of Hemingway and Fitzgerald type prints. It is an attractive room despite being windowless. Although Keira Knightely was spotted here recently, this restaurant did not feel like it was for young, trendy, things but the crowd seemed more 40-50 than 20-30 so this a place where texting (and sexting) and vlogging at the dinner table would be frowned upon. So, our dinner conversation was appropriately grown-up centred on the latest divorce of friends whose husband had caught his wife shagging their sexy builder, who we all agreed was better looking than the current pouchy, balding husband, and someone’s teenage son sexting a message to ‘mum’ instead of ‘mary.’ These things actually happen, even in West London.


Image courtesy of the internet. 2014.

The Menu

The menu is appropriately, what you could call ‘American Comfort Food.’ It was clearly made for an American clientele. Perhaps King & Corbin thought that they could draw the Americans to this hotel if they packed it with the American favourites like Mac & Cheese £8.75), Sundaes (£8.25) and New York Strip Steaks (£35). It definitely was not intended for French in mind: ‘What eez zees? An Iceberg for a Salad? Non! Icebergs are only for zee Titanic!’ Noo Yorrk Ot Dog for £9.50? I can fly Ryanair to Noo Yorrk for zat kind of monay!’ Why do zay call zem ze ‘Plats du Jour?’ Are we in Noo Yorrk or in Parrris? Make up yourr mind! Enfin!’


Image courtesy of the internet. 2014.

The Food

The food had some hits and misses. A lot of dishes on the menu were not very complicated and could really be done easily by your 3 year old; iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing (£6.25), which seemed very popular, was exactly as stated, a big wedge of iceberg with some dressing on it. The Shrimp Cocktail was not excitingly imaginative, with 6 shrimp hanging off a cocktail glass, which was quite spicy but not as tasty. The Colony Club Salad was a deconstructed Club sandwich with colourful stripes of green cucumbers, red tomatoes, yellow cheese, brown bacon and green/yellow avocado. Nice idea, and nice combination. This was comfort food but not quite what I would call fine dining.


Shrimp cocktail courtesy of the internet. 2014. 

We ordered the Porterhouse for the table, which was to share, and I must admit that it was a delicious Porterhouse. Perfectly cooked, perfectly chosen piece of high quality meat and melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was succulent on its own, and I made the mistake of dousing it with peppercorn sauce and the Bernaise to placate my FOMO. The peppercorn lacked double cream and had too much brandy, the Bernaise had some taste, but not the right taste, so in my opinion, the Porterhouse was best on its own. Finally, the desserts were Sundaes which you could conjure up on a piece of cardboard and pencil with choices of ice cream, sauces (caramel/chocolate etc…), and toppings. To an American, a childhood delight. Finally, the Red Velvet Cake which we chose to share just did not compare to the Hummingbird Bakery one.


Image courtesy of the internet. 2014. 

The Verdict

For the Americans homesick for some good old American comfort food, The Colony Grill hits the spot. Yes, it may be a bit ‘Normcore’ but to some, that’s all that is needed to reach happiness. The food is simple, but to many Americans, simple is a good thing. ‘Don’t try overcomplicate, simplify’. Of course, if you are newly divorced and trying to impress your new 25 year old, French girlfriend, this may not be quite the place to take her, she may be happier texting and vlogging to Beyonce at Hakkassan.




The Colony Grill Room on Urbanspoon

Spotlight On..., Uncategorized

Spotlight On: Raphaele Canot, Jewellery Designer

In a new series of interviews, I will be asking inspirational women and mothers for their story and what advice they have to give to their younger self. 


Raphaele Canot knows her jewellery. After spending twenty years working for Cartier and DeBeers as Creative Director, Raphele has launched her own Jewellery Collection last May exclusively at Dover Street Market and is launching a new line, OMG, in time for Christmas. Her pieces are romantic, playful and flirtatious, easy to wear day and night, and perfect for your Christmas wish list. There is something for everyone, with a price range starting at £500 and averaging around £1,000. Alongside her collections, Raphaele does bespoke diamond pieces, so if you’re looking for a creative, bespoke piece, look no further and let your husband meet with her for something sophisticated, timeless, yet young and fun. On top of running a jewellery business, she has three children and lives in Notting Hill.


OMG ring from her latest collection, all pictures in this post taken from

1. What’s your story? How did you become a jeweller?

I graduated in Intellectual Property law in Paris, didn’t like it but managed to get an internship at Cartier… And stayed for 11 years! My creative flair caught up with me and made wonders for my career combined with my lawyer/ business background. I was lucky enough to grow in the jewellery business at one of the most inspiring global brands, before moving to London for De Beers 10 years ago. I made my way from business backoffice to creative directing to mumpreneur, launching my first solo collection at Dover Street Market last May.


Bracelet from her Skinny Deco line. 

2. What is your favourite piece of jewellery?

Diamonds! Diamonds are iconic yet playful, timeless yet fashionable. They are the epitome of style. Small diamond jewellery for everyday life, icons revisited with an edge. That’s my motto!


Bespoke piece from her website

3. Describe your style 

My style is parisian with a hint of Notting Hill relaxed attitude. I believe in basics spiced up with an iconic piece. Think a red Couture coat or a Courreges trench coat thrown over you favourite slims, a neat designer handbag and heels. I used to run errands in heels in Paris which I would not do in Notting Hill. That’s the big change in my wardrobe in the past years: trainers and low boots for school runs!


Bespoke piece. 

4. What is your most prized possession?

Artwork… Most of it in storage unfortunately! That’s what can happen when moving countries!

5. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill?

The Grocer on Elgin for morning coffee and last minute lunch or dinner panic on a hectic day. Lutyens Rubinstein for grown ups and kids books!

6. Where would you be living if you weren’t living in Notting Hill?

In Paris in the 6th arrondissement overlooking the Luxembourg gardens…a nice alternative to our lovely communal Garden.


Gold and diamond earrings from her Set Free Collection. 

7. What is your favourite holiday destination?

Chamonix for adrenaline, Big Sur California for the myth and wilderness.

8. What was the proudest moment in your life?

Launching my business after 20 years of corporate life. Reinventing my daily life with all the compromise that comes with it…it felt really good!


Gold and diamond bracelet from the Skinny Deco collection. 

9. What advice would you give to your younger self or to young people?

Follow your instincts and work hard on them. Passion brings love and success!

10. What book are you currently reading?

The Power of Now. Brilliant!




In the Press, Social Commentary

NHYM in The Press, the Times 2/12/14: ‘When did you last see your Kids?’


I was interviewed yesterday by Helen Rumbelow of the The Times Newspaper on my thoughts on ‘Affluent Neglect,’ the notion that rich parents spend very little time with their children, for her article in today’s paper ‘Affluent Neglect: when did you last see your kids?’ in the T2 Section. Of course, there is the small minority of super rich and women who do not particularly like motherhood who wilfully do not spend time with their children, but most of the time this isn’t the case.

I explained that the majority of parents I know who spend the least amount of time with their children are those with double income careers, and it is a choice we make as mothers and women. For a woman to be a high flying surgeon/politician/entrepreneur, sacrifices have to be made, and children’s time is one of them. On one hand we are told to be like Sheryl Sandberg and to ‘lean in,’ be the next Hillary Clinton/Angela Merkel/Sheryl Sandberg/Arianna Huffington/Nathalie Massanet but to also be present parents. I’m afraid those two don’t go together. If you want to make partner in a law firm/private equity shop/hedge fund/consultant, you will have to put in the time, even if that means only seeing your child 1 hour a day or only on weekends. The ‘affluence’ of parents doesn’t come from nowhere, they have worked hard at it.

I used to work in a position where I would have to sometimes work until midnight and could not easily fit in my children’s christmas plays/christmas fairs/sports days into my schedule, or take them to the doctor if they were sick. I eventually chose to give up my career in favour of my children:  But, I am also left with a malaise that I am not ‘fulfilling my potential,’ that all my years of education and hard work are wasted. Women having it all are the only women who don’t care for motherhood or don’t care for their careers.

So, although this article focuses on children being neglected, the whole issue of how to work and parent at the same time is not completely addressed. Even Nicola Horlick, the one-time ‘Superwoman’ who balanced a family of 6 children and a high powered financial career, says you can’t have it all. And all high powered women say that they need a good support network, which means, nannies in most cases since most of us do not have young grandmothers who live next door and are willing to take care of their children.

Yes, many parents don’t spend enough time with their children, but we have also been told as women that we should be independent, lean in, be the head of a company, and therefore we are pulled in opposing directions. We end up feeling either a) guilty of being at work and not with our children or b) being at home with our children and losing ourselves and our identities, day by day, little by little, when we focus on only our children. Also, many families now need both parents working to afford the expensive cost of living. In some respects, isn’t it also good to show your children a good work ethic? Or is better to be there every night to sing a song and read them their bedtime stories? For those who have found the right balance, please do impart your wise knowledge.