Coming to America

The Mumday Times Visits Silcon Valley

I got the call on Wednesday: Do you use Netflix? Yes! Would you like to go to Silicon Valley to visit Netflix HQ to discuss their children’s content and upcoming launches? Hmm, let me think about that… YES! Miraculously childcare fell into place, work fell into place and I was in San Francisco the following Monday!  


First things first, I was immediately sucked into Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food restaurant at Heathrow and ordered one of his take-away picnics. My recommendation would be not to order the Caesar Salad as the yolk from the poached egg dribbled out of its case and all over the other cartons in my pack. The other downside of a Gordon Picnic is that it is very hard to eat it surreptitiously, when your neighbours on the plane all finished their inflight stodge two hours ago. Another practical point I forgot about was DVT socks. I didn’t have any. On arrival one of my feet looked like a balloon with toes. Weird how it was just one…


This is Netflix HQ – to my knowledge it is not a cult and offers no spa treatments

My first thoughts on arrival at Netflix HQ: Go away fat foot and surely there has been a mistake. I have a blog (Tumblr is like finger painting) but apart from that I am afraid of technology and technology is afraid of me. I have been known to shake iPads like Etch A Sketches, I get spooked by automatic toilet flushes and I fantasise about writing with a quill. The only reason I use Netflix is because my husband installed it on our TV or maybe it came with the TV? I am a fraud. I didn’t need to worry. All they wanted was my brain. Oh, god.

Fortunately I wasn’t alone. 17 other parent bloggers from around the world were also in attendance to hear about Netflix’s developments and to discuss how we as parents use the service to keep ourselves sane (Breaking Bad) and to keep our kids entertained (Dora the Explorer, The Rescuers, Timmy Time). 


Over the two days I learned these things: 

One of the Netflix staffers (a man) looks like a bald Christy Turlington and another is Tom Cruise’s exact voice twin (This has got to be better than Joey’s hand twin). * All the parent bloggers had broadly similar viewpoints about their kids ‘screen time’. We all want our kids to spend time running around outside in the sunshine but when they are watching TV programmes or films we want it to be quality viewing that is monitored by us. * Some parents even use TV as an educational tool, only letting their kids watch films in English if it is their second language or Spanish to help with bilingual studies. * The website Common Sense Media came up a lot in conversation. This is an independent, non profit organisation that provides film and TV reviews for parents, giving in-depth information regarding content i.e. what age it is appropriate for, how educational it is and exactly what elements of violence, scariness and sex it contains. It seems really useful. * One day the remote control will become obsolete and everyone will use their phones to point at screens. This worries me as I think I lose my phone more than my remote – is a close call. *The one thing that everyone seemed to be very passionate about was avoiding exposing their children to advertising. Streaming programmes through Netflix (this means it comes through the internet!) means you don’t have to watch any adverts.*


I try to discourage my kids from watching too much telly but we do love the ritual of watching a family film with popcorn.  I let the kids watch TV three or four times a week when they’re tired after school, when they get up far too early on the weekend or when I really need to get some work done. I have the problem where my three year old still loves CBeebies but my 7 year old is getting bored of it ( I also think CBBC is a bit shouty and loud sometimes) so my solution is to find them something on Netflix that they both like. Peace restored.


I managed to find the time to track down a J Crew and buy this necklace I’ve been lusting over since the catalogue came through my door in London. DId I forget to tell you that under the T&C’s of my shopping ban I am allowed to buy things outside Europe?

Around The World in 16 Blogs

The best thing about the trip was meeting all the other bloggers. Some of them have an incredible following. One lady has 1.5 million twitter followers! One uber glamorous mummy and daddy blogging couple turned out to be Swedish celebrities who have appeared on Swedish Strictly Come Dancing! My inflatable foot and I were quite overwhelmed. an online community and resource for parents raising bilingual and bicultural kids Danish single mum Cecilie Rubini’s super stylish blog with humorous observations on everything from parenting to city life Not so much a how-to as a how not to site from two sleep deprived dads navigating fatherhood – Canada’s biggest online mag for busy mums – A resource for mums in Ireland hosting local listings,activities and articles  Swedish couple Hannah and Peter Karyd’s blog for all the family to visit and enjoy – “The ongoing irreverent story of a former Mormon raising two girls and two dogs in Salt Lake City, Utah” “A website for mums and mums-to-be providing parenting support and advice through first person, personal stories.” Mother of four, Kristen Howerton’s sleep-deprived rants about parenting, poop, adoption, politics, race, religion, social justice and much more.  – Chilean site dedicated to parents and people involved in raying children a place to share stories, news, products, tips and points of view. Translates as Milk Teeth. One of the first parenting vlogs in Brazil run by three mums. Mamatraca is an almagamation of the words mama and chatterbox.  US Mother of 4 Rebecca Wolf’s daily musings on family life, love, style and music with weekly guest-posts from her mum Wendy. Mexican mum Susan Silva posting mum experiences, recipes, information about breast feeding and attachment parenting and a little bit of fashion A mishmash of home family, food travelling, renovating, singing in a band and being a father from Finland’s Tommi Koivisto

Sarah Tetteh was my fellow UK blogger. She has a hugely popular parenting/celebrity blog on the Huffington Post UK

Lotta Backlund, Finland’s comedian, columnist and TV exec mainly tweets to her 11,000 followers and is starting a pod cast thenontimespodcast.wordpress

A very impressive and lovely bunch of people. You should check out their blogs!

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