• Who are Ghislaine Maxwell’s sisters?

    Of all the unusual details in the lives of the seven surviving children of Robert and Elisabeth Maxwell – and, believe me, there are a lot – by far the oddest might be that they appear to get along.

  • What women want at Christmas (and we’re not talking about presents...)

    Any minute now, all over the country, women will be having exchanges with their partners that go something like this:

  • Help! Have you got PCSD (Pre-Christmas Stress Disorder)?

    Do you remember how it used to be at this time of year, before Covid robbed us of our ability to trust that essential things like Christmas would just happen as planned?

  • ‘No-one suspects how desperately lonely I am – not even my ‘friends’ or colleagues’

    Last Christmas Day, the only people I spoke to were a couple I approached, when out walking, to ask if I could stroke their dog. The rest of the day I spent alone, as I do on so many others.

  • ‘When the Taliban returned, I set up a free online school to help thousands of girls in Afghanistan’

    When the Taliban returned to power in August, banning women and girls from receiving an education, I began receiving anxious messages from Afghan girls who had been awaiting the results of their important university entrance exams. They were so scared and hopeless, and I felt their pain: as an Afghan refugee and former teacher myself, I know the value of education – and what it feels like to have it taken away. I felt I had to do something, because a victim of violence must be able to prevent ot

  • The unravelling of Sheridan Smith

    If the pictures of her crumpled Range Rover are anything to go by, Sheridan Smith is indeed “lucky to be alive.” The 40-year-old actress reportedly skidded off the road and into a tree in Little Sampford, Essex, on a stormy Saturday evening – thankfully escaping with only “cuts and bruises.”

  • ‘I had been the perfect wife and mother – so why did my husband walk out?’

    Like many people before internet dating, I met my husband in the office.

  • The celebrity body parts that are so good they deserve their own calendars

    Stuck for a present idea for the football fan in your life, or your wife? We may have just the thing. It is “The Wonderful World of Jack Grealish’s Calves” 2022 calendar dedicated to the Manchster City midfielder’s best-known feature, if you don’t count his hairbanded floppy mop and his “Not been up to anything” expression.

  • Kirstie Allsopp: 'Covid has definitely revealed a mealy-mouthed gutlessness in people'

    I am on the way to meet Kirstie Allsopp at her home in west London to talk about her Channel 4 show Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, when my phone rings.

  • The truth about the ‘sexist surcharge’ on emergency contraception in Britain

    There are few products on sale in our pharmacies that have a greater mark-up than emergency contraception. While the pills can now be purchased for under £4 from online retailers, women are still paying four times that for an equivalent product in places such as Boots.

  • 'My girlfriend talks dirty to me in German and I hate it'

    My girlfriend talks dirty to me in bed, which I’m not used to, and I don’t know how to respond. We’ve been together for six months and this started about three months in.

  • By 40, I thought I'd have my life under control, but it hasn't turned out that way

    A snatched conversation I had more than 17 years ago has stayed with me. It wasn’t a deep and meaningful with a friend, nor a piece of advice. It was actually with a stranger, on a netball court, in the middle of a match.

  • How Sex and the City changed my view of love, motherhood and friendship forever

    As I watched the trailer for the most hyped revival of the year, I couldn’t help but wonder (à la Carrie Bradshaw, of course)… how Sex and the City changed us.

  • ‘Like my dad, I loved the feeling of spending money without care - until reality hit'

    Money flowed into my childhood home. It was the 1980s – era of the yuppie – and in our house in the Essex countryside, the supply seemed endless to me and my siblings. For my mum, I know now it wasn’t such fun.

  • ‘Four maternity leaves took an unimaginable toll on my life’

    More than £70,000. That’s the basic cost of raising a child to the age of 18 for couples in the UK, according to the Child Poverty Action Group’s latest “Cost of a Child” report. More than £70,000 per child, that is. Throw in additional expenses like food – which, somewhat bizarrely, isn’t classed as a basic cost – and childcare and that figure rises to more than £150,000 per child. Or £600,000 if you’re a mum of four like me.

  • ‘He told me that my body belonged to him – and I believed him’

    There was violence in my home growing up. Not at first, when I was very young, but by the time I started school, it was there – and that was just the beginning.

  • Getting up at 5:40am changed my life and saved my sanity

    In the summer of 2015, I was a mess. My six-month-old baby, Raffy, was waking on the hour, every hour, every night. I was so tired that I thought I was going mad. My brain was mud. I couldn’t think clearly, which, as a freelance writer, was upsetting to say the least. I would often come home from walking my eldest son, Bear, then three, to nursery and cry with tiredness. One day, I put the boys in the car and, as I was about to drive off, Bear asked, ‘Why are we not wearing our seatbelts today?’

  • I've tumbled from one personal disaster to the next, and one thing saved me

    There’s only so long even an anxious, self-absorbed neurotic like me can spend worrying about houses and gazing at her navel. I’ve spent almost a year panicking about property, feeling my life was on hold until I’d bought somewhere to live. But now, settled and happy in my silly, twinkly caravan, I finally have headspace to think about something else. And what I begin thinking about is starting a writing course in Somerset.

  • Are we the last generation of binge drinkers?

    ‘Wine! Helping Mums One Sip At A Time’ reads my most recent birthday card from my teenage daughters. I can’t blame them for choosing it. For nearly two years, they’ve witnessed me pouring my evening beaker (actually a good half pint because the glasses are so fashionably huge) of chardonnay. Then – often – another.

  • How to tell if you've been hit by HOGO – the Hassle of Going Out

    Remember all that talk of “freedom day” back in the summer? The idea was that we would unshackle ourselves from the chains of lockdown to party like it was 2019, go to every theatre opening and never again turn down an invitation. There was even a Wrigleys Extra advert showing the masses logging off Zoom to rush into the streets to hug strangers and make out in parks.

  • Why I’m not selfish for refusing to wear a mask

    Last week I was in Waitrose, doing my food shopping. Bare-faced and mask-free, I spied an old friend. As I wheeled my trolley over to her, smiling, our eyes met for a millisecond, before she looked off in the other direction and scurried off, disappearing – pink mask and all – into the frozen food aisle.

  • ‘I removed my age from my CV to get a job in midlife’

    Before the pandemic hit, I’d been working for 19 years at a travel company based in west London. I was hard at it day and night, but I loved my job.

  • ‘I know several senior political figures who no woman would want to be alone with’

    “What are you doing dragging this up from 18 years ago?” an exasperated Tory minister asked me earlier this week. I’d had the temerity to finally speak publicly about the time Stanley Johnson smacked me hard on the backside at the Conservative Party conference in 2003 (something he claims not to recall). Perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone in the Party was happy to see this dirty laundry receive a public airing. Johnson is, after all, the Prime Minister’s father. The behaviour I talked about on

  • I was ghosted by my rental dress company

    When the delivery of a leaf blower generated as much excitement as the arrival of a glamorous new dress and vertiginous heels once had, I knew that I was completely out of practice with party wear.

  • Florence St George: 'It looked like I was living the dream, but I was in a dark place'

    As soon as I gave birth to my daughter Iris, we were in love. She was perfect and I felt an overwhelming protective instinct towards her. But that night, I also felt a chemical shift inside me. I’d be laughing and loving one minute, sobbing and angry the next.

  • Equal Pay Day: How one simple change could solve the gender pay gap

    Today we’re marking Equal Pay Day, the day women effectively start to work for free because, on average, they are paid less than men. Progress to close the UK’s pernicious gender pay gap has been slow and if things don’t speed up, we won’t see it done until 2050.