Family

Toby

Fatherhood is killing me

25 April 2015

Not a day passes when I don’t look on my father’s record with shock and awe. I’m not talking about his authorship of Labour’s 1945 manifesto, his invention of the… Read more

The Stig Photo: Getty

I went looking for a used car – and found my inner boy racer

11 April 2015

A bit late, I know, to put in a bid for Jeremy Clarkson’s old job. But I think I might just accidentally have rediscovered my inner petrolhead. What happened was… Read more

523029891

Meet the Skype Dads: a new sorrow of divorce in the internet age

11 April 2015

Could you be a useful and loving father to your children if you only ever saw them on a computer screen? Most of us would say no. So much of… Read more

11 April 2015

Q. For ten years, I have made a reasonable freelance income working from home. During this time my husband has gone out to an office to work, leaving home in… Read more

ThinkstockPhotos-459918595

In praise of messy old kitchens

28 March 2015

‘I love my new kitchen heart of the home let’s fill it with friends happy.’ So says the thought bubble in the current ad for the estate agents Rightmove, part… Read more

UK Budget Day 2015

Danny Alexander

21 March 2015

It’s dangerous, in my line of work, to promise you’ll be anywhere by 8 p.m. I made this mistake recently, saying I’d turn up to a dinner after a Budget… Read more

186354183

How we drive our children mad

21 March 2015

Mental health is a slippery concept at best and according to the annual prevalence rates given in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, people in… Read more

SPEC20150311_SE

The end of childhood - what we lost when we dropped the age of consent

14 March 2015

In all the sound and fury about historic sex crimes against children, one crucial factor has been generally ignored. Last week, a review of the agencies dealing with the phenomenon… Read more

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne Photo: Getty

Miriam Gross

7 March 2015

Last week I went to the exhilarating English National Opera production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers — five hours of wonderful music and singing whizzed by without a moment’s boredom. But… Read more

Save for a home I’ll never afford? I’d rather go shopping

Why twentysomethings don't save

7 March 2015

Your first pay packet, in your first ‘proper’ job, almost seems like a miracle. So much money, coming straight into your bank account, every month? But once you’ve got over… Read more

7 February 2015

Q. The woman who lives above me has insomnia and walks around all night. I’m also disturbed by her rather noisy cat, which seems to be constantly jumping around. Together… Read more

dv780037

The benefits of breeding like a rabbit

31 January 2015

Let’s face it. Whatever Pope Francis actually means when his head is in the clouds during those in-flight press conferences of his, we Europeans need to breed like rabbits if… Read more

dv1850052

Soon, parents will stop wanting their children to go to university. And they'll be right

24 January 2015

Could the current generation of parents be the first ones who won’t want their children to go to university? Until now that mortarboard photo on the sideboard has always been… Read more

24 January 2015

Q. A neighbour is hosting a party for his daughter’s 21st birthday. Adequate provision has been made for anyone who wants to sleep over but I won’t be taking up… Read more

PL-London-diary_dec14

Penelope Lively’s notebook: Coal holes and pub opera

13 December 2014

I have been having my vault done over. Not, as you might think, the family strong room, but the place beneath the pavement — the former coal cellar — pertaining… Read more

Flying-from-Hawaii

Pacific-sized love

29 November 2014

Grandpa turns purple in the sun. He says it is because we are Filipino, but my skin never colours that way. I watch him mystified as he calls to the… Read more

507093379

Did you do something for the last time today?

22 November 2014

The end of the year seems a good time to think about lasts. Not many of us ever do. Firsts are always landmarks: the first time you taste alcohol, drive… Read more

Alexander Masters

15 November 2014

Two million pounds can buy you consideration for a place on a medical trial! Every year untold numbers of potential cancer therapies are abandoned. There is simply not enough money… Read more

475538467

Why there’s no such thing as an Etonian

11 October 2014

Finally, just in the last few years I’d say, we’ve all begun to accept the role of nature in the great nature/nurture debate. Though we’ve squirmed and baulked, we mostly… Read more

504906257

I was a liberal atheist. And then my stepson found radical Islam

4 October 2014

Two years ago this week, my stepson came home wearing an Arabic black thawb. He walked into the sitting-room, smiled defiantly at me and at his father, and asked us… Read more

(Photo:  Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Today’s Disney princesses look like Russian mafia wives. This is their café

4 October 2014

The Disney Café is a gaudy hell on the fourth floor of Harrods, Knightsbridge. It is adjacent to the Harrods Disney Store, and also the Harrods Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, in… Read more

rextail

Rextail: a restaurant for billionaire children

20 September 2014

Rextail is a restaurant for billionaire children, such as Richie Rich. Its owner, Arcady Novikov, has already opened a restaurant for billionaire men and their spindly billionaire wives — the… Read more

81296261bw

My amazing dad has found the secret of a happy life

13 September 2014

This week I wanted to tell you about my amazing dad. He hasn’t died or anything. I just thought I’d get in there with my panegyric quick while he’s still… Read more

454320735

Countries shape character (so get ready to like Scots less)

13 September 2014

As I write this, I am sitting outside a weinhaus in Kaub, a half-timbered town on the wooded slopes of the middle Rhine. If you don’t know the place, I… Read more

468960091

I know that Richard Dawkins is wrong about Down’s syndrome, because I know my son

6 September 2014

No household that contains a 13-year-old boy is eternally tranquil. There had been a bit of temperament that evening, an outright refusal to go to bed, hard words for his… Read more