THE HEY NONNY HANDBOOK published in 2007 by Harriman House can be obtained from all good bookshops or direct from Julia at Fox & Angel at the price of £19.99, including post & packing.

THE HEY NONNY HANDBOOK This is what Julia says in her survival guide for women, THE HEY NONNY HANDBOOK about Christmas, breast cancer and sleep:

On Christmas Day we would love to take a leaf out of Mrs Beeton's book and commandeer the help of a tweeny maid to clear out the fireplace and pick up the orange peel. If we were proper mistresses of our houses, we would, "after an early breakfast, make a round of the kitchen and other offices to see that they are in order" not slop about doing all the chores ourselves in slippers and pyjamas.

Breast cancer:
Breast awareness, digital screening and better drugs have dramatically improved the prognosis for breast cancer. It is no longer a killer. However it is vital to know which medical interventions, whether surgical or medical are useful, and to have some clear idea of the relative risks. What is lacking is intelligent reporting on the issues that enable women to balance up conflicting information and relate it to their own lives.

Issues which seem manageable in the daytime take on a different perspective in the small hours. Teenagers tart themselves up to go out at about the time you want to tuck in and then drive off confidently in your car, having only passed their test the week before. Husbands are often restless with waterworks problems or night starvation and stumble triumphantly about the room at 3am with fruitcake and cups of tea. Thus replenished they start manically e-mailing or making calls to foreign countries. Also it's the time when demented elderly parents escape and have to be rounded up by the police.