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The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land is available to Pre-Order on Amazon!

 

You can now pre-order my book, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land on Amazon!

Pre-Order On Amazon

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My Book Cover Revealed!

It is a strange thing to come up with a book cover, given that I am not the one who actually drew those pictures or designed that cover, yet it is the one thing that is supposed to sell my book. I did give the designers some ideas of what I thought the cover should look like, but they are the ones who came up with it.

The book, which is really like a baby to me, was conceived by me from the first word to the last (well, with some editorial help!), so when I received the book cover, it was hard to feel like it was mine. But I am now thrilled with it, and can’t wait to see the physical copy in a few weeks! The official publication date is June 20th 2017!

And here is the back cover blurb:

When Sophie Bennett moves from a quiet, sleepy suburb of Toronto to glitzy west London, she doesn’t know where she has landed: Venus or Mars. Her three-year-old daughter Kaya attends Cherry Blossoms, the most exclusive nursery in London, where Sophie finds herself adrift in a sea of Alpha mums. These mothers are glamorous, gorgeous, competitive and super rich, especially Kelly, the blonde, beautiful and bitchy class rep.

Struggling to fit in and feeling increasingly isolated, Sophie starts The Beta Mum, an anonymous blog describing her struggles with the Alpha mums. But when her blog goes viral, she risks ruining everything for herself and her daughter. How long will it be until they discover her true identity? Is her marriage strong enough to survive one of her follower’s advances? And will she ever fit in with the Alpha mums?

You will soon be able to purchase The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land locally on June 20th from The Notting Hill Bookshop or you can get it straight to your door with the ever so reliable Amazon from June 20th!

You can also enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win a free copy on May 10th. The Goodreads Giveaway will run from May 10th to June 10th.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha-Land by Isabella Davidson

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha-Land

by Isabella Davidson

Giveaway ends June 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Let me know what you think!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Top 10, Travel, Uncategorized

Travel-lusting: Oia, Santorini, Greece

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All Photos Copyright of NHYM 2015. 

2015 was Greece’s year, although not necessarily for good reasons. Greece has made the media spotlight for it’s shambolic economy that closed down ATMs and banks and froze money coming in and out of Greece. But let’s look at the positives coming from Greece: a travel-lusting destination. I know at least 6 couples that are currently in Greece: Mykonos for the party people, Santorini for couples or Sani Resort for families, there’s something for everyone.

For a romantic long weekend a deux, sans kids, Santorini is my top pick. Often chosen as a top honeymoon destination, Oia never fails to impress with those towering views over the underwater volcano. It is a quick, direct Easjyet flight and in a few hours you could be basking in the Greek sun.

In Oia, all the hotels share the same views, so you can’t go wrong. Here are some of the hotels I recommend:

  1. Pezoules Hotel: www.http://pezoules.gr
  2. Katikies Hotel: http://www.katikies.com
  3. Kirini Suites & Spa: http://www.kirini.com
  4. Perivolas: http://www.perivolas.gr
  5. Mystique: http://mystique.gr

And the restaurant not to miss is the Sunset Taverna in the fishing village down the other side of the mountain. Fresh Greek Seabream there is an absolute must when visiting Oia.

Don’t forget a boat ride around the island, also another must-do.

Here are some photos. Go on, lust away.

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xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Reviews

The Serpentine Summer Party’s UPTOWN FUNK 2015

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All Photos belong to NHYM Copyright 2015.

Last night’s Serpentine Summer Party ended on a high after a close disappointment. This is a party that combines Art, Architecture, Fashion, Music, Glitterati and lots of fruity cocktails, which is a FOMO-Free Zone. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, not even the American Ambassador’s feted 4th of July party, which coincided with SSP. The Serpentine Summer Party is my one indulgence of the year, where I celeb-spot shamelessly, dance with Benedict Cumberbatch and  wonder who will end up playing in concert. Last year, Pharell Williams made a surprise appearance for a 30 minute music set, which was one of the best intimate concerts I have ever been to.

Pre-Party Preparation

This year, for the Serpentine Party, my feet were sponsored by LeSalon App, an app that brings mani/pedis to your home, which is particularly useful when you have run out of time and can multi-task while getting your pedi. (Ie. I was working while getting my nails done on our terrace). I must preface by saying that my feet were in dire need of some help, so this came at an opportune time. After not seeing daylight for 9 months of hibernation, they were quite a dreadful sight. I mean, they were so bad, I had to do a pre-pedi, I was so embarrassed to present them to my Pedi-Lady. Thankfully my face is better than my feet, otherwise I would still be a spinster. If my face is a 7, my feet are a 2. Dreadful. So, in came Christine, Pedi-Lady, who although arrived late, was jolly and enthusiastic. Her kit was a bit on the dusty side, so would have happily dusted it out for her, but these are details I don’t have the time to think about. Christine did a great job of sloughing, rubbing, cutting, pummicing and filing, that I now have presentable, rather acceptable looking feet:

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My feet by LeSalon App. NHYM 2015.

Thank you Christine for your hard work! Otherwise, the rest of my pre-prep day went with many glitches; my hair lady didn’t show up and my nanny had an emergency when I was supposed to get ready. So much for 2 hours to get ready. I can always hope.

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Serpentine Summer Party Entrance. NHYM 2015.

The Party

The Party, as usual, was exceptional. It is a meticulously organised elaborate event that manages to keep up with our expectations year after year. The Champagne flowed freely for Mr.X, just as the Passion Fruit Martinis did for me. The crowd was a mix of Art Gallery owners, Celebs, Fashionistas, Hedge Funders, Models, plenty of NHYMs everywhere I turned, and a few #RichKidsofWestLondon scattered around looking way too cool.

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Selgascano design with Kate Hudson on the right in the middle of two friends. NHYM 2015.

The celebs were out in force as usual, with Kate Hudson as the big Hollywood star but it was the English rising & established stars that dominated the night: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alice Eve, James Corden, Naomie Harris, Zadie Smith, Gabriella Wilde etc… etc… etc… Socialites Tim Jeffries, Sophie Dahl, Donna Air and Tamara Beckwith were socialising. The fashionistas were impossibly fashionable and beautiful with Christopher Kane, ERDEM, Roksanda Ilcnic, Matthew Williamson, Alice Temperley as the designers and Poppy Delivigne, Alexa Chung, Karlie Kloss, Suki Waterhouse and Lara Stone as the models sipping and shaking all night long.

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selgascano Serpentine Pavillion 2015

The Pavillion designed by architects selgascano was full of iridescent colours and tunnels, creating a floaty, ethereal feel to the party, which I personally liked, but other attendees I chatted to weren’t as impressed.

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Sunset Serpentine Summer Party 2015. NHYM. 

As the sun set while we were drinking our martinis and cocktails surrounded by ridiculously gorgeous people, we wondered if the night could get any better with the surprise music set.

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Dusk at the Serpentine Summer Party 2015. NHYM

When the main act was presented, Spandau Ballet, we were all a little… Uhm-Really? Slight disappointment from the previous years’ Dizzie Rascal and Pharrell Williams. Spandau had their last hit when I was 7. This wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

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Mark Ronson DJ at the Serpentine Summer Party

But then, we started hearing the beat of Uptown Funk and saw Mark Ronson at the DJ both mixing and spinning the most famous dance song of the year, ‘Uptown Funk’ and that’s when the party really started. It was Uhm-Azing. I love Mark Ronson and Uptown Funk, which is by far the biggest selling song of the year and has won Mark Ronson ‘Best British Single Award’ at the Brit Awards 2015. Couldn’t have been a better choice for SSP 2015.

Mark Ronson DJ’d the rest of the night, including playing songs he produced like Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie,’ and tons of old school ‘Biggie Biggie Can’t You See’-style songs, one of my fave 90’s tracks. I spent the rest of the night dancing next to Benedict Cumberbatch as he was smoking his roll up cigarette and wearing sunnies, James Corden jiving in front of me, and up at the DJ booth with Karlie Kloss and Zadie Smith joining in on the action. What a way to welcome in the Summer.

I’m off for the summer next week, so have a great summer and see you in the fall!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Social Commentary

‘What Postcode are You?’ London’s Poshest Postcodes…

I used to be what you could call a ‘Chelsea Girl’ about 10 years ago, with my SW3 postcode, Saturday lunches at the Chelsea Farmer’s Market and drinks at Eclipse on Walton Street. Then, I moved up ‘North of the Park’ where I swapped King’s Road for Westbourne Grove, Eclipse for the Westbourne Pub, and Saturday lunches at CFM for Daylesford lunches and went from ‘Chelsea Girl’ to ‘NHYM’. As a Chelsea girl I remember thinking that Notting Hill was a) not as pretty b) a bit grungy/scary c) a little ‘too cool for school,’ but I followed my other half and 10 years later, all the remnants of ‘Chelsea Girl’ are well behind me and with two kids in tow, I have fully embraced the Notting Hill ‘cool.’

I recently wrote a short piece about London’s most expensive postcodes and the bankers who want to live there. http://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/205575/6-london-postcodes-that-show-youve-made-it-in-banking-and-the-bankers-who-live-there/. It got me thinking about London postcodes and how we identify with them. So what does your postcode say about you?

Zoopla’s Rich List of the most expensive postcodes: http://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/richlist/uk/england/

Highest value areas
Area Zed-Index
1 W8 (Kensington) £2,707,386
2 SW7 (Knightsbridge) £2,493,204
3 SW3 (Chelsea) £2,324,889
4 SW10 (West Brompton) £1,857,677
5 W11 (Notting Hill)

Here is my guide to London’s Most Expensive & Poshest Postcodes:

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1. SW1X: Knightsbridge

Your neighbours: Sheiks & Oligarchs

Your Style Icon: Queen Rania of Jordan

Knightsbridge is Blingland. It is home to One Knightsbridge, one of the world’s priciest residences where Sultans, Sheiks and Oligarchs love to mingle with their own kind. For them, the postcode and address are clearly more important than cost per sqm. Their motto is ‘the more expensive, the better.’ Of course with Harvey Nics and Harrods at their doorstep, shopping is a vital past time for the SW1X residents. They love labels, flashy cars, yachts and PJs. Competition is rife amongst the SuperRich, and Knightsbridge is the perfect place for them to show off their latest bling.

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2. W8: Kensington

Your neighbours: Kate Middleton & Tamara Ecclestone

Your Style Icon: Kate Middleton

With Kensington Palace and Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 has won the trophy for the most expensive postcode in the UK. It is easy to see why the SuperRich drop £75 Million for a house on Billionaires Row, aka Kensington Palace Gardens, with Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens as their backyard. Then just a few streets away, Phillimore Gardens houses will keep you drooling, which is the best place for Halloween Trick or Treating, with a competition for the best, excessively decorated house on the street. Kensington divides the Chelsea set and the Notting Hill set who are constantly competing for ‘best postcode.’ Ideally located with Holland Park to the West, Hyde Park to the East, South Kensington to the South and Notting Hill to the North, no wonder it is considered the Billionaires Postcode.

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3. SW3: Chelsea 

Your neighbours: Charles Saatchi, Roman Abramovic, and Hugh Grant

Your Style Icon: Amal Alamuddin (Amal Alamuddin may appear straight out of Chelsea, but she is in fact a Notting Hill Girl). 

Chelsea used to be for Sloaney Poneys and the Posh British set, but times have changed. Even the ‘Made in Chelsea’ cast can’t afford to live in Chelsea anymore. Hugh Grant remains one of the last Chelsea Toffs that can be seen toffing around in Chelsea at Brinkley’s on Hollywood Road, right around the corner from his house (unless he moved since my last sighting). Nowadays, it is rich American Private Equity and Hedge Fund kings who sweep up many of the Chelsea Square mansions. The Chelsea set tend to be immaculately dressed and coiffed with head to toe Chanel or Ralph Lauren, thanks to the Chanel store on Brompton Cross or Ralph Lauren on Fulham Road. They do tend to think that ‘it’s Chelsea or nothing’. Chelsea is beautiful, immaculate and manicured, home to the Boltons, some of the most expensive London real estate. But let’s be real, Chelsea is like that really, really good looking guy, who knows it.

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4. SW7: South Kensington

Your Neighbours: Italian and French Aristocrats

Your Style Icon: Marion Cotillard, Clemence Poesy

South Kensington used to be ‘the’ place for all the Italian and French to decamp to from Paris, Rome or Milan, helping to make London France’s 6th biggest city with 400,000 French inhabitants. The French of course love it so much that it has the French consulate and the Lycée Francais within 2 blocks of each other. There is even a French street, Bute Street, with a French bookshop and delis filled with Lycée boys and girls. For the French who want a piece of France in London, South Kensington is the ideal place. Their Mediterranean neighbours, the Italians, equally love South Kensington, paying homage to it with the 2001 film with the same name, South Kensington. The Italian aristocrats can’t get enough of South Kensington, and you may just find yourself on one of their 42 m sailing yachts off the coast of Capri if you’re lucky enough.

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5. W11: Notting Hill 

Your Neighbours: Stella McCartney, Richard Curtis, Writers, Musicians and Fashionistas 

Your Style Icon: Stella McCartney and Kate Moss

It used to be that Notting Hill was the edgy, cool, hip Postcode, but with the 1999 Notting Hill movie and the Bankers and Funders entering the neighbourhood, Notting Hill has gentrified and become the home of the NHYMs and those artists that have ‘made it’. Some of the Modelistas, such as Elle McPherson and Claudia Schiffer have left, but the newer and younger ones like Arizona Muse have moved in, and Stella still remains. It is also popular with many musicians like Blur and Coldplay musicians and Adele reportedly bought her first house here in NH. Notting Hillers like to think themselves as cooler and hipper than their Chelsea counterparts, but the reality is that they both drive their Black Range Rovers, carry a Bottega Veneta handbag and shop at Net-a-Porter but with a rock chick look like Kate Moss. W11 though still prides itself of its multi-coloured homes and magnificent Private Gardens like Ladbroke Square that most can only dream of.

So what your thoughts on your Postcode?!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

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Social Commentary

‘T.L.C.: Tinder-Loving-Care…’

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I was having dinner with a friend of mine, let’s call him Karl, at the Arts Club a few weeks ago when we came upon the subject of Tinder. You see, Karl is circling his 40s and is one of those eternally single guys who dated models in his 20s, a TV celebrity in his 30s – which was serious until it wasn’t – and is now pure and simple ‘single.’ We all have one of those friends, don’t we? Edging his 40s and still unable to settle down, roaming the streets of London entertaining his married friends with his Tinderadventures.

Tinder is a slight obsession of mine, since I am 10 years too late for this cyber-phenomenon (remember the days of Speed dating and Match.com? I even missed those days) and I have often wondered what Tinder-dating is actually like. Would I have been a Tinder-dater if I had been single during Tinder-Time? Would I have been mostly swiping Right or swiping Left? Is it just an instant hook up or relationship worthy material? Who are all these Tinderers? It is actually fascinating, considering Tinder started only just over 3 years ago.

So, Karl gave us a Tinder Tutorial and explained how it all worked for us Middle Aged Tinder Virgins. He showed us the profiles of some girls he had swiped Right for: there was everything between a 5 and a 10. Karl didn’t seem to know the difference between a 5 and a 10, I thought to myself. One woman had for a profile picture, a picture of her enormous double DD cleavage. Classy, I say. He laughs. Perhaps this was why he is still single, I tell him. Sometimes, for the fun of it, he swipes right 10 times in a row just to see what would happen, he explains.

He had also been ‘around the world in Tinder’ he tells me, using it even when he was in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo on business. (Apparently Tinder New York is more about instant sex, whereas Tinder London has more ‘looking for a relationship’ members). This is truly a global app, I think to myself. The ‘Uber’ of dating. He even went places where he had no more swipes to do! He actually came to the end of Tinder, who knew you could actually get to the end of Tinder?

I ask him if Tinder actually works and he tells me that apart from one Tinder-relationship he had for two months, it is soul-destroying. He was having 15 simultaneous conversations with 15 different girls but was not planning on actually meeting any of them. He just wasn’t interested in any of them but wanted to stay ‘connected’ so that he had someone to talk to when he was lonely or bored, without having an actual, IRL, demanding relationship.

Another friend of mine also on Tinder told me about one Tinder relationship she had with a guy she had met once but he then never made an attempt to meet again but would send her photos of where he was traveling and send random texts to see how she was doing. I wondered what kind of need this was fulfilling in these people’s psyches, if it wasn’t even about sex.

I began to wonder what the point of Tinder was until my husband came home and told me about the actual magic of Tinder: his recently divorced friend came raving to him one night about the merits of Tinder. He had just gotten divorced and was needing some ‘loving’ from someone, anyone, to lift him out of the deep self-esteem-hole he had gotten PD (post-divorce). Enter Tinder-Loving-Care, when two swipes make a right, and rebound sex/attention is on tap. For a divorced, middle-aged father of 2, with a social life solely based on happily married couples from ‘couple dinners’ with his wife’s friends, Tinder was a godsend. Instant TLC at the swipe of a screen, nothing like it for morale and self-esteem boosting.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Reviews

Review: Tamara Ecclestone’s SHOW Blow Dry Bar

Ever wondered what you would do if you were a Billionaire? Well, if your name is Tamara Ecclestone, heiress to the Billion-dollar Formula One dynasty, you open up your very own Blow Dry Bar. I was invited to try out the SHOW Dry Bar this past Monday and for once actually went. I don’t usually do beauty reviews but I was tempted by a) its proximity to my home b) feeling sorry for my hair c) but really because I am very curious about this whole ‘Blowdry Bar’ experience and of course, Tamara Ecclestone’s weird and wonderful life.

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All photos courtesy of Halpern PR unless otherwise noted. NHYM 2015. 

Apparently, Blowdry bars are already very popular in the US, and there are a few scattered around London already (Soho, Chelsea and pop-ups at Harvey Nics/Harrods/Selfridge’s), but Notting Hill was still a Blowdry-Bar-virgin- until now. Strategically, it is located across the street from Granger’s, a very popular ‘Ladies-Who-Lunch’ spot with regular David Beckham sightings. So, while you are blowdrying your hair, you can spot celebs, and people-watch, or conversely, you can eat while craving a blow dry. Can you really have a BlowDry craving? My NHYM mentor Francesca, (see: https://nottinghillmummy.com/2014/07/24/notting-hill-nurseries-the-rise-of-the-notting-hill-yummy-mummy/) once told me that the most important way to look glamorous is to do your hair. If your hair looks nice, everything else will look nice, even those run in your tights.

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So, off I went to SHOW Blow dry Bar on a ‘Bloggers’ day, for my first SHOW blow dry. I am not one to look after my hair particularly well: occasional dying of white hair when I’ve had enough of my friends pointing them out and laughing, or an occasional blow dry for a special event, but that’s about it. My hair looks more like Anne Hathaway’s in the Devil Wears Prada, before the fabulous makeover, rather than after…

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Photo courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2015. 

Entering Show Dry, I see that I am really an amateur in the ‘Hair’ department. When my blow-dry lady asks what hair products I use, I try not to admit that L’Oreal from Boots does the trick. I first go downstairs for a fancy shampoo in a ‘massage’ chair (well, it’s really a vibrating chair more than anything), where the steps are black and the railings rose gold, with photos of red lips and diamonds on the wall. It’s definitely the ‘Totally Tamara’ look.

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After, I go upstairs to get my BlowDry, where I am offered a list of goodies and magazines on a sleek black iPad Mini: I choose an Apple, & Banana smoothie and salted caramel popcorn (there was Champagne on offer, but didn’t want to wobble to the school run after). This was the ultimate luxury Monday afternoon: getting my hair washed & blow dried while munching on caramel popcorn and reading a magazine. It felt very, very indulgent for a mum of two. Oh and the salted caramel popcorn is so so good, you’ve got to try it.

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At the end, I even got a goodie bag with actually something I would use: Volumising Mist and a hair oil made with Argan Oil, which I am a big fan of. I hope this store does well, I am always a fan of success stories (unfortunately for Kevin Pieterson’s Bella & Beau has already closed down… https://nottinghillmummy.com/2014/03/24/to-cut-or-not-to-cut-that-is-the-question/). My blow dry is very good, I instantly go from ‘mother-doing-the-school-run look’ to ‘glamorous-where-are-you-going-tonight’ look.

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Photo courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2015.

Ah. It does feel lovely, me and my bouncy hair, and it reminds me of Kate Middleton’s bouncy, perfect hair that she gets done daily. (see photo of Kate Middleton post-birth) She obviously got the memo from Francesca about perfect hair making you look instantly polished, presentable and dressed up. It’s been a lovely, indulgent afternoon, and I may just be back next week. Even if just for the Salted Caramel.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Social Commentary

‘How to Spot an Alpha Man…’

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‘Are you a Turtle or a Tiger?’

I was recently talking to someone in the US who had been to ‘group pre-wedding counselling’ (who even knew those existed?), where they were each asked if they were a ‘Turtle’ or a ‘Tiger’ to determine their compatibility score. I told her that this question would never be asked in London, since everyone here is a Tiger. The Alphas are everywhere. To survive in the urban jungle that is London, men don’t really have a choice than to be Alpha; driven, ambitious, focused, dominant and powerful. A recent survey showed that 79% of single women want a dominant man, especially in the shape and form of Christian Grey, which is apparently why ’50 Shades of Grey’ has been such a success.

So what exactly is an Alpha Man? Kate Ludeman described him as ‘powerful, authoritative personality types’ who ‘tend to be aggressive, results driven achievers who insist on top performance from themselves and others’ in her book ‘The Alpha Male Syndrome’. http://www.worthethic.com/the-alpha-male-syndrome.html

‘Are you Alpha-Alpha or Alpha-Beta?’

But I think that there are subtypes of Alpha Men: There are the Alpha Alpha (AA), the prototypical Aggressive & Arrogant types, who want to win as the end goal, and tend to put their needs in front of everyone else’s. Then there are the Alpha Beta (AB): Alphas but with a softer side. Those can also be called the ‘Blenders’ and tend to be driven when needed but can put your needs in front of theirs (Alpha Betas are a rare breed, so if you have one don’t let him out of your sight). Alpha traits all make for very successful men in the work place, and 79% women are attracted to these kinds of men, but what is it really like being with an Alpha Man? And how can you spot an Alpha Man?

Ten Ways to Spot an Alpha Man…

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1. ‘Transition Time’:

When they come home from work, they need a half an hour to an hour of ‘transitioning time’ from their ‘work selves’  to their ‘normal selves’ and only then can they have a normal conversation. For those 30 minutes/hour, keep clear from a) nagging b) asking them anything too important c) whining about how hard your day was. If you don’t listen to this rule, he may mistake you for his assistant or a colleague. Which is not a good thing.

2. Crackberry Addiction

At dinner, you will need to fight with the Blackberry, his other mistress, for attention. Despite house rules of ‘not using technology at dinner’ he will always find a way to get on his BB and get distracted by yet another ‘very important email that needs to be answered right away.’ At fancy restaurants, you can always spot an Alpha Blackberrying emails while you wait for your starters, or you can see him pacing back and forth in front of the restaurant on a ‘work call.’

3. Last Minute Cancellations

You will always need a Plan B. When planning a holiday, you need to prepare a backup plan like a girlfriend or your mother to go on holiday if his work makes him cancel the holiday at the last minute. Or at least always book changeable, refundable tickets.

I once went to a work dinner as an Alpha’s date, and as soon as we sat down, he had to leave to go back to the office to ‘finish up a deal’, while I was left entertaining his two 65 year old clients at George. My revenge? Choosing the most expensive thing on the menu: white truffles. Sold by the gram. Let’s just say that I made sure no one else in the restaurant, apart from me, was going to have any of the divine Italian ‘Trifola d’Alba Madonna.’

5. 45 Minute childcare attention span

Alpha men really do love their children (they are after all as close as a replica of themselves as they can have), but ideally at 45 minute time periods. All week they tell you that they can’t wait to see them and play with them and how jealous they are that you spend so much time with them. But after 45 minutes of play time come Saturday, they are more than happy to pass them right back to you.

5. Time consuming and expensive hobbies

Alpha men love expensive hobbies: Polo (including four polo ponies and a requisite 3 week trip to Argentina with the gauchos), car racing (at least one or two Porsche racing cars and a trip to Le Mans each year), heli-skiing (one or two yearly trips to Canada and Sweden), shooting (trips to Scotland or Spain to shoot thousands of poor partridges), and football watching (the poor man’s version, with a season ticket and trips to ‘big games’ in Spain/Italy/Germany/France).

Alpha men need their ‘me’ time (since women have so much free time managing a household +/- a job). Their perfect weekend looks like this: Saturday morning work out, 45 minutes playing with their children, Saturday afternoon hobby football/tennis/golf/polo, Saturday night social event organised by wife, Sunday morning sleep in time followed by ‘me time’, 45 minutes with children, Sunday afternoon activity with the children, like the cinema or watching TV at home.

6. Domestic Duty Allergy 

Despite handling £100 million deals, managing mergers, and using fancy terms like EBITDA, P&L, Hedging, Leveraging, Alpha men seem to be at loss with some of the most basic domestic duties; for example, cooking anything will require 15 questions for one basic task. ‘How do I cook the green beans? What pot should I use? Do I add olive oil to the water? Or just salt? Where is the salt? For how long?’ which in the end forces you to make the meal yourself.

One Alpha Man apparently had a rule when he got married: he told his wife that he would handle the ‘job,’ but she would be in charge of the baby wiping, changing, cooking, cleaning, and hiring and firing of the staff. He therefore boasts to his colleagues that he has not changed a nappy once in his life.

7. Selective Memory 

No matter how many weekends you have spent as a family in your house, Alpha men don’t seem to have enough memory to remember their children’s schedule or where anything is in the house. Most weekends have a basic, similar structure: the children wake up, they have breakfast, lunch, a snack and then dinner. It’s not that complicated. Yet, Alpha men will ask what their children eat, when they eat, where the spoons are, where the plates are… Every. Single. Weekend. It’s like groundhog day. No matter how many times you tell them, they just seem to have forgotten it by the next weekend.

8. Ego Stroking Necessary

Alpha Men feel extreme pride when they have managed a) 2 whole hours on their own with their children b) dressed and fed their children breakfast all on their own 3) put their children to bed all by themselves, as if they had just discovered the theory of relativity. This is then your cue to ego stroke, praise and tell them what an amazing father they are. Of course, never expect the same praise for yourself despite having spent the entire week non-stop with the kids.

One Alpha man I heard of married someone who everyone considered wasn’t quite in his league: he was charming, handsome, intelligent, successful, and she was just not quite his match in any of these categories. Everyone wondered why he chose her. I asked his best friend who replied. ‘Oh, they have a lot in common. They are both completely, madly in love with him.’

9. Micro-managing

The Alpha-Alphas are the only kind of men, apart from gay men, that need to have input in every house-hold decision taken. From the type of bathroom tiles, the shade of eggshell cream for the walls, to choosing the fridge. These are detail oriented men who like control after all, and they have an opinion on absolutely everything.

10. Competitiveness

Alpha Men are competitive about everything, not only about winning that deal, getting that promotion, or having the biggest house/plane/yacht in the neighbourhood, but also when it comes to their children. You will overhear them at the Christmas Play saying ‘Why didn’t Poppy get the main solo singing part?’ in utter disbelief. But to see Alpha Men in their most primal, competitive glory, go to a Sports Day to see them competing with all the other Alpha Dads, when their inner Tigers are completely unleashed, and men run over each other like lions in a hunt. That’s all they are after all, just animals wanting to win that prize.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

https://nottinghillmummy.com/2014/04/05/the-story-of-alpha-mum-alpha-dad/

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Photos, Social Commentary

The Serpentine Summer Party 2014

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(Photos all by NHYM copyright 2014)

Peak Summer Party Week

Apparently, this week is Peak Party Week for Summer Parties (quoted from the Evening Standard 2/7/14) and if there is one summer party to go to and one invite to receive, it is to the Serpentine Summer Party (Cartier Polo is passé, Wimbledon becomes a bit repetitive, and it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to Garden/Country/School Parties). It is the gallery’s biggest fundraiser of the year and showcases a Pavilion designed by some of the world’s most influential architects, from Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, to Jean Nouvel and Oscar Niemeyer, who have all exhibitied in the past. It is also the trendiest party of the year, mingling artists, architects, fashion designers with A-list Hollywood stars of the moment, Supermodels and London socialites, Rock Stars, and Power Mad Business Tycoons.

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First, the art…

This year, a Chilean architect Smiljan Radic brought a giant alien spacepod to Hyde Park. It is one of the strangest pavilions so far, (I am partial to the Japanese architects, really liking Sou Fujimoto’s pavilion last year and the 2009 Pavilion by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa), but the directors, Julia Peyton Jones and Hans-Ulbrich Obrist see a vision in it: ‘While enigmatically archaic, in the tradition of romantic follies, Radic’s designs for the pavilion also look excitingly futuristic, appearing like an alien space pod that has come to rest on a Neolithic site.’

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The Frog and The Yanks have landed in London in a Chilean Spacepod

Not only is this party about art, but it is becoming about international power players and this year’s party was co-hosted by some of the most powerful men in the world; Michael Bloomberg, (who recently became Chairman of the Serpentine, American ex-New York mayor, finance publisher, billionaire, 16th richest in the world), Francois-Henri Pinault, (French CEO of a luxury conglomerate, Kering, which owns Gucci, Stella McCartney, Bottega Venetta, St. Laurent amongst others, 3rd richest man in France), and Andre Balasz (Hungarian-American hotelier extraordinaire and taste-maker worth $450 Million, who recently opened the blazing hot Chiltern Firehouse). And in the midst of this power threesome are stories of politics and money, dating Hollywood actresses, Supermodel ex-girlfriends baby mommas, and more gossip and scandal than in a Danielle Steele novel.

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Michael Bloomberg takes over the world

Michael Bloomberg, known for being a major philanthropist has already donated a large sum of money to help build an extension of the Serpentine Gallery, the Sackler gallery. This is just one of the ways of making his name in the London Social Circle, along with building Bloomberg Place in the city with Fosters architects, befriending David Cameron with party donations, and launching London’s Technology Week with Boris Johnson a few weeks ago. He already conquered New York by ‘buying’ his candidacy with more personal money than any other candidate (and did a relatively good job of it, being a Robin Hood type, decreasing New York’s deficit by cutting costs and spending his own personal money to compensate the losses). He now has his sights on London and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to try to run against Old Boris for the Mayor candidacy in London. The Etonian vs. the Billionaire. Perhaps we should take it as a compliment that he is now turning to London as his home, post NY, but perhaps it is his ambitions that have grown bigger than the U.S. alone. Unfortunately, Bloomberg was nowhere to be seen at the party, likely too busy planning on how to take over China.

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The Co-Hosts: Francois Henri Pinault and Andre Balasz (Oh, and Brendan Mullane creative director of Brioni and Marina Abramovic, artist)

The other billionaire moving to London is Francois-Henri Pinault from France, who is known for his love scandals in great French style, having fathered two children in the same year with Supermodel Linda Evangelista and Superstar Hollywood Actress, Salma Hayek (I’m not sure his good looks got them into bed…). Andre Balasz, also known for dating Hollywood actresses (famously dated Uma Thurman post-Ethan Hawke, and the comedienne Chelsea Handler), also has his sights set on Hotel-World-Domination after the ridiculously successful London opening of Chiltern Firehouse, where everyone ended up for the Serpentine after-party.

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(Keira Knightely at the DJ Booth)

The Party

As we arrive, Princess Beatrice is being photographed, looking like a princess in her billowy, white, flowery bouffant dress, while we pass the hoards of paparazzi. The security this year is much more stringent than in the past years, promising some great people watching. Inside, Andre Balasz, being the consummate host, is chatting and smiling at my arrival. The Ladies of London cast positioned themselves at the entrance to expose themselves to the world and welcomed any photographic exposure. At the bar near the DJ Booth, I am fighting for a Watermelon Martini with Nick Grimshaw behind me and Zadie Smith on my left (who knew she was this beautiful) while Cara Delivigne sipped her cocktail and watched on, being her kooky self. She is wearing a somewhat subdued, classical black Mulberry evening gown and carrying the latest Mulberry bag, of her own design. She is rather cool and beautiful in person. She eventually wanders off to chat to Keira Knightely who is at the DJ Booth trying to figure out who the guest performer will be tonight.

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(Grayson Perry)

People-Watching

The people-watching is quite simply spectacular (not quite the Met Ball or the Oscars but pretty impressive for London standards), with Actors, Models, Magazine Editors, Fashion designers, Business Tycoons, Artists and all the other London’s scenesters and trendsetters everywhere I look (you can see all the dresses on the Hello, Vogue and Huffpost websites): Bradley Cooper is looking dapper next to Francois-Henri Pinault who made an appearance without his wife, Suki Waterhouse is looking fab in pale pink Burberry although a little too slender for my taste. Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Nancy D’el Olio, colourful as always, are yearly regulars. Orlando Bloom looks rather dashing with his hair pulled back in a fitted suit while Lily Allen is looking funky with multicoloured hair. Noel Gallagher has finally made it to the Serpentine this year he says, and chats to Bradley.

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Keira, Cara and Alexa: the Belles of the Ball

Keira, Cara and Alexa are already setting the scene on the dance floor for the surprise guest. Natalie Massanet is looking a bit tired this year, she must be working too hard, while Sir Philip Green is here with his daughter. Nikki Hilton looks a little lost in the crowds, although pulling off a great black and white Diane von Vurstenberg jumpsuit. Gemma Arterton is looking luscious in her red midriff baring dress and red matching lips. The fash pack is out in force; Matthew Williamson, Alice Temperely, Naomi Campbell, Lily Cole, Arizona Muse are only some of the few. And I spot a number of NHN and NHYMs I recognise, and while I am busy people watching, Mr. C is busy being chatted up by a 20something New York socialite.

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(The Electronic Surfboard)

Inside the gallery is a dedicated room for the football fans following USA vs Belgium, being projected on a wall in a man room, with an inflatable bouncy castle and electronically controlled surf board, a basketball hoop and a dance arcade (a favourite of Alexa Chung and Andre Balasz).

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(Pharrell!!!)

I ‘Get Lucky’ and I am ‘Happy’

As the sun sets on a beautiful evening and crowd in the Park, arrives the highlight of the night in the form of our favourite pint-sized, hat-wearing, artist/singer/producer Pharrell Williams. (Last year’s performance by the Saturdays was forgettable, the year before was Azalea Banks who sang 212 while I was boogying between Benedict Cumberbatch and Arizona Muse, and a few years before, Dizzie Rascal made us get rowdy to ‘Holiday.)’ It doesn’t get better than this. Pharrell is an artist and a magician with his hit songs and collaborations, who inspires 3 year olds to 70 year olds. And as he sang ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Happy’ under the stars of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery, there is nowhere else to be tonight, and just for tonight I truly am feeling pretty ‘Happy’ and I’ve gotten ‘Lucky’ as I held hands with Pharrell and danced the night away between Cara, Keira and Alexa.

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Quote of the day, Social Commentary

‘A Day In the Life of A Notting Hill Yummy Mummy’

Quote of the Day: ‘I’m panting like a bulldog during a heatwave and sweating like a 60 year old man trying to have an orgasm on Viagra.’

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(All photos courtesy of the internet)

5:30am. ‘Waahhh!’ I hear screaming somewhere in the background through the BT monitor trying to wake me from my happy-beach-dream slumber. Please Stop. I ignore it. I am sure the noise will die down if I just pretend I don’t hear it. 10 minutes later, I am back to my beach-dream. I am exhausted from being up 4 times last night. 2x with the teething Baby A, and 2x with M, once because she had a bad dream, and the other to tell me she wants pasta for lunch.

6pm: ‘Mummmmmyyyy!!! Peeeeppeeee!’ Really? Hasn’t she been potty trained for years? I try to remember. But the potential thought that I may have to clean up her wet carpet mess if I don’t go, makes me get up to take her to the bathroom.

6:15am: More noise. This time louder. ”Wwwaaaah’ in one monitor. ‘Mummy!’ in the other. Both kids are up and screaming for attention. I guess I sympathise, since it’s been a whole 12 hours since they saw anyone but a teddy bear.

6:15am-7:30am: I’ve used all my tricks to entertain and convince them it’s still night-time and M replies ‘It’s light out, it’s not sleep time, it’s play time!’ How is it possible to be this exhausted by these two little angels (monsters)? I look at my watch every  minute. 30 more minutes until New Nanny shows up. 29 more minutes. 28 more minutes….

7:30am: Hurrah! New nanny is on time. I hand off my oompah loompah midgets and go back to my Haastens bed and Egyptian cotton thread. Ah. This is more like it. Until I realise that I promised myself to try that Zumba class, since I am surrounded by Claudia Schiffer and Elle McPherson types and I still look like K-Middy’s post-baby-St.Mary’s-Lindo-Wing-Photo.

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8am: Breakfast with the girls. I’ve had 30 minutes to turn myself into someone slightly suitable for drop offs and pick ups, so I won’t be mistaken for the nanny again.

8:30am: New Nanny is in charge of Drop Offs and Baby Naps today, so I have a Full NHYM day ahead.

8:45am Off to Zumba! I am trying to get rid of the 5kg tire that has been stuck like super glue to my pre-baby-size-8-body since the birth of Baby A. It has been impossible to get rid of it: Dukan diet, 5:2 diet, only-eating-apples/pineapples/kale/pomegrenade diet, Bootcamp Pilates or Yoga. ‘This isn’t me, I’m a skinny girl stuck in a fat-girl’s body!’ I want to tell the mums I meet when they ‘up-and-down’ me. What’s worst, is that I have a full wardrobe of beautiful, gorgeous clothes that I may never wear again. I am stuck wearing elasticated waists for the rest of my life like an 80 year old, I think to myself.

8:50am On my way there, I pass by the trendy-twiglet-blonde-who-never-smiles NHN (Notting-Hill-Neighbour). I guess I wouldn’t smile either if my ex husband was cheating on me. But still, I see her almost every day and she barely acknowledges my existence. Must be something with fashionistas. They must be either hungry (which makes them grumpy), or angry.

9am: Zumba! I don’t know anyone here and I feel quite intimidated. There are about 35 women, size 8 and under, chatting to each other, and I am quite literally the elephant in the room.

9:05am: Oh, there’s someone I recognise, one-hit-wonder Trinny in the front row (I hear she had a successful fashion show on TV a lifetime ago, which was replaced by her fat-turned-skinny-gay-friend Gwok Kwan, and whose career is now non-existent. The difficulties of fame). More importantly, can someone tell me what she is doing with Charles Saatchi?! She is certainly not with him for his dashing good looks or charming, endearing character. Was she hibernating in Antartica when he throttled Nigella, divorced 3 times, and confessed to being a narcissistic, reclusive, egotist?? I want to go up to her and hug her and tell her she’s better than this.

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9:05am: There’s Pamela Anderson! Oh wait, that’s a skinnier, younger, and prettier version of her without the inflated boobs or lips.

9:15am: These women clearly come every day. They all have the ‘special Zumba shoes’ and all seem to know the moves even before Doni, the Zumba teacher, shows us. This Zumba class is like a game of Twister and I am definitely losing.

9:30am: I’m panting like a bulldog during a heatwave and sweating like a 60 year old man trying to have an orgasm on Viagra. Not a pretty sight.

10:00am: How much longer is this class?! I wonder if I can sneak out without anyone noticing, but I think about my tire, and I can’t go anywhere, I’m too tired and it’s too heavy for me to move. Again, I look at the clock to see when this torture will end.

10:15am: It’s wind down time. Finally. This class really isn’t for me.

10:30am: As I am leaving the Zumba class, looking my best, I see David Beckham leaving Bonpoint, arms full of Bonpoint, Caramel and Marie-Chantal bags. There’s certainly one lady in his life. He goes shopping for her, drops her off every day, looks at her adoringly and he is apparently just the loveliest guy, says my local butcher… (I’ve also figured out why his parents called him ‘David:’ after Michaelangelo’s David’s body!). Can someone tell me why Victoria never smiles; she’s super-rich, super-famous, she is now a bona-fide, super-designer, she has four super-adorable kids and a husband like THAT. What’s not to smile about?!

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11am: I stop by Austique on my way home, and while trying on girly goodies, I run into B.B., an impossibly leggy, beautiful, ex-model, LSE graduate, married to some Art Superstar who tells me about her new company she has started, producing ethical coffee. You see, to be a NHYM it isn’t enough being beautiful, smart, size 8 and under, rich and married to a super successful husband, you now must own your own company and be successful at it (and save the world while you’re at it!). This is the new trend for NHYMs; to be your own boss and become a ‘mumpreneur (Post about mumpreneurs coming up soon).’ Me and my tire are feeling even more deflated.

11:30am: I’m rushing home to take a shower to get rid of all of that Zumba sweat, check in with New Nanny that all is well at home and school. Finally I spend time with Baby A who has been neglected since her birth, give her lunch and sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ for her nap before heading off to lunch at the Electric with my two Scandi friends K & C.

1pm: I am the first to arrive. Just as I am about to think that The Electric is full of bespectacled, middle-aged, writers in plaid shirts, Paloma Faith walks in and sits in the booth across from me. She is the last Mohican of Notting Hill Cool. NH is not full of NHYMs and yuppies after all.

1:10pm: K arrives 7 month pregnant, but doesn’t even look pregnant. I look more pregnant than she does. She is radiant and glowing. Which is giving me morning sickness, even though there is no way I could even be pregnant.

1:30pm We are finally happily eating our salads and soups while talking Europen real estate, schools, and healthcare and all I can do is stare at them trying to find a flaw. White perfect teeth? Check (Must get my teeth whitened one of these days). Always smiling? Check (They are actually genuinely happy people). Long, blonde, beautiful hair? Check (Must get hair dyed and done). Pool-blue eyes and flawless skin? Check (Must make an appointment with Dr. Lowe). Cool factor? Well they are Swedish after all. Ugh. This day is depressing me more by the minute. And they are just the nicest people ever. I spend the whole lunch trying to find what’s wrong with them and all I can come up with is that they are fans of 50 Shades of Grey.

2pm: We are going through our Celebrity Crushes (CC). Mine is of course, David, only for the fact that he is the ‘World’s Best Dad’ (and he happens to be even hotter in real life than in photos). I just can’t help it, seeing a (hot) dad with his adorable daughter in his arms just wins me over every time. C’s CC is Christian Bale in American Psycho, with a bit of Christian Grey thrown in, while K’s is Brangelina. Together. In Bed. At the same time. And here I was thinking that Scandis were boring.

David Beckham Takes Harper Out For A Morning Stroll

2:45pm I leave the Electric after a lovely time with K & C, and having had a decent but un-extraordinary soup and salad, but anything tastes better than waiting in line at Bill Granger. On our way out, Marina Fogle, Ben Fogle’s wife, is busy having a work meeting for her new company ‘The Bump’. More mumpreneurs in action.

3pmish: Pick up time. I rush to the school gates and dread the uncomfortable small talk and idle chatter (Where are you off to for half term? How was your half term? Are you going to the Parent’s Event/Sports Day/Christmas Play?) while they ‘up-and-down’ me to see what labels I am not wearing. I feel like an awkward teenager who has no one to sit with at lunch time.

3pmish + 5 minutes: I spot ‘Gossip Mum’ and go straight to her. She loves talking so much and only listens to herself anyway, so I will look like I have a friend, but won’t need to talk. Perfect. And she keeps me in the school gossip loop, which makes me feel less of an outsider. Today, she chats away about the latest weird thing ‘Weird Mum’ has said and done and tells me about SuperRich Mum’s inbuilt trampoline and slide in her huge back garden (Yes, in London). Alpha Mum joins us and tells us about how many laps her perfect, supersonic daughter can do at the ‘Country Club’ after having lessons from Gold Medal Swimmer Coach. I wonder whether I should admit that M still doesn’t swim without floaties.

4pm: We are home after a play in the playground/private garden/park/activity. M has been best friends, enemies, then best friends again with her BFF in the past 10 minutes. Her BFF happens to be SuperRich’s Mum’s daughter and has a private jet, two drivers, three chefs, and 6 staff and M keeps asking if she can have a slide that goes down into a trampoline in our non-existent garden, and why we don’t have our own a ‘taxi’ driver. Hmm… Perhaps they should stay enemies.

4:30pm I open the door for the alarm/kitchen/builder/dishwasher guy to fix the broken alarm/fridge/house/dishwasher. Groundhog Day.

5pm: Finally, it’s TV time and everyone is happy! Anything from Frozen, Doc Mc Stuffins, Peppa, Mickey, Epic, or anything with Pirates will do.

6pm-7:30pm: Dinner, bath-time and wind-down-time, sleepy -time: Baby A doesn’t want to eat, M doesn’t want to poop and neither wants to go to sleep. Lots of negotiations and bribes later, everyone is in bed sleeping.

8pm: Dinner-time. Finally a moment to sit down. Mr. C is at a work dinner/traveling, as usual. I really need to go back to work, I think to myself, at least just so I can blame work for being an inadequate mother. Until then, the pressure of being a NHYM lurks heavily. I blame myself for my daughter not swimming yet, I self-loathe some more about my non-size-8-body, go back to feeling like the outsider who has no one to sit with at lunch-time, feel like the Ugly Duckling next to all these gorgeous Scandis (who seem to have an unfair physical advantage over the rest of the world) and feel personally inadequate for not having my own internet company/ethical food/clothes line/yoga studio.

So, perhaps this is why Trinny is with Charles Saatchi, because the NHYM pressure we put on ourselves creates unrealistic expectations to become these superwomen and supermom NHYM, who don’t actually exist (Except if you are Scandinavian, and then perhaps you stand a chance). Perhaps we should realise that all that really matters is that our families are happy and healthy and all the other stuff just doesn’t really matter. Period.

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xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

Twitter: @NHyummymummy

 

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Reviews

Review of Polpo Restaurant, Notting Hill

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(That’s him in the window/ that’s him in the spotlight/ Working the tables/ It’s Russell Norman/The Restaurant Man. Photos taken by NHYM Copyright 2014)

Polpo Notting Hill

126-128 Notting Hill Gate London W11 3QG

02072293283

http://www.polpo.co.uk

Overall: 3.75 stars

Food: 3.5 stars

Service: 3.5 stars / raised to 4 stars for having Russell Norman on the floor

Design: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars because their Pizettes were only at £5 and their plates are very filling

Having read some of the gushing praise of Russell Norman’s, aka the ‘King of Small Plates,’ many restaurants (Spuntino, Polpo Soho, Polpetto, Mishkin’s, and Polpo Covent Garden), and how people actually wait in line for an hour and half for a seat, I was thrilled to hear that one was opening up in Notting Hill. Not one for waiting in line for a restaurant (I’ve left ‘waiting in line’ behind a red velvet rope in my 20s, let alone any restaurant line in Soho), there was no way I was ever going to shlep all the way to Soho, unsure of whether I would have to wait 30 or 80 minutes for a table. Polpo Notting Hill would be the perfect way to try one of this famous restaurateur’s restaurants, without ever having to leave my 10-minute radius. Not quite ready to face the possibility of waiting in line, I took the safe road and booked a lunch reservation (They actually don’t ever close after lunch, which must be great for business).

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The Polpo Restaurant concept is about being a Venetian Bacaro serving small Italian plates (the Italian version of a tapas bar). Having been to a true Bacaro in Venice during my ‘Gap/Backpacking year’, which made me think of a dark, smokey restaurant full of students and young trendy things, smoking cigarettes, drinking vino and nibbling on bits (not only the food), while discussing the superiority of Italian men (I was a twenty-something woman after all), I had high hopes and expectations for this establishment.

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The original Polpo was created during the recession, and Russell Norman was able to make it a success by making it a relatively cheap, relaxed and cool dining scene. Russell’s background is as a restaurant manager and operations director at Caprice Holdings. He knows a thing or two about running a restaurant and what attracts people to a restaurant. It is not always clearly about the food alone. In the recession, he saw that all the buzzy, cool places were the ones that were packed. So he interior designed all of his restaurants (and is known for carefully choosing all the details from the toilet sinks and lighting himself), to attract the trendy and cool crowd. His staff are hired for their attitude and for being the creative types, rather than necessarily their restaurant credentials, which adds to the cool factor of the restaurant. When I saw Russell Norman working the tables as I came in, being a true ‘Restaurant Man,’ listening to what his clients and staff have to say, seeing with his eyes how the restaurant was being run, I wanted to love it.

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When I entered Polpo, what struck me immediately was a slightly damp smell. Perhaps to recreate the summer’s humidity in Venice or perhaps why it shut down for one day (a flood maybe?), 4 days after opening.  But then I saw the bar, which immediately made me forget my initial impression. The Bar is Beautiful. I do love a nice bar, and this one easily took me back to my Italian Backpacking days. I was then seated with a perfect view of the restaurant, (which is one of the reasons I always come early to choose my spot before my lunch date arrives). The clientele here is rather eclectic as the restaurant is; beautiful posh British Blondes two tables on my left, two American NHYMs two tables on my right, a family of 4 across from me, older men having lunch, young trendsetters  at the bar and two lovely Notting Hill Grannies, one Japanese and one American, next to me. This is what I love about London; all ages, all nationalities and all social classes mixing easily together in an Italian Wine Bar. I can imagine it being great at night with a buzzy atmosphere with cocktails flowing, a few good friends, and lots of laughs.

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We ordered small plates on the recommendation of the waitress; a plate of ciceti, the garlic and clam pizzette, classic beef and pork meatballs, lamb caponata, the polpo of course, and the asparagus and broad bean salad. The food was good, but unfortunately not quite as good as I was hoping. There was a slight lack of flavour to the dishes, perhaps a slight banality to them. The arancini and the pizettes were rather good, I liked the creativity of eating a spicy clams, capers and garlic pizzette. The Polpo fell a bit short of my expectations, instead a crispy, browned Italian octopus the way I like them, it felt as if this poor polpo had drifted for days in the Med and somehow landed on British territory, and had become a bit soggy from all the British rain. The lamb and meatballs were just average, and knowing that this restaurant is coming from one of the biggest restaurant names in London at the moment, I was, I admit a tad disappointed.

Perhaps I am expecting too much from a Bacaro, perhaps my expecations were too high and I am a demanding NHYM that should be kept away from Notting Hill Gate. Perhaps these are teething issues which he will iron out over the next few weeks, so I will come back for another go in two weeks, this time at night to capture the buzz. But then again, perhaps this is what Russell is trying to do; cheap and cheerful dishes in a great atmosphere. And maybe, this restaurant was not conceived with me in mind. When I read reviews later on Tripadvisor, I realised that this place is not for earth-shattering, tantalising food, this place is for friends to meet, drink and have a good time in a greatly designed restaurant with a good atmosphere. After all, this is all the Italian students could afford on a budget, so in this respect, Russell is succeeding after all.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

twitter: @NHyummymummy

Polpo on Urbanspoon

p.s. For those also adverse to waiting in line for a dinner table, there are subtle ways of getting a dinner reservation but what’s the fun in telling you how? I will leave it to you to figure it out on your own…

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