I was living in South Africa and had written and illustrated ‘The South African Illustrated Cookbook’ prior to meeting my husband, Ant. Shortly after we were together, I was pregnant with twins. Then when they were 18 months old I was pregnant again, with a boy. We lived on a fruit farm at that time. The hours slowed down when we were in baby mode, it was beautiful but gruelling at the same time. The kids weren’t sleepers, so neither were we. Time stretched. I used to bump into my husband in the middle of the night we would both have a baby on our chests and we would be jiggling. As the girls were identical twins, sometimes I had no idea which one I was holding.
Once the kids were around 4 and 6 I wanted to do another book, I had previously written and illustrated a South African cookbook. At the time I had help with the kids so I had the luxury to escape for a few hours in the morning, to a space which was a big glassy shed in the garden of a house. It was a haven really at that point. I sat and sat thinking of writing a kids book, nothing came…I went blank.
Then I asked the deeper question ‘What do I need to write?’ and from there the idea was a book for myself and other women, to make them laugh and positively reflect on the good stuff. I decided to write to friends and asked them the basic question ’What makes you happy?’ and answers started pouring in, then I asked the friends to ask their friends and more e mails came in. It was uplifting and lovely to hear other women’s thoughts on what made them happy. The responses were always very similar and simple and heart-warming. So from the answers that were sent to me and from my own thoughts came The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women. It was first self-published in South Africa and has now been published in the UK. The reason it came in to existence in the UK is also due to the fact that a lovely woman named Kicki had it in her bag when she went to a meeting at the publishers Pinter and Martin. She magically brought it out and blew my trumpet for me. I had only met her once before! Talk about generosity of spirit. Thank you generous warm hearted Kicki.
I think that all over the world women do a lot. I wanted to write and illustrate a book that could make a woman stop, pause and relax, even if just for a moment. I really hope I have achieved that.
And for those of you that have the book I hope it inspires you to do something for yourself, even if it is to dress up as a bee, float in the bath or go out in the rain in your underwear…