I was born in the heat of a 60s summer, with teeth and an unwillingness to sleep. Both have stood me in good stead.

I became a writer with Jessica Kingsley Publishers (part of the Hachette Group) after long diversions into aerospace and horticulture. What finally did it was having something to write about, and no job. Parenting children with experience of early life trauma has changed me forever, some would say for the better, others not so much.

I was business columnist of the year in 2013/4 as judged by The British Society of Magazine Editors and the Professional Publishers Association for work with the magazine Community Care.


In 2017 I was awarded an OBE.

I’m a reader, a gardener, a walker and a committed tea drinker. I bloody love tea. I love music too and comedy and people being nice to each other. 

 If you like my work, please share it. Thanks for visiting my website.

18 thoughts on “Biography

  1. Jo

    I ould probably write a very similar list to you, I don’t eat anything with a face! Well except those vegetarian gumy bears you can get! Even then I try not to bite the head off but eat them whole to minimise the trauma!

    Love your blog, you write well with a lovely warmth and undercurrent of humour.

    1. admin Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind words and the knowledge that I’m not the only vegetarian left in the UK (there used to be so many of us!). Glad you like the blog.

  2. Tilly

    What a great site, I am an early adopter just entering into the thros and this made me laugh and made me think about what people are going to expect from our daughter. They can expect away,

    1. admin Post author

      Yes, tuning out the expectations of others is a difficult part of parenting adopted children. Ranting and humour have helped me (and so have Cadburys).
      I wish you all the very best.

  3. Jane

    I have just come across your blog and have found it very interesting. Also I was interested in hearing your opinions on the BBC programme, which has helped me understand the points which you raised. My husband and I had our first visit yesterday from the social worker; I have been thinking about adopting a child for a while now, but my husband is very unsure. This is of course understandable as we chose not to have children and have no regrets. We are 53 now but have physical jobs and are in good health.It needs a lot of thought. Your thoughts would be appreciated. I like your listography, I think I would like to see the end of unnaturally white teeth aka Simon Cowell and the likes.

    1. admin Post author

      My husband and I were the same, he was very unsure at first and I was eager to get out of the starting blocks. I believe this is quite common. There are lots of steps to go through before you have to make a firm decision so you could continue to dip your toes in and gather information.
      We adopted at the more difficult end of the scale; two children at the same time, one of whom has complex needs. It is a generalisation to say that the younger the child, the less complex their needs are likely to be, but there is some truth in it.
      Adopting a child is very rewarding. It is also challenging and it is important that before you both commit, you are completely sure that this is right for you. It is not something I would recommend unless you feel fully committed. Children who have been in the care system will test your commitment and need it to be rock solid.

      I hope this is of some use. Contact me again if there is anything else you would like to know. Adoption UK are also a good source of information.

      And thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

  4. Lorraine McHugh

    Just bought your book on amazon and received it today. I have literally not wanted to put it down (been forced to a few times!!) But i am 1/2 way through. It is simply amazing!! Its a fabulous insight to the uk adoption process. We share the same feelings about IVF and genes and it really helps to cement our decision, that others also feel the same and had their families through another route, adoption. Thanks so much
    Best Wishes xxx

  5. Bhopinder Nijjar

    Hi Sally

    Sorry if this is cheeky but we need more responses!
    I’m a social worker currently working at Clifton Children’s Society and Action for Children, to look at adoption support services in the South West. I’ve devised a survey about adoption support with a view to eventually look at a website/ data base for adoption support, making it more accessible and with all the support services in one place. Well that’s the aim. Anyhow I was looking to see if you could help, well actually the suggestion came from Julie Selwyn, and whether you could promote the survey and put the link on your website. The survey is for families who live in the following local authorities, BANES, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon, who will hopefully be coming on board soon.
    Here’s the link

    let me know what you think.
    07834 006274

  6. Victoria

    I have just read your book on Adoptive Parenting. Turn to page 179 ‘Friends and Family’ and I would swear you are writing about me, also page 183 Children Making Friends. My young children are both adopted and we live in a picture postcard village in the south of England and we were so happy and had made many friends. That was at least pre-adoption. Since then not only has my daughter been the victim of being the only one in the class who was not invited to a party but the person I rated as my best friend has shocked me no end; she had wished our IVF cycles would all fail and that she was now punishing me for having adopted children (we were the last childless couple in the group left). Via social media I have seen social events where it is evident that I am no longer part of that inner circle, her words were we are on honeymoon…
    So we find ourselves in a position where our daughter is the perfect middle class school and we live in the most gorgeous village, but we have been outcast from the inner circles that we once belonged to and treated in the most shameful way. We are wondering if it is now time to move on. The sad thing is we invested 14 years into this village, but now we are fishing in a small pond and I feel desperately lonely (all my good friends live in various places across the country and I have no family close by). It is shocking to use your friend as a human punchbag for whatever lurks in your past and today I am at an all time low. I am so run down, I have come down with a horrid virus and am mentally exhausted. I feel I need to find other like minded adoptive parents in my local area as sadly I have to face the realisation that we need to start again. If you or anyone reading this can guide me that would be most helpful.
    Reading your book you have faced the same challenges and overcome them. I take my hat off to you and thank you for helping me realise the problems lie with others, not me. your book is so insightful and rings true in so many ways.

  7. Vicky

    I love your books Sally, I’ve found them such a help & so reassuring & really just wanted to say thanks. I could relate to so much of what you wrote, although I knew in theory there were other families out there going through similar experiences it’s reassuring to know we’re not the only ones – this knowledge alone mostly prevents me from rocking in the corner when things get particularly tricky! Next step is to buy multiple copies of your books, tie them to bricks and throw them at various family members/friends who insist ‘those children just need DISCIPLINE!’ Agh!!!

    1. admin Post author

      Well, what can I say? I am sorry you are having to endure the old ‘they just need discipline’ horse-shit. It makes a difficult job even harder. Thanks for reading the books and for taking the time to make contact. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply.

  8. sally hornby

    Hi Sally,
    I have just finishing reading Billy Bramble to my 2 girls (1 of which is adopted). They both absolutely loved it and didn’t want me to stop reading. Thank you for this fabulous book. My adopted daughter totally got Billy and Gobber. So emotional and funny and brilliantly written. Thank you.

    Also, No Matter What is absolutely fantastic and both our parents have read it and I’ve bought a copy for my daughters school. Anyone I know who has adopted I tell them to read it. I love your honesty, how raw it is, how open you are. I feel that I constantly fail my adopted daughter and that I get it wrong all the time. The rejection is so hard and draining. It’s been a revelation to read something that describes what I feel and to know that other people feel the same. Thank you.

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Sally,
      Thank you so much for reading and supporting Billy and No Matter What. It is a massive boost to have such amazing feedback.
      I’m going to be a little but bossy now – raising children with backgrounds of relational devastation and trauma is incredibly difficult and many of our children need to test us to breaking point.I’ll bet that you’re not getting it wrong all the time, but that you are doing your best and that it will pay dividends in the long run. In the meantime, take good care of your own wellbeing, because if we all come out of this as traumatised as our kids are, what is the point of it all.
      Lots of love and fortitude x

  9. Salma Rashid

    I have almost finished reading Adoptive Parenting. I was scared it was going to be another one of those books with maybe 15% usefulness which I have heard before and the rest just a boring academic lecture. Sooo glad it was not. Everything rings true. Since I started it a few weeks ago I have become more self-aware of my parenting and am building in more therapeutic responses to my son when he derails. I am also noting down some phrases to use with the teachers to help them ‘get’ him, I don’t have high expectations but hoping to educate the teacher a tiny bit each term. Oh and I loved the f***ing swearing. I find it such a release in the right doses. Thanks so much for making a real difference. It’s a book I will be flicking back to so I don’t lose my way! x

    1. admin Post author

      Salma – thank you so much reading the book and taking the time to leave a comment. It was written with the purpose of giving practical, real life suggestions because I’m sure that’s where the difference is made. Glad you found it helpful and good luck!

  10. Caroline Wheatley

    Dear Sally
    I have just finished reading “No Matter What”. It was like looking in the mirror for our journey to panel. It has literally been one of the best things I’ve picked up to help us in our journey to becoming parents. In fact I wish I had read it before!
    Aside of that it is the most beautifully written book which had me in tears and smiling as well as rooting for you all.
    Thank you and I will be seeking to read more of your books!
    Kind regards

    1. admin Post author

      Thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment. I’m glad the book has been helpful and relevant. Best of luck with whatever lies ahead for you.


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