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Love and Relationships

  • Mother's Day: How it is to be a mother of five

    Growing up, I always knew that I wanted children one day. In my mind’s eye, I’d see myself with one child, a daughter who looked just like me, and she’d like all the things that I did and we’d go to plays and circuses and theme parks together and just have non-stop fun.

    I know. Naïve or what?

    When my son was born and they placed him in my arms, I felt a fierce rush of love, the like of which I’d never felt before. I might just have had a baby, but I felt even more broody than I had before I had him and 14 months later, his sister was born.

    It turns out that babies are really addictive. We immigrated to New Zealand and my husband went first while I stayed behind to sell our house. Two and a half months later I joined him with our children and since we’d really missed each other, within three days of arriving, I was pregnant.

    We’d planned to have two children close together, a break, then two more, but my third child threw our timing out. Still, I had my mini-me at last, at least in terms of looks, and we loved having three children. Fast forward a couple of years and we had baby number four, our last, or so we thought. However, my youngest son had other ideas, so we welcomed him into the world when our oldest boy was 7 and at last our family was complete.

    Owl

    A lot of people ask me how I cope, but to be honest, I think the more children you have, the easier it is. I look at people with one child and wonder how they cope. You have to be sole source of entertainment when you only have one child and no matter what way you look at it, children are hard work. However, when your child has siblings to play with, it makes things a little easier because they’ve got someone else to have fun with, at least for a little while.

    I do have a strong routine established. I have to – we home educate our children, so I’m juggling taking them to swimming lessons, Brownies and Guides, youth clubs, etc., while trying to squeeze in time for writing. I’m lucky in that I write fast and I’m a night owl, so my brain doesn’t really get into gear until the children are starting to wind down for the night, so we can do all the things we need to do during the day and I can write in the evening.

    One of the things I love about home educating is that we get to do so many things together that wouldn’t be possible if the children were in school. My children have a fantastic childhood, one I wish that I’d had! They do their formal work in the morning (maths, English, etc.) and the afternoons are free to do whatever we like. We live in South Wales, so we have a lot of castles and countryside within easy access and we often go exploring with our little dog, Dali, a shih tzu/bichon frise cross.

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    Having children has also helped my writing career. As a freelance writer, I’m often asked to write pieces about parenting and much as I wish that I’d started freelancing earlier, I believe that the experience I’ve had with my children has really enriched my writing. They’re all such unique people and growing up so fast. I want to take every moment with them I can, because I know it’s not going to be long before they’re going out into the big, wide world.

    I want to wish a very happy mother's day to all the mothers' out there. And if you would like to share your experience as a mother with me, feel free to contact me or tweet mentioning @SophieWritealot. I'd love to talk to you and hear all your stories!

     

    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!

  • Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?

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    I always believed in the idea of love at first sight, but more of an idea than something that would ever happen to me. All that changed one fateful day.

    I’d been a member of a Yahoo! discussion group and there were regular meetings for members so you could get to know the person behind the email. I’d been chatting to one particular guy off list and we agreed to meet for a drink with a couple of mutual friends before going to one of the meetings.

    I’ll never forget the day I was sitting with my friends, waiting for that man to arrive. Suddenly, a tall, dark bearded figure wearing a long, leather coat, leaned over the table, thrusting a hand in my general direction. “Hi. I’m Al,” he said before disappearing off to the bar, leaving me reeling. In my head, he’d been blonde and larger than life, not to mention significantly older than me. The man I’d just met was exactly my type – and much younger than I’d thought.

    I don’t remember much about that first night, but I do know that we spent most of it talking and at every meet after that, we always sought each other out. It was strange having a budding relationship develop in front of an audience and the other group members clearly thought it was really funny that someone was finally taming Al, who had a reputation as a bit of a player.

    At last we went out for a pre-date dinner with those same mutual friends and sparks flew. Al made it clear that he was only interested in a long term relationship and that was fine by me. The more time I spent with him, the more I liked what I saw.

    At the end of February, we’ll be celebrating 13 years together. We were married 9 months after we met and since then, we’ve had five children, emigrated to New Zealand and came back home again, dealt with bereavements, job losses, and a whole heap of highly stressful situations that might have broken another couple, yet we stayed strong throughout.

    I can honestly say that every time I look at my husband, I fall in love with him all over again. He’s as gorgeous as he was when first met in that pub, even if he does have a few white hairs now. I’m living proof that love at first sight really does exist – and it lasts.

    Happy Valentine's day to everyone!

     

    Sophie Childs is the author of Behind the Scenes, a must-read hilarious novel about love, career and complications, now available for pre-order only on So Vain Books.

  • 8 fail-safe relationship tips we can all learn from Jane Austen

    Written by Susannah Cronin Jane Austen Afecionada 

    2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, and so reaffirmed that Austen’s novels are just as popular as ever. Apart from being greatly entertaining stories, they serve as an interesting insight to the social interactions of 18th century England. The romances of Lizzie and Darcy - and all other of Austen’s couples - are beloved and coveted by many the world over. But how can their relationships assist us in ‘courting’ in the 21st century? Here are eight relationship tips we can all take from Jane Austen and apply to our love lives today.

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    1

    Beware of your friends getting too involved

    Harriet Smith, in Austen’s Emma, is persuaded by her friend to turn down an offer of marriage. Harriet endures much distress throughout the novel, only to follow her heart and accept the offer after all. Particularly when you first begin dating it can be tempting to discuss each and every tiny detail about your date with your friends. Friends are there to listen, but beware of them becoming too involved. Although they may have your best interests at heart, what they deem to be right may in fact cause heartache to both you and your date. The relationship should exist between you two alone!

    2

    Don’t be ‘hopelessly devoted’

    Emma Woodhouse and George Knightly enjoy a flirtation without being in each other’s pockets all the time. Life is made up of so much more besides their relationship. As much as you must connect with, and be there for your partner, put yourself first once in a while. You both need space and time to indulge in your own activities and hobbies. You can’t spend every waking moment together; it isn’t healthy.

    Austen2Northanger Abbey

    3

    Laughter is the best medicine

    The basis of Henry Tilney and Catherine Moreland’s relationship is formed on merriment. One of the most important components of a relationship is a sense of humour. Try not to take yourselves too seriously. Things happen, we’re not all prefect all the time. Learn to laugh at yourselves!

    If your partner needs reprimanding, go ahead!

    Catherine’s over-active imagination does eventually lead to trouble. Henry puts her in her place and shows her the error of her ways when she goes too far. When your partner really deserves a telling off –do it! Don’t be afraid of confrontation. How else will you both grow and learn from each other?

    Sense and Sensibility

    Don’t fall for superficial qualities

    Marianne Dashwood enjoys a whirlwind ‘love-at-first-sight’ romance with Willoughby …until he dumps her for a much richer woman. We then discover he’s not a wholesome as he appears. Of course, there were 18th century social factors at work, but even so… Obviously attraction is vastly important when it comes to dating, yet a handsome face and charisma exclusively will not make a relationship work. Pay attention to the moralities and kindness of a person. Marianne does find happiness in the end with the far less dashing, yet far more gracious and righteous Colonel Brandon.

    Persuasion

    Bad beginnings can signify happy endings

    Anne Elliot gets her second chance at happiness when she accepts Captain Wentworth’s proposal of marriage. She endures much pain on his account after being persuaded to refuse him eight years previously. Bad beginnings with someone don’t necessarily always mean that you’re written off forever. Just look at Darcy and Lizzie, Jane and Bingley, Elinor and Edward, and many other of Austen’s couples. That’s not to say: go back to someone who has treated you atrociously. Rather, try as much as possible to keep an open mind in these situations. You never know what might happen!

    Pride and Prejudice

    Always stay true to yourself

    Lizzie Bennett’s unrestrained sense of self-worth is one of the many qualities which first attracts the eye of Mr Darcy. She’s a strong female character who is unafraid of being herself, or provoking the disdain of the much richer Miss Bingley. When dating someone in the early days: always be yourself. It’s tempting to impress your date by telling little white lies here and there, but if you want to establish a proper relationship with this person, don’t say anything you may regret later on. Don’t change yourself for anyone. You want someone to appreciate you for who you are. If you do end up together, lies will inevitably be found out!

    Being single is great!

    Finally, don’t ‘do a Charlotte Lucas’ and settle! Admittedly, Miss Lucas had rather limited options when it came to marrying, but today - the possibilities are endless! Embrace singledom! Truly, your happiness doesn’t depend upon a relationship with a man, even one such as Mr Darcy. Go out and enjoy your time as a free, intelligent girl! Let the Darcys of the world come to you.

     

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