Archive for the ‘My books’ Category

How to Split Up and Stay in One Piece – surviving divorce and relationship breakdown

ISBN: 9781905410293

(Published in 2008)

AGAIN, this involved a massive research exercise. About 40 interviews with experts on the subject (lawyers, therapists, divorce coaches and relationship counsellors) and survivors of separation and divorce were carried out via phone and email and face-to-face.

It was certainly a different way to spend a summer and as a result I could, and indeed frequently do, bore for Britain on the subject on the airwaves and in print.

However, as a ‘recovered’ divorcee myself, albeit now in one extremely happy piece with David, my second and last husband, I was pretty much painfully aware of how courageous so many good people had been in reliving and relating their experiences as case studies for the book.

I knew it couldn’t have been easy for them to answer such personal questions as ‘Why did your marriage go wrong?’ and ‘What efforts did you make to hold it together?’ All were offered, and most took, the chance to use an alias, and I really don’t blame them. The fallout from a broken marriage or shattered relationship is bad enough without it then being exposed on a public stage.

Once more, I encountered some wonderful people while working on this book, from sad but bravely defiant young men who’d loved and lost, to older women gamely trying not to be bitter, to thoughtful, savvy divorce coaches with their wise words of advice for recovery.

No, I had no idea there were such people as divorce coaches either, but it shows what an ‘industry’ this whole business of relationships has become.


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Earning Money After You’ve Retired – inspirational ideas to supplement your pension

ISBN: 9781905410224

(Published 2007)

IN the course of putting together 50 or more case studies, it was so interesting (and not a little humbling) to encounter a woman of 85 eking out her pension by working as an exercise class tutor, a former Royal Navy officer gamely taking on the challenges presented by life as a classroom assistant, and a retired executive still passionate enough about his hobby of fish-keeping to turn it into a little money-spinner to pay for holidays and extras.

One fact that emerged very clearly from my work on this book is that people are staying younger for longer, and I made this point when speaking in various radio interviews. This interesting generation, really the first wave of the Baby Boomers, are happy to keep earning but without the hard slog they’ve put in for the past 40 years. They have looked for interesting and enjoyable ways to supplement their pension and it was no surprise to me that I found them, almost without exception, to be happy and fulfilled.

While most enjoy the financial benefits, one woman spoke from the heart when she said she had taken on part-time work so that she wouldn’t be taken for granted as an unpaid minder for her grandchildren. Truly a generation still with so much to give ­– and plenty to say. 

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What Shall We Do with Mother? How to manage when your elderly parent is dependent on you 

ISBN: 1905410034 9781905410033

(Published in 2006)

ONE of the toughest phases of life comes when you realise that one of  your parents is becoming dependent on you. This book follows the stories of other people who have been there before, and offers advice and ideas for coping with the guilt, the emotional stress, the conflicting pressures on your time, and the family tensions that can arise.

It was a revelation to research and to write this book, since it shone a light into a number of dark corners. It showed up the often woeful lack of joined-up thinking in the NHS, the plight of many old people in soulless hospital wards, and the quiet army of the great unsung who just knuckle down and get on with caring.

I was both humbled and heartened to discover so many good people willing to share their often heartbreaking stories with me in the hope their experiences would help others.


From the Amazon website:

When I read this book I laughed and cried in equal measure. A wonderful book, which I wish Rosie Staal had written a few years ago when my mother first showed signs of being dependent on me. It make me see that I am far from alone, and there are many out there whose situation is far worse. The book also made me face up to my hidden fears about my mother’s health. It gave lots of useful advice, even for someone like me with a stubborn parent. I am now passing the book to my daughters for them to read – to give them ideas on how to cope if I become dependent on them when I’m elderly! (Five Stars – reviewed by ‘Lis’)

I must admit that when I first saw this book I thought it wouldn’t be relevant to me for a few years, my parents are only in their 60s and decisions about their care seem a long way off. But the more I read, the more I realised that it’s vital to consider the issues raised in this book before any problems arise and emotions take over. What makes this book essential reading is the relaxed, funny and incredibly clear way in which it deals with complex emotional and practical issues. It’s like having a crystal clear explanation of your options from a good friend who’s been there and done it. Highly recommended. (Five Stars – reviewed by ‘Cityboy’)

From the Nursing Standard

‘Cute grannies exist in story books but only occasionally in real life.’ This controversial assertion gives an idea of where this book is coming from. It is about the real problems that can emerge in the relationship between adult children and their ageing parents. The best feature of the book is the advice offered for everyday practical problems. The book has a distinctive style . . . you will be delighted with the alternative approach to exploring some knotty problems. (Five Stars – reviewed by Ruth Sander, University of Portsmouth)

From the Blackmore Vale Magazine

‘This book offers a lifeline to all those out there struggling against this peculiarly 21st century dilemma – you are not alone. I only wish it had been around when I was grappling with the problems thrown up by an increasingly dependent elderly parent.’ (Reviewed by Jackie Spiteri)

From Pharmaceutical Physician:

What Shall We Do With Mother? is that most ideal of self-help books – anonymous but totally at one with your thoughts. It fulfils a friend’s role and as a bedside read in those moments of despair will be invaluable. Even five years on [after my own experience of caring for a parent] the book has had the power to make me feel that some of the things I did and didn’t do were OK.’ (Reviewed by Liz Langley)

From the Daily Echo, Bournemouth

This book would have made things easier and made us realise, as our jaws clenched when my bewildered mother shouted again, that we were not alone. Rosie Staal takes several case histories: the recently bereaved, the stroke victim, the Alzheimer’s sufferer, the newly cantankerous, the generally frail and through their own experiences gives their carers a voice. Whatever your elderly parent’s condition they have become dependent and your roles are reversed. You have all the responsibility but as a ‘child’ you have no authority. It is difficult to ask your Mum to stop shouting. Thoughtful and detailed . . . and a compassionate and comforting read, it is a book that more and more of us are going to need. I wish I had had it last September.’ (Reviewed by Frances Perkins)

From The Western Morning News:

‘Stuffed with useful advice and practical guidance this paperback confronts every aspect of caring for a dependent parent.’ (Reviewed by Denise O’Leary)

Print and broadcast:

Features on the book have appeared in the Daily Express, the Sunday Post (Scotland), the Jersey Evening Post, The Western Morning News, the Western Gazette, Limited Edition magazine (Somerset), The Blackmore Vale Magazine, Wiltshire and Hampshire View, the Salisbury Journal, the Bournemouth Echo, the Vale Advertiser and other publications. I have also broadcast on Radio Europe, Radio Solent, Radio Wiltshire and Vale FM.

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