Tag Archives: daisy waugh

Superwoman?

 

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Candice: I had a moment the other week were I realised I was trying to be superwoman, and I had to just give up.

The week before I went on holiday I’d been to Leeds for a meeting on the Monday, London for the same on the Tuesday and then down to London again on the Wednesday night for our speaking event.  I then had a weekend of packing and child entertaining before three more days of work, two trips to the gym and then off on hols.  I remember putting a post on Facebook saying I was a little overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done  before we went away. I then also promised Phil a blog post on our Books show off experience before the flight.

Well the morning of our holiday it was spent running around like a headless chicken packing and sorting before the parents arrived to give us a lift to the airport. There were documents to print, cats to sort and children to collect.  In the middle of it all I managed to cut my finger open on a broken glass so ended up going to the airport with dried blood still on my hand!

Two days into the holiday I had finally started to relax.  We’d sorted out sleeping arrangements (child with bedroom, parents on pull out bed in lounge), where breakfast was, the best sun loungers and optimal child entertainment. I’d even managed to crack open my first book of the trip. Then I realised… the promised blog post had not been written.

And I’m sorry, Phil, I just gave up on trying to be everything to everyone.

I had really enjoyed our event in London.  I’d been quite nervous but once I got up there, as always happens, I was fine.  I actually struggled to let Phil get a word in edgeways!

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But then life took over and I think that week took its toll.

Just before Erin was born Phil gave me a signed copy of a book by a lady we had been corresponding with, writer Daisy Waugh. Called “I don’t know why she bothers”, it is all about women trying to do too much for their children; baking cakes at midnight, making costumes etc.  Well this isn’t me trying to do it for my daughter, its me trying to do it for me.

I’m glad I tried to stop being a superwoman for a week.  We had a great holiday and I now feel much more relaxed as I try and get back into work.  I’m sure that frantic nature will rear its head again but I’ll be keeping it in check as best as I can.

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By sheer force of will

Henley LunchCandice: People (women mainly, to be honest) often ask me ‘how do you fit it all in?’

By that they mean: working full time, training for a half marathon, writing a blog and a book, etc etc.

My answer is ‘Its a balancing act’. Well, that’s the diplomatic answer to be honest its mainly by sheer force of will!

I’m running my post baby half marathon on Sunday. I was supposed to be running it last October, it was all part of my post Erin recovery plan: have baby, train for half marathon, get back to work. However, after a slow start due to a C Section and then my early return to work, I was starting to get in to the training.

Then I fell over. Short slip up, I thought, but oh no, they found I’d fractured a bone in my leg and all running went out the window. So I picked myself up, literally, and started again in January.

This time though its been another battle: cold weather, sports massages for dodgy quad muscles, chiropractor sessions for misalignment, flu and then this last weekend a bought of stomach bug which meant my last big run went out the window. Add to that the usual issues of new job, more travelling and balancing the child care then even just fitting in all the runs has been hard work. A lot of people would have given up and called it quits.

Then Phil and I decide to ramp it up and write another book.

Now this, more than the running at the moment, is light relief from the day to day, but just trying to fit that in is hard work. Once baby has gone to bed and you have tided up, all you want to do is collapse on the sofa. But then you have all these ideas buzzing around your head which you need to get down on paper.

Phil and I enjoyed a catch up over tea and cakes yesterday in the picturesque town of Henley in Arden, local to both of us. Ideas where discussed, plans drawn up and freckles gained in the lovely sunshine. But in the back of the mind there is always more to do to keep the house ticking over.

So why do I do it?

I could just ditch the book, the running or both and just get on with being a working mom.

Well, sometimes I wish it was that easy. But I can’t. If I don’t exercise I feel stodgy and loose my motivation in other areas (I had to do a turn round the block after the chocolate tiffin and apple strudel we shared) and the book is just something that excites me. Without those things I’d wouldn’t feel like I real existed.

The down side, always chasing my tail and feeling a bit frazzled.

Well at least, to quote Daisy Waugh’s book ‘I don’t know why she does it’, I’m not up to midnight baking cakes for class too as that would just be a step too far.

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We’ve got it covered

2229211Candice: Phil and I have had many conversations about book covers along the way.  Nine times out of ten he goes off and does something amazing with a computer, some models and his camera and comes up with more ideas.  However, we are now in discussions with our interesting book project (more to be revealed soon) and they have asked us about a cover.

We’ve been touting around one or two options for the last year and discussed how other’s book cover styles influence how readers perceive their books. But now we have the challenge ourselves.

I’m not going to go into detail on what we have been doing at the moment, but the process has made me think about how covers can date your book.  I’ve just finished reading ‘Ten steps to happiness’ by Daisy Waugh.  It’s totally different from the other books of hers I have read – Last Dance with Valentino still goes down as my favourite.  But its more in mine and Phil’s style, a romping good bit of rom com fun.  The premise is a PR guru, Jo, who has left her London contacts and set up with her husband in his crumbling pile in the country.  To save the house and farm they create a refuge from the media for disgraced celebs .  It romps though issues with the council and an underhand MP who is trying to get his hands on the house and one of the celebs to hide his true tendencies, to a satisfying conclusion.

However, the one thing I note with the front cover is the picture of a mobile phone.  It’s a Nokia from the days when everything was mono and you only had 140 characters in a text.  The book was printed in 2003.  Alongside this I went to a brand presentation last week from an ad agency, and the one thing the guy said when talking about using images in a campaign is ‘DONT USE MOBILE PHONES, THEY DATE.’  Looking back it’s so obvious, but back in the early 2000’s we probably though that was as good as mobile was going to get, not knowing about 4G and iPhones on the horizon.

So, note to Phil and I while we still explore ideas – don’t put something on the cover that will date the book.

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Everyone is allowed an opinion, aren’t they?

Candice: If I’d written this post yesterday there would be a lot of expletives.  I was fuming from being bitch slapped by the breastfeeding mom nazis.  (That’s the polite version on my feelings)

I won’t go into detail but I now have an insight into why Daisy Waugh wrote the book I am currently dipping into, the one that Phil managed to get a signed copy for me.  It’s called – ‘ I don’t know why she bothers’.  I gave an opinion on something, advice I’d been passed by another mother and was pretty much told I was a bad mother for saying it.

I’m not going to review it now as I haven’t read it all yet.  I’m dipping into sections as I come across them with Erin’s development so I’ll be reading it for years.

But that, and the situation yesterday, made me think.  I, unfortunately, can come across as bossy and a bit of a know it all when it comes to life.  I’ve done a few things, travelled to a few places and have some life experience.  So when someone offers something I can add an opinion to, I often do.  However, this has caught me out a few times as people take offence and think I am trying to teach them something, though I am only trying to help.

Sometimes I just wish I could shut my trap, but I can’t help it when I see people who are in the wrong, be that driving in the middle lane of the motorway, queue jumping in a shop or making life hard for themselves as the world has convinced them that it makes them a bad mom to do it any other way.  My other half is worse on the driving gesticulation front though!

Phil and I have been to numerous events over the years about how to write.  They have been informative, useful and generally given us a few pointers (and helped us pick up some writing buddies) but they don’t have the panacea for getting that book published.

Just yesterday we got some positive feedback on the book, but in a rejection email, so we are still plugging away at it like everyone else.  But we’d like to think that a few pointers here and there can help along the way.

But I think sometimes people take everything they read on the web as gospel.  The internet can be extremely helpful but also your worst enemy, whether you are looking for ways to make a six-week old baby sleep, or ways to get your book published.  Too much information!

So I hope you like our musing on the blog but people, don’t feel that this is the be all and end all.  And when we do get published, certainly buy our books and attend our events when we talk about how to get published, but don’t forget to do it your own way.

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Signed Books

Polly CourtneyPhil: ’tis true. I did acquire a signed copy of  “I don’t know why she bothers” as a bump present for my friend a few weeks ago. It seemed a nice thing to do.

Arranging this wasn’t difficult either. An e-mail to the author pointed me in the direction of a suitable bookshop. Two phone calls later and I’d established they still had a copy from a signing session and I could have it in return for my credit card number. I think the result was a happy Nolan.

Signed books are odd things. We get all excited that the author has scrawled some words in the front when the best bits are those printed inside. With most authors, they are both written by the same person after all!

I’ve managed to sign a few bookazines myself in the last year. Being asked to do your scrawl is wonderful (Hint: Make sure your pen will write on the paper the thing is publishing in). If you are at all nervous of approaching an author for their signature, don’t be. We love it in the same way a dog likes its tummy tickled. For a start, we know that you love us. More importantly, we know someone bought our publication. Yay!

Having supervised a few book signings in a local theatre, I have watched the skilled author at work. A queue 2 dozen long can be despatched in half an hour. Every person gets a few words in both print and speech and they go away happy. The “star” gets a warm feeling of appreciation and the knowledge that the next book will find some readers.

Mind you, you do have to wonder sometimes. The picture shows Polly Courtney’s signature from the front of a copy of “Golden Handcuffs” I picked up in a charity shop. For a pound. Looking at the state of the spine, the book was unread. Well, both of us have fixed that, even if one of us wasn’t in mind when it was written…

Anyway, for the moment, you’ll have to put up with our signed website. One day, we’ll be behind the table with a big stack of books ready to be defaced.

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We all need a break

Orange junce@Pool sideCandice I’ve had an interesting few weeks trying to do too much in one go. It all came to a head yesterday at which point I decided I needed a break.

When Phil and I met the other week he had got me a copy of Daisy Waugh’s book, ‘ I don’t know why she bothers.‘ Signed no less. It was a really nice surprise especially as he also had a note from Daisy for me.

The title has really made me think about what has been going on and how we all push ourselves too much these days, we have to have cleaners and take out car to the car wash because we never have the time. Daisy’s book is all about working moms and how they are up baking cakes for little Tarquin’s school fete at 3am rather that saying ‘I don’t have the time, I’ll just buy one.’

So everyone, give yourself and break and go and have a nice afternoon with a good book, I certainly plan to.

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Last Dance with Valentino by Daisy Waugh

CaptureCandice : As you will remember, our little blogets (Nolanparker version of Gaga’s Monsters) we posted an interview with Daisy Waugh a few weeks ago.  So, as Phil and I were discussing the questions for Ms Waugh I thought it might be good to get some background material.  Next door to our regular tea and cake haunt in Solihull is Waterstones.  We popped in and I came away with ‘Last Dance with Valentino’.

Now, not really being a historical drama person myself, and not really being too sure what Daisy’s style was outside the Sunday Times, I didn’t know what to expect but I hoped I’d like it.

‘Dance’ is sent in the 1920’s, around Jennifer and her relationship with the man who becomes Rudolph Valentino.   They fall in love but, due to circumstances out of their control, they are then separated.  By the time she travels across America to find him again, he is gone from the hotel they are to meet at and she has no other way of getting in touch with him. So 10 long years go by before they meet again, during which time he goes from being a paid dancer to a huge movie star. I’m sure I’m not giving the game away to say Valentino dies in the end leaving Jenny lost and alone after just finding him again.

Based on actual events, Daisy has crafted a fictional story around the mysterious Jenny who Valentino is said to have cried for as he is dying.

Now, you could say I am biased, but I have to say this is the best book I have read in AGES!  I couldn’t put it down from the word go as I became totally immersed in the world of Jenny and Rudy as they fight against the class system that confines them and limited communications available at that time.  The last section, where she is trying to get in touch with him as he lies dying in the hospital literally left me desperate to know, such that I read it solidly on a train journey from London and then carried on as soon as I got home.  I don’t think I said hello to the other half as he walked in the door, I was so desperate for Jenny to get to her Rudy.

I think it helped that the book was based in fact, making the situations that they come up against much more plausible.  From my point of view, also helps that the idea of being the one true love of a famous person takes me back to when I had pin ups on my walls and hoped that one day one of them would find me and sweep me off my feet.  I also loved the drama and behind the scenes look at Hollywood, being a film buff and actor.

I’ve leant the book to my sister as I think it might make her smile and then its on its way to Phil for a boy’s view-point.  I’m now off to see what else Daisy has done as I enjoyed this one so much!

http://www.novelicious.com/2011/07/review-last-dance-with-valentino-by-daisy-waugh.html

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