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This is a report from the world before mobile phones, before Google maps, before email. A time when, if people wanted to get in touch, they wrote you a letter.

It wasn’t that long ago.

This is a story of how the world has changed beyond recognition in the space of one lifetime, and in which one woman did her small bit to change that world.

I tell the story via 26 letters from a box in an attic. I held onto the letters because my father might need the stamps.

Behind those letters, though, are the universals: this is a story about families, friendship, love, and loss.

You can order this book at Waterstones in the UK.

The hardback has colour pictures and costs £25. You can order that edition here.

The paperback has the pictures in black and white and costs £12.99. You can order that edition here.

Amazon in the UK and worldwide have managed to list it but not let you order it. When I work out why, I’ll let you know.


I have published several books on the topic of pregnancy and parenting, a topic close to my heart. Here are some of them.

Expecting: Everything you need to know about pregnancy, labour and birth

Stripy bump on Expecting book coverCo-authored with Daphne Metland, the first edition was published by Virago in 2004 and an updated and revised edition  came out in January 2013.

Rooted in the latest research, Expecting offers the help you need to make informed choices at every step of your journey from conception to pregnancy and birth. Written specifically for parents in the UK, it walks you “week by week” through the antenatal visits, tests and questions you’ll experience.

You can buy print and Kindle editions at Amazon or or pick up a pre-loved copy at Abebooks.

If you live in the UK or Ireland, you can use the Search tool at the Booksellers Association to find a local bookshop (you know, a real one).

Other comments on the book:

“It was easy to read and really informative without being biased” — Amazon reader review, June 2014

“Packed with up-to-date sensible information, EXPECTING provides a comprehensive guide to pregnancy and birth…well-researched and informative” — JUNIOR magazine

“Great Book. My NCT teacher had this in her class library along with lots of others but this was the best. There was a waiting list to borrow it” — Amazon reader review, November 2004

The Babycenter Essential Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

BabyCenter book cover with wide-eyed babyPublished by Rodale in the US, I was one of the lead authors on this book, written back in 2007 when I was a BabyCenter editor. I saw it as my mission to provide the women of this world with the best information they could possibly have for this leap into the unknown (babies). I helped set up BabyCenter sites in Arabia, Canada, Brasil, Korea, Germany… and many other countries around the world.

The book is “jam-packed with the expert advice and real-world, mom-to-mom wisdom that makes BabyCenter the world’s number-one online parenting resource”.

It’s available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.

Infertility: The Last Secret

Blue book cover of hands holdingBased on research into the variety and effectiveness of the treatments available, such as IVF, IUI and ICSI, this book also includes interviews with women who have experienced infertility problems themselves; in this way, the book also explores surrogacy, adoption, and acceptance of a life without children.

Published by Bloomsbury back in the dark ages (1999), I am including this book here because people still tell me they find it useful. The sections about treatments could be updated but how it feels to think you may never have a child — that doesn’t change. I’ll let one reader tell you why you might want to hunt down a copy. It’s one of things I’m most proud to have written, knowing it has helped.

“I am so glad I found this book. It ‘s written from the point of view of someone who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to what you should be doing and what you might want to do next, and someone who knows how people who want to become parents really feel. There are so many stories from different women, that it made me feel much less alone in what I am going through. I thought no one in the world had ever felt like I did, and it’s worth buying for that alone” — Amazon reader review, April 2001

“This book is the perfect blend of facts and figures combined with the experiences of couples” — Babyworld review, 2011

You and Your New Baby

“A book which covers the first hours, weeks and months after birth, giving needed support. ‘Parents share their experiences about what having a baby is really like — a real plus.” Penelope Leach

Book cover showing mother and babyFirst published by NCT Publishing and HMSO Books as Becoming A Family, then published by Fisher Books in the US as Your Newborn and You, then published again by HarperCollins as You and Your New Baby, this book had a life.

This was my favourite review:

“This interesting and well written book should almost be obligatory reading for all first-time parents as it offers the sort of down-to-earth, no-nonsense advice that parents really require.” –Sue Johnston, Health Visitor, in Community Practitioner, the UK journal for healthcare professionals.

The fact that it was originally published by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office also made it seem official guidance! Happily, the book won a “Patient Information” award from the British Medical Association for the clarity of its information.


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