• I’ve finally discovered the secret to making adult friendships

    Saturday, 4 January 2014 was my 30th birthday bash. The whole evening was a bit surreal. Not because I was having a party in a bar kitted out like a sweet shop, which you accessed through wardrobe doors as though entering a hedonistic Narnia. Not because I got to name cocktails after myself (‘Cohen Down a Treat’). Not even because after too many of said cocktails, I fell down the stairs and gave myself carpet-burn blisters up my right arm. No, the bizarre thing was that, looking round the room,

  • Trinny Woodall on her £180m comeback: ‘I sold my house and clothes – I had no alternative’

    There is something of the Disney princess about Trinny Woodall as she strides towards me in the shiny Chelsea HQ of Trinny London, her beauty empire that in five scant years has gone from struggling to find investors to being valued at £180 million. Like Belle, she is clad in yellow. Like Rapunzel, she has really good hair. Like Snow White, she has lips as red as a rose. Unlike those hapless three, she doesn’t need to be rescued. For Woodall is her own heroine and the skilled author of her own f

  • The princess battling to keep a €300m roof over her head

    Whatever else may happen to her, there can be no doubt that the life story of Rita Carpenter, 72, correctly styled as La Principessa Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, will one day be told on screen. Visually, it’s got it all, from the Playboy centrefolds (two of them) to the ceiling painting by Caravaggio, the only one in the world, in which your eye is drawn straight up into the naked crotches of the three figures, all self-portraits (‘he certainly didn’t over-embellish himself…’). Nor is the tale sho

  • Would you spend £15k on a party to celebrate yourself?

    I’m standing at the top of a gilded staircase, wearing head-to-toe white, looking down at over 100 guests waiting expectantly below. I raise my glass – a bespoke grapefruit and Italicus cocktail – and finish off my speech. “Finally, I’d like to thank myself. Because if it wasn’t for me, none of this would have happened. So, I’d like to invite you all to raise a glass and drink … to me!”

  • Sheryl Sandberg: ‘A lot of age discrimination hits women at this stage’

    Sheryl Sandberg is the most famous businesswoman in the world. As chief operating officer of Facebook – often dubbed the human face of Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth – she joined a company full of twentysomething tech bros in 2008 and turned it into a lucrative personalised-advertising machine. Under her tenure revenues soared from $777 million in 2009 to $117 billion in 2021 – she once said that she was “put on this planet to scale organisations”.

  • I was worried about living with strangers – but now I realise they come with unexpected perks

    My flatmates solve my bills crisis but, better still, they make living in the cottage more fun. They fill it with energy, stories and life. A new, strange kind of family – but with people I like! We are an odd combination – a married man in his 50s with a gaggle of children, me – a 40-year-old pseudo divorcée – and a single girl of 23… but somehow it works. Perhaps our differences are the reason.

  • ‘My husband was a secret gambler who lost us six figures and our home’

    It sounds wrong, disrespectful even, to say this – but I wish my husband had had an affair. That was what I assumed when he said those dreaded words: “We need to talk.”

  • The 8 things breast cancer taught me about happiness

    Last September, to my immense shock, I was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. My right breast was riddled with 11cm of fast-growing tumours and the cancer had already infected the lymph nodes under my arm.

  • Stella Creasy: ‘JK Rowling is wrong – a woman can have a penis’

    Stella Creasy is clarifying her position on the word ‘woman’. “Do I think some women were born with penises? Yes”, she declares. “But they are now women and I respect that.”

  • I might live rurally, but the last thing I want is to feel disconnected

    Once, people moved to the countryside to escape. Wild cliffs, wide valleys and mountains were places you went to lose yourself. People ran to the hills to be isolated. I suppose that’s why I first came to the countryside. It seemed like a way to free myself from everything and everyone (not to mention a marriage). But if I came to the countryside harbouring fantasies of living alone on a cliff, now that I’ve actually settled here it turns out the last thing I want is to be isolated. What’s the p

  • How do I politely tell my neighbours their loud sex is keeping me awake?

    A couple in their 50s have just moved in next door – and they are driving me mad. They have really noisy sex and it’s waking me up in the night and I lie there fuming. I want to post a letter through their door to tell them to be considerate and I would never behave in this way, but my lovely husband says that would be rude. I just think it’s beyond the pale.

  • ‘Midlife dating is like a grotesque contact sport with too many players, and nobody wins’

    I did not expect to be single at midlife. My ex and I split after 12 years together. In the last few years of our relationship, we were both hanging on by our fingertips; neither of us, I suspect, wanting to face the prospect of being single despite us both knowing deep down that we were wrong for each other. The notion of doing life alone, especially as a single parent, was terrifying. So too now is the idea of dating, of getting back out there. The thought of being vulnerable, of being open wi

  • Eight signs you’re actually posh – and not just wealthy

    As you may know, Prince William attended the premiere of the sequel to Top Gun with Tom Cruise, wearing an Alexander McQueen velvet tuxedo and black velvet slippers embroidered with fighter jets.

  • ‘I had no confidence after my mastectomy – so I made a bra to help women like me feel sexy again’

    When Caroline Kennedy Alexander walked on set of Dragon’s Den earlier this year to pitch for investment in her lingerie brand, she was thinking of her sisters.

  • Liz Truss: ‘I’m a low-tax Conservative – we have to weather the economic storm’

    For a Remainer, it was a curious place to be. Shortly after noon on Tuesday, Liz Truss stood at the Dispatch Box and announced that the UK was ready to go it alone over Northern Ireland.

  • Why there’s no shame in being a ‘not good enough’ mother

    When I was feeling crazed from sleep deprivation and looking after a toddler and a screaming baby who, unbeknownst to me, was suffering with silent reflux, the same questions would tear through my mind. Why can’t I do this? Why aren’t I good enough?

  • 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).