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

Why twentysomethings don't save

Why twentysomethings see no point in trying to save

Dear Mary: How can I stop my neighbour pacing the ceiling?

Q. The woman who lives above me has insomnia and walks around all night. I’m also disturbed by her rather…


The benefits of breeding like a rabbit

Why I’m glad to have five children, with a sixth on the way


Dear Mary: How can I stop friends staying after a 21st?

Q. A neighbour is hosting a party for his daughter’s 21st birthday. Adequate provision has been made for anyone who…


Penelope Lively’s notebook: Coal holes and pub opera

I have been having my vault done over. Not, as you might think, the family strong room, but the place…


Pacific-sized love

Flying from Hawaii and my grandfather


Life is full of little endings. We should pay them more attention

Life is full of little endings. We should pay them more attention

Alexander Masters’s diary: The idea that could unlock dozens of new cancer drugs

Two million pounds can buy you consideration for a place on a medical trial! Every year untold numbers of potential…


Why there’s no such thing as an Etonian

Finally, just in the last few years I’d say, we’ve all begun to accept the role of nature in the…


My boy the radical Muslim

Reckoning with my stepson’s turn to radical Islam

(Photo:  Frazer Harrison/Getty)

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

The Disney Café is a gaudy hell on the fourth floor of Harrods, Knightsbridge. It is adjacent to the Harrods…


Rextail: a restaurant for billionaire children

Rextail is a restaurant for billionaire children, such as Richie Rich. Its owner, Arcady Novikov, has already opened a restaurant…


My amazing dad has found the secret of a happy life

This week I wanted to tell you about my amazing dad. He hasn’t died or anything. I just thought I’d…


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

Is national character real? If so, how is it formed?


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

I know that people with Down’s syndrome are not better off dead, because I know my son

Dear Mary: Is it an insult to be given anti-ageing cream?

Q. When someone gives you anti-ageing cream as a present, is that an insult or a compliment? — A.O., Provence…

Dear Mary: Show me the tactful way to pay for a lift

Q. My neighbour is really lovely and always helps me chainsaw trees. He used to be the herdsman at the…

Dear Mary: What do we do with a teenage guest who hogs the bathroom?

Q. We have taken a flat in Edinburgh for a month and a young girl, temporarily homeless and a friend…


What’s the point in being married if I can’t feel superior to my single friends?

I’m due to speak at an Intelligence Squared debate on Saturday and I’m worried that I might be on the…


Want to be a neglectful parent? Come to a festival and learn

I spent last weekend at Port Eliot in Cornwall. This is supposed to be a literary and music festival and…

How can I train my brother to not eat like a pig?

Dear Mary: How can I tame my brother’s savage table manners?

Q. I live far away from my brother and his family, but went to stay with them recently for the…


I used to think I was a Nietzschean superman. Now I know I'm just a dad

In The Wolf of Wall Street, there’s a poignant shot towards the end in which we see an FBI agent…

The Passion of Jesus is performed on Good Friday to crowds in Trafalgar Square

Yes, Britain is a Christian country

I can’t say it was a great surprise to read a letter from a group of well-known authors, academics, comedians…

Sutton Hoo Helmet on display at the British Museum Photo: Getty

For my family, the Vikings exhibition was about as much fun as being raped and pillaged

Have you managed to book tickets to the Viking exhibition at the British Museum yet? If you haven’t, my advice…