The five things every new parent should know and other hilarious columns

Every new parent needs this adviceI’ve written some columns recently that are dear to my heart – after all, who doesn’t enjoy trying to mention vaginas as much as possible in one article?

The first one – Five Thing Every Parent With a New Baby Should Know – goes into unnecessarily graphic detail about the birthing process before sharing my five essential parenting tools for anyone with a newborn. This includes Dunstan’s Baby Language, which is so amazing that I’m still perplexed as to why it’s not more widely known. It’s also got Dr Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block technique.

Incidentally, for anyone with a toddler, Dr Karp’s toddler technique is equally awesome – although my friend reports that her toddler has now learned the magic formula and is starting to game the system. Another reminder that we’re basically dealing with tiny sociopaths here.

I also did one about My Favourite Time Saving Tips for New Mothers, which will really blow your mind with quite how far I’ve fallen since bringing humans into this world. Just reading it makes me want to take a shower. Luckily I had one last night.

Parentdish archive classics

Back in the dawn of man 2.0 when I was helping AOL to set up its blogging division, I spent some time as launch editor of Parentdish UK . As luck would have it, I was actually pregnant at the time, so *almost* knew what I was talking about. One thing I did know about was being pregnant. Here are a couple of pieces I wrote back then

10 Weird Pregnancy Symptoms They Don’t Warn You About

Even More Weird Pregnancy Symptoms

I had a LOT of these symptoms – some of which I’d actually forgotten about and am re-living all over again as I read this articles. Brr.

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The newest addition… is already quite old

I was pregnant with my second baby when I wrote that last post, travelling up to Birmingham to spend a very fun day teaching business owners while also sporting an extremely neat bump.

Inevitably the neat bump eventually becomes a totally unwieldy stomach porch, and before you know this arrives:

Arrietty Ellen Milway

But, that all happened quite a while ago. After a while she looked like this:

Hetty Bassett's

And now?

Well, now she’s this little bundle of trouble.

Cecily Hetty Cold Towels

Cecily is cold, hence the face.

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Pinterest: more popular with “women” than normal people

mood boardAsk me if I’d like to give my opinion for something and I will free-associate on that theme for the entire afternoon.

So, it’s perhaps lucky that I didn’t get my thoughts over to Hannah in time to get featured in her piece about the popularity of Pinterest for the Guardian. She kindly created an extended cut for her blog, however, adding in some of the other stragglers.

Hannah asked me why I thought Pinterest appealed so much to women. As we all know, I am always more than happy to speak on behalf of my entire sex despite the fact that I am a massive geek who thinks films with swords in are cool.

Here’s what I said:

I think this gender thing is a little bit disingenuous. There would be NO articles about why a social bookmarking site was mainly populated by males…
However, there’s no doubt that the design of the site is geared to be female-friendly, unlike more masculine-looking social curation sites like Digg or Metafilter. The “about” page is also very female-focused (although I’m sure there are plenty of men who quite fancy sharing all the “beautiful things” they find on the web while they “plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes”).
But I would argue that most of the social curation and social bookmarking sites started out as sites created by men for men. I doubt it was a conscious decision for many, of course. But, since so many of them were created to serve particular communities, it often worked out that way.
If the population really is more female than male, it is because Pinterest has been picked up by the craft, design and cookery communities online and because it was in closed Beta for long enough to get a very focused set of communities.
But it won’t be long before there are just as many virtual pinboards filled with cars, technology and whatever other stereotypical things men are supposed to be interested in.
And if that doesn’t happen, so what? It doesn’t make Pinterest freakish if it attracts the other 50%.

Pinterest – why the new social network is gaining so much interest. (Hannah Waldram’s blog)

Pinterest piqued in UK for ‘creative, pretty and completist’ social network (Hannah’s article on the Guardian website)

And here’s my cue to give you a link to my Pinterest boards, which look fairly moth-eaten and aren’t anything like as excellent as my Wists account. Why couldn’t Wists have been Pinterest? That would have saved me a whole heap of effort.

Also: Dork Adore’s Pinterest

Image: JM2C

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When geeks collide

The internet’s famous Susi Weaser came over today in order to work from a different home to her own.

As you can imagine, Crystal Palace was aflame with the burning humour of our wit and intelligence. We had many interesting conversations that probably should have been recorded for posterity and stored in some well-guarded vault for the benefit of future generations.

Here are some samples of our conversations:

Me: Do you like my Vax Cone? It glows when you charge it up.

Susi: Why do you need one of those?

Me: Just think of the spot cleaning I’ll be able to do once the baby’s here!

Susi: That’s true, I could do with spot cleaning my rug at home, the fluff gets everywhere so I have to walk around it.

Susi: Actually, Dyson is launching something in a few weeks and they won’t tell me what it is. I’m excited.

And

Susi: I’ve got to find battery chargers that look nice for this article.

Me: I love battery chargers! Energiser and Sanyo both have nice looking chargers.

Susi: I’ll send it to you once it’s done so you can enjoy reading it.

And

Susi: You like To Do lists don’t you? Check out this To Do list app I’ve got.

Me: That’s great. I’ve been looking for something like that. I’m not happy with the solutions I’ve found so far. [Insert lengthy conversation about To Do lists apps followed by a digression into the wonders of Drop Box and Fresh Books].

Etc etc all afternoon.

So, as you can see, the nation really has missed out on something magical happening right here in my living room and it’s a poorer place because of it.

Next time maybe I’ll set up a webcam and you can all sit and gaze, agog at just how interesting two humans can be. In the meantime, here’s one of my favourite videos we made back in the Shiny hay day about a gadget no one was interested in.

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*Slightly* off-topic, but look what I just bought!

OK, I’ve got a couple of crochet projects I’ve been working on recently that I just *have* to post up, but before I do that, I needed to share with the world my joy and excitement at the frivolous purchase I just made. I bought me a campervan! Yes, I’m the proud owner of a 1980s VW Westfalia Camper. None of those shonky old 70s buses for me. They may look good, there’s no denying that, but my childhood memories of holidaying in the 80s Devon Moonrakers and Holdsworth Kampers my dad used to sell has left me slightly dewy-eyed for these more modern VWs. They have a charm all of their own (at least I think they do) and this particular beauty has everything I wanted – round headlights, Westfalia interior and (most importantly) the green paint job.

I got it from the lovely boys at Eastfalia, down in Surrey yesterday. I knew I was doomed to make the purchase before I even got there – all the other vans I’d seen for sale had something that wasn’t quite right, not to mention the fact that the 80s vans seem to be snapped up faster than the older models at the moment.

The one downer for me was the slightly grotty interior. My childhood memories are of brand new vans with spankingly clean interiors, but this one not only had a fair few dinks and frayed edges, it also had 25 years’ worth of grot and a mouldy ceiling (which the previous owner had made worse by painting over the flocked finish, preserving the mildew AND ruining the fluffy feel).

But I can’t help being ever so slightly pleased that the interior needs a spruce up. I know that keeping the original features is important for campervans and I don’t want to be responsible for ruining the 80s interior in the same way that Victorian home interiors were ruined by people in the 80s (a pox on whoever decided to rip out the best bits from my flat and Artex the walls), but I reckon I can get the place looking like (mobile) home without making any irreversible changes. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. If I get too carried away, I’ll just have to hide it from Antony at Eastfalia who will probably be appalled at the sacrilege.

I smell a Campervan blog on the horizon…

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