Mum About Town

Emma is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger and online marketer. When she’s not writing, she gets down with her Smalls, bigs-it-up with Him and swans around London reporting for her blog.

Topless toddlers

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Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 02 July 2014
Honestly, this post has been a long time coming.  But the week that saw a ‘celebrity instagrammer’ banned (albeit temporarily) from the social media network has been enough to spark me off good and proper.

Because, out came the opinions… all those heavy-handed critism about bloggers’ photographic documentary of their offspring on social media platforms in general. Rants, accusations, scare-mongering…

I’ve listened to many of them.  But I just don’t agree.  Courtney Adamo’s photograph of her toddler wasn’t offensive, which is why Instagram (finally) apologised and reinstated her account.  Her toddler was showing her knickers, a moment of pride for anyone being potty trained and the photo wasn’t in the least bit offensive.

On various social networking sites you’ll find images of my team.  I’m conscious not to overdo the exposure and do regularly ask myself how they will feel about the photographs (and some of my words) in years to come.  I hope that the stream of happy moments serve as precious memories, a modern day version of all those albums gathering dust, and that they will also remember just how much I loved to point and shoot.

But is (as some indicate) displaying photos of your family showing off?  Listing your child’s achievements or blowing his/trumpet as a status update might very well be but when it comes to images, don’t we need to accept that social media is now seen as a valid community in its own right?  Or perhaps the new-age equivalent of those leather-bound family albums?

I suppose the bottom line is that while the dangers of the internet are very real, each parent must decide their own boundaries while precautions are taken by most.   Because of Courtney’s enormous following and influence, she was able to make us all think about what is truly appropriate to share online.  Meanwhile I must just ask this:  if her toddler had showed her knickers in M&S, would everyone have screamed and run in the opposite direction?

Hot in the city

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on Wednesday, 25 June 2014
London is hot, by UK standards.  Positively steamin’.  Men, women and all those uniformed smalls are all throwing their hands up in disbelief, while simply sweltering.  He always said we should get some air con, like our European friends.  But the heat never feels it’s here to stay.  Better to keep those pennies for the Npower heating bill. I retort.

Anyway, fashion is the bigger issue at steak.  We ALL have nothing-to-wear.  A little stripping off leaves us looking more than ridiculous.  That capsule collection offers no alternative.  We bare a little flesh and suddenly feel naked.

The bag of summer togs is in the attic.  Down it comes, rummaging through… nothing’s remotely wearable.  Either too ‘beach’, a little ‘poolside’ or dated last decade from GAP.

Toes, upper arms, cleavage… it’s all translucent.  We pretend self-tanning was our thing.  Smothering ourselves, imagining we will emerge a South of France beach babe.

A quick panic Google.  Many items added to basket while toenails are painted.  The sky starts to darken, and then it starts to rain.  We can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Father's Race Day

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on Tuesday, 17 June 2014
The private equity squad took up their positions on the starting line.  It was the moment they had been waiting for - since this time last year. Some in suits and ties but many modeling the traditional ‘dress-down’ uniform of an open-necked fine-lined shirt.  Almost all most sported slippery leather soles and the finest of leather uppers.  

They grimaced at each other in anticipation, declaring loudly how out of shape they were.   

Desperate to appear nonchalant, the one and only father dressed in hi-tech running gear called out:  Just a bit of fun, isn’t it!

Cuffs were turned back.  Virtual hair swept to the side.

With hardly a glance at little Rupert eagerly waiting on the sidelines; their wives hadn’t even noticed they were taking part.

And they were off.  FAST.  With the stamina of a personal-trained devotee.

Determined to win or at least not disgrace.  This was their chance to show what they were capable of.

Sporty Dad won again.

Everyone’s a winner; they consoled themselves, immediately hiding any disappointment.  Competition had been tough this year.  Besides, it had been quite a while since their own sports day.

Definition of success

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on Wednesday, 11 June 2014
This week I have been wondering a little about what it means to be ‘successful’.   Prompted by a comment someone made somewhere to someone standing next to me (I’ve learnt I need to be hyper-discrete), I’ve been trying to work out what makes one person more successful than another.  And, let me tell you, it’s not all that straightforward.

Despite having had a privileged middle-class privately-educated upbringing, many of my besties didn’t.  We openly (and regularly) discuss how much our personal choices and fortunes are interlinked.  Would I have made those personal choices if I hadn’t had the luxury of certain fortunes?  Or did those fortunes prevent us from making a crucial personal choice?

I’m slightly talking in riddles but the bottom line is simple.  What determines our children's success?  How do we define their success? And can we prevent their success by not allowing them the freedom of personal choice.  I recently wrote a story on my blog about a baker who had all the A grades for a high-powered corporate career but she had made the very personal choice to build a career on her patisserie skills.   Hurrah for her parents for not dictating her future.

Mini wants to be a fashion designer (this week).  Small is talking about taking a trip to the moon. The definition of their success will be a direct reflection of their feelings as they fulfill their dream.  Whatever it is.  And – undoubtedly – the opposite of being successful isn’t always unsuccessful but sometimes plain unlucky.

Magician foolery

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 04 June 2014
Last Saturday night He and I were suited and booted at a swish party, the type where you swan around chatting and standing and chatting and standing, in heels.  And just when I was (finally) mid conversation with someone I hadn’t seen for ages, there was a huddle, a shuffle and a magician appeared.

The music was loud so I couldn’t hear a word of his preamble, but I could predict the fast chatter as he shuffled his cards.  The rest of the semi circle looked as keen as mustard to see his tricks so I played along…

…right up until the moment He bent down and hissed in my ear: ‘why are you ALWAYS so rude to magicians?’

I hadn’t really realised that I was rude.  I mean, there was the time I obnoxiously challenged one of the Magic Circle and, of course, I have been known to ‘change my card’ mid-trick just to throw the trickster off track.  I suddenly acknowledged just how much I do dislike those magic people - the ‘artists’ who excel in fooling common people.

The smarmy quick-fingered exhibitionist took the card I chose and seemingly lost it in the pack.  And then – low and behold, there it is in his tight trouser pocket.  Nothing about that impresses me.  All I feel is extreme control-freak irritation.

And that’s the key, isn’t it?  Who wants to be taken for a fool?  The man standing before me last Saturday night probably knew what was in my evening bag, what I was thinking and when I last had sex.  All of which I find uncomfortable.  

However, I do have a suggestion for the magicians of today.  Do divulge a little of your technique and share with us just one bit of your magic before you move on to make more fools.  That way, those fools might admire you a little more.

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