Silent Sunday #6

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Silent Sunday #5

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Silent Sunday #4

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Review: Big Fish Little Fish (Cardboard Box)

GlitterBall

I love to dance, me.

So with unmitigated glee I accepted a kind invitation to Big Fish Little Fish, a dance party aimed at the post-rave generation of parents and their children. I was sold on the concept and loved the execution of what is a truly brilliant idea. For in my past life I have been a raver, a club-kid. From bugging out to heavy, heavy basslines in Berlin’s Berghain to wowing friend and foe alike with fancy footwork in London’s Fabric, I know that the right kind of dancefloor can be a magical, unifying place.

On a bright winter’s day, the family and I ambled down to the Effra Road Social Club. From the outside the little space looks just like it did when it housed the Brixton Conservative Club: a little unassuming and unloved. But on the inside? Well aha! On the inside we found a riotous afternoon party where professional big-name DJs, club visuals, lighting, booze and fun people who also happen to be parents and carers were brought together.

This was an excellent party. We left with huge smiles on our faces.

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What Scummy Mummies Get Up To At Christmas

I’m a Scummy Mummy – are you?

Last Friday I had the ultimate honour of being the special guest on the Scummy Mummies’ Christmas special podcast.

Ellie Gibson, video player and ham-muller extraordinaire, and Helen Thorne, my favourite Australian expat are two brilliant and insightful ladies who take on the challenge of mothering armed with wit and hummus. The Daily Telegraph has called their podcast one of the best for parenting advice.

It’s no wonder – they are funny, they are filthy and they don’t hold back. We were obviously fated to become friends and it was a wonderful experience recording with them. It was boozy. It was hilarious. It was scary, thrilling and a lot of fun.

Have a listen to my mellifluous tones and let me know what you think. Among other things, the Scummy Mummies and I talked Christmas traditions, lies and bribes, blogging, Christmas robins and nipple tassles – we even sang! And the after-party nibbles were delicious too:

Ridiculously Good

Mulled ham – so so good.

Check out the show via this link.

Thank you Scummy Mummies for having me. It was uh-maze.

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Silent Sunday #3

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Silent Sunday #2

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Silent Sunday #1

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Things My Mother Taught Me

It would have been my Mum’s birthday today but 20 years ago I lost her to cancer. I carry her with me, always and in all-ways. Especially now that I too am a mum.

My mother taught me to approach life with humour, to live with grace and to wrap up warm when it’s cold out. She taught me other things too (like how to read and how to ride a bike). But as I sit here and remember her, it’s those three qualities – humour, grace and warmth – that come to mind. And I know that I try to apply them to my relationship with the Pug.

My man and me, we’re always laughing. We laugh often, we laugh loud and we laugh in the face of adversity. Puggy always smiles too, as if he gets the joke. He is a happy, relaxed and adaptable baby. How much of his sunny-side-up nature is him, and how much comes from me and the Pugfather I don’t know. What I do know is that he has a shoulder-shaking silent belly laugh that makes me smile, every day.

My Mum was generous. She gave her time, her wisdom and experience without exception to me, my siblings, friends and family – even strangers. And as she did, so do I. Delaying gratification, putting another before myself, making the right decision quickly and confidently – I have learnt all these skills on the fly since becoming a parent. I try to rise above the squawks and stresses of daily life. I re-mould the mundane into the magical. Humour helps. I scatter fun around Puggy like little bits of glitter. My mum may not be here with me, but I can still draw on her grace as I navigate these new waters called motherhood.

And warmth? Well, November is a cold month. Autumn is all but over. Trees start to look skeletal, their leaves sodden underfoot and disintegrating in the streets. When the butterflies have flutteredby and the bees have all buzzed their goodbyes, I feel my mother’s absence a little more keenly. My thoughts turn inwards. I hunker down, eat stodgy and stout fare and wonder about gloves and how perhaps I should get some. I dig out hats and hoodies, earmuffs and scarves. I wear woollens. “Keep warm,” my mother’s voice advises, so Puggy too is bundled up against the cold. We seek out candles on our adventures, hot drinks and cosy spaces. And we sit, drink and be – with warm smiles on our faces.

As my mother taught me, I will teach my son. Humour, grace and warmth – every interaction is laced with these three. “Each one, teach one” is a saying I fully endorse. In my case it is an act of remembrance, an act of not forgetting an amazing woman, my mother. A simple way of feeling her love and passing it on to the grandson she did not quite get to meet.

Happy birthday, Mama!

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5 Thoughts on Mumsnet’s Blogfest 2013

With a bag full of business cards, a pocket full of tissues, vintage boots on my feet and an afro-puff atop my head I headed on over the river to the Mumsnet Blogfest event.

Was I excited? You bet. Much to my partner’s chagrin I could hardly sleep the night before. My blog – Pram On Rye – had finally launched and it was a sign – serendipity! – that Blogfest was taking place the very next day. I have spent many years dicking around, but now I was ready to take my writing to the next level. Perhaps Blogfest – a massive event with top-level speakers, bloggers, writers, social media experts and most important of all, mothers, would help propel me on my way.

It was great in many ways, with some fantastic speakers and much to learn. Already there are plenty of blogs singing its praises. Rather than join the chorus, here are my 5 immediate nuggets of constructive criticism:

1. Mumsnet Blogfest attendees are overwhelmingly white, middle-class, able-bodied and (I suspect) heterosexual.

There was very little diversity at Blogfest. While there were plenty of women of colour attending to the event (pouring tea, taking coats, etc.) I was one of just a handful attending it. Not one of the speakers was non-white. This I find indefensible, distressing and hugely disappointing. It begs the questions: first, why’s Mumsnet so white? And second, where the ethnic minority ‘mummy bloggers’ at? They are questions I’ll return to when I post more on the homogeneity of ‘mummy blogging’ and the space in which I find myself.

2. Mumsnet Blogfest attendees are obsessed with cupcakes. Fucking cupcakes!

My eyebrows raised when the crowd whooped with glee at the thought of winning a box of cupcakes for the best tweet of the day. I could contain my snarkery no longer the 5,000th time the word ‘cupcakes’ was mentioned and tweeted:

I understand America’s cultural hegemony over everything we do, eat, drink, think and see, but come on! Us Brits have fairy cakes – anyone remember them? Cupcakes are so yesterday. If cupcakes were fashion they’d be last season. Let cupcakes go.

3. Mumsnets Bloggers are a little unfriendly and very cliquey.

Rachel Glitzer a.k.a MummyGlitzer today tweeted that she was “gutted” that most people she met at Blogfest were people she already knew and is chastising herself to “grow a backbone and talk to people”. I found this to be so true. Catching up with old friends at an event is a given, but so is trying to connect with people you don’t know. I came to the event not knowing a soul. I sadly left the same way.

4. There are many way to be a feminist – and you don’t need boobs to be one.

The final session was entitled, “Can you be a ‘mummy blogger’ and still be a feminist?” The title alone was intended to cause consternation I’m sure. The session was meant to be provocative. However, no-one could have envisioned the way it played out: with most attendees feeling maligned and put-upon. Misunderstandings and miscommunication flew about the room and at one point I felt the audience were being attacked by the panel.  The session was divisive and unproductive and, to my mind, did little to further the cause of feminism.

5. Professor Tanya Byron (@ProfTanya) was superb.

Brilliant, engaging, funny, clever. She spoke seemingly without notes. I wish I had filmed her. I looked at her and thought, I want to be you one day.

Bonus point: 6. The goody bag was exceptionally good. 

You can have the Richard Bacon book back though, Mumsnet.

An Exceptionally Cute Goody Bag

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