Working Parents: not a tragedy, in fact.

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I should know better, shouldn't I? But there I was this morning perusing the Mail Online when I came across this gem: ADHD and why we working mums need to look in the mirror This headline, like so many others in the media (and especially the Fail) makes the classic assumption that parenting is (of course) a mother's job. So if you're talking about bad parenting you are - obviously - talking about bad mothers, right? I'm not sure which dictionary they're reading, but in my book parent and … [Read more...]

A Way with Words. And Washlets.

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For 25 years, I've earned a living as a professional writer. Words are the tools of my trade. And yet - to be honest - I'm terrible with words. Particularly the spoken word. I can write about pretty much anything, but put me face to face with someone and ask me to chat about anything personal, intimate or emotional, and I'm worse than useless. I'm like a destructive force of nature. Writing gives you time, doesn't it? To consider and measure the words you use. To add a drop of humour … [Read more...]

Dear Lego…

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Dear LEGO. It's been a while since we last corresponded. Since then, we've got closer, I think. These days, Flea is a huge LEGO fan. We've got boxes full of LEGO Chima sets, and over Christmas we built an amazing LEGO winter village together. And pleasingly, Flea is getting confident enough to build her own LEGO creations - small houses, unfeasibly large sofas, towers, monsters... lots and lots of monsters. So it was hardly surprising when we were first in line to see the LEGO movie … [Read more...]

A Month without Amazon

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£3,410.55. That's how much money I spent on Amazon.co.uk last year. Plus $66 on Amazon.com for a really cool popcorn bowl that lets you pop corn in the microwave in 2 minutes. It's scary how it adds up. And it's frankly terrifying what I spent it on - £250 on Converse, and £1500 on electronics of various sorts -  a new camera body, a tablet for my Mum, a new mobile phone, another new mobile phone to replace the first mobile when I left it on a plane, £70 for a spare mobile when I realised … [Read more...]

I wrote a blog post. What happened next will AMAZE you.

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I do apologise. That headline up there is a bit of a lie. Because what happened next won't amaze you. I wrote a blog post. What happened next is that I published it. Some people read it. Maybe some people commented (hey, I can hope). Some people Tweeted it. And, um, that's it. What can I say, I learned everything I know about irrelevant, manipulative, borderline dishonest headlines from my Facebook feed. Honestly, these days it seems like Facebook has demoted all the … [Read more...]

Dear M&S…

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So according to that great bastion of reason and truth, The Daily Mail, M&S gives Muslim staff the right to refuse to sell alcohol or pork if they choose. I glanced at the headline yesterday and my first thought was, "That's nice."   And I didn't really think any more of it until I ventured over to Facebook where my timeline was a stream of insults directed at M&S from all directions. What was M&S thinking? This is just pandering. It's like vegetarians refusing to handle meat, … [Read more...]

An open letter to Parents…

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Flea and I went to the cinema this week. I love the cinema. I love having a space to be completely absorbed in a story, and forget about the outside world. One of my favourite things in the world is an empty cinema on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, and having the screen to myself. But that doesn't happen often when you're seeing a children's film. This week, Flea and I saw Turbo, an animated piece about a plucky little snail that falls into an engine and comes out faster than a Formula One … [Read more...]

Dear Amazon, don’t remove a book on my account.

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So today my Twitter timeline was filled with lots of Tweets that said something like Dear Amazon, stop selling this offensive book that advocates hitting children to 'train' them [link] Please RT.  I didn't RT. Not because I think physically punishing children is a good idea. I personally don't smack my child, never have done.  I love my child more than I could ever express, and the idea of anyone raising a hand to her in violence is fairly horrifying to me. I don't want to diminish the … [Read more...]

Room 101.

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In the same way that cars run on petrol and my computer runs on mains electricity, I sometimes think social media is fuelled almost entirely by moral indignation. I've come to realise after a decade of working in this industry that I'm fairly laid-back in Internet terms. For example, I don't much care that one piffling government-sponsored review suggested that MAYBE we might THINK about having a policy that requires all children to eat school meals. I can't bring myself to expend any … [Read more...]

You’re Beautiful.

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In my eyes, Flea is beautiful. She has eyes that sparkle when she finds something funny, which is roughly every ten seconds. She has hair that's a thousand different shades of blonde, with a fringe bleached by days in the sun. She's getting taller and stronger every day, but still retains some of that squishy quality that little kids have. "You're gorgeous," I tell her, a dozen times a day. "I know," she replies. Her confidence in her own attractiveness is something I can only marvel … [Read more...]