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So Vain Books Blog - fashion, beauty and romance books

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  • Publication day: 'The Very British Rules of Dating'

    The much anticipated The Very British Rules of Dating by Lady Lara Asprey is here!

    After a brilliant interview yesterday on ITV, during the number one daytime show This Morning, and several different features in the MailOnline, The Daily Express and The Daily Telegraph, the book everyone has been talking about is finally available to purchase through all the major bookshops around the UK, So Vain Books and Amazon.



    About the book:

    The Very British Rules of Dating is the first and only book that finally gives elegant ladies a glimmer of understanding into how to find and keep their perfect gentleman.

    With a good dollop of British humour, it explores the answers to common questions such as:

    - Where are all the quality men hiding?

    - Why do they never approach me?

    - Why do men only seem to ‘flirt’ after they have had a few drinks?

    - How do I know where I stand when he never says what he means?

    - How do I know when we’re an official item? He hasn’t said anything. - Why is he acting strangely? He suddenly just stopped messaging me!

    Looking at every aspect of both traditional and modern dating, including advice for online dating, apps, and texting, this book will become your go-to guide for navigating your way through the minefield that is dating in the UK. It will give you all the tools you need to make a lasting impression on the ever-confusing British gentleman, to help you find and keep your Prince Charming.

    PrintAbout the Author:

    Lady Lara Asprey knows that dating in Britain is anything but clear. As a Chelsea-based VIP matchmaker with many years of experience, she knows what makes British men and women tick when it comes to love and romance and is here to explain, in a very British and entertaining way, all the tools you need to find and keep your perfect man.

  • The Inspiration for 'Among A Thousand Stars'

    A guest post by Jo Bartlett, author of 'Among a Thousand Stars'

    jay_bartlettI don’t know about you, but for me reading is all about escaping to another world. So when I decided to write my first full length novel, I wanted the story to take me and anyone eventually reading it to somewhere different, somewhere that most of us don’t get to go every day. As a result, my heroine had to have an exciting job – being a teacher, like me, just wouldn’t cut it. At the same time I wanted her to have a side that other women could relate to, with some of the insecurities and problems we all have, whoever we are and whatever it is we do for a living.

    Ashleigh Hayes is someone who encompasses all that. She has a dream job as a photographer for celebrity glossy monthly magazine, Glitz, working alongside best friend Stevie. Yet not everything is as perfect as it seems. Add a mother with no boundaries whatsoever into the mix, a tricky new boss and a seven-times engaged rock star intent on making her fiancée number eight, and life is anything but smooth.

    The inspiration for Ashleigh came from a lot of places, one of which was encountering a real life celebrity photographer on the school run. It’s not that the paparazzi regularly hang out behind the bushes at my children’s school – thankfully, it’s not the sort of place where I have to encounter supermodels as I pull-up to the gates, still trying to tame my hair in the rear view mirror – but we did have a little brush with vicarious glamour.

    Perou is a photographer well known in fashion and celebrity circles, and our sons just so happened to be good friends at school. My working life revolved around teaching and marking, with the closest thing to excitement being the annual graduation ceremony. Talking to Perou’s wife at the school gates, I couldn’t help but compare his working life; jetting off across the world, photographing everyone from One Direction to Marilyn Manson.

    Despite all that, there was another side. Bits of life that involved helping with maths homework, taking a poorly dog to the vets and, like the rest of us, elbowing to the front of the school hall to get the best seat for the nativity play. Actually, check out Perou’s website and you’ll see that he’s much cooler than that, but I’m sure you get the point.

    So whilst Ashleigh in ‘Among A Thousand Stars’ might have the dream job, she has a very real life too, complete with real problems. As for the rest – the love story, the location, the incredible friendship with Stevie – all of that is drawn from experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met, places I’ve been and the melting pot of my imagination. So whilst being a teacher might not be the most exciting of jobs, I only have to open my laptop, and start to write, to escape to another world altogether.

    book 3dBuy Now 'Among a Thousand Stars' by Jo Bartlett

  • The London PR Expert: Sydney VS London

    I’m so incredibly lucky to have been born and raised in London, and had the opportunity to move to Sydney just over five months ago. By living in these two major cities, I have been exposed to countless cultures, attitudes and ways of life. For those planning on making a trip down under – here are a few points to consider:


    The city: Unlike London, where the core of the city is in the centre and you could pretty much go in any direction to find shops, restaurants, apartments, parks and entertainment, Sydney is much less integrated and split into several suburbs – distanced by long roads. Each suburb has a completely different atmosphere to the next, and attracts certain crowds.

    unnamed-3Shopping: The city of Sydney has more of a linear layout compared to the circular format of London. It starts from Central Station and goes to Circular Quay where the famous Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House is located. This is roughly the same distance walking from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road in Central London. However, in London this street is full of shops. In Sydney, there are just two blocks of shopping parallel to each other: the Queen Victoria Building and Westfields Sydney.


    Food: Sydney wins here hands down. There are affordable restaurants everywhere – and most places offer $10 deals, which is amazing, as you wouldn’t be able to find anything as good for the £5 equivalent in London! However, most food restaurants and outlets close fairly early, so if you were stumbling home from a party at 3am on a Friday morning, you’d be out of luck when looking for food.

    unnamed-2Nightlife: London wins this category for having incredably quaint and quirky bars and nightclubs on most streets. Despite being more expensive than Sydney, it’s definitely worth it. Sydney doesn’t have much of a variety to offer – however if you were to fly down to Melbourne, that would be a different story…

    Transport: London has the Tube, which is an incredibly efficient way of getting around the city. Sydney is much smaller in comparison, and even though you can get trains to different suburbs, buses are the way to go! The Opal is the Sydney equivalent of London’s Oyster. On Sunday you pay only $2.50 for unlimited travel anywhere in the New South Wales state – so this is the day locals abuse the rather expensive ferries to Manly Beach. Both cities draw on this one!


    Each city has pros and cons -  it’s worth taking a visit down under to make your own decision! Let us know what you think by commenting #TeamLondon or #TeamSydney below!

    Twitter/Instagram: @LondonPRexpert

  • COVER REVEAL - 'Among a Thousand Stars' by Jo Bartlett

    book 3d


    What do you think about this cover?

    The book will be published on June 17, but you can already pre-order the e-book for only 99p on Amazon!

    There is also a brand new Booktrailer on our YouTube Channel.

  • Keeping active on Holiday!

    Hello Everyone!

    Over the Easter break my family and I were lucky enough to spend an amazing week at the gorgeous Grand Melia Sensatori Resort in Tenerife.

    It felt so good to soak up the sun, relax and take some much needed chill time.

    The hotel was possibly one of the largest hotels I have ever stayed in with over seven restaurants on the complex (such a variety of food including lots of fresh, local and healthy options too!), three swimming pools, which included a massive infinity pool that stretched over the whole width of the hotel and overlooked the sea (beautiful but freezing). They also had an amazing Clarins Spa with all the treatments you could possibly think of – having a full body massage with my twin sister was the dream, oh and I may have got a manipedi while I was there too!

    As you know me, a holiday wouldn’t be complete without being able to do some of my beloved Pilates and maybe a few beach runs! Lucky for me the resort had a wonderful ‘Sports Hub’ offering an array of exercise classes. Some of my favourites were Zumba, Aerobics, Legs Bums and Tums, Yoga and OF COURSE Pilates. They also provided tennis lessons, bike rides, archery and personal training sessions throughout the day too. (Woo hoo even more of an excuse to indulge come dinner time!)

    The instructors were really great: so friendly, positive and motivating, but man did they get you working hard!

    Find your centre! Find your balance!

    Here I am getting my daily fix of Pilates and Yoga in the ‘Wellness Garden’! Here I am getting my daily fix of Pilates and Yoga in the ‘Wellness Garden’!

    It’s so much fun to mix up your workout routine - to keep your muscles guessing and to work on different aspects of your fitness. Cue the bikes, towels and water for a bit of a Spinning!


    Wow it was tough, I’ll be honest I didn’t enjoy my first class! However, you soon get addicted to the amazing buzz and the 'feel good' factor at having achieved/survived the class, so yes I booked in again for the next day and absolutely loved it, the second class I did was spinning and conditioning which involved high intensity spinning on the bike, followed by jumping off and doing strength training on the mat. Think one minutes burpees, squats, push ups ect… eek! Then we hopped back on the bike for some more cycling… nearly died, but such a great challenge and I actually surprised myself and enjoyed the session!

    Did I mention that awesome feeling after!? OH HEY WORLD! Did I mention that awesome feeling after!? OH HEY WORLD!

    I loved our sunny morning family jogs along the coastline. Its great that my whole family are so supportive and keen to get active therefore a post family run selfie had to happen! Loving my… ok Dad's Oakley sunglasses perfect for running and cycling, what can I say he has good taste!

    5 6

    We had such a fun week, I would highly recommend the Sensatori Resort as a lovely, luxurious holiday destination especially for all you active readers out there! It was such a great mixture of exercise, relaxation, pampering and of course a little indulging on some of the local yummy food and wine, made so much better by the amazing company! The perfect balance of healthiness with a splash of naughtiness!


    I also brought ‘Behind the Scenes’ as my holiday read and thoroughly enjoyed it, it was prefect to read while soaking up the rays on my sunbed! Such a feel good, fun book! You can also pre-order ‘Searching for Steven’ now which I’m super excited about… roll on June!

    3d book

    I hope you all have a happy and healthy week!

    Remember to check out my Instagram and Facebook page!


    Type Holly Chapman Pilates into the Facebook search bar!




  • The London PR Expert: The importance of pushing your limits

    Having been born and raised in London, the concrete jungle, is the extent of my wildlife experience. I don’t do bugs, spiders, snakes or crocodiles. I’m not adventurous with my food, and don’t even think about making me sleep in a humid room without an air conditioner.

    When I contemplated moving to Australia I decided to choose the biggest city – Sydney, because it would be the most like London. You can expect the same lifestyle in any big city, you’re always spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants, shopping and entertainment. However, after seeing pictures on Facebook of my adventurous friends climb mountains and sleep in the outback, I decided to force myself to spend a week in a tropical rainforest… Daintree Rainforest to be exact!

    I felt like I was a million miles away from home, when I was greeted at Cairns airport with this sign by the Queensland government!

    Limits p.1

    I was transferred straight to my jungle cabin at the Cape Tribulation headland within Daintree Rainforest – the oldest in the world at between 100-180 million years old, in comparison to the Amazon Rainforest which is just 10 million years old. The ecosystem is much more developed and is known for its dangerous critters.

    The first night was the worst, my anxiety levels were at their highest. I had to walk down the boardwalk from my cabin (which could easily be compared to a shed with a bed), to the restaurant in the dark, knowing that I’m surrounded by tropical insects and animals… Terrifying!

    I spoke to some fellow travellers over dinner and they told me they sighted a python earlier in the day just a few hundred meters from where we were currently sat. Feeling uncomfortable, I wanted to research the snakes and spiders in the area I was currently staying in. I asked an employee at the ‘restaurant’ (use term vaguely), if there was Wi-Fi, as my iPhone was on SOS mode, to which they simply replied: ‘No. Welcome to the jungle, hunny.’ I knew I was in for a rough week.

    Limits p.3

    For dinner we ate kangaroo and crocodile meat, which was far from anything I would have ever ordered at my favourite luxurious London restaurants. We then sat around a campfire and roasted marshmallows whilst listening to the whistling of the crickets and grasshoppers.

    Whilst I was enjoying this experience, I felt a pinch on my foot. I was bitten by a massive tropical spider. The fangs were clawed into my skin and my reaction was to freeze – staring at the spider in shock. The camp leader injected me with anti-venom almost immediately to neutralise the poison. I had unknowingly faced my biggest fear, and I survived it.

    Limits p.2

    I have since flown back to Sydney, reminiscing on my week. I am so proud that I pushed myself to do something I was extremely hesitant about. Despite the spider bite, and still being in a lot of pain five days later, I have a story worth telling for the rest of my life, so I urge you to think 'YOLO' (You Only Live Once) more often, and see what happens…

    To view photos and videos of my tropical adventure check out my Instagram @LondonPRexpert.

  • COVER REVEAL - 'Searching for Steven' by Jessica Redland

    3d book

    What do you think about this cover?

    The book will be published on May 13, but you can already pre-order the e-book for only 99p on Amazon!

  • Why I love Pilates


    Today I thought I would share with you why I love Pilates, a bit about my journey and how practising regularly can have an amazing effect on your happiness, health and wellbeing!

    As you may know I’m a full time Pilates Instructor and currently working super hard to set up my own business (which is very exciting), however, it pretty much means that everything I do at the moment revolves around Pilates… yep it definatly feels like I eat, sleep and breath Pilates! But hey what can I say – I’m super passionate about what I do and I love teaching my clients and seeing them improve and get stronger each week is fantastic!

    What exactly is Pilates I hear you say?

    Pilates is a method of exercise and physical conditioning designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. It’s not only incredible physically, it’s an amazing stress reliever too, so great for your overall wellbeing! By practising Pilates regularly you build up flexibility and suppleness while increasing endurance in the legs, abs, arms and back. It also increases strength and stamina by concentrating on the ‘deep core’ abdominal muscles and it’s through toning and stretching these muscles that posture can be corrected and strength and stamina can be naturally improved!


    Convinced yet? Read on…

    My personal Pilates journey started a few years ago when I was recovering from a broken ankle, which triggered a nervous disorder in my left foot called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. To put it simply, my brain still thought my ankle was broken and so continued to send out the pain!

    Pilates became a part of every day life for me on my road to recovery and it worked wonders as part of my rehab program due to it’s gentle and low-impact nature. With regular training I built up the muscles that had wasted away due to my injury and my ankle got so much stronger and my fitness was restored.

    Throughout my childhood and teenage years I was a keen dancer, but during the time after my injury my posture, balance and coordination was awful because of the constant use of crutches and then a walking stick for nearly two years! Pilates is amazing for posture and to ‘even you up’, so by sticking to Pilates regularly my spine became naturally lengthened and correctly aligned which made me feel so much lighter, taller and gave me such a confidence boost!


    Pilates really did change my life in the best way possible – it gave me enjoyment, strength, confidence and calmed my mind in a very stressful and painful period of my life. It teaches you to be so much more aware of your body and how it feels as well as toning up all those wobbly bits – don’t be fooled by thinking you are just chilling on a mat for an hour!

    For me it was such a natural step to train to become a teacher as I really wanted to pass on these fabulous benefits to everyone and to then be able to work closely with them to help them achieve their own goals and to watch how wonderfully it transforms peoples lives!

    Next month I will be giving you some top tips and exercises to trim and tone your waist! Perfect to get back into shape after enjoying and indulging a little during the 'Eggy season’ (meaning the chocolate variety of course)!

    Make sure you check out my new website, follow me on instagram Pilates3and like my page on Facebook for more Pilates chat and tips, links are down below!



    Type Holly Chapman Pilates into the Facebook search bar!

    Stay happy and healthy and remember to enjoy the moment…

    Love Holly


  • COVER REVEAL! 'How to Catch A (Rock) Star' by Gabrielle Aquilina

    How to Catch a (Rock) Star by Gabrielle Aquilina will be published on May 13th, but here is the highly anticipated Cover Reveal!

    What do you think about it?



  • How to change careers


    I worked in offices for five long, miserable years. As a modern history graduate, people always assumed that I wanted to be a teacher. I knew I didn’t want to teach, but I didn’t know what I did want to do. My childhood dreams of being a ballerina, actress, musician or writer seemed impossible now that I was in the adult world. (To be fair, not having had ballet classes for years, ballet dancing was an impossible ambition!)

    My life in offices

    I applied for every graduate job that I was even vaguely qualified for, but rarely got as much as an interview, let alone an offer. Eventually I managed to pick up a part time job providing admin assistance, which led me to sign with a temping agency.

    The first job they sent me to was with a firm of chartered surveyors. I walked in as a temp and left as a permanent member of staff. Although I loved the people I worked with – it was a small team of three directors with a trainee surveyor – the work itself was far from inspiring and once I had the office running like clockwork, I spent most of the day twiddling my thumbs.

    After a couple of years, I made the move to a financial PR company. It was common for PAs to be promoted into PR, so I saw this as my great chance to break into a career that was more creative, but after a year, I still had no idea what they did, so I took on a position as a Marketing Assistant with a reinsurance company.

    Working in that highly conservative environment was what finally gave me the impetus to give it up and move into a creative field. I was so unhappy working there that I couldn’t face going to yet another office job. Although my attempts to launch a world-conquering music career were ultimately unsuccessful, it planted the seed that it was possible to make money doing something I loved.

    After I’d had three children, I was looking for ways in which I could bring some money in and decided to set up a publishing company. That was the beginning of a move into writing and five years later I sold it as a going concern so I could focus full time on my writing and ever since then, my career has gone from strength to strength.

    Switching Careers

    Don’t be afraid

    My advice to anyone looking to move into a creative career is don’t be afraid of failure. Fear is your worst enemy and when you’re pitching to a client or an agent or a publishing house, you need to have absolute confidence that you are the absolute best person for the job. However, you also need to be prepared for rejection (which doesn’t mean failure). You’re not going to be the right fit for every client and that’s OK. It’s not any reflection on your ability, it just means that you weren’t what they were looking for.

    No experience is wasted

    Just because you didn’t go straight from school into a creative career doesn’t mean you’ve missed your opportunity. Sheryl Crow didn’t release her first album until she was 31; Glenn Close was 27 when her professional acting career began. If I knew in my twenties what I know now, I don’t know if I’d have had the courage to give writing a go, but I certainly wouldn’t have the experiences that have informed my writing. If I’d never set foot in an office, I wouldn’t be able to recreate that atmosphere. If I hadn’t have had children, I wouldn’t have the specialist insight that really launched my freelance writing career.

    Don’t discount the power of luck

    Much as it’s lovely to think that the most talented people are the ones who make it, I’ve known countless extremely talented people over the years who’ve never been able to make a living doing what they love. There is a strong element of luck involved in meeting the right people and being in the right place at the right time. When a friend of mine was setting up a publishing company, I wrote a non-fiction book for her because she was looking to build up a catalogue quickly. If I hadn’t have known her personally, I would never have had that opportunity.

    You can make your own luck!

    There’s a saying: if you want to marry a millionaire, go to where the millionaires hang out and the same applies to the creative fields. Network, network, network and always be professional at all times. You never know when a contact might come in useful and if you’ve made a good impression when you first met, it can pay dividends in the future.

    Have a back-up plan

    I’ve temped twice in my life and both times I was offered a full time position on the same day. Knowing that I have skills that can get me a job if I really need one has meant that I have the reassurance of a back-up plan – as well as the drive that comes from knowing that I never want to work back in an office again!

    Quiz - career change_0

    Sophie Childs is the author of Behind the Scenes, available in paperback and e-book through Amazon, So Vain Books, The Great British Bookshop, Wordery and anywhere books are sold online!

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