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NEWS FROM THE TOWERS: It's been an exciting old year at MNHQ, so settle down with a mince pie and small sherry and enjoy a bumper blog of the year's events - curious, nordic and downright peculiar.

Talk Roundup
19 December 2008

Emma Bridgewater

We're drawing to the close of another busy year on Mumsnet.

We've spent another 12 months chattering about our husbands' Jack Russelling habits and our summer-long quests for the perfect school-run dress, and we've caused thousands of women across the country to strip the shelves at Waitrose in their desperate quest for beautifying Baby Bottom Butter. We've proven we can bicker over whether we Are Being Unreasonable over everything from telephoning while on the toilet to stealing buns from hotel breakfast buffets, and I was sachertorte a lesson in a woman's right to bake when I suggested that office pastries were oppressive symbols of patriarchy.

To prove we can bury our noses in the newspapers just as well as shouting at our computers, we got our claws out for Russell Brand and sharpened them a bit more for the mother of Shannon Matthews - although we saved our worst vitriol for cheating Delia and her crimes against shepherd's pie. We stayed up into the early hours biting our nails over the election of Boris Johnson, and in the autumn enjoyed a more pleasurable all-nighter with Barack Obama.

We've welcomed all sorts of visitors on our Live webchats, although we managed to chase off eco-columnist Scheherazade Goldsmith with some 'challenging' questions about her green credentials ("How do you become an Eco Mum without a million pound trust fund behind you?" asked an innocent Enid). David Cameron rushed in on his way to the Tory party spring conference to impress us all with his claim: "I have massive panniers." And Tana Ramsay popped in and generously answered questions about toddlers' behaviour posed by Ladytophamhatt, who thought she was 'that child-taming woman': "Still, it's pretty cool to get parenting advice from Mrs Ramsay. I'll tell all my friends that Gordon's wife said XXXX to me."

Fun has been had by the Mumsnet Book Club this year, with a shelf-full of good reads and some great author chats, including everyone's favourite internet geek Tim Dowling. We simpered over the very swoonsome Jonathan Coe, drooled over by ggglimpopo who was cursing herself for not talking to the great author in the flesh when she saw him on a book tour: "As I was weaving my way towards you my husband said something dismissive about the swarming groupies and I had to pretend to have been looking for the exit."

Mumsnetters have enjoyed another year rolling their toddlers in glitter in the Arts and crafts corner, and FrannyandZooey's talented DS impressed us with an outstanding clay c*ck: "The finished model is quite unmistakeably in the shape of a man's genitalia. Normally when DS has made a model we varnish it and put it on the windowsill. Wtf am I going to do? I have the health visitor coming round this week and it is not really going to impress her, is it?" "Surely a lovely present for an unsuspecting grandmother?" suggested laidbackinengland helpfully.

There have been some enjoyable entries into the Mumsnet classic archives this year. We've had heart-warming tales of random acts of kindness, featuring truckers, train-drivers, and other everyday heroes armed with cups of tea. Of note was GentleOtter's experience having broken down in her Robin Reliant during heavy rain: "I was prepared just to sit and have a minor panic when what seemed like hundreds of soldiers appeared out of nowhere - all with bushes on their heads and painted faces. They were on an exercise but they produced a cup of tea, mended my car then waved and blew kisses as I drove away." We also pondered the benefits of Extended Mumsnetting, an essential part of mothering, as BEAUTlFUL explained: "Contrary to popular opinion, you can still Mumsnet when you return to work, if you have an understanding employer who accepts that every lunchtime you'll need to hunch over your laptop for a few minutes."

That's all from the Talk Roundup until 9 January. Have a lovely break - and don't forget to tell us all about it (reasonable and unreasonable).


MUMSNET BOOK CLUB - Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle is Mumsnetters' Book Club choice for our first read of 2009. Order your copy here and join us on Tuesday 27th January for our monthly Book Club natter.

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