Category Archives: book reviews

The Telegraph Covers Family Friendly Working

From The Telegraph, Saturday:

Antonia Chitty“Chitty, 38, from Bexhill, East Sussex, is typical of this trend for a flexible approach. She relaunched her career after having two children (now aged six and three), but cheerfully calls herself “unemployable”, in the traditional sense.

“I’m 19 weeks pregnant with my third child, so after a stint at the computer I like to sit in a comfy chair and have a cup of tea,” she says. “Add in my ideal of a job that’s 9-3, that works around school holidays and one that I can take time off for inset days, school plays and assemblies and, like a huge number of women, I’m basically unemployable.”

Nevertheless, since leaving full-time work five years ago, Chitty has forged a career as an author and in public relations. She specialises in promoting the start-up businesses of women with children.

“I was doing that classic thing of spending all my money on child care while resenting someone else bringing up my daughter,” she says. “I volunteered myself for a magazine article on women who were unhappy with their work/life balance and had a session with a life coach.

“She pointed out that I had all the skills to work from home and that people would pay for those skills. Now I get to choose the hours I work and spend time with my children.”

Double book launch for Bexhill author

The Bexhill and Hastings Observer have been very nice about my new books:

THERE appears to be no stopping inspirational Bexhill author Antonia Chitty, who, following on from the Antonia Chittysuccess of her previous two books, ‘A Guide to Promoting Your Own Business’ and, ‘Family Friendly Working’, has just launched a further two books entitled, ‘What To do When Your Child Hates School’ and, ‘Special Educational Needs – A Parents Guide’; which she wrote in conjunction with Special Needs teacher Victoria Dawson.

Using a wealth of expert advice and the latest information, this book brings together the facts on Special Educational Needs, how parents and carers can cope in daily life, which professionals can help, how to handle behavioural difficulties at home and school, as well as dealing with practical issues such as housing and finance

Explaining how she and Victoria came to write the book, Antonia said: “This book arose because my friend Victoria – who is a Special Educational Needs Teacher in Rotherham – kept saying she had really good ideas for practical help books. For my part, I know of children who have special education needs, but also my original background was as an optometrist so I’ve worked with a lot of people with sight problems. I’ve spent time working for the Royal Institute for the Blind and in my incarnation as a health writer at Which? magazine I did a lot of work on hearing and deafness; so for this book I am contributing very much from the sensory impairment side of things, and Vicky is contributing from the teachers perspective. We then talked to a lot of people, and used our combined knowledge to write the book.”

The book contains invaluable information which parents of children with special educational needs, may not have realised was available to them.
For example it’s possible to get an appointment with an NHS Speech and Language therapist without a GP referral, a fact that many parents may not have considered possible.

Antonia said: “It’s so important to know things like that because so many parents are deeply frustrated at trogging through the system to get a GP’s appointment, then they don’t know where the referral letters gone, and have no way of chasing it up. But if a parent can get on the phone, call the local speech therapy department direct and say ‘I think my child’s got a problem’, how much more effective is that?”

Antonia said that between them she and Vicky wanted theirs to be a “realistic book”, adding: “Vicky and I are both Mum’s, and we know that you don’t get time to sit down and read things which are in depth and then go and look things up. If you find something you’re interested in, you want to be able to know what the telephone number is, what the web-site address is and who to talk to – now! For example say you want to find a speech therapist, then you need to know which organisation to contact that will help you to find a local one”

“For somebody who is sitting at home thinking, ‘is there a problem with my child?’ and can’t get the help that he or she needs, it’s really difficult. You have enough to cope with – you’ve already got a busy life with kids and work and everything, this book’s there to make things easier.”

Antonia doesn’t advise parents to rely on health care check-ups to detect a problem, and also believes that health assessments in schools are, “not all they could be”, saying: ” Some services are cut back.
Children don’t get their eyes checked in the same way as they used to do and health visitors are very variable – they are not specialists – so there are children slipping through the net with problems. It’s great to pick up a lot of these problems before a child starts school. Take your pre-schooler for a sight test, opticians will see children before they can read, early detection is really important.”

Summing up Antonia said: “I just want to reinforce that fact that the book is written in straight forward plain English, and if you only get to snatch five minutes to look something up then you will still be able to get something out of it. It’s really meant for parents who are, as most of us are, stretched.”

In addition Antonia and Victoria have had their book nominated for an award by the National Association of Special Educational Needs, which is being judged next April, something which Antonia is naturally delighted about.

She said: “Vicky and I are really very excited to have written a book that’s been nominated for an award.”

Antonia’s other latest book release, ‘What to do when your child hates school’, is aimed at helping children and their parents deal with any one of a variety of situations which are making their school lives miserable.

A quote from the book epitomizes up what thousands of parents have to deal with everyday and says: “There are few things more miserable than having a child who hates school, but it doesn’t have to be like that.”

From bullying to social or learning difficulties, struggling to keep up or boredom, Antonia said: “Whatever the reason a child’s not happy at school it makes everyone’s life hell, that’s why I’ve put together this guide to coping.”

She added: “I think there are so few children who go through school without having periods where they may be experiencing a problem, and the constant cry from parents is that the schools not dealing with it.”

Whatever kind of solution a parent or carer may be looking for the book is designed to help by advising on how to talk to the school to get a problem resolved, to change schools within the state system along with alternative schooling such as boarding school’s or home education and, importantly how to tackle a potential problem by talking it over with the child.

Antonia said the book simply, “does what it says on the tin; it rings a bell with the child, it rings a bell with the parent, people know when to buy this book.”

Published by White Ladder Press, ‘What to do When Your Child Hates School’ costs £9.99. For more information visit the web-site at:

‘Special Educational Needs’ is published by Forward Press Ltd priced £8.99 for further information visit:

Review for SEN Guide

Reviews are starting to come in for Special Educational Needs: A Parent’s Guide. This one is from TotztoTeens
Special Eductional Needs: A Parents Guide by Antonia Chitty & Victoria Dawson
ISBN: 978-1-86144-057-0 £8.99

As many as one in five children may at some time need extra help with their education, but does this mean they have Special Educational Needs?
Using expert advice and the latest information, this book brings together the facts on Special Educational Needs, looking in detail at the different types of additional needs and how parents and carers can cope with it in daily life.

Find out which professionals can help, how to get through the ‘system’ and gain support, how to handle behavioural difficulties at home and school, and how to get the best education for your child’s needs.

Whether you are worried about your child’s development or work with children and want to know more about the subject, this book will guide you through helping a child with special educational needs.

Totz2teens Member Review: Wondering if your child has special educational needs is a complicated and difficult time for any parents. Reading this book was very helpful. It is clearly written and explains some of the different difficulties that children could be facing. Even eyesight problems are covered within this book. The way the book is written is so helpful as it is easy to understand and to pick it up as necessary. Totally a useful book and happy to recommend it.

Totz2teens Member Rating: 5/5

Spare Room Start Up

Sapre Room Start UpEmma Jones of Enterprise Nation has a brand new book out, and has some tips to share if you want to run a successful home business:

1. Do something you love. Let your business idea be based on a passion, hobby or skill. That way it will never really feel like work!

2. Find dedicated space in the house. This will make it easier to create your ideal work environment and to switch off at the end of the day.

3. Make the most of technology. Invest in tools that make you super-efficient (there are plenty that can be bought on a budget) and use the web to promote you and the business.

4. Get out of the home office. Meet new people – including customers and suppliers – by attending meetings, shows and events. Or just pop to your local coffee shop when in need of a little human interaction!

5. Enjoy! Your commute to work takes 60 seconds and you get more done in the hours you have. That frees up time to do all the other things you like to do. Enjoy each day of being a Spare Room Start Up.

If you want more ideas from Emma and the many successful home enterpreneurs she has interviewed for the book, you can buy Spare Room Start Up for the discounted price of just £8.44.

Feeling Compleat?

I’ve read a couple of reviews of The Compleat Woman, 20 years after this portrait of woman who ‘had it all’ was written. Valerie Grove selected women with high flying careers, three or more children and who had stayed married for 25 years plus – a pretty tall order. It makes me look at my life, partly in a ‘how do I match up’ kind of way, but also assesssing ‘what do I want from life’? I think one of the questions asked by the book, ‘can she have it all’ is still pretty relevant today. My answer is no: even those women who think they have it all are missing out on some stuff.

I made a choice more than five years ago to work for myself. It means that my income is less reliable, but I’m more in control of my time. I really value the time I can create in my life to watch the waves rolling up into our garden, the time to watch my kids grow. That sort of time has to fit into ‘having it all’ somewhere.

In the news – Family Friendly Working

I’m in the Bexhill Observer this week after the launch of Family Friendly Working, and just did a short interview this morning on BBC Radio Solent. It’s nice to be back on the radio again – hopefully there will be a few more interviews in the next few weeks. The Radio Solent researcher found me on Expert Sources – check it out if you want to be called on as an expert.

Review for Family Friendly Working

Many thanks to Linda Baldwin for posting the first customer review for Family Friendly Working on Amazon. She says, “A lovely book written by someone who has actually applied the advice and principles within this book herself as a mum who works from home. Discarding the rose-tinted specs, Antonia includes both high and low points of being a home based working parent by including many real-life examples of a truly broad range of flexible working parents, from party-plans to teleworking, freelancing or setting up a new business from scratch. Franchises and flexi-time are also covered in this wonderful book – a must read for every parent who is working and wondering how to spend more time with their family, as well as parents who are at home with their familes yet seeking a way to return to work or embark upon a family friendly career. ”

Cheers Linda!