NICOLA LATHEY is a Speech and Language Therapist. She lives in Oxford with her husband, Rhodri, and their daughter, Jess.

Nicola qualified from University College London in 1999 and, since then, has worked for the NHS and abroad in Australia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. She is the founder of the Owl Centre, a private multi-disciplinary clinic for children in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.

Nicola was inspired to become a Speech and Language Therapist after observing the therapy given to her younger brother with Down’s Syndrome. This gave her a direct insight into the value of therapeutic intervention.

Nicola is a member of ASLTIP (Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice), the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and the Health Professional Council.



TRACEY BLAKE is an experienced journalist and editor. She has worked at the Daily Mail since 2005, and lives in Buckinghamshire with her partner, James, and their children, Minnie and Monty.

Tracey came up with the idea to write ‘Small Talk’ after Nicky visited her house for a social gathering. Nicky pointed out that Minnie, who was only 10 weeks old at the time, was very chatty. This surprised Tracey as she had no idea that the sounds Minnie was making were in any way conversational.

A few months later, Nicky visited again and told Tracey that Minnie had started ‘babbling’
(making consonant noises). Fascinated, Tracey looked for a book on how communication develops in babies, but there wasn’t one. So she called Nicky and said that they should write one together – and the rest, as they say, is history!

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