Festivals: great for fun, not usually so great for the environment. (Hello plenty of plastic, abandoned tents and rubbish mountains, all ready to go to landfill).
One set of people looking to switch this up are the team behind No Planet B: billed as a zero waste, vegan event that’s currently slated to happen on the 17-19 August 2018, in the Cotswolds.
Now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the three day-er is touting itself as “TED Talk meets music festival”, with classes and workshops held by the likes of Louise Smith, founder of She Grows Wild, environmentalist Sustainable Stephanie and vegan activist James Aspey.
Maudie Johnson, the festival’s creative director, told HuffPost UK she decided to set up the event as she wanted to bring like-minded people together: “If the people around you aren’t interested in the same things [zero waste living, veganism and minimalism] you connect online. But I was bored of digital relations, so I wanted to bring all these people together, to meet face-to-face. And what better way than this?”
Guests will be asked to bring their own water bottle, cutlery, food container and mug, there’ll be a mug and glass deposit scheme, all meals will be served on biodegradable plates, and Johnson is also working on getting compost loos sorted.
Johnson adds that being zero waste is “more faffy, but, as a collective, we’re shifting in the right direction – people are ready to step up and do it the hard way.” Attendees are also encouraged not to print their tickets and to cycle to the event, plus help packing your tent up at the end has been promised, to stop anything being left behind.
The festival will only go ahead if the team hit their crowdfunding goal of £25k by the 13 June – so if you’re interested you need to pledge £89, £102 or £156 for a one, two or three day ticket, respectively, while there are cheaper options for kids and student passes. No money will be taken from your account until 13 June, and only then if they have raised enough to fund the festival.
If not, there’s plenty of other festivals on the more traditional route – here’s some of our picks.
Whether it’s a colourful bikini, a classic one piece or a burkini, swimwear should be made to be comfortable, whether you choose to swim, lounge or seek the adrenaline of a waterpark.
With this in mind we’ve scoured the hight street to find the swimwear that will shine in your holiday snaps, and all for less than £50. Paddle in peace.
Ireland’s historic referendum on liberalising its abortion laws is on course to be a landslide for the ‘Yes’ campaign, according to two exit polls.
Voting ended at 10pm, and minutes later the Irish Times published an exit poll projecting that ‘Yes’ was on course to get 68% of the vote, and ‘No’ just 32%.
An hour later, an exit poll conducted on behalf of Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, also suggested victory for those campaigning to reform the state’s abortion laws, with 69.4% voting in favour.
A final result anywhere close to those would see the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the state’s constitution - which prohibits terminations unless a mother’s life is in danger - pass convincingly.
Counting does not begin until Saturday morning, with the official result expected later in the day.
Four thousand voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI for the Irish Times as they left polling stations on Friday.
Sampling began at 7am and was conducted at 160 locations across every constituency throughout the day. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5%, the newspaper said.
The Irish Times poll suggested a huge difference in the views held by young and old voters.
According to the paper, 87% of people aged 18 to 24 voted Yes, while 83% of those aged 25 to 34 also voted to repeal.
In stark contrast, the over 65 age group voted No – by 60% to 40%.
The Behaviour & Attitudes poll for RTE surveyed 3,800 people at 175 polling stations across the country.
With a margin of error of +/- 1.6%, 69.4% voted to repeal the contentious Eighth Amendment of the constitution while 30.6% voted No.
Soon after the second exit poll came out, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who supported the campaign to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws, said: “It’s looking like we will make history tomorrow.”
He tweeted: “Thank you to everyone who voted today. Democracy in action.”
At the headquarters for the official campaign for ‘Yes’, Together For Yes, there was “barely a dry eye”.
Ireland’s deputy premier, Simon Coveney, another Yes campaigner, tweeted: “Thank you to everybody who voted today – democracy can be so powerful on days like today – looks like a stunning result that will bring about a fundamental change for the better. Proud to be Irish tonight. Thank u to all at @Together4yes”
Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of an Oireachtas committee which recommended the abortion law changes, tweeted: “I’m feeling very emotional tonight – we are a great, compassionate people. So proud of us! #8thref #repealthe8th”
UK Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt said it was a “historic & great day for Ireland, & a hopeful one for Northern Ireland”.
She tweeted: “That hope must be met. #HomeToVote stories are a powerful and moving testimony as to why this had to happen and that understanding & empathy exists between generations. #trustwomen”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the exit poll projected 68% had voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, adding: “Hope this is right. #RepealThe8th”
Earlier Varadkar, a proponent of liberalising Ireland’s strict abortion regime, predicted a high turnout would be good for those campaigning for change.
Thousands of Irish citizens living overseas have travelled home in droves to exercise their democratic right on the emotive issue.
Ireland’s president and political leaders were among 3 million people expected to vote, with 6,500 polling stations open across the country.
The specific question people were asked was whether they wanted to see the Eighth Amendment replaced with wording in the constitution that would hand politicians the responsibility to set future laws on abortion, unhindered by constitutional strictures.
If the Yes vote is confirmed, the Irish Government intends to legislate by the end of the year to make it relatively easy for a woman to obtain the procedure in early pregnancy.
Ministers have promised to allow terminations within the first 12 weeks, subject to medical advice and a cooling-off period, and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.
The eyes of the world were on Meghan Markle last weekend as she tied the knot with Prince Harry in an elaborate ceremony at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Like many of us, I was keen to see Meghan’s look on the day too, but I wasn’t so much interested in the American actress’s dress or make-up - I was looking at her hair.
As a mixed-race woman, Meghan hasn’t been seen with her natural densely curly hair since she was a child - so I wasn’t surprised when she walked down the aisle with the smooth hair she’s known for - apparently, using a semi-permanent hair straightening treatment called Brazilian Blowout.
Of course, she looked beautiful with her trademark ‘messy’ bun, albeit a very slick one. But wouldn’t it have been amazing if she’d made a stand and embraced her Afro roots? After all, the former Suits star is proudly mixed-race, with a white father and African-American mum - so why does she not let her natural heritage shine through?
Of course, it’s not Meghan’s fault - I’m not pointing any fingers here. Meghan is simply conforming to the norms of Western beauty - that straight hair is beautiful and that Afro and curly hair is less ‘groomed’. If she had worn her hair in its natural state would she had got the praise she did with her hair straight?
After all, there’s a dearth of high-profile black and mixed race women rocking natural locks - from Rihanna to Beyonce, they straighten, they relax, they wear wigs, weaves and hair extensions, anything but their natural curls.
In conforming to Western beauty standards women are burning their scalps with chemicals, losing clumps of hair and getting bald patches from too tight weaves and extensions pulling on roots. Sometimes the damage to their hair follicles is permanent. They’re spending a fortune and hours to disguise what they were born with because of the cultural and aesthetic pressures they feel.
Where are the trail blazing role models, who embrace their curls, kinks and frizz? Why are the likes of Lupita Nyong’o in such a minority? Attitudes towards Afro-Caribbean hair are changing - look at the furore when Grazia photoshopped out Lupita’s natural hair last November - but not quickly enough.
There’s still prejudice and misunderstanding when it comes to natural afro hair.
When my daughter was in year seven, she came home one day so upset and sad. It turned out one girl had spent the whole day taunting her and repeatedly saying: “Ugh, your hair is not normal! Your hair is not normal!” My daughter is fiercely proud of her hair and found herself trying to explain that her hair was more than normal, it was totally natural. But it really upset her.
And last week, at a workshop I was running, a woman came up to me afterwards in tears. She wanted the confidence to embrace her natural curls after straightening her hair for years. That morning on her way to the workshop, with her natural curly hair, she got to the front door, opened it, then turned around. She went right back inside and straightened her hair. She just couldn’t go out in public with curly hair - it almost brought tears to my eyes too, it was so emotional.
We just don’t see enough women with naturally curly or afro textured hair, whether that’s in films, on TV, on social media, on the catwalk, in magazines or in adverts. Beauty representation is so dangerously narrow and that can negatively affect self-esteem of especially young girls with curls.
As a result, I’m trying to improve this lack of visibility with my latest Project Embrace #Afrovisibility campaign.
I launched the Project Embrace Billboard Campaign last year with one billboard in London featuring four everyday women and two children with afro hair - but this year, we’re going bigger.
This weekend, we’re unveiling huge digital billboards featuring real life women in cities across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and more to celebrate the beauty of natural afro textured hair.
These billboards feature powerful images of real women with Afro textured hair, including the likes of a teacher, a student, a receptionist and an HR partner all happily wearing their afro hair in natural, unapologetic styles, with the caption: “Proud to be me.”
After all, the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is still fresh in everyone’s minds as a powerful symbol of the power that outdoor advertising can have.
Even if we just make small steps and just get people talking, at least these billboards can open the conversation and make people aware - whatever their race, or type of hair - that black hair is beautiful too. We celebrate diverse beauty and for women to feel comfortable, confident and empowered in the skin they’re in and the hair that they wear.
But ideally, I want to reach millions of people across the country as well as send the message to all black and mixed race women - including Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex - that with your natural hair: You. Are. Enough.
It was captioned: “When you’re plotting a car crash, but remember you already used that idea once before.”
He then added: ”How long do you reckon Markle has?”
The post quickly received a lot of comments from angry fans, who were “shocked and disgusted” at the insensitive joke.
“I’m all for a joke and laugh but this is extremely insensitive and disrespectful. I don’t know how anyone can use Diana’s death as a way of making a joke....” one wrote.
Another said: “This is an awful post @thejasongardiner should be appalled at yourself. Unbelievable and all respect lost. Boys lost their mum, such a disgusting post and you really should be ashamed.”
Another wrote: “How can you joke about the death of a much loved mother and Princess at the time of her son’s most happy day since her death. Shame on you.”
“That’s not a funny remark, it’s disgusting and I’m shocked you can think it’s funny. Two boys lost their mother,” said another.
One other comment read: “Those poor boys lost there mother in a tragic accident and had to share their grief with the world. Lovely to see them both happy !!!! Absolutely hate this post . Liked you up till now. Keep your disgusting opinions to yourself.”
A representative for Jason declined to comment when contacted by HuffPost UK.
Jason also posted a similarly controversial meme on Meghan and Harry’s wedding day that joked about the Queen being behind Meghan’s father’s heart attack.
Pictured with James Bond actor Daniel Craig, his speech bubble read: “And Meghan’s dad, ma’am?”, to which one next to the Queen read: “Make it look like a heart attack 007.”
Thomas Markle was forced to miss walking his daughter down the aisle at the ceremony after suffering with health problems, meaning he was unfit to fly from the US to the UK.
A 95-year-old man who is believed to suffer from dementia has been arrested on suspicion of murder over the death of his female carer.
Two ambulance crews arrived at his first-floor flat in Islington, north London, on Thursday morning after a neighbour heard a scream at around 4am.
A 61-year-old woman was taken to hospital with head injuries but died just before 11am on Friday morning.
Scotland Yard detectives believe she was injured in the flat, where she was working as a carer. She is understood to have been an employee of a care agency commissioned by Islington Council.
The 95-year-old man, who neighbours said was frail and uses a walking stick, was taken to hospital as a precaution after being arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Metropolitan Police said he was granted bail but will remain in hospital until he is moved to somewhere “his complex health and care needs can be managed”.
A neighbour who has been living in the 95-year-old’s block of flats in Holloway for 10 years said he was rarely seen outside his home since he and his wife fell ill.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said another neighbour told her of hearing a scream in the early hours of Thursday morning.
She said the elderly man would normally have a carer looking after him and he was occasionally visited by family members.
“It’s a surprise. They are a very good family,” she said.
“I don’t know what’s happened. I was coming home from work and saw police upstairs.
“Another neighbour heard a scream at about 4am, but I didn’t.”
Councillor Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “We are devastated to hear of the death of a carer in Islington.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this desperately sad time.”
“A murder investigation has been launched after a woman died from head injuries following an incident in Islington,” the Met said in a statement.
“Police were called at approximately 7.10am on Thursday, May 24 to a north London hospital where a 61-year-old woman was admitted suffering from head injuries.
“She died in hospital at 10.57am on Friday, May 25. Her next of kin have been informed. A post-mortem examination will take place in due course.
“At this early stage it is believed that her injuries were sustained at a residential address in Islington where she was working as a carer.
“A 95-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has been taken to hospital as a precaution due to a pre-existing condition where he will remain pending transfer to a location where his complex health and care needs can be managed. Police have bailed him while inquiries continue.”
St Joseph’s Care Home in Tring, Hertfordshire, originally opened its doors to babies and toddlers in Spring 2017. It was a brave new step by Charley Allen, the Activities Co-ordinator, after I suggested it on the local social media site. As a mother of two young children, and new to the area, I was keen for us to make new friends with people of all ages. It is always the elderly folk in the community who take time to have a chat with young parents, cooing over prams or commenting on how they used to have that kind of energy, whilst resting on a park bench, my boys racing around our feet.
We’re over a year on and the playgroup, Babbles and Bubbles at St. Joe’s, has grown in confidence, if not in size, and is attracting the attention of other local care homes, keen to replicate the environment that only little children can bring to a home. I’ve written and spoken before about the mutual benefits of inter-generational opportunities and I was delighted to learn that a local nursery for babies and toddlers have set up their own weekly visits to the care home, starting projects to suit both the young children and older adults, co-organised by the care home and nursery. I love this idea and hope that other nurseries and pre-schools feel inspired to follow suit.
St Joseph’s Care Home provides specialist care for those living with dementia, a necessary provision considering that over 70% of residents in care homes suffer from dementia, a figure that is set to rise as “225,000 people will develop dementia in the UK this year, that’s one every three minutes”. Dementia is a miserable and confusing condition that describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. There are many different types of dementia, but most share common symptoms: memory loss, confusion, problems with speech and understanding.
The first time I experienced the effects of dementia was when my physically very active grandfather, an octogenarian vegan, who practised yoga every day, was diagnosed and rapidly declined in health. He also stopped speaking English, the language he’d spoken for most of his life, reverting to his first language, Punjabi. He had known me for thirty years but suddenly had no idea who I was. Nor did he recognise his child. This was very upsetting for my mother, who soon realised that she’d lost her only parent forever. Yet, he wasn’t lost. We found ways to communicate again and all sought comfort in the religious music of his life, music that he would have heard as a child and as an adult. My nephew was born around that time and managed to visit his great grandfather in his final weeks. The immediate joy that that baby brought was immeasurable. My grandfather did not seem to understand that it was his own great grandson, but that didn’t seem to matter. What counted was the delight in life, simple movements and first babbling sounds. The language and memory barrier was broken by smiles, songs and clapping.
It’s now six years since my grandfather’s death and I remember the happiness that those visits brought. He was the longest surviving of my grandparents and it’s a shame that he never got to meet my children. Yet, there are many older adults in our immediate community who can benefit from the company of small children and that is what our playgroup in the care home is all about. Not all the residents have their own families nearby and even those with regular visitors appreciate the company and fun. They may not remember the children’s names or faces, but they all seem to remember the experience and the positive emotions that their presence brings. The classic nursery rhymes that we sing unite us all and there’s a truly uplifting power of singing, especially when you realise that everybody knows all the words. The children who’ve been attending regularly feel comfortable in the home too and approach the residents with their own greetings and questions. But the older children of the group are starting school soon, or attending pre-schools instead, so it’s important for the playgroup to keep attracting new families.
If I’m lucky enough to live into my eighties, I hope that I’ll be living in a community where people of different ages and generations are encouraged to mix and socialise. If I’m unlucky enough to be one of the 2+ million people estimated to be living with dementia by 2051, I truly hope that someone will bring me a little joy: singing old nursery rhymes with little children, giggling together as we try to pop the bubbles.
It’s often said that money can’t buy happiness. In fairness, you regularly see millionaires and billionaires in the news and media these days, and they rarely seem happy or content.
On the other hand, many argue these clichés exist make us feel better about the unfairness of life in a capitalist society. At best it’s a form of denial; sure, I don’t earn much, but I don’t want to, because money doesn’t make you happy. At worst, it’s a line of thinking actively promoted by the wealthy, much like someone warning a starving person about the preservatives in food while they force down an 11th slice of pizza.
What’s the truth of the matter, though? In terms of how the brain works, does money make us happy, or not?
As ever, it’s a bit of both. Evidence suggests the relationship between money and happiness (or wellbeing, or whatever) is curvilinear; that is, the more money we get, the happier we are, but only up to a point. Beyond this point, it takes ever-increasing sums of money to achieve ever-diminishing increases in personal happiness. This would help explain why the richest people in society so often seem hell-bent on accumulating more wealth. But, why?
You give a rat or pigeon money, they’ll perceive it as nothing but some shiny discs or bits of paper (or incomprehensible lights on a screen, if it’s an electronic transaction). But we humans, we have brains that can recognise the intrinsic importance of money. We’re still living organisms with biological needs, like food, water, shelter from dangers etc. Things that provide these are often labelled ‘biologically significant’, and when we obtain/experience them it often triggers the mesolimbic reward pathway, that part of the brain that recognises when something good or beneficial has happened and causes a pleasure response.
We humans don’t go out and obtain these things directly, though. Not anymore. Now we buy them. With money. Hence working for money is termed “earning a living”. And our brains recognise that, when we obtain money, we have greater access to all of our basic needs, or even non-essentials that we obtain pleasure from, and so financial reward seems to cause activity in the reward pathway.
Basically, our brains grasp that the more money you have, the less danger you are in overall, the more assured your survival, and this triggers reward responses and quiets the stress-causing threat detection mechanisms.
However, you may get to a point when you have enough money to make any threats/dangers to you or your family largely negligible. People will differ on where this point is though; one study shows that people who are preoccupied with money are far less likely to be happy than those who aren’t, even if the former have far more money overall.
But regardless of where this tipping point is, if we keep getting money, at some point our basic needs are essentially met. At this point, our ‘psychological’ needs take over. These are more abstract needs and desires, the fulfilling of which makes us happier. It could be desire for success, for approval, for dominance, for new experiences, and so on. Sometimes money helps with these things, sometimes it doesn’t. This would explain why it’s less reliable when it comes to making us happier, when we already have a great deal of it.
There are, of course, many other neurological mechanisms influencing the relationship between money and happiness, like how novel, unexpected things carry more weight than familiar things, hence finding £20 in an old pair of jeans feels more rewarding than finding £250 of pay in your bank account like you do every week. Or the fact that money is an easily quantifiable reward, and the brain likes being able to measure things.
There’s also the fact that the brain seemingly has dedicated systems for assessing how much effort a task or job will require, and the likely reward obtained for it, and determining whether it’s “worth it”. If the answer is ‘no’, then we’ll have little motivation or desire to do it, and will never do it as well as we feasibly could. Therefore, for all that many businesses insist that they want happy employees, it’s going to be a great deal harder to achieve this if you don’t pay them for their labours appropriately.
Intangible benefits like ‘exposure’ or insisting people should do something ‘for the love of it’ are all well and good, but they’re never going to be as rewarding as you hope if the person you’re offering them to is consumed with concern and stress because they don’t have enough money. Whatever your logic and reasoning may be, if you have the money to do so but don’t use it to pay people for their efforts, you’re going to cause more stress, resentment and disloyalty than happiness in those you depend on. Because that’s how the brain works, I’m afraid.
Maybe it’s true that money doesn’t make you happy. But then neither does water by and large. But doing without either can make you distinctly unhappy, and that’s something worth keeping in mind.
Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, writer, comedian and author of The Happy Brain (Guardian Faber), available online now
Many viewers were left questioning whether ‘13 Reasons Why’ had crossed a line with the scene, debating whether its graphic depiction of Tyler’s rape bordered on gratuitous, particularly after he was then seen taking a rifle to school with him in the wake of the attack.
However, Mandy has urged anyone offended by the show to “Google the news”, insisting the Netflix series mirrors what is happening in the real world.
“There’s nothing that anybody ever has put or had the desire in our group to make anything gratuitous or shock value,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s shocking, it’s horrific, but it’s happening.
“There’s videos that people post and that’s online forever. It’s [in] the culture, so just look it up and educate yourself that you need to look out for this.”
She added: “I think it made a connection, whether they wanted to make it or not. The fact that we’re talking about it and that is was so talked about, that was our goal.”
The first run of ‘13 Reasons Why’ came under similar scrutiny, although that was for a graphic scene depicting teen suicide, rather than the horrific scene of sexual assault which has been a talking point in series two.
A premiere event for the series two of ’13 Reasons Why’ was cancelled last week out of sensitivity, following the Santa Fe High School shooting, which took the lives of 10 victims.
If you want to know what’s going to happen to the European Union, all you have to do is look at what’s happening to Italy.
What do we see? A populist coalition that is broken-backed even before it takes office. Voter anger at a stagnating economy and a failed political elite. Growing social stresses as a result of a sudden influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
Perhaps you think Italy doesn’t matter that much. It’s always been a bit of a basket case, hasn’t it? Always teetering on the brink of chaos and collapse, but somehow always managing to survive.
Believe me, Italy matters. It is, after all, the country that gave us Europe’s own Donald Trump a full twenty years before the American version sent shudders around the world. His name was Silvio Berlusconi, and his slogan was Forza Italia, originally a football chant which translates roughly as Let’s Go, Italy. Or, in American, Let’s Make America Great Again.
He was a controversial business tycoon who had originally made his money as a property developer; he was alleged to have some decidedly dodgy connections to the world of organised crime; and he was an unapologetic womaniser with a penchant for making deeply offensive remarks about women. (He once told an opposition politician that she was ‘more beautiful than intelligent’ ― and a hundred thousand people signed a protest petition in response.)
Italians used to be among the EU’s most passionate enthusiasts. As an Italian journalist once explained to me: ‘When you look at the record of our national governments, you’ll understand why we have no problem with giving more power to Brussels.’
Not any more. The financial crash of 2007-8 hit Italy particularly hard and it has still not recovered: it is the only one of the EU’s major economies in which GDP growth per capita is still lower than it was at the time of the crash. Debt as a percentage of GDP is the second highest in the EU after Greece, and in some parts of southern Italy, the unemployment rate is close to thirty per cent.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Italy’s EU partners have utterly failed to help offer sanctuary to the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape from war, famine and grinding poverty. An estimated 700,000 people have arrived in Italy by sea from Libya over the past five years, yet all attempts to persuade other EU countries to offer some of them homes have come to nothing.
No wonder Italian voters are now a lot less enthusiastic about Brussels. In last March’s elections, the two parties that did best were both populist: the centre-right alliance dominated by the League, a formerly separatist party based in the north, and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, founded by the former comedian Beppe Grillo.
So now they will try to govern together. Their respective leaders, Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio, cordially detest each other and have little in common other than their ability to tap into Italian voters’ deep disaffection with traditional politics. It is as if, said one commentator, Nigel Farage and Billy Connolly were to try to form a coalition in Westminster.
If they make a go of it, they will try to introduce economic policies that will induce apoplexy or worse in Brussels and Frankfurt. If they succeed ― and the ifs do start piling up at this point ― the EU could soon face a crisis that would make the post-crash Greek debt crisis look like a minor hiccup.
This isn’t the first time that Italy’s partners have had cause for alarm. Silvio Berlusconi was regarded in his heyday much as Trump is regarded now: unreliable, corrupt, and worryingly close to Moscow. Going back even further, to when I was a correspondent in Rome in the 1970s, Italy often seemed on the brink of acquiring a government coalition in which the Communist party would be included. At the height of the Cold War, that gave Italy’s NATO allies ― and especially Washington ― nightmares.
The election last year of Emmanuel Macron in France and the re-election (just) of Angela Merkel in Germany may have given the impression that Europe’s anti-Brussels populist wave had been halted. It hasn’t. Just take a look at Hungary or Poland ― and if you want to look beyond Europe, how about Narendra Modi in India, Vladimir Putin in Russia, or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey?
Look at it this way: the UK, which is the EU’s second biggest economy in GDP terms, is negotiating its exit; Italy, its fourth biggest economy, is about to be governed by a ramshackle coalition that opposes just about all EU economic orthodoxies ― and Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, is ruled by a much-weakened chancellor with the far-right, anti-Brussels Alternative für Deutschland party now the third largest in parliament.
Back in September 2015, as the EU’s problems began to mount, I suggested a new mathematical formula: Greek debt crisis + EU migration crisis + Brexit = end of EU.
And now there’s Italy to add to the equation. Would you bet on the EU still being with us in ten years’ time? I’m not sure I would.
The white halterneck seemed like a fresh and modern choice, especially when paired with an up ’do and Princess Diana’s aquamarine ring.
The Duchess of Sussex’s choice of this simple summery cut has made us seek similar shoulder-baring shapes. We’ve rounded up some of the best halterneck choices from the high street, all for under £50. We might as well look regal too.
If you didn’t watch ‘Love Island’ last year, chances are you were left out of every conversation down the pub and had no idea what most people on your Twitter timeline were talking about.
Even though you missed riding the wave of a cultural phenomenon, the upcoming new series brings with it an opportunity to finally get on board.
But coming into the show three series in, you might be worried about not understanding all of what goes on - which is where we come in.
Ahead of Love Island’s return to ITV2 on 4 June, allow us to bring you up to speed on “mugging off”, “getting pied” and everything in between...
At its core, ‘Love Island’ is a dating show, with a reality twist - think ‘Big Brother’ meets ‘Take Me Out’.
The show sees a bunch of single lads and lasses move into a luxury villa in Majorca in the hope of finding love. We watch over the course of eight weeks as they get to know one another, flirt, banter, argue, have their hearts broken or find true love, and all that comes with it.
The show works on the basis of being in a couple. Contestants must be in a couple to stay on the Island - this could be a real romantic couple, or two singletons who decide to pair up to avoid being dumped from the show.
At frequent points during the series, there will be what is called a ‘recoupling’. This gives them the chance to swap partners or, for those who have found love but are coupled up with someone else, a chance to finally be in a team together.
Anyone who is left single at the end of the recoupling ceremony has to then leave the Island.
Sometimes, there will be a public vote for everyone to pick their favourite Islanders or couples, with those scoring the least votes facing the other contestants who have to decide who goes home.
Former ‘X Factor’ presenter Caroline introduces all the contestants during the first episode, as well as hosting the live final and spin-off show ‘Aftersun’, which airs on Sunday nights after the main show.
On top of that, she also pops up in the villa at certain points during the series - either to reveal a shock recoupling, or to spring another shocker on the Islanders.
She’s not present for every recoupling (sometimes these are even done by text), as they do not take place in a live environment like the evictions do on ‘Big Brother’. There’s also no interview when each person leaves the Island.
What makes ‘Love Island’ stand out from other reality shows is its narrator - comedian Iain Stirling - whose quips and gags often rip the piss out of the contestants.
Rather than being impartial like Marcus Bentley on ‘Big Brother’, his style is more similar to Dave Lamb’s on ‘Come Dine With Me’, and quite frankly, the show wouldn’t be the same without him.
‘Love Island’ usually kicks off with 11 or 12 contestants (sometimes they may put more women in than men, meaning one of them gets dumped during the first recoupling). However, many more contestants are introduced as the series goes on.
Last year, a whopping 32 contestants appeared over the course of the series, with many of them sent in to test the loyalties of the existing couples.
Often, newbies will enter with the chance to take someone they like out on a date, regardless of whether they are with someone else - this can lead to tension and accusations of being “muggy” (more on that later).
Even if you are voted off, it doesn’t always mean that’s the end of a contestant’s ‘Love Island’ journey. Last year, Mike Thalassitis and Sam Gowland returned to the villa to mix things up.
While the Islanders are largely cut off from the outside world, they are given a phone to use on the Island. However, this is a special mobile, and only allows them to take pictures and send messages to one another.
They will also be delivered important messages from producers - like if there’s going to be a recoupling, or if they’ve been picked to go out on a date - hence why “I’ve got a text!” has become one of the show’s most famous catchphrases. Speaking of which...
Over the course of the last three series, ‘Love Island’ has developed its own language, with the contestants using a series of words and phrases to describe what they get up to.
Allow us to break them down for you...
Grafting (eg. “He’s been grafting on me”): Another way of saying trying to seduce someone. Trying to work your way into someone’s affections.
Muggy (eg. “He’s mugged me right off” / “He’s being muggy”): An Islander might mug someone off by flirting with someone else or behaving in a way that makes the other person in the couple look stupid. Being “muggy” is when you threaten to turn someone else into a mug.
Melt (eg: “He’s such a melt”): Usually used to describe a boy who needs to strap on a pair, or to describe a boy who is so in love with their other half.
Pied off (eg: “She’s been pied”): Essentially getting dumped, but in an embarrassing way that might leave the dumpee with egg (or, indeed, pie) on their face.
Salty (eg: “Stop being salty”): Used to mean aggressive, bitchy or having attitude. Could also be used to mean looking attractive.
Stick it on her / him (eg: “I’m going to stick it on her”): Another way of saying making a move on someone.
Crack on (eg: “I’m going to crack on with him”): Used to mean wooing or getting to know someone with the intention of making something happen romantically between them.
Snakey (eg: “He’s being snakey”): If someone is behaving in a shady way, perhaps by trying to make a move on someone who is already in a couple.
100% my type on paper (eg: “She’s 100% my type on paper”): Used to describe someone you really, really fancy.
Put my eggs in one basket (eg: “I like him but I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket”): Essentially the act of committing to someone, or hedging your bets that things with that person will turn out well.
Punching (eg: “He’s punching with her”): Short for ‘punching above their weight’, meaning that person is less attractive than the other person in the relationship.
Sort (eg: “She’s a proper sort”): Someone attractive.
A lot is made about ‘Love Island’ contestants having sex, but the reality is that it is a small part of the show.
While we do see couples getting down to business, there’s nothing explicit about it, with just a moving duvet or a curling toe shown. Often it’s also set to ridiculous music and Iain’s hilarious commentary, meaning it usually feels funny rather than seedy.
As well as the chance of finding love, there’s also a £50,000 cash prize up for grabs.
The final sees the public vote for their winning couple (there’s usually four left at the end), with the pair then facing the ultimate decision - they can either decide to split the cash or try and steal it all for themselves.
They are both told to either split or steal - if they both decide to split, they both get a £25,000 share. If only one decides to steal, they take the whole lot home. And if they both steal, they lose the whole lot.
To date, all the winning couples have decided to split, but this could all change this time around.
‘Love Island’ launches at 9pm on Monday 4 June on ITV2.
Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to police in New York on Friday clutching two books that have ignited more speculation about how he views himself amidst the scandal that sparked a worldwide movement.
The former Hollywood mogul is in police custody after being charged with rape and a criminal sex act after alleged attacks on two women.
When he arrived at 1st Precinct in Manhattan in New York Weinstein was carrying non-fiction books: Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution by Todd S Purdum and Elia Kazan: A Biography by Richard Schickel.
Something Wonderful is billed as a revelatory portrait of the “creative partnership that transformed musical theater and provided the soundtrack to the American Century”.
The book tells the story of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The Guardian suggested it is “easy to imagine Weinstein might see something of himself in the story of successful showmen impresarios credited with changing the cultural landscape”, before saying there was “yet greater parallels” in the story of Elia Kazan.
Kazan, an immigrant director of classics such as ‘A Streetcar named Desire’, was later shunned by Hollywood for testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952.
The director’s womanising is also detailed in the 2005 biography. Kazan was married three times and had numerous affairs with female actors, including Marilyn Monroe.
Actor and novelist Carol Drinkwater last year detailed an alleged encounter with Kazan when he was in his 60s and she was in her 20s.
She alleged to the Guardian: “He came in, threw me back on the sofa and started pulling at my clothes, forcibly trying to have sex with me.”
More than 70 women have accused Weinstein, the co-founder of the Miramax film studio and Weinstein Co, of sexual misconduct, including rape, with some allegations dating back decades.
The accusations, first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker last year, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.
This coming Saturday, 100 years ago, Georgia declared itself an independent democratic state. Its experiment in self-rule and radical social reform lasted barely three years before the Red Army, on Stalin’s orders, invaded. When Georgia finally regained its independence in the early 1990s, it embraced the flag, anthem and constitution of that earlier time.
But the democratic, liberal legacy of that first inspiring Georgian republic is today being tested in the streets of the capital, Tbilisi.
Last week, the LGBT community in Georgia attempted once again to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May by holding public events. A rally was planned at the government buildings in Tbilisi. The police and government assured the LGBT leaders that they would be protected.
Violence against protestors was not a theoretical possibility, but a historic fact. Five years earlier, Orthodox Church protesters barged into a LGBT rally, beating up many.
Although the Church authorities do not openly call for violence these days, they do denounce LGBT rights, which fuels and legitimates prejudice; playing in to the hands of far right extremists. To counter IDAHOBIT, they declared May 17 to be the “Day of Sanctity and Integrity of the Family”. Instead of beating up LGBT demonstrators, church leaders this year held a liturgical procession in Tbilisi and conducted hundreds of traditional male-female weddings.
As the time approached for LGBT demonstrators to meet up last week, it was clear that violently homophobic and racist groups, including neo-Nazis giving the Hitler salute, were strutting through the streets of Tbilisi and making threats.
Very reluctantly, the LGBT demonstration was called off at the last minute, with leaders announcing that they did not trust the police or government to protect them.
A few dozen LGBT people did eventually gather; though afterwards they needed to be whisked away in police buses to ensure their safety. Their posters proclaimed “No to Homophobia” and “No Fascism”. In the end it was the fascists who owned the streets.
We are only days away from the official commemorations on May 26 of the declaration of Georgian independence back in 1918.
In those days, the leaders of Georgia were Social Democrats. They opposed the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia and aimed to create a modern, democratic state. While the Bolsheviks were proclaiming a global class war and resorting to increased repression, the Georgian Social Democrats were promoting a just and free society.
In their three short years in power, they enacted an exemplary programme of agrarian reform, giving land to the peasants and ensuring that there was none of the bloody civil war in the countryside that plagued Soviet Russia. They held free and fair elections with a multi-party system, and began drafting what was then seen by many as the most progressive constitution in the world. Women were given the right to vote even before they won those rights in the US or Britain. Georgia aspired to be a society based on social justice, equality, human rights and tolerance.
This experiment in social democracy was widely seen at the time as an alternative to Bolshevism. A delegation consisting of Europe’s leading social democrats, among them future Labour prime minister Ramsay MacDonald, visited Georgia in 1920. Ethel Snowden, a leading figure in Labour at the time, said of Georgia: “They have set up what is the most perfect socialism in Europe.”
But the Georgian experiment was largely forgotten during the years of Soviet rule. Even today, most Georgians, let alone people anywhere else, know very little about that period.
Today Georgia aspires to be seen as a modern, democratic European country which is tolerant and inclusive, and which respects human rights. Georgia’s ongoing campaign to become a full member country of both the European Union and NATO is based on that aspiration.
And it is generally true that Georgia has made huge strides in the right direction, especially since the “Rose Revolution” of November 2003 that brought an end to the violence and corruption of the early post-Soviet years.
The proof of the success of the transition from repressive communism, led in large part by Mikheil Saakashvili, came a decade later, when his party was defeated in free elections and he was ousted from power – the first orderly, peaceful transition in Georgian history.
Georgia has come a long way since it was part of the Soviet Union. Now free to continue where the Social Democrats had left off in 1921, Georgia needs to choose which direction it wants to go as a country.
This Saturday, as it celebrates the achievements of the first Georgian republic, which was a progressive, modern, secular and liberal society, it needs to decide whether the streets of its capital belong to those demanding full rights for the LGBT community or Hitler-saluting fascists and church leaders whose homophobia gives the far right comfort and succour.
It is time for Georgia to choose.
Peter Tatchell is Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation
Eric Lee is author of The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921
A family in Portland experienced a rather nasty surprise several weeks ago when a friend got in contact with them claiming to have been sent a recorded piece of their conversation by the family’s Echo speaker.
Danielle, who didn’t want to share her surname, explained to local news station KIRO7 that the family had installed Amazon Echo speakers in every room in the house allowing them to control their lighting, heating and security system.
Unfortunately Danielle’s husband then received a rather alarming phone call from a work colleague who had received a strange audio message on their phone.
“He proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house,” Danielle said.
“At first, my husband was, like, ‘no you didn’t!’ And the (recipient of the message) said ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘oh gosh, you really did hear us.’”
Defying quite astonishing odds, the Echo speaker had first misheard the wake word ‘Alexa’, it had then again thought it heard the words ‘Send a message’.
Having recorded the message Echo finally heard what it thought was the name of a person in their address book.
As you can imagine, the chances of Amazon’s Echo speaker mishearing the word ‘Alexa’ are actually fairly common. Anyone who owns one knows of the time it suddenly woke up for no reason.
However, for an Echo to mistakenly hear three commands in a row? The chances must have been remarkably low.
We’ve asked Amazon what happened and will update this piece when we get a response.
In a statement to HuffPost UK, Amazon gave this account:
“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like “Alexa.” Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a “send message” request. At which point, Alexa said out loud “To whom?” At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ”[contact name], right?” Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right”. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”
While it’s unlikely this happens very often, it’s certainly a wake up to anyone who’s thinking about filling their home with smart speakers.
It’s no secret that too much meat in your diet is bad for the planet, with increasing number of people looking to cut their intake. Nestle is the latest brand to entice people towards more fruit and veggies with ‘Garden Gourmet’, its new range aimed at vegetarians and flexitarians, those who adopt a plant-based diet while occasionally eating fish, meat or poultry.
The new range will be available in Sainsbury’s and Ocado from Sunday 27 May and includes 12 plant-based products - so whatever your meat-eating mantra, there’s something for everyone.
We’ve got our eye on the likes of beetroot and spinach falafel, corn and mozzarella pizza, a beetroot and lentil burger, as well as tomato and cheese bakes.
Prices range from £1.49 (for 2 vegetarian sunny tomato & cheese bakes at 160g) to £2.99 (for 12 Vegetarian Quinoa and Broccoli Bakes at 420g), although Nestle explains final pricing for the range is always at the discretion of the individual retailer.
“We are incredibly excited to introduce this new delicious food brand into the meat-free category which is one of the most innovative areas in the food segment,“Paula Jordan, Managing Director of Nestlé’s UK Food Division said.
“Vegetarian cooking is more than just cooking vegetables; it’s about new tastes, flavours and an exciting experience, as well as leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.”
Aside from your trusty Quorn alternatives and Linda McCartney’s sausages, other meat-free brands are increasingly making their way into supermarkets.
For instance, Iceland has launched a bleeding beetroot burger, while Tesco has just started stocking Vivera, a Dutch brand known for its veggie steaks and vegetarian (and often vegan) alternatives to fish and hamburgers. Swedish meat alternative brand Oumph, has also recently made its debut on Tesco’s shelves.
Both Aldi and Marks and Spencer launched own-brand vegetarian and vegan ranges late last year.
Next week, on 29 May, Starbucks will close every one of its 8,000 American stores.
Such a drastic action has been taken in response to the arrests of two black men in a Philadelphia branch of the coffee shop chain in April. To recap, the two men arrived for a business meeting and one asked to use the restroom. Neither had bought any food or drinks and the store manager responded by dialling 9-1-1. Footage of the arrest quickly made its way online and the backlash against the chain was instant.
In response to the incident, Starbucks rapidly announced plans to close all of its US stores for several hours in May, to conduct racial bias training for its 175,000-strong American workforce. It’s a bold move, and I applaud Starbucks for making it. To close so many stores and deliver training to so many staff at once is, after all, a massive commitment to making amends and a real acknowledgement of the severity of the incident.
It’s interesting though, that this response has, itself, been on the receiving end of considerable criticism.
With minority Americans comprising more than 40% of Starbucks’ US workforce, the move has been branded by many as little more than a PR exercise. The public seems to be struggling to accept that this could be a business acting genuinely out of remorse, as opposed to one that may simply have mutiny on its hands if it lets such an incident slide.
Comparisons are even being made to Starbucks’ misjudged ‘Race Together’ campaign, when in 2015, baristas were instructed to scrawl the slogan on coffee cups and invite patrons to share their thoughts on race relations. Customers quickly took to social media to voice their outrage at the brand trivialising such a delicate subject and the campaign was hastily shut down.
In light of its previous mistakes, therefore, I can understand why people might question the training that Starbucks will be giving its staff. Is it genuine? What will it consist of? In the long run, what impact will it really have? It’s vital that this training is sincere, and that Starbucks’ staff are shown how to properly respond to these situations. If it’s a simple tick-box exercise, it’s likely that nothing will change anyway and the naysayers will be proved right.
That said, I can’t help feeling as though the critics of this action are missing the bigger picture. What’s important here is the message that Starbucks is sending from the top.
A simple apology or provision of racial bias training for only the offending staff members is unlikely to make any lasting change. The fact that Starbucks is willing to go so far as to put the entirety of its American operations on pause to see this done, suggests to me that this is a leadership team which is keen to demonstrate a genuine commitment to racial equality.
The example that the brand’s senior leaders are setting for their staff by stepping up and making a bold, public commitment to combating racial bias sends as much of a message as the training itself. It’s for this reason that I welcome Starbucks’ response, as this senior action can’t be taken for granted. By way of contrast, I recently had to deal with the leadership in one organisation observing but utterly and abjectly failing to take any action towards racist comments aimed at me. It was even suggested that I was the cause of the problem.
There’s a cliché around race that we need to be brave enough to have the conversation. Organisations adopting this approach believe that racism affects all people equally because we all need to be ‘brave’, but this can be patronising and simplistic. Minorities don’t speak up, not because they’re not ‘brave’, but because it’s not safe. Speak up as a minority and you may be seen as the problem. This happens in places where leaders aren’t sufficiently engaged, which then enables racism not just to exist, but to flourish.
Therefore, it’s important that Starbucks continues to develop its programme, if the brand is to ensure that this training has an impact and experiences like mine are avoided. This needs to be a lasting change, as opposed to a single day of training. Likewise, as important as it is for leadership to motivate staff to support racial equality, there also needs to be consequences when boundaries are crossed. Starbucks has hit the nail on the head in this instance, by publicly acknowledging that its staff have behaved inappropriately and arranging compulsory training for all employees, as opposed to just the offending individuals.
What we need to see happen next, in my mind, is other companies following Starbucks’ example and making similar commitments to equality. Providing racial bias training for staff is one way to achieve this, but the most important part is to secure senior recognition of the issue and support of ongoing initiatives to address it.
The opportunity is address the issue of racial equality is here; staring us in the face. Let’s make progress today; not amends tomorrow.
Fruit juice was once considered a healthy option for kids, but increasingly advice focuses on the sugar content and the damage this can do to children’s teeth and health - so should parents be banning it altogether?
The latest study by Austrian scientists suggests that children who have orange or apple juice for breakfast are 50% more likely to be overweight, so the researchers argue parents should replace juice with a piece of fruit.
They questioned 652 13-year-olds about their diets and found those who drank fruit juice more than three times a week were 50% more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t, while those who drank water saw their obesity risk fall by 40%, according to the research published at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna.
Hwoever, British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokesperson and paediatric dietitian Aisling Pigott, says the results shouldn’t scare parents into thinking they have to cut fruit juice out altogether.
“We are keen to promote the benefits of fruit juice because it does have vitamins and minerals, and if the bits haven’t been removed there’s more fibre in there,” Pigott tells HuffPost UK. “But what we do know is that it’s very easy to drink large volumes of fruit juice, which provides no additional benefits to a very small amount.”
An option that is healthier for kids, Pigott recommends, is to water down the fruit juice. She says juice is a very high sugar drink for young kids, so advises parents to dilute it at a ratio of one part fruit juice and four parts water. For older children, she recommends doing half and half, but never going above this.
When it comes to quantities, Pigott says to give your child one 100ml serving (that’s the equivalent of one of those small plastic cups you get at parties) of juice per day and no more. This should be in one serving and not spread out, to reduce the damage to teeth, while still counting as one of their five a day.
The time of day they have it, she says, doesn’t make much difference: “We’ve had lots of studies and interest about the time of day for drinks, but every body responds differently, so we don’t worry about what time you’re having things, it’s just about not going overboard.”
If you’re planning to welcome a dog into your family, first be sure the pup isn’t already part of someone else’s. New research suggests UK dog thefts have increased by 6.8% in just 12 months, with criminals targeting pedigrees worth as much as £1,000.
The figures, analysed by Direct Line Pet Insurance and based on Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to police forces, show 1,909 dogs were stolen from their owners in 2007, with the Metropolitan Police recording the highest number of abductions, at 225.
French bulldogs, Staffordshire bull terriers, chihuahuas and huskies remain among the most commonly stolen breeds, which are then resold for a profit to often unsuspecting buyers. The illegal practice can be traumatic for both the dogs and their owners, so here’s how to avoid being part of the problem.
Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs at animal rescue charity Blue Cross, says she would always recommend getting a dog from a reputable rescue centre. “Not only would you be helping the thousands of dogs desperate for a loving home, but their background and microchip details will have been checked,” she tells HuffPost UK.
However, if you’re determined to buy a dog from an individual or breeder, she says “do your research and never impulse buy after seeing an advert online or a classified ad in the newspaper.”
“Because all dogs must now by law be microchipped before they go to a different home, you must check the paperwork corresponds with the seller’s details and ask to see the vet record of the dog or to speak to the seller’s vet,” she explains. “If the seller isn’t able to provide you with paperwork, or they are reluctant to give detailed information about the background of the dog, then walk away.”
To record these details once supplied, prospective owners can download a “puppy contract” from the RSPA’s website. If a seller is unwilling to sign the contract, this can be another indicator something isn’t right.
If a seller insists on meeting you in a public place, that can also be a red flag, Thwaites adds. Olivia Anderson-Nathan, vet from animal charity The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) agrees.
“The seller may offer to meet you and drop the dog off at a location like a service station to avoid the ‘inconvenience’ of travelling to see them,” she tells HuffPost UK. “This is always suspicious – a reputable dog breeder or genuine seller will want you to meet their dogs before you take them on.”
Both Thwaites and Anderson-Nathan say if you’re purchasing a puppy, you should make sure you see the full litter with their mother and, if possible, their father. However, sellers sometimes place a puppy with a fake ‘mother’ of the same breed to mask theft or puppy farming, so this is something extra to look out for. An unrelated dog will likely ignore their supposed offspring.
“The dogs should all be interacting normally, and the mother should be interested in the puppies – doing things such as grooming and feeding them,” Anderson-Nathan explains. “We’d advise visiting the seller more than once, to interact with and get to know the pups.”
If you choose to buy from a breeder, PDSA recommends taking on a dog from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, who will abide by a set standard giving owners a higher chance of getting a healthy, well adjusted, puppy. If your dog is stolen, you can find advice about what to do next on the Blue Cross website.
If you store your bottles of bubbly in the fridge for long periods of time, you’re doing it ALL wrong.
Experts from Champagne brand Lanson told the Daily Mail your champers should be stored in a cool, dry place like a wine cellar (lol, who has those?) or the bottom of a wardrobe (that’s better).
If you’re anything like us, you might not be too fussed about the protocol of storing Champagne but you WILL care about the stash of affordable Prosecco and Cava that you’ve accrued ready for the weekend. So should we be keeping it in the fridge?
Janet Harrison, from Cracking Wines, tells HuffPost UK most experts would advise against storing wine or fizz in the fridge for too long “as it is too cold and too drying”.
“But if you buy it and intend to drink it within a few days, it is perfectly fine to do that,” she says. “If you’re unsure, just store it in the fridge on its side.”
Once opened, fizz should keep for one to three days providing you’ve got a good stopper. And no, sticking a teaspoon in the top won’t help keep it fizzy.
If you’ve got a bottle of Champagne and you’re saving it for a special occasion, it’s best to store it horizontally - so the cork doesn’t dry out and shrink - in a cool, dark place.
Interestingly Harrison says most sparkling wines, excluding vintage Champagne, should be consumed within a year or 18 months of bottling. “They aren’t really meant to be aged,” she says. “If it is a basic Prosecco, Champagne, Cava or Cremant, then it certainly won’t benefit from any period of ageing.”
With the bank holiday looming, it would appear it’s time for a good old fridge clear out. Bottom’s up.
You can now wear the words of suffragist Millicent Fawcett close to your heart, thanks to a collaboration between Tatty Devine and The Fawcett Society.
The British jewellery brand and women’s rights charity have teamed up to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the first women in Britain securing the right to vote, by producing a covetable kitsch jewellery collection featuring feminist slogans including ‘Nevertheless She Persisted’ and ‘Equal Pay Now’.
Some items are a direct homage to Millicent herself, to commemorate the first ever statute of a woman in Parliament Square, which was unveiled on 24 August. The statute of Millicent holding a placard stating ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’ - words she wrote after the death of suffragette Emily Davison - was designed by artist Gillian Wearing and the collection has Wearing’s approval.
″The pieces are both fun as well as having deeper political messages. It’s great that a donation from each sale will go to the Fawcett Society. I am a huge fan and cannot wait to wear this new jewellery,” she said.
The collection will be available from 5 June, with items costing between £30 to £35, with £3 from each sale going to The Fawcett Society. It will be available to buy at www.tattydevine.com as well as in the Tatty Devine stores in London’s Covent Garden and Brick Lane.
“Millicent Fawcett dedicated her life to securing women the vote, and we are proud to continue our work in her name. Now you can help us keep her legacy alive by campaigning for the rights of women and girls everywhere. Wear your piece with pride,” said Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society chief executive.
Take a look at the collection below:
Britain’s data watchdog is to probe an apparent leak of employee data at Jaguar Land Rover’s West Midlands factory.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said on Friday that it will look into the situation at the luxury car maker’s Solihull site after HuffPost UK reported personal data was being circulated amongst the workforce.
An ICO spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident involving Jaguar Land Rover and will be making enquiries.”
The breach affected agency staff at German logistics firm DHL, which works with Jaguar to deliver parts to car assembly lines.
HuffPost obtained documents which revealed the personal data of 647 staff employed by DHL via an agency called Staffline.
The documents appeared to have been compiled in preparation for mass redundancies.
The files contained the names, payroll numbers, disciplinary records and even the number of sick days taken by staff.
Another leaked list showed whether workers have been injured or if they have a disability.
One file, titled “release list”, showed hundreds of staff marked with red lines – suggesting they will be let go.
One worried worker said they have yet to be formally told about specific redundancies since cuts were announced in April.
The worker said: “It’s disgusting really. People are walking round telling each other when they are leaving the business.”
Responding to questions over the leaked documents on Thursday, Jaguar Land Rover said: “We are aware of this extremely serious situation and we have raised this matter with DHL and we are investigating.”
A spokesperson for DHL said: “DHL is aware of an incident concerning a document containing a limited amount of personal data of a number of agency workers on the account.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Staffline said it takes data protection “very seriously” and has “a dedicated data protection team to ensure the highest levels of protection are in place”.
“In this instance we understand that the data provided was done so in a compliant manner and was only shared with authorised personnel,” they added.
Niall Horan is among the Irish stars urging the nation to vote in favour of legalising abortion, as the country prepares to vote in its referendum on the subject.
On Friday, Ireland will decide whether their constitution’s Eighth Amendment - which gives pregnant women and unborn foetuses an equal right to life - should be repealed, making abortion legal in the country for the first time.
As the nation began heading to their polling stations, former One Direction singer Niall was among those to speak out, urging Ireland to “make another great decision” and “do right by the great women of our nation”.
Other prolific Irish stars have been speaking out on social media over the past two weeks, while Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan - who doesn’t have an official Twitter account - recorded a video in favour of the ‘vote yes’ campaign.
Meanwhile, British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran was recently forced to speak out over the weekend, when his song ‘Small Bump’ was appropriated by anti-abortion campaigners in Ireland.
He wrote: “I’ve been informed that my song Small Bump is being used to promote the pro-life campaign, and I feel it’s important to let you know I have not given approval for this use, and it does not reflect what the song is about.”
The current law in Ireland means abortion is effectively illegal, with anyone who undergoes the procedure potentially facing up to 14 years in prison.
According to the Ireland’s Local Government Department, more than 3.2 million people are registered to vote. The polls, which opened at 7am on Friday, will close at 10pm, with the results expected to be announced on Saturday.
Harvey Weinstein has been granted bail after being charged with rape and a criminal sex act after alleged attacks on two women.
Appearing in court on Friday, shortly after turning himself in to police in New York, Weinstein’s lawyers agreed he would post a £1 million bail and wear an electronic monitoring device.
The former movie mogul also surrendered his passport and agreed not to travel beyond New York and Connecticut.
Weinstein also faces charges of sex abuse and sexual misconduct in relation to the two alleged victims.
He has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone and his lawyers said in a statement outside court on Friday that Weinstein intends to plead not guilty to all of the charges.
More than 70 women have accused the co-founder of the Miramax film studio and Weinstein Co of sexual misconduct, including rape, with some allegations dating back decades.
The accusations, first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker last year, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.
Weinstein’s spokesman Juda Engelmayer and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman both declined to comment to Reuters on Thursday on the imminent charges.
The charges follow a months-long investigation that involved the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The victim in the rape case has not been identified, the New York Times reported, but Weinstein will be charged with first-degree and third-degree rape.
The other case involves allegations by Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004, the Times reported.
In a declaration filed on May 3 in the Weinstein Co’s bankruptcy proceedings, lawyer Brafman said Weinstein was a “principal target” of an investigation being carried out by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan.
He added: “I am trying my very best to persuade both the federal and state prosecutors that he should not be arrested and or indicted, because he did not knowingly violate the law.”
Braffman added that the allegations facing Weinstein are “entirely without merit”.
Weinstein is under criminal investigation in New York, Los Angeles and London.
He has not been charged with any crimes, though police in New York have said publicly that they believe there is enough evidence to make an arrest.
The bank holiday weekend looks set to be scorching for many parts of the UK, but weather forecasters have warned that not everyone will enjoy uninterrupted sunshine.
Scientists at the Met Office said on Friday that thunderstorms could put a dampener on the long break in some areas of Britain.
It will still be a “warm to very warm” bank holiday weekend for most and hopes that temperatures could tip 30C (86F) are now “not impossible but less likely”, according to Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond.
Anyone who is lucky enough to be in Northern Ireland, which along with Scotland will see “the best of the sunshine”, could come close to enjoying record bank holiday temperatures. The current record for Northern Ireland is 25.2C (77.4F), set in Strabane in 1978.
The warmest late May bank holiday weekend on record is officially 32.8C (91F), set on the May 29 1944 bank holiday Monday in Horsham, West Sussex, and Tunbridge Wells, in Kent, together with London’s Regent’s Park just a few days ahead of D-Day.
London could hit 26-29C (79-84F) – just a little shy of the warmest day of 2018 so far which was the 29.1C (84.4F) recorded at London’s St James’s Park on April 19.
It will feel warmest across southern England and Wales, where temperatures could rise into the high 20s.
The heat is on in Southampton which can expect 25-26C (77-79F), Bristol may get 25C (77F) while it may reach 19C (66F) in Aberdeen and 18C (64F) in Newcastle.
But not everywhere will stay dry through the weekend, with the risk of some heavy and thundery showers mainly across the south and south west of the country.
Plans to enjoy barbecue weather outdoors may have to be put on hold, or at least checked the day before committing, as there is a threat of thunderstorms throughout the bank holiday weekend.
Southern England, the South West and Wales are set to be cloudier, very warm and at risk of thunderstorms.
Chief meteorologist Andy Page said: “There is a risk of potentially severe thunderstorms during the bank holiday weekend.
“These are most likely to affect the south and southwest of the country, however exact location details are uncertain at this stage.
“Impacts from heavy downpours are possible, however are likely to be localised.
“We are carefully monitoring the thunderstorm threat and recommend people keep updated with the forecast on the day if they have outdoor plans.”
We all have moments in our lives where we look back and cringe at the views we once held. For me, the one most pertinent right now is the time my Venture Scout group held a debate on abortion when I was a teenager. The pro-lifer? Me. The pro-choicers? Everybody else. As somebody with Irish heritage who went to a strict Catholic school, abortion was the one teaching that stuck. When I was 12 years old, our RE teacher sat the entire class in front of a video called “The Silent Scream” - a propaganda movie which shows the ultra-sound of an abortion taking place. The school also distributed literature and hosted speakers from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) - the vile Catholic anti-abortion pressure group that opposed gay marriage on the basis it would increase the incidence of abortion. Religious brainwashing was immensely efficient, if profoundly appalling, and the argument was powerfully simple: who could support the murder of babies?
The emotive strawman was prevalent in every argument I gave in that debate and, I’m ashamed to say, the disregard for women was palpable. “What about the father who had to endure the murder of his child because the woman wanted an abortion and he didn’t?”; “Well, you might say that this child won’t have a decent quality of life because of a defect or disease, but how can you make the decision that it would rather be dead?”. Most appallingly, when challenged on rape, I parroted the answer our entire year group was given at school: “Of course rape is awful, but does that mean an innocent child should die?”. I can’t quite put into words the disgust I have for that viewpoint and the fact I held it. The attendees of that debate probably won’t read this, but if they do, I offer my most profound apologies for it.
The truth is that the Catholic Church has never truly cared about the welfare of children. Every chance they have had to put actions to words they have failed in a way that shows almost dogged determinism. Those putting up posters about dead babies in Dublin today didn’t protest or march when the hundreds of tiny bodies were excavated from the earth and septic tanks of Tuam. They angrily campaigned when consenting adults wanted to express their love in marriage, but remained silent when case after case of child rape by clergymen was uncovered and the trail of senior cover-ups revealed with it. There were no banners and placards wielded by these people when the Ryan Report was released in 2009, detailing the abuse and humiliation of children by priests and nuns in Catholic institutions spanning over six decades. The current Pope, who is lauded as some sort of liberal hero for being mildly less of a monster than his predecessor, accused victims of child abuse in Chile of slander and only changed his tune after a public backlash.
This whole referendum isn’t about the welfare of children, it’s about something else the Catholic Church famously has, to put it mildly, no regard for: the rights of women. The arguments have precisely the same misogynistic undertones: that women are mere vessels for the produce of man. That the right of a foetus overrides the right of a woman to control her own body. There are the same distortions, the same lies - that women use it as casual form of contraception, the winking insinuation that all those who seek them are “women of ill-repute” who dared to invoke their own right to sexual fulfillment without formal permission from a sexually-starved man in a white frock. As much as this is about the Catholic Church’s utter disgust at women it is equally about their intensely dangerous and unhealthy attitude to sex. The arguments are driven primarily by men who would inevitably sing a different tune about the availability of abortion were they able to get pregnant.
Abortion doesn’t stop just because it’s made illegal. Women who can afford it travel elsewhere, adding to the emotional toll and stress they already endure. Those too poor to do so rely on different, more dangerous methods. The Church knows this and is content with it - to them, women in those situations are beneath contempt. As tempting as it is to engage in the argument that a woman should never be forced to deliver and raise her rapist’s child (even if that is what opponents of the Repeal are condoning), we shouldn’t rely on those extremes. There should be one basic principle that a woman should always be in control of what happens to her own body, whatever the circumstance. No moralistic condemnations laced with slut-shaming or misogyny. No insistence from pale, old white men that women are nothing more than offspring incubators. Certainly no more contributions to the debate from a religion that preaches about “the welfare of the unborn child” after the unimaginable suffering and death they have dealt to the born child.
To the women of Ireland: as a former ‘pro-lifer’, I’m truly sorry for being taken in by those fallacious and damaging arguments. As a pro-choicer, I have everything crossed that today Ireland will end a damaging and shameful legacy.
A law consultant has warned growing “mythology” around new data protection laws could “endanger the lives of children” and has urged authorities to issue urgent advice to get key messages out.
Media law consultant David Banks said “panic over GDPR has become a full-blown stampede”.
He told HuffPost that he had been told of schools who believed they could no longer alert staff to student’s “potentially life-threatening allergies” because of the General Data Protection Regulation which came into force today.
“I think the information commissioner is going to have to start doing some myth busting about GDPR given the mythology that is growing around it and I think they need to do it quite quickly,” he said.
“Especially with some of this information going around at schools which is particularly worrying and potentially dangerous... I think they need to perhaps put out a few notices saying, ‘you can tell members of staff that a student has a potentially fatal allergy’.”
GDPR applies to all organisations that handle European Union citizens’ data and has caused widespread panic as it gives the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) powers to fine firms up to €20m (£17.5m) or 4% of global annual turnover for serious breaches.
It gives consumers new rights to request what data is held on them and to ask for it to be deleted and requires companies to get explicit consent to use personal information. According to the ICO it’s “intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union”.
Firms also have to meet higher standards for keeping data safe but they have been given two years to prepare for the change.
The law had led to torrents of emails being sent out asking people to renew their consent to receive marketing materials and today a number of high-profile US news websites became temporarily un-available in Europe.
On Thursday Banks highlighted the confusion around GDPR by directing his followers to a thread on Twitter.
The Department of Education today declined to comment on any feeback they had received from schools around GDPR, but highlighted a number of educational materials - including blogs and videos - it had provided.
The National Education Union told HuffPost it was unaware of concerns amongst schools. The National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT are yet to reply to a request for comment.
A spokesperson from the Information Commissioner’s Office told HuffPost that it had already published a “whole series of myth busting blogs” about GDPR and reassured small organisations that there is “no need to panic”.
“It’s important that we all understand 25 May is the beginning of the journey and we want to reassure small organisations that there is no need to panic. Anyone who is unclear about what they should be doing should check our website or contact us directly.”
The statement continued: “The ICO’s commitment to guiding, advising and educating organisations about how to comply with the law will not change. The large fines will be reserved for those organisations that persistently, deliberately or negligently flout the regulations.”
Banks said a lot of the confusion around GDPR centred around the issue of consent, “which is why we’re all getting these emails” from companies asking for permission to keep sending correspondence.
Consent, he said, is only “one of the reasons that you can hold data, but it is only one”.
“There’s lot of other reasons. Vital interests. Life-saving interests. Contractual interests,” Banks said.
He explained if individuals, for instance, had previously agreed to recieve a newsletter, even if it was “years ago”, companies did not need to ask them for consent to keep sending it because “I can unsubscribe at any time”.
“One of the exemptions to holding data is that you’ve got a legitimate interest in holding, just what data they need, to get me the newsletter.
“Organisations that might be in a little bit of a sticky situation... if you’d signed up to a newsletter and you’ve told them everything about yourself... your name, your hair colour, your gender.... now they might find themselves in a sticky situation because they’ve got a lot of data and it might be quite hard for them to justify holding quite so much.”
The Twitter thread was critical of the way the ICO’s had rolled out the law change, which Banks agreed with, saying there were too many “grey areas”.
However, he told HuffPost that “this often happens when you get complex new legislation coming in, people overreact and interpret it at the most extreme level, they always go to the worst case scenario”.
“Perhaps some simpler information should have been out out by the Information Commissioner’s Office,” Banks said.
“The guidance we got was quite lengthily and it would be good to see some digests coming out that kind of back that up and get some key messages out to give a bit of clarity to people. ”
Less Scandi noir, more Scandi blonde, the flavours in this dish are subtle but delicious and the buttermilk bath helps keep the chicken juicy. It’s as good cold as it is hot, if you have any leftovers.
It is best marinated overnight but other than that it’s quick to prep and quick to cook. We ate it with buttered new potatoes and baby broad beans from the garden.
For maximum flavour I usually prefer chicken thighs cooked on the bone and with the skin on, but this is one of those rare occasions when skinless, boneless breasts or mini fillets come into their own.
Buttermilk Chicken with Dill and Caraway (serves 2-3)
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts or about 400g mini fillets, preferably free range
284 ml pot of buttermilk
1 bunch of fresh dill (about 20g)
1 heaped tspn caraway seeds
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 tspn salt and a good grind of black pepper
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
For the optional sauce please see below
Heat a small frying pan and briefly dry-fry the caraway seeds, watching that they don't burn. Finely chop the dill, including the stalks, reserving a few fronds for garnish. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl, add the crushed garlic, the caraway seeds and dill and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you are using breasts, remove the mini fillet from the base and slice the remaining chicken lengthways into similar sized pieces. Mini fillets need no further preparation.
Put the chicken in the marinade, mixing well to ensure it's thoroughly coated, then cover and place in the fridge overnight. If you really want to plan ahead, pour it all into a sealable bag and put it in the freezer - it will marinate as you defrost it in due course.
Put the seasoned flour on a plate, give the chicken pieces a shake to divest them of excess marinade, and coat lightly with the flour. Keep the remaining marinade if you'd like to make it into a sauce.
Heat the oil to sizzling in a frying pan, reduce the heat to medium and fry the chicken pieces until they are golden. You may need to do it in batches. Don't over-cook them, or they will dry out.
Remove to a warm plate and allow to rest for at least five minutes before serving, garnished with the reserved dill fronds (or in my case, having run out of dill, with bronze fennel).
To make the reserved marinade into a sauce, add a walnut-sized knob of butter to a pan, stir in a tablespoon of plain flour and cook gently for a minute or two to make a roux. Slowly add 130ml of warmed milk and stir until thickened, then stir in the remaining buttermilk marinade.
Once amalgamated, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for six to eight minutes, until cooked through (the marinade contains raw chicken juices and salmonella is nobody's friend). Add a small squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of cream. Check the seasoning and serve alongside the chicken.
‘Emmerdale’ actor Michael Parr has spoken out to defend the soap’s controversial acid attack storyline.
Michael’s character, Ross Barton, became the victim of an acid attack earlier this year, when Debbie Dingle’s revenge plan on Joe Tate went horribly wrong.
At the time, the plot attracted 366 complaints to Ofcom, with the broadcasting regulator later ruling the ITV soap did not breach guidelines.
Addressing these viewers’ concerns in an interview with the Daily Star, Michael insisted the show should be covering real life issues facing today’s society.
“I don’t know what these people think a soap’s platform should be,” he said.
“On a soap we have a bigger reach than most TV dramas, so of course we want to tackle topical issues and raise awareness. We’d be mad not to when our viewing figures are what they are.”
He continued: “I’ve seen that this is a serious problem within the UK and I want to show people the long-term affects. Reports show that there are two acid attacks in the UK every single day. And the results last for ever.
“From the research that I did there were women in India saying that they would rather be raped than to be the victim of an acid attack. It’s devastating. People need to be informed about this issue.”
After 228 complaints were made to Ofcom in the first 12 hours after the episode aired, an ‘Emmerdale’ spokesperson also defended the storyline, telling HuffPost UK: “‘Emmerdale’ has a long track record of tackling difficult and topical storylines and the unprovoked acid attack upon Ross is another example of this.
“We take our responsibility seriously when portraying what happens in these circumstances. Consequently, the storyline was researched thoroughly with medical experts at Pinderfields Hospital.
“For the sequence following Ross’s attack we adhered carefully to the NHS guidelines about how to help people who are the victim of an acid attack.
“We also specifically researched this story with one particular victim who felt it important to share what happened to him with the ‘Emmerdale’ production team.”
Michael recently announced he would be leaving his role as Ross after five years on ‘Emmerdale’.
He said on Twitter: “Have had the best few years at Emmerdale but it’s time to move on and explore other avenues.
He then jokingly added: “If I win that soap award I might stay though.”
The brains behind the Vote Leave campaign this week branded Brexit a “train wreck” as he attacked the Government, civil servants and MPs for their handling of getting the UK out of the EU.
Dominic Cummings’ rant on the way Brexit is being delivered is the latest about-face from Leave campaigners, who are increasingly finding reality is not quite bending to their will in the negotiations with the EU.
Theresa May – who lukewarmly campaigned for Remain in the 2016 Referendum – has also found herself guilty of over-promising, particularly on the UK’s future customs policy.
Caroline Lucas, supporter of the People’s Vote campaign for a referendum on the final deal, said: “Leave campaigners used to claim that Brexit would be a piece of cake and totally cost-free, with no downsides whatsoever. Now they’re crashing head-first into reality.
She added: “With the costs of Brexit mounting up, and with the fantasy benefits melting away, we need a People’s Vote at the end of this shambolic process, so that the British people can decide for themselves whether or not the Brexit deal on offer is good enough.”
In April 2017, before she was a Minister in the Brexit department, Suella Braverman appeared on Question Time and claimed any talk of a Brexit divorce bill was just part of “Project Fear” that should come with a health warning: “Don’t believe it.”
But this week she appeared before the parliamentary Brexit Committee and admitted that the UK would be paying £39billion to the EU as a divorce settlement, without the payment even being conditional on getting a trade deal at the end.
In October 2016, Brexit Secretary David Davis said “there will be no downside to Brexit at all, and considerable upsides.”
This week, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, described how real household income is now £900 lower than forecast before the EU referendum.
In February this year, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox indicated that Australia and New Zealand were top priorities for a post-Brexit UK trade deal.
But this week, Australia and New Zealand decided to launch trade talks with the EU instead.
The EU estimates that trade agreements with these two countries could boost EU exports to Australia and New Zealand by about a third.
In March 2017, the Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons she wanted a deal with the EU delivering “free and frictionless trade”.
This week, the Chief Executive of HMRC, Jon Thompson, told the parliamentary Treasury Committee that the Brexiters preferred customs arrangements (the so-called ‘Max Fac’ solution that relies heavily on technology) could cost businesses up to £20 billion per year.
Also in March 2017, Theresa May was accused of trying to blackmail the EU into providing the UK with a good trade deal by threatening to withdraw security cooperation.
But this week, a row has blown up over UK participation in the EU’s new satellite navigation system, Galileo. The estimated cost of setting up a rival UK system from scratch is up to £3 billion.
Three years after her ‘Hollyoaks’ contract was famously terminated, it was announced earlier this week that Stephanie would be returning to the Channel 4 soap, to reprise her role as Sinead O’Connor.
It’s been an eventful three years for Stephanie, filled with an ill-fated appearance on ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, high-profile disputes with her ex-boyfriend and father of her son, Jeremy McConnell Cooke and a stint in rehab for alcohol addiction, so many were surprised to learn that the actress was returning to the soap on which she made her name.
However, in a statement released by her spokesperson in response to claims some of her co-stars are feeling uneasy about her return, Stephanie vowed to prove any naysayers wrong,
Her representative told The Sun: “Stephanie has worked hard to get back to a good place and she doesn’t know anything about any of the cast members having these feelings but she will prove them all wrong.”
She previously said of her soap comeback: “I’m so so excited to be going back and overwhelmed with all your support. Thank you everyone for sticking with me – it never goes unnoticed.”
Since leaving ‘Hollyoaks’, Stephanie has become best known for her personal life than her work as an actress, having not landed a role since leaving the ‘CBB’ house in 2015.
A year after leaving the Channel 5 reality show, she welcomed a son, Caben-Albie.
One ‘First Dates’ hopeful wound up sparking a heated conversation on social media during the most recent episode, with a clumsy and ill-advised comment about having been born into the “wrong race”.
Thursday’s episode of the Channel 4 dating show introduced us to Ruth, who over the course of her episode disclosed that her idol was Kim Kardashian, was a big fan of Soca music and was a carnival dancer.
So far so… questionable.
Ruth then took things up a notch when she spoke to the cameras away from her date, explaining: “I relate more to black culture than I do to my own culture. I think I’ve got born in the wrong race syndrome, where I am white but I feel more black inside, probably.”
And there we have it, folks. A ‘First Dates’ diner who feels she has “born in the wrong race syndrome”.
Needless to say, the good people of Twitter were very quick on Ruth’s heels to point out why what she said was dodgy at best and full-on offensive at worst, so we’ll let them take it from here:
During her date, as the tweets above mention, Ruth also opened up about her past cosmetic procedures, saying: “The guys I go for don’t really appreciate skinny girls, they appreciate curvy girls. So I thought the surgery would make me more curvy, and make me more attractive to them.”
But Ruth isn’t the only ‘First Dates’ diner to rub viewers up the wrong way of late, after one contestant was accused of “internal homophobia” when he said he hoped the man he was set up with would be “straight-acting”.
He said: “This is a very controversial term in the gay community – I want them to be straight-acting… When you find a gay that likes football, it is like finding a KitKat that is just all chocolate and I’m like, ‘I have won this’.”
Dua Lipa collaborating with a new clothing company called Nyden seemed like one of the best things that could possibly be happening in the pop/fashion world today. Not only is Dua one of the biggest pop stars in the world right now, she is also known to have exquisite taste in fashion that can frequently be seen in her unique on-stage outfits, or in photos of her attending high-end award shows, where she appears on the red carpet, more than delighted to show off her carefully designed and selected outfit for the night. Knowing that this collaboration of clothing would be unisex and accessible for everyone made the whole idea seem so much greater.
However, if you look beyond the announcement posts – they can be found on both Dua’s Instagram and Twitter – and instead at Dua’s replies to fans, we learn that perhaps the clothing line isn’t exactly inclusive and designed for everyone. When a fan asked if the clothing line would be unisex she answered with, “Yes. What I’ve wanted to do with this collection is so that it’s universal and accessible for everyone.” However, when another fan asked if the line would be plus size she answered with, “It goes up to size 16 UK.” This means that the collaboration would not be available in plus sizes as the only plus size available would be the 16 - the biggest size in the collection.
This sparked a heated debate between fans as many people were quick to point out that the clothes would not be inclusive to everyone. One fan tweeted, “Girl do u know how annoying that is. It’s such a struggle for plus size people to find nice clothing.”
One other collaboration that has been under fire lately for not releasing inclusive sizes is the Savage x Fenty lingerie brand. After releasing the size chart, many fans were irritated that the biggest cup size available was a DD. After releasing such an inclusive make up collection, fans were disappointed to see that the lingerie, on the other hand, was not. This size chart was released after Rihanna tweeted that “Savages come in all shapes and sizes!! Ya ready?”
After receiving a lot of backlash, Savage X Fenty got straight to the heart of the issue and replied back to a disappointed fan, “Don’t worry Em. We are on the beginning and soon there will be more sizes and styles to come! Don’t forget to opt-in to receive all the updates emails form Savage X Fenty!” Since this tweet, Savage have increased their sizes by one cup size, meaning that the biggest size available now is a 42DDD. Although this isn’t very much, it shows that the company is listening to the fans and wants to make the lingerie as inclusive as possible.
We can only hope that the same thing is to happen with the collaboration between Dua Lipa X Nyden as it is very disappointing that the biggest size available is only a 16. Although many fans are angry with this announcement, they are not surprised and have let it be known that they have been let down more than once with plus sized clothing in many brands. One fan tweeted, “Dua Lipa is making a clothing range but it’s not going to have any plus sizes, in this economy why am I still surprised.”
Many fans however were very quick to defend Dua as they believe that when she wrote about the clothing being accessible to everyone, she meant on behalf of her unisex comment, not on behalf of the sizing. As a big fan of Dua Lipa myself, I am one of the disappointed fans as I know that people who may already struggle with finding clothing sizes are now not going to be able to enjoy the new collaboration of clothing. Me and many other devoted fans hope that after the backlash she has received due to this issue, Dua or her team will hopefully be able to bring out plus sizes, making the clothing properly inclusive for everyone. As well as being excited for this collaboration to be released, I am also anxious on how she will deal with this and whether or not she will comment on the issue.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has officially come into force today and while for many of us that means a final tidal wave of emails the privacy law is starting to have some unexpected consequences.
If you head over to the New York Daily News for example you’ll probably be greeted with this message:
It’s the same story with both the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and indeed any news website owned by either the Tronc or Lee Enterprises media companies.
Head to any of those sites and you’ll be greeted with the same message that reads: “Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.”
Rather than blocking EU users, US media organisation National Public Radio (NPR) is giving them the choice of either accepting to the terms or declining and then being shown a plain text version of the site that looks like it was created in the 90s.
GDPR isn’t just affecting US news sites either. Pinterest’s Instapaper app that allows you to save websites and articles to read them later, has also been temporarily shut down for EU users while it tries to bring itself into compliance.
The History Channel owner A+E has taken a blunt approach by simply blocking all of its websites entirely and hasn’t given any indication that it’s looking to reintroduce access to EU users any time soon.
GDPR is perhaps the largest piece of data protection law ever introduced and affects every citizen in the European Union. It requires that any company that collects data on a person within the EU must show them how they’re collecting that data and give them the opportunity to download it all with just 30 days notice.
Misusing this data or handling it incorrectly can carry enormous fines of up to 4% of a company’s entire global turnover. It’s for this reason that many companies outside of the EU are being especially cautious about complying with the regulations.
Recalling the awkward encounter on Friday’s ‘The Graham Norton Show’, Thandie says: “Recently I was in SoulCycle in LA and Victoria Beckham, who I have actually met a few times, was there.
“We were chatting away when she said, ‘It’s so great that you are here when you are pregnant.’ I said, ‘I actually had my baby a couple of months ago.’
“We carried on chatting and it was obvious she thought I was someone else so I said, ‘Do you think I am Zoe Saldana?’
“Victoria was absolutely mortified!”
Thandie admits she didn’t mind being mistaken for Zoe, adding: “It was actually OK as Zoe is a rare beauty, but really? Up close? Come on! And I am British!”
Thandie is appearing on the BBC chat show to promote her new ‘Star Wars’ film, ‘Solo’, in which she has the most “prominent” role for a woman of colour in the franchise’s history.
Speaking to Radio Times about her character, Val, Thandie explained: “I’m the first woman of colour to have a prominent role in the ‘Star Wars’ legacy.
“There have been others with one line and Lupita Nyong’o was a computer-generated character [Maz Kanata, in ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’], but you didn’t get to see the colour of her skin. I’m the first.
“I’m going to have a toy and everything. It’s exciting, but that’s all I can say. It is a big deal.”
The film hits cinemas on Friday but has received a mixed reaction from critics, including HuffPost UK. Read our review here.
‘The Graham Norton Show’ airs on Friday at 10.40pm on BBC One.
When Charlema Webb’s husband Vincent asked what she wanted for their first month wedding anniversary, there was only one thing on her mind: a much-coveted Fenty beauty highlighter (and a makeup brush to go with it).
But it seems Charlema didn’t properly explain what she meant as Vincent returned empty handed in the makeup department, but he did have something equally special: a pack of four Sharpie highlighters and a paddle brush.
While Charlema thought it was hilariously cute, fellow stationery nerds everywhere will know that actually Vincent was onto something... in our opinion this is a perfect alternative gift.
Charlema and Vincent, who are from Oakland in California, became a viral sensation after Fenty Beauty - the makeup brand by singer/songwriter turned entrepreneur Rihanna - shared their story on Instagram. “A+ for effort,” the brand wrote, before adding they’d send Charlema the real thing soon. (Winning.)
Charlema explained on Facebook that, on his return from the shops, Vincent had said: “I couldn’t find no Fenty but I got you Sharpie because they are the best highlighters and they been around for a cool minute.”
Vincent knows best. Next time: stickers.
In ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ Ernest Hemingway famously declared that expatriates spend all their time hanging around cafes, talking and not working. The good news is that these days, that lifestyle can count as an actual job.
And thanks to the wonders of technology connecting us the world over, modern-movers have never had it so good. We’re only ever a tap away from your friends, family and co-workers via Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or Slack.
Then there’s being able to make quick, easy and reliable money transfers. Transferring funds to friends and family members in hundreds of countries around the world not only gives you piece of mind, it helps your family stay connected to you when you’ve moved abroad (and is a must when you need an unexpected bailout).
With an estimated 5.5 million Brits living abroad - that’s nearly one in 10 people - the world really is looking like our oyster (and no Brexit doom-and-gloom talk is going to convince us otherwise).
Many of the Brits ditching expensive living in the UK’s top cities in favour of destinations abroad are freelance, self-employed, creative industry remote workers in the 18-35 age range who have the freedom to do their jobs from anywhere, so long as there’s decent Wi-Fi. So why not do them with a stunning view, some fresh local fare and a bit of history and culture to digest alongside that morning cup of coffee?
These days, expats aren’t just favouring the usual suspects like Spain, France, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand any more. There’s a whole lot more world out there to discover, enjoy and move to.
And remember while getting inspiration below to download the Western Union app for free which allows you to make fast, reliable money transfers to over 200 countries and territories from wherever you end up.
Despite Harry and Meghan’s nuptials being nearly a week ago, guests are still sharing details from the wedding of the year. One guest has told of how Charlotte organised the other bridesmaids and page boys at the beginning of the ceremony.
While two page boys held Meghan’s veil, the five bridesmaids, including Princess Charlotte, and remaining two page boys, including Prince George, walked slowly behind as the bride came into the church.
″[Princess Charlotte] was really sweet,” a wedding guest told PEOPLE. “There was one girl who wanted to go and she said: ‘No you can’t go yet. We have to wait until we are asked’. She was really organised!”
She may be only three, but Princess Charlotte is already an expert on bridesmaids duties, having previously filled the role for her aunt, Pippa Middleton. We only wish we had the same level of organisational skills as she does.
Another reason the children were so well behaved at the wedding was down to the nanny Maria Borrallo’ technique. According to The Telegraph, Borrallo persuaded the children to behave throughout the ceremony by promising them Smarties afterwards. Considering how well they all did, it seems to have worked a treat.
Can Princess Charlotte come to our wedding?
Voters in Ireland are heading to the polls today - to decide whether the country should repeal its abortion laws - but some of those in the ballot box are going to have travelled much further than others for the chance to do so.
There are approximately 828,164 Irish emigrants living abroad, and it seems many of them weren’t going to miss their chance to help make history, sharing their emotional homecoming stories on Twitter.
Given the result is still very much uncertain, the #HomeToVote hashtag, which is predominantly being used by pro-repeal ‘yes’ voters, is full of optimism, hope, and tear-inducing tales of good will and human kindness.
Including people offering donations to pay for flights, and offers of free transport to get voters home in time.
At Stansted airport in Essex, people had even started keeping a tally of the number of ‘yes’ voters they had seen.
Lots were travelling from further afield in Europe, including Spain Sweden and Belgium, and North America.
Despite reports that the vote is in the hands of the ‘undecided’ voters, many pro-yes voters said they were feeling supported. Particularly by security and airport staff.
Making friends along the way, lots of travellers who had been on their own to start, met with fellow repeal voters in departure lounges.
In some of the most heartwarming examples, people - who are not allowed to vote because they are not Irish or have been away from Ireland for too long - are donating money to strangers to pay for their tickets.
People are sharing their stories of being on the receiving end of anonymous donations, while others are looking for people who still need the help.
And lots of tweets had children surprising their parents by coming home unannounced.
And for those who finally made it home, there was a welcome party waiting.
Pass us the tissues.
A quick Twitter break turned into something more when Twitter decided to add my retweet to a Twitter moment that ended up disrupting my study time for midterms. But now my organic chemistry midterm is done and I have to time to reply to all the notifications.
Yes, many Asian girls have coloured hair. I, myself, have had coloured streaks. But as I addressed in my tweet, it’s how American media tends to distinguish “stereotypical Asians” from “badass Asians” and the characterisation often ends there. It’s like the “not like other girls” trope that developed in rom-coms - the one where the lead only falls for this manic pixie dream girl because she’s not like other girls, implying that girls just aren’t all that great to begin with. Movies created the streaked hair Asian badass to fight the submissive Asian stereotype, forcing Asian female characters to fall into one of two categories, which just furthers the tokenisation and fetishisation of Asian women. It’s true that some movies also have white women with coloured hair to characterise them, but white women are also more represented in media and get to play a wider range of complex characters.
Recently, we have seen some amazing Asian women portrayed (Rose Tico!), but the number of Asians in Western media is far from realistic. In fact, more white people have won for awards for doing yellow face in movies than actual Asians have for acting. Asians rarely get leading roles and the few roles they do get are still mainly submissive i.e. nerd, prostitute, masseuse. If not submissive, we get the Asian badass that will do a bit of martial arts and then be hypersexualised (women) or desexualised (men). And more often than not, the characterisation of Asians revolves around their Asian-ness rather than who they are. Though culture does play a big part (i.e. The Big Sick), it’s not everything.
This is the part that people usually tell me to go back to Asia and watch the movies made there. Though I do admit I have watched a Kdrama, I was born and raised in Texas and am Asian-American, not Asian. Like many others, I have never been to Asia, much less lived there, so I can’t relate to a lot, if not all, Asian media. I appreciate Asian media but I grew up consuming American movies and TV shows just like my non-Asian neighbours - so don’t I deserve to see my face in popular movies? Shouldn’t American minorities have characters to look up to from our home country?
As a part time actress, I hate seeing casting calls for “All-American look only” actors. In the Seattle theatre scene, people have been working to change that by creating databases and communities of POC, differently-abled, and marginalised actors. Shahbaz Khan, a friend of mine, after seeing a play in which Muslims were portrayed as domestic abusers, went out of his way to direct a show about Muslims that showed them in a positive light and had a full POC cast and crew. A playwright I know has been writing shows that place POC characters in everyday situations without denying cultural context.
On a larger scale, Wong Fu Productions, based in LA, produces shorts and web-series that put Asians in the spotlight and has an international audience that include Asians and non-Asians. Kim’s Convenience, Fresh Off The Boat, and Crazy Rich Asians are films and TV shows that have been making strides in Western media, so it shouldn’t it be time to drop the hair-streaked badass and the sexy submissive Asian tropes? You may not have heard much from us yet, but we’re loud and working for our representation. Even with many people telling us to stop complaining and to go back to Asia, I say make characters that young Asian-Americans can look up to without feeling like they didn’t belong.
If you pick up a packet of cigarettes you’ll be met with a graphic photo depicting the possible consequences of smoking. Now, researchers have suggested the same idea should be applied to sugary drinks.
A team from Australia’s Deakin University conducted an online experiment to examine the drink choices of almost 1,000 Australians aged 18-35.
They found young adults are less likely to buy sugar-sweetened drinks that have health labels, particularly those with graphic warnings about how added sugar can lead to tooth decay, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
[READ MORE: What your favourite drinks are doing to your teeth?]
To investigate how labels might impact our drink choices, participants were split into groups and asked to imagine they were entering a shop, café, or approaching a vending machine to purchase a drink. they were then asked to choose one of 15 drinks, with sugary and non-sweetened options available.
One group was shown drinks with regular labels, while the others were shown one of four modified labels containing health warnings: a graphic warning, a text warning, highlighted sugar information (including number of teaspoons of added sugar) or a health star rating on all drinks. Alternatively, they could select “no drink” if they no longer wanted to buy a drink.
Overall, participants were far less likely to select a sugary drink when a front-of-pack label was displayed compared to no label, regardless of their level of education, age, and socioeconomic background.
Graphic warning labels that include an image of decayed teeth and which indicated that consuming drinks with added sugar may contribute to tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, or obesity, appeared to have the greatest impact. Participants were 36% less likely to purchase sugary drinks that included a graphic warning compared to a drink with no label.
“Our findings highlight the potential of front-of-pack health labels, particularly graphic images and health star ratings, to change consumer behaviour, reduce purchases of sugar-sweetened drinks, and help people to make healthier choices,” Professor Anna Peeters said.
“The question now is what kind of impact these labels could have on the obesity epidemic. While no single measure will reverse the obesity crisis, given that the largest source of added sugars in our diet comes from sugar-sweetened drinks, there is a compelling case for the introduction of front-of-pack labels on sugary drinks worldwide.”
The new research, being presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Vienna, Austria (23-26 May).
The heartbroken parents of a French nanny who was tortured and murdered by the couple she worked for say her killers deserve the death penalty.
Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, beat, imprisoned and tortured Sophie Lionnet to death at their home before throwing her body on a bonfire.
After the pair were found guilty of murder on Thursday, Miss Lionnet’s mother, Catherine Devallonne, said the couple should be “burned at the stake”.
She told The Sun: “That’s what they deserve. It’s maybe cruel but what they did was even more cruel.”
Miss Lionnet’s father Patrick Lionnet added: “These people do not deserve to live.”
The Old Bailey heard that Kouider and Medouni had killed 21-year-old Miss Lionnet over a bizarre obsession with an ex-Boyzone pop star.
They had built a warped fantasy around music mogul Mark Walton and accused the nanny of being in league with him.
Kouider was fixated with her ex-boyfriend Mr Walton, and Medouni bought into the fantasy in what has been described outside court as a “folie a deux”.
Over five years, Kouider reported the wealthy musician to police more than 30 times and received a caution for branding him a paedophile on a fake Facebook profile.
She also accused him of sexually abusing a cat, using black magic and hiring a helicopter to spy on her.
The mother-of-two went on to claim Mr Walton had seduced Miss Lionnet with sex and promises of Hollywood stardom.
She and her on-off husband Medouni interrogated Miss Lionnet for hours to get to “the truth”.
Jurors heard more than eight hours of recordings in which Miss Lionnet was slapped, likened to a Nazi collaborator and called “worse than a murderer”.
Kouider, who claimed to know influential people including US president Donald Trump, threatened to have her locked up and even marched her to a police station.
In her final days, Miss Lionnet was hit with an electrical cable and beaten so badly she had five broken ribs and a cracked breast bone.
In a filmed “confession”, the emaciated and broken young woman admitted she had drugged Medouni so Mr Walton could sexually assault him.
Within hours, she was dead, having been tortured with water in the bath.
Afterwards, the defendants tried to get away with murder by burning her body in the garden of their flat, near Wimbledon, south-west London.
When firefighters were alerted by neighbours to pungent-smelling smoke in September last year, Medouni tried to pass off the charred remains as a sheep.
The defendants later admitted disposing of Miss Lionnet’s body but denied her murder, blaming each other for her death.
According to Kouider, Medouni killed her in the bath then demanded they have sex as she lay dead nearby.
Before the trial, Medouni claimed Miss Lionnet died by accident after he punched her during the interrogation.
He offered to admit manslaughter but later retracted his confession, saying he made it to protect his wife, who has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told jurors that neither were prepared to admit the truth – that they killed her out of “revenge and punishment”.
Following the verdict, Ms Devallonne said her daughter had reassured her that all was well during telephone conversations before her death.
She told The Sun that she now believed Miss Lionnet was hiding the truth in order to protect her family.
She would have done “everything possible” to get her daughter home if she had “given me a little sign”, she added.
Jurors spent nearly 30 hours deliberating before convicting Kouider and Medouni. The pair are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on June 26.
Pro-choice activists campaigning for Ireland’s highly-restrictive abortion laws to be repealed have described how their fight is inextricably linked to the campaign which sucessfully legalised gay marriage in 2015.
Speaking from the streets of Dublin just before the country heads to the polls for Ireland’s sixth referendum on abortion, campaigners told HuffPost UK how the issues of sex, sexuality and women’s bodies are intertwined in Ireland.
Oonagh Murphy, a repeal campaigner, said many activists who led the gay marriage campaign are the same people now at the centre of the ‘Yes’ camp.
“I think the solidarity shown by gay men is absolutely phenomenal in this campaign,” she said, explaining that a number of canvassing groups are led by the gay community.
“I think there’s the sense of like: ‘You were there for us, we are gonna be here for you, sisters’.”
Murphy continued: “I think what it connects to is a sense that as a queer person you understand that the narrative that’s been driven by the ‘No’ campaign, by the anti-repeal campaign, is a narrative that is extremely heteronormative.”
Ailbhe Smyth, the co-director of the Together For Yes campaign, agreed, adding that many LGBTQ+ people have been “involved in pro-choice politics for a really long time”.
“When you are challenging the country and the church about your sexuality, you are also at the same time saying you don’t have the right to pass down dictats about what people do with their personal, sexual and reproductive lives.
“So for me, there’s never been a kind of: ‘Do I do one or the other?’ The two have always been so closely connected,” Smyth added.
“I think that the solidarity that was displayed to us two years ago, three years ago now, in the marriage equality referendum is something that it’s extremely important to show back now,” said Thomas, a member of the equality group ROSA.
What is the Irish abortion referendum all about?
Ireland’s abortion referendum will decide whether the country’s strict abortion laws should be relaxed.
Voters will be given the chance to vote yes or no on whether the Eighth Amendment to the country’s constitution should be repealed, opening the doors for the government to pass legislation making abortion legal.
The Eighth Amendment currently says the unborn child and the mother have an equal right to life.
Under the country’s new laws if the amendment is repealed, women in Ireland could legally obtain an abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks in cases where the woman’s life or health was at risk.
Terminations would also be allowed if the unborn baby had a fatal abnormality.
The Dutch cabinet on Friday said it would hold the Russian state responsible for “its role” in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight July 2014.
“Holding a country responsible is a complex legal process,” the cabinet said.
“The Netherlands and Australia have asked Russia today to enter a dialogue in order to come to a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and damage caused by the downing of flightMH17.”
MH17 was shot down over rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard. Russia has denied any involvement.
The development follows a press conference on Thursday during which investigators said the missile that shot down the plane was fired from a missile launcher in Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, but stopped short of saying who actually fired the fatal shot.
Wilbert Paulissen, head of the crime squad of the Netherlands’ national police, said yesterday: “All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces.”
Russia has denied involvement in the incident and issued a statement saying the images presented were “fakes” that were “disavowed and rejected by Russian experts”.
In an interim update on their investigation, prosecutors said they had trimmed their list of possible suspects from more than a hundred to several dozen.
“We have a lot of proof and a lot of evidence, but we are not finished,” said chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke. “There is still a lot of work to do.”
He said investigators were not yet ready to identify individual suspects publicly or to issue indictments. The question of whether members of the 53rd Brigade were actively involved in the downing of the plane remains under investigation, he said.
Inspire and encourage your children’s love of reading by visiting places where bookworms will be in their element.
Local libraries are a great place to start, as many offer far more than just book lending services. Some put on free activities for under-fives including rhyming and story time, so it’s worth checking out what’s going on this week.
There are alsoe many places across the UK bringing children’s stories to life in exhibitions or adventure trails, such as Pooh Sticks at Ashdown Forest and Roald Dahl’s story centre, both of which have featured before in our Family Days Out series.
Why not head out to:
Why? It’s a beautiful National Trust site, as well as a book-inspired location.
Have your kids read Enid Blyton? If not, make sure they do pronto before heading on this day out. Enid Blyton was from London but she would frequently visit Dorset. Whispering Island from ‘The Famous Five’ series was based on Brownsea Island in Poole. You can visit the island that inspired the books by taking a ferry from Poole Harbour. The island is now owned by the National Trust and is a fab family day out. Prices cost £7.20 for adults and £3.60 for kids. Find out more here.
Why? You can combine a love of books with adventure on this outdoor trail.
‘The Highway Rat’ is a book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, which has been brought to life in England’s forest trails. Kids can follow panels and discover the area around them as they head on a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from the story. They can complete fun activities along the trail, too. You can purchase a Highway Rat activity pack for £3 where you’ll find activities, stickers, puzzles and a Highway Rat mask. Find your nearest trail by clicking the forest’s icon on the map, here.
Why? If you kids love Beatrix Potter, they can see the stories brought to life.
There are loads of different areas to explore. Kids can make their way around the centre to see Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glade, Peter Rabbit’s Garden, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s kitchen and Mr McGregor’s Greenhouse. There’s also a tea-room for a post-walk treat. It’s £7.95 for adults and £3.95 for kids, with under-threes going free. Find out more here.
Why? It’s one of the most impressive libraries in the UK.
The library itself is a major cultural destination, housing more than 400,000 books and boasting an impressive design by Dutch architects Mecanoo. Within it, the children’s library is the perfect place to share books with your kids. They have a special collection called “When a book might help”, which covers a diverse range of topics from helping young children to understand concepts such as the alphabet and shapes, to helping them cope with situations such as bereavement or visiting the dentist. They also run regular events and activities for under-fives, such as story time, rhyme time, music and craft activities, plus visits from children’s authors. Find out more here.
Why? They run “Technoclubs” encouraging kids to get excited about STEM.
Libraries in Neath Port Talbot offer loads for both young and older children. For babies, they have “Bookstart”, a free pack of books with guidance materials for parents and carers. For toddlers, they have the “Bookstart Book Crawl”, which is where children receive a collection card and then collect stickers on each visit to the library. When they have collected five stickers they are given a certificate and get a free book. And finally, for older kids, in “Technoclubs” library staff help participants build and program Lego robots. Find out more here.
Today, hundreds of thousands of undecided voters in Ireland will make a decision that will shape our country’s future.
If they vote Yes, the right to life will be removed from our Constitution, and all constitutional protection for unborn children will be abolished. Abortion will become legal for any reason whatsoever up to 12 weeks, with a liberal UK-style regime also being put in place up until viability.
If they vote No, on the other hand, it will force the Government to put in place a proper strategy to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and to support all women and families who are faced with crisis pregnancies.
It’s as clear a decision as we have ever been asked to make, and more important than any which we have made before.
Should Ireland choose to allow abortion-on-demand to be introduced here, the results will be easy to predict. The experience of our closest neighbours in the United Kingdom shows us exactly what happens when the right to life of the unborn is erased.
The introduction of abortion in Britain under the 1967 Abortion Act led to a rapid increase in the number of women making this sad and tragic choice. The numbers jumped from 20,000 in the first year after the act was passed to over 100,000 per annum just four years later.
The numbers did not stop rising, and there are 200,000 abortions taking place in Britain each year, with one abortion being recorded for every four live births.
Similar legislative changes regarding abortion led to similarly dramatic increases elsewhere across Western Europe too. The verdict of history is clear: whenever unrestricted abortion has become available, it has become common, and women and babies have suffered terribly as a result.
When abortion becomes readily available, it doesn’t just become common, it’s becomes routine. We see the effects of this too in the figures for repeat abortions in England and Wales, where 38% of women undergoing terminations have had at least one abortion.
Some of those campaigning for unlimited abortion say they are doing so to advance women’s rights. No woman wants to go through the awful experience of abortion: and yet one in three women in the UK will go through it during their lives.
Abortion providers bear much of the blame for pushing abortion as a first option, regardless of the costs of this approach.
Scandal-plagued abortion providers such as Marie Stopes: which has repeatedly been condemned by the Care Quality Commission for shocking failures in patient care including jeopardising the lives of women, employing staff with limited training, failing to ensure that vulnerable women fully understand the procedure and even allegedly paying bonuses to staff to encourage women to go through with a termination.
If we vote to open the door to abortion-on-demand, we can expect to see similar abuses occurring in Ireland, with the dreadful effects being experienced by our women, not to mention the Irish babies who will never be born.
We can do better for our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends than proposing abortion-on-demand as a solution to a problem caused by society turning its back on those who need help to bring children into this world.
Our Government can do better too, and by voting No we will ensure that they have to.
Cora Sherlock is deputy chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign
Today in Ireland, we’re going to the polls in a historic, and once-in-a-generation chance to make a much-needed change in our country. I will be voting Yes in today’s referendum, to repeal the Eighth Amendment of our constitution, to bring compassionate care home to Ireland, to give our women and girls the dignified healthcare they deserve.
This referendum is not a vote on abortion, because abortion is already happening in Ireland. This is something which everyone acknowledges. Just look at the numbers – nine women a day travel to England for abortion. In 2016, 3,265 women gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in England. That figure does not take into account those who did not list their home address, or who travelled to other countries to access the care they needed.
Nor does that figure account for the three women a day who order abortion pills online, and take them without medical supervision in their bedrooms and bathrooms. These women put themselves in harm’s way to access the healthcare they need. The threat of a 14-year prison sentence if they are discovered means that many do not seek aftercare. And many of these women and girls never even tell their doctors what they’ve done. So, this is really a vote to decide if we will choose to regulate and make safe the abortion that is already here.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard the stories from women and couples who’ve made the journey to England after learning that their much-wanted pregnancy would be unsuccessful due to a fatal foetal abnormality. In these dark days, Ireland’s laws force those who wish to end such a pregnancy to find substantial sums of money, and to travel to unfamiliar cities and doctors, at a time when they should be treated with care and compassion at home. Those who are unable to travel, spend the rest of the pregnancy fielding excited strangers’, friends’ and colleagues’ questions about due dates, names and baby clothes. All the while, knowing they will never meet their baby, and that it is most likely deteriorating inside them. The Eighth Amendment discriminates between those who can afford to travel and access supervised medical care and support, and those who can not. This is not a fair system, or a dignified way to treat our women and girls.
The reality is that life is complicated – we all know this, and pregnancies can be complicated as well. There will be a time in all of our lives when we are forced to manage medical emergencies and uncertainty. When this time comes, everyone hopes for compassionate, supportive care from doctors that we know. We can not reduce complex medical situations to two rigid sentences in our Constitution – but that is what the Eighth Amendment does. And it ties our well-trained doctors’ hands. Rather than allowing them to do their jobs, we have constrained their ability to provide the best care possible for their patients. Our nation’s top experts on women’s health, the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the vast majority of its members are all in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.
When voting in this referendum, we’re voting with the women we love in mind. I would want her to be treated at home if she received the devastating diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality. Or if one experienced the horror of rape or incest and became pregnant as a result, I would want her to be treated with compassion and dignity in her own country. The girls and women of Ireland deserve better treatment than the current status quo. They deserve our Yes.
Orla O’Connor is co-chair of Together for Yes
Yes, May 25 has finally arrived and many of you will be hoping never to see another GDPR headline in an email subject line ever again. The missives from various organisations have ranged from the pally to the desperate, the apocalyptic to the plaintive. But what does it mean for our political parties? I’ve written a big feature HERE on the different approaches taken by Labour and the Tories and others.
Some hope the new data rules will be the 2018 equivalent of the Millennium Bug – lots of needless panic in Whitehall and Westminster, some profiteering by dodgy advisers and then a whimper not a bang as the deadline passes. Yet many others in the parties know the sheer amount of time, money and manpower that has gone into prepping for today. It’s not just emails and ‘re-permissioning’ (a delightful new verb), it’s about server security, contractual updates (Labour has a thousand third parties that use its data) and lots of other under-the-radar items.
The stakes are high. It looks like Labour is expecting to lose two million of its seven million contacts with voters. It had to re-run its NHS Baby campaign (its most clicked-on page during 2015) to craftily confirm individual details. Facebook algorithm and privacy changes also mean that all parties (like media organisations) may have to accept their social media reach will be reduced. The Tories have been more sanguine about their hugely valuable email database (built up over years), though it’s unclear if they have all the permissions needed for older entries.
But I also report on the big, big fear among some working in politics of another impact of GDPR. This is so sensitive that few want to publicise it. After today, it’s free and easier to demand a “subject access request” (SAR) on every bit of personal data that a political party has on you. The sheer time it takes to recover and redact such data is enormous, and many are hoping the Information Commissioner will help fend off malicious attacks. Still, one party’s data expert tells me: “I’m really worried political parties are going to face a weaponised use of that by campaigners and activists…If you want to screw a political party, get 100 people to send in an SAR on the same day.” So as you wave goodbye to subscriber lists and begging missives, remember that for political parties the GDPR headache may have only just started.
It was always going to happen, but yesterday the EU finally let slip its irritation with the UK’s latest planned solutions for Brexit. “The sooner we can get out of the business of denying the consequences of Brexit, the sooner we can get on with finding solutions,” a senior official told reporters. “The sooner we move away from this fantasy, the quicker we can get to constructive discussions about how to design that future relationship.” It’s worth adding that while the official is unnamed, they clearly had the full permission of Michel Barnier.
What seemed to spark the outburst was the UK threatening to demand the return of a billion euros in contributions to the Galileo satellite project unless the European commission lifted a block on British firms being involved. Yet as I’ve written before, Brussels’ refusal to budge on this has united pro-Remain Cabinet ministers like Greg Clark with their Brexiteer colleagues. Finding a way through the impasse looks very difficult as a result. The Sun’s man in Brussels Nick Gutteridge tweeted that this boils down to the fact that the EU is a rules-based organisation. And Britain’s hopes of bending those rules look ambitious to say the least.
With Bank Governor Mark Carney again last night raising the spectre of a ‘disorderly Brexit’ (though some Brexiteers will be delighted at slashed interest rates), I wonder whether Theresa May will feel the need to listen to her own advice given in the Mansion House speech? Remember she said it was a time for ‘hard truths’ about how Brexit won’t mean we have exactly the same benefits of EU membership outside the bloc? And in Parliament, will a new hard truth be the hardening line of Tory Remainers? The Sun says their number has grown from 11 to 15 and votes on key Lords amendments could prove very tight indeed when the bill returns next month.
The PM will be pleased if the most senior resignation from a Leaver is that of junior PPS Andrea Jenkyns (she quit her bag-carrier role yesterday to allow her more freedom to speak out). Will Tory Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg keep their nerve, despite fresh talk of extending the transition period post-Brexit? It may mean swallowing some unpalatable items. The new plan for an extended timeframe is being called the Customs and Regulatory Alignment Period. Yes, that’s CRAP for short.
When your brother is a serving police chief and you’re the new Home Secretary, and both of you are kinda candid about the Government’s failings, it’s no wonder word gets out. The Mirror has dug out some choice quotes from Bas Javid, a chief superintendent in the West Midlands, as he gave evidence to local councillors about cuts in police numbers since the Tories came to power.
Javid said things had “changed considerably” since 2010 (which is when a certain T May became Home Secretary). “We’re all aware of the reductions that have been made in numbers,” he said. “Just to remind you, we’ve gone from an organisation of 11,000 people to 8,000. And that means we need to fundamentally review, and continue to review but change, the way we deploy resources.” It’s only fair to point out the police chief added he had recently increased numbers, and defended cuts to police stations. But Labour’s shadow policing minister Louise Haigh (one to watch folks) has seized on the wider officer cuts admission.
Meanwhile, in the Telegraph Fraser Nelson has an eye-catching piece declaring that Sajid Javid could be “the leader-in-waiting the Tories need”. Rightly, Fraser points out that a year ago there was heavy briefing that the PM was planning to sack him as part of a triumphant post-election reshuffle, once she had her whopping 100-strong majority. Instead, a weakened May recently had to promote him “through gritted teeth”. Javid has the right free-market credentials, pragmatism on Brexit and new-found confidence that could work after May’s departure, Fraser suggests.
What were Harry and Megan really saying to each other during the Royal Wedding? Here’s one lip-reader’s guide. “Your present is a fail”.
One of the biggest decisions Theresa May has to face in coming months is just how much extra to spend on the NHS. A major increase (like the 3% plan revealed by the Spectator’s James Forsyth) could reassure all those Leave Voters that they hadn’t been conned by Boris’s bus. It could also help neutralise the Tories’ most lethal political Kryptonite with voters more widely. At an Institute for Government event yesterday, Jeremy Hunt said ‘the Prime Minister completely gets’ the arguments for a better deal. Crucially, he added he thinks the public is willing to pay more tax for the health service. And that the Chancellor also understands that and Treasury needs to understand how long it takes to get payback for investment.
But with the IFS warning that a 4% rise is needed, the Treasury is not rolling over on tax hikes just yet. And if Philip Hammond digs in against any tax rise (hypothecated or otherwise), the options to fund big NHS increases are limited. With the wider spending review due later this year, either non-health departments like defence and police will have to be squeezed or the Treasury may have to think the unthinkable: putting up borrowing. You could call it Ed Balls Day.
The polls have opened in Ireland’s referendum on the repeal of its constitutional curb on abortion. Women from across the world have flown in to Dublin to take part and the #hometovote hashtag has shared some powerful videos of personal stories. The result could be very close indeed and we lead our site this morning with a reminder that this is not a simple young v old issue. Millennials are as divided as other groups, with some women passionately pro-life, and some men stirred by the #metoo movement to becoming passionately pro-choice.
Those campaigning for repeal argue that the current laws don’t prevent abortion, they just make it less safe and more difficult even in cases where babies are badly deformed. We report the moving testimony of Oonagh McDermott, who found out at fourteen weeks that her baby had a fatal foetal abnormality. “They sent me home and told me: ‘When you think it’s all gone, come back to us.’ They were expecting me to miscarry in my own home,” she says. Let’s see if such stories sway the 17% who are said to be ‘undecideds’. Counting starts tomorrow morning and a result is due early evening.
We’re doing our bit to reduce your inbox overload. With the Commons and Lords in recess, the WaughZone is taking a well-earned break as we focus on the day job. See you all again on June 4.
Our latest #CommonsPeople podcast is out. Hear us chinwag about Brexit bills, lessons from Lewisham, Salisbury’s survival plan + more. Oh, and Owen has the lamest excuse for a quiz. Or not. Click HERE for iTunes and HERE for Audioboom.
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