• The countryside is finally getting more diverse – and it’s about time

    I don’t know if I am allowed to write about racism and the countryside. In an age obsessed with identity politics it seems taboo to comment on anything outside your own experience. But still, isn’t that the point of journalism?

  • My doctor refuses to believe I'm menopausal at 47 – and keeps giving me antidepressants

    I am writing to you because I am on the floor. I feel crippled with anxiety, I can hardly sleep and when I do manage to do so, I get night sweats. I went to my GP wondering if it could be the menopause, but he said that because I was 47 it is too early, and gave me antidepressants. They are not working. I don’t know what to do. I don’t feel like myself at all. Please help.

  • 10 fashion mistakes midlife men must avoid

    This is Prince Harry in a promotional video for eco firm Travalyst, doing what he currently does best, which is being “on message” while striving hard to look young and cool. As it happens this is also a recognised midlife stage (Harry is only 37 but no matter; you can join the Midlife Not Me club any time between the ages of 35 and 70ish, and Harry just happens to be an early adopter).

  • Two new flatmates have moved in – and it's transformed my life

    Part of me wanted to find flatmates because country life can be lonely. In the wilds of Land’s End, captivated as I was by windswept cliffs, I knew that I’d be happier with someone to share them with. When I finally moved into my cottage in Somerset, I quickly filled it with friends, began researching how I could take in foster children and signed up to offer my spare rooms to Ukrainian refugees (I’m still waiting).

  • ‘The trans lobby tried to cancel my book – they don’t want people asking questions’

    The Oxford University Press is an august institution that rarely attracts controversy. One new title, however, has caused a furore, with petitions circulating that question both the decision to publish and the author’s credentials. It has even been accused of endangering lives, as though the mere act of publishing a book some people imagine they won’t like could have fatal consequences.

  • I don't know how to talk to my teen son about safe sex

    I have a 16-year-old son who is just getting into the usual stuff: parties, beer and… girls. He’s at that stage where sex is taking up a huge proportion of his waking (and probably sleeping) hours. He’s a lovely boy and I’m very keen to make sure that he understands how to approach sex and girls with respect, but without being crippled by fear. Basically, I need to have a proper conversation with him about consent and how to start engaging with girls sexually while making sure that he doesn’t cr

  • What makes women fall for dangerous convicts

    Vicky White had a spotless career as a prison guard in Alabama. The 56-year-old was a highly respected widow, her colleagues “trusted her with their lives” and she was viewed as an “exemplary employee” by the local sheriff. She was days away from retirement and had told colleagues how much she was looking forward to spending more time at the beach.

  • However I celebrate my divorce, it won't involve a party in Ibiza

    Divorce is big business, and I don’t mean a five-minute phonecall to lawyers costing the same as a city break – it’s the business of divorce that’s becoming nothing short of an industry. Selling family homes, dividing assets, rooting through pension pots and off-shore accounts. But please, honey, that’s old news! Cakes, new dresses, fancy locations, first-class flights, all-night dancing and endless cocktails; if you thought your wedding was over the top, the latest expense to add to your divorc

  • 5 ways to reignite your sex life in midlife

    It’s 7pm on a Tuesday evening and I’m logging onto my last Zoom call of the day. I’ve told my husband and teenagers that dinner will have to wait as I’ll be working for the next hour, and technically I will be, as I’m doing some research. However, I have to confess I’m also intrigued on a personal level, as this webinar, run by Sophie Benge, a 54-year old sexual energy guide, promises to help me tune into my ‘vibrant sexuality’.

  • I can't afford to run the cottage – I'm taking drastic action

    The boiler breaks. Of course the boiler breaks! What kind of a city-girl-moves-to-the-country column would this be if it didn’t? The heating and hot water give out at the best possible moment: just as the wood-burner is condemned, the weather has taken a turn for the cold, the winter log supply has ended and I have a woman staying as part of the Workaway scheme, where hosts provide travellers with food and lodging in exchange for odd jobs. And of course, when electricity prices have gone through

  • America’s abortion debate is a chilling reminder of how history can be rewritten at a stroke

    Last week, the newsmagazine Politico leaked a first draft of a United States Supreme Court opinion that could see the end of Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protects a pregnant American woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion. If overturned, termination in the US would be left to individual states to decide – and ultimately, could even be banned completely as fetal rights trumped women’s rights under a radical interpretation of constitutional law.

  • ‘Abortion is an emotive issue – I still feel the pain 17 years later’

    The sonographer had tolerated, and even participated in, our banter (“If only the scan could show us whether the baby will have my hair … I really hope it doesn’t get saddled with yours…”). It was the ribbing of a recently married couple, giddy with excitement at seeing their first child, now a 20-week-old foetus, looking unmistakably like a baby on the screen.

  • Northern Ireland protocol a barrier to forming government, says DUP

    The DUP will only enter into a power-sharing government in Stormont after elections this week if other parties agree that the Northern Ireland Protocol must be removed or replaced, party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said last night.

  • My Tinder date brought his mother for dinner – here's what happened next...

    Maria R Peter, 51 years old, lives in Manchester. She is a personal trainer with three kids, aged 27, 19 and 15.

  • Abigail Shrier: Taking on the trans lobby has made me Public Enemy No 1

    It was 2019 when Abigail Shrier, the American journalist, first raised the alarm in an article for the Wall Street Journal about the harm the promotion of trans ideology was doing to young people, and particularly to teenage girls. The article went viral, as the problem – at least to anxious middle class parents – was beginning to feel urgent throughout liberal America.

  • After two weeks of luxury, I've realised it's the stresses and glitches of my regular life that make me happy

    Fate blesses me, coaxing me from my home-decorating hamster wheel with the offer of a two-week Caribbean cruise. I jump at the offer, vibrating with excitement at the thought of leaving my glacial cottage for a fortnight afloat on warm aquamarine waves.

  • ‘Don’t mention the election’ appears to be the recommendation in my French village

    When I lived in London, my dinner table was often the scene of heated political arguments, so much so that we instigated the Wooden Spoon Club, for those who liked to stir the pot. On some occasions, the spoons were real, bashed loudly on the table with shouts of “Order! Order!” as everyone competed to have their say. The longer the evening went on, the more wine drunk, the louder those conversations became.

  • 'I let my teenage daughter have cosmetic surgery – I'm scared it was a huge mistake'

    As the doctor removed the bandages from Grace’s* blood-stained ear, all the breath left my body. I’d let my beautiful sixteen-year-old child have this operation. I was responsible for what she’d done. Overwhelmed with guilt and panic I fainted to the floor.

  • ‘Baking got me through my depression – now I’m running a successful business with my dad’

    ‘I didn’t know how to function any more. And then, one day, I watched my dad make a really simple overnight bread, mixing flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Watching something so simple transform into something so magical made me feel safe,” Kitty Tait, 17, recalls of the single loaf that altered the course of her life. Her father Al’s “miracle overnight white” – proved overnight and baked in a casserole dish – results in a crunchy crust and a pillowy crumb. Inspired by Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread

  • I thought admitting I was dyslexic would be career suicide

    Matt Hancock’s recent decision to “come out” as dyslexic induced sniggering from certain quarters. “That’s why he talks such carp,” one wag joked. Even the usually mild-mannered Phillip Schofield meanly asked Hancock whether his dyslexia was to blame for him misreading social distancing rules. Still, while some mocked the former health secretary’s confession, I found it refreshing – and a relief. Because I am also a secret dyslexic but I’ve never admitted it because doing so felt like career sui