Fairytale of New York

The last time I was in New York City was 1995, I was 18 and about to head off to Cardiff University to read law. My dad was still alive, in fact he drove us to the airport. My mum was 38, my sister not much older than Pops is now. The Twin Towers of…

The bobble hat and the ballet shoe

The thing about dementia is it body-slams you. Every day you face the juxtaposition between the past and present, the then and the now, you find yourself sandwiched between the beginning and the end. And pretty soon you begin to learn that really this life we live, the things we do, the minutiae that make…

The rocky road of memory lane

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas Yesterday I locked my mum up. I lied to her, and told her we were going for a drive. I bought her a milkshake on the way…

Hideous Kinky and the golden threads

Do you remember Hideous Kinky? The nineties film starring Kate Winslet, based on the novel by Esther Freud (great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud)? It documented the childhood of its narrator with her sister and mother, whom uprooted them from London to go on journey of enlightenment to Marrakech in the seventies. Now the trip that my…

On turning 40…

Tomorrow is the first day of my 40th year. It still feels odd to say that, because in my mind, when I think of ‘being 40’ I still have the picture I had as a 20-year-old, 40 seems a million miles away from the person I feel. Many people start re-evaluating their lives when they…

From mummy, with love…

My darling daughter Well here we are in the month that I turn 40. You are only six, but every day there are things I encounter that I make a mental note to tell you. My mum has no capacity to impart any form of life lessons to me now, to be honest she never…

The long goodbye

I’ve been thinking a lot about memories lately. Due to work commitments I’ve been spending time in the town I grew up in. I hated that town, and I escaped it as soon as I turned 18 and made the pilgrimage to uni, and I never went back. Until now. Legend has it that in…

T2 Trainspotting and the ride of our lives

When Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting was released in 1996 I was 18, and a first year undergraduate at Cardiff University. I had read the book a few months before the film’s release as I had been embroiled in a love affair with a fellow literature student 7 years my senior. Our love was a bit like…

Why I’m giving up being bipolar this new year

Many people have made New Year’s resolutions recently, pledging to give up something that is bad for them, in order to make the first tentative steps towards a healthier future. I too, will be giving up something that is bad for me this new year, something that has had a hold on me for far…

The salt is rising…

It is Christmas Eve, and my daughter is spending it with her dad this year, so I find myself alone on the eve of the big day. I have put away our Christmas elf, Felicia, whose antics my daughter delights in for 24 days every December. And I have written her a goodbye note from…

A letter for my daughter…

Tonight we were meant to go to the panto. I have never been to the panto before, not even as a child. And neither have you, as you’ve never really been old enough before. It’s been a hard few days, mummy’s been ill again, but today I woke up, for your last day at school…

A postcard from the edge…

Life is hard when you’re a single mum. You have to be so many people all in one body. Sometimes I succeed at this very well, others not so much. I work. A lot. I study. And I try my best to give my daughter the sort of childhood I never had. One where she…

Stigma is the real sickness when it comes to mental health

A couple of days ago I posted a piece about parenting and attachment. As it turns out it has been my most-shared piece to date – which is encouraging to know that people actually care about such things. But it was also pretty contentious with certain individuals, prompting a very vitriolic reaction from one in…

They f*ck you up, your mum and dad…

My girl turns six in a few weeks, which has got me to thinking about parenting and about what we do for our children. Which in turn has got me thinking about my own parents. My ex-husband and I split before our daughter was even two, which was tough going for everyone, but the thing…

Rainy days and Mondays…

So today has been a real shitter to be honest. I am still laid up after what seems like a thousand years and I’m getting frustrated and grouchy. I picked my daughter up to find that, despite me asking countless times, her reading has not been done and her lost-tie-situation hasn’t been sorted. All these…

Paradise found: Life lessons learned

So, I’ve recently put my back out. As if I needed any further reminders of impending middle age, I now have a bad back and make kind of groaning noises every time I bend over (which isn’t often these days, to be fair!). Anyways, this whole back debacle has got me all existential, thinking about…

Auf Wiedersehen England

With the news today that Margaret Thatcher has died, I got to thinking about the real legacy of her tenure, and I remembered a poem that my bricklayer father and his friends wrote in the wake of the British recession of the early 1990s. A recession that resulted in my father, many of his friends,…

The sinister cloud over the Rainbow Nation

On May 8 this year, South Africa’s former deputy president Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape at one of the most controversial and highly publicised trials in the country’s history. As Judge Willem van der Merwe handed down his judgement of “not guilty” at Johannesburg High Court, he widely criticised the state’s case against the…

Bullets and brass neck

Described by Francis Drake in 1580 as the “the fairest cape in the whole circumference of the earth”, Cape Town has long since been the jewel in South Africa’s crown. Set at the southern most tip of the continent against the majestic backdrop of Table Mountain, the city’s eclectic charm has resulted in a steady…

Whistle down the wind

Amid growing concern over the worsening climate of corruption in South Africa, Laury Jeanneret speaks to Wouter Grové about Vuvuzela – the country’s newest corporate crime fighting initiative Wouter Grové (pictured opposite left) is a man on a mission. Fresh off the back of the Travelgate scandal and continuing allegations of sleaze and corruption within…

Cosmas Desmond: The man who saved the world

When I was a little girl my granddad used to tell me stories about a member of our family who was a hero. He had, my granddad said, travelled to a far away land and fought bad men who did bad things, he had written a book which the people in power didn’t like very…

Keeping it reel

Long since accustomed to providing the backdrop to Hollywood epics, South Africa is finally finding its cinematic voice. Laury Jeanneret investigates our burgeoning film industry and talks to some of the country’s finest talent about the importance of telling our own stories There is something peculiar in the air at the moment. The usually indifferent…

In praise of Katie and Jade

More and more lately I have become preoccupied by the chasm between rich and poor in this country. After three years living overseas, in a society that has no formal hierarchical class structure like the UK does, the disparity between Britain’s rich and poor seems even more resonant to me. But more than the mere…

Why making memories matters

 For Stephanie, until we meet again… Last year my nanny died. She was in end-stage Alzheimer’s, and her decline was slow. And fast. For years she pottered around in a kind of deluded fantasy-world, which if it wasn’t for the terminal illness part, was often quite entertaining. But at the end the decline was rapid,…

On leaving the Lucky Country

This month I have been back in the UK for exactly one year. For the three years prior to my return I lived in Australia, Sydney’s Inner West to be precise. By far the most frequent question I get asked by my countrymen when I tell them that I have just returned to the small…

True confessions of a new mum

Six months ago I embarked on a journey unlike any other. I have travelled a lot in my time, to the far flung corners of the earth, I have immersed myself in different cultures and am familiar with the dizzying intoxication of being in a new place, with people that do not speak my language,…

The trouble with toddlers

A year ago I wrote about my life-changing transition into motherhood. In truth, the change of identity from footloose and fancy-free career woman to ‘mummy’ almost blew my head off. And I had a good baby. A baby that slept through the night from 2 weeks’ old (and I’m not just saying that!), a baby…

Why I’m proud to be a bad mum

I have just spent the morning with my daughter in a children’s play-centre, and whilst there I had an epiphany. I did not like it. Not that I don’t like spending time with my daughter, I do, I love her to bits. It’s just other kids I’m not that keen on. Basically, apart from the…

Falling out of love with FakeBook

Over the past few months I seem to have fallen out of love with what has become a mainstay of my existence: Sadly I am not talking about a fellow human being, I am talking about a social networking site: Facebook. But, like the breaking down of  a human relationship the change in me hasn’t…

Broken Britain and the new age of anarchy

As civil unrest continues to rage throughout our country, wider questions need to be answered about the backdrop against which ordinary citizens have resorted to mob, and yob-rule. For the past week I, like many other Britons, have watched in horror as my capital city has burned and countless other cities across this once green…