All I want is a room somewhere 

‘I could switch everything off for a few hours but it feels brutal to be one of those do-not-disturb writers’

Room for improvement

Ordinarily I love hotels, the privacy and indulgence. I love the way they make you the subject of the sentence

Seasonal contradictions

If you can’t be merry at Christmas, there is something seriously wrong with you

Glamour and grit behind the veil

Despite five layers of frills Ada Katz looked intrepid in her wedding gown, like a spy or a genius codebreaker

Woman bearing gifts
©Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images

Why I’ll always be a wrap fan

Armed with the right gift, one can correct ills, reverse fortunes and nourish and nurture. Susie Boyt explains why a good present can change everything

Comforts of the space age

You could watch ‘The Philadelphia Story’ for the 47th time but if you do that now what will you have to look forward to in your old age?

Rules and rudeness

Drawing attention to poor conduct, we surely make ourselves worse than the other fellow

The hope inside a box of delights

I have started imagining people going through my things after I am no more

Hold your hats and hallelujah

The attraction of a childhood whose natural end is not adulthood but stardom cannot be denied

High on praise in the compliment zone

You only need six chocolate teaspoons on a nice plate for folk to think you’re really something

A music-hall knees-up with an urban flavour

I don’t think of myself as a purist. I have even been known to put vanilla in a fruit cake

‘Lucky Us’, by Amy Bloom

A tale of two American half-sisters trying to make it in the cut-throat movie world of the 1940s

Lessons for life, lyrically speaking

If you draw on the wry humour of song lyrics when the going gets tough, you’ll have a set of staunch companions for life

Sweet swell of success

It is hubris, indeed, to think you might pick out something to please a wildly stylish citizen of 22

How to deal with the September issue

Has September joined that family of things I profess to love but can’t quite look in the eye any more?

The problems with problems

Had the ambassador come to London expecting the streets to be paved with Ferrero Rochers?

Nightmare scenarios

I did that idiotic thing that no Jane Austen heroine ever did: I plugged myself into the internet for comfort

Spirals out of control

It’s been the summer of the ribbon – the vegetable ribbon, that is

Deauville rendezvous

Is it bad to be drawn to things that were fashionable about 101 years ago?

A poem to learn for life

One of the Poems on the Underground posters caught my eye. It was called ‘In a Young Time’ by Gerard Benson

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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