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.

Infiltration of emojis

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 01 July 2015
I'm a little bit concerned about this overwhelming infiltration of emoji. These weepy/winking faces, clapping hands and dancing women have taken over our heads, words and minds. Even those with ridiculously high IQ seem to be substituting curious pictures for wordy description and true emotion and, to be honest, I'm wondering if this can end well for our world at large.

Emoji first entered our vocabulary in the mid 90s. A Japanese tech developer dreamt up the colourful team way back in that pre-iphone-era. Of course there really wasn't much demand for the technicolour smiley face cult before we had the tools to litter them. Now billions of emoji are flung through the ether each year and I'd say that we're now pretty symbol obsessed.

On any given night out, Mini (back home) can send me anywhere in the region of 50 little characters (via email) to express her love and longing. I return around 30 of the damn things hoping that this will coax into putting down her screen and placing her head on the pillow.

Instagram is infested with the latest craze of these pictograms. Thumbs up for something impressive, fire for this heat wave, ice-cream at the ready and any assortment of multicoloured hearts to tie in with real words, an image or both.

So, should I be concerned? Is it not enough that we now dream in photographic squares, communicate in status updates and tweet more than we speak? Instead of finding the words, we seem to reach for the icon. I'm all that smiley faced with tongue hanging out about the emotionless-emoji thing.

Smug, a mug or offspring as thugs

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 19 June 2015
'Are you still writing that blog?’ asked one of the other dads at Sports Day.
‘No, she got a REAL job’ He jumped in before I could answer.
‘Oh I used to read it a bit said the other dad', as if I wasn’t even present. 'It was even quite amusing at times.’

And we all know what this particular dad meant. He had enjoyed reading about those who I openly criticized, from time to time. Not really a good trait or one which I’m proud of, I hasten to add, but one that I continue to do.

So, why on earth can’t I help myself? I promise it’s not that I think I’m so much better than others. I really don’t. Mostly I suppose I’m pretty fascinated by people. Who they are, what they feel and why they say this, that and the other. Plus, for the most part, those who are smug, a mug, live in a fug or have offspring as thugs DO tend to wind me up.

Just how high Isabella can jump, how beautifully little Harry sang with the local choir, which fish pie they can rattle off in 10 minutes flat… it’s all eye wateringly painful.

He’s much more longsuffering of fools we happen upon. Less judgmental and more accepting of all. Almost immediately, I make up my mind and wish with all my might that I’m at home reading my book, paintbrush in hand or lying horizontal watching a film.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is with less time to write (what I fancy) and less posts to fill, I’m just as scathing but more in my head than on the web.
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Social Sharing

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 12 June 2015
Are you a sharer? A partial sharer? Or maybe an over-sharer? In our social dominant world, it feels imperative we fit into one of these rigidly defined categories.

For example: He's not a sharer. Private remains under lock and key and He finds the world of over sharing a little ludicrous, but (thank goodness) in a non-judgmental way.

I suppose he has to – while still married to me. He's grown to accept that I'm an over-sharer because, even before social media was an integral part of my work as well as more-leisurely life, I couldn't help myself. Intricate operations, deepest darkest feelings, property purchases and silly tales of family life were spread far and wide. With EVERYONE.

And then came along a number of platforms where I could draw, snap and describe in words ... indiscreetly. Over-sharing me couldn't have more satisfied. Of course, I'm not alone. Social media is awash of people like me and, while mostly the others don't give a damn, there are always those who whine - perhaps as they try to share but can't.

Pushed to explain to the Smalls, I rationalize that these social playground antics are my escapism and that, in reality, no one is really any smugger than the next. Crafting, editing, dreaming... none of this is really about seeking approval or counting those likes. In a nutshell, it's just like drawing a picture or writing a story before seeing it (proudly) up on the classroom wall.

Paper Love

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 05 June 2015
I recently wrote an article for a magazine about my love of paper. It wasn't until I started typing that I realized just how intense my love is. A book before it is opened. An unscathed sheet of textured watercolour paper. Even a glossie magazine with a clean spine.

But then I grabbed a notebook (there's always a pile here on my desk ready to crack open) and my new Palomino Blackwing pencil (look them up... beyond...) and decided to note down my paper passion over one given day.

My paper diary with yellow matching ribbon, greetings cards (usually homemade alongside Mini), notes in meetings, lists at home and rolls of brown paper and string to wrap the never-ending stream of presents leaving this house.

My impulse book purchase on Amazon is already an addiction. But I also can't resist a newspaper in a coffee shop. Plus the paper certainly doesn't have to be new. Old, yellowed vellum in a dusty shop is just as delightful.

I suddenly started to panic. Where would the Rotering ink, Pritt stick and digital prints fix themselves if we had no paper. Orbiting aimlessly around our heated screens and furious keyboards? So, don't let anyone tell you we're ever going paperless. Not without kicking and screaming from my camp...

Master Pan

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 01 June 2015
This week I've mostly been thinking about Peter Pan. Ever since I sat less than two miles away from Kensington Gardens (where J.M. Barrie first introduced this mischievous character to Wendy in her pretty nightie), I have been reliving the magical story of the boy who could fly. Seen through the eyes of dramatically creative directors, Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel, the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's vision is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Of course, the story is one which we all know only too well; Never Land, the Lost Boys and a mystical escape from the Darling. A firm believer in fairies, dreamland and even the odd pirate, I have never felt the need to drill down any further than the familiar all's well that ends well fairy tale.

Perhaps prompted by the recent shocking James Rhodes headlines, I have done a little extra curricular reading into Scot Barrie and his childhood. And my naïve head has been turned as the 'boy who never grew up' has taken on disturbing significance. James Matthew Barrie, it transpires, identified strongly with children in a way that these days would certainly rouse suspicion. On top of this hideous thought, I discovered that Barrie's older brother was killed in a skating accident aged only 13. Attempting to copy the mannerisms and manners of his lost brother, Barrie had tried his best to comfort his grieving mother and – in a similar way to Michael Jackson – he went on to show all the signs of someone who had lost their childhood. Of course, Pan was never allowed to leave boyhood as this was where his brother life had cruelly been cut short.

But curiously this wasn't the part that most disturbed me. What hit me hard was the level of powerful adult regret and longing not to grow up. For Peter Pan, growing up is some kind of death sentence. But death is not the only negative theme in this world famous book. The terror of forgetting and being forgotten is highly prominent too.

And that is where the dagger digs deepest, for me. As these are questions I often become fixated on: who are we when we are gone? how will we be happy to be remembered? or will we simply be one of those lost boys?


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