Monday, February 26, 2018

Is the Mulvey saga coming to an end?

As a journalist, Kate Mulvey has been in a good position to share the trials and tribulations of her love life. And she is a very good example of the folly of having big tickets on yourself.  Because she has taken so long to settle down she has missed out on children, which is a huge loss

As I sat chatting happily to the man opposite me, I was trying hard to cover up how nervous I felt. Terrified he wouldn’t find me attractive, I had spent all day getting ready.

My hair was newly highlighted and sexily tousled, while my favourite Diane von Furstenberg mini showed off my legs.

But I needn’t have worried — the moment he saw me, his face lit up. We were soon laughing. He held my hand briefly and even put his arm around me as we left the restaurant. I smiled and rested my head on his shoulder.

We could have been any other middle-aged couple on a successful first date. The difference was that we were not strangers. This was the man I had loved and lost 20 years ago. This, remarkably, was the man who had asked me to marry him when I was 33 and he was 32. This was the man I turned down.

At 54, I am not one for dwelling on the ‘what ifs’. But as I looked at him, wearing his trademark charcoal-grey jumper, his face a bit fuller, his girth a bit wider, but with the same half-smile that always seemed to be affectionately mocking me, I felt a serious pang of regret.

My personal life post-Serge has been a roller- coaster of failed romances, unsuitable men, and a near nervous breakdown after a series of miscarriages.

Marrying Serge would certainly have saved me a lot of heartbreak. But then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Would I have been happier, settling down with him all those years ago? Facing old age with a family — had I been lucky enough to have one — and living in the large, rambling house he now owns? Building a lifetime of memories with one man?

It sounds idyllic. But even though that is absolutely what I want now, I was very different back then.

I met Serge on a hot summer’s day at a friend’s house party in the countryside just outside Burford in the Cotswolds.

It was 1998. I was sitting on the grass when I saw him walk across the lawn. He was bronzed, his hair falling foppishly over his blue eyes. Although we hardly spoke, I caught him looking at me.

When he called a few days later to go for a walk in Richmond Park, I was over the moon. Within weeks we were inseparable. It was the classic opposites-attract paradigm: he was serious and shy, I was a neurotic loudmouth. I made him laugh, and he made me feel safe.

A couple of months later, he asked me to move into his flat in Chelsea. He bought new modern furniture, the kind I liked. Serge is Swiss French, so he introduced me to his friends and family back in Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

He took me on weekends to Rome and Paris, and we enjoyed holidays in San Francisco and Hawaii. It was life surfing the crest of the executive wave: he worked as a trader at a Swiss bank and had moved to London as part of their team.

I should have been happy. And I was, but I felt claustrophobic. He stifled me with his declarations of love, his intensity. The more I tried to free myself, the more he tightened his grip.

I didn’t want to have to account for my every move. I didn’t want to check in with him if I wanted to go for drinks after work.

I remember coming home after a night out with friends to find Serge sitting at the kitchen table, fuming. There were fights, chipping away at our happiness.

I don’t know whether it was out of true love or a need to lock down the relationship, but at the wedding of his best friend, Serge asked whether I wanted to marry him.

I said nothing, and my crestfallen face spoke volumes.

I did love Serge, but I simply wasn’t ready for marriage. We barely exchanged a word for the rest of the weekend. Things went rapidly downhill after that.

The cuddles and romance morphed into evenings spent in silence, while everything about the other started to grate. He sulked, I shouted.

In the end, the constant arguing got the better of him. One morning, without saying a word, he gathered all my belongings, put them in a large black bin liner and placed it by the door, before telling me to get out. It was finally over.

Overwhelmed with emotion, I walked around like a zombie. I had to take a couple of weeks off work — I was a writer for a woman’s magazine, and kept bursting into tears in meetings. So why on earth was I, as a middle-aged woman, embarking on a trip down love’s memory lane? Did I want to go through that heartache again?

The truth is, I never forgot Serge. I bumped into him once in a restaurant in London, three years after our break-up.

I was 38 and on a disastrous date, while he was at a business lunch with colleagues, visiting from Switzerland, where he had returned. I wanted to fling my arms around him; instead, I laughed and joked as though he were a casual acquaintance.

Then, a couple of years later, I heard through mutual friends that he was getting married. I was shocked at how deeply upset I was. I suppose, somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought we might get back together one day.

I carried on living my glossy magazine lifestyle, travelling and building my career as a journalist and author, as relationships came and went. But none of them quite lived up to Serge.

Then, in April last year, while I was on holiday with my then boyfriend, Serge pinged me a message on Facebook.

‘Coffee, tea, me?’ he said.

Huh? I thought. Then I realised — it was the line we both loved from the Eighties romcom Working Girl. He was flirting!

My heart missed a beat. I knew I still had feelings for him.

‘I have a mind for business and a bod for sin,’ I pinged back immediately (quoting the same film).

We messaged each other surreptitiously that week, but when he asked me to come to Switzerland ‘to recreate old times’, I told him I was with someone and we left it at that. A few months later, my relationship came to an end, so I got back in touch with Serge.

We started chatting on the phone. He told me he was divorced with a son. I commiserated, but inwardly I was whooping with joy.

I told him I had never married or had children.

‘You should have married me,’ he said, laughing.

That was typical Serge, throwing his little darts. I burst into tears. He was overcome with remorse, and immediately we were back in our old routine. The thing is, even then I knew I still loved him.

Nevertheless, we were both wary. The hurts have been so etched into our hearts, but we seem propelled towards each other.

Then, in December, he told me he was thinking of buying a place in Spain. He suggested we meet in the New Year in a tapas bar we both knew in Marbella. I couldn’t wait.

Nervous though I was, that first meeting was all I had hoped for.

Little things kept reminding me of the young Serge: the way he always pulled my chair close to his; even the timbre of his voice. It was lovely. We spent a wonderful few days together hiking in the hills (like we used to) and he took me to romantic restaurants in the middle of nowhere.

So what next? Now he is back in Switzerland and I am back in London, but our diaries are full of plans. I’m going to see him in Geneva in a couple of weeks, then it’s his turn to come to London.

On one level, re-romancing an old flame is easy. On the other hand, we don’t want to fall back into those negative patterns of old. I will need to dial down the histrionics, and he will have to learn not to sulk for days on end.

Then there’s the small matter of us living in different countries, though he is semi-retired and, as a freelance writer, I can hop on a plane with my laptop — and even, down the line, move cities to be with him.

Only time will tell if our history together will prove to be a hindrance or a help. But who knows — this time round, we could actually make it all the way to the altar.

Earlier versions of the Mulvey story as under:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"My child is my whole world"

A Queensland mother thought she had lost 'her whole world' when she received a call saying her daughter had been left in hot bus for over an hour.

A good mother with little Violet

Lisa Easton recalled the horrifying moment she was told her 16-month-old child had been forgotten about during Tuesday's 30 degree day.

The distraught mother raced to Goodstart Early Learning Parkwood to find her daughter 'spaced out' and suffering from symptoms of dehydration, Gold Coast bulletin reports.

Ms Easton said she went into panic mode after receiving the call. 'She (the childcare worker) called me and said, 'I'm sorry Lisa I have done something terrible, I left Violet on the bus for a long time I'm so sorry', after those words I went into a complete panic attack.'

She claimed staff had made no attempt to seek medical help for the one-year-old, and instead placed her in a high chair and gave her a sandwich. 

The mother rushed Violet to hospital where she was treated for severe dehydration.

The ordeal, described as an 'accident or injury' in an incident report, left the mother 'traumatised' and too emotionally scarred to return to her job, which she had only recently started.

'I'm just shocked, because I put my complete trust in these people and I didn't even think something like this could ever happen,' she said. 'It was such a close call to losing everything, my child is my whole world.'

She said her daughter had been picked up by the same bus and driver at 8.30am like any other day, and she couldn't understand what went so wrong on Tuesday.

Since the incident, Violet has been behaving 'very clingy', with the mother having sought legal advice and filed complaints with various departments.

Even more horrific, she has received an invoice for the day of the incident.

Police are investigating the childcare worker responsible, who has been suspended from the centre, according to manager Lesley Jones.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Two gorgeous little boys have lost their mother

It is so unjust. Little boys need their mother

Five days before Sara Chivers died in a sunlit Melbourne hospice room on the morning of January 28, her family gathered at her bedside to toast her with pizza and a bottle of Grange.

“We thought she was going then,” says her mother, Helen Clark.

But Sara, 34, hung in until Sunday.

Her toughness was no surprise to those who loved her. If anyone could pull off a challenge, it was Sara, the Melbourne mother-of-two whose letter to her sons Hugh, now 3, and Alfie, 21 months, as she was facing her mortality last October made global news and did what she wanted it to do, raise money and awareness for brain cancer.

Waking on her daughter’s last day, Helen – sleeping at the hospice with the rest of the family, Sara’s father Adrian, brother Mike and sister Stephanie – kissed her forehead and said hello. Then Sara stopped breathing.

“It was a privilege to be there,” says Helen. “It was actually really, really beautiful. Hard to believe, but it was.”

Her engineer husband Leigh Chivers, 34, who had been at home with Hugh, arrived soon after to be with his wife.

“When she did pass, after an hour or two she looked like she did on our wedding day,” he says.

“All her features really came out. She looked so young.”

Diagnosed with three incurable brain tumours last March – she had previously fought the disease in 2008 – the marketing executive was still absorbing her death sentence when the next hammer blow fell.

In a rare and shocking coincidence, in September Alfie was also diagnosed with brain cancer.

Facing the unimaginable galvanised Sara. Wanting to leave her boys a tangible legacy, she publicised her reality in the hope it would open government purses and find a cure in time to help Alfie.

“He needs me to champion his cause,” she said. “He needs me to keep on living.”

Sara and Leigh turned to fundraising, and in December, Alfie was on his wheelchair-bound mum’s knee when she presented The Project’s Carrie Bickmore with a cheque for over $60,000 for her brain cancer charity, the money all raised in months.

Palliative care is no place for a young mother who had run half marathons and moved to London solo for work. Sara turned it into her private HQ; increasingly unable to talk, she welcomed friends with cakes and coffee, and wept with disbelief seeing her story in Vogue in a copy the magazine expressed to her as time ran out.

“Even in the last weeks when she was struggling to talk and couldn’t walk, she still managed to laugh,” says her friend Mia Greves.

“No, it was more of a roar! I’m grateful that cancer didn’t rob her of that. My mate Sara was still there.”

Friday, August 25, 2017

Medicine in the kitchen: Mum-of-two, 34, reveals the old family recipes she uses to cure her children’s common colds

Winter may almost be at it's end, but those common colds, flus, and coughs are still rearing their ugly head.

But now one Perth mum-of-two is sharing the old family recipes she uses to help keep her children healthy - with ingredients straight out of the pantry.

Carol Heaton, 34, first made one of these natural remedies when she was visiting family in Canada with her eight-month-old son Zavier in April.

He was sick with an ear infection, was very congested, and constantly coughing. But Carol's options for treatment were limited because of his age.

'As he was only six months old at the time, there wasn't much I was able to give him to alleviate his symptoms,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 

She put a baby balm on his chest and used a saline spray on his nose, but nothing was doing the trick.

Then her family insisted she try a natural cough syrup that they had been using for many years, and it only required two ingredients.

To create the Onion Sugar Syrup, Carol cut a peeled brown onion into large slices and simply sprinkled sugar over the slices.

She let the onions sit in small plate or bowl for a few hours, until the juice from the onion started to collect at the bottom.

Carol then fed a spoonful of the juice to Zavier every hour, storing it in the fridge.

Onion Sugar Syrup for Coughs


-One large peeled brown onion

-Three heaped tablespoons of white granulated sugar


Cut the onion into large slices, sprinkle the sugar over the onions.

Let this sit on a small plate or a small bowl for a few hours until you see the juice from the onion start to collect at the bottom of the plate.

Give a spoonful to the child every hour, it has a nice sweet taste which babies love. It is best to make this syrup fresh every day and store in the fridge.

*Suitable for babies six months and up

Source: Walk In Pantry

'Honestly it started working very quickly,' she said. 'Within a few hours of taking it he was bringing up the phlegm.'

'The cough started to ease as soon as he started coughing up the phlegm, and then had stopped completely within three to five days.'

Although the combination may sound odd to some, Carol said her son loved the syrup because it tasted sweet.

And the onion, which Carol described as a 'humble ingredient but so powerful', is integral to the recipe.

'It's a natural expectorant so it helps thin out the mucus, making it easier for children to cough it up. And it aids in boosting immunity as well,' she said.

Carol loves using natural remedies and has a slew of family recipes, which her mother once used on her, that she has shared on her site Walk In Pantry. 

There is her Haldi Milk recipe, which combines turmeric powder, grated ginger, honey, and a cup of milk, to help soothe sore throats and help cold symptoms.

Carol said she often uses her Cayenne and Raw Honey Elixir to help her and her husband (pictured) when they have a cold    +5
Carol said she often uses her Cayenne and Raw Honey Elixir to help her and her husband (pictured) when they have a cold


Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which helps soothe a sore throat    +5
Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which helps soothe a sore throat


· ½ Tsp of Turmeric powder

· ½ Tsp of grated ginger

· Honey or sugar to sweeten

· 1 cup of milk (your choice)


In a saucepan combine the turmeric, honey or sugar, ginger, and milk.

Simmer over a low heat until all ingredients have been combined and the milk has been warmed through.

Strain any bits of ginger and drink immediately.

Source: Walk In Pantry

'I remember drinking the Haldi milk as a child, although I never appreciated its effect back then,' she said.

'I will always be grateful to my mum for giving this to us when we were young. And I plan to continue to use this for my children when they are sick.'  

Also included is the Cayenne and Raw Honey Elixir, meant for adults, which combines raw honey, cayenne pepper, garlic and turmeric to help cure coughs.

Carol said she often uses the honey elixir to help her and her husband when they have a cold, but her favourite is easily the onion syrup.

'As a mum you just want your kids to be healthy and happy, and this actually works which is a relief to them and me!' she said. 'And more sleep for us all.'

And Carol loves that she knows exactly what goes into each remedy, and that she can control the ingredients.

Carol hopes to inspire parents to look in their own pantries to find alternatives to over-the-counter medication, but recommends that they consult with their doctor before using any natural remedy on their children.

'Don't be scared to try something new,' she said. 'Do you research, as there are so many easy yet powerful natural remedies you can use for common illnesses.'

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

'I’m A Criminologist And I've Realised There Is A Psychopath In My Family'

Dr Xanthé Mallett

I have a female relative (who I won’t identify for obvious reasons) who I think may be a psychopath. We’ll call her ‘A’.

I should be upfront and say we don’t speak. Ever. From my perspective (which, I accept, is totally subjective) this is because she represents everything within the human condition I find abhorrent.

A is manipulative, loves causing trouble, lacks empathy or concern for others, and lives parasitically off her parents with no regard for how this may affect them even though they are now in their 70s.

I’m a criminologist and have spent my 10-year career trying to understand why people behave the way they do. Recently, I started to research and to learn about the psychological makeup of female psychopaths for a professional project. It suddenly struck me: after witnessing A’s disgusting behaviour over the years, could she be a psychopath?

OK, so what are the signs someone is a psychopath?

It’s estimated that between 1-3% of the general population show some symptoms of psychopathy. And while there isn’t that much scientific data on the percentage of female psychopaths, we’re now learning that there might be far more in the community than we thought.

Female psychopaths may be manipulative, deceitful, and exploitative but these traits may be expressed differently than from male psychopaths. For example, instead of being outwardly violent, there is a suggestion that female psychopaths may engage in more manipulative abuse or aggression. An example would be intentionally causing rifts within a family through spreading gossip and lies, or victimising and ostracising someone in their social circle for pleasure. Female psychopaths are also more likely to engage in self-harm than men with the same condition, and be jealous and verbally abusive.

And female psychopaths may wield words more viciously than most, as this is their main weapon.
So, is A a psychopath?

Well, she does live parasitically off her parents, lacks plans for the future, is verbally and sometimes physically violent, lacks empathy, does not feel guilt when she causes harm to others (she used to have a cat she fed chocolate, even though she knew chocolate was poisonous to cats. When I asked her why, she said she enjoyed it), and finds pleasure causing trauma in relationships. She is also highly manipulative and emotionally unstable.

She lives at home with her parents, the only family members she talks to, as she has pushed everyone else away over the years with her behaviour. She totally dominates the family unit, where everything is done her way or else. A doesn’t work and has never had a job, she has few, if any friends, and as a result is totally socially isolated. It appears she has no plans for the future, instead expecting to live of her parents forever.

I used to think that A couldn’t be a psychopath because they are often very superficially charming, and that psychopathy showed itself from childhood. These traits don’t fit A. But I recently learnt that these characteristics don’t hold for female psychopaths, who can develop the characteristics in adolescence and they are not generally charismatic (although they are often more than averagely attractive). This pattern fits A.
Can psychopathy run in the family?

Given that we believe psychopaths are born and not made – i.e. their brains are wired differently – it does concern me that there is an underlying genetic component to A’s behaviour. I share A’s genes, and because I overthink everything, I have considered whether I might be a psychopath. But, as I already know that psychopaths don’t worry about being psychopaths, as they simply wouldn’t care if they were, I have put my mind at ease.

After all of that, I am left wondering if psychopathy is less frequent in women than men, or are we just looking for the wrong signs and symptoms of the condition? Female psychopaths tend to show less criminal and overtly anti-social behaviours, so they may be hiding in plain sight, finding more shaded and elusive ways to cause harm.

I have talked to a few people within the family about A, as well as colleagues with an understanding of the implications of the disorder. But I have not shared my fears with A’s parents. She does not appear to be planning to leave home anytime soon, they are stuck with the situation regardless of a diagnosis.

The bottom line is that female psychopaths may present different behaviours from their male counterparts, but they are just as cunning, manipulative, and ultimately just as dangerous – maybe more so, as we may not initially recognise them for what they are.

How to tell if you might have a psychopath in the family

If you are concerned that you may have a female psychopath in your family, here is a list of traits to look for:

* Lacks a conscience and empathy,

* Is manipulative and cunning.

* Enjoys being cruel or causing trouble

* Is controlling and aggressive in relationships

* Is insecure and jealous,

* and prone to self-harm

Note: Of course, behavioural traits exist on continuums, and some people will have some but not all of those listed above – and that does not make them a psychopath

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trinny Woodall now has breasts

One of the few advantages of aging. Perhaps in part because of her privileged background, Trinny led a most dissolute and racketty life in her youth. Yet she still looks more than half good in her 50s, including a nice set. It's a tribute to her genes. Life is not fair but it is genetic

She is often seen presenting the fashion segment on ITV's This Morning.

And Trinny Woodall made sure to showcase her sartorial excellence, as she headed out in Mayfair over the weekend - dazzling in not one but TWO chic ensembles.

The designer, 53, opted to go braless while visiting her favourite eatery Scott's on Saturday, stealing a look at her plentiful bust as she left the first few buttons of her pinstriped shirt dress unbuttoned.

Trinny's tailored number nipped in at the waist to accentuate her slender frame and she chose to wear a pair of white jeans underneath - protecting her modesty from the frock's thigh-high split

Appearing to ditch her lingerie, the TV personality flashed her assets as she exited the popular venue, hiding behind a retro pair of clear-framed sunglasses.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The wit and the wisdom of Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg occupies a unique place in British politics. For the young Conservatives rallying behind semi-ironic online fan clubs such as Moggmentum and Middle Class Memes for Rees-Moggian Teens, he's quite simply the Conservatives' answer to Corbynmania: a darling of the activist grassroots whose exaggerated online persona provides both shield and lance in the joust of online debate.

According to Matthew Parris, this propensity to serve as both a joke and a serious proposition could well translate into genuine leadership prospects.

Responding in today's Telegraph, Rees-Mogg dispelled reports that he is planning to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party, while admitting that Parris' article has given the idea "a spurious veneer of respectability that it does not deserve".

The North East Somerset MP confirmed that he "want[s] to be the servant of the Conservative Party, not its master."

Serious stuff – but it would be wrong to assume the bookish Rees-Mogg is a policy wonk in a double breasted suit. As his various quips and witticisms over the years have shown, this is a man to listen to, whatever the subject of debate...

On the role of the state

“Basically I want people to be able to get on with their lives without the government bossing them about. I’m all in favour of nannies but not the nanny state.”

On Heathrow airport expansion

Rees-Mogg was praised for this riposte delivered to David Dimbleby in an exchange on the BBC's Question Time programme.

JRM: "Heathrow is the most convenient airport in London. I realise that in Slough this may not please everybody. I used to live not a million miles from Slough with the airplanes going over. I must confess they did not prove too bothersome there."

DD: "Eton, is that?"

JRM: "That's absolutely right. I was at school with your son."

On EU judges

“The requirement not to be rude about judges applies only to judges in this country. It does not apply to judges in the EU, so let me be rude about them. Let me indulge in the floccinaucinihilipilification of EU judges”.

The inclusion of this 29-letter word made headlines for being the then longest word ever recorded in Hansard. He later said of the word, “it’s not too bad, all it means is the action or habit of estimating as worthless.”

On Donald Trump

“He’s friends with Mr [Piers] Morgan and Mr Putin, so he keeps very fine company."

On Michel Barnier

Asked by Nigel Farage whether Monsier Barnier is “playing with a straight bat”, Rees Mogg retorted: “Well I very much doubt he’s a cricketer, and if he is he plays French cricket which is a rather mutated version of the real thing.”

On proposals for a new pro-EU centrist party

“What’s so peculiar about this new party is that it wants to call itself the Democrats and the first thing it wishes to do is overturn a democratic decision. Their proposed name ought to be the Oligarchs.”

On moving with the times

“The right to bear arms is in our own Bill of Rights, where there is the right to bear arms because of the need to maintain a Protestant militia—which fortunately has gone out of fashion in more modern times.”

On House of Commons etiquette

Rees-Mogg caused guffaws in Parliament earlier this year, when he politely took aim at the length of a Jeremy Corbyn speech: “He said about 10 minutes ago ‘in conclusion’,’” Rees-Mogg joked. “I fear as time goes past he may be in danger of inadvertently having misled the House.”

On entrepreneurialism

“How are we going to revive this economy if we do not encourage the small business man, and the tall business man, too?”

On his popularity with the public

“Popularity in politics is very much here today and gone tomorrow. What I think matters – and I might begin to sound like Tony Benn in this – is the issues and not the personalities."