I like a giant pair that sit on my head like a bright, white Do Not Disturb Sign on my imaginary office door. Photograph: iStock

They’re suddenly everywhere. They crept up on us, completing the trajectory from edgy to essential in record time, like smartphones 13 years ago, or m(...)

‘I met people who may be in their final days or weeks of life, and who are facing whatever might come with grace: gratitude for all they’ve had, sadness, a sense of humour, courage and no small amount of fear.’ Photograph: iStock

The car stopped working the other week. It gave a short, violent shudder and then ground to a halt in a car park right before Christmas. We got it tow(...)

 Whether by accident, or by dint of socialisation, most of   the planning, shopping and the writing of to-do lists falls to me. Photograph: iStock

“I don’t think Mrs Claus gets nearly enough credit,” one of my children said a year or two ago, when he was old enough to start being a bit more knowi(...)

Homesickness isn’t really about place. It’s about experiences. It’s a longing for memories of another time, memories that don’t yet exist, and now won’t ever exist. Photograph: iStock

There’s a particular kind of homesickness that only emigrants understand. It comes as you’re sitting on the beach at Manly or Freshwater on Christmas(...)

Ian Austin, former Labour MP for Dudley who is urging his constituents to support Boris Johnson. Photograph: Jennifer O’Connell

If you want to get to the heart of the divisions splintering Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, the first floor office in a nondescript brown brick buildin(...)

‘Children with unsupervised internet access is a norm in urgent need of a national discussion.’ Photograph: iStock

A teacher I know recently asked her first year students to collaborate on a list of their needs and wants. The “needs” list featured just five items: (...)

 Activists in Argentina  disguised as characters from The Handmaid’s Tale.  In hellish, dystopian Gilead, handmaids are given the names of their captors as a way of obliterating their dignity. Photograph:  Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images

‘I tell myself it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong – it does matter,” w(...)

And baby came too: Mini festival goer at last year’s Electric Picnic. Photograph: Dave Meehan

I’ve always thought children at music festivals represent the worst of every possible world: a three-day whingefest for the children; an expensive, mu(...)

Irish gems: Sydney has the Bondi to Coogee walk. We have cliff walks in Kilkee (above) and Dunmore East. Photograph: Alan Betson

The problem with writing a column on the great outdoors is that I am, by nature, more of an indoorsy type. None of your dawn swimming for me. None of (...)

Say yes to that thing. You’ve got the rest of your life to be busy or tired or hungover.

“Learn how to say no” is one of those useful pieces of life advice you hear bandied about a lot at this time of year, when we’re all deep in the knit-(...)

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