The devil may care

Is that what the church is doing, rebranding the devil as a nasty whiff?

What the Dickinson!

People try to make us smaller than we are, yet we do this to ourselves routinely because it seems polite or tactful

Without fear of favours

You become obsessed with whether she is going to charge you or not

One happy return

The dress zipped and buttoned, I looked up at myself in the mirror expecting Ingrid Bergman’s little sister

If I were the King of Spain

As king, I would live modestly, employing pomp only when my subjects insisted

Of tea and morality

Managing rations of my favourite tea makes for something low-key and soothing to worry about to put me in the holiday spirit

A gift house

Could shrugging ‘I won it in a raffle’ mask a naked show of self-interest?

Au revoir to the minibar

‘A good minibar ought to resemble a Christmas stocking, ripe with thoughtful treats’

Bright lights, dizzying city

‘Someone said I looked like a young mafia widow. I’ve heard worse’

The mothman cometh

‘These pests are actually considerate. When they took a chunk out of my best Prada cardigan it was from a section that doesn’t show at all’

Friendships fit for a princess

‘At the heart of many women’s friendships there lies a tacitly formed agreement: that one of the parties is the princess and the other the lady-in-waiting’

A sore point in Paris

‘Why do minor ailments bring such pride? Do they add purpose and focus?’

This lacy veil of tears

‘How quickly success can fade to failure in the engine of the unquiet mind’

Artistic masterpizzas

‘I went back to the hotel and dreamt of a surrealist-style pizza’

Sweet dreams from humble pie

‘Sometimes some fine treatment is all it takes, a bit of gallantry, some simmered chicken chunks and spring vegetables in a handsome sauce encased in pastry’

‘Charlie Chaplin’, by Peter Ackroyd

Everyday story enjoys a heyday

Entertainment in your kitchen six nights a week. And yes, it has been Hardyesque

Rhubarb puts me in the pink

‘I want the occasion not just to be enjoyable; I want it to be memorable, spectacular, historic’

Imperfect harmonies

‘Connie Converse sings from the point of view of a burdened soul with a chaotic life that seems to baffle her’

Special guest appearances

‘You can import a bit of holiday feeling without having to leave your house’

ABOUT SUSIE

Susie BoytSusie Boyt writes a column on shopping for the FT Weekend supplement. She is a novelist and lives in London.

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