Thursday, 29 September 2011


I am just back from Las Vegas. I am half way between Las Vegas time (eight hour difference) and London time so slightly dazed and confused - Tucker Time. I am writing the feature for a national paper so won't give too much away. It was emotional. Highlights - visiting The Joint, the venue in the Hard Rock Hotel that opened in 2008 with The Killers and Paul McCartney and is amazing. Motley Crue we were told rocked the joint the most and there are as many stars in the audience as there are on stage the venue is so 'right'. We were allowed behind stage to the dressing rooms, and the host talked about the rock stars who had performed there. Fascinating absorbing insight into a world everyone thinks they know so much about and which I feel having visited LV knows nothing. Another gem was visiting the recording studios at the Palms Hotel, where Lady Gaga and Will I Am had recorded (not together) during the weekend we were there. Michael Jackson stayed there for three months recording his last record and security was so tight very few of the staff at the hotel knew he was there. Our host at the studio who has worked with all the good and great both in LV and New York was a truly incredible lady and should write a book about it, but I suspect will never do so.

Other highlights - well I danced at a pool party at Encore at the Wynn Hotel, in front of Pete Tong (he was inches away) and he asked if I wanted a drink but I didn't understand him - but then the music was very loud and I am getting a little deaf. I understand he has the same problem. Or that is what I think he was asking.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, for a month or least. xxx

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Not so much owl and pussy cat, more the ingredients for a perfect storm - three parents, one ex boy, six twelve year olds and a maths and geography teacher in one rowing boat, who had (sort of) practiced for a twenty two mile race down the Thames in appalling conditions. The start was wonderful. Loads of boats bobbing about all over the place. A lot of people dressed as catwomen, batman, sailors, soldiers, more sailors, (mind you, they could have been sailors), Indians, ballet dancers (?) animals - lions, tigers, anything that bit basically. There were the dragon boats who looked as though they had been training since they were out of the cot, and people like us who looked as though they had been training for an hour on Sunday mornings in wonderful sunshine. Yes the sun did shine at the beginning and at the end, but by the time we got to Tower Bridge it felt very Ben Hurr. The rain poured down, we had thunder, lightening and lots of shouting 'come on boys, we can do it!" which the grown ups were really saying as much to motivate themselves as they were to motivate the boys.

The safety boats at the start were shouting at all the boats who were in position and were not due to start for another hour as everyone was tiered - the slowest went first - so there were a few shouting matches which made it all the more exciting. But there were no fists flying, no scuttling of ships or mutinies to report. We started strong, cris-crossing the Thames dramatically avoiding the other boats - mainly the sea scouts - who we managed to bash into twice and cross oars with, but they looked like they were used to that sort of thing.

By the time we reached Tower Bridge the waves were crashing around us, the boats were banging into us, the safety boat kept coming up to us and telling (shouting at) us to move over, making it ironically very unsafe as they created waves which kept us bobbing up and down powerless to go anywhere. The ex boy wanted to have a pee, tried three times (stage fright) and think managed it on the forth attempt. Men have to do what men have to do, and women have to do what women have to do, but women manage to wait. The deputy head of the school was on Waterloo Bridge bellowing encouragement to us as we rowed (still at ramming speed) and we smiled, until the boy at the front told us we weren't a quarter of the way yet.

We counted the bridges. I remember when I was on a tour on the bateau mouche in Paris the guide telling me about the bridges or as he called them the 'bitches' (his accent) and I kept thinking as I passed under each bridge, the French guy was right. London is a stunning, fascinating, wonderful city. I love it. I know I love it because by the time we got to Barnes bridge we were all utterly soaked, cold and very tired and I was still wondering at the beauty of this place.

There were times when we were rowing all by ourselves, then others when out of nowhere loads of boats seemed to appear (or catch up with us) and then go off into the distance.

By the time we reached Richmond Bridge we were all very tired indeed. The ex boy had rowed across the Atlantic so I thought this would be a piece of cake for him, but even he looked knackered. The teachers kept chatting and texting and consequently made rowing sometimes difficult (can they lose house points for that?) as we all had to keep in time. And the last mile we had a race with an ebay boat (sponsored by I don't think it was second hand, but could have been) which they won. Only just. But hey, they beat 12 year olds and only just!!! The photos at the end say it all. We all looked very satisfied and absolutely exhausted. For any who ask, it was tougher than running the London marathon. We did it in three fours forty minutes which is a very respectable time indeed. The sunshine would have helped but it was an experience and a very good one and something I recommend everyone does just once. Just once.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Love and light. Love and light. I'm sending out loads and loads of love and light. It is a very bad thing for anyone who is in the spotlight, actually any one who puts themselves in the spotlight, to have a thin skin. Unfortunately anyone who is remotely creative tends to have a thinnish skin because that's one of the reasons why they are creative - or that's what I think anyway. It is also a very bad thing to read reviews just before you go to bed. I have had some stinkers in my time and I always seem to read them just before I go to bed. One review I got for one of my books went along the lines of only stupid people who had just given birth would buy it, so that managed to insult all new mothers as well as me. Then there were the reviews of the fiction novels where they would put the books in bins, thought all the characters, especially the lead female character was utterly vile, thought that only the good reviews were written by friends (if you did thank you!!) and in one case thought the work was a rancid piece of mince and hateful. A lot of them seem to come from Manchester. And now they've got really personal by a husband downloading the mummy mafia app saying they saw me in on Daybreak and feel I need botox and hair dye. I must admit I read it and thought, now that's just silly, but they have a right to their opinion and although I have no intention of having botox I am thinking positive thoughts and possible high lights. Love and high lights. xxx

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Sarah Tucker is the author of a fictional novel ‘The Playground Mafia’, which  hit a nerve because there was so much unspoken emotional truth in it that it has  sold over half a million copies.  Sarah does not claim to be a psychologist or counsellor, her tips have developed  through the research and some direct experience of playground politics over the  years. She receives between 50 to 100 emails each week on playground politics  and has collected together here some advice  from those she has interviewed over  the years, from teachers, parents, mafia members and victims of playground  politics as well as some words of wisdom from the children themselves.  This list of ten tips might help you with playground issues and over competitive  parents.  1. Remember the only thing you have in common with the other mothers at your  child’s class is that they have children the same age as yours. That is where the similarities end. They are not your friends or confidents.  Don’t treat them that way. Or feel you need to treat them that way. This causes  unnecessary pressure.  2. Always keep your own counsel. Confide in your friends out of school, never  those in the playground no matter how sympathetic they may be. You are going to meet them every day for the next nine years. Do not mention any  marriage or financial or emotional difficulties. Furthermore, do not act as ear to any gossip mongers either.  3. Just because your son/daughter picks a best friend, you do not need to make  best friends with the parents. Parents often feel obliged to do just that.  Don’t. It is not necessary.  4. The teachers are extremely aware of the playground mafia and I got many  anecdotes for the book from this source. If you need advice, always speak to the  head teacher or the form teacher about your child. You don’t need to network with other mothers who – if they are mafia – will  treat information as power.  5. Never arrive early for pick up. More opportunity for you to be pounced on.  6. Always polite but opaque, as in quite dull. If they cannot grab onto anything  about you, good or bad, they will neither be threatened by you, interested to  cultivate you as one of their members. Most mafia were bullies as children and  haven’t kicked the habit. As children you could have had a fight in the  playground, as an adult you are likely to get a GBH assault charge. So no matter  how much they snipe, ignore them. Focus on your child.  7. Be aware that there is no mafia ‘type’ – they do not look like bullies, they  come in all shapes and sizes, may have had or not had successful careers. The  one thing they have in common is that they need to get a life, stop taking  themselves so seriously and focus on their child’s development and no one  else’s. They need above all to mind their OWN business.  8. Mummy blogs and networks are not necessarily the best way to work out issues.  If you need to befriend a mother, make it one who has children two years above  that of your own,who you genuinely like and trust. She is not in direct  competition with you and will have been through the playground mafia issues  herself.  9. See the funny side of all situations. I met a mother who googled all the  children’s parents in her class and only asked those children around for  playdates who had parents with high disposable incomes. This is more common than  people might think. These parent types live vicariously through their children  on many levels.  10. Playground Mafia will always claim they are being overly competitive because  it’s necessary to get into good schools and they must push their child and  further his progress. They do nothing of the sort. All good parents encourage  their child to do well, mafia systematically try to undermine other children so  they do less well, and also undermine the confidence of other parents. That is  not good parenting, this is politics.  Most playground politics occurs when the children are at infant and primary  school. There is less need to mix with other parents at secondary school so less  opportunity for the playground mafia to snipe. Enjoy your children’s childhood. Don’t let the mafia ruin it. And if all else  fails, just drop your child at the school gate and pick up avoiding all eye  contact with any other mother.  Sarah has now devised an APP for mums to use not only to detect mafia mums but  also avoid becoming one themselves. As part of a nationwide 'mummy mafia'  campaign in conjunction with Red Balloon, the organisation which focuses on the  recovery of bullied children, Sarah is asking mums throughout the UK to take the  mummy mafia test and send in the results to her at  Alternatively send them to her website on the  comments section, with anecdotes about some of the playground politics you have  personally experienced.  Sarah says, “Tackling playground politics is a step closer to making sure the  time in the playground is something new mothers can enjoy and look forward to,  rather than dread and navigate around. I believe children bully because they  witness the grownups doing the same - lead by example is always the best  policy.”