Welcome to House With No Name. I write about everything from books and films to education, family and France.

Monday book review – Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 24th August 2015

The brilliant Sophie Hannah appeared on BBC One’s Breakfast earlier this month to promote her new novel, A Game for all the Family. As always she was witty, engaging and pretty self-deprecating for a writer who’s sold stack-loads of books. One particular anecdote stood out for me though and that was a story about her favourite crime writer, the late Ruth Rendell, who insisted that a novelist’s job is to grip ...keep reading

The happiest place in the UK

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 17th August 2015

Another day, another survey – only this time round I reckon that researchers have got it just about right. A new study by estate agents Hamptons International declares that if you want to combine affordable living with high levels of happiness then Allerdale in Cumbria, which covers the area around Keswick, is the place to go. Close behind in the happiness and affordability stakes is the Ribble Valley in Lancashire – ...keep reading

How to be a journalist

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 5th August 2015

Rooting through my old files I’ve just found a piece about journalism that I wrote as a young reporter. I can’t for the life of me remember who it was for but here, completely unedited and slightly dated, is an account of my route to Fleet Street. Don’t even contemplate going into journalism if you are highly-strung, sensitive to the slightest criticism or expect to be on the 6.03 train ...keep reading

Advice for parents on university open days

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 29th July 2015

University open days are part of the academic calendar. Every university worth its salt throws its doors open at this time of year, giving teenagers the chance to tour the campus, meet students and teaching staff and ‘find out what it’s really like to live and study there.’ They admittedly leave out the non-stop drinking, rowdy all-night parties and wall-to-wall daytime TV. When I applied to university countless years ago ...keep reading

Working the night shift

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 27th July 2015

Sarah Montague’s alarm goes off at the unearthly time of 3.25am on working days. Why? Because she’s one of the presenters of BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme, Today. She arrives at the studio at 4am, spends the next two hours preparing for the show and the programme starts at 6am on the dot. The radio journalist is just one of 3.5 million people in the UK who are ...keep reading

London in a picture frame

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 15th July 2015

One of the loveliest presents I’ve ever received is this pen and ink drawing of London by my daughter. There are loads of maps of the capital but this one is very special. Why? Because it’s a record of all the places in London that have meant something to me over the years – from Lavender Hill, where I used to hop on the 6.30am bus for the early shift ...keep reading

The land and the sea

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 7th July 2015

The coastguard helicopter flew low over the cliff and hovered for a couple of minutes. As the onlookers waved from the ground, the door slid open and the crew waved back. Then the helicopter turned in a vast, commemorative circle above the gathering and headed back down the coast. The occasion marked the annual remembrance service at the Emmett’s Hill memorial garden near Worth Matravers in Dorset. The memorial pays tribute ...keep reading

Sunday book review – Fresh Hell by Rachel Johnson

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 5th July 2015

Like her older brother Boris, Rachel Johnson is one of those incorrigible characters you can’t help liking. The same goes for her novels. Fresh Hell is the third of her Notting Hell trilogy and even though the storyline is thin and involves an interminably dull planning row the wit and the gossip are so addictive that it’s impossible to stop reading. The plot centres on ex-journalist and mother-of-four Mimi Fleming, ...keep reading

Dressing to beat the heat

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 3rd July 2015

Why is it impossible to look summery and stylish? For ten months of the year I get dressed in the morning with no trouble at all. When it comes to July and August I’m completely stumped. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s been hotter in London than the Sahara this week I’d still be happily wearing my favourite black tights. Hardly anyone over the age of 40 gets ...keep reading

Game, set and match – who cares?

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 30th June 2015

Am I the only person who isn’t watching Wimbledon? It may be the world’s greatest tennis tournament but I couldn’t care less about Andy Murray’s quest to win the men’s title again. The two-week championships were ruined for me when I covered them as an Evening Standard news reporter. Instead of watching matches that kept me on the edge of my seat I regularly spent Wimbledon fortnight chasing news stories. The sillier they ...keep reading

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