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Cup runneth over: 17 ways to cook mushrooms – from spiced rice to pasta with prosciutto

Life and style | The Guardian

Fungi recipes are incredibly varied and versatile. Keep it simple and serve them on toast, or push the boat out and craft a pithivier

Not everyone likes mushrooms. In fact, edible fungi come in such an extraordinary variety of tastes, textures and shapes that it is probably impossible to like all of them.

Personally, I am not tempted by mushrooms that lie at either the extremely small or extremely large end of the size scale. I accept that a very big portobello mushroom can readily replace the meat portion of a burger – a simple but effective recipe for that can be found here – but it is not something I would do. Also, I am a little afraid of those enoki mushrooms with the long stems and tiny caps. They have the look of something that went wrong while the lights were off. What I am saying is: you can allow yourself a few irrational prejudices and still count yourself a mushroom enthusiast. I do.

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August 12th 2020, 7:08 am

The new taboo: how ‘flattering’ became fashion’s ultimate F-word

Life and style | The Guardian

Every season comes with an ostensibly complimentary shorthand. But the one that has outlived them all is probably the most problematic

‘I’ve got loads of dresses that I bought because someone in the changing room told me they were flattering,” says Billie Bhatia, the fashion features editor at Stylist magazine. “In that moment, I feel lifted. My insecurities about my body are erased.” But Bhatia, 30, has been having second thoughts about the word. “Occasionally, it means a great colour that makes your skin glow, but most of the time ‘flattering’ is just a byword for ‘slimming’,” she says. “If someone delivered the same compliment, but substituted the word ‘slimming’ for ‘flattering’, would you think that was an OK way to talk to a woman? No, right? Everyone likes to hear a compliment. But ‘flattering’ is a dangerous word.”

In 2017, the perfect pair of jeans was “on-trend”. In 2018, it was “fierce”; last year it was “extra”. Right now, it is “dripping”. In fashion, every season comes with a new shorthand. But one compliment – “flattering” – has outlived them all, selling more jeans, more party dresses and more swimsuits than any other word. “Flattering” is fashion clickbait, an add-to-basket dog whistle.

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August 12th 2020, 5:20 am

Spelling out the problems as banks' name-checker rejects vital payments

Life and style | The Guardian

The confirmation of payee scheme is designed to beat scammers, but causes its own difficulties

I have been unable to receive a payment I am owed because automated messages repeatedly inform the sender that the payee’s name doesn’t match the name on my account.

Because nearly all my work has dried up due to the pandemic, payments are more important than ever. A friend tried to send me a bank transfer and also got the “name does not match” warning.

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August 12th 2020, 4:52 am

Idyllic English pastoral: an off-grid cottage holiday in East Sussex

Life and style | The Guardian

Swallowtail Hill farm is a conservation project with self-catering cabins and cottages, plus ancient woodland and a nearby vineyard

On a hill, next to a meadow, is a crooked cottage with gingham curtains. There, adventurers weary from hiking through the apple orchard and the bracken and hay can rest in the glow of the woodburner, drifting off to sleep to the hoot of a neighbouring owl. Such a picturesque scene might sound like it is has been lifted from the pages of an Enid Blyton book, but it is a description of a stay at Swallowtail Hill, a sustainability minded camping site in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty in East Sussex – an area so idyllic it could be rebranded “English Pastoral: the theme park”.

For the past 25 years, owners Sarah and Christopher Broadbent have been running the 16-hectare (40 acre) site as a conservation project to protect its wildflower meadow and ancient woodland, adding the element of six self-catering units – from cottages to huts and cabins – 10 years ago. I am staying in Meadow Keeper’s Cottage, a cabin on wheels in between two of their meadows, which comes with private access to a small pond (boat supplied), and a decking area for dining.

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August 12th 2020, 2:52 am

'Like a prison sentence': the couples separated by Covid-19

Life and style | The Guardian

A campaign has highlighted plight of unmarried couples from different countries parted for months

Sarah flew home to Germany in April, leaving her boyfriend, Fares, behind in Jordan, unsure when they might see each other again. “She thought it might take a couple of months,” Fares said.

Inside, he was steeling himself for as long as six months apart, although “I didn’t tell her that,” he says.

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August 12th 2020, 12:05 am

I resent tiptoeing around my housemate's work zone. How do I address this sensitively? | Leading que

Life and style | The Guardian

In lockdown, shared spaces have become busy and contested. Eleanor Gordon-Smith suggests being vocal and coming up with material solutions

My housemate has been working from home since March and it now looks as though he will continue to do so for the rest of the year. We share a two-bedroom flat with one living area, which is where he has set up his work station. This wasn’t an issue at the beginning of the Covid crisis when we thought his working from home might last a few weeks, but now I’m facing six months of tiptoeing around the flat during the day, five days a week, so as not to disturb him. He hasn’t offered any alternative solutions and I sympathise that he also isn’t enjoying the situation, but I cannot live like this long term. I also resent that I’m now paying rent and bills for his work space, which he will likely be able to claim on his tax return. How do I address all of this sensitively? Should I move? (I work evenings in admin and am back at work part-time.)

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August 11th 2020, 1:49 pm

Four young artists reveal how they express their unique voice – in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

As part of The Guardian Labs’ collaboration with Levi’s and young people with something to say, Gen Z illustrators and photographers discuss what informs their work

Illustration: Vicki Jones

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August 11th 2020, 1:19 pm

Tory sleaze once caused outrage. Why aren't we up in arms now?

Life and style | The Guardian

A former Conservative MP has been convicted of sexual assault and another accused of rape. Given how serious this is, it has been a surprise to witness the muted public reaction

A lot of people are talking about Tory sleaziness with regard to the recent Lords nominations. But is there, perhaps, an even bigger Tory sleaze issue that should be addressed?
Caroline, by email

I moved to this country in 1990 and one of the ways I got to grips with this strange new land was by watching Spitting Image. People tell me that Spitting Image’s heyday was in the 80s, but I loved it in the 90s, with grey John Major and demented Norman Lamont.

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August 11th 2020, 12:19 pm

How can I cut calories from recipes without skimping on flavour?

Life and style | The Guardian

If you are selective, and careful what you tweak, fat and sugar alternatives can work

How do I cut down on the calories in your recipes without changing them too much?
Michael, Hastings

This question, Michael, is all too familiar to Feast’s Tamal Ray, who straddles the medical and cookery worlds. “People always say: ‘You’re a doctor, and you bake, so you must know loads of healthy baking recipes,’ but, well, not really, because they are at odds with each other.”

As we’ve noted here before, baking is a science, and even the smallest tweak can shake the very foundations your sweet treats were built on. To this end, Ray offers a cautionary tale: “My mum made a cake for my 10th birthday. She read the recipe and thought, ‘This is unhealthy’, so halved the butter and eggs. My sister and I were so rude about it that she didn’t bake for us again for 10 years.”

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August 11th 2020, 11:29 am

Interest in allotments soars in England during coronavirus pandemic

Life and style | The Guardian

Applications to join waiting lists rise sharply as consumers turn to ‘the good life’ in crisis

Applications for council-run allotments in England have soared during the coronavirus pandemic – despite 18-month waiting lists – as consumers seek to embrace “the good life” and grow their own their fruit and vegetables during lockdown.

Figures released on Monday by the National Allotment Society (NAS) reveal that 40% of English councils that responded to a survey reported a “significant uplift” in applications to join waiting lists during April, with a 300% increase in one case – Hyndburn in Lancashire.

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August 11th 2020, 7:15 am

Meet the model agency fighting body fascism

Life and style | The Guardian

A recent Gucci beauty campaign, starring model Ellie Goldstein, who has Down’s syndrome, was a smash hit. But campaigners say they are still facing an uphill battle for disability visibility in fashion

“In a world where the mainstream concept of what is and isn’t beautiful becomes increasingly narrow, you have to be young, you have to be thin, you should preferably be blonde, and of course, pale skinned,” lamented Alexander McQueen in his 1998 guest-edited issue of Dazed & Confused. On the cover, model Aimee Mullins stood defiantly in prosthetic legs beside the headline “Fashion-Able?” The question mark was left hanging – challenging readers to recognise a vision of beauty that was unlike anything that had been seen before.

Within the issue, a 14-page fashion editorial was dedicated to models with disabilities. However, despite newspaper reports that the disability diverse photoshoot had broken down “one of the last bastions of body fascism”, very little changed. Two decades after McQueen’s groundbreaking recognition, is the fashion industry finally taking notice?

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August 11th 2020, 7:15 am

Nigel Slater’s recipe for pork ball parcels

Life and style | The Guardian

A sticky, crusty, fried meat treat

Finely chop 2 spring onions. Remove the leaves from several sprigs of rosemary to give you enough leaves for 2 tbsp, then chop them finely and add to the onions. Stir in 2 tsp of dried mint. Mix the seasoning with 500g of finely minced pork and add a little salt and pepper, too.

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August 11th 2020, 7:15 am

How Louis Theroux’s power nap plan could transform our working lives

Life and style | The Guardian

The documentary maker says his utopian society would include sleep booths at the office. Turns out many companies have already installed them


Name: Sleep booths.

Age: They’ve been around for a while; Count Dracula was an early adopter.

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August 11th 2020, 7:15 am

I’m new to sex and have yet to really enjoy it. Am I broken?

Life and style | The Guardian

I’ve slept with four men and have been unable to reach orgasm or get any pleasure. Now I feel as if I can’t do anything right

I’m 18 years old, and have been sexually active for the past two years, having slept with four men. My issue is that I have never felt truly pleasured in bed. It’s not that my partners have been bad lovers – a couple have been truly good and doting and tried everything to help me – but I have never been able to finish or even feel any form of true pleasure out of sex. I don’t feel numb down there, but I might as well be; all I feel is movement. I have never even been able to orgasm by myself. It feels like a massive build up, but there is a wall where everything feels like too much and I can’t push myself over. I wonder if maybe it’s because of my anxiety about being good? I have usually felt as if I can’t do anything right or well enough. But even when I am full of confidence and fully relaxed, it’s no different. My self-esteem is absolutely destroyed and I don’t know what to do about being able to pleasure others and being able to feel pleasure myself. Am I broken?

You are certainly not “broken”. You just haven’t yet been able to enjoy sex with a partner. This is extremely common – especially at your age. It seems to me that you are expecting a lot of yourself – that you should achieve some kind of acceptable sexual goal, a certain level of pleasure, a type of partner connection. But you don’t really seem ready to enjoy any of it.

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August 11th 2020, 4:45 am

Together apart: why sleeping in separate beds is not always the beginning of the end

Life and style | The Guardian

There are many reasons why 17% of Australian couples sleep alone. But there’s still a reluctance for many to admit it is a preference

It was the usual culprit – snoring – that led to Sam Johnson and his partner, Sophie, sleeping in separate beds. “I make a racket, I sound like a foghorn really,” he says.

Johnson, 35, of Yarraville, was so concerned about keeping his partner awake that he slept badly too.

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August 11th 2020, 4:13 am

Love you to death: how we hurt the animals we cherish

Life and style | The Guardian

Something has gone badly wrong with the way we keep pets. Our casual cruelties are a symptom of our unhealthy relationship with other species. By Esther Woolfson

I must have been about four when we drove to buy a dog. The day is now only a haze of Sunday afternoon impressions of rain and green, of the muddy track somewhere in the Stirlingshire countryside, a room, a log fire, and the two chosen puppies who would be the confidants of my growing up. The black dog died when I was in my early teens, and the brown one, the last dog I knew well, shortly before I left school. Our buying them must have been part of the growing tendency for post-second world war pet-keeping, which had been increasing since Victorian times, and was about to expand into the vast pet trade of today.

But what makes us choose one creature over another? Many studies have evaluated the importance of a species’ appearance in determining its popularity, commercial potential or conservation status. The conclusions are dismaying: “An animal’s attractiveness substantially increases support for its protection,” one study says, while another concludes: “A few charismatic and cute species … tend to receive most of the conservation funds and policy attention.” Creatures are ranked – “the 20 most charismatic species” – or described as “powerful commercial icons” or “the world’s cutest animals”. Even the birds in our gardens are subject to our caprices. The results of a study on the “likeability” of garden birds show that we like songbirds (even though we may not be able to define correctly what a songbird is), preferring robins and blackbirds to corvids, gulls, pigeons and starlings. We consider the former attractive but the latter argumentative, competitive and noisy – all necessary, natural behaviours of wild birds. “Charismatic”, “iconic”, “cute” – in a time of devastating and irreversible species loss, can these really be the measures of our love?

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August 11th 2020, 4:13 am

The teacher, the baker and the snack-box maker: meet the small firms going online for the first time

Life and style | The Guardian

Since lockdown, websites have become the main source of income for many small businesses and microbusinesses. Over the next month, we’ll follow two company owners, and the mentors we’ve paired them with, as they find their feet in the digital world

Despite never selling online in the 10 years since he cofounded his artisan bakery Bread Source, Steven Winter was left with little choice when the coronavirus lockdown was announced in March. As restaurants closed, the wholesale arm of the business disappeared, and he had no idea what was going to happen to his four shops or his market stalls across Norwich and Aylsham. “At that point there was no furlough scheme. All I was trying to do was pay my 30 staff,” Winter says.

The response to the new website, which launched at the start of April, blew him away. “In the first week or two, we were up to 200 orders a day,” he says. “We sold 10,000 loaves, 25,000 pastries and 10 tonnes of flour online over two months.” The team expanded their range to include other staples such as eggs, milk, butter and coffee, which were dropped off to customers across Norfolk using the bakery’s two delivery vans.

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August 10th 2020, 8:07 am

Tree of the week: 'It looks a bit of a hippy so I named it after Neil from The Young Ones'

Life and style | The Guardian

In this weekly series, readers tell us about their favourite trees. This week: a bottle palm in Japan

Jason Murray took inspiration from the cult 80s sitcom The Young Ones when he named the bottle palm outside his study. The English teacher, who lives in Kanagawa, Japan, started calling it Neil after Nigel Planer’s pacifist student. It had got swamped by the climbing bushes surrounding it and started looking unruly after the rainy season. “As a result, it appeared the tree had hair extensions and looked like a bit of a hippy,” he says.

Since moving to his house in 2018, Murray has enjoyed spending quiet afternoons in his study with a cup of tea, reading and drawing while listening to the birds chirping outside. “I find it inspirational. Drawing is therapeutic but when you have trees surrounding you, it’s even better.”

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August 10th 2020, 4:48 am

To the lighthouse: an illuminating home conversion

Life and style | The Guardian

Contemporary meets historic in a towering design achievement on the Norfolk coast

I remember the first time we saw this place, it looked terrible,” says Julian Vogel, owner of a restored 18th-century lighthouse in Winterton-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, “but it had such incredible potential.” That was almost 15 years ago and now what stands proud at the end of a pebbly drive in a small seaside village, just metres from rolling sand dunes and the North Sea, is a glorious, light-filled space.

The lighthouse had been converted into a residence by a previous owner who’d bought it in the late 1970s, but there was much work needed to give it new life. Aside from poor wiring and very tired decor, the lighthouse no longer had its original lantern, sold in the 1920s and sent to the Bahamas. In in its place was a concrete slab, installed during the Second World War when the tower was used as a lookout post. When Vogel, CEO of PR agency ModusBPCM and co-founder of Maison Margaux, a tableware hire company, and his family found it, the place had been unoccupied for years.

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August 9th 2020, 7:40 am

Trunk call: the comeback of skimpy Speedos

Life and style | The Guardian

Designed for practicality, the Speedo has delighted and dismayed in equal measure. Now the swimwear classics are back in fashion – but would you dare?

Back in the 1950s, the lifeguards of Bondi Beach, Sydney, were not only charged with rescuing surfers and scanning for sharks. In their role as “beach inspectors” they were also responsible for ensuring that swimsuits conformed to New South Wales state regulations.

At least 3in of fabric was required over the thigh, no navels were to be exposed, and shoulder straps had to be “sturdy”.

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August 9th 2020, 7:40 am

Nigel Slater’s recipes for marinated raspberries, and peaches with sesame snaps

Life and style | The Guardian

Serve the fruits of summer’s bounty with a bit of crunch

I had come back from the shops with fruit: gooseberries for a crumble-topped cake, cherries to eat with a log of Scottish goat’s milk cheese and a paper bag of passionfruit to squeeze over ice-cream. There were cardboard punnets of raspberries, too – and white peaches that I carried home in a box, like a tray of eggs.

At this time of year locally grown fruits turn up in quantity and at a reasonable price

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August 9th 2020, 6:40 am

‘I'm 21 and I've never been kissed’: six people on big experiences they haven’t had

Life and style | The Guardian

We all remember our first kiss… but what if it hasn’t happened yet? And what about swimming in the ocean, riding a bike or going to the cinema? Amelia Tait talks to six people about things they haven’t done

Lauren, 21, Michigan

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August 9th 2020, 6:40 am

Sanctuary in the city: how urban parks saved our summer

Life and style | The Guardian

Created by the Victorians as Britain industrialised, city parks and green spaces have ‘become living rooms’ during the pandemic

As lockdown eased, green spaces nationwide began to throng with crowds, drinking, picnicking and ordering pizza to be delivered to specific park benches. Tons of rubbish piled up and councils struggled to cope. But then there was an unexpected upside. “People started to do their own thing, cleaning up with bin bags and litter- pickers bought off eBay,” says Paul Rabbitts, head of parks at Watford borough council. Despair at the deluge of litter had galvanised people to get out and do their bit, sometimes bagging up rubbish before overwhelmed local authorities managed to get to it. “There is a sense of ownership,” says Rabbitts. “Having rediscovered parks, people are fearful of losing or spoiling them.”

Across Britain, parks have offered millions of people respite from the coronavirus crisis – a breathing space amid infection anxieties, crowded flats, home-schooling and job insecurities. With other venues closed, people turned to the nation’s 27,000 urban green spaces, from manicured landscapes to patchy neighbourhood parks and playing fields.

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August 9th 2020, 6:40 am

How men are nailing the latest fashion trend: the manicure

Life and style | The Guardian

First it was moisturiser. Then waxing. Now guys are opting for nail polish after upping their grooming during lockdown

For many men, waxing beards, plucking eyebrows or having a massage have all been elements of a self-care routine for some time. Now, it seems, they are embracing a new grooming activity: the manicure.

Men’s nail art has become de rigueur in celebrity circles, with the likes of Post Malone, A$AP Rocky, Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson and rapper Bad Bunny adopting the trend. Now salons are reporting a more varied clientele.

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August 9th 2020, 4:21 am

Boomers v Millennials: let’s call off the hostilities

Life and style | The Guardian

This is one fight we can all do without right now

Sometimes your past leaves you poorly equipped for the present: mine has left me intensely conflict-averse. I grew up in frictionless harmony with my single mother, later joined by my stepfather, the gentlest man in the world. Seven years in Quaker school only reinforced my peacenik tendencies: the lovely Quaker belief that everyone is imbued with divine Inner Light (think spiritual Ready Brek) meant that the only conflict I recall there was over whether culottes were acceptable school wear.

It is a problem. I can’t watch an argumentative reality show or read a peeved email – even addressed to someone else! – without quivering dread, and a minor spat gives me a week-long fight hangover. I have no particular reserves of forbearance: I just turn my anger and resentment inwards, fomenting something that will eventually become a gigantic ulcer.

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August 9th 2020, 3:38 am

Some like it hot: fire up the spiciness of your chillies

Life and style | The Guardian

There are three secrets, one of them is all about being lazy…

We all have our gardening heroes, and for me it is without a doubt Dr DG Hessayon. He’s the author of the best-selling “Expert” series of gardening books which, despite being written almost 50 years ago, are still relevant today.

Humans seem to have discovered a weird masochistic love for the flavour of pungent plant defence compounds

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August 9th 2020, 3:38 am

Sunday with Max Richter: ‘I treasure the time for recuperation’

Life and style | The Guardian

The composer spends a restful day cooking, walking the dogs and playing Bach on the piano

How does Sunday start? With the alarm clock not going off, which is spectacular. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with sleep: I love how ideas are clarified overnight, that fresh start in the morning. On Sundays I can indulge myself completely. Breakfast consists of fresh eggs from our chickens cooked a variety of ways. It’s my favourite meal of the day, without question.

Do you have a busy schedule? With a bit of luck there’s nothing in the diary. Dogs need walking, chickens need attention, and there’s food to pick in the garden. But in lockdown, with more time, I’m finding myself at the piano. After wading through the piles of Bach sheet music (the best ever written), I sit and play. Connecting to a younger version of myself, who did this all the time, has become a medicinal experience.

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August 9th 2020, 1:52 am

Unearthing edible treasures on the plot | Allan Jenkins

Life and style | The Guardian

A return to the allotment after a few weeks’ absence gives a chance to take stock and revel in the sense of calm

The prodigal returns after five weeks away. The plot’s thickened. Saturday, 6am, I am relieved and contrite, but feeling guilty. No matter what my (good) reasons, I have neglected this place. And at peak summer growing time, too. I am concerned the plot will punish me, won’t understand. My theory is that what works with a vegetable garden is sustained attention. With meadow and some flowering spaces less so.

I turn a corner and there it is. In all its low-sun, high-summer splendour. The sunflowers are tall, the red orache towering, the chicories have bolted and branched into blue flower. I am mostly here to say hello, but also to lift the potatoes. I need the bed for chicories, late-summer salads and hardy leaf.

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August 9th 2020, 1:35 am

The beauty spot: look ahead with glistening, golden eyes

Life and style | The Guardian

A dazzling look – for above your mask. Plus, summer scents and night repair cream

Yes, I know shimmery golden eyes (as seen at Tom Ford AW20) are usually for festive occasions. But seeing as we’re now a mask-wearing nation, let’s step up our eye game. Dab eyelids with Vaseline and brush on a mix of gold and bronze eyeshadow and highlighter. Line your eyes – kohl not liquid – for that slightly worn finish, coat lashes with black mascara, add a clearish lip gloss and consider this a trial run for Christmas. Because right now, we need something fun to look forward to…

1. Tom Ford Eye Quad Palette in Golden Mink £68, tomford.co.uk
2. Origins Blooming Shine Nourishing Lip Glaze in Bare Petal £18, johnlewis.co.uk
3. Code8 Contour Eyepencil £20, codeeight.com
4. Teyana Taylor x Mac Mineralize Skin Finish £27, maccosmetics.co.uk
5. Pat McGrath Labs Dark Star Mascara £26, selfridges.com

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August 9th 2020, 1:35 am

Kolamba, London: ‘a lovely dinner in a calming space’ – restaurant review

Life and style | The Guardian

Sri Lankan food in Soho soothes, restores and somehow evokes the essence of the city

Kolamba, 21 Kingly Street, London W1B 5QA (020 3815 4201). Small plates £4.20-£7.50, large plates £6.10-£13.70, desserts £3.80- £5.50, wines from £26

For those of us who live in cities, one of the most dislocating things about the lockdown was the way it forced us to live in villages. Londoners often talk about the way the capital forms into small neighbourhoods, each akin to a village. We say these things to dispel the notion that it’s a cruel, disorientating sprawl where nobody knows your name. And it’s true. I can tell you a lot about the community that lives in the south London streets I’ve called home these past three decades.

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August 9th 2020, 1:22 am

My girlfriend has slept with 100 men – I’m worried about fidelity | Dear Mariella

Life and style | The Guardian

You know her cravings come from the loss of her father, says Mariella Frostrup. But understanding what you want from this relationship must be your priority

The dilemma My partner’s relationships with other men is concerning me. She has admitted to sleeping with close to 100 men in the past, many for personal gain – including cash, gifts and holidays. I was shell-shocked, not so much that she participated, but that she confessed so blatantly. I also know that she has flirted with married men, enjoying dinner and sharing a hotel bed with one of them.

To me it appears that as a woman who was abandoned by her father at a young age, she struggles to say no to men. She went on holiday with a female friend and came back with a new man’s number in her phone whom she messaged frequently, and said I was being silly when I asked about him. She has no qualms about telling me that her male colleagues look at her in a way that suggests they’re interested in her. She appears to thirst for this attention, perhaps subconsciously.

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August 9th 2020, 1:22 am

Listen to your migraine to help you feel better – and to learn about yourself

Life and style | The Guardian

Headaches are telling you something about how your brain works with your body, influencing your behaviour and feelings

We need pain. It seems contradictory to say it, particularly now that we have so many ways of dealing with it and switching it off. Pain not only tells us something is wrong, it also protects us. If you slam the car door on your hand, it’s going to hurt. You will have damaged the soft tissue; all the muscles and ligaments that help you move your fingers. It will no doubt swell up to twice its size. This inflammation is part of the healing process. Your hand feels hot and looks red because of all the extra blood flow. All these inflammatory agents that are acting to heal you are stimulating the pain receptors in your hand, the ones in your skin and your muscles. Your head is not so different except, crucially, the underlying cause can be much more subtle and varied.

As a neuroscientist who writes about headaches, it is somewhat ironic to admit that I suffer from them still. Two recent headaches stand out. The first happened when I couldn’t find my glasses. I’m astigmatic so I see the world on a bit of a slant because my left eyeball is shaped like a rugby ball instead of a football. Just looking around can be effortful. Plus, the search made me late for everything that day which was unpleasant. By the time I got home, my head felt like it was in the grip of giant hands and they had begun to squeeze hard. All I wanted for dinner was a paracetamol sandwich.

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August 8th 2020, 11:15 am

How to control aphids in your garden | Alys Fowler

Life and style | The Guardian

Hoverfly larvae devour blackfly, so welcome them by planting the umbels they love

I’m not sure about your garden, but mine has been awash with blackfly (Aphis fabae) this year. They started on their namesake, the broad beans, hopped over the nasturtiums and are now having fun on the runner beans and numerous flowers, from chrysanthemums to dahlias. I’ve been patiently waiting for the ladybird larvae to deal with them, but they are late this year; I assume the wet winter decimated overwinter adults.

Thus my joy at finding hoverfly larvae hoovering up aphids is palpable. The larvae of the pretty, gossamer-winged hoverfly are a broad church of diners. Some like to eat plants and others are predatory, feeding on micromoth larvae, plant lice and scale insects. However, about 40% of the UK species (there are 165) like to eat a lot of aphids.

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August 8th 2020, 10:01 am

Jonathan Pryce: ‘Love is the most important thing’

Life and style | The Guardian

The actor, 73, on surviving coronavirus, being Pope for a few weeks, and a smouldering Warren Beatty

My father had a nervous breakdown. My parents opened a small grocery shop and he always let customers put things on tick. He was a town councillor, on the housing committee, very caring. People ended up owing him a lot of money. When I was 11, he walked out of the house and went missing for days. When he was found, he’d lost his memory. It’s why I’ve never got into debt.

The Welsh countryside was one big adventure playground. When we weren’t at school, we ran wild. There was a local paedophile but everyone knew to avoid him.

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August 8th 2020, 10:01 am

Pedal power: UK bike co-ops help cyclists get back in the saddle

Life and style | The Guardian

Traditional shops are overloaded but there are alternatives – and some take £50 repair vouchers, too

If you’re desperate to resume cycling but missed out on the first tranche of the government’s £50 repair vouchers, a local bike co-operative may be able to help you get back on the road.

Or, if during a lockdown clear out you unearthed a long-forgotten no-longer-needed bike, you could donate it to a project that will restore it and pass it on to someone else.

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August 8th 2020, 7:56 am

10 of the UK's best seaside cafes and beach shacks

Life and style | The Guardian

Food writers and chefs pick their favourite chippies, pop-ups and cafes, all chosen for their creative use ofseafood

Port Isaac has a medieval harbour, which once handled coal and pottery. Now, tourists come to walk the coastal path and visit the neighbouring harbour of Port Gaverne and its rock pools. Fisherman Calum Greenhalgh can often be seen hauling his catch up the hill in Port Isaac, and it is his fish shop and cafe, run with his wife Tracey, that Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw recommends: “He catches the crabs and lobsters in the bay and she cooks and serves them. They do the best crab sandwich (£9.75) in the world!”
freshfromthesea.co.uk

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August 8th 2020, 6:41 am

Don't add water: be inspired to plant a beautiful dry garden

Life and style | The Guardian

As temperatures rise, could gravel gardens, such as Derek Jarman’s pioneering creation in Dungeness, be the answer to long, dry spells?

In the summer of 1990, Britain’s two most influential gardeners, the late Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd, were picnicking on the sun-baked coast of Dungeness, when they stumbled into a garden. It had no boundary: wildflowers drifted in like flotsam from the tide, arranged enticingly around a tarred timber cottage in the company of shimmering helichrysum and cotton lavender. “I made a beeline for that colour,” Lloyd later reflected, and the two wandered through, elated, scribbling notes and marvelling at plants thriving in the scorched shingle. “How surprised we were when the door opened and Derek Jarman stepped out,” Lloyd wrote. The film-maker, who lived at Dungeness until his death in 1994, was equally surprised by his esteemed trespassers, and welcomed them into Prospect Cottage.

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August 8th 2020, 6:10 am

10 of Britain’s best wild beach walks

Life and style | The Guardian

Magnificent sands that, even in summer, are wide enough to swerve the crowds and enjoy lungfuls of salty air


We are blessed with vast open beaches all around our mainland that are perfect for wild walks in salty air – and many are linked to wildlife reserves and wildflower havens (look out for campion, which is at its best at the height of summer). With sea temperatures at a peak in August, pack a towel too. This is a personal list, check out the UK Beach Guide and the exceptional Wild Guides for many other possibilities. For tides and surf forecasts use Magic Seaweed.

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August 8th 2020, 5:25 am

Hyaluronic acid skincare products demystified

Life and style | The Guardian

The hallowed ingredient is everyone’s friend – any skin type, any product, any time, any place

So prevalent is hyaluronic acid in modern skincare that it’s easy for people like me to presume blanket awareness around the hallowed ingredient when, in fact, many people feel left behind. I get more questions around hyaluronic than ever before, from women not knowing how and where it should fit into their routines (and it definitely should). So allow me to start from an almost standing position.

In the most simplistic terms, hyaluronic acid – already present naturally throughout the body, to keep moving parts lubricated and fluids viscous – is used in skincare primarily as a humectant. It has the extraordinary ability to hold about a thousand times its weight in water, meaning it can keep skin hydrated, which both feels and looks better (imagine dropping a raisin into water and leaving it to soak, and you get the gist of what HA can do for skin texture).

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August 8th 2020, 5:25 am

Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes for summer fruits

Life and style | The Guardian

Catch the sun with these fruity wonders: sweet-and-sour sticky plums with sausages, a cheesy, fruity stuffed pizza roll, and a raspberry FroYo for kids that’s as packed with proper fruit as it is flavour

There’s a whole load of summer fruit on my kitchen counter. I avoid the fridge, because it sucks away the juiciness and leaves a taste of disappointment, so anything that isn’t snatched away for snacking in the first day or two goes into the freezer for future cooking, or used in cakes, puddings or even glorious mains, such as today’s sweet-and-sour plum and sausage traybake. Whatever I do with it, I am always on a mission to capture the effects of the summer sun, which gives a very particular kind of sweetness to what’s in the fruit bowl right now.

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August 8th 2020, 5:25 am

Simon Mayo: ‘A BBC insider said I was too ugly for television’

Life and style | The Guardian

The radio presenter and author on missing the Ramones, José Mourinho, and his embarrassing birthday moment with Naomi Campbell

Born in London, Simon Mayo, 61, joined BBC Radio 1 in 1986 and presented Radio 2 Drivetime from 2010 to 2018. He is now a host on Scala Radio. He is the author of the Itch children’s series, and publishes his debut thriller, Knife Edge, on 20 August. He is married with two sons and a daughter, and lives in London.

What is your greatest fear?
I am a hardcore Spurs fan. My main fear is that José Mourinho is going to stay as manager – and that’s going to be bad for my team and bad for my health.

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August 8th 2020, 5:25 am

‘We were sexually frustrated’: did it work out for people who texted an ex in lockdown?

Life and style | The Guardian

It’s never been easier to track down your first love online, and during the pandemic many people did just that

Dressed up for the first time in lockdown, and wearing a full face of makeup, Annabelle Richards went to meet her first love. The last time she had seen Junior St Clair was in the summer of 1992. She was 17, and on a bus bound for London. He was 20 and standing outside Ipswich bus station, bawling. “As the coach pulled away there were tears pouring down his cheeks,” Annabelle recalls, “and I cried all the way home.”

In late March, after reconnecting on Facebook during lockdown, Annabelle met him for the first time in 28 years, outside an office block in Croydon, south London. “We sat on a bench two metres apart and talked nonstop for over an hour,” she says. “We were in awe of the situation. We made each other laugh, like no time had passed. After the meeting, we couldn’t stop messaging. I thought, do I still love this guy?”

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August 8th 2020, 3:10 am

Fit in my 40s: I thought I could use YouTube to learn skateboarding. I was wrong | Zoe Williams

Life and style | The Guardian

You’re not going to kickflip immediately, but after weeks of practice, you’ll certainly have better abs

Some sports have a high barrier to entry – perhaps you need a horse, a boat or a resting heart rate of 50 – and this generally means that the first time you try, you’ll be in the company of an expert.

Skateboarding is not like that. If you’re in your 40s and complaining about your steady creep toward decrepitude, the chances are you have a child who has a skateboard. But I was being complacent when I thought I could just YouTube it and hope for the best. I could have done with a mini-expert (the world’s skateboarding champions are incredibly young and it’s not unusual to hear a 12-year-old talking about having reached their career high). I could have done with some elbow and knee pads. I could have done without taking my child with me, who was even mortified by the sound of the wheels turning. But I didn’t really want to go out on my own.

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August 8th 2020, 2:40 am

Tim Dowling: we’re looking after a puppy. It’s riding our dog

Life and style | The Guardian

The cat takes up a position on the step, effectively pinning both dogs inside my office. The possibility of getting any work done seems remote

My wife’s advice to friends who are thinking of getting a dog always contains a line that makes the hair on my arms stand up.

“If you get stuck, we can always have it,” I hear her say on the phone. I’m in the other room, but the hairs on my arms don’t lie.

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August 8th 2020, 2:40 am

Blind date: ‘We were both flirting with the waiter’

Life and style | The Guardian

Zachary, 24, audiologist, meets Laura, 25, conservation biologist

What were you hoping for?
A break from the enduring monotony of lockdown. Anything to get me out of the house for an evening.

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August 8th 2020, 2:40 am

My life in sex: the man who finally opened up about his erectile dysfunction

Life and style | The Guardian

Because I kept buying her flowers and putting off being intimate, she thought I might be having an affair

I first experienced erection problems around four years ago. My mother had suddenly passed away and one of my brothers was in a coma due to an unrelated accident. I was stressed, grieving, and bottling it up inside, which affected my libido.

While my partner and I had previously had a fairly active sex life, I began looking for any excuse to avoid having sex. I later found out that she thought I might have been having an affair, because I kept buying her flowers and putting off being intimate. I hoped that if I avoided the issue long enough, it would eventually go away on its own. But after about six to eight months, I decided that enough was enough and spoke to a doctor, who discussed ways to manage stress and prescribed Viagra.

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August 8th 2020, 2:40 am

Experience: I landed a plane after the pilot passed out

Life and style | The Guardian

The flashing lights of emergency vehicles streaming towards the runway made me realise people were preparing for disaster

I hadn’t flown very much in my first two flying lessons. The first few are really just introductions to a plane and cockpit, a run-through of the basics; you’re taken up and brought back down. I hadn’t spent more than 10 minutes in control of an aircraft, and my instructor was sitting next to me, carefully watching my every move.

At 4pm on 31 August 2019, I settled in to the two-seat Cessna 152 for my next lesson; 30 minutes later, we started to make our way back to Jandakot airport, Perth. As we cruised at 3,500ft, I noticed my instructor was staring out the window into the sky above us. I assumed he’d seen something, but there was nothing there.

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August 8th 2020, 2:40 am

Psychoanalysing Trump isn't a distraction - it helps us stay sane in troubled times | Oliver Burkema

Life and style | The Guardian

It helps if you can grasp that the president and his ilk are prey to the same deep-rooted fears as all of us

It’s one of the less obnoxious self-help cliches – because it’s true – that virtually any everyday psychological problem can be traced back to some kind of fear. Procrastination is the fear of failure (or sometimes success). Relationship issues often arise from a deep-seated fear of being abandoned (or being overwhelmed by too much closeness). If you’re perpetually overworked, or feel others are taking advantage of you, it’s probably because you fear standing up for yourself. And so on: scratch the surface and you’ll find the fear.

At the root of all those fears, generally speaking, is the fear of having to experience certain feelings. As the therapist Bruce Tift puts it, most of us are subconsciously deeply invested in “making sure we don’t have to feel the feelings that were overwhelming to us as children”. To a small child, this theory goes, ordinary emotions often do feel overwhelming, and experiences such as rejection really are matters of life and death, because you can’t survive without your caregivers. The problem is that we carry these attitudes into adulthood – and end up, say, procrastinating on a work project, because deep down we’re convinced that experiencing the shame of failure would be more than we could handle.

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August 7th 2020, 12:14 pm

Welcome to the newly reopened farm park. It’s like Chernobyl – with goats | Romesh Ranganathan

Life and style | The Guardian

We are staggering to normality by going to weird, post-apocalyptic versions of the places we used to go

The reopening of restaurants and theme parks that have had little or no revenue for a while has meant that you can now go to these places and feel as if you’re doing your civic duty. We are currently getting takeaways, going out to eat, taking days out, all the while feeling as if we’re doing our bit to get the economy going again. It’s the first time I have felt truly proud of myself since I did my bit for the NHS by clapping at my front door for five minutes a week.

I think the fantasy was always that lockdown was going to be lifted and we would immediately return to normal life with a renewed enthusiasm for the joys of existence. We would hug waiters and bar staff and never take anything for granted again. The reality has been that we are staggering to normality slowly, which is of course the right choice, but it does mean that we are currently going to weird, post-apocalyptic versions of the places we used to visit.

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August 7th 2020, 12:14 pm

Cleaning may bore me, but doing the graft and living with the result is a feeling I love | Hannah Ja

Life and style | The Guardian

For years I used to rubbish the idea of tidying up, but there’s more than a crumb of comfort in a Dorito-free sofa

There are many variations of the maxim “tidy desk, tidy mind”. And, though I am somewhat bastardising Newton’s third law of motion here, an untidy desk should therefore accompany an untidy mind. While I am not sure of the causal relationship, I definitely have both of those.

To avoid becoming a local newspaper story of a hoarder, photographed surrounded by copies of the same local newspaper with previous stories of hoarders – a sort of recurring Droste effect of hoarders, if you will – I practise tidiness. I find it very boring and, though we all find many things boring, my psychiatrist is convinced I have ADHD. My brain never has waves, but storms. So, things that bore me I find almost impossible to do. Setting up a direct debit is one of the most difficult things in the world for me, although it takes approximately four minutes and can mean the difference between receiving a court summons and not.

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August 7th 2020, 12:14 pm

I feel ashamed that my marriage is over: how can I tell our young son?

Life and style | The Guardian

Children pick up on undercurrents, says Annalisa Barbieri. Look at this as a new chapter, but be clear in agreeing boundaries

After 22 years together (half my life), my husband and I have decided to separate. We’ve had extensive therapy, we love each other and want the best for each other, but unfortunately, the romantic and intimate side of our marriage has died.

For now, we’re going to continue to live together to co-parent our son. At some point, my husband will start dating again. I think I’m OK with that, but I can’t imagine ever pursuing a romantic relationship for myself.

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August 7th 2020, 12:14 pm

Fight or flight? A zombie survival game taught me a lot | Coco Khan

Life and style | The Guardian

When, on the final stretch, we found ourselves surrounded, something new took over: self-preservation

At the shops, my boyfriend collided with a physically imposing man with the smell of alcohol on his breath, who had cut up the one-way system guiding customers around thin aisles. “He wasn’t wearing a mask, and I didn’t say anything,” my boyfriend lamented. “I didn’t want a fight.”

Faced with the choice of fight or flight, we all like to imagine being a hero. I tend towards de-escalation, but I’ve had my moments: bursts of courage erupting from outrage (which woman hasn’t shoved away a grabby man harassing a friend?), or an overwhelming instinct to protect (I reached a level of crazed I can only describe as “Jack Nicholson when his hair has started to stand” at an old bully boss of my mum’s. All I remember is repeatedly shouting: “I have nothing better to do than see you fired, pal!”, thereby turning my own unemployment into a threat).

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August 7th 2020, 12:14 pm

Homes for sale in a national park – in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

Properties in a spectacular rural setting, from a grand Regency home to a cottage

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August 7th 2020, 4:59 am

How can I stop these debt tracing calls … they are now more than just irritating

Life and style | The Guardian

Debt agencies keep calling me but I’ve no idea who they are trying to find

I’d be grateful for advice about how to deal with debt agencies who are trying to trace someone I know nothing about. The calls began a couple of years ago. Each time I explained I had no idea who the person they were looking for was, then the calls stopped. A few months later another agency called and we went through the same process. The calls then stopped again for about a year, but in the past few weeks they have started again from yet another agency. It has now become more than just irritating. Is there anything at all I can do to stop this happening?
AB, London

You appear to have been identified by a tracing or credit reference agency, most probably because your name or address matches or resembles that of someone who does owe money. It’s known as a “mis-trace” and the company should correct its information as soon as it is informed that it is wrong. It’s best to ask it in writing to correct its records and you’re entitled to ask it for the source of information that links you to the debt.

If you are still pursued, you may be able to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. If the agencies are a member of the Credit Services Association, which operates a code of practice, you can also complain to it.

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August 7th 2020, 4:59 am

My pandemic epiphany: how I fell in love with online therapy

Life and style | The Guardian

André Wheeler cringed at the idea of connecting through a camera but he needed to clear the fog inside his head

Therapy is the pinnacle of awkward. You spend an hour talking about the deepest parts of yourself, to a person you barely know, and then you pay them and carry on with your day. I always leave with the same guilt and self-consciousness that comes with an accidental overshare. Did I talk too much about my childhood? Does she view me as overdramatic? What does she think of my new haircut? I couldn’t imagine undergoing the same process virtually.

Related: Therapy under lockdown: 'I’m just as terrified as my patients are'

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August 7th 2020, 12:22 am

Wild swimming in a pandemic: 'It is a lifelong education in facing down fear' | Bonnie Tsui

Life and style | The Guardian

Author and wild swimmer Bonnie Tsui is receiving letters from swimmers who are finally embracing the outdoors. She reflects on its profound appeal

As a kid at Jones Beach, New York, I spent a lot of time in the four feet of water at the scalloped, lacy edge of the Atlantic. I can picture the scene clearly: my brother and cousins and I bob up and down in the shallows, waiting for a wave to come and lift us off our feet. We use our arms as rudders to pilot us along the face of a wave as it breaks, depositing us at the foamy intersection where water meets sand. Get up, laugh, repeat.

We are mesmerised by that heaving body of water. So is everybody else. On a hot day, and on a holiday, 100,000 other people might be at Jones Beach. Lifeguards sit sentinel at their elevated stations, policing the crowds from behind their mirrored sunglasses. There’s something primal about a day like that at the beach, like all the animals heading to the watering hole. Water is a magnet for our teeming throng of humanity.

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August 6th 2020, 10:21 am

From front room festivals to cottagecore: 10 lockdown trends to embrace this summer

Life and style | The Guardian

Summer might not be looking quite how we expected – but as with every season there are still some trends you won’t want to miss out on

Celebrating aperitivo hour
Gin has taken its place as one of the most popular drinks during lockdown. In the early days it formed the basis of many a #quarantini – made from whatever we might have left in the cupboard. Since then, the hashtag has clocked up more than 87,000 posts and the term has passed into the popular lexicon. Now, take it a notch higher for the ultimate cocktail moment. With Malfy Gin, you can create the most authentic Italian style aperitivo hour.

Try a Malfy Gin Rosa G&T by mixing a measure of Malfy Gin Rosa with Mediterranean tonic in a copa glass over ice and garnishing with a pink grapefruit wheel. Or, for an added touch of sophistication, mix a measure of Malfy Gin Rosa with 50ml prosecco and 50ml San Pellegrino Arraciata Rossa over ice in a wine glass, and garnish with an orange wheel, strawberry slice and sprig of thyme to create a Amalfi Sunset Spritz.

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August 6th 2020, 10:01 am

Can loneliness be cured with a pill? Scientists are now asking the question

Life and style | The Guardian

Chronic loneliness has little to do with being alone, experts say – could a pharmaceutical treatment help lonely people form meaningful relationships?

Shortly after relocating to Texas from California three years ago, Cheryl Webster started hosting a game night at her home as a way of meeting new people. They stopped meeting due to Covid-19, and Webster has only heard from one person in the group in the months since they were able to play.

Eventually, she decided to pick up the phone herself – but nobody called back.

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August 6th 2020, 5:47 am

The Argos catalogue: why Britain's love affair with The Book of Dreams had to end

Life and style | The Guardian

The demise of the shopping catalogue has prompted mass nostalgia. But its closure after almost 50 years shows how our buying habits have changed – and how obsessed we now are with screens

How much do people in England love Argos? The answer comes from a surprising source: information concerning the riots that swept the country in the summer of 2011. When rioters fancied chucking a brick through a shop window and seeing what they could walk out with, Argos’s premises were the most commonly targeted. More people wanted to steal stuff from Argos than anywhere else.

That is not something about which Argos boasts – most-looted shop in England, 2011! – but it is a measure of how British people perceive Argos: the place that has everything (even if, in reality, the shops have only things that will sell immediately, or stuff that has been ordered for collection by customers). Why do we think Argos has everything? Because of its catalogue, “The Book of Dreams”.

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August 6th 2020, 4:17 am

Not-so-silver fox: I tried to go grey, but my courage failed me

Life and style | The Guardian

I didn’t realise what you have to give up to go grey; more importantly, I didn’t realise what you have to take up to be a genuine silver fox

“Bury me brown” has always been the top-line instruction to my family for when I pass. But as I sat, locked down in my room for two weeks, staring at myself in the mirror as my hair got ever greyer, I decided it was time to grow out the dye. Time to live chemical-free with my natural colour.

I would base my new look on those uber-stylish Milanese women wearing Dries Van Noten, a red lip and silver ponytails. I started a private Pinterest account of all the sculptures I was going to buy with the thousands of dollars of I was going to save from no longer going to the salon. I told my friends.

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August 5th 2020, 1:46 pm

Malta for foodies: what to eat and where to eat it

Life and style | The Guardian

Get ahead of the culinary curve with a rundown of the Mediterranean island’s best restaurants

This year, for the first time, the Michelin guide includes a section on Malta’s richly diverse cuisine. Indeed, three of the island’s restaurants hold Michelin stars: Noni, in Valletta; Under Grain, also in Valletta; and De Mondion in Mdina. This sunny Mediterranean archipelago was fought over for centuries, and each of its settlers brought new foodstuffs to the table, from the punchy pastas of nearby Sicily to Arabic flavours introduced in the middle ages.

Denise Briffa and Lisa Grech edit the local, survey-based Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta and Gozo, and recommend all visitors sample “pastizzi (flaky pastry stuffed with cheese or peas), ideal to eat on the go, at any time of day. Village bars serve them with tea in a glass.” Every town has a pastizzi hole-in-the-wall shop – and you can pick the pastries up for as little as 40 cents depending on location – but arguably Crystal Palace in Rabat bakes the best.

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August 5th 2020, 11:44 am

Tea in a microwave? New research says it could be the perfect cuppa

Life and style | The Guardian

Chinese scientists reckon they have found the way to make a proper brew without a kettle. Heresy or scientific fact?

Name: Tea

Appearance: Hot liquid of a colour somewhere between dark brown and milky beige, according to taste.

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August 5th 2020, 11:15 am

How to make the perfect Russian salad | Felicity Cloake's The perfect…

Life and style | The Guardian

Spuds, boiled eggs, runner beans, mayo – and always, always ham ... or not. How to decide with so many recipes to choose from? As always, our resident perfectionist has a go ...

“Ooh, Russian salad!” a friend messaged when I told her what I was doing for this week’s column. “That always reminds me of Barcelona.” Another had fond memories of mayonnaise-laden vegetable cubes from her schooldays in Brittany, while Sabrina Ghayour describes it as one of the most popular salads in Iran and Niloufer Ichaporia King claims it as “a Parsi standard” in her book My Bombay Kitchen. It’s known and loved from India to Lisbon. The last time I had Russian salad, on top of a slightly soggy slice of bread in a northern Italian bar, I wondered why we in the UK are so puzzlingly immune to its charms.

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August 5th 2020, 11:15 am

So Ellen DeGeneres is not as nice as we thought? She’s been saying that all along

Life and style | The Guardian

Staff on DeGeneres’s talkshow have denounced its ‘toxic’ environment. The host may not be to blame, but she has always been spikier than her public image

What on earth is going on with Ellen DeGeneres?
Kate, by email

Things are not well in Ellen land. Things have been worse, but let’s catch up on the current situation first.

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August 5th 2020, 11:15 am

Salad days: 17 easy, delicious dressings - from pink peppercorn to tahini

Life and style | The Guardian

Salad dressing basics are simple: oil, vinegar, salt. After that, it’s a feast of gorgeous brews to shake, stir, blend, blitz and drizzle over anything from chicken to couscous

From time to time, you meet people who say: “I can’t make salad dressing.” On the face of it this is a bit like admitting you can’t ride a bike or tie shoelaces, but what they really mean, I suspect, is that they don’t want to make the salad dressing. They want you to make the salad dressing.

That’s because although dressing isn’t complicated, it is a bit of a responsibility, requiring a delicate balance of elements. Decisions have to be made, and your judgment may come into question. At its most basic, a salad dressing comprises three ingredients – oil, vinegar, salt – but an old proverb recounted by Marcella Hazan in The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking holds that the perfect salad needs four people to dress it: “A judicious one for the salt, a prodigal one for the olive oil, a stingy one for the vinegar and a patient one to toss it.”

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August 5th 2020, 11:15 am

Parenting a disabled child is lonely – so I built an app to help us find each other

Life and style | The Guardian

Finding people in similar situations nearby and the services you need is a challenge for families like mine

It was 10 June 2015. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Maisie, our cherished baby, was making her way into the world. At 7.14pm, Maisie made her appearance. A mop of thick black hair, a cute button nose and chubby little fingers that curled lovingly around my hand.

This is it, I thought. I’m head over heels in love.

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August 5th 2020, 4:30 am

'I had to hide myself again': young LGBT people on their life in UK lockdown

Life and style | The Guardian

Many of the more than 200 respondents to the Guardian’s callout tell of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia

The experiences of LGBTQ people across the UK during lockdown have been as diverse as the community itself. Married and cohabiting older gay men and lesbians have mainly felt the pandemic has had no more impact on them than on their heterosexual peers. But for many of the more than 200 respondents to the Guardian’s callout, the past few months have brought significant challenges, including weeks of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, increased isolation and deteriorating mental health.

Younger LGBTQ people reported that lockdown meant being confined with families who were unsupportive or hostile. Kate, a 24-year-old bisexual demi-girl, meaning she identifies as a woman but not completely, said moving from her flat in Glasgow back into her childhood home in Ayrshire had meant hiding her sexuality again.

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August 5th 2020, 1:12 am

'My sister ruffles people up the wrong way. In keeping this from her, am I being overly protective?'

Life and style | The Guardian

When it comes to dealing with other people, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith, we all get it a little bit wrong – and a little right

My sister ruffles people up the wrong way. She is very kind and caring at heart, but can be quite rude, demanding and passive aggressive with people who are not in her inner circle. She has badly hurt some of my friends, and I have protected her from knowing this as it would hurt her so much. I recently let a few of these instances slip because she wanted to ask advice from a friend of mine and I was worried about how she’d handle the situation, and explained she needed to communicate gently. This has caused a huge rift between us. Have I created this issue by being overly protective? I’m not sure what to do.

Eleanor says: I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who is perfectly calibrated to the possibility of having caused hurt. The world seems to divide into fine-tuned supersonic vibe machines, constantly scanning for the ways they affect other people, and people like your sister, whose output settings don’t seem to come with any adjustable dials.

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August 4th 2020, 2:08 pm

'You are more than a body': the lingerie brand that picks models without seeing them

Life and style | The Guardian

The Underargument chooses its models based purely on the stories about themselves that they submit. And it’s not the only sign of a shift to more inclusive casting in fashion

When it comes to fashion models, you may think it’s looks that matter. But, for Maïna Cissé, the founder of lingerie brand the Underargument, stories are the thing. In 2018, Cissé introduced what she calls “anticasting”, a new method to find the models for the images on her site, that could also be described as “blind”. She asks interested parties to submit their stories based on a theme of her collections – which run from the problem of perfectionism to what a loving relationship looks like now. Based only on these written submissions – without seeing images of the women, or any measurements – she casts her next shoot.

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August 4th 2020, 1:07 pm

Cat that went missing on Scottish holiday found 12 years later

Life and style | The Guardian

Rochdale-based Davies family lost Georgie on trip to Loch Lomond, but recent microchip scan revealed cat’s identity

A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond has been found 12 years later.

Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester.

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August 4th 2020, 1:07 pm

Love chilled soups, bored with gazpacho – what else can I try? | Kitchen aide

Life and style | The Guardian

Actually, there are any number of variations on chilled soup. Read on for ajo blanco, pea and herb, or just make it up as you go ...

My go-to weekday lunch is always soup, but in the summer I’m at a loss beyond gazpacho. What other chilled soups are good?
Neil, St Helens

Cold soups are, er, so hot right now, and, for Skye McAlpine, something of an obsession. “I’m very into them,” says the author of A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty. “Anything creamy works well,” she says, “but I really love ajo blanco, a chilled almond soup, which is like an almond butter sandwich in soup form.” No nut butter experience is complete without fruit, and McAlpine serves hers with chunks of melon, apple or grapes.

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August 4th 2020, 10:38 am

Dreary chat and no sexual spark: the couples who fell out of love in lockdown

Life and style | The Guardian

With coronavirus keeping us at home, many of us have been taking a long, hard look at our most intimate relationships – and deciding to end them

Hannah began to question her relationship when her boyfriend chose not to live with her during lockdown. They had been dating for two and half years but didn’t share a home. Now, forced to choose between not seeing each other for weeks on end, or being together 24/7, he had opted for separation.

“At first, I felt anxious about being apart,” she recalls. But friends reassured her that it was only natural not to want to start living together in such stressful circumstances. “We are both very young, in our early 20s, so I brushed aside my concerns and we went to stay separately with our families.”

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August 4th 2020, 5:20 am

Rachel Roddy's recipe for aubergine with tomatoes

Life and style | The Guardian

Aubergine soaks up flavours with vigour, and, when cooked al funghetto – fried in olive oil and tomato – releases them back into a heavenly sauce

Even though, in these everything-always times, they never actually went away, it is not unreasonable to say that aubergines are back for the summer. Front row, heaped high, two euros a kilo: thank you very much.

Melanzana nera, the black beauty: some round, others like big tears with elfin hats. Melanzana violetta lunga: as slim as a carrot, as long as a cucumber and inky purple-black. Melanzana tonda viola with its grapefruit proportions and the colour of amethyst. Melanzana zebrina viola: streaked white and violet, like the inside cover of a fancy book. What an enviably striking bunch; and members of the deadly nightshade family – no wonder some were distrustful when this exquisite vegetable, believed to have originated in India and been brought to Europe by the Arabs, was first cultivated in Sicily and Spain. For some, that distrust and diffidence persisted for centuries. Pianta volgare (“vulgar plant”) was how the naturalist Pietro Andrea Mattioli referred to aubergine in 1568, on observing its frequent use by the volgo, or common people, who ate it “fried in oil, with salt and pepper, like mushrooms”.

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August 4th 2020, 4:32 am

How to start cycling with young children

Life and style | The Guardian

Mounted seats, cargo bikes and trailers offer families different options to give cycling a go

Those lockdown days of blissfully quiet roads may be behind us but, with local authorities across the UK investing in cycle infrastructure, now is still an excellent time to give cycling a go. That is especially true for young city-dwelling families who would formerly have relied on public transport to get around but are now reluctant to risk a bus, tram or train journey.

Fortunately, cycling with small children is not merely convenient and healthy but also great fun too. Here is how to do it.

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August 4th 2020, 4:32 am

I’m bisexual – but worry I'm not as attracted to men as I am to women

Life and style | The Guardian

I’d feel there was something missing in a long-term heterosexual relationship, but am concerned I am not attracted enough to men to have a monogamous gay relationship

I’m a bisexual man in my 30s. I greatly enjoy sex with women, but the thought of it doesn’t turn me on as much as the thought of receiving anal sex from a man. However, when I am physically intimate with a man I find it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain an erection. In some ways, this is fine, but I’m worried that the men I sleep with think I’m not enjoying it, or don’t know whether I am or not. I think the wider problem may be that I don’t find men as attractive as women. I don’t enjoy cuddling with men or kissing like I do with women. As a result, I treat the men I’m with like sex objects. I’m worried that if I end up with a woman, I’ll always have something missing from my sex life, but that I am not attracted to men enough to have a satisfying monogamous relationship with a man.

When people are grappling with such questions, what they are really comparing is not so much the qualitatively different sexual experiences, but rather who they experience themselves to be in the context of their relationships with people of different genders. But you do not have to make a choice – not now and not ever.

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August 4th 2020, 3:31 am

Beyonce's Black Is King: the best fashion looks - in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

Black is King, Beyonce’s Lion King-inspired visual album, is a feast for the eyes. In pieces by Molly Goddard and Mary Katrantzou, and styled by Zerina Akers, here are just some of the highlights…

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August 3rd 2020, 12:27 pm

How we met: 'He spoke to me in a French accent, and I went weak at the knees'

Life and style | The Guardian

Peter Kavanagh, 50, and Franck Thierry, 59, met at a Eurovision afterparty in Copenhagen in 2014. They’re now married and live together in Brighton with their dog

Peter Kavanagh flew to Copenhagen from his home in Brighton for a long weekend in May 2014. “I went to a street party for the Eurovision song contest and then discovered there was an afterparty going on,” he says. He made his way to Freetown Christiania, an area of the city that was taken over by hippies in the 1960s and now exists as an international commune. “I was really excited, as it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.”

The party was in full swing when he spotted Franck Thierry across the room. Franck was living in Copenhagen at the time, and had been attending another house party with friends before the club night. “He spoke to me in a French accent, and I went weak at the knees,” laughs Peter. Franck noticed his partner’s dancing. “I loved Peter’s whole look. We spent the next three hours chatting.”

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August 3rd 2020, 10:40 am

New UK travel deal directory launched for NHS staff

Life and style | The Guardian

The Britain Unites initiative collates offers for NHS and emergency services workers to major attractions and venues

A new UK initiative is bringing together travel deals to thank frontline NHS staff for their commitment during the coronavirus pandemic. The Britain Unites scheme launched on 1 August and calls on tourism and hospitality businesses to offer free and discounted tickets for attractions, tours and meals – in turn encouraging the return of domestic travel.

The scheme is backed by industry bodies, including VisitBritain, UKinbound, and the London Tourism Cooperative, and aims to build an online directory of deals for UK attractions and venues. The directory will grow as more businesses open and new offers are launched. In order to redeem deals, a valid NHS staff ID or a Blue Light Card is required. The latter is available for all emergency services and NHS staff to sign up for and use around the UK at participating venues and online.

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August 3rd 2020, 10:40 am

Thomasina Miers' recipe for roast mushroom and sweet potato salad with balsamic onions | The simple

Life and style | The Guardian

Roast sweet potatoes in a smoky dressing with sweet balsamic onions, crisp, baked bread and tangy goat’s cheese

My first trip to the US was a food pilgrimage to California. While in San Francisco, I visited Zuni Cafe, a restaurant famed for its roast chicken bread salad. I wanted to make a vegetarian version, and this is the result: crisp and juicy croutons; sweet, sticky onions; roast, garlicky mushrooms … it is a total feast and a nifty way to use up stale bread.

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August 3rd 2020, 9:10 am

Wanted: somebody to do the worst job ever advertised

Life and style | The Guardian

An unknown social media influencer has advertised for an assistant who must be on duty ‘almost 24/7’; waking them up, taking them to parties and planning everything in between. Oh, and they must never discuss their own emotions

Name: Influencer PA.

Salary: £19,000-£23,000 p/a.

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August 3rd 2020, 9:10 am

Nigel Slater’s recipe for spaghetti with broccoli and herb sauce

Life and style | The Guardian

Crisp veg with gorgeous herbs in a well dressed pasta

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Meanwhile, cut 500g of broccoli into small florets and cut the main stalk into small pieces.

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August 3rd 2020, 7:09 am

Glorious glamping: five of the best new UK sites

Life and style | The Guardian

New glamping locations, from Essex to Perthshire, that are perfect for a late summer getaway

If the thought of escaping to a private island this summer sounds appealing, head to the far east, well, Essex to be more precise. Osea is a tranquil island in the Blackwater estuary reached via an ancient causeway at low tide or river taxi at high tide. There’s a handful of lovely holiday cottages on the island, and now glamping has been added to the mix this summer. Yurts are comfortably furnished with double or twin beds, linens and towels, with access to private shower cabins. Meals are served in a communal area with lounge, bar and proper loos. There are two outdoor pools and free bikes for exploring.
£180 per person per night, based on two adults sharing a yurt. Minimum two-night stay. Extra beds can be provided for younger children. Older children can share a bell tent for £90pp per night, oseaisland.co.uk

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August 3rd 2020, 7:09 am

'Welcome to your ninth decade': how I learned to embrace ageing and make time for my pelvic floor

Life and style | The Guardian

As a busy magazine editor, remembering to do pelvic floor exercises wasn’t always the first thing on Wendy James’s mind. Now, aged 80, she explains why she’s making time for them, alongside regular tennis and core-strengthening pilates

The card dropped through the letterbox just as I was leaving for my regular coaching session at the tennis club. “Welcome to your ninth decade,” it said. I’d just turned 80 and was planning to celebrate by doing a tandem skydive for a local charity.

I wasn’t shocked by the card’s message (no, really). I was prepared by the good-ageing philosophy of a thoughtful man called Cecil Kellehar who was fourscore years when he wrote for Choice, the lifestyle magazine for over-50s that I edited in the 1990s. Take it as it comes. Don’t rail against it. Have someone to love. Have something to do. Have something to look forward to. Keep fit.

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August 3rd 2020, 7:09 am

Tree of the week: A maple and a lime tree adopted in honour of two beloved lost sons

Life and style | The Guardian

In this weekly series, readers tell us about their favourite trees. This week: a red maple tree and a lime tree in North Yorkshire

Rosemary Tozer feels a great sense of peace when she escapes to the Yorkshire Arboretum’s leafy refuge. Located on the sprawling Castle Howard estate, it has beautiful lakes, several ponds and over 6,000 trees. It is also home to a red maple and small-leaved lime she has adopted in memory of her two dead sons, Sam and Danny. “It’s like seeing them again,” she says of her visits. “I find it quite emotional.”

The retired researcher, 71, adopted the trees with her husband Tim in 2017, two years after their eldest son, Danny, died following an epileptic seizure aged 36. Sam, who was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t speak, died in 2003, when he was 19, after a bout of pneumonia. The couple, who live in Elvington, York, also have a daughter and wanted to do something to commemorate their love for their late sons.

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

Time for a micro adventure: 15 action-packed day trips in the UK

Life and style | The Guardian

Get your adrenaline fix paddleboarding, island-hopping, mountain biking and lots more …

Combine snorkelling and kayaking on a new tour around the Cornish coast from Newquay. Paddle around the craggy shoreline exploring caves and coves, then moor up in a sheltered inlet to discover what lies beneath the waves on a guided snorkel. The Marine Conservation Zone is home to wildlife from dolphins to seahorses (it’s one of the few breeding sites in the UK). Wetsuits and all other equipment are provided. If you’ve still energy to spare, try a surf lesson in the afternoon. Snorkel Kayak Tour, two-hours, £55, surf lesson, £35 (newquayactivitycentre.co.uk)

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

Jamie Oliver on fame, failure and fighting obesity: 'I'm actually quite shy. I don't like a ruck'

Life and style | The Guardian

Every time the chef talks about the UK’s diet, it gets him in trouble. Remember Turkey Twizzlers? But he’s too passionate to give up

Jamie Oliver appears on the Skype screen looking a bit harassed. He’s at Jamie Oliver HQ and his backdrop is a photographic mural of a giant waitress handing a menu to someone who, I finally figure out when he moves his head, is a young, carefree Jamie Oliver. The contrast between these two faces of the same man – I’m talking about mood, rather than the cruel weathering of time – is striking. He started out as the living embodiment of the carefree lad about town, and now has the frazzled look of a man who is being badgered by seven people at once.

It’s partly my fault. In many ways, I am here to harass him. Oliver’s absolute passion, besides food itself, is fighting childhood obesity, an issue that has just landed at the top of the news agenda thanks to the government’s new obesity strategy, which will include banning junk food advertising and putting calorie counts on restaurant menus.

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

Happily ever after: celebrity weddings in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

From John and Yoko to Taylor and Burton, here are some of our favourite moments of famous brides and grooms on their big day

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

Vegan food company provokes with M*** F*** advertising campaign

Life and style | The Guardian

Leeds-based Meatless Farm says it seeks to build on growth in plant-based eating during coronavirus lockdown

A vegan food company is sparing no blushes with what it calls a “light-hearted” advertising campaign to encourage more Britons to avoid eating meat.

Meatless Farm says it is targeting people who have cut down on bangers and burgers during lockdown with its provocative slogan M*** F***, launched on Monday with a national campaign.

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

The Goopification of grapes: why 'clean wine' is a scam

Life and style | The Guardian

Winemakers don’t have to list ingredients – which has opened a door for opportunists chasing a piece of the $52.5bn wellness market

Cameron Diaz gives a happy sigh. “I’m really excited,” she says to her friend Katherine Power. On the table are two bottles of their new wine, Avaline, launched mid-July.

Related: The Goop rush: why celebrities are racing to build wellness empires

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

Savoury sounds: 12 food podcasts that are perfect for cooking to

Life and style | The Guardian

Whether you’re trying to keep your sourdough starter alive or making (more) banana bread, there’s a podcast to help soundtrack your quarantine cooking

There are currently a million podcasts in the world – and they come in all different flavours. There’s a show about Italian culinary history, a program about sipping sake and shochu, and a calorie-rich podcast for Australian junk food fans. If you need something to playlist your kitchen-prep time, these following shows are especially good cooking companions.

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

I want to buy my ex-husband's share of our house – how much should he get?

Life and style | The Guardian

I’m not sure if he should get 50% of the market value, or if there’s another way of settling it

Q My ex-husband and I are currently joint tenants of a property I live in with our daughters. As we are now divorced, we are in the process of becoming tenants in common.

If I were to buy him out of his 50% share, would he get 50% of the market value, or market value minus mortgage then 50% of the equity that is left?
EP

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August 3rd 2020, 5:07 am

After homemade mince for months, I've forgotten my restaurant etiquette | Zoe Williams

Life and style | The Guardian

Weeks of simple suppers with my kids during Covid-19 lockdown have made me forget how to eat out – which is why I blew it with the surf’n’turf

A restaurant isn’t so much a vendor of food as a series of understood behaviours and expectations. It is as granular as how fast you walk in (not like a bull entering your own house, but slowly, like a welcome acquaintance, entering someone else’s); where you stand once you’re in and what face to make; how to read a menu; how to talk to the waiter; how loud your voice should be. I’ve forgotten it all. Or it’s all been capsized. Or some combination of those two things has happened. I’m doing it all wrong.

I’ve forgotten how to choose food, which is the worst of it. In all the sumptuous home cooking that’s defined the year so far, two critical groups have been forgotten – people who live alone and people who live with children. It is paralysingly difficult to justify fancy-pantsing around with interesting ingredients, just for yourself. It’s like trying to fashion yourself a really exquisite pun. I mean, you could. But why would you?

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August 2nd 2020, 5:48 pm

Pizza ovens, BBQs and garden kitchens: a guide to outdoor cooking

Life and style | The Guardian

Backyard cooking is one of the great pleasures of staying at home, and an open-air kitchen can be built cheaply and easily

For reasons unknown, food tastes better outdoors, so if you are planning a staycation, why not add another DIY project to the list in the form of a permanent outdoor kitchen? The design can be as slick or as rudimentary as your budget and skills dictate.

First, identify your heat source. If you want to cook over flames, consider building an open grill (you’ll need to make sure you are a safe distance from your shed and any wooden fencing). Ikea sells a charcoal grill that is built into a solid acacia frame on wheels for easy manoeuvring (£189, ikea.com). The hooded grill is surrounded by a narrow stainless-steel trim that will just-about fit a can of something cool on it. You can extend your work surface area by buying an additional modular cart or cabinet that fits snugly alongside the grill (from £299, including the grill).

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August 2nd 2020, 6:59 am

August, month of plenty on the plot | Allan Jenkins

Life and style | The Guardian

Fewer of us will be taking holidays abroad this summer, but the garden is full of things to do and delight in at home

So, August. Most usually the month of summer holidays, when harvests and watering rotas are shared around with payment in courgettes. Or more likely, marrows if you miss them. I fear, though, long breaks away will be less likely this year.

I may have said almost this last month, but we are deep in the time of now or never. It is near too late to plant out cauliflower, kale or any broccoli still in pots. It is still just OK to sow carrots, spring onions, spring cabbages, red-leaved chicories, summer and winter radishes, and to add autumn crops such as corn, salad and land cress. Stick with the ‘oriental’ leaves, adding winter purslane, plus mustard greens if your garden is in a good spot.

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August 2nd 2020, 6:16 am

Rooms with a sea view: 10 of the best UK coastal hotels

Life and style | The Guardian

Take in the seaside air (and some great food) everywhere from traditional resort towns to dramatic coastlines and a Cornish surfers’ beach

First opened in 1926, this is Wales’s most-otherworldly destination: a beach and 70 acres of subtropical woodland, augmented by a car-free village. While its cottages are open now, Hotel Portmeirion , on a stretch of golden sand with an outdoor swimming pool, opens on 3 August; its terrace is somewhere you want to linger with a glass of rosé and a late lunch – even if you’re not staying.
Entry to Portmeirion costs £13 adults, £9 kids, under-5s free. Doubles at Hotel Portmeirion from £204 B&B, portmeirion.wales

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August 2nd 2020, 5:42 am

Nigel Slater’s recipes for ice-cream and granita

Life and style | The Guardian

Sundae best: four different and delicious frozen fruit thrillers

Given time, I will make my summer ice-cream of choice, fashioned from a true custard, with eggs and cream and fat vanilla pods, and churn it slowly until it is just shy of frozen. On other occasions I might roast figs and add them to a walnut and honey ice-cream to serve with a glass of grappa; or bake bananas and stir them into thick yogurt to freeze.

Granitas are straightforward; just remember to beat them with a fork every now and again

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August 2nd 2020, 5:42 am

Staycation drinks: a tour of British tipples | David Williams

Life and style | The Guardian

From a Suffolk cider to a gin in Northumberland and a selection of malts, here’s some of the best bottles that Britain has to offer

Aspall Premier Cru Apple Cyder, Suffolk, UK (from £2, 50cl, Tesco; aspall.co.uk) A staycation is an opportunity to explore one of the livelier and more creative domestic industries of recent years. Whether it’s the small producer-led renaissance of traditional drinks (all those thousands of tiny craft brewers and artisan gin distillers that have emerged in the past decade) or the irresistible rise of English and Welsh wine (the total British vineyard has tripled in size since 2000), the 21st century has so far been a vintage time for British drinks. I’d start a Tour of British booze with cider. In the east, Suffolk’s Aspall’s has been going for the best part of 300 years, and its graceful, subtly perfumed, sparkling premier cru hasn’t lost any of its charm since the family sold up to US beer giant Coors Molson in 2018. In the west, I’d go for something from modern British cider-making’s presiding genius, ex-roadie Tom Oliver in Herefordshire, such as his complex, tangy, properly appley still Oliver’s Fine Cider Traditional Dry (£3.20, 50cl, oliversciderandperry.co.uk).

Hepple Gin, Northumberland, UK (£35.95, thewhiskyexchange.com; masterofmalt.com) A British beer road trip could start in London with the brashly brilliant Beavertown Brewery and their engagingly lurid Lupuloid IPA (£2.20, 33cl, Waitrose). It’s a benchmark modern IPA, all humid hothouse hoppiness, bright citrus and ripe tropical fruitiness. Next a detour to a classic family-owned regional brewer, Cornwall’s St Austell, and their most summery beer, the superbly refreshing, zesty, Tribute Pale Ale (£1.70, 50cl, Tesco), before heading to the very opposite end of England, and the superb Newcastle craft brewers, Wylam, known for their intense IPAs, but in Wylam Gold English Golden Ale (£3.50, 44cl, wylambrewery.co.uk) they have a classic, clean, crisp summery thirst-quenching golden ale which hits several spots. Staying in the North East, you can start an exploration of modern British gin at the Hepple estate in the Northumberland moors. This pristine, vivid presentation of the joys of juniper has notes of resinous pine, citrus and spice and is, as the makers intended, a beautiful base for a martini.

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August 2nd 2020, 5:42 am

From the archive: the meaning of jazz, 1987

Life and style | The Guardian

While Courtney Pine led out the new avant garde, it was time to take stock of the old timers

It’s an archetypal jazz shot on the cover of the Observer Magazine of 15 February 1987, a grainy Thelonius Monk, one of the great originals, wreathed in smoke and lost in music (‘Player Kings and all that Jazz’).

Russell Davies’s celebration of jazz argued that it had been making something of a comeback (especially in the form of the saxist Courtney Pine). He tried to answer the simple but very slippery question: ‘What is jazz?’ His answer being: ‘Jazz today is almost anything you want it to be.’

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August 2nd 2020, 5:42 am

Sunday with Brenda Edwards: ‘I take every chance to keep my vocal chords active'

Life and style | The Guardian

The Loose Women presenter works out for 90 minutes, heads for a rum bar and reveals her marination secrets

How does Sunday start? With 90 minutes on my new multi-gym. When you’ve put on as much lockdown weight as I have it’s a necessary evil. My playlist starts off slow for my stretches and speeds up for weights and cardio: Mary J Blige, Christina Milian… I’ll sing them all to you now.

What does Sunday feel like? Growing up, my family were the heads of a Pentecostal church in Luton. I no longer go to a place of worship, but for me it’s still a day for reverence. During an eight-performance week, Sundays are sacred for resting. But at the moment I’d do anything to spend the day up on stage.

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August 2nd 2020, 5:29 am

Family ties and a visit to the ‘Irish mammy state’ | Séamas O’Reilly

Life and style | The Guardian

A trip back home brings isolation to cautious end with some much-missed cuddles

For the first time in six months, we took the boy back to Ireland to see his nana and grandad. On arrival, we took our Covid-19 tests, which involved inserting a cotton bud slightly too far up our nostrils and sending their delightful scrapings off to some lucky lab technician in the Midlands. Distances were kept and family members resolutely uncuddled. Even though the cases have remained low, there’s a vigilance in Ireland that seems more marked than in London. In bustling Hackney, there’s a reluctance to impose on strangers. Some wear masks, but if they choose not to, little fuss is made. In the leafy Dublin suburb of my in-laws, this is not the case. On one trip to a local park I didn’t see a single adult unmasked, and had more than a few tight-lipped impasses when our buggy was judged to be idling a little too close to another.

It would take a more talented sociologist than me to isolate the differences between the British and Irish psyches, but seeing as I don’t have one to hand, I’ll speculate wildly. The fact is, for all that rebellious spirit we like to export in our rousing songs and knotty novels, the Irish are an obedient people.

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August 2nd 2020, 5:29 am
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