10 Fabulous Books Every Mummy Should Read

These days we are awed by the sheer number of books available to us, and it's difficult to choose something relevant to our needs. As parents, we are limited in the time we can spend reading, and as frugal families we cannot afford to spend on books we may later find irrelevant. So each Wednesday, I aim to review a book on a range of subjects from parenting guides to home-making, fashion/beauty and cookbooks which are most relevant for fabulous, frugal mums!

I'm a vigorous reader: my shelves are filled with books I have read, enjoyed and refuse to ever part with. Within this library is a particular shelf I refer to often: my "mummy" books, fabulous reads on various subjects which I believe every yummy mum should read at least once - and probably refer to her friends!

For those who prefer not to buy books outright, why not reserve in your local library or see if there are copies available to swap for free on ReadItSwapIt.co.uk?

Without further ado, here are my top 10 fabulous books for mummies (organized by category, and in no particular order):

Best for... Surviving Parenthood

The Fabulous Mum's Handbook by Grace Saunders

This is one of the more recent "parenting guides" I've read, and has certainly been highly enjoyable. It's really aimed at new mums (or those who are expecting a baby) and offers advice on everything from what your baby really needs to styling your ever adjusting figure.

Several celebrities offer their expert advice on various subjects, from Tanya Byron (from The House of Tiny Tearaways) on getting sleep, to Amanda Smith (former director of style for Elle Decoration) on having a wonderful, stylish and child-friendly home.

What I love most is that each section offers advice tailored to the needs of all mothers, along with "top tips" at the end of each chapter.

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A Spoonful of Sugar by Liz Frazer 

I've currently borrowed a copy of this from the library and have now ordered a copy of my own because I don't want to give this one back!

Now as mothers, I'm sure many of us have turned to our own parents for advice. In this book, Liz Frazer takes it a step further to ask her grandmother for her pearls of wisdom and applies this to modern day mothers. With all our concerns over 21st century dangers, 24 hour TV and fast food, we may have forgotten that the happiest of family lives comes from making things simple. Much of what you will read here is common sense, but it's always good to be reminded of old-fashioned ways!

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Baby-proofing your marriage by Stacie Cockrel et al

A lighthearted look at the impact a baby can have on relationships, this was written by three feisty mothers who seem to have survived the worst of it all!

Including lighthearted anecdotes (and passages which will make you laugh out loud!), Baby-proofing Your Marriage offers friendly advice based on experience: from sex (or the lack of) to in-laws, division of housework and everything between.

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Best for... Feeding the Family

How to feed your whole family a healthy balanced diet with very little money... by Gill Holcombe

This book is a lifesaver in terms of cheap healthy recipes which the whole family can enjoy! Gill Holcombe offers us a guide to help us cook for our families from scratch with easy to follow recipes from her delicious "All in one Apple Cake" to "Salmon Pasta Bake" and the super quick "Instant Corned Beef Hash".

If you need a book which can advice you how to cut down on your family food bills or even learn the basics of home cooking, this is certainly something of interest to you.

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Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely

The title of this book truly does justice to the content: Saving Dinner offers time and money saving recipes and menu plans to help bring your whole family back to the dinner table.

I first came across this through the FlyLady site when Leanne offered her advice about menu-planning. Her recipes use frugal, seasonal ingredients and take very little time to create. Best of all, you can visit the website to print off your shopping list so you don't have to write them all down or take your book to the supermarket!

Being an American title, some of the ingredients may be bewildering to us Brits; just look up anything you are unsure about (don't forget, "zuccinis" are "courgettes" to us!) and you'll find this a useful addition to your cookery shelf.

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Best for... Keeping House

Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley - AKA FlyLady

I can describe this book as nothing more than a Godsend! For mummies whose homes seem to have transformed into bombsites die to the lack of time, energy and motivation, this title will help you get your home (and your life) back in order with seemingly no effort.

Based on the wisdom of FlyLady.net, Sink Reflections offers us an insight into Marla's previously unkempt home and how she learned to transform her house into a haven using "babysteps" to achieve great things over time. From learning how to organize yourself to daily 15 minute plans of achievement, this book will be something you can refer to over and over.

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House Rules by Clare Coulson

Forget trying to be a "perfect housewife": for me, this book would be better termed "The Bible" of housekeeping! From the best way to iron a shirt to foolproof cooking techniques, this covers everything you could possibly want to know about keeoing a haven and not just a home.

Admittedly, the directory section is not wholly appropriate for me (most addresses are based in London, or are very expensive outlets), but the "how to" sections offer clear and concise advice on everything you could possibly need to know about keeping house. This takes pride of place on my bookshelves, and is a title I pick up whenever I have a question about our home.

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Best for... Entertaining the kids

I'm Bored by Suzy Barratt, Polly Beard and Sam Holland

This ingenious book offers imaginative ideas for keeping the kids entertained whether you're stuck at home on a rainy day or caught up in a traffic jam.

These ideas do not ask you to buy any expensive equipment; most simply require a little imagination and what you already have at hand. It's beautifully illustrated too, which encourages younger children to look at the pictures and decide what they'd like to play.

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Best for... Frugal Living

The Thrift Book by India Knight

Written by a self-confessed "child of the more-is-more 1980s", this book offers insights into how we can reduce our expenditure without expense to our lifestyles.

I've always been a thrifty mummy at heart, but found many new ways of saving in this book (especially the website directories and "community" section). Some of India's insights are amusing, and it's hard to imagine she honestly has tried everything she recommends, but overall this is very enjoyable.

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Thrifty Ways for Modern Days by Martin Lewis

Based on the "Old-Style" forum of MoneySavingExpert.com, this guide offers tried and tested frugal tips to help you save money in almost every aspect of your home. Include tips for growing your own vegetables, eco-cleaning and cheap (yet wonderful) family foods, there's something in here to suit everyone and help save a pretty penny in the process.

Martin Lewis is famed for his expertise on saving money, and has graciously contributed all proceeds of this book to charity since the wisdom is collected from avid members of his infamous site. If you're a fan of MoneySavingExpert.com or even just need a little nudge to save more money around the house, this really is a book you should read at least once!

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What would you add to this list?

These books are my personal favorites: the ones which I have read, and can honestly recommend as useful  reading for mummies!

Do you have any favorites which are not on this list? Please let us know what your favorite books are and why you enjoy them so much by leaving your comments below.

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