Sali Hughes Follows Me On Twitter

Celebrity bragging

This conversation happened recently.

Me: Oh I love Sali Hughes’ blog.

Friend: Me too. She’s a legend.

Me: She follows me on Twitter, you know.

Friend: You are officially famous.

Me: Ant & Dec followed me on Twitter once. Then they unfollowed me a few hours later….

Friend: Oh.

Shortly afterwards, as well as thinking “God, I’m a knob”, it struck me how strange it was that I had been bragging about people following me on Twitter. It’s like it has become a new kind of social currency. I might have a sign made up that says: I AM INTERESTING ENOUGH TO ENTERTAIN (or at least, not irritate) WELL KNOWN PEOPLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

Why are we impressed when someone in the public eye follows us on Twitter?

Do we think that celebrities automatically have higher standards when it comes to social media than mere commoners? “Oh Jane from Sidcup is happy reading any old rubbish on Twitter, but Lauren Laverne? When she’s on a boring train journey, in the doctor’s waiting room or having a poo, she is expecting top-notch musings to scroll through on her iPhone. So if she follows me, well that must mean I’m incredibly witty and/or thought-provoking.”

Or is it that we admire these people so them following us somehow gives us a kind of validation? “I am WORTHY as a person and can go about my day feeling great because Vanessa Feltz follows me. If something crap happens in my day, I can turn around and say ‘Hey. Screw You. Feltz follows me.'”

Perhaps we secretly think that if a celeb follows us on Twitter, there’s slightly more chance they’ll invite us to the pub, where over a few wines and a packet of Mini Cheddars, we’ll become BEST FRIENDS, meet up for regular dinner parties, become godparents to each other’s children. ETC. (True story: I recently found a letter that I wrote, aged 15, to Take That where my best mate Kim and I chatted away to them like we knew them, and casually dropped in ‘Oh if you’re ever in Scotland, do drop in for a cup of tea. Mark, we know you like custard creams, so we’ll make sure we get some in. Our addresses are at the top of the letter.’ We never did post the letter. Which is clearly WHY they didn’t ever pop around.)

No, bragging about well known people on Twitter is just a bit silly. So instead, I’m going to brag about some of the amazing people who follow me on Twitter who aren’t famous. Because I’m actually chuffed that these people are following me, even if they aren’t as famous as Victoria Beckham…

 

Busola Evans. Freelance journo Busola is brilliant on Twitter – she is especially good value during reality TV like The X Factor, when she doesn’t mince her words. Like, at all.

Busola Evans tweet

 

Caroline Corcoran. Another freelance journo, I like to think of Caroline as the female Michael Hogan. In that, every tweet is worth its weight in gold. You won’t get moans about public transport and the weather but you will get brilliant one-liners.

Caroline Corcoran tweet

 

Rachel Hosie. Blogger, baker and Bristol Uni student, Rachel is currently on a year abroad in Germany and I love her tweets because she reminds me of what it was like to be a student and have an exciting career ahead of me.

Rachel Hosie tweet

 

Gillian Crawshaw. Gillian is fantastic in this really relaxed, breezy way. You think she’s been a bit quiet of late, and then bam, she just comes out with a few tweets (or blog posts) with great mum observations that make me LOL.

Gillian Crawshaw tweet

 

Mummy Barrow. Another blogger, Tanya kind of IS a celebrity in the blogging world. Part of Team Honk, an elite group that works with Comic Relief to rally bloggers to raise thousands of pounds (check out their latest project), Tanya starts most days off by asking Twitter if they want a brew. (Yes please, T. Two sugars.)

Mummy Barrow tweet

So yeah. Well known people. Thanks for following me, but I value these people as highly as you.

(Um. Note to any well known people reading this who follow me on Twitter: Please don’t unfollow me. We know you’re special, really. And anyway, I still haven’t recovered from being cruelly spurned by Ant & Dec. Sob.)

 

Creative Pregnancy Announcements: Cute or Cheesy?

Today, Rachel Stevens (you know, her off of S Club 7 and Strictly Come Dancing….) announced she’s pregnant with her second child. The brother or sister to three year old Amelie will be born in early 2014. Rachel announced her exciting news (congrats Rachel!) by posting a link on Twitter – the link takes you to her website which has this photo on it….

 

Cute way to announce pregnancy

Now, my reaction was “CUTE!” but a colleague of mine had this reaction:

“Oh GROSS. Why do people feel the need to do that? It’s just really contrived and it’s smug and it’s cringey.”

My take on it is that it’s nice that people put a bit of thought into making a visual announcement now that we all use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so much. And if people can’t be a bit smug when they’ve got huge, life-altering news to share, then when can they? While I’m not down with the whole posting your scan on the internet thing (I realise I’m in the minority here and most people reading this will have done that very thing, but I just don’t like the idea of 3000 people seeing the inside of my womb) I do think this is sweet.

My colleague and I debated this for around six minutes (a long time to discuss a photo of some shoes, when you think about it) and agreed to disagree.

But what do you think – is it a lovely way to announce some fantastic news? Or is it cheesy and naff? (Psst! If you want to see REALLY special, check out this amazing Buzzfeed post, 22 Cringeworthy Ways To Tell The World You’re Pregnant. LOLs are guaranteed.)

Debate: Does The World Have The Right To Know That Kate Middleton Is In Labour?

This morning at around 7.40am, I scrolled through my Twitter timeline to see a tweet from Piers Morgan saying that the royal baby was officially on its way. My first assumption was that the press had had a tip off about it, but I quickly realised that Clarence House had announced the fact that Kate Middleton had gone into labour, on its official Twitter account.

Clarence House tweets the announcement of Kate Middleton going into labour

 

My reaction went something like this:

1. Wooo! The royal baby is coming!

2. Oh. Is it WEIRD that Clarence House tweeted to say Kate Middleton is in labour? I mean, tweeting to say she has had the baby, I can understand, but is it right that the Duchess of Cambridge has the entire world knowing she is probably 4cm dilated, listening to Calvin Harris whilst trying to stay in the hypnobirthing ‘zone’ and breathing through bloody painful contractions?

 

Pregnant Kate Middleton and Prince William

 

Here, two mums debate the issue…

 

Was It Right For Clarence House To Announce Kate Middleton Going Into Labour, On Twitter?

“Yes!” says mum of two Fi Star-Stone from Childcare Is Fun:

“I think it’s exciting that we know Kate Middleton is in labour! It’s a huge historical moment and one we’ve been waiting for. I’m sure she’s known all along it would be this way – after all, Kate is a celebrity, not just a royal now!

“Lots of mums have ‘public’ births – I decided to live tweet my labour in 2010, not to ‘dispel birthing myths’ as many newspapers who covered the story said, or to ‘promote pain relief free labour’ as other papers insisted on writing about, but simply to share a positive homebirth experience with those people who wanted to follow my experience. Surprisingly, I had a few nasty tweets sent my way, but the majority were supportive and lovely. And to be honest, the support really helped with the whole pain relief.

“I managed a good ten hours of tweeting before I had to hand over to my husband. I needed to start concentrating a little bit more! Afterwards, I had a few emails from celebs and people all over the world, saying thanks for being brave and for showing a positive birth story. I loved it and felt so lucky to have an awesome birth.

“I’d do it again in a flash. And I’m really excited that the news of the royal baby’s birth was announced!’

“No!” says mum of one and writer Michelle Davies…

“Kate Middleton and Prince William’s baby will be the most written about and scrutinised infant of modern times. He or she will make Harper Beckham look like Greta Garbo.

“So is it too much to ask that they are given a bit of privacy coming up the birth canal?

“It makes no sense that the world has been informed Kate’s gone into labour. We don’t need to know. All Clarence House’s announcement has done is to stir up the media frenzy to hysterical levels and heap more pressure on Kate at a time when all she should be thinking about is her and the baby she’s trying to push out.

“Labour can be terrifying for first-time mums, and we all know it doesn’t always go according to plan. Kate doesn’t need the added stress of knowing the world is speculating how many centimetres dilated she is, or whether she needs an emergency c-section.

“My partner and I still cherish the time immediately after our daughter Sophie was born, before family and friends were informed of her arrival. It was just the three of us, wrapped in a bubble of bliss. With a statement to be made within minutes of their child coming into the world, how sad Kate and William have been robbed of experiencing that too.”

What do you think about this? Please do comment below with your thoughts!

 

Clarence House announces Kate Middleton going in labour on Twitter

Eurovision Bingo Card, Anyone?

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore The Eurovision Song Contest. The annual kitsch-fest is taking place in the Swedish city of Malmö this year (yes! Sweden! It’s so on-trend right now!) and I’ll be tuning in, glass of wine in hand to have a giggle at the entries, listen to Graham Norton’s brilliantly snarky commentary and follow my Twitter feed’s equally snarky commentary.

In years gone by, I’d get together with a big crowd of friends to have a Eurovision party. We’d buy in a job-lot of snacks (all beige in colour), drink cheap wine and score each song in a very serious fashion. A friend of mine used to do the same – they’d all dress up in a competing country’s national dress (I say national dress, I mean striped tee and beret if you were going as France, obvs).

Eurovision has a fond place in my heart, and I’ll be cheering on the UK entry, Bonnie Tyler, this weekend with – check this out – a handy, printable Eurovision Bingo Card (sshh… there’s a small chance we *may* turn it into a drinking game…)

Eurovision 2103 Bingo Card

Brought to you in association with Ladbrokes Bingo

 

 

Victoria Beckham On Being A Working Mum

Victoria Beckham spoke at the Vogue Festival in London today, and I was in the audience. She spoke at length about her fashion business, her inspirations and her future plans, but it was hearing her talk about being a working mum that really got me listening. When you hear of female celebrities talk about how hard it is being a working mum, you’d be forgiven if your first reaction is to roll your eyes and say “How can it be hard, dear, with your nannies and chefs and drivers? Get with the real world.”

And I’d agree with you. Celeb mums can’t really know what it’s like in our world, can they? They have it so easy. If they have to work late, the nanny can collect the kids from school. They don’t have to worry about having time to dash to Sainsbury’s on the way home, to pick up some chicken kievs for tea, or how they’ll find the energy to cook dinner when they get home. Their staff do it. They just pick up the phone and someone can help them solve any problem they have.

But today, seeing Victoria Beckham speak at the Vogue Festival in London, something struck me. Here was a 30-something mum who has staff, and all the help she needs, but she still feels mum-guilt. All the money and success in the world can’t make that vanish. “As a mum, you feel guilty every time you walk out the door to work,” she revealed to Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, as I watched from the audience. “You feel so torn. It’s the same for any working mum out there. You just do your best, but constantly feel guilty.”

Sadly (for us) Victoria Beckham doesn’t have the answer to getting this balance (that’s the holy grail, right?) and it seems she’s incredibly lucky in that the people she works with in her fashion business are happy to work around her home life. “I have great people who handle my schedule,” she said. “Everything revolves around my children. So if there’s a nativity play to go to, or an Easter bonnet parade, I can always be there. I really enjoy being a mum. I’d do anything for them.”

I admit, as she said this, I felt a pang of envy that she probably doesn’t know what it’s like to have that awkward conversation with her boss about leaving half an hour early every day, to get home in time for the nursery closing, but then she revealed that she has been on the other side of that very conversation. “My head of sales is a woman and she has three kids. She is great at what she does and I know she has to leave work at a certain time each day. It’s fine and it’s doable. As long as you plan and you focus, anything is achievable. You can work around any situation.”

And it sounds like Victoria works hard to make her company as mum-friendly as she can, encouraging employees to bring in their children when they need to. “We love to have children at work, with them running around, it’s a really good energy to have. The office is tiny and when Harper was a baby she had one of those swinging chairs. She would swing one way and bang into a load of fabric, and she’d swing the other way and bang into a bag of samples. So it’s a crèche, but a very small one!”

VB went onto talk about the differences between dads who work and mums who work, saying, “It’s very different. When a man gets up and goes out to work, leaving the kids at home, society thinks it’s OK. When a woman does it, she has to think about her home life and what’s going on there, as well as at work. It’s very different.”

I was fascinated to hear an insight into Victoria’s family home life, and it made me realise how tricky it must be to have a family with such a wide range of ages. “I’m up early in the morning with the kids, getting them ready for school, going through the times tables tests and spelling tests and all that kind of thing, which I’m sure every mum is used to doing early in the morning. But then I’m also up quite late at night because I have a baby and then I have a 14-year-old who refuses to go to bed…” She then paused and looked into the audience at her teenage son sitting on the front row, before saying, “…Brooklyn!”

“But late at night is also my time to do my own thing,” she said. “I pluck my eyebrows or do a face mask.”

So what did I learn from hearing Victoria Beckham speak, today? That there probably isn’t a mum in the world who doesn’t feel mum-guilt. Even those mums with Lanvin dresses and Stella McCartney skyscraper heels. They just look a bit posher while feeling guilty.

Victoria Beckham on being a working mum at the Vogue Festival 2013