Mumsnet live chat - India Knight

This is an edited transcript of our live online chat with Sunday Times columnist and author, India Knight, that took place on 3rd July 2007.

qMumble chum: How would you describe your voice? I've only ever seen your photo by your column and I think you sound sort of fruity/gravelly with a very dirty laugh.
aMumbles - what, like an elderly thesp? Yaaaaaaaarse. That is indeed what I sound like. The dirty laugh = fags. I stopped on Saturday, so no doubt will soon laugh cleanly.
qMarina: I'd really like to know how her little daughter is getting on, as I don't always remember to catch up on her blog.
aHi Marina, and thanks for asking after Nell. She’s on brilliant form at the moment – well, she would be if she didn’t have the cold from hell. She’s been waking up at five every morning for the past three days, heigh ho.
qCod: India ARE YOU WEARING CROCS. Please say no, please say no, please say no.
aI despise Crocs.
qOliveoil: Do you know any alpha mummies or, like me, do you think they are a figment of the medias imagination to make us all fight against each other?
aOnly know Omega mummies. Not terribly interested in the old Alphas.
qWillow: Mandarin; synchronised swimming; invitation only mother & daughter book clubs... what do you consider to be the ponciest activity for kids?
aMandarin, surely?
qMumto3girls: How many times did you get a manuscript returned (if ever) before someone agreed to publish you?
aIt's not happened to me. But it happens to loads of people, e.g. JK Rowling, who go on to become major successes.
qThemildmanneredjanitor: India - in your novels you used to use lots of words like 'spaz' and 'retard' as an insult. Do you still feel it's ok to use these words in that way?
aGood question. I used to think it was absurd to pretend that no-one used those words when clearly thousands of people did, so I bunged them in. Also, they used to make me laugh, because they’re just so babyish. I now have a child with special needs myself, so I’m not so keen anymore. And I feel uneasy about having used them. But not penitent.
qBenStiller: India what is your posting name on Mumsnet?
aI'm not a member here. Would take over my life.
qPuddle: India I like your column a lot (it's the only bit of the Sunday Times I read. How does it work when you are a columnist? Do you choose what to write about or do you sometimes have to force an opinion on something you don't really give a toss about, just because it's current and in the news?
aIt works like this – you read the papers all week, tear things out if they appeal to you, call your editor on Friday morning and suggest two or three topics. Hopefully you have opinions about all three. But yes, there are weeks when you have zero opinions about anything, or when “your” topic is being done by someone else. Oggsfrog: Two stone down, two to go, and I'm sort of stuck on a plateau (losing/gaining the same bloody 6lbs for months now) - do you have any tips for moving on?
aCongrats on the two stone. Come and ask on pig2twig.co.uk – I need to know exactly what you’re eating to give you a proper answer. Known stallers include wine and sugar-substitutes, but it could be other stuff… Post a typical few days’ menu and we’ll have a look.
qEnid: Shall we get together and write a book about parenting? You are famous, clearly I am a Mumsnet guru, what's not to like? Do you ever genuinely get upset about people criticising what you write? And how do you get over it?
aA Mumsnet book about parenting is a brilliant idea, but isn’t there one? Thought I saw it the other day. I’m sadly signed up to write various things for the next four years or so… Re criticism: it is impossible to care about the opinions of complete strangers - you don’t know them, they don’t know you, they’re excitable enough to confuse your newspaper persona with the real you… It’s really hard to make yourself mind. Also - although I like fan letters, I wouldn’t be doing my job if there weren’t any nasty ones.
qBellaLasagne: India, are you planning to write any more novels? How much research do you do (as I believe you've been spying on me taking my children to school in my PJs and have been to all the same playgroups as me!)
aYes, am writing one now. The playgroup in that book was a majorly toned-down version of a real place, btw.
qRubyslippers: India forgive me if this has been asked, or if it has happened, but are you going to publish a collection of your articles?
ano, I don't think so. Chip paper, etc...
qTutter: Where do you stand on the feeding children grapes in supermarkets issue? theft, or necessary act of motherhood?
aGrapes are not theft. Neither are Jaffa cakes. BUT beware grape choke - happened to my daughter.
qUCM: What are you views on smacking children?
aSmacking: not under fives. And not smacking, either. But the odd tap on the leg - doesn't make you feel proud, but I wouldn't make anyone's life a misery if they'd done it once or twice.
qCharlieandlola: Who do you think will do more for SN parents, Gordon Brown or David Cameron, given that they are both parents of children with SN?
aVery good questions. I feel quite optimistic about SN coming to the fore, which is maybe just wishful thinking... I guess Brown at least has the means of actually implementing stuff now. I hope he does....
qCharlieandlola: Thanks India - I hope Gordon Brown undoes some of the chaos. What threee things could he do to improve our lot as SN parents???
aCompletely subjective answer: 1) stop closing special schools; 2) make it easier to navigate the NIGHTMARE of statementing and all associated processes; 3) allow all carers respite help.
qMog: Can we give you a word and you have to work it into your column on Sunday?
aOkay. A friend of mine once worked the words 'moist gusset' into a feature for the Mail on Sunday. Brilliantly, he invented a Swiss playboy called Moi St Gusset. Martianbishop: If we are doing the word thing, can I vote for 'Plinth'?
qBoco: India what do you think of Enid Blyton - will you read them to your children?
aI used to love EB when I was a child, especially the St Clare's/Mallory Towers books.... I might read my daughter edited versions of these. Maybe. The fairy stories with the horrid black golliwogs, I'll pass on.
qCarmenere: India, are you and Neris still corresponding daily about your diets and have you managed to keep the weight off? Also do you really think that you must give up alcohol for the first few months of any weightloss programme (you can probably guess where my Weight Watchers diet is failing me)?
aCarmenere: I am sorry to say it, but alcohol is FATAL. But the great thing is, you can drink clear spirits until your liver ruptures. Wine, beer, anything else = like eating spoonfuls of sugar.
qMorningpaper: India what websites do you mostly waste time on?
aI don't - I get so caught up in them and spend hours reading. I'm a mod on our diet website, which takes a up masses of time... also I do my SN blog... other than that, nothing I visit regularly.
qOne of my Lotto fantasies is a fund for respite care AND a fund to tide folks over whilst their DLA apps and statementing processes are on-going. The fun never stops, does it?
aThe thing that makes me practically hyperventilate with rage is how a) difficult and b) slow it is to get anything done. We're doing the education thing at the moment, and honestly - it fries my brain. And I am tenacious, relatively articulate, combative, good at forms. What really, really bothers me is what you're supposed to do if you're none of these things.
qBellabelly: Hello India, are you watching Big Brother? Why / why not?
aBB: not this year. Which is weird, because I usually get really into it. It's just not doing it for me this time.
qSallystrawberry: India - dinner, what was it? Camping yay or nay? The campers on the camping thread will be interested to know.
aDinner = steak and salad. Camping: a major, MASSIVE Nay until now. But I've relented... ask me again in August.
qSmellysmelly: do you believe people should follow book about parenting or do you believe in mothers instincts?
atotally instincts. Though when had first one was very reassured by Penelope Leach, so not against them per se. Just against.... bossiness.
qBellabelly: India - what advice do you have for soon-to-be mum (my twins are due in 5 weeks...)
aMany congrats. Relax and be happy. Dust doesn't matter. Piles of unwashed dishes are quite chic. Just make nests with your lovely babies.
qWendyWeber: How did you come to be called India? Colonial family?
aIndian mother.
qMog: India - you had children when you were younger and then again when older. What differences have you found?
aNot much different. Am glad encountered SN when older - might have gone a bit doolallly at 25. Def more energy when younger, but took it all for granted, and was quite impatient. Now I wish everything would slow down.
qSniff: Do you believe stay at home moms should be more valued in society instead of being seen as women who just don’t work?
aI find whole SAHM/working mum debate really, really depressing. I think women should do what they want to do. If they want to stay at home, that's really, really great - and nobody should talk to them like they've been lobotomised. If they want to go to work, that is also really great, and no one should talk to them like they're Cruella De Vil. I wish everyone would RELAX. It's not a bloody competition. A happy mother makes for a happy child.
qSparkletastic: India - though I value your opinions on serious parenting issues....what I really want to know is what is your all-time fave beauty product?!
aIt changes every day. At the moment is mineral foundation. Go to lilylolo.co.uk, where you can get samples for 99p. 99p! It is AMAZING stuff. You walk around looking airbrushed. Plus, all wholesome & crap-free, so you sleep in it too. Sparkletastic: Ooooh and a new beauty website to try - thank you gorgeous India [leaves thread rapidly to find amazing bargain foundation before other buggers get it]
qHatwoman: Do you seriously think that about nannies and husbands? Do you really not know anyone who (regardless of whether or not they are beautiful or successful) are in a fully happy, confident, trusting relationship where infidelity simply doesn’t enter their thoughts?
aI used to think that. Now I think any man, no matter how lovely, kind, devoted, etc etc, would probably have a shag if he knew for certain he'd never be caught.
qAhundredtimes: Don't you have a personal shopper IK?
aI used a personal shopper once, when I lost a ton of weight and didn't know where to start. It's not like she calls in once a week with a new wardrobe. ALas.
qExpatinscotland: Personal trainer?
aI went to the Bodydoctor. I was waiting to get really into exercise, feel high, get totally obsessed etc etc.... never happened. Now I just walk. I believe in walking.
qHave you got a pair of MBT's???????
aYeah. Am in 2 minds. I think they work brilliantly, but then they stop.
qMintyDixCarrington: Can't believe nobody has asked the key question. George bush – Gordon brown. you have to give ONE of them a blowjob or something awful happens to your family. Which one?
aBrown. Obviously.
qMog: So can we all buy the Sunday Times this week and look for the word 'plinth'?
aOh - no! Am off this week. Plinth week after.
qWotznot2know: India - What will you look forward to after 10pm
aI have people downstairs waiting for their dinner. Thanks v much, and have a nice evening...

Last updated: 09-Feb-2009 at 1:21 PM