Reviews, Social Commentary

Book Review: ‘The Opposite of Spoiled: How to Raise Kids who are Grounded, Generous and Smart about Money’


Already when my daughter was three, I had to answer questions such as ‘Why don’t we have a slide in our house, mummy?’ (Considering she had three friends with indoor slides in their homes and we are a rather antisocial family, that seemed like a ridiculously high proportion of people with indoor slides, so it is unsurprising she asked that question. I clearly must have missed the ‘indoor slide’ trend that was happening 5 years ago). Then there were questions of ‘Why can’t I have a birthday party with a bouncy castle, a magician, pony rides, and princesses like so-and-so?’ and ‘Why do I have to walk to school? My friend has Peter, the taxi driver.’

This is West London and no matter how hard we try to avoid it, the subject of money comes up regularly with our children. It may be a very taboo subject, but Ron Lieber, who writes a column, Your Money, for the New York Times, faces the issue straight on with his recently published book, ‘The Opposite of Spoiled: How to raise kids who are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money,’ which has already shot up on the New York Times Bestseller’s List.

For many parents, the idea of your child being ‘spoiled’ is possibly the worst insult on you as a parent. Ron Lieber firstly describes that there are 4 ways of being spoiled:

1. ‘A spoiled child does not have any rules or regulations or behavioural standards, they’re more or less allowed to do as they please.’

2. ‘If a child breaks whatever rules and regulations that do exist in the household, there are no consequences for them or they are short-lived.’

3. ‘Lavishing time and attention on children in a way that is abnormal – so called helicopter parenting – also leads to children becoming spoiled.’

4. ‘It is only the fourth definition that we begin to talk about money. It’s possible to spoil kids by giving them lots of things and doing it in a way where they come to expect things, and feel entitled to them, and don’t express feelings of gratitude or graciousness about the things they have or the things they get to do.’

So if you have ever wondered how to handle the ‘money questions,’ here below are Ten Tips to help you navigate theses questions and teach your children about money, based on Ron Lieber’s book.

Ten Tips on How to teach children the value of money: 

1. Explain the difference between ‘Want’ versus ‘Need’

Although each family will have their own threshold, it is important to explain that there are things that we ‘need’ (food on the table, proper clothes, a house with a roof over our heads) versus our ‘wants’ (birthday presents, new Frozen doll or new Ninja Turtle).

2. Start an ‘allowance’ at the age of five or six

As soon as they are able to add and subtract, you can start giving them an allowance. For example, give them 50p for each year old they are. The idea is to give enough that they can buy something, save and manage their money. Parents should then not buy their children any other ‘wants’ apart from birthdays and christmas.

Ron Lieber although does not encourage linking money to chores. He feels that chores are things that need to be done regardless of whether a child is being paid or not. They should do it for free as a member of the household.

3. Split the allowance into three jars: Give, Save and Spend

‘Spend’ jar can be used for the odd impulse buy, the ‘Give’ jar teaches them to be generous and the ‘Save’ jar teaches about patience and delayed gratification.

4. Use money as a teaching tool:

Money can instil values such as curiosity, patience, thrift, modesty, generosity ad perseverance. It is also one way to show them what kind family you are: ‘a family that values education’ or a ‘family that values experiences over material things.’

5. Money is about Values

Teach your children to be grateful for what they have, to share it and to be generous with others and spend it wisely on the things that make you happiest. Teach them about priorities and a proper way to live.

6. Give your children control over their spending decisions

Around the ages of 10-12 is a good time to give them autonomy over spending, he says. ‘They’ll inevitably make mistakes or spend money on trinkets and regret it later when they don’t money for things they truly want, so letting them make mistakes – spectacular ones even – is a great way to go, because then they learn, and they’re not mistakes when they’re 24.’

7. Children should have a real job

This is a great way to teach children about work ethics, hard work and understand how much a pound can go (which these days is limited to the Pound Shop). The Americans are very good at encouraging their children to have part time jobs, and if it is less than 15 hours per week, it will foster essential skills that will be good for their future: they will have to report to a ‘boss,’ need to be responsible, show up on time, and do it happily.

8. Be open and talk about it when they ask you difficult questions about money

Kids get it. There job is to be curious. They are already sizing people up based on wealth, whether you like it or not. When they ask you difficult questions about money (ie. How much do you earn? Are we rich or poor?), respond by asking ‘Why do you ask?’ to determine why they are anxious or curious about it. Then, be transparent about where money comes from and where it goes; bills, mortgages, school fees, etc…

9. Teach kids delayed gratification

Teach them about delayed gratification by letting them save for something they really want over time. It is a key part of learning to handle money well. “Teaching our children the ability to wait is a big part of our overall goal, and what’s most important about allowance is what will happen when they’re too old to get one.”

10. Practice Gratitude 

Children have very seldom the chance to pause and reflect on what they have and count their blessings. Feeling fortunate is good for kids, so whether you say grace or teach them gratitude in your own way, it is important to show your children what you value. As Ron Lieber says, ‘If you want to feel rich, count all the things you have that money can’t buy.’


Let me know your thoughts about his book!




Reviews, Top 10, Travel

Top 10 Miami Tips: An insider’s Guide to Doing Miami Post-Kids

‘Welcome to Miami…’


 Watch out for the Elderly. NHYM 2015

The other day, I ran into an acquaintance with her 4 month old strapped to her Babybjorn and an Under-3 toddler running around her when I asked how she was doing. I saw that look on her face, which gave it all away, where life is a Tsunami between feeding a newborn and placating 2 year old tantrums. ‘I’m surviving’, she stammered, with an exhausted face that revealed many sleepless nights under her roof. A part of me felt her pain and wanted to hug her, but another part of me was just relieved to have emerged on the other side and have kids that were old enough that I could confidently leave them for a long weekend without feeling too guilty with my mother-in-law for an adults trip to Miami. But were we just too old to do Miami?


Art Deco District. NHYM 2015. 

So, off I went to Miami for an ‘Adults Only’ trip to meet some of my best friends who also were ‘Kids-Free’ for the weekend. Miami is an interesting place, which causes polarised opinions. Before I went, one friend called it ‘a sterile, charmless place full of replica restaurants and hotels, but not as good as the originals,’ whereas another friend described it as ‘so much fun, just go with an open mind, where you will see plastic everywhere; lips, bums, boobs, but you can have a great time.’ I missed going to Miami in the 90s when the gays and slebs were sun drenching all over the Delano, where you would go for the weekend from New York. But since then, some would argue that it has become a little too frat-house-meets-bachelorette-party for some, but nonetheless, I went excited and open minded.


Art Deco District, Miami. NHYM 2015. 

When I arrived in Miami, the best way I could describe it was Vegas-meets-Cuba; uber-touristy, Vegas style mega-monster hotels, bachelorette/bachelor party people, every restaurant around the globe (Nobu, Zuma, Cecconis, Smith & Wollensky’s, Hakkasan coming soon..), mixed with a Latino vibe, Cuban sounds, whirling overhead fans, sandy white beaches and blue, aquamarine waters with people dressed in the skimpiest outfit you could imagine. You would fit right in wearing a see-through Russian ice-skating leotard with sequins just barely hiding your privates. This is reminding me a little of ‘Monaco on the East Coast with better beaches.’


Art Deco District Hotel. NHYM 2015. 

Turns out I had a great time in Miami, mostly due to the outstanding company ;), and for a few gold nuggets amongst the sea of tourist madness. The highlights: I absolutely loved the Art Deco district which featured great architecture (although the restaurants were relentlessly touristic with tourists drinking margaritas at 9am), the Boardwalk where everyone guilted me into walking-workouts, the beaches which are so large and wide, unlike any in Europe and places like Espanola Way, which is a pedestrian street which reminded me that Miami was originally a Spanish colony.

The lowlights: the mega-monster hotels of Fontainebleau and Eden Roc are just petrifying, I felt like one of the kids in ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids,’ and the frat boys on the beach throwing footballs and spraying sand all over me. In any case, Miami is great fun if you know how to do it and where to go.

Here are my Top 10 Travel Tips on where to stay and eat:


The Delano. NHYM 2015. 

1. The Delano: 

The Delano is one of the original trendy, modern Art Deco hotels which sparked off a number of knock-offs, like the Shore Club, SLS, W etc… But it was ‘the’ hotel of the 90s, where no other place in Miami was doing it like the Delano. It is slightly dated and in need of some refurb but still oozes ‘white,’ cool and trendy Miami.  Mostly an adults hotel which pumps music on Saturdays and Sundays, it turns into a day-club when its pool is filled with inflated, bikini-clad ladies, sipping fruity cocktails and loud, brash men of all ages and proportions ogling them, it is a perfect spot to see-and-be-seen. The waitresses wear only the flimsiest of white ‘bathing suits,’ barely hiding their assets, which encourages the men to keep drinking and spending. It’s got a great private beach as well, so if it’s your first time in Miami, it’s a highly recommended hotel. Just don’t look at the value for money, which only has downsides.


Cecconi’s Miami, Courtesy of the internet. 2015. 

2. Soho Beach House & Cecconi’s:

I just loved Cecconis, a prime example of a replicated hotel and restaurant, bringing London’s finest to the beach, but that really works. What more could you ask for than Soho House on the beach? Cecconi’s is pretty much like Shoreditch House’s rooftop terrace with its hanging lights in jars, which is already a favourite of mine but in a garden on the beach with an almost identical menu as the rest of the Soho House franchise. The hotel is uber-cool and there is a rooftop pool and a bar just for the adults. It is slightly removed from the madness of prime South Beach, but that is a good thing.


Miami, St. Tropez Style at La Piagga. NHYM. 2015.

3. La Piagga Restaurant: 

With its location in South Pointe, la Piagga is a bit hard to find, but when you’ve found it, you will never want to leave. Known mostly to the locals and those in the know, you won’t find any touristy, fat, balding men with fanny packs; this is the St. Tropez of South Beach. The owners were the founders of La Voile Rouge in St. Tropez (before it burned down) but it successfully exported the St. Tropez concept to Miami. With tables in the sand, bikini ladies doing a fashion show as you eat, its own small private pool, dance music on Sundays, a delicious Mediterranean menu and grumpy, rude French waiters, I felt right at home. ‘Sunday Funday,’ is the only day to go, and I could have stayed there all day long, especially when the party really starts to kick off at 4pm. A few blocks away is Nikki Beach for the real party-goers, but for the real trend-setters, La Piagga is the way to go.


Miami vibe at the Delano. NHYM 2015. 

4. Metropolitan by COMO

The Metropolitan would be my choice for those who like sleek, boutique style hotels. As mentioned before some of the Miami hotels are just so overwhelmingly big (ie. Fontainebleau/Eden Roc), they make me want to run away, but a few like the Metropolitan reminds me that there are some great boutique hotels here as well. It is housed in an Art Deco styled building of manageable size, so is a good alternative to the Delano. It only opened last year, but already has won the Conde Nast Award of Top 100 Hotels in the US, so it is still brand spanking new, impressive and just shows that Miami is still as trendy as ever.


The Delano Lounge Area, NHYM 2015. 

5. The Setai

Another great hotel, the Setai has all the Asian influences and spot-on service that you could ask for. Stylistically, it is not very ‘Miami’, with its Asian influences of dark, brown wood instead of minimalist white, but it is nonetheless still a great hotel for its service, its three pools, and it lovely outdoors lunch area where you can watch the passerbys on the Boardwalk. The Ceviche there is un-missable, it is one of the best ceviches Mr. X has ever tasted. It is a good hotel for teenage children, since it is less club-like and therefore less debaucherous than its counterparts. It is still really gigantic in proportions, so for those who prefer an intimate setting, this one would be a ‘pass.’


Delano Pool, NHYM 2015.

6. The Shore Club

The Shore Club is part of the Morgans Group and sister hotel to the Delano, so has the same floaty, white-curtains-feel to it, although its pool is just slightly less cool. It does get points though for the in-house Nobu, which would be my go-to for comfort food in Miami. It also has the Skybar for drinks, which has 4 bars, including one which is described as an ‘outdoor living room.’ (For the real party-goers hotel, check out the SLS which has a buzzing bar and nightclub).


Skybar, courtesy of the Internet. 2015. 

7. Joe’s Stone Crab House

Joe’s Stone Crab is a Miami institution where you go for… crab. You don’t go for the decor, nor the ‘vibe,’ as it does fall into the ‘touristy’ definition, but if you are a crab-lady, you must go, as it has some great East Coast crab that you just cannot get in Europe. Just as with everything in the US, everything is just bigger here, including the crab. For once, it is not due to Genetic Modification.


Best looking toilets in Miami. NHYM 2015. 

8. Casa Tua Restaurant 

Casa Tua is nestled in a Mediterranean-styled villa, behind wrought iron doors, which offers Northern Italian food in an outdoor-garden setting with lamps hanging from the trees. The food may be over-rated, but it is another Miami-must for the garden setting, if you want to get a feel of where the ‘exclusives’ go to. There is an upstairs loft/lounge that has welcomed Andre Balasz. And if it’s good enough for him, it’s probably going to be good enough for you.


Breakfast at the Delano. NHYM 2015. 

9. Prime 112 Restaurant

This one is purely for the boys: what it lacks in charm, it makes up in meat. It is a boys Steakhouse featuring huge plates of beef to satisfy any red-meat-junkie. It’s another Miami institution, although high on the tourist list, it may just be one to do just to check it off the list. Although, some of my London friends have praised it as their ‘favourite restaurant in Miami,’ so bring on the Ribs, the Ribeyes and the lobster, and your mister is sure to be pleased.


Miami Art Deco District. NHYM 2015. 

10. Art Basel

This isn’t a place to stay or eat, but is an essential Miami event and is the perfect excuse to go to Miami (December). Sadly, we didn’t make it to Basel last year, but did manage to fit in the Miami Boat Show, which can be equally fun, trying out the new 86 Ferretti in the Miami marina and sunshine, but anyway, I digress. Art Basel is the best time to visit Miami, where there is a buzz in the air that ends the Miami year in Style. The concierge explained to me that Miami revolves around 5 big events a year including the Miami Boat Show, the Winter Music Conference, the Food and Wine Festival and Art Basel. Friends went to Basel a few years ago and ended up rubbing shoulders and befriending Pharrell Williams, this is how cool its become. Art Basel has turned Miami into more than a party town and into a cultural hot-spot, and it is one to add to the Bucket List. ttps://





Restaurant Review: The Palomar

The Palomar

‘Get Up I feel like being a Sexmachine….’


All photos in this post belong to NHYM, Copyright 2015. 

34 Rupert Street

London W1D 6DN

Tel…0207 439 8777

Food: 4 stars

Service:4 stars 

Design: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

Overall: 4 stars


The open plan kitchen. NHYM 

First Impressions

As I walked into the cramped Palomar restaurant the other night, the song ‘Get up (I feel like being a) Sexmachine’ by James Brown was blaring into my ears, while the trendy, hipster chefs with their requisite beards were frantically putting on a show of cooking skills as well as ‘hisptertaining’ ie. entertaining us non-hipsters on how to be hipsters. The Palomar is the latest of the uber-trendy restaurants; half-club, half diner, throw in some Middle Eastern sharing plates, hipster staff and a raw bar and I can’t think of anything hipper it could do. Chiltern may be the most papped, but the foodie hipsters are now heading out in droves to this restaurant. From the founders of Israeli’s hippest restaurant, Machneyuda, it’s easy to see how they got their formula right. After James Brown funk, Lou Reed seductively invites you to take a Walk on the Wild Side, which clearly sets the tone for this restaurant.


Kubaneh Bread. NHYM 2015. 

The Restaurant

The restaurant is a lot smaller than I expected. Up front is the long bar/kitchen where you can sit perched on stools looking at where the magic takes place, the music making the atmosphere, whereas in the back are a few tables, perhaps 10 in total, which is the more quiet, subdued version of the same restaurant. The music is louder, the colours stronger and the experience more technicolour in front, including the pink neon sign, whereas the back is where you can hear yourselves speak. And you know how I am with loud music… So we ended up with a corner, romantic, candle-lit table rather than a back-breaking stool, music-deafening experience.


Shakshukit, the deconstructed kebab. NHYM 2015.

 The Food 

The food started out very good with the delicious Kubaneh Yemeni buttered bread which curbed by carb-addiction, and sweet potato crisps. We ordered the Kubenia steak starter with pine nuts and the Octopus with chickpeas and yogurt, which I very much enjoyed, although Mr. X didn’t love the steak tartare as much as I do. We followed this by the Pork Belly Tagine and the Shakshukit, described as a ‘deconstructed kebab,’ all of which were good, not earth-shattering, but the latter pleasingly spice-full of harissa and tahini. Of course Middle Eastern food is all the rage with Yotam Ottolenghi leading the way with his restaurants and upscale ‘delis’ all over London (where mashed potatoes probably cost £30), so this is right ‘on trend,’ and it’s cool atmosphere has all the food critics singing its praises. One even went as far as to say that it is one of the most interesting restaurant experience in all of London right now.


The Bar. NHYM 2015.

The Verdict

The Palomar is a great new restaurant especially for the foodie fans of Machneyuda. It’s fun and tasty, both in food and atmosphere, so you can’t go too wrong. If you’re going to be in the neighbourhood anyway, it’s definitely worth a go. It may be a little too hyped for its own good though. I would say ‘Go’ but not, ‘YOU HAVE TO GO!’ Therefore for those giving it mixed reviews, I think it’s because our expectations are just a little too high for this place. So keep your expectations low, and you will be happily surprised.




The Palomar on Urbanspoon

Quote of the day, Social Commentary

‘You Know You’re Middle-aged When…’


A few nights ago, I was having dinner with a very good friend, an ex-Londoner, turned New Yorker who was visiting London. She had invited her closest ‘London’ friends, some of whom she hadn’t seen in four or five years, to a ‘girls’ dinner for a proper ‘cocktails and sushi’ catch up. We went to Roka Mayfair, a new stalwart for its absolutely delicious food (yellowtail sashimi in truffle oil comes to mind), and the 8-person round table, ideal for big group conversations.

Just to preface it, these girls were the champagne-swirling, table-dancing, crackbaby-downing (Boujis fans, anyone?) kind-of-girls. And here we were, 10 years later, chatting about our in-laws (‘can you believe she stayed for 6 weeks?!’), competing for ‘who-has-the-most-useless-husband,’ what-cute-things-our-daugther/son-do-cue-here’s-a-photo and who-was-having-the-least-amount-of-sex when it dawned on us that we had reached Middle-Age. My dear friend, who is turning 45 this year, lamented: ‘I’m turning 45! That’s half of 90! I have lived half my life! I am officially Middle-Aged!’

Instead of getting depressed at this prospect and telling her ‘age is just a number’, we came up with 20 ways of knowing whether you are middle-aged:

You know you’re Middle-Aged When….

1)…You think the ‘Cloud’ is something that’s in the sky formed from condensed water which will produce rain. Equally, ‘cookies’ are something you bake for your children’s afternoon snack.

2)…You have never heard of ‘Zoella’ and don’t know what ‘vloggers’ actually do

3)…You don’t understand the point of Snapchat

4)…You really start to wonder what it would be like to date on Tinder

5)…You think midnight is a really late night out. And for those nights, you need to prepare with an afternoon nap.

6)…You’re the first to arrive and the first to leave a restaurant. And you’re no longer embarrassed. Ditto Parties.

7)…You start complaining at dinner that ‘this restaurant is too loud’

8)…You get really excited when someone mentions going clubbing after dinner, only to realise that your bed is a much, much more alluring proposition

9)…You go to the Chiltern Firehouse Private Bar and realise that the oldest person there (apart from you) is 10 years younger than you

10)…You look at twentysomethings at the Westbourne/Anglesea Arms/Walmer Castle/[insert trendy, young, pub or bar] nostalgically (enviously) and think to yourself ‘that used to be me’

11)…You are seriously excited to stay home on a Saturday night to watch the new season of Games of Thrones on netflix

12)…You tell your teenage nephew that your all-time favourite band is U2 and he looks at you blankly

13)…You then tell him your all-time favourite TV show is Seinfeld, and he still continues to look at you blankly

14)…You actually think gardening is something ‘fun’ to do on the weekends rather than something ‘depressing old farts do’ on the weekend

15)…You say things like ’40 is the new 20.’ Cringe. Or saying (see above) ‘age is just a number’

16)…You have a party and your neighbours don’t even notice

17)…That big plate of pasta you had last night turns into a muffin over night. Of the muffin-top variety.

18)…You watch The Good Wife/Breaking Bad/Scandal more regularly than you have sex

19)…Your sex life is in synch with the full moon cycle

20)…Your sex therapist advises you to have sex every day to rejuvenate your sex life and the thought fills you with horror



** Please add any other ways to know when you’re middle aged below in the comments!**

*** For those interested in point 20, check out this free webinar: ***