Almost 4 years ago, when my daughter was just 5 months old, I was thrown into the scary world of single motherhood. For the first couple of years, I found life a struggle. Bringing up a child on my own just wasn’t what I’d had planned for my future. I felt like a failure at not being able to keep my family together, not being able to make my relationship work. Over the last year or so, I’ve learned to let go of the guilt and start enjoying motherhood and single life. I no longer feel the loneliness I used to feel… I feel confident, happy, settled.
However, when I was offered the chance recently to read and review a book that promised to teach me how to live an amazing single life, I jumped at the chance! Although I feel content with my life, I’m always open to improvement!
No Plus One: What To Do When Life Isn’t a Romantic Comedy is a paperback book written by best friends Steph Young & Jill Dickman, released in May 2015. It promises to be the ultimate guide for single women who want to lead an amazing life without the anxiety of finding or keeping a man.
On receiving the book, I was instantly pulled in by the front cover, which features a woman wearing a mini dress and holding a pair of sunglasses. It gave me the impression of being aimed at strong professional, independent women ranging from their early twenties up to their late thirties. For a split second, I worried that the book may not be a fit for me- a single mum who spends most of my time in sweatpants or skinny jeans- but I told myself it wouldn’t harm to give it a go regardless.
Turning the book over, the synopsis indicates that we will be taught how to ‘take risks, get over an ex, deal with bad dating advice and keep standards high’, helping to ‘find confidence & happiness while learning to be bold, outgoing and and graceful in the process’. On that basis, who wouldn’t want to take a look inside?
I settle down with a cup of coffee and open the book. Reading the first chapter, I’m instantly given an insight into the authors earlier lives and how it shaped their personalities. Moving on through each chapter, the two recount tales from their past and I’m surprised by how much I can relate to and have actually experienced the same, or similar, scenarios myself. I find myself chuckling along as they relay funny anecdotes of dating disasters, silently shouting “Nooooooo!” in my head on hearing their most cringe-worthy moments, knowing full well that I, myself, could write a series of books based on my own embarrassing dating/relationship stories.
What surprises me most is how emotional I feel as they describe their painful break ups, and their feelings of desperation, hopelessness and loneliness at not being able to find their ‘Mr Forever’. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, we’ve all been there, done it, bought and burned the tshirt! During my younger years, I myself jumped straight from one break up to another in order to avoid feeling lonely, regardless of whether or not I actually enjoyed the relationship!
The book, hilariously, lists in detail, the typical well meaning advice giving by others, and what you should be doing, or not doing, to gain and keep a new fella, followed with guidance on how best to deal with it. Having been single for a while, I’ve heard every single statement mentioned, most of which now grates on me so much so that I’ve too stopped listening and instead, rely on my own instincts.
Although I initially worried that the book wouldn’t fit my lifestyle, the more I read, the more I realised that we’ve all been in the same boats, faced the same fears, been given the same advice. Regardless of who you are, whether you’re a single mother like me, a college student or even a high flying career gal, I’m confident that you’ll be able to pluck out at least one handy tool to help change the way you look at your life. It helped me to realise that, yes actually, it is ok to be happy and single both at the same time, and that I don’t need to lower, or even higher, my standards… it’s ok to want the best for myself and for my daughter, and if that means remaining single until the right person comes along, then so be it!
There’s nothing wrong with being single. In fact, I often feel that I’m happier than a large percentage of my coupled up friends… I’d certainly recommend this book to them and other loved up women. Though it’s clearly marketed towards those lucky enough to be living the single life, its 151 pages contain plenty of impartial advice and confidence boosters designed to show you your worth, which can be applied to all women regardless of their relationship status. I mean, how can you love others if you don’t know how to love yourself?
At the end of each chapter, the authors summarise their main point and set out a list of tasks based on what you’ve just learned. Tasks that will enable you to think outside the box and ask yourself questions that you may not have thought about before, such as ‘making a list of all the reasons it didn’t work out’. Simple tasks designed to pull you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to enjoy your own company, from ‘treating yourself to dinner’ to ‘trying one or two things a week that you wouldn’t normally do’.
It doesn’t just end there! After taking you through all of their amazing advice, Steph and Jill encourage you to make a list of all the reasons why you’re awesome and gives us readers a handy list of things to do when we’re feeling bored or lonely, simple tasks from ‘pampering yourself’ to ‘making un-Christmas cards’. Huh?? What on earth is an un-Christmas card you ask? You’ll have to read it to find out!
The book does what it says on the tin. It is the ultimate modern day manual for living an amazingly single life. Steph and Jill are instantly likeable and make you feel as though you’ve met them for real and known them for years! A short but witty, factual and straight to the point book, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s been written by your best friend!
I’m looking forward to re-reading the book, taking my time and savouring each chapter to concentrate thoroughly on each task, forcing myself to look at factors I’ve been avoiding all of my adult life. Walls that I’ve solidly built up after each break up that may enable me to evaluate my life through a fresh pair of eyes. My challenge for you, my beautiful readers, regardless of whether you’re single or loved up, is to create your own ‘Awesome List’, take a photo and Tweet it! Remember to tag myself, Steph and Jill
To find out more about Steph, Jill and this brilliantly written book, click here!
Disclaimer: This book is a PR sample sent to me for review, however the opinions expressed are 100% my own!