Homework Helpline: Top tips to keep kids and parents sane (and on speaking terms)

Homework Helpline: Top tips to keep kids and parents sane (and on speaking terms)

As another school year begins and our wee (and not so wee) ones’ academic careers roll along, so too does the homework. Sigh. As many parents know, it’s not only their’s, but ours, too. Young parents yet to experience such joy… just you wait. Softly, softly it starts with Biff, Chip and Kipper, then swiftly segues into handwriting, spelling drills, times tables, curriculum projects, book reports, essays, exams and so on. Tackling this bete noir has the capacity to sour the best of moods and turn home-time into a blood-boiling battle of wills. (What torment awaits with GCSEs and A-levels… I shudder.) So it got me thinking, what words of wisdom might I impart to parents both in the trenches and those about to approach the front line of the...

National Trust says embrace diversity and inclusion- or ELSE

National Trust says embrace diversity and inclusion- or ELSE

One would think the lauded lands, halls and manors of our esteemed National Trust might be the one refuge for families, tourists, staycationers and caravanning crowds alike to enjoy, explore and learn of the rich and varied history of this great country (yes, roll your eyes  BACK to the forward position all ye Remainers), a ‘safe space’ (to borrow from the liberal lexicon) to frequent free of political posturing and moral grandstanding. Or maybe not. At Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk a handful of long standing volunteers had been shown the stage door exit for refusing to wear the LGBT ‘Prejudice and Pride’ campaign accessories. (Since news broke boycotting patrons voting with their wallets have prompted a whiplash-inducing U-turn by the powers-that-be at the National...

Swifty’s shame of silence

Swifty’s shame of silence

These days politics is everywhere— it permeates every crevice of our lives– littering our social media feeds, emblazoned on egregiously overpriced ‘designer’ T-shirts and spewing forth from the lips of every award-winning actor given a microphone. There is no escaping it, no matter how we may try. Everybody’s gotta have an opinion. (So long as it’s the right one.) Given the current saturation of sanctimony, it can be refreshing sometimes to say nothing at all. Not so according to a recent interview with actress Lola Kirke, (I know. Who?) who takes political posturing by the celebrity elite to a new level, not only holding up the well worn celebrity soap-box, but boldly claiming famous people have a responsibility to get on it, or else. Right....

My Beef with the Roast

My Beef with the Roast

I have an announcement to make—provocative, controversial, treasonous even—but enough is enough. Needs must. I can no longer stew in silence as certain (several) establishments across the country (London) carry on belligerently peddling the most achingly disappointing meal EVER. It’s time for intervention. Ladies and gentlemen I believe it is high time we lay to rest that quintessential weekend tradition that is… the Sunday roast. I appreciate the gravity of this, but hear me out. Whilst conducting a thoroughly unscientific, wholly one-sided and not terribly exhaustive study of pubs, restaurants, cafes et al. across England (London) I have come to the conclusion that the Sunday roast is the most overrated, boring, unimaginative, tired and insipid meal on...

We can learn a lot from children of celebrities

We can learn a lot from children of celebrities

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? (A go-to icebreaker for, well, dinner parties.) King Henry VIII? JFK? Chomsky? Marilyn Monroe? Bono? (on second thought) TRUMP? (Couldn’t resist. Keep your panties on.) Churchill? SIR David Attenborough? Admirable, but meh. Not for me, thanks. Think BIGGER– more relevance, impact, influence and achievement. Moi? I’d plump for Brooklyn Beckham, Lily Rose Depp, Iris Law (daughter of the tidal-hairlined one himself, Monsieur Jude) and lastly not forgetting those perennially precocious Hollywood progeny Willow and Jaden Smith. I’m missing a few, but these would make it to the adult table. (Lourdes and the Penns are relegated to the kiddie table. Really, what have they done?) Celebrity...

Eat well, live well in 2017? meh…

Eat well, live well in 2017? meh…

New Year’s Eve battling the scrum of last minute shoppers for champers and something fleshy to roast I chanced upon the mag and book aisle spotting no fewer than twenty healthy living cookbooks, from juicing to smart carbs, wheat-free to sugar-free tomes– three alone from the eternally-energised, Grecian-haired guru Joe Wicks and two from the confoundingly successful Davina McCall. TWENTY. “Best-sellers.” Sigh. Noting this, two things come to mind. 1. The Goop-loving, gluten-free goddesses show no sign running short of suger, dairy, wheat, egg, flavour free recipes. Begging the question, how many different ways are there to prepare spirallised courgette, anyway? 2. More fool me. Who knew one could forge a career instagramming egg-white...

Top 10 signs you may be UNCOOL

Top 10 signs you may be UNCOOL

Girlfriends, significant others and plus ones, we like to think of ourselves as fun, relaxed, easy going, no-fuss partners. We strive to be the cool bird– you know encouraging boys’ nights out, tagging along only occasionally– going pint for pint enough to be a good sport, but not so much as to be clingy or laddish, cheering on the side and talking the off-side rule with confidence (which face it boys, is hardly the rocket science you make it out to be) and perfecting the tricky art of invisible make-up.  Because no man likes a trussed-up dolly bird, preferring us all to be ‘au natural’. (Sure they do. If only they knew.) Ah… the throes of youth when we have the time to calculate and maximise our behaviour-to-coolness ratio....