After a decade of climbing the career ladder collecting business cards, box files and an assortment of baffling acronyms, Charlotte Moerman leaps off into the great unknown of motherhood.
She gamely enters into her new life and soon can't imagine a world before Pampers wipes. But without appraisals or targets to guide her along the way, Charlotte also realises there's an awful lot to learn. Scratching her head over egg-and-soldiers etiquette, the appeal of paper pants, and her instinctive new urge to rock shopping trolleys whether or not there's a passenger on board, Charlotte also surrenders any last hope of achieving household minimalism, what with submarines in the bath, marbles underfoot and a villainous nappy bin that would give Doctor Who a run for his money.
Instructions Not Included follows the joy and the pain of becoming mum to three small boys, from juggling multiple demands and accepting going to the loo as a group activity, to finding 300 ways to describe being knackered. Charlotte's days in paid work soon seem distant. So, frequently, does her Dutch husband. Armed with a sharp wit, an encyclopaedic knowledge of children's literature and a nit comb, Charlotte allows women to celebrate their own uncertainty as she guides them through her experiences of the potential minefield that is motherhood.
London has been one of the world's great cities for over 2,000 years and has produced countless scholars, artists, rogues and wits, each of whom left their mark on the metropolis by their words or deeds. The Wit and Wisdom of London brings together their best and most memorable quotations, a treasury of the cleverest, the wittiest, and the bawdiest sayings of the city's greatest residents. From the Romans to Amy Winehouse, via Doctor Johnson and Dickens, and from the aristocrats of Westminster to the paupers of the East End, The Wit and Wisdom of London captures the essence of London, in the words of its people.
'It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed.' George VI
'Nothing is certain in London but expense.' William Shenstone
'The man who can dominate a London dinner table can dominate the world.' Oscar Wilde
The best libraries in Victorian Britain kept this tome under lock and key, permitting access only to doctors and professors. Scotland Yard had a copy in their reference library, and even Sherlock Holmes may have had recourse to a copy in certain investigations. In private collections across the English speaking world, it was kept on top shelves, or safely stowed in locked cabinets, beyond the reach of minors, domestics and spouses. Any woman who gazed upon its pages was said to have fainted away. The church campaigned to have it banned and the German translation was burned at Nuremberg. Many antiquarian book sellers believe the book to have been a myth, others claimed it changed hands at enormous cost, and some are certain all original copies are now lost. But Curious Pleasures does exist and is back in print - nearly a century since it's last apocryphal edition. This encyclopaedic treasure of adult pleasures, dysfunctions and unacceptable female behaviour has been fully restored with the original illustrations intact. In modern hands, this forbidden work of scholarly madness will prove hilarious.