The Five Year Plan: How Did It Go?

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Lucy Whitehouse has spent the past five years living, working or at times just visiting countries in Europe in a bid to learn four languages in five years. We discover how she got on. The quest to reach a passable level of linguistic prowess continues. It’s not proving quite the unadulterated four-languages-in-five-years triumph that I … Continued

The F Word: Feminism and Me

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Instead of tackling the BIG issues when it comes to feminism, I am going to go personal, because really in this it is the personal that makes the political. For me it starts with my hair. My very big, naturally curly, frizzy hair that unfortunately was not the “in” style when I was growing up. … Continued

Wild Strawberries and the Good Bad Novel

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Recently, I have made a wonderful discovery, comparable only to the apple falling on Newton’s head- I came across (more accurately, was introduced to) the ‘good bad’ novels of Angela Thirkell. Thirkell wrote delightfully staid novels through the 1930s-50s, in which very little happened, but a good time was had by all. A cross between … Continued

A Street of Dreams

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  Hong Kong has a reputation as a place to greedily indulge an appetite. When the typhoon subsides and it is once again possible to step outside you can eat almost anything, cooked almost any which way. It said of the Hongkongers that they will eat anything with legs except a table and anything with … Continued

Revisiting In Bruges

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Film, perhaps more than any other medium, has the power to move the widest range of people. It is at turns both an extraordinarily public experience yet also intimate and private. A place where we can see our wildest dreams made real as well as see our humble lives played out for tears and for … Continued

A Feast for the Frost

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A Siberian chill has gripped the nation. Its chill and dread fingers have held us in a vice as tight as any revolutionary fever gripped St Petersburg. I have channelled my inner Yuri Zhivago. Sadly, I do not have an ice bound dacha in which to delight, instead in West London my stomach has roved … Continued

My First Time Being A Pallbearer

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‘And the captain said to the mate, “Dan, tell us a story!” And the story went as follows…’ Following the last instalment, we’re sticking with the mundane (this time, in its earth-to-earth, dustiest sense). Here’s my first experience of being a pallbearer. My Grandad was one of those eternally old men, grey and grizzly with … Continued

In defence of being average

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Not too long ago, a much-talked-about interview with Louis Tomlinson was published by the Guardian, in which the former 1D member showed an unusually high level of humility and self-awareness, in popstar terms. Speaking about his former bandmates, Tomlinson acknowledged that Harry’s the “cool one”, Zayn’s got the “fantastic voice”, while Liam could always “get the crowd going.” Then, he said, “there’s … Continued

Soup and Sensibility

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Wasn’t it terribly fashionable once to be mad about ‘bone broth’? Why consommé, my preferred term for it, needed dressing down in such brutal terms escapes my wildest wit. I suppose it seemed outmoded and perhaps a little snooty. Yet a light and flavourful bowl of enriched stock is a recipe which every cook should be able … Continued