Welcome to Mumsnet!

We’re delighted you’ve found us. Join in the conversation on the UK's busiest site for parents

Get started »

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe

Love,NinaOur March non-fiction choice is pure comedy gold, a funny book (and those are rare) that is also life-affirming, unpretentious and warm-hearted.

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life is a series of letters from 20 year-old nanny Nina (working for a literary family in Primrose Hill in the 1980s) to her sister back home in Leicestershire.

Nina is an appalling cook, and not that experienced at childcare either. But she does have an expert ear for dialogue and perfectly tuned comic timing. And in the unusual, artistic and frequently bonkers household where she works, that counts for a lot more than ironing a football shirt. So when Alan Bennett pops by for supper, or Jonathan Miller borrows a saw, or any number of other extraordinary people saunter through their daily life, Nina recounts it all with an eagle-eye for detail and a beautifully deadpan humour. Thanks to many eccentric family conversations (best pie-fillers, Thomas Hardy v Enid Blyton, sexually transmitted diseases) and the musings of the quick-witted two boys in her care, she is never short of material and evokes the characters and atmosphere with a fresh, breezy style that is completely charming.

As Stylist put it, Nina is 'like a 1980s Mary Poppins with a sense of humour'. Or a cross between Adrian Mole and I Capture the Castle. Like those beloved classics, this book has an addictive wit that will have you running off to read it at all times of day. A book to treasure, and perfect for anyone in need of a pick-me-up.


About the author

Nina Stibbe


At the age of 20, Nina Stibbe moved from Leicestershire to London to become a nanny. Later she studied at Thames Polytechnic and worked in publishing. She now lives in Cornwall with her partner and children. This guardian interview has some excellent insights into Nina's story.

 Follow Nina on Twitter @ninastibbe.




Mumsnet and Penguin are inviting you to join our Dear, Nina competition: we want you to write to 'Dear Nina' and share with her your confessions of parenting fails. Nina will judge your letters/confessions and the end of the month and the winner will receive a year’s supply of books for parents and kids from Penguin and Puffin – 12 adult titles and 12 kids titles selected by Penguin. To enter, submit your entry on the discussion thread


Penguin have 50 copies to give to Mumsnetters – to claim yours please fill in your details below. We'll post on the thread when all the copies have gone. If you're not lucky enough to bag one of the free books, you can always get your paperback or Kindle version here.

If you get a free copy, we do expect you to come and and tell us what you think. So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month and look forward to hearing your thoughts…

This giveaway is now closed.  



Last updated: over 3 years ago