My grandmother used to say that when a bird flew into the house, death soon followed

‘All the neighbourhood kids loved him. He was calmer than a breeze. He would take his pocket money from my father and give it to me. Everyone loved hi(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

‘Been anywhere nice?” “Eh . . . no.” “Greece? The Med? You wouldn’t know what to be doing with yourself these days. Dubai? Would you be bot(...)

‘Perfidious, perilous dehydration, which just plays havoc with your epidermis.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

‘Summer alert!” screamed the headline on the abandoned magazine cover, spread out on the aircraft seat as we made our slow procession down the litt(...)

‘Yoga apparently lies at the root of all evil.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

I was driving a woman I know to her job as a cleaner. She was sitting in the back of my car, eating a chicken sandwich. In the decade or more that (...)

‘Hi guys,’ the apple blossom whispered to us through her feathery boa, like a girl who was really enjoying the party. Photograph: Thinkstock

When we moved into this house, I was pregnant. Wary and uncertain, I was overcome with indecision as soon as we signed on the dotted line. I was mo(...)

‘Sad really, that I chose to spend my afternoon turning myself into a pale and saggy imitation of Frida Kahlo, but without her talent, her cheekbones or her maverick nature’

Oh my giddy aunt. I’m generally not a huge fan of spring: it is a season synonymous with broken promises. It’s all butterflies and apple blossom. T(...)

Couples Suzanne Cahill and Tina Keane, and Cathy Murrey and Lisa Cresswell at the Yes Equality Bus in Cork. Photograph: Clare Keogh

I drove to my sons’ school the other day, probably to disgorge one of them, two minutes before lockers closed. Traffic is always bad around the mai(...)

‘The nuns had chilling accounts of nice devout girlies, children just like us, on their skinny knees, chatting to a weepy virgin, who believed in their devotion so much that she made herself into flesh.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

‘May is the month of Mary, the month we all love so well.” In the big, red-brick convent where I went to school as a child, an establishment fo(...)

‘Grooming is cyclical, I suppose, but this business of self-image feels more potent now.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

I was writing last week about negative body image, specifically among adolescent and prepubescent girls, and how the Girl Guides have devised a new ba(...)

‘I probably should have persisted with the whole Girl Guide thing, got myself a neckerchief and woggles, learned how to tie a slip knot, resuscitate a choke victim, read a compass and make gingerbread men.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

I was never a girl guide. Well, that’s not entirely true: once, when I was about 12, I tagged along behind a girl I was hungrily trying to befriend(...)