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The Day King Tutankhamun Changed My Life

The Day King Tutankhamun Changed My Life

“You know… If you trust in yourself, you can do anything!” Sammy’s words echoed round my mind as I looked up, panting, at the Egyptian buildings which surrounded me. It was a sunny July day in central Cairo. The shouts of street vendors blasted my eardrums; the smell of frying meat on spits and pungent piles of […]

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Springtime Theatrics in Hospital

Springtime Theatrics in Hospital

My dad has spent his life working in the theatre. He’s acted, directed and stage managed; written plays, sketches and pantomimes; taught students, professionals and celebrities, and even met my mother onstage (she was his leading lady, once upon a time). A fortnight ago, my dad rode to hospital in an ambulance. His fibrosis lungs […]

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Love, Loss and Jewellery, Eight Years On

My mum once pierced her ears with a needle and an ice cube. Well, not exactly. Mum was eighteen, travelling in the US, and it was her American friends who happily volunteered to do the piercing for her; Mum’s friend Lainey who slightly misjudged the needle’s point in Mum’s right earlobe and made the hole a few […]

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An Explorer’s Motivation

Sir Ranulph Fiennes doesn’t like climbing. “I get vertigo,” he says matter-of-factly to the sea of faces in front of him, explaining that for a long time he refused to embark on any possible expeditions which involved heights. That is, until his wife Ginny died twelve years ago, when he set about trying to confront the fears […]

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What Makes You Happy?

This afternoon, a man on a bike cycled past me. He had headphones jammed in his ears and was singing along to music which was only faintly audible: the song was one I didn’t recognise, but the big smile on his face spoke for itself. ‘How nice – that man is really happy!’ I thought. And […]

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Being Naked and Being Human

It started in Oslo, on a muggy summer Sunday with a hint of rain in the air. After two weeks on board an expedition ship I was relishing the chance to be walking around outside, with an entire day at my disposal to explore a city I didn’t yet know. Oslo has a fantastic amount of […]

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My Quiet London Love Affair

“Shall we walk home through the city?” Beverley and I had been out for lunch on a sunny Sunday in London’s Southbank, treating ourselves to burgers and beers beside a window that curious tourists kept peering into. After wiping up the last of the ketchup with our remaining sweet potato fries we headed outside to […]

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Thoughts From the Window Seat

It’s finally springtime in London. Joggers and dog walkers are multiplying; people walk down the pavement with sunglasses and smiling faces. This morning I am sitting at a desk in the new house I recently moved to, with the green spines of my flatmate’s aloe vera plant snaking towards my laptop screen. I am writing – more […]

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The Spanish Challenge: a Surprise Return to Paracas, Peru

Men scurry along either side of the barrier which divides the congested highway in two. They carry paper-covered boxes of snacks to sell to car drivers through their windows: small biscuits, wafers, hot peanuts. Boys with stacks of newspapers pass women wearing tracksuits and pushing supermarket trolleys, who yawn as they delve inside their bumbags filled with loose change. The […]

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The Day I Walked to the End of the World

Arriving in Santiago didn’t feel the way I expected. The Spaniards I had been walking with for the last seven days had tears in their eyes as we walked through the city’s winding streets and emerged in the central plaza. The famous cathedral towered above us, its facade draped in netting and scaffolds. My friends began […]

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