In defence of Instagram…

Little squares of light in the dark… I am never more glued to my phone than when I have a newborn baby. Breastfeeding constantly means long periods of enforced sitting with only one hand to spare, as well as minimal brain capacity and an inability to concentrate for more than a few moments at a…

The Republic of Motherhood

A dear friend sent me this poem a few days ago, and I wanted to share it with you. Written by poet Liz Berry, The Republic of Motherhood, recently published in Granta, is a beautifully-crafted vision of the realities of motherhood, in all its searing painful, euphoric beauty. With perfect precision she covers the simplicity…

Be Bold for Change

International Women’s Day this year is all about making changes. “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. “ Eleanor Roosevelt The #BeBoldForChange campaign for International Women’s Day this year is all about being braver, about taking risks and putting yourself…

The Caged Bird Singing

The beauty and the bravery of Maya Angelou… Desert Island Discs celebrated 75 years of programmes last week. An incredible feat for a format that has barely changed since its inception in 1942. Presenter Kirsty Young did a special two hour show looking back at the show’s history, in which she featured some of the…

Christmas Spirit

I don’t watch adverts anymore (thank you Sky Plus). When people say “Have you seen the new [insert cool brand] advert..?” I have to Google it and watch it on YouTube. Like that Nationwide one from last year, with the man and his Dad scarf, and the weepy soundtrack. Oh. Wow.  (Try to get through that without…

Super Sophie

Just a really great heroine… We watched The BFG at the weekend. Not only is it one of my favourite books, but it’s also a reminder of how great Roald Dahl was at writing brilliant heroines. Matilda, Sophie, even Miss Honey – all in their different ways clever, kind, thoughtful, brave women. But it is perhaps Sophie…

Finding your Festive Spirit

Lovely things to do with big and little people… Take your Friends A Very Cowley Christmas: A lovely festive event at beautiful Cowley Manor, created in conjunction with Space.NK, Harvey Nichols , Whole Foods and Taittinger. There’s the expected Christmas shopping, but also a fashion show, several festive skincare and makeup masterclasses, as well as…

From Lost to Found…

Wonderful words with Cheryl Strayed… I spent a wonderful evening at The Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sunday. We are blessed to have such a diverse and interesting literary event on our doorstep. This year the likes of Jo Malone, Jilly Cooper, Clare Balding, Bryony Gordon, Jay Rayner, Paddy Ashdown, Justine Picardie, Maureen Lipman, Jack Monroe and Lionel Shriver were…

400 years of wonderful words…

Celebrating the anniversary of someone’s death always seems a slightly maudlin subject, but with someone like Shakespeare, I think we can safely say that enough time has passed for this to be a joyful celebration of all he brought to the world. Full disclosure, I’m an English scholar and I have always loved Shakespeare – despite…