Antonia Hoyle

Should you stop taking melatonin?

Do you take it? If not, the chances are you’ll know someone who does. In an age of insomnia, melatonin has become a must-have sleep aid; as ubiquitous as yoga or herbal tea. In America, it is available over the counter and, according to The National Sleep Foundation charity, 27 per cent of adults take it. The

Why summer diets don’t work

Tis the season to eat salads and wear skimpy clothes. At least, that’s what we’re led to believe, egged on by adverts featuring bikini-clad models, barely-there fashion in shops, television series such as Love Island that equate sunshine with slender figures and the perennial expectation that we should by now be ‘beach body ready’. We’re undoubtedly

The politics of sun loungers

The poolside was deserted when we passed on our way to breakfast. This time, I thought, as we ate at the still-quiet restaurant buffet, we’d triumph. Yet arriving back at the pool after eating, all the sun loungers closest to it had already been claimed – by owners who were nowhere to be seen. Reserving

Confessions of a mid-life rollercoaster addict

My heart is racing, my breath ragged and my stomach threatening to send back the burger I ate for lunch. But as the safety harness I’m wearing is released and I lower my shaking legs to the ground there’s only one question on my mind: when can I experience it again? My name is Antonia

Carrie Johnson and the truth about children’s parties

The email was apologetic in its tone, if apocalyptic in its content. The entertainer I’d booked for my daughter’s fifth birthday party was no longer available – she’d been invited to perform as an extra on Strictly Come Dancing, an opportunity too good to miss. I swallowed my surprise (aren’t these appearances negotiated months in

In praise of the Casio watch

Of all the accessories one might expect a celebrity with millions in the bank and army of stylists at their disposal to choose, a bargain watch is not the most obvious. Yet Casio timepieces – some of which sell for little as £10, and most of which cost under £50 – appear to have become

Why rejection is the secret of success

The letter was polite but to the point. The PR firm where I’d applied for a job thanked me for my time but told me I hadn’t been successful. The position was going to someone else. Ouch. This wasn’t the first time I’d been rejected, of course – and it certainly wasn’t the last. I’ve

Stop harassing me to review everything I buy

The email landed in my inbox one afternoon, as I frantically sandwiched work in between feeding the dog and doing the school run, its subject saying: ‘A quick reminder for you, Antonia Hoyle.’ Oh God, what now? Had I forgotten to pay a bill? Missed a deadline? It was worse. I hadn’t left a review

Why I’m paying to lock myself out of the internet

First comes disbelief that I have done something so extreme, followed by denial as I pick up my phone repeatedly to check it’s not just a bad dream. But no – it’s really happening. Panic segues into frustration; then, finally, I arrive at acceptance. For the next three hours I will not be able to

This old thing: the new fashion brag

The skirt I’ve worn most often recently is long, blue and as comfortable as it is flattering. ‘Why, thank you,’ I reply with a satisfied smile when I’m complimented on its delicate floral print and the way it swishes as I walk. ‘It’s Dorothy Perkins, 2011.’ I may not be able to distinguish Dolce &

How to cope with pest season in the countryside

The first sign that something was awry was what sounded like an electrical crackling noise coming from the corner of our downstairs hallway and growing louder every day. Having ruled out our dodgy wifi (for once), I eventually turned my attention outside, where I found the cause. Wasps – hundreds of them – were swarming