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- 09/14/19--04:11: _An ultra cool exhib...
- 09/14/19--04:47: _Seven simple boxing...
- 09/14/19--04:48: _What is the London ...
- 09/14/19--04:56: _The Caroline Callow...
- 09/14/19--06:01: _Mum shares incredib...
- 09/14/19--06:21: _Anyone named Adam c...
- 09/14/19--06:38: _I was addicted to p...
- 09/14/19--06:43: _Dad shares importan...
- 09/14/19--07:41: _The ‘world’s safest...
- 09/14/19--08:52: _You can now stay in...
- 09/14/19--23:00: _Slow fashion: How c...
- 09/15/19--00:30: _You can now stay in...
- 09/15/19--01:00: _You Don’t Look Sick...
- 09/15/19--01:02: _Mum spends £9,000 i...
- 09/15/19--01:54: _BAME children are s...
- 09/15/19--02:15: _48 hours in Cannes:...
- 09/15/19--02:43: _McDonald’s creates ...
- 09/15/19--03:53: _These badass boots ...
- 09/15/19--05:16: _Frogs who married ‘...
- 09/15/19--05:44: _Confused man mistak...
- 09/14/19--06:21: Anyone named Adam can get a free haircut during London Fashion Week
- 09/14/19--06:38: I was addicted to prescription drugs for two decades
- 09/14/19--07:41: The ‘world’s safest’ bike helmet has its own airbag
- 09/14/19--08:52: You can now stay in a terrifying Monster Suite in a museum in Mexico
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- Custom-made dresses: £1,875
- Hotel stays: £1,500
- Pageant entry fees: £1,500
- Dance lessons: £1,024
- Fuel: £900
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- Custom-made Irn Bru costume, plus prop: £300
- Hair styling: £300
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- Shoes: £85
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- 09/15/19--02:15: 48 hours in Cannes: How to spend the weekend in Nice
- 09/15/19--03:53: These badass boots have a built-in bottle opener in the heels
One of the world’s, if not the world’s most Instagrammable restaurants has just installed an ultra cool (and free exhibition) to celebrate the London Design Festival.
Sketch, the gaff with all those egg-shaped loos and that pink room everyone goes gaga over, is celebrating London Design Festival with a series of experimental works made and curated by some of the hottest designers and architects out there.
Made from single raw materials, PiM.Studio, Brodie Neill, Matteo Fogale and Studio Furthermore have transformed 5,000 cylindrical Burbridge pine dowels donated to them by the people at Matter of Stuff – a London-based design research gallery established in 2014 by architects Simona Auteri and Sofia Steffenoni. FYI, they love all things pop-up exhibitions and workshops, so if you’re into that kind of stuff, check them out.
Why are pine dowels now a thing? They are not, thankfully, but they have been installed to highlight and make a bold statement about all the infinite possibilities related to sustainable design, upcycling and waste avoidance.
The dowels, which currently stand tall in the restaurant’s hop-skotch entrance hall, measure an impressive 2,400mm in length and were originally used in 2018 for a pop-up gallery in King’s Cross during last year’s London Design Fest.
Upcycling at its best, then.
Hand-punched and threaded with string, each dowel hangs from the ceiling to create a floating vertical wall. Think the Great Hall in all Harry Potter movies, just without the candles, witches and wizards. Instagrammable? Yes, it is.
In addition to all the recycled art, sketch’s resident mixologist and Bars Director Pepijn Vanden Abeele has created a load of special cocktails with spirit maestros The House of Suntory.
Everything from gin to vodka and whisky mashups are on the menu in the restaurant’s pretty Parlour (the room with the pink neon signs) and Glade (the green one with all the flashing lasers) spaces, so you can get absolutely sloshed whilst you take in all that art.
Sounds like a pretty good night.
Sketch, London Design Festival, 2019
It can feel really daunting to go to a boxing class.
When you’re a newbie with no clue what you’re doing, it’s easy to feel out of place. But you have to start somewhere.
Thankfully, there are exercises you can try before your first class or in-between sessions to master your technique and boost your confidence.
We spoke to industry expert and owner of Box Clever Sports Peter Liggens to find out seven exercises we can all try at home.
Peter has over 24 years experience, so he knows his stuff, but has kept it simple so even a total beginner can nail the basics.
Try these exercises at home, practice until you feel comfortable, and then head to that boxing class safe in the knowledge that you can deliver jabs, upper cuts, and hooks that pack a punch.
But before you get started, let’s break down your boxing stance.
Hands up, chin down
Right handed? Put your left foot forward, right foot to the side. This will rotate your torso.
Slightly rotate and drop your chin, raise your lead hand (left) to roughly eye level, rear hand (right to cheek), keep your elbows into your sides. This is the orthodox position.
If you’re left-handed (southpaw) do the above but with opposite hands, so your lead hand is your right.
Got it? Now, on to those seven exercises…
Perfect the jab
The jab is the most important punch. It keeps your opponent at bay and off-balance, preventing them from their attack.
In your boxing stance, drive your lead hand, bringing your elbow up at the last moment. This will raise your lead shoulder and protect your chin at the same time from a counter-attack.
To increase power simultaneously step with your front foot as you jab, driving from your back foot.
How to pack a punch with your cross
Get in your boxing stance, then begin by rotating your hips and pivoting on your back foot as you rotate your torso, delivering that knockout blow with your power hand. Bringing the elbow up will help block a counter hook.
How to power up your uppercut
Dip at your knees so you don’t have to drop your hand from your boxing stance, then drive from the dip, turning your back foot while lifting the heel.
Think of the end position of a golf drive. Remember the object is to hold a tight guard so don’t go into street fighter mode and throw the punch from the floor.
How to master the hook
The hook is a very effective punch which many throw incorrectly due to bad habits. To help with the initial phase, throw the hook from a cross as this will rotate the torso.
As you begin to deliver the hook with your lead hand, your back heel will be up and foot rotated from the cross. Bring the lead elbow up as you start to rotate back into your stance. On the connection point drop your heel and rotate your front foot, while at the same time engaging your core muscles to deliver a strong and fast rotation from your hips.
Don’t be shy with this exercise. With all the basic skills learned, now it’s time to put them into practice.
The best way to practice these movements is by shadow boxing in an open space. It helps to do this in a mirror so that you can see your alignment is correct.
Balance is key here. Shift your weight from the front to back foot, then gradually start taking small steps forwards and backwards, then quarter turns side to side.
As you become confident and comfortable with this, start putting your punches with the steps. Shadow boxing is one of the best ways to improve your technique and something you can do almost everywhere… well, almost. It can be a bit weird to do this in the office, but practice is practice.
Skipping is a great cardio exercise. It’s low impact on joints and an essential part of a boxer’s training regime, improving hand and feet coordination.
Start with just jumping over the rope any way you like, then try hopping on one foot for three or four jumps before switching to the other foot.
As your confidence and timing improves bring this down to two hops and gradually bring the floating foot lower until you are shifting your weight from one foot to the other with two bounces on each foot. Once you have this mastered, have fun and try double unders, criss-crossing, sprints.
Just watch out for that rope, it stings!
Practise pad work with a friend
Practicing pad work with a friend is a great way to perfect all your punches and keep you on your feet.
Do three minute combo rounds mixing up the punches and switch with your friend.
The biggest tip is to relax. When you deliver your punches stay relaxed, speed is power. Trying to punch hard makes you tense up and tires you out.
Once you’ve mastered all these techniques, you’re ready to hit the boxing gym.
Proven benefits of boxing are cardiovascular health, strong bones and joints, stronger muscles and more tone, improving coordination, better core stability, improved confidence, better endurance, self-defence skills, and stress relief, so it’s definitely worth a go.
Box Clever Sports is an underground boxing gym that packs a punch in Ladbroke Grove.
It’s not for the faint of heart. A certain level of fitness is required to make it through one of their killer workouts but the results are worth it, physically and mentally.
Classes are designed to tick off all the benefits, with each one broken down into three parts: a warmup (which will leave you gasping for air and feeling the burn), circuit training, followed by interactive boxing and sparring where you will learn to refine your technique and tone those bodies.
These classes are high intensity, non-contact boxing classes that provide a full-body workout through a range of functional cardio, anaerobic and explosive/plyometric movements. They’re meant to be fun, too, although if you’re not on time you’ll be punished with 10 burpees for each minute you’re late. Brutal.
If you fancy giving the workout a go, you can book through the Box Clever Sports website for £14 a class or £120 for unlimited classes per month.
Young woman doing boxing training at the gym, she is wearing boxing gloves.
London Fashion week is already in full swing, with chic launch parties on Tuesday September 12 kicking-off six days of stylish celebrations and Spring/Summer 2020 collections.
One of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite brands, Temperley London has already showed their new collection on Friday September 13 along with other designers such as Amanda Wakeley, but London Fashion Week runs until Tuesday September 17 and there is still time to get tickets to the public events on Sunday 15th September.
What is the London Fashion week schedule?
Although there are already two days of London Fashion Week behind us, there are still four days of fashionable events still to take place, with events, catwalks and presentations running every day from today, Saturday 14 September until Tuesday September 17.
Sunday 15th September will see some of the biggest names reveal their new collections, with designers such as Victoria Beckham, Emilia Wickstead and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi all showing.
Big British fashion brands ERDEM and Burberry both have catwalk presentations on Monday 16th September.
View the full London Fashion Week schedule for 2019 at londonfashionweek.co.uk.
Where is London Fashion week held?
London Fashion Week catwalks and presentations take place at venues across London, but for the public the main venue is the BFC SHOW SPACE.
The BFC Show Space is at a venue called ‘The Store X’ and is located at 180 Strand in Central London.
Can you still get tickets for London Fashion Week
Yes, you can, but you’ll need to be quick!
Most of the London Fashion Week catwalk shows and events are By Invitation Only, however on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September the general public can by tickets to a public catwalk shows and a day of talks and events at the BFC Show Space.
Tickets cost £135 per person and on Saturday this will buy you access to a catwalk show by Alexa Chung and on Sunday you can see the self-portrait and House of Holland catwalks.
Those who buy tickets will also get access to a Positive Fashion Talk, see a series of talks by the likes of Henry Holland and Billy Porter, gain entry to the ‘discoveryLAB’ and #PositiveFashion Designer Exhibition and get a LFW tote bag.
Learn more and buy tickets here.
Fyodor Golan - Runway - LFW September 2019
If you’re one of those blessed beings who has only had totally healthy friendships, you will likely have found Natalie Beach’s article about her relationship with influencer Caroline Calloway absolutely baffling.
You might not even have heard of Caroline Calloway before now but give the piece a read – I dare you not to be gripped by Natalie’s account of how she felt used and manipulated by her Insta-famous pal.
So why hang out with someone who lied to you? Why go on holiday, despite knowing they’re ‘someone you couldn’t count on to remember a birthday’, and seem surprised when they let you down? Why stay friends with someone who takes advantage of your kindness, who makes you feel inferior?
But if you’re someone who has had one of these classic female friendships, it’ll all make sense.
Most women I know have experienced the addictive allure of a friendship with someone who ends up being awful for them, but that they idolise beyond reason.
Carolines are Serenas to Blairs. They’re the type that appears effortlessly cool. They’re gorgeous. Everyone either falls in love with them or wants to sleep with them. They live a magically blessed life where things just fall into place without them having to try. Their hair is always excellent and their style is insouciant.
In contrast, Natalies have to try. They have to work hard. They have to plan, think, and question. While a Caroline seems to be a fully formed character, a Natalie is one of us ‘normals’ who’s anxiously trying to figure out the right thing to say, to do, to wear.
You’re so excited to be touched by their light that you happily get dragged along on their adventures, even if that means taking on the role of mum, ensuring the practicalities are covered and your whimsical, free-spirited pal is eating her vegetables.
So when you meet a Caroline, you are blown away. She is so many things you wish you were: attractive, confident, living a glamourous life of adventures and wonderful things.
I’m definitely a Natalie, which means I’ve encountered my fair share of Carolines – and I know how the friendship ends.
It is doomed from the start, in fact, because you’ve put this person on a pedestal. It’s impossible that they’re 100 per cent confident, attractive to all, completely together and have accomplished everything with no need to try. They do try, they do work, and they do struggle – it’s just that you’ve chosen to gloss over all of that and focus on the glowing picture of a person you’ve created in your mind.
When that beacon of perfection accepts you into their circle, you feel lucky. If someone so wonderful wants to be friends with you, you must be kind of great, right?
You’re so excited to be touched by their light that you happily get dragged along on their adventures, even if that means taking on the role of mum, ensuring the practicalities are covered and your whimsical, free-spirited pal is eating her vegetables.
If you felt inferior to begin with, being cast as the sturdy, practical one only makes things worse. That’s the thing – if you already feel stuffy, try-hard, or plain, standing next to someone with the glow of an effortlessly easy life will only make your sparkle dull further.
Resentment begins to build. You want to be like them, but the friendship can’t work with two Carolines. It needs one person to be wild and free, the other to trail behind, checking forms and tidying up their mess. And so you’re cast in a role you hate, and eventually that hate transfers on to your pal, who likely assumed you were happy to play along with the dynamic.
Finally, the hangover hits. That last straw might be a holiday gone wrong, a missed birthday gift, a lie, sex with someone they shouldn’t have gone for. Whatever it is, it’ll be the eruption of all the problems you knew were there from the moment the friendship formed: they’re unreliable, untrustworthy, and you’re not sure if you actually like them, or just want to be them.
You see their artfully dishevelled room is a tip of unwashed plates. Their flowing hair is matted from where they’ve forgotten to brush it. Their don’t-give-a-f*** attitude grates, suddenly seeming irresponsible and childish rather than fun.
Eventually you’ll see all their nonsense in the cold reality of day and your cool friend will come crashing off their pedestal. You’ll be horrified, confronted with the truth: the perfection you idolised was just a facade, and thus you can never achieve it.
However, the breakdown of a relationship like this isn’t as simple as one person being a sh*t friend, or your lifestyles being completely incompatible. It’s about realising that – as cliche as it sounds – everyone is struggling, everyone has their own messy bits, and everyone, no matter how cool they may appear on first glance, has to try.
Carolines aren’t universally bad. There are very often complex explanations for their wrongdoings, and they can often be genuinely unaware of the damage they cause.
The truth is that a Caroline has been a Natalie all along, dealing with the same insecurities and uncertainties, but doing it by throwing around glitter and wreckage rather than creating budgets and to-do lists. You’re the same but different. She’s a human person with flaws and neuroses, not the character you wanted to pep up your story, and that’s not something you can handle.
It’s time to let go, so you can at least preserve the person you created in your glossily filtered vision. Once she’s no longer your friend, she can live on in repeated tales and drunken photos.
Everyone needs to have a friendship like Caroline and Natalie’s so they can learn that no one is as dreamy as they appear, and that they only exist in the roles they assign themselves.
You don’t need to be the sturdy, stable one, supporting someone else’s flights of fancy. You can be whoever you want. There’s no magical power, no blessed existence, just the choice to paint yourself however you choose.
Everyone you meet is constructing their own selves. One friendship like this will teach you not to fall for the picture they create.
11th Annual Shorty Awards - Arrivals & Cocktail Hour
A mum who was banned from setting foot in her daughter’s bedroom for more than a year has shared the room’s incredible one-day transformation.
Sara Hornsey, 39, had wanted to tidy the room for ages, but her daughter Amy, 16, who has autism, ADHD and severe social anxiety, asked her to stay out of her safe space.
When Amy spent her first day at college after three years of being home-schooled, Sara jumped at the chance to give her daughter’s room a proper tidy.
While Amy was at school Sara managed to completely clear the room, in time to put everything back neatly for Amy’s arrival.
Post-tidy the room looked dramatically different, so Sara had to share before and after photos online. They quickly won her a load of praise.
Sara said: ‘Trying to get into her bedroom is hard because it’s her safe space. When I go in she tells me to get out so keeping it tidy can be quite challenging.
‘Because of her ADHD she can’t really concentrate for long enough to tidy up so when she goes to the toilet or gets a shower I try to go in and do what I can, but I only get five or 10 minutes before she comes back.
‘It was her first day of college and I was nervous for her, I was wondering whether she was going to manage.
‘I needed to keep myself busy so I thought I’m going to tidy her room. She loves having a tidy room but she just can’t manage it.
‘The response to the pictures I posted has been unbelievable, I’ve had people telling me what a good mum I am and saying what a lovely room she has. It’s made me feel so happy and pleased that I did it.’
Amy was pleased with her new room and has agreed to let her mum pop in every day for five minutes to do a quick tidy up.
‘It took me most of the day to get through the mess, pull out the bed and clean all down the back of the shelves and then put it all back,’ said Sara.
‘But when she got home it was worth the reaction, she didn’t know what to say, she came up to me and said “you’re my favourite mum”.
‘It was amazing, I felt so proud of what we had achieved and I felt like a good mum.
‘Every time I had walked past her bedroom door before I had really wanted to tidy up and I felt like a bad mum because I felt like I wasn’t achieving what I should have.
‘I have told Amy that I’m coming in every day for five minutes now to do a quick sweep and keep on top of it whether she likes it or not but she actually said to me that she wants me to do that.
‘I think having a tidy room has helped her clear a bit of mental space too and she feels better about letting me come in more often.’
A mum who was banned from setting foot in her autistic daughters bedroom for more than a YEAR has gone viral for transforming it from complete mess to immaculate in less than a day.
If you’re a bloke in the capital who goes by the name Adam and is in desperate need of a little bit of TLC, you’re in luck because men’s grooming service Adam (yes, that’s the brand’s name) is offering some rather glam (and necessary) treatments free of charge for London Fashion Week.
The most stylish week in London’s fashion calendar kicked off yesterday and will see designers from Burberry to Alexa Chung, Molly Goddard, Roland Mouret and Richard Quinn showcase their SS20 looks on the runway until next Tuesday 17 September
That gives you guys exactly four more days to nab the freebie.
Treatments on offer range from a traditional beard trim or wet shave to a classic haircut or buzzcut – with all the wash, blows, drys, finishes and styling included. If you go after 3pm Saturday through Wednesday, you’ll even score a comp beer or whiskey, too.
Location? Blokes will find Adam salons in Mayfair, Canary Wharf, Victoria, Fitzrovia and in Monument.
If you’re an Adam that wants to get a free trim, you just need to register for the treatment online. And if your name isn’t Adam, but you want it to be Adam for the sake of this gimmick, you can change your name via deed poll.
The only other super important thing you need to know is that you’ll need valid photo ID on arrival.
Happy Fashion Week guys.
Haircut freebie LFW
Content warning: this article discusses drug addiction
I’ll never forget the first time I took codeine. It gave me a warm feeling, as if I was floating on a pink fluffy cloud, and all my troubles and worries melted away.
This week, Public Health England announced fears that a large number of people who are issued prescription drugs are becoming addicted to them, as a review revealed half of those taking the pills have been doing so for more than a year.
As a recovering addict, who was hooked on prescription medication for over two decades, I’m saddened but unsurprised by these figures.
My experience of prescription opioids started when I was 18 years old.
I was struggling with growing pains in my knee to the point where I would wake up in the night because of it. I saw my local GP, who referred me to a specialist and after a few tests, it was decided that I would have a simple arthroscopic procedure to alleviate the pain.
Following the operation, I was prescribed co-codamol to manage any lingering pain from the surgery. This was done without discussion.
The prescription soon started to run out, and I realised I had started to take more than I’d been instructed to. I went back to see my GP and manipulated the system by telling her I was in excruciating pain.
Without hesitation, I was issued another prescription for codeine.
I enjoyed the feeling that the medication gave me so much so that when the effects started to wear off, I was jittery and anxious. Some days I’d physically sweat and ache all over as if I had the flu – at the time I didn’t understand that I was experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms.
It was horrible. My body had become so tolerant to the medication that I would take more, just to feel normal.
It was at this point that I started to take the pills to prevent myself from withdrawing, rather than to prevent my knee from hurting. This was the moment I became psychologically and physically dependent on painkillers.
Why IT systems didn’t automatically flag me as a potential addict or a drug abuser is beyond me.
I made up countless problems to get the prescription pills I wanted, like having my teeth out, having sinus issues and I also opted for a selective hysterectomy aged 41, mostly because I knew I’d be given painkillers afterwards.
People often have trouble understanding that just because I wasn’t buying heroin off a street dealer, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t an addict. I was willing to do anything to get the pills I needed.
What was happening to me was no longer my decision; my mind and my body needed them.
When I couldn’t get them from my doctor, I resorted to buying opioid prescription medication from the internet, from ‘fake’ online pharmacies. I knew that the pills might not even be real; I had no idea where they were coming from, but opening the door and getting my discrete package was the only thing getting me out of bed.
Eventually, it got to the point where I was on such a cocktail of prescription pills that I couldn’t even do that. I was taking co-codamol, codeine, tramadol and zopiclone every day.
I was wiped out. I missed the really important milestones in my children’s lives, like sports days and parent evenings, but I couldn’t mentally or physically do anything about it.
Thankfully, my friends staged an intervention and took me to see a psychiatrist, who told me that I was a drug addict. I checked into rehab, where I finally got the help I needed and I haven’t taken a painkiller since.
GPs are stuck between a rock and a hard place; they have a job to do and they only have 10 minutes to do it in, and if a patient is telling them that they are in excruciating pain, then they have to help them manage that.
However, I realise now that although I over-exaggerated my pain levels following my operation, my doctor never questioned why I would still be in pain from such a basic procedure – nor did she suggest other things that I could do to try to alleviate the pain more naturally.
Doctors cannot be allowed to issue people with dangerously addictive pills for years and years after the initial problem, without investigating further.
Why their IT systems didn’t automatically flag me as a potential addict or a drug abuser is beyond me.
I now work for the addiction treatment firm, UKAT, to help others with their addiction problems. I understand what they’re going through, because I’ve been there and I know that it can change – and save – lives.
I never asked for help, it was forced upon me and I don’t know where I’d be now if that hadn’t happened – but there should have been better medical processes in place for me from the get-go.
Our healthcare system has a duty to protect its patients and we should be able to identify when a person is in potential danger.
You can find more information and support for prescription drug addiction on the UKAT website.
While parenting is a collective effort, breastfeeding feels like one bit that only one partner can really manage.
Dads are often missing the hardware required, after all.
But new dads don’t need to just sit back and twiddle their thumbs when it comes to breastfeeding babies, as demonstrated by one Los Angeles based father of two.
Muhammed Nitoto has been applauded for sharing his advice to other dads on how they can help their breastfeeding partners, to mark the end of Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
Posting a photo of his wife, Hejira, breastfeeding their youngest daughter, Zuri, Muhammed explained just how important it is for new parents to support their breastfeeding partners, especially when they’re running on little to no sleep.
‘I figured I’d drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon to be Dads,’ he wrote. ‘If mum breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you’ll wonder: “what is there for me to do?”.’
Muhammed goes on to outline five tips for dads to consider after the birth of their child.
First off, night feedings. Offer to help.
Muhammed writes: ‘When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no, but just the fact you offered will go far.’
If the breastfeeding partner is able to pump, Muhammed recommends picking one feeding that you will always do, because ‘mom will take on almost everything and burn herself out if you let her’ and you ‘may have to force her to rest’.
The third tip is to not put a time limit on how long breastfeeding happens, as the non-breastfeeding partner can find this hard to understand.
‘It’s not just about feeding your child it’s about them bonding as well,’ explains Muhammed. ‘Do not I repeat DO NOT try and rush this process it’s not our place and it’s not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can’t win.’
The next step is to be patient, as ‘more Daddy Time will be coming your way’, followed by Muhammed’s final tip: taking paternity leave.
‘If you have it, take it,’ says Muhammed. ‘The early stages of a child’s life are not just for moms to enjoy.
‘You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn’t make you more of a man to not take the leave. It’s equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child.’
The dad’s post has been shared more than 42,000 times and flooded with comments from parents appreciating his wisdom.
It’s simple advice, but it’s important. Just because you’re not breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can’t be there for your child’s early days.
Dad\'s advice for new parents
After four years of research and development, Swedish brand Hövding has released their third generation cycling helmet.
Easier to use, adjustable and enabled with Bluetooth technology, the helmet, according to Hövding’s CEO Frederik Carling, is the world’s safest.
Donning advanced airbag tech and functions such as the ability to contact next-of-kin in the event of an accident, Frederik and the team spent years surveying people to make the kit as bespoke, safe and desirable as possible.
Fredrik says: ‘Our surveys of cyclists in seven major European cities show that 70% would cycle more if they felt safer. We have focused on this and want to contribute to greater safety.’
New features include the new patented airbag, along with an upgraded battery that can last for up to 15 hours. An iOS and Android compatible app allows the company to gather data relating to where urban cyclists experience the most accidents.
The result? Data that can be used to argue for more cycling infrastructure and, of course, tech that saves more lives.
Earlier this year, Transport for London released figures that saw a dramatic increase in the number of cyclists being killed or seriously injured as a result of road collisions.
Year-on-year, casualties increased by 26% and in the months between July and September last year, 1220 people were either hurt or killed according to all the statistics.
For the development of the third-gen Hövding, the team collected several amounts of data on cycle movements and accidents for the algorithm. This data included everything from staging more than 3000 accidents and collecting over 2,000 hours from your average cyclist.
When the design-savvy headgear is activated, it registers movements 200 times a second and in the event of an accident, is inflated in 0.1 seconds to enclose the head and hold the cyclist’s neck in place.
185,000 cyclists currently use it, with over 4,000 saying that it had made a significant difference during close calls.
In addition to all its safety features, Carling hopes that his helmet can be used to help the environment in the long run.
‘Cycling may be the answer to many of the challenges relating to the environment, congestion in cities and health, and we want to take cyclist protection to the next level,’ he says.
Want one? It costs £249 for the luxury.
Safety first, kids.
If you’re a fan of Guillermo del Toro’s most memorable movie monsters, you’re in luck, because a hotel suite dedicated to them all is now bookable on Hotels.Com.
The Monster Suite, inspired by del Toro’s En Casa Con Mis Monstruos exhibit at the Museo de las Artes in Guadalajara, Mexico, is available for three nights only and is located on actual museum grounds.
For those brave enough to spend a night in the creepy suite, you’ll also have a chance to go on a pretty exclusive nocturnal tour of the whole exhibition, which impressively features more than 900 installations from the celebrated director’s films, comics and personal collection.
Del Toro, who is best known for fantasy films such a The Shape of Water (2017) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) has won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.
In the digs, guests will find several memorable beasts from the Mexican director’s films including a life-size aquatic beast, a horrifying porcelain doll (by the looks of it, she deserves a special place in hell) and some hands trying to claw their way through the wall.
There’s also a possessed clock, severed hand in a jar and several Satanic motifs to look forward to, too.
No wonder the listing describes the space as ‘dark’ and ‘illusive’. Spooky.
Travellers that want to stay in it will need to be quick. The room is only available for three nights from 3 October to 5 October, 2019 – perfect timing for Halloween.
Booking slots will be available on 18 September (to stay on 3 October), on 19 September (for 4 October) and on 20 September (for 5 October).
In all cases, you’ll be able to request a rate between the hours of 12am and 11.59pm on each date.
You can book it online. If you dare.
We live in an age of instant gratification. Anything and everything we want is readily available at the touch of a few buttons. Convenience is king.
Fast food deliveries, late-night Ubers, last minute flights, even our love lives – it’s all at our fingertips. And the way we consume fashion is no different.
Fast fashion is cheap clothing produced rapidly in response to current trends. There is a proliferation of online brands selling everything from the latest Kardashian-esque out-out dresses to workwear, accessories and swimwear – all for a minuscule cost.
As testament to the speed these brands are working – Kim K successfully sued Missguided for selling imitations of her outfits before she had even had a chance to wear them outside of her dressing room.
And as for the low cost – Missguided (again) faced major backlash for releasing a bikini which only cost £1 back in June.
We live life at a breakneck pace, so it’s no wonder so many of us are drawn in by the allure of fast fashion. But the relentless speed of our consumption has serious consequences and we’re now at a point where we need to start making drastic changes to how we buy clothes.
Fast fashion is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, water and air pollution and it creates problematic levels of waste. And when you look at the sheer quantities of low-quality clothing we are buying and chucking away, it’s no surprise that the planet is struggling to cope.
Last month Oxfam released new research revealing that more than two tonnes of clothing are bought in the UK each minute. The study of a thousand people estimated that 11 million garments end up in the landfill each week.
‘These staggering facts about fashion’s impact on the planet and the world’s poorest people should make us all think twice before buying something new to wear,’ said Oxfam’s chief executive Danny Sriskandarajah, in response to the study.
‘We are in a climate emergency – we can no longer turn a blind eye to the emissions produced by new clothes or turn our backs on garment workers paid a pittance who are unable to earn their way out of poverty no matter how many hours they work.
‘As consumers, it’s in our power to make a real difference.’
But how do you actually become a more conscious consumer? It can be hard to tell which products are harmful to the environment, or which ones have been produced using unethical or unsustainable methods, so you often have to do some digging in order to make sustainable choices.
Slow fashion is a viable alternative – even if you’re on a budget. It just takes a little research and a proactive attitude to get you started.
Learning and development professional and life coach Nadia Rafique is certainly short on time. She juggles her career, her side hustle, two dogs and is currently planning her dream wedding. But she has just started on her journey into slow fashion and says she’s finding it surprisingly manageable.
‘As I get older and think about starting my own family I’ve become really aware of the impact we have in the environment,’ explains Nadia.
‘I don’t want to leave my kids in a world that’s beyond all hope and I think we have the power to make a change and make it better for future generations.
‘Fashion is such a huge polluter and as I’ve read more about it, it actually doesn’t need to be that way. But the only way things will change is if the consumers demand it.’
But where to begin? Nadia’s starting point was reassessing the clothes she already owns.
‘The most sustainable way to shop is to shop your own wardrobe,’ she says. ‘I recently had a huge clear out and hung and folded all my clothes in such a way that I could see them all and get to everything.
‘This in itself allows me to see everything I own presented nicely and it has made me fall back in love with a lot of my clothes. It’s psychological but it works.
‘I also love shopping second-hand as you just don’t know what you are going to get. I like finding unique items and giving them new life, and you are giving your money to charity which is a great feeling.’
As great as charity shops are, you can’t always find everything you need. And buying new clothes that are ethically produced, sustainable and created to last for years, can be really pricey.
For Nadia though, this is a price she is more than willing to pay for the greater good. And she thinks that ultimately the cost will balance itself out.
‘Sustainable fashion should be more expensive as the whole point is to reduce this “wear-it-once” culture that we have these days,’ she says.
‘By costing more money it forces people to take care of their clothes better and to find different ways to wear them to really get the value out of them.’
How does fast fashion impact the environment?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile clothing waste was produced in 2013 alone.
Every year the world as a whole consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing.
The fashion industry is the second greatest polluter of local freshwater in the world and it is responsible for 10% of the carbon footprint of the world.
Almost 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make polyester fiber, the most frequently used fiber in clothing. And it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
Cheap synthetic fibers also emit gasses like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
Plastic microfibers shed from synthetic clothing account for 85% of the human-made material found on ocean shores.
One way to get around this elevated cost is to try innovative fashion rental schemes, like the soon-to-be-launched By Rotation – a fashion rental marketplace which is essentially the AirBnB of fashion.
Anyone can sign up for free, rent what you need for a much lower cost than the retail price and lend what you don’t use as often, meaning you could actually make a bit of money while doing something good for the planet.
‘Slow fashion to me is the outcome of a more conscious and considered approach to purchasing something new; it is essentially a reduction of materialistic consumption,’ By Rotation founder Eshita Kabra-Davies tells Metro.co.uk.
‘By Rotation presents itself as an alternative to whim-filled shopping on the high street by making higher quality and desired items accessible to people from all walks of life.
‘Our aim is to transform the way we consume fashion: by asking people to share, rather than own.’
Eshita says now is the time to embrace slow fashion. She says the levels of waste production have reached a critical tipping point and it’s time to make lasting, meaningful changes.
‘The landfills in “developing nations” such as my motherland (where many items are produced in the first place) are full, and they don’t want our waste anymore.’
Oxfam’s research also found that new clothes bought in the UK produce more carbon emissions per minute than driving a car around the world six times. The charity estimates more than half of British adults are not even aware that fast fashion is damaging the environment.
But the good news is that more and more brands are starting to take sustainability seriously.
H&M’s Conscious range is dedicated to sustainably produced fashion, and they offer £5 vouchers for every bag of recycled clothing brought into store. Both John Lewis and Marks & Spencer have joined the Ethical Trading Initiative which works to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people working in factories and farms worldwide.
Gucci announced this week that they are now entirely carbon neutral – the biggest fashion brand so far to make this pledge.
Paradise Row is an east London based leather bag company with sustainability at its core. Founder Nika Diamond-Krendel says part of that is ensuring that her products are valued as art pieces and cherished for multiple seasons.
‘Slow fashion means valuing an item for years to come and not purchasing an item for trend purposes, only to dispose of it next season,’ she explains.
‘We only release one handmade bag collection a year. Collections are added on to existing collections and never in replacement of.
‘I believe shopping more sustainably is to purchase pieces which you will know will last you a long time and therefore, choosing clothing for their composition of materials, as well as the design and cut.
‘Quality material of a garment always stands the test of time and therefore by choosing high quality items, you can naturally achieve slow fashion.’
Easy ways to get started with slow fashion
1) Look in the back of your wardrobe
There will be hidden gems that are hiding amongst the chaos of your wardrobe. Organising your space could help you rediscover things you thought were lost.
2) Start visiting second-hand shops
If you need a cheap new outfit, look no further than your local charity shop. There’s no danger that you’ll be spotted on a night out wearing the same dress as everyone else, and you get to help out a charitable cause.
3) Learn to sew
Sewing is a forgotten art, but learning how to repair simple holes, frays or tears could mean that your favourite clothes last much longer. Try a YouTube tutorial – or ask your grandma to help you.
4) Invest in staple items
It’s hard to do on a budget, but saving up to buy a coat or a pair of boots that will last you for three, four or five years will save you much more money in the long-run. Opt for classic styles rather than fleeting trends.
It’s easier said than done. And it’s certainly easier to avoid the pull of a cheap high street purchase if you have more disposable income. But sustainable shopping doesn’t have to be solely for the more financially privileged.
Francesca MacKenzie is blogger who is passionate about making sustainable choices in every area of her life. Now she’s decided to stop buying new clothes wherever possible and says she loves finding ways to reinvent old outfits.
‘It’s actually really fun and creative to rethink your wardrobe using clothing you would normally throw out,’ Francesca tells us. ‘If you do want to throw something away, donate it to charity or give it to a friend so it doesn’t go to a landfill.
‘I was brought up on charity clothes as a child, so I revel in bargain hunting and love finding clothes that other people won’t have – it is far more rewarding for me to find something unique, and my money goes to charity in the process, rather than a corporate giant.’
Francesca has also taught herself how to repair old clothes. Now, if she finds a hole in her jeans she whips out a needle and thread rather than tossing them in the bin.
‘Repairing is a forgotten skill that saves so much money and means you don’t need to bin your favourite garments,’ she explains. ‘Most of us have been brought up in a highly consumer-centric world, where buying and disposing constantly is the norm.
‘The majority of us forget that our daily choices do make a difference, and those choices span across every part of our lifestyles, including fashion.’
As Francesca says, it is possible to find joy in rediscovering outfits and making clothes last for years on end – but it’s likely going to involve a significant shift in attitude and behaviour.
A survey conducted by Censuswide this week found that almost a third of the average UK adult’s wardrobe goes unworn, and impulse buys are said to be a major cause – with 24% admitting they bought clothes they’ve rarely worn on a whim.
Second Hand September might be a good place to start. A 30-day pledge to only buy second-hand items, from charity shops, auction sites, online marketplaces or wherever you can find them.
Give it a try – it might just be the thing to curb your fast fashion addiction.
Slow fashion feature
Well, this certainly gives a whole new meaning to the word luxury.
For those who dream of taking a trip beyond the wall (the one about to surround post-Brexit Britain) to experience the grandeur, wilderness, mystery and beauty of the North Pole, you’re in luck, because new luxury pods are about to pop up right in the middle of the planet.
The only bad news is the price: they cost $105,000 (£83,959) per night to stay in. Advice: start saving.
Ten heated (thank god!) Igloo hotels will pop up for one month in April next year. All come fitted with glass dome roofs so you can watch the wonders of the Northern Lights from the comfort of the sack.
Janne Honkanen, founder and CEO of travel company Luxury Action, told CNN Travel: ‘I wanted to create a more comfortable way to experience the North Pole as it is, by bringing cozy facilities to extreme conditions.”
At present, roughly only 1,000 brave the spine chilling -45 degree temperatures of the deep north. Under usual circumstances, trekkers would need to pack everything from a tent to the most advanced adventure kit on sale.
‘We provide all of the equipment,’ Honkanen says. ‘But you definitely need to have the spirit of an explorer or scientist.’
In addition to all the equipment, anyone who forks out the hefty price tag will be awarded the added luxuries of an en-suite bathroom, an-on site manager (just in case), a wilderness survival guide, chef and top notch security.
If you are remotely concerned for your safety, don’t be. Honkanen knows the weather in the North Pole can turn very bad, and very quickly, and in anticipation has built his little luxe pods to be portable.
With threats such as climate change so drastically changing the face of the earth, his team hopes that those who do visit will be able to share with others just how we are all affecting global weather patterns.
‘We’re not just providing the experience, we want to spread the word on what’s happening: How the climate crisis affects local culture, local food and the Arctic animals,’ Honkanen says. ‘It’s transformative travel.’
So what are you getting for your money? Aside from the experience of a lifetime, the super expensive package includes a two-night stay in Svalbard, Norway before you head up to the pole.
Flights, all transfers, meals and tours are also provided.
If everything you’ve just read sounds a little bit too intense, the company has another five-star lodge called Octola.
Here, you can enjoy the perks of Finnish Lapland (think hot mugs of cocoa and reindeer) and if you decide to go full steam on one of the pods at a later date, take part in a training session for your upcoming journey.
Whatever you choose, good luck.
Luxury Action Pods-857f
Welcome to You Don’t Look Sick, our weekly series about living with an invisible illness.
Those with a condition that can’t be seen often face judgement because people don’t understand they are ill when they look at them.
Kelly Boyson, 32, from Wokingham, Berkshire, has Ménière’s disease.
Ménière’s is a condition affecting the inner ear that causes sudden attacks of severe vertigo, tinnitus, pressure in the inner ear and hearing loss.
She was diagnosed in March 2015 but had been experiencing symptoms for four months beforehand.
She explains: ‘I remember sitting at my computer at work and everything started spinning. I went to the GP various times trying to figure out what was going on. I was told I had labyrinthitis then ear infections.’
Kelly experienced more dizzy spells and kept going back to her doctor, who eventually suggested she could have Ménière’s.
She was referred to a specialist Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor for more tests.
After discussing her symptoms and checking for hearing loss, Kelly was told she had the condition, which affects around one in 1,000 people in the UK.
Although frightened about what life with a hidden illness would mean, Kelly was relieved to have a name for what was wrong.
There is no cure or specific treatment for Ménière’s but people with the illness are given a range of medication to control the symptoms.
Kelly was given betahistine tablets and steroid injections but unfortunately, they did not help and she continued to have sudden attacks.
She also had drop attacks, where she would suddenly drop to the floor and would be unable to get up.
Everyone with the condition is different, with some people experiencing shorter attacks and some only having them very infrequently.
Unfortunately, Kelly’s attacks happened a few times a week and would last for up to four hours a time.
She gets a few minutes warning where she starts to lose pressure in her ear and then severe tinnitus starts, followed closely by vertigo and nausea that makes her lose control of her body.
Because she was often dizzy and unable to stand, people would think that she has been drinking.
She explains: ‘I was at a nightclub once and had a drop attack on the dance floor.
‘My friend called the bouncers to get help but they started carrying me out ready to chuck me out like they do with drunk people.
‘My friend was trying to explain that I had an illness and that I don’t even drink.
‘Another time I was on the underground and had a drop attack. The staff were brilliant but when they called the ambulance to come and get me, they were told I wasn’t a priority due to the fact it passes and I just had to lie there on the platform.
‘I completely understand – there are worse illnesses that are life-threatening – but at the time I felt I was a priority due to what was happening to me (I know that probably sounds so selfish!).
‘Eventually, a transport officer managed to get me into a taxi and took me to hospital.’
The attacks started happening so frequently it was dangerous for her to go out by herself and she became effectively housebound for 18 months. She also had to give up her job working in recruitment.
Kelly struggled with feeling isolated and depressed during that time, as she couldn’t go out and see anyone.
Now, Kelly’s condition is more controlled and she works as a fundraiser for charity the Ménière’s Society three days a week.
She set up her blog Balancing Life with Ménière’s to raise awareness and to find other people with her condition.
She also spent the time having her first colouring book Travels in Colour published.
Kelly was supported by the Ménière’s Society, the only UK charity dedicated to vestibular (inner ear) conditions.
‘They have been there from the beginning. I don’t know what I would have done without them,’ she says.
Kelly’s attacks are now more under control and she now works three days a week for the charity.
She still has attacks and some days she is unable to move from bed but tries to get on with life as much as she can.
She explains: ‘It doesn’t affect me every day, but sometimes I leave the house off balance, with bad headaches that turn into migraines. I feel nauseous when I get up and know that my day could end badly but I still go out because I don’t want to miss out.
What are the symptoms of Ménière’s disease?
‘I’ve been at work being sick in the toilets for hours. I’ve been stuck on the underground for hours with the world spinning around me. I’ve sat in a pub with friends not being able to see clearly as everything is spinning.
‘I can feel fine in the morning and have a drop attack where the vertigo comes out of nowhere and I fall straight to the floor.
‘On a bad day, from the offset, I know it’s a bad idea to do anything. I wake up dizzy and I can spend the day in bed – the world is spinning around, I have migraines and I end up being sick. I can’t get out of bed. This can sometimes last a few days.’
Despite the impact the condition has, Kelly says people don’t always understand that it will affect her for the rest of her life.
She explains: ‘People don’t understand if I need to sit down on public transport because I don’t look ill.
‘People say things like “you don’t look sick” or “are you better yet?”, like I have a cold.
‘You have to laugh it off. It used to affect me more at the beginning, now I just see it as they don’t understand.
‘I think people with invisible illnesses can use this opportunity to educate and explain why they don’t look sick.’
Kelly is speaking out during Balance Awareness Week 2019, which runs from today until Saturday.
She says: ‘I think people need to be educated that not all illnesses are visible. The person next to you could be smiling and seem really happy but you don’t know what’s going on behind that smile.’
For more information and support for Ménière’s/vestibular disorders, visit the Ménière’s Society website.
How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick
You Don’t Look Sick is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that discusses invisible illness and disabilities.
If you have an invisible illness or disability and fancy taking part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll need to be happy to share pictures that show how your condition affects you, and have some time to have some pictures taken.
A mum has spent £9,000 over the course of nine months to fulfill her seven-year-old daughter’s beauty pageant dreams.
Sian Rybak, 33, has spent a load of cash giving daughter Lola custom-made gowns, professional styled wigs, fake tan, and pageant coaching. She’s so dedicated to her daughter’s pageants that Sian hasn’t had a holiday in two years, just to save up more money for whatever Lola needs.
Sian plans for Lola to win the Galaxy Ireland competition next year. If she succeeds, the seven-year-old will have the chance to compete in Chicago.
Sian, from Alloa, Scotland, said: ‘I’m very, very competitive and so is Lola.
‘I remember thinking ‘I’m going to have to spend a small fortune here if she wants to compete’.
‘You couldn’t send your child up in a cheap dress and expect them to do well, they’re not going to win, you’ve got to put the money into it.
‘I love watching Lola on stage no matter what she’s doing and that’s why I try to support her in whatever way I can.
‘The competition in Ireland is costing me an absolute fortune, I priced a new dress up the other day and that’s going to be just short of £700 and then there are all the other outfits.
‘It’s crazy but to me it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her. If she were to win this she’d have the chance to go to Chicago and compete over there.
‘I’ll support her in any way I can to do that.’
Lola’s beauty pageant ambitions began when she learned about the competitions from a makeup artist, who was styling her for a dance photoshoot last year.
At first Sian was on the fence, with visions of TV shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, but when she saw how much Lola wanted to compete, she was sold.
At the same time, Sian, a competitive show jumper, had fallen ill after having her son Devin and had to give up her two horses.
The mum swapped her love of horseriding for a passion for pageants, spending all the money she would have dedicated to horses on dresses covered with Swarovski crystals, themed outfits, wigs, false eyelashes, and props.
Sian now regularly drives Lola seven hours to get to pageants and is serious about making sure her daughter wins.
Some family members haven’t approved of Lola’s new pursuits.
The cost breakdown:
Sian said: ‘Some of my family are against pageants and don’t want to know about it.
‘I think everybody has their own views on things, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but we look at is as a performance.
‘Lola’s a freestyle dancer – she already wears makeup, tan, eyelashes and all these things.
‘She’s performing on that stage, I’ve never thought she wears anything too skimpy and I’ve never once felt uncomfortable watching her.
‘I’ve heard it all before. When someone comments about pageants I invite them to come along and watch.
‘I’ve never had anyone walk away saying ‘that’s left me exactly the way I thought in the first place – that it’s sexualising your child’.
‘The pageants are a really nice and small close-knit community with mums, the odd dad and grannies watching – there’s not paedos walking in off the street watching them.’
Each time Lola wins she splits the cash prize with her mum to cover her clothing and supplies.
Thankfully, Lola places in the top two or top three most times she competes.
Sian doesn’t regret spending so much money on her daughter’s pageant dreams, not for one minute.
‘She doesn’t win every single one but she gives them a good run for their money,’ she says.
‘Lola’s always been a fairly confident child but since doing pageants her eye contact and confidence has gone over the scale.
‘I believe in some sense she gets life skills from doing this and it will stand her in good stead in the future, not just in dancing but also whatever career she decides on. She’d love to have her own dance school some day.
‘Lola can now walk into a room full of people, look them in the eye and tell them all about herself quite happily which she wouldn’t have done before.
‘She’s also raised almost £2,000 for charity since last year, done sponsored walks and has been into old people’s homes donating cakes and talking to residents.
‘I will support Lola as far as I can in whatever she wants to do and I will do whatever that takes.
‘My mum did it with me when I used to compete, she was a single parent she funded my horses with the help of my gran as well and we travelled all over the UK.
‘She did all that for me and her life went on hold. We don’t do holidays, we do pageants.
‘Our holidays are our weekends away at pageants, the last holiday we went on as a family was about two years ago in Ireland.
‘People go on a lot more expensive holidays and maybe do different activities to what we do but the life skills I feel Lola’s gained – I would spend it all over again if I could.’
Mum spends thousands to make daughter\'s dream of being in pageants come true
My book, MY HAIR was born in an English class I had while in secondary school. I was 16 when I wrote a poem personifying the hair I’d lost to illness as a boyfriend that I was begging to come back to me.
At that point, my hair was growing back in what I can only describe as more than a buzz cut but less than a baby ‘fro.
I recently had a discussion with a friend about the books we were introduced to in Key Stage One (ages 5-7). We remembered Handa’s Suprise and the Grace series, which I’m certain many other Black girls will be familiar with, too.
These are the books we relied on to see even a glimmer of ourselves in but still reflected as ironic, considering they were both written by white women.
That hunger to see yourself never goes away. In fact, it grows and becomes something urgent when you see the next generation of your family coming into the world, which is what happened to me when my nephew Austin was born.
I realised we were more likely to see books centred around animals than books with children that looked like him at the forefront.
This is a shocking fact that was confirmed by recent statistics from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, which showed white children were 50 per cent more likely to see themselves represented.
For children starved of their image, it can feel so isolating not to see yourself
Also, animals and/or others actually ranked higher on the list than children from African, Asian and Latin backgrounds. To put that into context, children are more likely to see an alien, or a talking truck, than themselves in books.
Little Black girls and boys need to see themselves represented.
Other children need to see Black children represented too, not as secondary characters or best friends relegated to the background, but as protagonists. We need fully fleshed out characters who make their own decisions and take charge of their own stories.
We need to see Black children in all their multi-faceted glory. It simply makes sense.
How can you have a world made up of so many unique, beautiful people and not have books and media to reflect them?
For many Black children, the characters in MY HAIR are their reality. They’ll recognise their uncle religiously brushing his waves into a smooth swirl.
They’ll see their teenage sister and her constant rotation of hairstyles. As well as their school friends – who stride into the playground feeling like stars – because they’ve had a haircut or been to the hairdressers.
Most importantly, they’ll also see themselves. Not only surrounded by amazing, intricate hairstyles but also as someone who has the power to choose how they want to showcase themselves through their hair.
To be able to see yourself is your right as a reader, as a consumer of media. We hear all the time how the media can both warp and shape our perception of ourselves.
For children starved of their image, it can feel so isolating not to see yourself.
I remember being a child, picking out which character in a book or TV show was ‘me’ – meaning any Black girl (if there was one) – that I could pretend to be whilst playing. We need to give children stories that reflect them so they can be inspired to grow into all the wonderful characteristics protagonists of picture books exhibit.
Last year, a CLPE study showed that only one per cent of children’s books have a main character that is BAME, despite the fact the Department of Education identified 32 per cent of schoolchildren are from a minority ethnic background.
More publishers need to support authors and illustrators of colour to combat the appalling findings. MY HAIR was published with support from the FAB Prize, which aims to discover and promote their work.
MY HAIR has given me the opportunity to be part of so many children’s lives and positively impact the way they view their hair.
I want it to be the norm for Black children to see themselves reflected in books and other media and I’m absolutely ecstatic my story of celebration can be added to a growing collection of art that represents them.
Cannes has long been the stomping ground for the rich and famous especially during its annual international film festival, which is now approaching its 73rd year.
Aside from the glitz, glamour, parties, red carpets and the luxurious shopping outlets, there is much more to experience in this resort town on the French Riviera.
A trip to Cannes can be a gateway to other nearby hidden gems as I discovered during my weekend getaway. My first port of call was to head to the Quai Laubeuf Pier where I hopped on board a ferry to the Lérins Islands, a group of four Mediterranean islands off the coast of the Côte d’Azur.
My destination is Saint-Honorat, an offshore island that has been inhabited by a small community of Cistercian monks since the 5th century. The exclusive sanctuary is only accessible by a ferry based service operated by local residents.
As we set sail we leave behind the Bay of Cannes and head into the turquoise hues of the Mediterranean Sea. The 15 minute journey is picture-perfect – we drift across the sun-drenched ocean while passing by million-pound yachts’ anchoring away from the island coast.
Upon disembarking the ferry we made our way towards what seemed to be a secluded natural oasis. Other than the sounds of our feet treading on stones it was a tranquillity of silence. Fellow visitors nod and speak in small whispers as they pass each other by.
While I was eager to spot a monk, there weren’t any in sight, which in the end was ok as it’s easy to go on your own voyage of discovery on these holy grounds. Except for the monastery, where the monks live, visitors have free roaming rights with no distractions to all of Saint-Honorat’s winding paths, luscious green natural coves and hidden beaches.
The 10th century Gothic style chapel is tucked away on the site but its doors are always open for both the curious and those who seek solitude. The chapel’s tour is self-contained with welcome booklets providing the historical background on the compound and the monks.
In the distance of the chapel looms the fortified monastery of Lerins Abbey, which was by far my favourite part, as it looks like it’s been taken right out of an episode of Game of Thrones. This open-aired 11th-century ruin is very much intact, offers shade from the sun and you can hike to the top of the structure, where you’ll be greeted with a 360° panoramic view of Saint-Honorat.
Another real dime to experience on the island is the monastery’s wine tasting tour, which may sound like a joke. But the local monks at Saint-Honorat are traditionally winemakers and have been vinifying on the island since the middle ages.
Currently, the monks are producing some of the region’s finest wine and liqueurs, with some dating back 150 years. I had more insight into their production as we met our tour guide Esmeralda on the eight-hectare wine estate.
During the wine tasting session there was tipple for every taste bud, the full-bodied 2014 Saint-Honorat Shiraz followed by the crispy and fruity Chardonnay Grande Cuvée. Needless to say I left the island feeling relaxed and a tad bit merry.
Cannes started to smell much sweeter as I headed to the Fragonard Parfumeur La Fabrique des Fleurs factory in Grasse. Located in the hills, north of Cannes, the area is known for its long-established perfume industry and is popular with both locals and enthusiasts.
Once inside, guests can have a guided tour in English to see how the factory creates its perfumes. I had the chance to put my senses to work as I concocted my own sweet smell of success.
After a busy morning it was back to the decadence of Cannes, where all the action seemed to be taking place in the Boulevard de la Croisette. Also known as the jewel of Cannes it curves along the coast and is lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and palatial hotels.
To escape the glamorous mayhem I head to Palais Stéphanie, the biggest private beach club on the French Riviera. Hidden away from the crowds I found myself lounging on a sunbed facing the view of the Mediterranean Sea while the resident DJ played sun-kissed grooves
With food and cocktails being delivered to my sunbed, I didn’t move for hours. It was the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun go down on Cannes.
Having reached my zen level requirement for the day it was tempting to head back to my hotel and sleep but that would have been boring as Cannes has a sophisticated nightlife.
The town comes into swing as a party destination from August with events such as Les Plages Electroniques, transforming the city into a clubbing hotspot.
Each year over 36,000 festival-goers attend this music festival – with parties taking place on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the Beach, the Terrace, and of course, the Croisette. All the venues pave the way and become the stomping grounds for the best DJs and performers in the electronic scene.
Previous years have seen headline acts such as Major Lazer, DJ Snake and Kygo leave their mark in Les Plages Électroniques hall of fame. Consider yourself lucky if you get to experience this famous French gathering.
No trip to Cannes is complete without a culinary adventure at one its many esteemed eateries. Like most places in France alfresco dining is heavily a part of the food culture of the Cote d’Azur.
I went for lunch at La Sousta, which is beautifully positioned at the feet of Le Suquet, Cannes’ Old Town, on Rue du Pre. In this part of Cannes you can get an authentic and less commercialised glimpse of the traditional Provençal lifestyle.
The owner, Philippe, was welcoming and friendly and did his best to explain and make recommendations from the menu, which is only in French.
The list featured cuisines that showcased fresh ingredients from the south of France. I had the Bourride de la mer, a delightful traditional dish that includes monkfish, seafood, aromatic garnish and the famous aioli coming on the side.
Compared to other restaurants at the Croisette the prices are more than reasonable with main dishes costing around 16 euros.
Once you’ve finished at La Sousta you can hop on board the Petit Train de Cannes (the little train in Cannes), which has Rue du Pre on its route. On this mini tour you can explore the rest of the old and new town with the added bonus of having commentary being provided on headphones, for 12 euros.
Another foodie hotspot near Le Suquet is the Marché Forville market, which has been in business since 1934. It’s the ideal place to experience a traditional French market and to do food shopping while in Cannes.
Exploring the different fresh food stalls was a sight to behold for my eyes – the rainbow of vendors were selling large and bright red ribbed tomatoes, vibrant green vegetables, yellow cheeses, cured meats, seafood, olive oil and flowers.
Visiting here is an ideal picnic stop before heading up to the Le Suquet, or down to the beach at the Croisette. On Mondays, you won’t find any food, but even more pleasingly you’ll find a flea market instead.
Where to stay:
I stayed at the OKKO hotel which is in the heart of Cannes and is situated 100 metres from Cannes Train Station and 550 yards from the Palais des Festivals . The hotel offers its guests a sun terrace and sauna, an on-site bar and a buffet-style restaurant. The classic room costs €199.00 based on one night’s stay.
How to get there:
Easy Jet offers flights to Nice from all London airports including Gatwick and Heathrow. Round trip prices for the weekend start from £218. When you arrive, you can either take the train or catch the 210 bus straight to the center of Cannes.
48 Hours in Cannes
McDonald’s recently caused quite a buzz with its tiny restaurant replicas aimed at saving the bees.
Clearly determined to the cause, the fast-food chain has come up with another brilliant way to attract and save those fuzzy yellow creatures.
Now McDonald’s is branching out to the hospitality industry, creating tiny hotels with bees as their only guests.
Billboards can be seen across Sweden boasting six different hotel rooms that double as bee enclosures to support biodiversity.
The folks dedicated to bee architecture are Swedish firm NORD DDB who joined forces with advertising agency JCDecaux to put the thing together.
NORD DDB explained the importance of cultivating space for bees, saying that 30% of wild bees in the country are threatened, mainly because they do not have enough resting areas.
Initiatives to save bees are important for our environment as without bee colonies, there would be major rippling effects throughout ecosystems.
NORD DDB told DesignTAXI that without pollination from the bee population, food available to humans would drop by a third.
Swedish residents or those travelling through can spot the bee hotels in Järfälla outside Stockholm, where the billboards have been set up.
Each tiny ‘establishment’ is on north-facing billboards as bees are most comfortable when their nests are directed north.
If the initiatives are successful then NORD DDB and JCDecaux will expand their ‘hotel’ chains in 2020.
A crying shame if they don’t call it AirbeeNbee.
While the hotels are dotted around the city, the bee restaurant, McHive, was auctioned at a charity fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house charities.
Designed and built by award-winning set designer Nicklas Nilsson, the McHive was sold to a franchisee for over $10,000 (£7,885).
Christoffer Rönnblad, marketing director, McDonald’s Sweden said: ‘We have a lot of really devoted franchisees who contribute to our sustainability work, and it feels good that we can use our size to amplify such a great idea as beehives on the rooftops.’
The economic value of bees’ pollination work has been estimated around €265 (£236) billion so we all need to be a friend to the bees.
Let’s hope other large establishments also become committed to the cause.
McDonalds billboards for bees
You’re parched, you want a drink but there’s not a single bottle opener in sight, and you haven’t mastered those neat bottle-opening skills using the edge of a table. Or your teeth.
Well, if you’re wearing these badass Vetements boots, then you don’t have to worry, you’ve come prepared.
That’s because the French retailer, which was started by big wigs who worked at the likes of Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga, has designed the ‘party pumps’.
Unlike ordinary, boring boots, these ones have a built-in bottle opener in the heels (yes, both).
The brand shared an image of the sexy shoes on their Instagram where followers are suitably impressed.
Even Marc Jacobs was wowed, commenting that they were ‘brilliant’.
We’re not sure what inspired the designers to build a convenient tool into the fashion staple but we can get behind it.
Might we suggest boots with pockets next?
As sexy as they may be, the leather ankle boots will set you back a bit.
You can get the two-in-one item for $1,395 (£1,115).
In case you needed a bit of convincing, the Vetements website adds further detail: ‘Crafted in Italy from croc-effect leather, this point-toe silhouette is fitted with silver-tone bottle openers at the back of the stiletto heels. Wear yours as the grounding accent to free-flowing separates.’
Instagram users are loving the shoes, with more than 110,000 followers liking an image.
One person wrote: ‘How innovative’ while another said: ‘Finally, some positive innovations in fashion.’
Matt Benedetto, the brains behind viral Instagram account Unnecessary Inventions felt they were similar to his line of work, saying: ‘This is very me.’
Another person added: ‘Need these. I wonder if there’s a pair with a wine opener in the heel?’
Good question. In fact, can we get all items of clothing and accessories to serve other purposes?
Shoes with bottle opener
You’ve heard of the rain dance. You know that people usher in rainfall with intricate rituals to keep their harvest safe (or just for some relief from scorching heat).
What you probably haven’t heard of is frog marriage ceremonies performed with the same aim.
For folks in the village of Bhopal, India, the marital union of two frogs was said to open up the skies.
A local volunteer group dedicated to social issues, Om Shiva Sewa Shakti Mandal, organised the symbolic ceremony.
It’s part of long-standing religious beliefs that marrying off a couple of frogs will please Indra (the Hindu god of rain), which will bring rain.
For a while, the wedding paid off and the group’s wishes came true.
But all good things come to an end and the marriage quickly dissolved after the frogs’ connection was so strong, it brought on too much downpour.
The marriage officiants had to carry out proceedings for a divorce.
Maybe the couple rushed into commitment? Let’s hope there are plenty more frogs in the pond for them.
One member of the group explained to The New Indian Express: ‘The prayers were answered within a few days as the elusive monsoon started ushering its might over Bhopal and adjoining regions.
‘But with rain now turning destructive, another ritual of separating the frog couple before the god was performed on Wednesday with a strong hope of ending the enduring spell of destructive rain.’
The formerly happy couple wed in July and separated (amicably, we hope) this month.
A marriage that lasted only a few months? Very Hollywood.
The Om Shiva Sewa Shakti Mandal group say that the separation should hopefully put a stop to the incessant pouring.
Of course, getting two amphibians in the same space at the same time has its challenges (they’re probably not on speaking terms) so the group had to improvise when enacting the divorce.
During the symbolic separation ceremony held at a Shiva temple, they used two clay frogs which were placed before the Shiva statue.
They were then separated from each other amid chants.
We’ve checked the weather for Bhopal and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the downpour is set to stop any time soon.
The wedding of two frogs, arranged by fa
Look, there’s no shame in not being entirely clued up on topics you know nothing about.
Of course men who don’t wear makeup would be puzzled by a Beauty Blender – they’ve never had to use one.
That doesn’t mean they’re dumb, just that they have much to learn in certain areas.
And that process of learning is highly entertaining, so while there’s no shame in not knowing what something is, you do need to accept there will be laughter.
It turns out that along with Beauty Blenders, many men have no clue what Minky cloths are.
We can’t blame them. They do look a little strange.
Minky cloths are a brand of cleaning cloth massively popularised by cleanfluencer (that’s an influencer that cleans) Mrs Hinch. They’re one of those magical products that people who are into cleaning are obsessed with.
If you don’t know all that, you’d likely be a little confused to find an oblong bit of fabric sitting in the kitchen.
That was the case for one cleaning enthusiast’s husband, who mistook his wife’s Minky cloth for a sanitary pad. Easily done.
Writing on the Mrs Hinch Cleaning Tips group, the woman wrote: ‘Husband just asked: “Why on earth are we now cleaning the sink down with a heavy flow sanitary pad?!” Bless him.’
Of course, fellow Hinchers greatly enjoyed the mixup, flooding the post with more than 140 comments.
It turns out the woman’s husband isn’t alone in this particular area of confusion, as many commented to say they’d seen Minky cloths being mistaken for pads, too.
‘Mine said exactly the same,’ one member of the group wrote.
Another commented: ‘So glad mine wasn’t the only one that thought that’s what it was! He thought that’s why it was called minky pad.’
And one Hincher added: ‘Always wondered why my husband kept putting mine in the basket with all my sanitary products…turned out he thought the same too!’
Others raised a valid point – it’s pretty impressive that the guy would recognise the shape of a sanitary pad in the first place. Minky cloths do look quite similar to period products, but it’s easy for people who don’t have periods to have steered clear of all the associated items.
Good on this husband for learning about sanitary pads and cleaning products in one day.
Husband mistakes minky cloth for sanitary pad