About Me

I am a novelist and a journalist. I have two children a son born in 2001 and a daughter born in 2004. We live in London.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter Hols

I’m going away to visit my mother for Easter, which sounds fabulous but I have a serious case of body crisis. It’s going to be hot which means taking my clothes off. I am dreading revealing my white mottled skin, the winter flab, the un-toned arms. It seems atrocious that I will have to walk around in the equivalent of a bra and pants for two weeks, after a winter cosseted in many many layers. I have booked a few last minute beauty appointments including an inch loss treatment that promises to work, a hair cut, pedicure and wax. I always think it’s so weird to hurtle many miles across the sky, and enter a different time zone and a totally different climate. During my years as a climate campaigner, I haven’t been much further than Morocco.

I returned from my universal body wrap. I was literally smothered in mud and wrapped in bandages, and looked like an Eypyian mummy. The woman measured me before the treatment and said that my waist measured 38 inches!! I protested as I know it’s 31 and she insisted and after the hour of being wrapped up, so tight my ribs hurt, she said I had lost 13 inches all over, which frankly I found hard to believe. I couldn’t take her seriously after what she said about my waist size.

It’s the last day of school for my children. I have just returned from the Easter Bonnet parade, (it only feels like a few days since book parade). I thought they had done well: Jude wore a red cowboy style hat covered in chicks and had plastic eggs on string hanging down from the rim like a joke Australian) but their hats were nothing compared to some of the others, which included giant size papier mache eggs and hats with huge flowery stalks. Note to self: Make even more effort next time: Hire a costume designer.

Lastly please check out a campaign that is petitioning to give this country more daylight and therefore stop wasting energy lighting our dark streets so early in the winter. I am right behind this as I think there is nothing more depressing than short winter days.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Screening 1st Nanny Mcphee for bloggers this Friday (plus entertainment)

I had the following email and thought I'd pass it on:

The details of the event are below, any bloggers can RSVP to me at stella@thinkjam.com as we have a special reservation for bloggers – anyone else can reserve seats at events@foyles.co.uk.


To celebrate the release of Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang, in cinemas on 26th March, we’ve teamed up with Foyles to organise a fun filled afternoon for all the family at their London Charing Cross Store this Friday - day of release! To put you in the mood for the return of everyone’s favourite magical nanny, we’ll be screening the first Nanny McPhee film in The Gallery at Foyles Charing Cross on March 26th from 4pm with refreshments and entertainment for parents and kids alike!

If you would like to reserve a place for you and your family at this event please email events@foyles.co.uk to reserve your seats.

In Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Oscar®-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson returns to the role of the magical nanny who appears when she’s needed the most and wanted the least in the next chapter of the hilarious and heartwarming fable that has enchanted children around the world.

In the latest installment, Nanny McPhee appears at the door of a harried young mother, Mrs. Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war. But once she’s arrived, Nanny McPhee discovers that Mrs. Green’s children are fighting a war of their own against two spoiled city cousins who have just moved in and refuse to leave.

Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes to life to a tree-climbing piglet and a baby elephant who turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to teach her mischievous charges five new lessons.

For more information on Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang please go to official website: www.nannymcphee.co.uk

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Nanny McPhee

We took the children to a preview of Nanny McPhee And The Big |Bang and they loved it. I really admire Emma Thompson who stars at the wart-strewn nanny, and wrote the script. It was as English as a film could be, and sunny and set during the 2nd World War, when children took pleasure in picnics with ginger beer, and watching pigs fly (there is an amazing scene in the movie when pigs fly and dance and swim). It made me nostalgic for that era, when children didn’t have the need for computers and Wii’s and top end gadgets. I know I could choose not to let my son play on things like this, but he would be a freak amongst his peers so we give him limited periods of time when he can. He’s nearly nine and it is quite depressing, but at least he really enjoyed the film, more than Alice in Wonderland but less than Avatar. It was strange seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal as the harassed but rather beautiful mother in a gloriously innocent children’s movie, as the last time I saw her, she was playing a secretary who was having a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with her boss. He whipped her on the bum as she leant over his desk and that was the least of it.

I have started writing a column in the Times called Marriage, which let’s face it is based on my own with a few little twists and turns. It comes out on a Tuesday in the Body and Soul section. My husband is very cool about it, as I passed it with him several times and of course its exaggerated and things are taken out of context and manipulated but still its quite strange writing candidly about our life. I felt the need to do it after talking over the years to my girlfriends who are either married or in long term relationships and are comforted to know that not everyone has a perfect relationship. I used to write a single girls column and it was entirely fictional, the girl was maddening, mad, wild and weird, but people still used to think it was me!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Wedding Belle

My five year old daughter Belle got married about two weeks ago, to a little boy called Adam who lives round the corner and is also in her class at school. She told me proudly that they had snogged!!!!! Well first she said they had kissed, then she said, "and you know, what's that word? Snogged? We snogged." I was quite shocked, as you can imagine and asked her what snogged meant, hoping,praying, that she didn't think it meant a full on kiss with tongues. Luckily she told me it meant kissing on the lips.

A few days later she said they had an argument and she no longer wanted to go for a sleepover. I was slightly relieved, as was worried what they may get up to in the same bedroom. Yesterday she said they weren't friends any more. This morning, my husband walked to school with his mother and he said they prowled around each other, Adam, asking Belle to chase her etc. and then getting cross when she did. His mother said that at breakfast Adam said, "I don't want to set eyes on Belle again," his 7 year old brother retorted, "that's cos your marriage broke up!" Hilarious.

This is a link to my second column in the Times. Its about the real stark dark, funny, up and down reality of being married!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Marriage column in the Times

My first column on marriage started in the Times last Tuesday. It's a lighthearted look at the difficulties of living with someone day in and day out. I know from talking to girlfriends that not everyone has the perfect sex life or the most amazing marriage all the time, and who would want to read about that anyway? Surely that would be boring and slightly smug.

So far the only two comments underneath the article have not been positive. Clearly though these people want to read about a loving, perfect marriage but I just don't think that's a true look at the reality of a long term partnership. They say that it is a depressing look at marriage, but its meant to be funny and sad and true. I think the last line shows that they still love each other. If anyone manages to read it I'd love to know. There will be more on Tuesdays.