If I had to describe my life in one word it would be…

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I grew up an only child in a family where my parents did not socialise or allow me to socialise much. I learned to read at the age of four and spent my childhood reading everything I could get my hands on. Books I remember: Noddy, Walter the Hottle Bottle, The Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew, I am David. I loved the animal stories written by Joyce Stranger.

Later it was Mills and Boon (read under my blankets with a torch as comics, photo comics and trashy novels were a no-no in our house) and then ‘airport novels’ such as Valley of the Dolls, Woman of Substance and everything by Wilbur Smith, Nevil Shute, Arthur Hailey, Alistair MacLean. And of course the Brontës and Jane Austen.

I also started to write my own stories at the age of five, continuing right through school. I was given the book below at the age of eight and I decided then that I wanted to be a writer or a journalist.


My parents died when I was in my teens and I found that pouring out my anger and my grief into my diary really helped. I am not a talker and so people assumed I was fine and let me be. So my diary really helped me get through things. It provided a willing ear so to speak. I could tell it anything.

When I finished school I got my first degree in English literature (specialising in the works of Thomas Hardy and epic poems – particularly Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene) and Journalism.

From then my career has involved books and writing in some form or other. From teaching writing to proofreading, translating and typesetting it. From creating books to reviewing them. From Filofaxes and planners to beautiful handmade journals. Below are some of my favourites

One of my journals - handmade by Jonathan Vanderholm
One of my journals – handmade by Jonathan Vanderholm
Also by Jonathan Vanderholm
Also by Jonathan Vanderholm
Gillio Mia Cara A5 Organiser
Gillio Mia Cara A5 Organiser
1900 Five Year Diary by Asprey
1900 Five Year Diary by Asprey

And finally, this is my father’s novel. He worked on it evenings and weekends and even though it remained unpublished, it was very special to him. It was in the fire which killed my grandmother and this is all that remains. On the way home from her funeral my father had a stroke and went off the road. He died shortly afterwards. Four months later my mother died. I sometimes look at this book and it reminds me of the story of my life. It is also illegible. But it means something to someone.


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 thoughts

  1. I love hearing how you came into your own with writing, your career and collecting these beautiful journals, books and such.
    I too grew up somewhat isolated from others, especially people my age. My friends were books and libraries! Some of my best memories (though my parents were horrified):
    …being told by the librarian to go to the children’s section where I belong and to put ‘those’ books back! Needless to say I did a bad thing at the age of about 10 and brought home (unbeknownst to my mom) Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage ! Oh My! Once discovered my mom marched me back to the library and made me apologize…though I admit I wasn’t sorry only because I should’ve been able to check the book out if I could read it lol! To make matters worse, I did a book report on it at age 10, in the best way a ten year old girl could! I was so proud! My parents had to come to the school and I was in big big trouble….I look back on this gleefully! My poor parents!
    Books, journals, diaries, pens and big huge large purses are my comfort….a friend once commented that she’d never seen an actual ‘library’ in a bathroom…so many books an entire bookcase in a bathroom! Doesn’ everyone decorate this way ?
    Thank you Janet…as always for sharing!

  2. Until I read your post I had almost completely forgotten about Josephine Kamm. I read one of her books from the library in the the very early 1970s. It wasn’t Janet Carr: Journalist though.

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