Anna Pasternak Discovers A Divine UK Getaway

Splendid day out: One of the highlight's of a stay in a holiday cottage in Sussex is a visit to Arundel Castle

UK holidays: No strain, no pain, just pure gain… falling for the rustic charm of a West Sussex getaway

By Anna Pasternak
Last updated at 2:31 PM on 21st March 2010

Confession time: I’m a holiday property porn addict. My guilty obsession started during the recession because I simply couldn’t afford to go on holiday abroad. So I settled on a seaside jaunt in Britain.

But finding a divine Devon, dog-friendly bolthole was as rare as a British barbecue summer, because every seaside pad from Land’s End to the Scottish sea lochs was booked.

Then, stumbling across www.uniquehomestays.com, I felt as if I’d been transported from the dismal rental land of damp cottages with lumpy mattresses to a pampered world with dishwashers and tumble dryers where we might actually relax and have a holiday.

Ladies, I promise you that if you log onto this site you’ll discover how addictive sheer escapism can be.

The gorgeous properties they call ‘hometels’ are straight out of World Of Interiors with stylish understated decor, huge baths, power showers and piles of fluffy white towels.

But do these properties actually deliver rental nirvana or is it all an empty, air-brushed photographic promise?

We tried out the only property they had vacant last summer, Tides Reach in Willowhayne, a private seaside estate in West Sussex that sleeps eight. Twenty yards from a private beach, it said it had sea views from the upstairs bedrooms — and it did.

When we arrived, we mooched about opening cupboards and had a good old nosey around.

Along with the en suite bathrooms proffering lovely soap (which I always forget to take), the crisp white bedlinen and snazzy suede bedspreads, it boasted the best-stocked kitchen I’ve ever seen, with a cooking range that Heston Blumenthal is probably au fait with, but I could hardly fathom.

Grand: Tides Reach in West Sussex is just 20 yards from a private residents-only beach

My daughter was ecstatic with her bunk bed, while I coveted her splash of colourful Cath Kidston cushions.

And for all those rainy afternoons there was Sky and Sky+ on the plasma screen. There was also a large American fridge, piles of glossy magazines, enough DVDs to rival Blockbuster, comfy throws to snuggle under and a large garden with a table and chairs for eight.

The house came with the recommendation of a local cook — they all do — who charged £50 for a meal for four.

We had discussed menus before our stay (fuelling my lady-of-the-manor fantasies) and she arrived with a beautiful basket of local, organic vegetables from her garden, all tied up bundles.

Every day we walked off our excess calories along the coast, starting out on the Greensward, a sweeping avenue of grass separated from the sea by a wind break of tamarisk trees.

Willowhayne is a weird place, with a Desperate Housewives stillness and WAG-ish pretension.

Massive houses in mock-Tudor style sit slap-bang next to gargantuan bungalows backing onto the beach.

Founded in 1930, it’s like a lesser Beverly Hills-on-Sea. But it is doggie headven — pampered pooches promenade up and down (we met two Alsatians sporting Harrods diamond collars.)

Quirky: The East Beach Cafe at Littlehampton is a lesson in innovative design

There are pockets of sophistication nearby, such as the East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton. This award-winning temple of cool — which serves superb fresh moules and crab linguine — looks like a huge hunk of driftwood that has washed up on the beach.

Inside, with sensational views across the expanse of sand to the grey-green Channel, it’s sleek and understated with polished concrete floors.

There’s masses to do in the area — visiting Arundel Castle, Brighton Pier, Climping and West Wittering beaches — and, for parents of young children, the Flying Fortress near Ford Open Prison.

This soft play area in a disused air hanger is run with prison-like security. I was told off for taking a photo of my daughter on a go-cart and chastised for not watching her vigilantly.

Despite dismal weather, we all enjoyed our stay at Tide’s Reach because we entertained there and it was fun to be together as a family in a swanky, well-stocked, big home.

Of course, the worst thing was the crashing low after the holiday, when we returned home to everyday reality: to our fridge without an ice machine, our non-high definition TV and my dreary cooking.

Has finding this fantastic website beaten my holiday property porn addiction? I’m afraid not. I’m already fantasising about Christmas in Cornwall.

Travel facts
A week’s stay at Tides Reach starts from £1,750 (01637 881 942, www.uniquehomestays.com).

Read more in the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1259571/UK-holidays-No-strain-pain-just-pure-gain–West-Sussex.html#ixzz0ipLaQCtN

Anna Pasternak – On The Couch!

Anna and Wilfred at home with a Russian relative

Anna Pasternak and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a new Facebook fan page that has been created as a place to post the links to Anna’s brand new column in the London Daily Mail. We hope that you will join Anna every Monday morning – with your coffee in hand – for “On The Couch”, a column about her sessions with a therapist (Mr. T) and what she learns about herself in the process. You may just find that you will learn a few things about yourself too!

We will post the link each Monday morning to the latest column on the Facebook fan page wall and would ask that you leave your comments on the Daily Mail’s site underneath where the column is published. Of course your comments are welcome on Facebook (as well as on MySpace) and we hope that you will take part in each week’s discussion topic (on the Discussion Board). For the first week, we simply ask the question, “Have you ever had psychotherapy or would you ever considering engaging in psychotherapy?”

While your thoughts and opinions are most welcome, let’s try to keep this a positive place where people can discuss important issues safely and without judgment. Please refrain from using any profanity or from bashing Anna or those who choose to share their experiences. Don’t forget to invite your friends as it’s going to be very, very interesting!

And now without further adieu, welcome to “On The Couch”!

Anna Pasternak Has A New Column in The Daily Mail!

Anna Pasternak photographed by Joel Anderson - Feb. 2010


Hello everyone!

My friend and client, Anna Pasternak, has been working hard on her writing over the past year and now has a brand new project to share with you. She is an Internet technology novice which is why I am here to help spread the news on her behalf.

This is the introductory article for Anna’s brand new column in the Daily Mail that will begin next week! We hope that you will join her on her journey through therapy, self-discovery and self-love. Your comments on the Daily Mail site will be most appreciated as the more that people express their feelings about the column, the longer Anna will stay employed!

Can therapy find me love? Divorced, single mother Anna Pasternak tries one last throw of the dice

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1249238/Can-therapy-love-Divorced-single-mother-Anna-Pasternak-tries-throw-dice.html

There will be a new fan page created on Facebook (where there is now one for her novel, Daisy Dooley Does Divorce) on which we will post the weekly links to the column and any other articles that Anna writes for the Daily Mail and I will be inviting you all to join it. That will happen next week.

In the meantime, Anna sends her love and best wishes to everyone and if you would like to leave her a comment, you can leave it here or at this article’s link on the Daily Mail website (where she will definitely read it).

We appreciate you!

Love & Light,
Christine for Team Anna & Daisy xx

Morocco Detox: Living the High Life in the Atlas Mountains

Mountain escape: The retreat is situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountains


By Anna Pasternak

Last updated at 1:19 PM on 20th January 2010 – The Daily Mail

There’s nothing like the lurching panic of opening your suitcase only to discover that it’s not yours. I was more than an hour’s drive from Marrakech up a steep pot-holed track in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

The stranger’s suitcase and I were staying at the Kasbah Bab Ourika, a new 15-bedroom hotel in the verdant Ourika valley. I had signed up for a week-long in:spa fitness retreat, which required athletic wear.

The name in:spa is misleading. This was not some pampering jolly, but an active holiday without a relaxing glass of Merlot in sight, a detox retreat aimed at stressed-out singles.

In the six years since ex-banker Kathryn Brown founded in:spa to cater for the overworked and overwrought, there have been four in:spa weddings, so it is a potentially fertile meeting ground. But our particular retreat was atypical with one couple, no single men and nine single women.

I had forgotten what fun spending a week with a like-minded group of strangers can be – including a top fashion buyer and a Christie’s art expert, all aged between 35 and 45. Many of the guests were in:spa veterans, having been on other retreats in similarly gorgeous properties in Tuscany and Ibiza. Each boasts a host, nutritionist, chef, yoga teacher and private trainer.

The Kasbah Bab Ourika has 360-degree panoramic views of the snow-covered Atlas peaks. On one side are unusually lush valleys and on the other, a drop to a vast redrocked canyon. There was a beautiful planted garden off a spacious terrace: an oasis of orange blossom and scented geranium.

The rooms were perfectly pared-down in neutral tones. Many had fireplaces, all had comfy day beds, thick oatmeal rugs, clumps of fresh field-flowers in pots and a smattering of Berber antique chairs and chests. In the evening, inner courtyards were candle-lit and there were roaring fires in the – dry – bar. We met there for pre-dinner chat over sugarless mint tea.

The Welsh chef, Michael Arthur, wowed us with food so flavourful and herby that we never felt the lack of sugar or salt. Breakfast was fresh fruit soya smoothies, his special muesli, or frittata. Lunch and dinners included sesame singed tofu and green chicken curry.

Snow-capped: A morning hike through the snowy peaks along with yoga, healthy food and private training sessions were the order of the week

Every day there were yoga classes, circuit training, private training sessions and every other day a morning hike.

Guided by Berbers keen to share local knowledge – did you know that there are four types of wild lavender in the Atlas mountains – the hikes were between two and four hours long.

By the second day, the detox was taking its toll. We crawled back to our rooms from exercise sessions to sleep for hours on end. I have never experienced such tiredness nor enjoyed so much time to myself.

By the end of the week my computer-bound shoulders were freer and more flexible than they had been in years. We didn’t realise how sensitised the detox had made us, along with all that fresh, unfettered mountain air, until some of us ventured into Marrakech.

The cacophony of noise and pollution in the Medina, not to mention wafting food aromas, was an unwelcome sensory assault. I was glad to get back to the stillness of Kasbah Bab Ourika. As well as the physical detox, the mental detox of no television, computer or newspapers had the most profoundly relaxing effect.

Travel Facts

In:spa has week-long retreats in 2010 at destinations including: Marrakech, the Italian Dolomites and the South of France. From £1,895 per person including accommodation, transfers, all meals and drinks, activities and consultations. Excluding flights and based on two sharing (0845 458 0723, www.inspa.co.uk). Royal Air Maroc flies from London to Marrakech from £111 return (020 7307 5800, www.royalairmaroc.com).

Nursery skiing: Learning to ski, Swiss style at the Arosa Ski School by Anna Pasternak

Nursery skiing: Learning to ski, Swiss style at the Arosa Ski School
By Anna Pasternak

Last updated at 9:47 AM on 07th December 2009
Daily Mail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1233306/Nursery-skiing-Learning-Ski-Swiss-style-Arosa-Ski-School.html

Frankly, skiing leaves me cold. All that huffing and puffing, hauling and falling does nothing for me. Despite efforts to learn, I’ve never managed to progress beyond a shaky blue run.

However, determined not to visit the sins of the mother upon her daughter, I decided to see if, by introducing my five-year-old Daisy to skiing early enough, she would prove not to be a chip off the old block as I am – my mother is also a dreadful skier.

So we three set off to Arosa, Switzerland, where Daisy took daily ski lessons and the closest we came to an injury on the slopes was when my mother slipped rushing to beat the Germans to a lunch table on the sun terrace.

First day at school: Daisy on her way to the Ski School in Arosa

The train journey to Arosa from Zurich via Chur was memorable, not just because the first hour from Zurich to Chur was on a doubledecker train, which thrilled Daisy, or the blindingly accurate precision of the timetable, which excited us. But because Daisy lost her first tooth on an unforgiving ham baguette.

On the second lovely little red train, from Chur (the oldest town in Switzerland) to Arosa, we sat for another hour as we wound our way up the track built in 1912, soaking up the picture-postcard alpine views, debating whether the tooth fairy would leave Swiss francs or pounds.

Arosa, a medium-sized family resort, is unashamedly unstylish. Apparently, the Begum Inaara Aga Khan goes to St Moritz to see and be seen, but for real relaxation she prefers to go makeup-less to Arosa.

There are 60km of slopes and 60km of winter hiking trails, so it’s perfect for families of all ages with non-ski members, as all restaurants on the slopes can be reached by foot and by ski.

There aren’t swish shops, preening celebrities or pulsing nightclubs, but lots of low-key Swiss cosy restaurants such as Chamanna on Arosa Main Street. It’s attractive without being alpine twee.

It was Britain’s own Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who put Arosa on the map in 1894 when he visited the nearby resort of Davos in search of a tuberculosis cure for his ailing wife, Touie.
Guided by two local shopkeepers from Davos, he crossed the 2,440-metre Maienfelder Furka Pass and skied down into Arosa for lunch.

Today, Arosa offers all the winter sports; there is skating on Lake Obersee, around which the village is built, and an extensive toboggan-run network known as Home Pistes.

Riding high: Daisy with her ski guide Tobias

The slopes cater best for beginners to ‘unadventurous intermediates’, as the slopes are mainly wide, safe and varied.

Experienced skiers can hire a guide and go over the mountain into other resorts, including Davos, while for snowboarders there is a good halfpipe; one of those jazzy curved slopes on which to do tricks.

So, what is the best age for a child to learn to ski? Tobias, an archetypal dishy 25-year-old private Swiss ski instructor who tutored Daisy for two hours a day, said that the Swiss start their children skiing aged around two, but we Britons leave it a few years later.

Arosa has a tradition of having private ski instructors – there are 200 in total. With his mind-boggling patience and good humour, Tobias managed in three days to get her up on the magic carpet – the moving carpet in the nursery slopes, doing shaky snow ploughs down – and, most importantly, having fun.

‘If children have fun, they want to come the next day. If they hate it, they won’t want to come again,’ he said.

According to Tobias, Daisy’s main difficulty was not failing strength, but lapses in concentration.

While she also learned to walk uphill in her ski boots, which seemed challenging enough, my mother and I enjoyed a pricey rosti and a plate of vegetables (18.50 Swiss francs) on the sunny terrace of the Hotel Hold, which overlooks the nursery slopes.

At the end of every lesson, Tobias took Daisy on his shoulders for a speedy ski, including jump, while we watched, slack-jawed in awe.
We stayed at the Tschuggen Grand Hotel. A bland Seventies-style block – a former 19th-century sanatorium for tuberculosis sufferers – it is deceptive; inside, the decor is funky neo-baroque; all tactile surfaces with velvet chairs and chenille throws.

However, this hotel is punch-the-air-with-happiness child friendly without morphing into a giant shrieking creche.

Hotel managers worldwide should take note. First, the kids’ club has proper user-friendly hours: from 9.30am to 1pm, then from 4.30 till 9.30pm.

Children can join you for dinner (even at the gourmet La Vetta, where they also offer the kids’ menu) or they can eat en masse at 6pm in the Buendnerstube restaurant complete with bowling alley, which afterwards transforms into a typical Swiss fondue and live Tyrolean music joint.

Blissfully, once Daisy had located us at one of the four restaurants in the hotel each evening, she’d then nip off to the kids’ club for fun and craft-based activities.

It worked perfectly, as she’d have hated the amazing dinner that the guest chef, the Michelin-starred Kenichi Arimura, created. He visits regularly from his restaurant Ryokan Hasenberg in Widen, conjuring up melting sushi.

As Switzerland is so stomach-clenchingly expensive, I actually thought that four outstanding sushi courses for 135 Swiss francs a head (approx £90) wasn’t unreasonable.

The Tschuggen hotel has two architectural aces. The spa, designed by Mario Botta, a four-level extravaganza built into the mountainside; all duck-white granite, pale maple and glass.

Then there’s the Tschuggen Express, a 12-leather-seater, futuristic pod-like cable car that takes hotel guests via rollercoaster- style track straight up into the slopes.

Unbelievably cool, this prototype means there is no waiting for buses or hotel shuttles, as skiers and nonskiers can zoom straight up the mountain in style.

We zoomed down the mountain on our last night on sledges from the outstanding little restaurant, Pratschli Stall, a ten-minute drive from the hotel. This Swiss chalet six-table restaurant is a gem, with an equally tiny menu of the frothiest fondue, chewy raclette and endive salad.

Coming down afterwards on a sledge was the highlight for Daisy, while my mother and I we were shrieking, helpless, with terrified laughter.

I could really get into this no-skiing skiing holiday lark.

We took a horse- drawn sleigh ride which appealed to my inner Zhivago. Listening to the tinkle of horse bells, clipclopping along the woodland tracks as we lay under fur throws, was timeless and romantic.

I hope that Daisy becomes a keen skier, so I can accompany her annually to unfashionable Arosa and perfect the art of apres non-ski.

Oh, and the tooth fairy left two Swiss Francs . . .

Travel facts

A deluxe double at Tschuggen Grand Hotel starts at £355 for two on a bed & breakfast basis, including free use of the spa and Tschuggen Express (+41 (0)81 378 99 99, tschuggen.ch).

The ski lessons were with SSSA Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Arosa. Two-hour private lessons can be booked through the concierge, starting at £100.

Airline Swiss flies to Zurich from £140 per person (0845 601 0956, swiss.com). Train from Zurich Airport to Arosa costs from £60 return per person (sbb.ch). For information, contact myswitzerland.com

Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak

Book Review
Title: Daisy Dooley Does Divorce
Author: Anna Pasternak
Publisher: 5 Spot
Released: 2007
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 0446177946
ISBN-13: 978-0446177948
Stars: 4.5

Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 10:55am (Facebook)

This is the book I’m reading at the moment…snug in my bed under my brand new duvet where I can totally ignore the horrendous winter that’s waiting outside along with an hour’s worth of snow shoveling!

Daisy Dooley Does Divorce is a humorous and heartfelt romp through 39-year-old Brit, Daisy Dooley’s divorce and her consequent quest to understand men, relationships, and most importantly herself and the decisions she makes. It’s a Bridget Jones’s Diary for divorcees and an easy, charming and highly enjoyable read. It is laugh out loud funny, often thought-provokingly poignant and Daisy’s penchant for spiritual/self-help books makes her a kindred spirit. You will love this heartwarming, easy-to-read-in-a-few-sittings book about friendship and daring to realize one’s dreams, even if you’re not divorced or have never been married. Anyone who has been disappointed at some point in her life by love will find so much in common with delightful Daisy. She’s full of spirit, sass and sensitivity and if she were a real person I would want to be her friend.

This particular nugget of wisdom struck me this morning when I read it…

It was true – my heart was like Miles’s shelves, gnawed and splintered with emotional woodworm. I read on: “The difference between a little life and a big life is trust. Trust is the midwife of a big life. People only choose little lives because they don’t trust and they want to control.” That’s the most difficult thing in life, I thought, getting the balance right between not giving up on your dreams and yet having enough faith in their fruition to let them go.

This paragraph rings so true to me as I struggle every day of my life with climbing the mountain of adversity (the mountain that I know is largely self-made) and self-doubt, all the while wondering if I even believe in true love anymore, let alone have the faith that it will find me some day. I have to be willing to be open to it, to trust that it exists and that eventually there will be a man out there who won’t lie to me, use me, play me for the fool, trod all over my broken heart and leave me to reinforce my bitter, cynical, untrusting view of men. They can’t all be utter heartless, cruel, dishonest cads, can they? Now if I could just believe that and hold it as truth in my heart, I might have a fighting chance of actually attracting the right one. Must focus on The Law of Attraction and believe that I deserve the love of a truly good man! If I believe he’s out there, he will be and he will find me.

Discovering the novel Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak was the biggest joy I had in reading in 2008. The book was based on Anna’s weekly column of the same name in the London Daily Mail (it has since been retired). Anna’s honesty as a writer, the depth of her characters and her fantastic wit quickly made her a new favourite author and any woman who enjoys chick/wit lit or romance and relationships between women will undoubtedly love this book.

This is the review that changed my life.

It began with my becoming acquainted with a lovely, intelligent woman named Paige O’Neill who is the person who looks after The Waterboys’ online presence on numerous social networking websites. Paige and I connected in 2006 when I sent Mike Scott of The Waterboys a personal letter about a sick friend of mine who was a huge fan (as am I). We became good friends online and in the past three years she has become a soul sister of immense importance in my life, even though I have never met her in person.

Paige looks after the maintenance of Daisy Dooley’s MySpace profile for Anna Pasternak and in March 2008, after reading my review of the book, and with Paige’s recommendation, Anna asked me to help her maintain a Facebook fan page and group for Daisy Dooley. I was honoured to do it and I even got paid for it.

Since then, and as a result of Paige and Anna’s unfailing support and encouragement, I formed my own business, Scully Love Promo, promoting authors & musicians using the major social networking websites on the internet. Over the past year and a half, I have worked for at least 10 different talented artists and although this is only a part-time endeavor for me at this time, I believe there is a good chance that it could one day become my full-time job. And I love it! I love spreading the love about artists that I respect and admire. I’ve done this naturally for many years through my review writing and in every day conversation with friends. However, now I get paid to do it, and I owe that privilege to Paige O’Neill and Anna Pasternak, who are the most amazingly resilient, spiritual, intelligent, and loving women and friends that anyone could hope to have.

Above all else, that is why I continue to recommend this delightful book, Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak (available through 5 Spot, a division of Hachette Books, Grand Central’s trade paperback imprint featuring fresh, original voices in women’s fiction and nonfiction).

Anna Pasternak Speaking at Henley Literary Festival in September!

The lovely Anna Pasternak, author of Daisy Dooley Does Divorce, would like you to know that she will be speaking at the Henley Literary Festival on Saturday, September 20th, 2008 at 4:00 pm. If you would like to see (and possibly meet) Anna in person and you live in the UK near London, this is your chance! All information about the Henley Literary Festival can be found at this link:

http://www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk/

32 – Anna Pasternak and Marius Brill – Battle of the Sexes – £5
16.00
Phyllis Court

Journalists Anna Pasternak and Marius Brill took Fielding’s Jones (Bridget not Tom) model into the 21st century, but in opposite directions. One laughed with her, the other at her.  Pasternak’s Daisy Dooley Does Divorce was described as “frequently hilarious and sharply, wittily written” by the Daily Mail. Brill’s Making Love, a Conspiracy of the Heart inspired this warning from Time Out: “Women who snort when they laugh and men prone to getting erections in public should read this at home.” Now the two authors go head to head to defend their comic visions and give insights into what makes us laugh.

http://www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk/programme2.html#pasternak

Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak

Scully Love Promo (a.k.a. Christine Bode) would like to tell you about a fantastically funny, heartwarming delight of a book called:

DAISY DOOLEY DOES DIVORCE by Anna Pasternak

It’s a funny inspiring tale for anyone who has braved the courageous and sometimes disastrous journey towards true love.

Meet Daisy Dooley:

“The only thing sadder than being thirty-nine and still single is being thirty-nine and freshly divorced. And unemployed. And living with your mother. (And her dogs.)”

In the tradition of Sex and the City and Bridget Jones’s Diary, Anna Pasternak’s popular column in the London Daily Mail, Daisy Dooley Does Divorce, has evolved into this witty novel full of hope, humor, wine…and dachshunds.

Daisy Dooley Does Divorce has a profile on MySpace and a Fan Page and a Group (Fans of Daisy Dooley Does Divorce) on Facebook, each one with slightly different content, celebrating the novel. I invite you to read about it and its lovely author there and add yourself as a fan. All you have to do is type Daisy Dooley in the Search box on the top left hand corner of your Facebook profile.

Publisher: 5 Spot (Hachette Book Group USA) / Ebury Publishing under their Vermilion titles in the UK

Author Bio:

ANNA PASTERNAK is the author of the popular column, Daisy Dooley Does Divorce, which has been running in London’s Daily Mail since November of 2004. She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Princess in Love about Diana’s love affair with Major James Hewitt. The grandniece of Russian novelist Boris Pasternak of Dr. Zhivago fame, she lives outside of London with her daughter Daisy and her dog Wilfred.

More about Anna, by Anna:

Believe it or not, a woman as daft, ditzy, desperate, daring and occasionally as delightful as Daisy Dooley is someone I relate closely to. I’m not saying I’m quite that self-absorbed. Actually that’s a fib because I am. But really my life had started out with such promise. The idyllic childhood. The famous ancestry. The revered Oxford academic father. The beautiful interior designer mother. The place at Oxford University with the glittering social life to match. With a siren-spinning surname, I owed it to myself and my family to do something of note. So of course my future was all mapped out. I’d waltz out of Oxford and into some top job that marked me out as special, wouldn’t I? But that wasn’t quite the way it happened, and it knocked me for quite a loop. Really, who wouldn’t agonize over such monumental life cock-ups- realizing on your honeymoon that you had married the wrong man. Come on, could it get any worse?

Naturally I worried myself half to death about how I was then going to get my life right, let alone learn to love again- myself and a worthy mate, that is. So Daisy Dooley was born out of my own ridiculous and miserable myopic marriage and divorce, followed by my dire dating experiences. I found that the only way to reach the other side of unhappiness and raging insanity was to poke fun and send myself up in the most unbecoming, but hopefully often endearing ways. And judging by the sales in self-help, I can’t be the only woman who has stood in a bookshop by a stack of best sellers, feeling utterly broken inside and turned with trembling hands to any uplifting tome that might just instill a further nugget of promise that actually, yes, if you believe this or chant that, you will feel less of a failure and more emotionally grounded and secure.

As I ricocheted from starter marriage to a relationship with a younger man that ended in- further shock and horror- my single mother status, at least I clung to my spiritual support. I began to believe in something bigger than myself- if the knight on the white charger wasn’t going to save me, at least my guardian angel might. I’ve lived through all Daisy’s disappointments but have an amazing daughter to show for it. And would you believe it, after all the life knocks, I still believe in the happy ending!