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My public speaking challenge

Regular readers will know about my fear of public speaking and how I am trying to overcome it with the help of Cambridge Speakers Club, a Toastmasters International organisation. I used to freeze and dry up and feel so panic stricken, but I am gradually becoming more confident. In fact, so confident that I have accepted an invitation to chair a discussion entitled “Addressing Business...
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When did food become so complicated?

If, like me, you watched Newsnight last night with journalist Mi chael Pollan being quizzed about his latest book, In Defence of Food, did you also wonder why food has become so complicated? For example, who eats butter any more? Is it made from the right kind of fat, does it contain Omega 3 oils? These are the questions I ask myself too as I avidly scan food labels. Have we become a little...
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Who will inherit Nigella’s fortune?

As someone who has helped Nigella Lawson amass her millions by tuning in to watch the Domestic Goddess demonstrate her culinary skills, as well as buying her latest Nigella Express cookbook – the pear and chocolate pudding is to die for – I was fascinated to learn that she does not plan to leave her fortune to her children when she dies. I wonder whether being the daughter of a...
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News at 10 and sex trafficking tonight

Do be sure to watch ITN’s News at 10 this evening and see their dangerous undercover investigative work on sex trafficking in Eastern Europe, it’s a highly lucrative trade. I’ve just seen a trailer and it is going to be really gripping and eye-opening. Award winning journalist Chris Rogers liaised with CHASTE – Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking in Europe when working on...
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Tony Juniper to leave FoE

I don’t imagine it will be too long before Tony Juniper lands a top new job which will enable him to continue promoting green issues. The Friends of the the Earth will find him a hard act to follow after he steps down as director from the green group later this year. I am very surprised that he chose to announce he was quitting in the Mail on Sunday rather than via his regular Guardian...
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A strictly fun weekend

My exotic mother Loula is visiting me this weekend. Her motto in life is to “live and love your life away”. Yet every time I speak to her on the phone, her last words are: “I must go and wash the kitchen floor”. She seems obsessed with washing her kitchen floor! But this weekend she can leave her mop behind and have some fun with me. It starts tonight with a 25th wedding...
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Tea with Barbara Cartland

I must confess I have never read a Mills & Boon book, yet 35 million bodice-ripping copies are sold every year – one every three second. This year marks the centenary of the publisher, and I was surprised to learn that its romance writers did not include the legendary Dame Barbara Cartland, who produced 724 books, sold over a billion copies and entered the Guinness Book of Records as...
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Are men discriminated against?

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker made two references at yesterday’s sex trafficking conference expressing surprise at the zero media coverage following the launch of a new organisation called the Men’s Coalition. It aims to advise government and other policy makers on designing policies and services that take account of the specific needs and experiences of men in a wide range of...
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Should royal males still take precedence on inheriting the throne?

It may sound like a sexually transmitted disease, but primogeniture is in fact the common law right of the first born son to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings. Note the word “son” in this sentence, in this enlightened day of sexual equality. So why in the 21st century do males still take precedence over females when succeeding the throne? Why are females...
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My sex trafficking conference today

I shall be working in London today at the CHASTE conference – Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking in Europe – where many authoritive speakers will give their valuable insights into this very topical and worrying issue. I’m delighted that the Press Association is interviewing and filming CHASTE’S founder Dr Carrie Pemberton there at 8am, which means this story will feed...
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How should we treat evil lifers like Rose West?

While I strongly believe that prison should help rehabilitate offenders, how should evil lifers like Rose West be treated when they are locked up? West was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 10 young women and girls, including her 16-year-old daughter, her eight-year-old stepdaughter and her husband’s pregnant lover. Her monster of a husband Fred escaped trial by committing...
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A happy house last night

I have two Tottenham mad fans in my house, and even my youngest son, a Man U supporter, cheered on Spurs’ terrific 5-1 victory over Arsenal last night – the first time they have beaten their arch rivals in nine years. So you can imagine we had a very happy house last night as one ball after another hit the back of the net – and at the right end. My husband sometimes lodges with...
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YouTube help needed please

This is an appeal for any YouTube experts who can give me some technical advice. During my visit with Julian Sturdy and Yorkshire postmaster Aasif Rabbani to present their post office closure protest petition to 10 Downing Street, I made a video recording, but it hasn’t downloaded as I had hoped. I have downloaded three excellent recordings, but when I transferred them to YouTube, only the...
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The truth about Hackney, do you feel safe walking there?

If our Home Secretary Jacqui Smith doesn’t feel safe walking in Hackney, what do the people who live and work there think? I asked a teacher I know at Hackney Free and Parochial Seconday School to tell me, and her response was very candid and eye-opening about the violence. This is what she said, this is her story: I have listed below some of the incidents/ experiences I have encountered...
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