New year, new load of clutter

Today’s Daily Mail has a piece that they commissioned me to write about clutter. I think I am one of their go-to people when it comes to marital disharmony and mess, which, although professionally rewarding, is domestically unnerving! Part of what The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs was about was the gap between how we want to live our lives based on some impossible image that we … Read the full entry

Holidays, hangouts and happy tweets

A few random thoughts and bits and pieces of news. Today I did my first ‘Google hangout’ for Telegraph Wonder Women. It was on the subject of paternity leave, something I haven’t had to think about for nigh on six years. My take was, broadly, that we should be thinking about what it’s for before we worry about how long it should be for. Then I guess we have to … Read the full entry

Is university worth it (Kirstie Allsop look away now…)

The property expert turned everything expert, Kirstie Allsop, has recently opined that it’s not worth girls going to university as they should just get really well paid jobs aged 18 and buy themselves some property in order to be in a good position to bag a boyfriend and birth a baby aged 27. By coincidence, the Sunday Times published a piece I wrote about whether, in these days of fees … Read the full entry

Read all about it… reviews of The A-List Family

Thanks to the tireless work of Hodder’s lovely Becca Mundy and Karen Geary, there were loads of reviews of The A-List Family in both the national press and some of the web’s top book blogs. ‘Very funny,’ ‘hilarious’, ‘spot-on brilliance’ and ‘highly readable’ are just some of the highlights. All the reviews (even the less than utterly enthusiastic one) are linked to on my press page here.

The A-List Family is unleashed The A-List Family is unleashed

My new book The A-List Family is out today. Publication day is a bit like a birthday in that it can feel stressful, exciting and a little bit embarrassing (especially if, like me, you do insist on putting sex scenes into your book). Yesterday, Twitter alerted to me to the fact that Jade Craddock from We Love This Book had reviewed the A-List Family. I felt quite shaky to click on the link. … Read the full entry

Check out the proofs of my new book Check out the proofs of my new book

The A-List Family  is out in May (April for those of an e-reading persuasion). The final cover design is not yet confirmed, but in the meantime, here is a picture of the proof copy which I think is very classy indeed. I love that turquoise and the its clean lines. Hodder always seems to avoid the cliche with their covers and I’m sure the finished product will be just as … Read the full entry

The mortification of the author photo

I’ve tried, but I can’t put it off any longer – it’s time for a new author photo. I hate them. Childbirth would be preferable and I think I probably look better in the throes of that than I do squinting and squirming into a camera lens. I worked in a newspaper office once and it was curious to see how many people there were wandering around the building who resembled … Read the full entry

I pack my husband’s holiday books – is that wrong?

I remember once discovering that a friend did her husband’s holiday packing for him. The toothbrush, the pants, the shaving foam, the extra-strength anti-perspirant. The works. I was shocked. It seemed both controlling and subservient to be taking over such a basic adult task. My friend seemed to be infantalising her husband and belittling her own time to take over what is a boring but essential task. Yes she was … Read the full entry

Are you and your house absolutely stuffed?

There’s a great neologism ‘suffocation’ to describe the way so many of us feel overwhelmed by all the things that silt up our houses and, by extension, our brains. It’s part of what I was trying to address in The Pile of Stuff, the way that it can become symbolic of the lack of control we feel generally. I’ve written a piece about this for this month’s Woman & Home. I think many of … Read the full entry

From comfy slippers to taxi shoes - publicising books From comfy slippers to taxi shoes – publicising books

The contrast between writing books and publicizing them is like the difference in wearing comfy slippers and vertiginous heels. And I mean that literally as much as metaphorically. Writing is about being alone or, if like me you work in a library or cafe, alone among others. Your only company is your characters and, as mine are never straightforwardly heroic or sympathetic, this is not the jolliest of parties. Well-meaning … Read the full entry

The, ahem, creative process The, ahem, creative process

Back in March I wrote a guest blog for Jon Rance, a very talented novelist who not only writes clever books, he’s also clearly much better at blog creation and updating than I am. (That’s his book cover on the right). It expresses quite well the way that I feel about the ‘creative process’ in that, in my case, it feels anything but. The more ruthless, uptight and organised I … Read the full entry

Pieces of string and the importance of length

Back when I was at university there was a story doing the rounds about a tutor’s response to the question ‘how long should an undergraduate essay be?’. ‘As long as girl’s skirt,’ he is alleged to have answered, ‘long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to be interesting.’  This might have been what passed for wit back in 1988 when women were still banned from wearing trousers in lots … Read the full entry