The Book Monster

About 12 yeBook Monsterars ago I was lucky enough to be running a semi-professional website all about children’s books called The Book Monster. I wrote, edited, reviewed, interviewed and organised competitions and had the pleasure to talk to some great authors including Melvin Burgess (he of controversial Junk fame – this website very much incorporated teenage and young adult fiction), Nina Bawden (who wrote Carrie’s War) and that twisted mastermind Lemony Snicket.

 I met JK Rowling amongst others at the Smarties Book Prize awards (circa Chamber of Secrets) as well as attending several rather fabulous book launches (Louise Rennison – author of the Angus, Thongs series was a bit of a luvvie and her first two books were launched at the Groucho Club in Soho and The Ivy respectively!).

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Are women better parents than men?…

…is the topic of Sara’s Prompt this week over at Mum turned Mom. The answer is no, of course we’re not. But what I would say is that, as women, we are hard-wired to fulfill a certain role for our children. Gender roles exist, largely springing from what are still marked biological differences despite the leaps forward in evolution since the era of the caveman. If they didn’t, then there would be no difference in the way we parented but as it is, women will always have the first physical bond with a child (through pregnancy) and they are very much the primary care-givers for a newborn in the majority of cases. I think women can be a lot more in tune emotionally and childhood can be a pretty emotional time.

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How to shine

Choose to shine

Over at Mum turned Mom HQ this week, Sara has gone for a word as this week’s Prompt: Shine. I didn’t immediately know what to say about this and wasn’t going to enter the link up this week, but I find myself with a little time on my hands and started contemplating what ‘shine’ means to me.

The dictionary tells me that to shine is to emit light, to glint or glisten, to excel or to be immediately apparent. When I think about what it takes to shine, as a person, it takes confidence, it takes a happy, outgoing spirit who is not afraid to put his or herself on the line, and, to be more philosophical, it takes a person who can accept that they have a light inside them which can be directed out into the world, to counteract the darkness.

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It’s a man’s world…

a woman's place

I know I’ve been absent from The Prompt for a few weeks. Somehow inspiration has failed me. But I saw this week’s prompt – the saying above – and I wanted to think about it because I think it is an interesting and controversial one.

Before I had children I didn’t think too much about this. The hubster and I both had full time jobs. I never really pursued my ambitions to be a writer but I know I could have done and stood on an equal footing with a man in that profession. I knew that some professions were very male-dominated and that women found it hard to be taken seriously in certain roles. In some cases I think it is true that there is a glass ceiling for women, but at the same time, the large and well known organisation I work for now is currently headed by a woman and also has a professional association dedicated to women (which doesn’t stop male colleagues joking about the unfairness of this kind of ‘positive discrimination’ or ‘affirmative action’).

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Are rules meant to be broken?

Breaking rules

Last week I wrote a post called ‘True Adventures’ in which I came to the realisation that I am risk averse. This week I saw Sara’s prompt “Rules are meant to be broken” and my immediate thought was to nod in agreement – after all no one can disagree that rule breakers are rebels – embodying all that is cool and sexy. So how does that fit with being risk averse? Oh, it doesn’t.

I am suddenly reminded of the time in my teens when I decided I wanted to become a goth. Unfortunately black lipstick, raven tresses and head to foot black clothing looked a bit out of place on someone listening to Phil Collins…:-/ (for shame!)

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My favourite smell…

spa salon room

This is Sara’s prompt for the week and I’m having a really hard time narrowing it down to just one thing! I love the fact that the sense of smell is so closely entwined with our memory receptors. Of course there are plenty of smells that just bring instant delight for no good reason other than ‘that smells like it would taste delicious’ or ‘I love that perfume/cologne’, but then there are more meaningful examples. I’m sure every mum out there will agree that pressing your nose to your new born baby’s head brought more than just the thought that it was a pleasant smell – the warmth and the weight of the baby and the feeling of soft skin against you – everything right there was wrapped up in that unique scent.

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Superstition aint the way…

Some days...

The Calvin and Hobbes quote from the cartoon above is this week’s Prompt from Sara over at Mum Turned Mom.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly superstitious person but sometimes find myself shying away from walking under a ladder, or refusing to cross paths with a black cat half way up a flight of stairs* (* that one doesn’t come up very often). I like to think this is just sensible behaviour though (a workman might drop a bucket of paint on your head for example) but I know some people are absolutely religious about their superstitious ways. The one thing that really stuck in my head when I was pregnant the first time was the old adage on magpie sightings “One is for sorrow, two is for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy”. I kept seeing one lone magpie everywhere I looked and it completely freaked me out! Nuts obvs.

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Divorce number 3 for Katie Price: wasn’t it inevitable?

Price & hayler

Well, at the risk of sounding completely shallow, I think that maybe I should have confessed last week that one of my guilty pleasures is to follow the lurid life story of Katie Price with a certain amount of jaw-dropping and the occasional internal conflict! Conflict because sometimes she actually seems a little down to Earth (particularly when it comes to mothering a child with severe learning difficulties) but at the same time its like she has descended from a completely different planet – Planet Bonk.

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A healing holiday?

DSCF1410

This week’s Prompt from Sara over at Mum Turned Mom is this quote: In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius! Mehmet Murat ildan. Well, to be honest I’ve never taken a holiday to heal either my mind or body. I did go away on a family holiday with a five week old baby in 2012 though, and that was healing in many ways.

In those early days with my eldest I was pretty desperate and time with constant support from my family would have been amazing. Obviously that was never going to be the case as he came at the beginning of September. EJ on the other hand came at the end of July – the two of them bookmark the school summer holidays perfectly!

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That was unexpected…

happyland girl in pushchair

Back in 2005 I was young (30-something!) free and single. I had previously been married (for 7 months!) and divorced but never had I felt any kind of biological ticking (fortunately!). I was on the lookout for my next victim love but, when you get to such a ripe old age you become quite picky. At the age of 22 you may have been quite happy to date a smoker/workaholic/football fanatic/[add personal bugbear here] but you learn from your mistakes and a subtle “vetting” process inserts itself into your dealings with the opposite sex (maybe I should have just gone all out and created a tickbox survey and spreadsheet…) So when I met the hubster I was resistant to his charms for some time.

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