Book Review: The Mummy Lessons by Helen Wallen

Parenting

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Firstly, I want to say that I only found out yesterday that The Mummy Lessons is the second book in what is hopefully a whole series, following the motherhood experiences of three childhood friends, Emily, Liz and Molly. I am clearly very late to this party! But, like many parties, it’s better to be late than not turn up at all. And, even without knowing the hosts, I still had an awesome time and ended the evening feeling like I knew them well. Plus, it left me wanting to go out and get that first book…

OK, that’s enough of the party metaphors.

It’s true that all three ladies in the book are completely different people, all doing the motherhood thing differently, but you can’t help but sympathise with them all in some way. As a mother, I have probably felt the same way as all of them at some stage in my own experience, and I think other mothers (and fathers) will find this, too. This is how Helen Wallen draws us in to the story – She makes us fully empathise with the characters. I am not going to spoil the story in any way, as that would be just mean (and make my partner, who is a writer of stories, very angry with me!), but it felt like I was reading the diaries, Whatsapp chats and blog posts (and witty poetry!) of my dearest mummy friends – Content that I’d heard, felt and seen before, but this was portrayed by other people… so WE ARE NOT ALONE then!

This is one of the main things that I loved about this book – Its familiarity. It made it a real joy to read. Even at the end of a day (or sixteen) where I have felt so tired and fed up, this book brightened me up and made me laugh out loud before bedtime. Helen’s language and her ease at telling her characters’ stories made it easy to follow and kept me entertained throughout, even when things weren’t going too well in the story (Again, no spoilers).

The book also reinforces the importance of mummy friends, and I think every mum will read this book and feel ever-more grateful for their village. I know I did. I don’t think any of the characters could have gone through these stages of motherhood without each other, and I genuinely feel this way about my own mummy group. Just reading the Whatsapp conversations about babies that won’t sleep, and getting messages at 4.30am and actually responding to them… I remember it all so well!

What sets this apart from other books of its kind is that it is completely fictional (It seems that most others seem to be either autobiographical or an advice book rather than a story), but there is still a hint of ‘hmmmm’ about whether Helen Wallen has used some of her own experiences to create the stories of her characters. I can imagine that most of the parents out there could split their crazy experiences across three separate and totally different characters and still manage to make the stories feel so real.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this book, and was sad when I’d finished it (Although I got a little taster of Helen’s first book, Baby Boom, at the end – Nice touch!). It made me feel warm and cosy, but also sad and empathetic at times. This crazy journey we’re on as parents can only be fully enjoyed with laughter, jokes, not-so-candid conversations about baby weaning and a few swear words, and Helen Wallen has brought that into print for us all to enjoy, and for really not that much money! If that’s not a tonic, I don’t know what is…

NSG xxx

Where else can you follow Helen Wallen aka Just A Normal Mummy other than physically stalking her and her family?

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  • Links to the books on Amazon can be found in their titles, above. The Mummy Lessons is available on Kindle for only 99p for a limited time only – Get your copy asap!

 

 

What has NSG been up to this week?

Parenting

Hello followers! How are you all? I hope you’re having a good week, whether it is raining, windy, sunny, or all of the above.

It has been an interesting week in NSG Towers. Khaya turned a magnificent FOUR on Monday, and we took a rather brilliant trip to Hamley’s on Regent Street in order for him to choose his birthday present. We also promised Nathi an ‘unbirthday present’, which is a tradition in my family. Here are some of the highlights:

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We have also been busy seeing family, and making Baba Bear feel comfortable in his London home after being away for over a year.

Mama has been on a bit of a fundraising jolly, having raised over and above my goal for Ovacome through my birthday fundraiser. We now have an active family fundraiser for Comic Relief through JustGiving, which went live this evening. The boys took part in a cake sale at their nursery today, and we will all be tuning in to the Comic Relief live show on BBC1 tomorrow evening.

I was also very moved by the awful Ethiopian Airways plane crash this week. It was, quite frankly, way too close to home. Not only have we used that airline, and possibly that very aircraft, in the past, but my partner told me that he could have been on that flight if he’d decided to stay in Ethiopia a little longer for a work launch. He said that he would have flown any route to get him back to the UK that didn’t cost the earth, which very well may have included flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi for a connecting flight. I can’t imagine what the families of those poor victims are going through right now. My thoughts are with them.

I have ordered more merchandise for my company, just for me, and have been working on a business plan to find out what I can do next. What kind of journey will this venture take me on? I never saw myself as someone who would need to know anything about business, but perhaps this is what I was meant to do after all.

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I am currently halfway through my amazing Start Writing Fiction course, which I signed up for through FutureLearn. It is free, and it is run by the Open University. I am really enjoying it, and am getting lots of interesting and useful guidance for my fiction writing. And, did I mention, IT’S FREE! I urge you to go to their site and see if there is a course for you. I bet there will be. Here you go: https://www.futurelearn.com/.

And now, we are gearing up for our friends at Two Gents’ production of The Importance of Being Earnest at Tara Arts Theatre in Earlsfield, SW18, which closes on Saturday night. If you’re local and fancy a night out, please book your tickets here. It’s a two-hander, both females, and should be a very interesting and entertaining night of theatre!

So, I hope everyone has a great weekend, and please donate anything you can to our Comic Relief fundraiser over on JustGiving. It all goes to the people who need it the most and, as much as I believe that this shouldn’t be how the world is in 2019, every little will help. Thank you, and goodnight.

NSG xxx

PS. I learned a little lesson in reblogging today, and how not to do it. I reposted a lovely post that I had enjoyed by another blogger on WordPress, but hadn’t made it clear enough that it wasn’t my own post… Needless to say, I had a concerned friend contact me by text about it, so immediately took it down again. Huge apologies to the blogger who wrote the original post – I am still learning!