Barbie Can Be A Computer Engineer – Possibly

So here’s a something thats been going around the internet for a while. It looks like there is a new Barbie book called “I Can Be a Computer Engineer”. On the face of it, this should be good news. After all, Barbie, the most girlie of girls toys has started to encourage girls that they can work in a fairly male dominated profession when they get older.

Good thing right?

Well it seems to be getting reactions like my brother in laws comment on Facebook:

This is wrong on so many levels! Anyone getting this for my niece, even as a joke, may be in for beatings!

The Mirror breaks down the plot:

Our dear Barbie is at her laptop designing a game to show kids how computers work.

“You can make a robot puppy do cute tricks by matching up coloured blocks,” she says.

So far, so good. But unfortunately that’s where the compliments end, because within seconds she’s pointing out to her sister Skipper that she’s “only creating the design idea, I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game”.

Within a matter of a few pages, Barbie’s computer gets a virus, but thankfully she’s been smart enough to wear a flash drive as a necklace (a pink, heart-shaped monstrosity) so she remembers to back up her work.

However, when she goes to use Skipper’s laptop instead, disaster strikes: THE VIRUS IS ON THE FLASHDRIVE. Skipper’s homework and all her music files are corrupted. Barbie legs it to class, but not before Skipper “playfully hits Barbie with a pillow”.

At class, Barbie meets up with Brian and Steven, who end up helping Barbie retrieve the lost files from both the laptops. “It will go faster if Brian and I help,” says Steven

So Barbie backs off and lets the men do the bulk of the work. Once the files are retrieved, she returns Skipper’s laptop to her.

When presenting her homework to class, Skipper praises Barbie for her technological prowess and describes her as “a great sister and a great computer engineer”.

So basically, its a book about Barbie designing a game, getting a virus, then the guys creating the game, and fixing the laptop.

Good work…

The really good news is that a “remixed” version of this book has been designed that encourages girls to work in computing, I’d suggest checking that out rather then the official book which is STILL available on amazon.co.uk.

In the meantime, remind me to keep my daughter away from Barbie merchandise.

Breast Feeding Friendly Places in Exeter

After spotting some upset on local Facebook pages after a breast feeding mum was asked to go to the back of a local cafe for “Health and Safety Reasons”, I decided to put together a list of places that the good lady wife (and others), have found to be breastfeeding friendly in Exeter, Devon:

Breastfeeding Friendly Places in Exeter

  • Cafe 36
  • The Phoenix
  • Royal Clarence
  • The Ship Inn
  • The Hub on The Green
  • Carluccios
  • Cakeadoodledo
  • The Living Room
  • Riverside Leisure Centre Cafe
  • John Lewis Cafe
  • Port Royal
  • Riverside Church
  • The Well (At Riverside Church in Okehampton Street)

Places with Breastfeeding Rooms

  • John Lewis (has a water fountain – but you can feed in the cafe as well)
  • Mothercare
  • Jelly. (Charity shop in Sidwell Street)

Allegedly Not Breastfeeding Friendly Places in Exeter

  • The Coffee Celler

101 Things To Do On Maternity Leave

Waiting-SmallThe big day has arrived. You’ve left work, and you’re now starting possibly almost a years worth of maternity leave. I’ve heard its fun to start with… but can get kinda boring.

So what do you do during maternity leave?

Heres our list of 101 Things to do when you’re bored on Maternity Leave:

  1. Make a list of alcoholic drinks you’re missing.
  2. Choose which of the above is going to be your first drink.
  3. Watch Jeremy Kyle.
  4. Go shopping for nipple cream.
  5. Realise Jeremy Kyle is kinda rubbish, and turn it off.
  6. Plan a meal to eat after you give birth that you can’t now (eg raw steak)
  7. Meet up with other new mums / mums to be / antenatal class people.
  8. Read all those books… again.
  9. Read notes from the antenatal classes.
  10. Realise you should have considered going to an antenatal class.
  11. Pregnancy Journal… Make sure you write in it at some point.
  12. Invest in Netflix.
  13. Write a letter to the baby. (awww)
  14. Research benefits.
  15. Start a blog.
  16. Comment on this post with a link to your blog.
  17. Find other new mum / dad blogs.
  18. Buy baby clothes.
  19. Wash baby clothes.
  20. Play computer games.
  21. Feeling tired? SLEEP!
  22. Sort out where baby clothes live.
  23. Sort out a nursery room.
  24. Find yourself a sleep cushion.
  25. Research classes to go to with baby.
  26. Need to arrange nursery care? You’re probably too late. Have a cry.
  27. You’re pregnant. Cry anyway.
  28. Have a go at your other half because he gave you a cold whilst you were THAT pregnant.
  29. Antenatal exercise classes.
  30. Go have coffee, tea, juice with friends.
  31. How quick can you put the pram / travel system together? Time yourself.
  32. Challenge your partner, see if they get do it faster then you.
  33. Shop for your own clothes.
  34. Anything to sell on eBay?
  35. Baby proof your house.
  36. You know that tiny skirt you’ve not worn forever? Now might be a good time to say goodbye to that tiny skirt…
  37. Clean.
  38. Is your partner at work? Cook him a fantastic meal for when he gets back!
  39. Got freezer space? Start cooking up foods that you can freeze to reheat later.
  40. Might be a good time to start decorating anything that needs it…
  41. Travel system? Got one yet? We like the Greco range… available from Mothercare.
  42. Have some photos of “the bump” taken.
  43. Aqua Natal?
  44. Antenatal pilates/yoga?
  45. Sleep.
  46. Write silly lists.
  47. Are you still reading?
  48. Try all your old dresses on for size.
  49. Reorganise cupboards.
  50. Organise CDs in alphabetical order.
  51. Organise CDs in order of release date.
  52. Clean your home top to bottom
  53. Realise that you can’t access various parts of your home, due to mobility issues/huge bump…nag partner to move furniture and clean areas
  54. Get annoyed at the way that partner has cleaned the hard to reach areas and attempt to do them yourself.
  55. Realise that your attempt at cleaning hard to reach areas isn’t as good as you want… enlist help from mother/mother-in-law/cleaner.
  56. Go out for a meal.
  57. Nag partner to work extra hours to pay for regular cleaner
  58. Then complain that partner is working too much and you haven’t got any quality time together.
  59. Join online birth clubs
  60. Spend hours each day reading and answering other Mums/Mum-to-bes questions
  61. Spend hours asking questions on birth clubs.
  62. Buy a birthing ball
  63. Put together a list of people to contact soon after birth.
  64. Still smoking? Now you’re not at work, now might be a good time to look for help giving up.
  65. Practise the different positions/movements that you can do on a birthing ball
  66. Play leg football with your partner, using the birthing ball as the ‘football’
  67. Watch your other half try and sit on the birthing ball.
  68. Research hiring a TENs machine
  69. Hire a TENS machine and work out how to use it.
  70. Go to the cinema – make sure you can get to the toilet easily.
  71. Write a list of things needed for hospital bag
  72. Buy anything missing from hospital bag
  73. Pack hospital bag/s.
  74. Get a hair cut.
  75. Go on a date with your better half / best friend.
  76. Explore different websites online… I’ve heard The Church Sofa is quite a good one.
  77. Check car insurance, in case there’s restrictions on driving as a pregnant woman
  78. Eat something! Dont forget to keep eating…
  79. Can’t face the supermarket anymore, start doing food shopping online
  80. Go along to a localdrop-in Mother & baby
  81. Does the MOT on the car need to be done? You dont wanna have to sort that the week after the baby has been born…
  82. When out and about, remind your partner that you are indeed pregnant.
  83. Practice the waddle.
  84. Treat yourself.
  85. (After birth) Drink some of those alcoholic drinks that you planned to drink while pregnant
  86. (After birth) Worry about how much and when it’s safe to drink alcohol if breast feeding/expressing milk.
  87. Are you still reading this?
  88. Spend sometime watching kids TV (might as well get started now)
  89. Tell yourself of for already planning on using the TV as a babysitter.
  90. Catch a bus into town, see if anyone actually stands up and offers you a seat.
  91. Pray for your unborn child.
  92. Friend other members of your antenatal class on Facebook, then play Facebook games against them.
  93. Startup / Catchup with correspondence.
  94. Finish any craft projects.
  95. Tidy up after the said craft project.
  96. Is there anything else you need to buy for the baby?
  97. (after birth) Make silly faces at baby.
  98. (after birth) Talk to your child… swearing NOT allowed.
  99. Realise that previous expectations were different.
  100. Life is different. Live with it.
  101. Go online read silly lists.

Tips on Sharing a Hotel Room with a Toddler

Well, after one thing led to another, both little southern dad and mummy both had a bit of time off this week. Deciding to do something about it, we decided to go on a minibreak / holiday. The thing is, where would be good to stay with a toddler? We considered camping, but figured for one night that might be a bit mad. We ended up settling on staying in the Premier Inn hotel near Truro at Carnon Downs, as it was near the Great Granny we wanted to visit. Would we survive sharing a hotel room with a toddler?

We weren’t sure what to expect from sharing a hotel room with a toddler. The last time we shared a room with her, we had a weeks holiday with next to no sleep. This time round we did a little bit of research into ideas to help before we went.

We found the following helped to save our sanity:

Premier Inn. I must mention the family room we stayed in at Premier Inn was lovely and big, with a sofa for little hands to climb on, and the cot for little feet to run around. The hotel room itself was a world for the little one to explore.

Keep things busy! I imagine this may be more challenging depending on where you’re staying, but we found that as soon as the little one was starting to get bored, she was able to go for a wonder around the hotel, look at the fields, play on the gate, etc etc. Obviously if you’re in the middle of a city stay, the equivalent may well be playing in traffic. In which case, you may want to bring some toys or something.

Leaflet-ReadingIf all else fails, I accidentally found that leaflets are a great distraction. Particularly if you’re somewhere like Cornwall, that supplies “visitor packs” to hotels in the area. These visitor hotels are simply big packs of leaflets, that were great fun to empty and play with.

When it came to getting ready for bed, we always find that bringing familiar items from home are useful, teddys that live in the cot, and a smoothing lamb toy always come everywhere with us. This lamb helps the little one go back to sleep while she wakes up in the night. As the cot was within sight of our bed, we put sheets up around the edge of the cot to almost box her in, and try and keep distractions at a minimum.

Once the little one was down, and asleep we were about 20 seconds away in the pub garden, armed with baby monitors so we could hear everything that happened in the room.  If you do decide to do this, please for the love of all thats good, stay near your room, make sure your monitors work, and that your little one cant get out the cot.

After 20 minutes, the monitor ended up losing its signal with the base unit, meaning that we went straight into the room, spending the rest of the evening in a dark corner, quiet, and out of sight of the cot, on our phones. Once the back ache kicked in we ended up simply getting an earlyish night.

While there were a couple of wake ups, we’d consider staying in a hotel room again, that’s if we don’t brave camping.

Tips to Help The Best Man Survive The Wedding Day

Your mate has just announced he’s getting married, and has asked you to be the Best Man.  There are plenty of places online that will give you an outline of the Best Mans job and responsibilities leading up to and during the wedding day. After my experience of being a Best man over the weekend, I wanted to share my list of ten (mostly practical) tips to help you / your best man not just survive the wedding day, but hopefully help the groom as well.

1. Your biggest role as Best Man is to keep the groom sane. Does he need something? Try your best to make it happen. You are his right hand man. Does his wife to be need something? Helping her out will help your mate out.
2. Have a man bag for the day. Ensure it includes pain killers, water, a pen, and some food to nibble on. Possibly include a Mars Bar for when the energy starts to ebb later at night.
3. Be ready for the line up. If, like me, you’re an introvert you might find it a bit tiring introducing yourself to (what feels like) hundreds of people. Think about what you’re going to say before hand, as having the same conversation again and again gets wearing.
4. Yes you may well be nervous about the speech. No, no one will care if you have a drink to calm the nerves. Yes people might care if they have to listen to a pissed up Best Man giving the speech.
5. Be yourself in the speech . If you’re not really THAT funny, don’t try and be THAT funny.
6. Make sure you compliment the Bride in your speech. Just avoid coming onto her…
7. Again, about the speech. What is the bride and groom like? What is your audience like? Whilst the tale about your normally sober mate, getting totally drunk and running naked down the street, maybe funny, the old gran in the corner may not need to hear it.
8. It’s going to be a long day, look after yourself. Particularly in the evening, try and catch some time to yourself, have a beer, chill, enjoy.
9. After the speeches, buy the groom his favorite drink.
10. Ensure you have a day or two to recover after the event. Even if it’s just from the hangover.

This list is based on my experience of being a best man, on what I did, what I wished I did, or based on advice I’ve been given. Do you have any tips you could add?

The Dad Network