I feel very sketchy about calling myself a journalist, because I'm not. Sometimes people let me do journalism anyway, which is nice. Here are a handful of things I have written that I liked, and maybe you will too.
The Observer, Jan 2019
"I have written a lot of things in my life, but this year it has become clear to me that I only have one story to tell. That thing is often in disguise – maybe it’s a political article, maybe it’s a cookbook, maybe it’s a collection of poetry – but I’m writing the same thing, over and over again.
It’s this: it’s nice to have a friend."
Prospect, May 2019
"Kerr, who died this week aged 95, made a world where the ordinary and the extraordinary went hand in hand: where the matter-of-fact-ness of the strange (Tiger Food!) and the precise and loving details of the domestic (“all Daddy’s beer”) are equally important. Ordinary life is extraordinary, and worth noticing. And yet extraordinary things happen to ordinary people all the time."
Prospect, January 2018
"Learning to make bread—a multistage process of letting it ferment, rise, be kneaded, be baked—is an extraordinary thing for humanity to have done in the first place. Making bread is a question of spinning straw into gold, after all; of making something from nothing. Flour and water alone won’t keep you alive, but fermented and baked, people can survive on it.
A bowl of gruel for one becomes dinner for six out of thin air. That’s why bakers and millers feature so heavily in fairy tales: they are the original wizards."
The Guardian, April 2018
"People get sick and people get sad. They need comfort and pleasure, and the NHS has precious little of both those things to go around. While that remains the case, the proposed ban feels like a sort of ivory-tower position. Stay sitting up all night, and then do it again, and do it again, by the same bed in ICU, and tell me you don’t end up craving a sugar hit."
Stylist, December 2018
"Candles, velvet and roaring fires seem like they should be universally cosy, but get co-opted by villains often enough that you can’t have a blanket rule. Alcohol in general is not cosy, unless it’s a weird spirit (Cointreau, maybe?) or is in some way warmed. Witness: mulled wine. The feeling you get when you step out of the bath into a fluffy towel? That is cosy. Central heating is cosy. Decorating cupcakes is one of the cosiest activities. Pies are always cosy, however you swing it. Toast is cosy. Butter is cosy, specifically when melted and oozy. Crumpets, especially with cheese, are top-level cosy. Cream on a hot pudding? So cosy. The only uncosy dairy product is cottage cheese. Carbs are always cosy.
Prospect, July 2018
"In the garden, things happen at their own speed, or rather at a speed the mind can process. One day this, another day that. A seed, a shoot, a bud, a flower. You watch it happen: cause and effect. One day this, another day that. The garden is a steady, regular pulse to a world gone a little haywire where nothing ever stops happening and the twenty-four hour news cycle rolls out all night, and every morning you wake up to something else worse happening somewhere.
I worry, sometimes, that the human brain isn’t properly wired up to feel all these things at once: to worry about everyone in the world at the same time."
Look. I hold my hands up to this one. I was an unlikely beauty columnist (do what you want to your face and body; you are great as you are; it's mostly a scam) but god dammit we tried. Plus, we had fun! And also I learned!
The World Was Maybe Not Ready For A Poetry Column But Also I Tried At That Too
RIP, The Pool, we hardly knew ye. There is no link here, obviously, but if you ask me nicely I can probably dredge up some of the things I said about lipstick and poetry and pain and joy and overpriced coffee and what it's like to watch someone you love die and keep going and being happy. There is no link, as I say, but I felt like including it anyway. It was a huge part of my life and career. I miss it very much. Plus, look at this sweet illustration by Polly Crossman.