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Claire Allan: Wee man makes sure I’m kept busy at the weekend

Claire Allan, from Londonderry, is married and has one son, Joseph (4). Her first novel was the bestselling Rainy Days and Tuesdays and her new book Feels Like Maybe is out this month

Do weekends find you at the coalface or drawbridge up?

A bit of both — my working week is done but there is no such thing as relaxation with a four-year-old! That said it is lovely to have quality time with my son and I enjoy our time together and spending time with my family. My husband still works occasional weekends so I also find the time to write when he out — my Saturday nights are often spent on the laptop.

If you can, do you grab a lie-in?

My husband is an angel in this regard and I generally get a half-decent lie-in each Saturday and Sunday, which sets me up for the day. Nothing beats looking at the clock at 7.30 in the morning and just rolling over and falling back to sleep — bliss!

What do you remember about weekends as a child?

Weekends were real family time. They started on a Friday when one of us four children would be chosen to go to Stewarts supermarket with my daddy and grandparents (we didn't have a car) for the shopping. That was a treat in itself as the lucky child got a chippy tea in front of the roaring fire in my granny's house. We were also always guaranteed a book as a treat. Saturdays were spent doing chores in the morning and playing in the street in the afternoon and on Sundays we would either go on “a wee run” down to Donegal with my grandparents, a walk with my daddy or visit my very trendy auntie who lived with my other grandparents, where we would get up to all sorts of mischief.

If you could do anything you wanted this weekend, what would it be?

Pack up the car, take my husband and my wee man and head off to a luxury spa resort somewhere where they could have some male bonding while I was pampered to within an inch of my life in the spa.

If you could buy anything at all this weekend, what would it be?

Some books, a box of chocolates, a nice warm jumper — and then spend the weekend curled up in front of the fire, chilling out.

A night at the flicks or a DVD?

I love the cinema, but rarely get to go (and generally it's only to a kids’ film!), so generally a DVD does the trick. A friend recently sent me a Doris Day (pictured) box set and I've been reliving the classics.

If you have time to read a book this weekend, what will it be?

I'm dying to read the new Melissa Hill book Before I Forget, so that would be top of my list. I love trying to guess the twists in her stories.

At weekends do you eat out or rustle up something yourself?

Depends how lazy we are feeling. Sometimes we'll go for a take out, on a Saturday night, or if I'm lucky my husband will rustle something up — he is a great cook. If I'm feeling particularly domestic goddessy, I'll do a Sunday roast.

Do you switch off your mobile and log out of your emails?

God no! I'd be lost without them. But I do a lot of writing work, admin and publicity at the weekends so logging in is vital. But also I'm a nosey parker and afraid to miss a thing.

Sunday morning — do you go to church?

My granny will kill me, but no. I have a very strong faith, but have lost confidence in organised religion entirely. I prefer to go to church when I can have a few quiet moments of prayer and contemplation in a more personal way.

Your perfect Sunday?

A nice lie-in, a bacon sandwich in bed with the two men in my life and then an afternoon at my mum’s playing with my son, my niece and new tiny baby nephew Ethan. If the weather is great we love to go to the Playtrail in Derry with the kids, which I think I enjoy as much as they do, and then back home for one of my mum's famous Sunday dinners. Sunday evening, ideally, is spent chatting with my hubby and watching a cheesy movie.

And when do you start to get depressed at the thought of the week ahead?

Friday afternoon! I'm very forward thinking! Honestly though, I don't find the start of a new week as daunting as I used to.

Feels Like Maybe by Claire Allen, Poolbeg, £12.99

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