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Michelle Obama's 'Fawcett flick' a nod to more fun times

Life and style | The Guardian

Several celebrities have tried the hairstyle in recent months – a reaction perhaps to Covid lockdown

Michelle Obama’s powerful and glamorous hair at the Biden-Harris inauguration (courtesy of her longtime stylist Yene Damtew) was reminiscent of the Farah Fawcett style – and Jenna Coleman’s curled hair in the BBC’s The Serpent (set in 1975) replicated the waft-style too. Jennifer Lopez, Mary J Blige and model Aweng Ade-Chuol have all tried the style in recent months.

Like disco, which trended during Christmas time, the resurgence of the Farrah cut is partly to do with a rose-tinged idea of that period. “When we think of Farrah Fawcett and her hairstyle we are recalling a joyful version of the 1970s,” said fashion historian Laura McLaws Helms, “more sun-dappled California babes, less strikes and oil crises.”

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January 22nd 2021, 7:25 am

'We're trying to break down the shame and stigma of addiction': meet the charities striving to give

Life and style | The Guardian

Two award-winning charities tell their stories of tenacity, hope and survival

Running a charity requires round-the-clock dedication, arguably unlike any other job you could do. There is no nine-to-five, no “closing the doors” at the end of the day, and no deadline to end the emotional pressure of trying to make sure the people you work with get the help they need. It’s stressful and demanding.

When Covid-19 and lockdown hit, these pressures on charities undoubtedly weighed more heavily than ever. But across the country there was also a renewed vigour to not give up on their vital work. And it’s that tenacity that has kept many of them afloat, despite the 24/7 challenges and hardships that are faced by those running the charity and those they call service users, guests or clients.

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January 22nd 2021, 7:25 am

My life in sex: ‘Despite cottaging and cruising, I’ve never felt fully gay’

Life and style | The Guardian

The conflicted man

I was happily married to a woman for many years and find straight sex in a loving relationship deeply satisfying. However, I have been fascinated by penises since my early teens. At that time, images of penises were strictly taboo, which may have contributed to my fascination, but it is a phase I never grew out of.

I would go cottaging while still at school, partly because a quick thrill was so much easier than having to go through the rituals of 1960s courtship and risk rejection. I thought that I would adopt a gay lifestyle when I left home to go to university, but despite regular cottaging and cruising, I never felt fully gay. (Most of the men I’ve encountered while cruising are married to women and feel the same way.)

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January 22nd 2021, 5:22 am

Imaginary gin and fictitious chips got me through Friday | Grace Dent

Life and style | The Guardian

‘During this more gruelling, seemingly endless lockdown, I am forcing myself daily to notice each minor moment of joy, ones I took for granted in the old world’

As a younger woman, I’d have probably named sex, luxury travel and disco dancing as the pinnacles of earthly joy, which was foolish, because I now realise it is owning a complete set of nestable LocknLock food containers. Yes, I’m sure Studio 54 was pleasant, and that Bianca Jagger had a terrific time on that horse in 1977, but tell me this: did she ever feel the satisfying clunk-click of leftover soup being securely locked into a neat, sterilised box? Did she ever stack freshly dishwashered plastic boxes on a shelf, each with its corresponding lid, awaiting further practical instruction? I fear not, but it is here, within these minor victories, that the purest ecstasy lies.

Well, at least that’s what I am currently telling myself. During this most recent, more gruelling, seemingly endless national lockdown, I am forcing myself daily to notice each minor moment of joy; ones I took for granted in the old world. I let them linger a while in the general vicinity of my cerebral cortex, eking out the high. “Gratitude” is what folk like Oprah and Deepak Chopra call it, although folk from Leeds and farther up north would call it “knowing you’re bloody born”. I didn’t until around March 2020. That bit me on the bum.

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January 22nd 2021, 5:22 am

Experience: my dream flat became a nightmare

Life and style | The Guardian

Three months after moving in, I got a letter telling me my roof was covered in dangerous cladding

The day I got the keys to my one-bedroom flat in central Leeds in April 2019 was the proudest moment of my life. I’d spent four years saving a £10,000 deposit from my salary as a marketing and PR executive. I had just become single, and I thought my life would be about going out in Leeds, meeting people and enjoying being in my 20s. Independence.

Becoming a homeowner, at 28, was a huge deal for me and my family. My dad is a retired electrician and my mum is an admin assistant. There’s no family wealth behind me – I saved up on my own, and bought my flat for £102,000 through an affordable housing scheme, designed to help people on low incomes. Under the terms of my agreement, I wasn’t allowed to rent the flat out, or sell it to a cash buyer, but that didn’t seem like a problem at the time.

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January 22nd 2021, 5:22 am

From apocalypse beards to Zoom shrugs: this week’s fashion trends

Life and style | The Guardian

What’s hot and what’s not in fashion this week

The apocalypse beard Facial hair has returned to source as: a face warmer. See George Clooney in The Midnight Sky.

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January 22nd 2021, 3:38 am

My voyage through a world of language in just one word: snow

Life and style | The Guardian

Missing the wild regions where I have worked, I took a linguistic trip from Asia to the Andes, via Russia and Finland, instead

A few years ago I spent a winter on Upernavik, a rocky island of 1,000 inhabitants off the north-west coast of Greenland. I’d been invited to Baffin Bay as part of a programme for international writers and artists to create new work about climate at one of the most northerly museums in the world.

The museum director emailed a warning in advance: the winter was better for introspection than exploration. Sure enough, I found I couldn’t leave the island, nor – with waist-high snowdrifts and continuous darkness – could I walk far around it. My daily excursions were limited to the path I dug from my cabin to the grocery store, or to the museum, where there was always coffee and a warm welcome.

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January 22nd 2021, 3:38 am

'In Paris, we are terrified of vulgarity': lessons in French style from Call My Agent!

Life and style | The Guardian

The costume designer from the hit French show on how the clothes make the characters – and how you can channel their effortless chic

In France, the hit Netflix series Call My Agent! is called Dix Pour Cent in reference to the fee charged by French cinema agents. For those in the know, the name says it all. For others, like me, the reference was opaque at first, but it sent the message that this is a show – unlike others representing a cliched take on French life, such as Emily in Paris – that positions itself as an insider’s peek into the capital and its movie business.

The many cameos from A-list actors playing themselves – with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sigourney Weaver lined up to appear in season four; Weaver called the series “a love letter to the business” – similarly underlines the show’s proximity to the authentic professional world, something that is subtly shown, too, through its clothes.

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January 22nd 2021, 3:38 am

The best covers turn a song on its head: a whole new slice of life, right there | Hannah Jane Parkin

Life and style | The Guardian

Listening to a favourite song in a different guise taps into alternative emotions

Cover versions are like white wines: they’re either very good or horrid. Horrid ones include mediocre guys playing acoustic guitars, wearing waistcoats over T-shirts, butchering every song released in the last three decades. Or the instrumental “samba” covers of chart toppers that play in coffee shops, on repeat.

However, good covers are truly transformative. They turn a song inside out in the manner of a reversible jacket: same structure, but something entirely fresh. You can wear it pop or jazz or dance or rock’n’roll. Listening to a favourite song in a different guise taps into alternative emotions.

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January 22nd 2021, 2:38 am

Ten beds that changed the world, from King Tut to Tracey Emin

Life and style | The Guardian

As long as there have been humans, there have been beds. Here are some landmark examples

Beds are as old as humanity itself. I sleep, therefore I am. Until last year, the first evidence for the use of plant mattresses – made up of layers of stems and leaves – was from 80,000 years ago. But a new study turned that on its head and dated the use of grass bedding to caves in southern Africa 227,000 years ago, which is when homo sapiens were just getting into their stride. Early humans put grass bedding on top of an area that had been burned to get rid of insects. They recognised the value of sleeping well. It also seems they liked staying in bed: the presence of slivers of rock among the remnants of grass mattresses suggests they made stone tools while still in bed. So don’t feel any guilt about using your laptop from bed: we’ve been at it from the start of human existence.

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January 22nd 2021, 1:21 am

10 songs that bring back memories of my travels: Garth Cartwright's playlist

Life and style | The Guardian

Inspirational musicians from New Orleans, Jamaica, Macedonia and New Zealand are among those who have kept the author going during lockdown

I’m a Kiwi who’s lived in London since 1991 and the pandemic made me both yearn for and fear for my family, so far away. To calm my huge angst, especially when my father’s health collapsed in March, I listened to music constantly, obsessively, jazz serving as a balm to my worried mind. Dad died in late June, not of the virus – a fall led to him departing this world. I mourned and celebrated his life with music, especially Horace Silver’s funky, warm eulogy to his father. Released on Blue Note in 1965, Silver’s instrumental reminds me of great jazz clubs in London, New York, Havana, and of the old fella – even if his musical enthusiasms never moved beyond Gilbert and Sullivan.

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January 21st 2021, 9:28 am

Top chefs’ favourite homemade soups – from curried carrot to creamy sweet potato

Life and style | The Guardian

Making a hearty bowlful is easier than you might think. Here are 10 warming recipes from Michael Caines, Ollie Dabbous, Jessica Rosval and more

It is cold, there is nothing to do – and you may want to hang on to all your tinned food in case things get even worse. This points towards one thing: getting really good at making soup. Although it can seem complicated and time-consuming, soup-making is immensely satisfying and much easier than you think. We asked 10 chefs to share their best recipes for the simple soups they make at home.

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January 21st 2021, 6:45 am

10 inspiring hobbies taken up by readers during lockdown

Life and style | The Guardian

Using Shakespeare plays, mum’s cooking and even Lego as inspiration, our tipsters – and their kids – have discovered ingenious ways not just of de-stressing, but of feeling more alive

This is about my autistic daughter’s hobby. She’s nine, and since last March has become an avid birdspotter and photographer. It’s been great to be outside finding nature in the city, and to see her thrive and grow, walking to and exploring local parks. She’s now got an amazing mentor – wildlife artist and photographer Alfie Bowen – and has been winning competitions and had her photos published. She told me: “2020 was the best year ever … less stress because of less school, and I could be the person I am meant to be.” What more could a parent ask for?
Emma

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January 21st 2021, 4:55 am

Biden and Harris dress to reassure that normal service is restored

Life and style | The Guardian

Optics of inauguration were serene, respectful and quietly joyous, with US designers centre stage

Joe Biden’s inauguration – live updates

There were a number of concerns about what might happen at the 59th presidential inauguration, but what Joe Biden would wear was never one of them.

With reassuring predictability, he was sworn in as the 46th US president wearing a navy blue, single-breasted suit by that most wholesomely all-American of designers, Ralph Lauren.

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January 21st 2021, 4:55 am

'Never conduct any business naked': how to work from bed without getting sacked

Life and style | The Guardian

From warming up your voice to avoiding spillages, here are some tips for keeping up professional appearances

I have been pretending not to be in bed while working for more than 20 years, but never got around to codifying my moves until lockdown, when they became useful to others. Before we drill down into specifics, there are some cardinal rules.

First, never let a work call be your first conversation of the day. Your voice is like your face: it takes a while to lose that distinctive, muffled squash of the pillow and oblivion. If you live with others, you can have a general “How did you sleep?” conversation, then an argument; this way you will use the full range of your voicebox, like an opera singer. If you live alone, call your mum or turn on the radio and shout at Nick Robinson – whichever you find the least draining.

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January 21st 2021, 4:55 am

Oh crumbs! What to eat when working from bed – from scotch eggs to onigiri

Life and style | The Guardian

Avoid anything that drips, spills, smells or flakes, and if you are really committed copy Nigella Lawson and keep condiments in your bedside table

The musician St Vincent once tweeted – long before Covid – that she enjoyed eating meals in bed so much that she was considering buying an additional one “expressly for that purpose”. She was ahead of the pack: until recently, most of us would have seen breakfast in bed as a treat, but having lunch there as an aberration.

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January 21st 2021, 1:25 am

Working from bed? Here’s how you can still look professional

Life and style | The Guardian

From airline pants to the all-day dressing gown, these outfits are just the thing for those duvet-based video calls

Dressing for work, if lockdown is forcing you to work from bed, is a dance between comfort and mindset. A nightie suggests you’ve given up, but lip gloss is too much (plus it’s a nightmare if you get it on your sheets). So, how to dress when you don’t want to get dressed? Can you get away with a dressing gown, and what about a hoodie? Follow these tips for bed-based video-call dressing, and you can hunker down in your chrysalis and emerge from it warm, transformed and, hopefully, still employed.

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January 20th 2021, 12:36 pm

'My mother has written the story of her life, which all but denies my existence. What to do?'

Life and style | The Guardian

You can’t force other people to acknowledge you, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith, don’t ransom your wellbeing for that possibility

My mother has written the story of her life, which all but denies my very existence while providing rich detail as to the lives and accomplishments of my siblings. Since I was barely a toddler she never kept her antipathy for me any secret – an antipathy I’ve long felt she must have conceived out of a sense of guilt for not protecting me from the horrible physical and mental abuse I suffered at the hands of my sadistic oldest brother from the age of three onwards.

The lies mother has now left for posterity with her book feel like assault. I don’t care to engage and invite further bitter attack, but letting her go to her reward thinking she’s had the last word rankles somewhat. What to do?

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January 20th 2021, 12:04 pm

Head, shoulders, knees and toes: the best stretches to see off aches and pains

Life and style | The Guardian

Soft mattresses and pillows are great for lounging, but after a full day’s work your back and shoulders will start to complain. These gentle exercises should help

Working on a laptop in bed all day can be ruinous for your shoulders, back and overall wellbeing. “Your back won’t be supported very well,” says Fiona Houston, a physiotherapist and the founder of Physio Inverness. “It will be slumped. Plus, if your legs are stretched out in front of you, you’ll be putting strain through your nervous system.” She explains that this runs from your brain to your spinal cord, all the way to your toes. “By sitting in bed with your legs out in front of you, and your head tilting downwards, at a laptop screen, you’re stretching that system continuously. It’s actually one of the things we would ask our clients about, to see if people are likely to have issues with their nerves.”

Houston advises a mixture of stretches for your back. “Sit on a chair and rotate your shoulders forwards and backwards,” she says. “Yoga poses such as the child’s pose (where you sit on your heels and push your shoulders to the ground, head facing the floor) or the cobra pose (where you lie on your front, hands and legs flat on the floor, and arch your head and shoulders off the ground) will help your joints move. These stretches are quick and easy to do, and easy to access online.”

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January 20th 2021, 9:17 am

How to make fish pie – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass

Life and style | The Guardian

What’s healthy but moreish, easy and adaptable enough to use up store-cupboard and crisper drawer bits? Homemade fish pie, that’s what

An honorary pie, despite obvious shortcomings in the pastry department, fish pie is the culinary equivalent of a cosy pair of slippers. It can be as basic or as fancy as you like, but it should never be anything other than home cooking. Easy to make ahead, happy to be customised according to what you have available, and perfect with frozen peas, it’s also just what you need right now.

Prep 55 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

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January 20th 2021, 7:48 am

I split with my partner after he lied about using porn – have I overreacted?

Life and style | The Guardian

We were together for 13 years and planned to move in together. But now I feel I can no longer trust him

During lockdown last May, I split from my partner of 13 years. We had been planning to get married and live together. He took me house-hunting, then moved into the place we found, while I stayed where I was with my daughter, who has disabilities. We worked on the house and garden together and he kept telling me it was our home. He then retired and we carried on our weekend, distanced relationship. But his behaviour changed, and I discovered that he had been indulging in a lot of porn since long before I met him. He had always claimed not to be interested in it.

I was not concerned about the porn, but about the deceit. He had looked me in the eye and lied when I confronted him. Trust became a major issue. I suggested we went to counselling but he refused. I miss the friendship – I thought we were soulmates – but don’t think I could put up with the idea that he is always looking elsewhere. We are still in touch by phone. Was I overreacting or should I cut all ties and move on?

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January 20th 2021, 7:48 am

Duvet or don't they? Why Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen loves working from bed – and Glenda Jackson doesn't

Life and style | The Guardian

Many more of us are conducting our business in bed. Keeley Hawes and Jeremy Paxman explain the benefits, while Lady Warsi and David Lammy are unimpressed

‘Just say your webcam is broken and try not to sound like you’re lying down’
I was working in bed way before the pandemic. I’ve trained for it my entire life. It’s easy to do meetings from bed if you just pretend your webcam is broken. The trick is to not sound like you’re lying down. I start out sitting cross-legged with my computer on my pillow and then I slowly lie down, one step at a time, so I’m on my side, typing weirdly. I have a pillow for the head and one under the knees, and two stuffed toys: I use the elephant wrapped around my neck like a travel pillow, and the hippo, which is firmer, to prop myself up on when I’m on a deadline and need to be more active.

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January 20th 2021, 6:18 am

‘We’ll see’: 12 phrases parents use and what they really mean

Life and style | The Guardian

No matter what your age, communicating with parents can be a minefield. This generational translator will help you understand the true meanings behind what they say

Parents, eh? With their lack of meme culture, nostalgic stories about Woolworths and all that pointless fury over software updates, how is it that your parents are somehow still in charge?

But to better understand their weird ways, you need to know how to survive in a world that speaks an archaic language about floppy discs and “hanging up” the phone. And with this handy guide, you will be well equipped to take charge of the household – no matter how old you are. Just give your parents some old cassette tapes and tell them they need rewinding with a pencil; that’ll teach them.

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January 20th 2021, 6:03 am

Why you shouldn’t work from bed (and a guide to doing it anyway)

Life and style | The Guardian

It may not be recommended, but, from necessity or choice, many of us find ourselves working from them. Here’s how to set up your perfect bed office

Everybody who knows what they’re talking about will tell you not to do it, but the lure of bed is hard to resist for any home worker. Or it may have become a necessity. With children home schooling, or in a cramped flatshare, your bed may be the only place you can get any peace (although many people living and working with chronic illness will be rolling their eyes at the idea that working from bed has only just been invented).

During the first lockdown, one survey, by Uswitch.com, found a quarter of home workers had worked from bed. Ten months into the on-off lockdown, more of us are doing it than ever. “We’ve found that up to 40% of people who have worked from home during lockdown have worked from their bed at some point,” says Catherine Quinn, president of the British Chiropractic Association.

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January 20th 2021, 3:16 am

Never too late: 'I was one of the oldest ones there, and I also had no hair. But it was wonderful'

Life and style | The Guardian

After 30-year career in the public service, Allison Barnes enrolled in art school, where she found ‘a different place in the world’

Name: Allison Barnes

Age: 62

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January 19th 2021, 11:55 am

'Genuinely tasty': how a 12-year-old changed her dad's misconceptions about being vegan

Life and style | The Guardian

Inspired by Greta Thunberg, Nancy Stevenson challenged her meat-loving dad, Andy, to go vegan for five days. Here’s what he had to say

I’m one of the least likely people to go vegan. I love meat – I’ve tried rattlesnake, bone marrow and even alligator. I always assumed giving up meat would make you feel weak and tired, plus I could never imagine voluntarily eating tofu. But then my 12-year-old daughter, Nancy, discovered climate activist Greta Thunberg ...

Greta is a real inspiration to Nancy and her friends. She taught them how – by eating meat and contributing to global warming – adults are destroying the planet that Nancy’s generation will be living on. Greta is vegan, too, and persuaded her parents to give up meat (her mum does admit to being only 90% vegan, but that seems more than enough to me).

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January 19th 2021, 10:26 am

Rachel Roddy's recipe for spaghetti with lemon, parmesan and cream | A kitchen in Rome

Life and style | The Guardian

Lemons remind us of sunshine, and electrify both the senses and a simple, satisfying bowl of pasta

Lemons are many things, and January is a good time to fill a bowl with half a dozen. Take one, dig your nail into its oily, open-pored skin, sniff and make a mental list. Lemons are also full of particles with a positive electric charge, which, when on the loose, are like teenage boys in a brand new electric car, cruising around looking for other molecules to attach to, and in doing so they change them. It is this concentrated proton activity that the nerves in the tongue and brain interpret and experience as the sensation of sourness when they encounter lemon.

We studied this at school, and also stuck copper wire in oval fruits with nipples in order to make a lemon battery. However, it was rereading Margaret Visser’s tart and witty chapter on lemons in her book Much Depends on Dinner that reminded me of the science; how the movement and proton pumps result in the formation of citric acid, which explains much. Lemons are not just handy, long-lasting, perfectly packaged, sunny, essential, beautiful and so on, they are charged, they are jump leads, they are a sort of edible electricity. No wonder we get such a thrill from a wayward spritz of juice that hits an eye, a twist or a slice.

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January 19th 2021, 8:54 am

The green cleaner: 15 natural ways to spruce up your home – from nettles to rainwater

Life and style | The Guardian

Former Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle says we have been ‘brainwashed’ into believing we need harsh chemicals to clean our homes. Here’s how to take a more environmentally friendly approach

It was a filthy washing machine that prompted Nancy Birtwhistle to embrace the power of eco-friendly cleaning. “I was nearly at the point where I thought I needed a new washing machine, because it was a disgrace,” she says. “And that’s the sort of culture we’ve become: ‘I’ll replace it.’” Instead, she gave it a thorough clean and switched to homemade detergent. She says her machine no longer gets gunked up from chemical overload.

Birtwhistle, a no-nonsense retired GP practice manager and grandmother of nine, won the fifth series of The Great British Bake Off in 2014, but she has also become known on social media for her green cleaning tips. Once a fan of bleach and strongly perfumed products, she now makes everything herself. “We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that natural products are inferior to synthetic ones. I used to use bicarbonate of soda in the 1970s, but I stopped using it because there were products I thought would do a quicker job, but they’re causing such a lot of damage to the environment.” She has now written a book, Clean & Green: 101 Hints and Tips for a More Eco-friendly Home, which is packed with advice and ingenious tricks. Green cleaning, she says, is “accessible for everybody. I made the point of making it affordable.” Here are a few of her tips to get you started.

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January 19th 2021, 8:54 am

Nigel Slater’s recipe for greens with lemongrass and chillies

Life and style | The Guardian

A tasty, quick and healthy supper

Thoroughly wash and trim 400g of greens. Separate the stalks and slice them finely. Slice or tear the leaves into manageable pieces.

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January 19th 2021, 7:23 am

Still binning your mutt’s mess? Eco-friendly pet owners need a dog poo wormery

Life and style | The Guardian

It’s no longer enough to bag it and bin it – the green approach is to let worms munch through your dog’s waste

Name: Dog poo wormeries.

Age: They’ve been around for a while, but thankfully you didn’t know about them. Until now.

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January 18th 2021, 11:27 am

A natural beauty? How to give your bathroom shelves a green makeover

Life and style | The Guardian

Pretty packaging and exotic ingredients mean many beauty and makeup products come with a high environmental cost. But there are easy ways to make your skincare regime greener

Beneath its shiny layer of glossy, luxurious perfection, the environmental impact of the beauty industry makes grim reading. Companies produce a reported 120bn units of packaging (much of it plastic); products are shipped all over the world; some supply chains are dubious; and we wash harmful chemicals into our waterways every day. The personal care and beauty industry seems to have caught on to the sustainability movement relatively late. “It takes a long time for big corporations to turn around systems and to make big change,” says Katie Service, a writer and beauty editorial director of Harrods. “But at the same time, beauty is a nimble and agile industry. There are a lot of small, independent companies, and they’re able to pioneer lots of sustainable practices.” Service has written a book, The Beauty Brief, about skincare, but she is also passionate about her industry becoming more environmentally friendly. Here are her tips on what we, as consumers, can do, and also on the changes the big brands need to make right now.

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January 18th 2021, 11:27 am

How we met: ‘A fortune teller told me how I would meet my partner. She was right’

Life and style | The Guardian

Teachers Naomi and Huw Beynon, 41 and 49, met at a salsa class in 2005. They live with their children in Swansea

Naomi Lewis was nursing a broken heart at the start of 2005, after splitting up with her boyfriend a few months earlier. She had recently moved into a new flat in Swansea, alone, and befriended Saffron, a woman who lived above her in the building. “In January, Saffron went on a bad blind date to a salsa class,” she says. “Although there was no spark, she loved the dancing and begged me to go back with her. I’ve got two left feet and didn’t fancy it, but she persuaded me.”

When they arrived, Saffron’s date from the previous week was there – and he had brought a friend. “I’d not long broken up with someone and I went with my friend Julian because it seemed like something to do on a Wednesday night,” says Huw Lewis. While Saffron told Naomi that Julian’s friend “was cute”, Naomi insisted Huw wasn’t her type. But after the class they got chatting and realised they had a lot in common. “We discovered we were both teachers and that both our parents were from the Welsh valleys,” remembers Naomi. Their personalities clicked; when Huw went to the toilet, Naomi told her friend she was going to marry him. “I must have had a special power,” laughs Huw. “I don’t think she’d even had a drink. When I started talking to her, I really liked her. She was quirky and interesting.”

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January 18th 2021, 6:08 am

Thomasina Miers' recipe for hangover noodles and crispy eggs | The simple fix

Life and style | The Guardian

A comfort dish you don’t have to feel guilty about thanks to a crunchy fistful of shredded winter veg

I call these “hangover” noodles because what is better when one is feeling undone than a plate of noodles, a crispy egg and masses of chilli oil? Throw in a handful of root veg and you have a nutritious feast on your hands, rich with garlic and ginger. Even if the odds of my getting a hangover this month are about as high as my chances of dancing ’til dawn, these lip-smacking noodles should perk things up – perhaps set with a glass of manzanilla. After all, January is a particularly dreary month.

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January 18th 2021, 6:08 am

Nigel Slater’s recipes for good fudgy cheesecake and baked rhubarb and passion fruit

Life and style | The Guardian

Serve a classic cheesecake with rhubarb for pure delight

So entranced have I become with the black-capped, crustless Basque cheesecake I had almost forgotten the delights of the classic recipe. The sort you will find from New York to Vienna, with its thick, creamy body the colour of the inside of a ripe vacherin and a texture so thick you can stand your fork up in it. The one that smells of cold milk and vanilla pods and sticks to the roof your mouth. More crucially, I had forgotten that such overwhelming gorgeousness needs a bowl of soured cream or a lightning bolt of zesty fruit.

In summer I would send a slice of the cheesecake to the table with a pale crush of cooked gooseberries or, later, a bowl of loganberries. (Mulberries, rare as hen’s teeth, with their excess of tart, carmine juice, would be heavenly.) At Christmas, slices of blood orange in a pool of pomegranate juice would work, but right now in the depths of winter, rhubarb joyously fills the role. I squirt the seeds and juice of passion fruit at the stalks before I bake them. The seeds, which you can sieve out if you wish, introduce a welcome crunch.

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January 18th 2021, 5:51 am

My difficult son is using his new baby to manipulate me | Dear Mariella

Life and style | The Guardian

The arrival of your grandson won’t sweep away old issues between you and your adult son, says Mariella Frostrup. It’s these you must face

The dilemma My son, with whom I’ve had a very difficult relationship, recently had a baby. After a lovely and hopeful beginning where he seemed to be softening, he’s returned to his old habits of saying and doing deeply hurtful things with every visit or text.

His son is my first grandchild and, of course, such a joy, but it’s not possible to experience the happiness of the baby while receiving such abuse and hatred from him. He’s said in the past that he behaves this way because of his mental illness, which I understand to be anxiety, but I find it is a very selective illness that comes out only at me.

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January 18th 2021, 3:34 am

The joy of steps: 20 ways to give purpose to your daily walk

Life and style | The Guardian

Has the novelty of a prescribed stroll long since worn off? From tracking animals to uncovering hidden history, here’s how to discover a new world in your neighbourhood

The weather is rubbish, there is nowhere to go and, bereft of the joys of spring, the daily lockdown walk can feel pointless. But, of course, it is not: the mental and physical health perks of exercise are immune to seasonal changes. We need to gallivant around outside in daylight so that our circadian rhythms can regulate sleep and alertness. (Yes, even when the sky is resolutely leaden, it is still technically daylight.) Walking warms you up, too; when you get back indoors, it will feel positively tropical.

But if meeting these basic needs isn’t enough to enthuse you, there are myriad ways to add purpose to your stride and draw your attention to the underappreciated joys of winter walking.

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January 18th 2021, 3:34 am

'Hate-wear' and 'sadwear': fashion's new names for lockdown dressing

Life and style | The Guardian

NYT and Esquire coin terms for the ways people are expressing frustration through clothes

With online sales booming but retail in sharp decline, the pandemic has changed shopping for ever. Practical, comfortable items suitable for a lifestyle of working from home and occasional trips outside – such as Ugg boots, Crocs and trousers with elasticated waistbands – have seen rising sales.

But with many of us grappling with our emotions during lockdown, the way we feel and speak about our clothes has altered too.

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January 18th 2021, 3:34 am

Nigel Slater's 10 winter vegan and vegetarian recipes

Life and style | The Guardian

Deeply savoury miso onions, warming bowls of coconut noodles – recipes to celebrate the wealth of the cold season’s vegetables

A collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes for you this month. Ten recipes – some old, some new and more than half of them vegan – that celebrate the wealth of seasonal vegetables, the greens and roots that make cooking at this time of year such a joy.

Vegan dishes include little cakes of kimchi and sweet potatoes; a loaf of amaranth and chickpeas; a crunchy slaw and a dish of roast onions with miso. There’s also a gorgeous noodle curry with coconut and greens, and couscous with harissa-spiced roast tomatoes. (Vegans will know to ruthlessly check the labels of ingredients such as kimchi, miso and vegetable stock to check they are suitable for them.)

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January 18th 2021, 3:34 am

Havana: a virtual tour through food, music, films and books

Life and style | The Guardian

Travel vicariously through the arts, culture and cuisine that give the city its beauty and rhythm

A 1950s highway, bleached to sepia by the Caribbean sun, leads from Cuba’s Santa María beaches through palm and hibiscus. It passes close to the fishing village of Cojímar, crests a small rise and there is Havana, sweeping frontage wounded but upright against the turbulent waters of the Florida Straits.

During Havana’s first centuries, its vast natural harbour was filled with Spanish treasure ships waiting to be shepherded home against British and Dutch wolves. Alexander von Humboldt, visiting in 1800, wrote of “gazing upon the fortresses crowning the rocks east of the port … and the city itself half-hidden by a forest of spars and sails of shipping.”

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January 18th 2021, 3:34 am

Finding meaning in the life of a loved one who dies is part of grief

Life and style | The Guardian

We’ve all lost so much through the pandemic, but by making sense of it we can look forward

Death came early into David Kessler’s life. He was just 13 when his mother died, and her loss prompted his decision to forge a career working in palliative care. He went on to collaborate with psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a central figure in the field, who devised the five stages of grief. In lectures he would talk about his mother’s death and remind his audiences that no one is exempt from loss; and yet, he says today, in his heart he believed his personal experience of devastating grief was behind him, rather than ahead.

And then, four years ago, another tragedy hit his family. Kessler was totally floored by it. He discovered it was one thing knowing the landscape of mourning, and quite another travelling through it. But his journey, hard and long as it was, had an important by-product: he realised that the seminal Kübler-Ross inventory was not complete. To the five stages of grief she described, he was able, with the permission of the Kübler-Ross family, to add a sixth. And now, in the midst of the pandemic, he believes that the sixth stage will be as important in our universal experience of grieving as it is in individual lives hit by loss.

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January 17th 2021, 10:26 am

Why are increasing numbers of women choosing to be single?

Life and style | The Guardian

The word ‘spinster’ is still freighted with pity and misogyny, yet the number of women living this way is growing. Emma John says it’s time to reconsider what it means to be ‘never-married’

I remember the moment my sister told me she was having a baby. I was spending the evening with a group of friends and, halfway through, Kate said she needed a word. We ducked into a bedroom, where she looked at me so solemnly that I ransacked my brain for anything I could possibly have done wrong in the past half-hour.

The seriousness of her announcement made me giggle out loud. I had a flashback to the pair of us as kids, when a secret meeting like this meant we’d broken something in the house and were working out how to present the news to our parents. Plus, the thought of my little sister being a mum was innately funny. Not that Kate wasn’t ready for the role – she was in her mid-30s and keen to get on with it. I just couldn’t see myself as anyone’s aunt.

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January 17th 2021, 8:25 am

Blind date: ‘I asked if he would sing to me. He refused’

Life and style | The Guardian

Hannah, 22, marketing executive, and Morgan, 22, customer service representative

What were you hoping for?
I run planet-friendly singles events in my spare time, setting other people up. I thought it was probably time to go on a date myself.

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January 16th 2021, 6:42 am

‘I’m grateful for our intense lockdown split’: what has the pandemic done to our relationships?

Life and style | The Guardian

This period of enforced togetherness has broken some couples and turbocharged others

Lexi can clearly recall the day she walked around the house looking for traces of her husband, Rob. Returning from her work as a dog groomer that Friday evening, as usual she went to put her shoes away in the drawer under the stairs. But opening it up, she noticed all his shoes were missing. She went to the bedroom and looked at his side of the wardrobe: empty. As she walked from room to room, the shock set in. The house had been picked clean of Rob’s possessions; even his tools in the garage, the ones he had just got around to organising, were gone.

The couple had been together for six years, married for two, and have a four-year-old child (Lexi also has a daughter from a previous relationship). In the early days of the pandemic, their marriage had seemed strong, but in May they went through a tough patch: Lexi miscarried, and by autumn Rob had become increasingly down, telling her more than once that the year had left him “emotionally drained”. Even so, Lexi felt blindsided when he announced he wanted a divorce in mid-November. Two weeks later, he had gone. There has been no communication between them since. Lexi still has many questions about why Rob left, but she believes 2020 might have broken their marriage.

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January 16th 2021, 5:10 am

Cake, Pot Noodles, roast dinner: foods your parents didn’t know could be vegan

Life and style | The Guardian

Do your mum and dad suddenly start acting like fussy children as soon as they hear the mere mention of vegan food? These plant-based options they already know and love will change their whole perspective

Once upon a time, your parents labelled you the fussy eater of the family. But look at them now: so scared of vegan food you’d think you were asking them to eat sand.

The benefits of plant-based eating are clear: according to a study by researchers at the University of Oxford, eating a plant-based diet can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73%. Even skipping meat for just one day a week can reduce your annual carbon footprint by as much as not driving your car for a whole month.

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January 15th 2021, 3:50 pm

David Bowie's golden years – in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

The new biopic Stardust takes a wry look at the star’s first attempt to break America in 1971. Here’s how he went on to define his own style in the decades that followed

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January 15th 2021, 1:50 pm

Does Generation Z know how to email properly? An investigation

Life and style | The Guardian

A professor caused an internet storm when she asked if young people were capable of writing a formal message

This week, Prof Brittney Cooper from Rutgers University caused a small internet storm when she asked a simple question: “Why don’t modern college kids know how to send a formal letter/email?” She added that her students frequently email her simply saying “Hello.”

Why don’t modern college kids know how to send a formal letter/email? I thought everyone knew to begin Dear Prof. X or Dear Dr. X. Instead these kids stay emailing me Hello There! Or Hello (no name): Why are they like this?

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January 15th 2021, 1:50 pm

I long to move to the seaside, but will it unsettle my children?

Life and style | The Guardian

You’re unhappy where you are. How can you be sure you won’t be just as unhappy in a different town, asks Annalisa Barbieri

Four years ago, we relocated at a time we thought least harmful to our children: the youngest was starting primary school, the eldest junior school. They are now nine and 13. They are of mixed ethnicity and we wanted to live somewhere more multicultural, in a larger house in a less urban area. Our close family live outside England, so we thought moving nearer to extended family might provide some roots. The children settled well but contact with the extended family didn’t really happen.

Last year, going through the menopause, I became depressed and sought counselling. I recognised I’d been so focused on what might be best for the children that I’d disregarded what was right for me. I’ve always wanted to live by the sea and have become increasingly despondent about having missed an opportunity to move there four years ago. During lockdown my husband and I had time to reflect; he thinks our family unit will be stronger if we move again, before the children are any older. We both want our eldest settled before GCSEs. She is very empathic, knows I am unhappy and constantly asks why.

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January 15th 2021, 1:50 pm

18 brilliant vegan recipes – from orange poppy seed cake to ‘smoked salmon’

Life and style | The Guardian

Halfway through Veganuary and running out of ideas? Here are some reader suggestions of comforting but easy meals to add to your repertoire

This cake has passed the vigorous “visiting non-vegan children” test with flying colours. Preheat the oven to 180C. In a bowl, stir together 375g (1½ cups) plain flour, 190g (¾ cup) sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 1½ tbsp poppy seeds and 125g (½ cup) almond meal (or finely chopped almonds). Add 190g soy milk, 2 tsp orange extract, the zest of 1 orange, 60g (¼ cup) olive oil and egg substitute equal to 1 egg, then stir together gently until just mixed. Pour into a lightly oiled 20cm (8in) cake pan and bake for 25-30 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make an orange icing using icing sugar and some of the orange’s juice, then spread over the cooled cake. Simon Perry, cyber-sales trainer, New South Wales, Australia

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January 15th 2021, 1:50 pm

'We need to be in it': fashion labels vie for a role in Sex and the City

Life and style | The Guardian

TV show’s return offers a lucrative opportunity for any designs lucky enough to be featured

After a bruising 10 months of store closures, falling sales, cancelled red carpets and nixed shows, the fashion industry finally had something to smile about this week with the announcement of the return of Sex and the City.

“Everyone has been talking about it. People are saying: we need to be in it,” one PR at a major fashion brand told the Guardian, expressing the sentiments of an industry that greeted the news with the enthusiasm of Carrie Bradshaw at a Manolo Blahnik sample sale.

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January 15th 2021, 10:19 am

In the past, I’ve been accused of ignoring parents on the school run. As if! | Romesh Ranganathan

Life and style | The Guardian

I might be a prick, but there is absolutely no way I have the courage to walk around a school ignoring anyone who says hello to me

Every now and again, when bored, I post Stories on Instagram inviting questions from people who follow me. This usually elicits a mix of everything from, “Will there be another series of The Reluctant Landlord?” to, “How does somebody as desperately untalented as you make a living from comedy? (Please die.)” I was puzzled by the latter type of question as the only people seeing my Stories are those who follow me, which suggests that some people do so purely on the off-chance that I will invite questions so they can then strike.

The other day, I started replying to the abusive ones with similarly abusive responses, which hasn’t helped. Rather, I seem to have made it clear that the best way to get a response is by sending me something horrible. Now, whenever I start a Q&A, I open myself up to horrific trolling. I completely and utterly deserve this.

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January 15th 2021, 10:19 am

Celebrity fab abs: who’s top of the lockdown dance fitness classes?

Life and style | The Guardian

Whether it’s dancing with Oti Mabuse or hopping with Marcus Rashford, our reporter has the numbers and abs to find out who is Joe Wicks’s biggest rival

As we settle into our third lockdown, there are many sheep/goat, wheat/chaff separation moments in the world of online fitness. Who’s in it for the long haul? Who’s still doing new live routines every week? Who has kept their signature freshness and their energy levels unmatchably high? These people, that’s who.

In the explosion of celebrity fitness and dance routines to raise our spirits under lockdown, there is a heavy accent on getting your children involved. That’s all very well for people whose children do what they say, but I got a hard no from mine, and thereby proved an important first principle, that these are all perfectly enjoyable without them.

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January 15th 2021, 10:01 am

The pandemic has changed my perspective. Will I go back to the old me? | Coco Khan

Life and style | The Guardian

With enforced distance from certain faces and rituals, I can see clearly: I am different now

Before Covid, people often shared their dating stories with me. Not only friends but also colleagues at the tea point, or acquaintances at a mutual’s birthday, gesturing wildly about the lover who left a bad taste. Perhaps it was my approachable personality (or my own war chest of romantic failures), but these chance interactions added an extra dimension to my life. I missed them.

But when, recently, I reconnected with an acquaintance who complained about the lack of commitment from her new love interest, something was different.

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January 15th 2021, 9:19 am

Experience: I drink more than 50 cups of tea a day

Life and style | The Guardian

I judge every tea against four categories: zing, sparkle, colour and body. I taste at double strength, before spitting it out

I remember seeing the advert online. I was in that post-university period of uncertainty: I’d graduated with a degree in human geography with no idea what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t one of those people with a burning passion for something, but I did like tea and I wanted to become an expert in something. So I thought, why not?

The interview process for the role of professional tea taster was intense. There was a maths test as well as a tea testing, and I had to give a presentation on a beverage of my choice. You have to have quite a rounded set of skills. But I got the job.

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January 15th 2021, 5:14 am

My life in sex: the 32 year-old man who only fancies older women

Life and style | The Guardian

‘To me, young women all look the same; but older women are distinctive and uniquely beautiful – they have become the people they are meant to be’

“Some day, you’ll make an older woman very happy,” said one sixtysomething woman I was seeing. As much as she yearned for a relationship, she said it would be “wrong” to develop feelings for someone younger than her own kids. I’ve heard this unwritten rule again and again.

I am 32 and have always been exclusively attracted to mature women. Growing up, my lack of interest in women my age made my family and co-workers think I was gay. I was embarrassed by my feelings, so never acted upon them. However, as an eligible bachelor who spent his time in the company of older women, it was only a matter of time before someone acted upon their feelings with me.

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January 15th 2021, 5:14 am

Sweet treats are abbreviating these long, cooped-up January days | Grace Dent

Life and style | The Guardian

‘Each day, I promise myself: “Less sugar, fewer carbohydrates”, but I am yet to measure out mam’s morphine at 2am and then crave a rocket salad with an oil-free dressing’

I have eaten the Waterfield’s Lancashire plum cake that was in the bread box, and that I was saving for Sunday. Forgive me, it was delicious. So sweet and full of plump vine fruits. I ate the Mrs Botham’s landlord fruit cake steeped in Timothy Taylor pale ale, too. It’s a riff on Christmas cake, but brazenly tipsier, and apt: the Christmas season made almost no impact on me, but sweet treats are abbreviating these long, cooped-up January days.

In the Lakes, the nurses who check in on my mam cannot accept fruit loaf or restorative cups of tea: their plastic head shields over face masks prevent refreshments. Not even a tempting square of Lathams’ blackcurrant flapjack with its claret-coloured jam lying slickly across the bottom of the traybake, transforming sugary oats and syrup into something fleetingly joyous. Each day, I promise myself: “Less sugar, fewer carbohydrates”, but I am yet to measure out mam’s morphine at 2am and then crave a rocket salad with an oil-free dressing. My mother, 84, and with more comebacks than Status Quo behind her, feels similarly. Occasions such as this need the big guns. Hot buttered toast laden with enough marmalade to make Paddington rethink the chest size of his duffle coat. Baked rice pudding smattered with cinnamon, and with crisp patches of caramelised skin. The sight of forced rhubarb on the shelves at Booths invites me to make a rudimentary crumble – an off-piste, recipe-free crumble made from a wonky Brownie guide memory. The results are claggy and stickily indulgent, and served with a pint of mascarpone custard that is, essentially, pourable happiness – a quick machine-gun-fire of teeth-rattling happiness, temporary, but nevertheless valid.

I’m unsure what your personal pain is, but there’s a lot of it about at present. The sadness seeps quietly from all of us. If you find yourself in an argument, the chances are your opponent is not actually angry with you personally. They were merely carrying their anger when they happened upon your person, and you are merely collateral damage. And in that moment you are the embodiment of another three months of home-schooling or their father’s missing second vaccination jab. You are their forthcoming rent, their vanishing career and their dwindling savings. You are their patchy broadband or the fact that their teenager spends all day not learning but cavorting on social media, while in America a person in charge of nuclear codes is no longer deemed stable enough to have social media. Or perhaps they’ve just not had any fresh air for a long time, because it’s currently a bit tricky to tell what enough fresh air actually is. How long outdoors is acceptable until your need for fresh air is deemed wanton?

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January 15th 2021, 5:14 am

‘I don’t know what I’d have done without it’: the hobbies helping people through lockdown

Life and style | The Guardian

From stiles to greetings cards, map-making to whittling, niche interests have become a lifeline for people struggling through successive lockdowns

It all started three years ago as an antidote to the angry, inflamed opinions on Twitter. I just thought, let’s make something nice here so I started posting photos of stiles that I’d taken on my daily fell runs in the Lake District. I chose stiles simply because I have to stop at them when I run. They make you pause and look around and I like that. Once I’d started posting the pictures, it grew into something. People started sharing their own photos, locally but also in the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and more. It’s a small, low key-thing to do, but heartening too.

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January 15th 2021, 4:41 am

I was sure a call from Currys was a scam … but it wasn't what it seemed

Life and style | The Guardian

Store staff confirmed it was a fraud, but then it turned out to be a genuine Currys offer

I almost fell for what I believe is a scam when I was contacted by someone saying they were from Currys offering an insurance policy for a cooker that I had ordered in January 2019, but which I cancelled to buy elsewhere. The caller asked my details for “security”, then offered me an extended five-year warranty for £115 or £4 a month. They told me I had to pay by direct debit and asked for my account number and sort code.

I Googled and discovered your article mentioning a huge Currys data breach. I fear the caller was using a stolen list of orders to obtain bank details and Currys confirmed it was a scam.

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January 15th 2021, 4:41 am

Homes for sale to escape to the country – in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

From a thatched cottage to glass and steel, they are all far away from city life

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January 15th 2021, 4:41 am

As the days get longer, the return of colour and beauty lifts the spirits | Hannah Jane Parkinson

Life and style | The Guardian

Thank God the winter solstice has passed; the return of light means the coming of spring

It’s that time of year when the sun slacks. Clocking in late, clocking off early. The sun’s out there having an affair with the other side of the world and the UK is plunged into darkness and depression at 4pm. You start reading in the early afternoon, get to the end of a chapter and realise you can barely see the pages. You idly check the weather app and discover there are precisely seven minutes to get your walk in before the sun sets and the hum of the street lights starts. You basically live in a cave.

Thank God then, or rather science, that the winter solstice has passed and the days are beginning to get lighter, longer. The seasonal affective disorder that hamstrings many people starts to ease; LED lamps are returned to cupboards. Vitamin D supplements begin to be replaced with the real thing. You’ll stop yawning at 7pm, believing it is midnight.

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January 15th 2021, 2:24 am

From morning candles to pavement scooters: this week’s fashion trends

Life and style | The Guardian

What’s hot and what’s not in fashion this week

The Blob Ugly trainers were due an upgrade. May we introduce the hilariously GQ-coined Blob, so-named because, well – look at it.

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January 15th 2021, 2:24 am

From volunteering to building a memorial garden: how we are making lockdown work for us

Life and style | The Guardian

The fight against Covid-19 means we once again need to stay at home. Meet four ordinary people who know how to make the most out of lockdown

When the UK was first plunged into lockdown in March 2020, many who weren’t key workers or overnight home school teachers were left with an unprecedented amount of free time on their hands – and just when they really needed the distractions of everyday life the most. With restrictions in place once more, we meet people across the four nations of the UK who have managed to find the positives of life being on pause.

‘I’ve been working on helping others’
Aqeel Ahmed, 22, is a civil servant from Glasgow

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January 14th 2021, 11:47 am

Yes, I'm a food writer – and that qualifies me to write about everything | Jay Rayner

Life and style | The Guardian

Health, schools, overseas aid… food is integral to them all. So I’ll carry on having opinions about anything I choose

Like many people I have spent the past few years in a roaring, frothing rage at the incompetence and mendacity of the charmless, greasy-palmed hucksters who have somehow blagged their way into governing us. Occasionally, by which I mean most days, I have expressed this rage via a scalpel-sharp, profound and witty political tweet. Weirdly, not everybody is as impressed by these contributions as I am. Indeed, at least one person usually replies: “Stick to tweeting about food, Rayner.”

If I’m feeling magnanimous, I reply with just two letters: “No.” Sometimes, if I’m feeling less sanguine, I point out that I’ve been covering politics in one form or another for more than three decades, and that I have an extremely important degree in political studies. I am literally qualified to tweet about it. Often, I delete these replies because they make me look like a sad, chippy apologist for myself which is unnecessary when so many others are happy to do that job for me.

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January 14th 2021, 9:31 am

Cold as ice? How to stay warm without whacking up the heating

Life and style | The Guardian

Trapped at home all day means heating bills are likely to mount up. Try these simple – and ingenious – ways to keep yourself toasty

With many of us working from home, shielding or just following the requirement to stay in our houses, it’s going to be an expensive winter if we have the heating running all day. Last week, the writer and Guardian columnist Frances Ryan, who has been shielding since last spring, asked people on Twitter to share tips on how to keep warm and keep the bills down, and the hundreds of replies were ingenious and helpful. In 2020, National Energy Action, the charity that campaigns to end fuel poverty, which is linked to 12,000 deaths in a “normal” year, said that a second wave of Covid-19 over winter could be “catastrophic”. So write to your MP about that, and check to see if you are eligible for any schemes to help pay bills. In the meantime, here are a few ways you can keep warmer, cut down on fossil fuel consumption and keep costs down.

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January 14th 2021, 6:46 am

How my Puerto Rican mother became an expert Indian cook

Life and style | The Guardian

When she used a cream for piña coladas to make a coconut curry, it should have been game over. But her diligence eventually paid off

When I was in sixth grade, my history teacher asked our class to bring in food that was reflective of our family’s personal heritage as part of an exercise to experience one another’s cultural backgrounds. The food could either be purchased or prepared with a parent.

In my predominantly white Long Island suburb, not far from New York City, most of my fellow students were planning offerings that featured common European fare (corned beef and cabbage, spaghetti, gyros) or classic American dishes (meatloaf, hotdogs, mashed potatoes.) A child of Indian, Puerto Rican and Italian descent, I wanted to offer a dish I had grown up with, but that I presumed none of my classmates had ever tried.

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January 14th 2021, 6:16 am

'I came up a black staircase': how Dapper Dan went from fashion industry pariah to Gucci god

Life and style | The Guardian

In the 1980s, his Harlem store attracted famous athletes and musicians. Then the luxury brands got him shut down. Now, at 76, he’s more successful than ever – and still on his own terms

It was a mentor on the gambling circuit in Harlem, New York, who gave Daniel Day the moniker that would make him famous. Day was just 13, but had revealed himself to be not only a better craps player than his guide, who was the original Dapper Dan, but also a better dresser. So it came to be that Day was christened “the new Dapper Dan”.

It wouldn’t be until decades later that Day would truly make his name. Dapper Dan’s Boutique, the legendary Harlem couturier he opened in 1982, kitted out local gamblers and gangsters, then later hip-hop stars and athletes such as Mike Tyson, Bobby Brown and Salt-N-Pepa. His custom pieces repurposed logos from the fashion houses that had overlooked black clientele. A pioneer in luxury streetwear, Day screenprinted the monograms of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, MCM and Fendi on to premium leathers to create silhouettes synonymous with early hip-hop style: tracksuits, bomber jackets, baseball and kufi caps. In the process he became a pariah of the fashion industry – and to this day, now aged 76, still one of its great influencers.

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January 14th 2021, 5:13 am

I've moved back with my parents in my early 30s and feel I'm missing milestones. Does this get easie

Life and style | The Guardian

You sound like you live well, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith. Don’t be fooled into a view of success based on values that aren’t your own

I have recently moved back with my parents in my early 30s after over 10 years of living independently, and while my parents love having me here and we have a wonderful relationship, I feel as though I am failing at the linear life path that nearly all of my friends are living. Most of my friends are settling down in relationships, buying properties, excelling in their careers. However, I have been single for over eight years and do not seem to be able to attract a partner. I don’t want to settle and dating gay men is difficult if you don’t look like a Greek Adonis. I absolutely love my job but I work for a charity, which means I don’t get those salaries my friends in financial services get and it’s hard to excel up the career ladder quickly because of limited roles, and I have minimal savings so the prospect of home ownership is nothing short of a fantasy.

Why do I feel so stressed and sad about this? I know we all have our own paths in life and the standard line life isn’t so perfect. But I just feel as though I am getting older and missing out on those milestones that I should be and do want to be experiencing. Does this get easier and do you care less as you get older?

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January 14th 2021, 4:56 am

How intention turns a walk into a pilgrimage – plus 5 British pilgrim trails

Life and style | The Guardian

The co-author of a book on Britain’s pilgrimages reveals the benefits of structuring a walk around a purpose that is ‘determined by your heart’

When we are set free from our confinement, what are the safe options for venturing out? Last year was the year of walking outdoors, so perhaps – and I may be biased – 2021 will be the year for pilgrimages, given that throughout history people have made pilgrimages at times of crisis? To lay the ground for rediscovery, in summer 2020 the British Pilgrimage Trust (BPT) launched Britain’s Pilgrim Places, a compendium of 600 sites and 100 routes, which I co-authored.

Walking outdoors is how, throughout history, many of humanity’s greats have found meaning, made discoveries, and embarked upon new paths of inner discovery. In Thinking, Fast And Slow, Nobel-prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman explains how walking is the perfect ambulatory speed to free our minds. As we sit in our chairs, our minds are good at executing tasks but not at thinking big. Going for a run clears our mind, but it’s hard to keep your train of thought. Walk, however, and your mind can become the blue sky above you, allowing your thoughts to soar and form new connections. Extended walking also frees your emotions.

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January 14th 2021, 4:56 am

How to make cock-a-leekie – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass

Life and style | The Guardian

A hearty, warming Scottish chicken-and-leek soup with roots in the Middle Ages

One in a long and noble list of wonderfully named British soups, cockie leekie, as it’s sometimes known, is an old Scottish favourite that dates back to at least the 16th century, but that has its roots in the medieval culinary tradition of meat and fruit pottages. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the most wholesome lunches or suppers imaginable; a true feast in a bowl.

Prep 10 min
Cook 2 hr 45 min
Serves 4

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January 14th 2021, 4:56 am

Sour power: 17 delicious ways to cook with lemons, from sponge cake to sorbet

Life and style | The Guardian

Nothing says ‘summer’ like the scent of citrus. Brighten your winter with these mouth-watering recipes for pasta, pudding, slow-cooked pork …

It’s always lemon season somewhere. Even across Europe the harvest period is so long – running from November to July – that it would make more sense to speak of a brief off-season, and even then I’m sure you wouldn’t notice any shortage.

But for what it’s worth, we are now embarking upon the more lemon-saturated period of the year, and those fancy, expensive lemons with the leaves still on are just starting to appear in shops. They bring a strong note of summer to the dark winter months, and to almost any dish you make with them. Now is the time to expand your citrus repertoire.

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January 14th 2021, 4:56 am

Pongal is comfort food for south India’s harvest season – plus the recipe

Life and style | The Guardian

Pongal is both a harvest festival, which starts today, and the rice and dal breakfast dish eaten to mark its arrival


I stand in my kitchen, in the liminal light between dreams and dawn, trying to contain my delight. Normally, I am a late and grouchy riser but today is Pongal – the harvest festival celebrated across southern India, particularly Tamil Nadu, in mid-January – which gives me the opportunity to eat its namesake food, one that I love.

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January 14th 2021, 4:56 am

Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic rated the worst airlines at dealing with refunds in 2020

Life and style | The Guardian

Delaying and even refusing refunds for cancelled flights due to lockdown results in ‘abysmally low’ customer service scores in Which? survey

Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic have been rated the worst airlines for customer service by people who tried to get a refund after their flight was cancelled.

Both airlines scored “abysmally low” in a survey conducted by Which? Travel, with eight out of 10 customers saying they were dissatisfied with the refund service they received after their flight was cancelled in 2020.

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January 13th 2021, 8:18 am

Save, impulse buy, repeat: are our lockdown money habits here to stay?

Life and style | The Guardian

Lockdown taught Britons the art of saving, but also revealed how fond we are of spur-of-the-moment splurges

As the clamour for post-Christmas bargains showed us, the UK is a nation of spontaneous spendthrifts who can’t help succumbing to wanton acts of buying. Want an inflatable rhino half the size of your living room? Sure. A Tom Jones-themed jigsaw? Naturally. A handcrafted Negroni “exploration kit”? Add it to the cart!

Although spur-of-the-moment sprees aren’t unusual for the Christmas shopping period, the impulse buy has also been one of the defining financial behaviours of 2020. Ever since the UK entered its first national lockdown in March last year, pandemic puppies, entertainment subscriptions and even goldfish have entered our lives as people seek reassuring pick-me-ups amid the hardships of the pandemic. And we’ve gone on a chocolate binge apparently, spending millions more than usual. According to Aviva, 36% of us have become bigger spenders during lockdown.

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January 13th 2021, 7:18 am

My parents' wills are caught up in a scandal at solicitor

Life and style | The Guardian

We cannot apply for probate as all the paperwork is now with the regulator

My parents died recently. Their wills were held by Coles Solicitors in York, which was forced by the regulator to close last summer.

We were told that the wills and house deeds were in the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) archive and that we had to request their return. We did so in August, and were given an eight-week turnaround. There is still no sign of the documents and we cannot file a probate application without them.

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January 13th 2021, 5:02 am

Never too late: 'You’ve got to find that thing that gets you up in the morning'

Life and style | The Guardian

At 58, with arthritis, a bad knee, a bad back and bad shoulder, Nick Fowler enrolled in Tafe to become a personal trainer – a job he now loves

Name: Nick Fowler
Age: 60
Electrical engineer turned personal trainer

I was a severe asthmatic to start with. Living in Darwin every time the season changed, I ended up in hospital. They said I had to start swimming to build my chest muscles up and build my lung capacity. So I got into sport through swimming. I started playing AFL. My mother played squash so used to bash me around the court playing squash. I played cricket, rugby league. I was playing six sports a year as a young kid, from the age of about 14, or 15.

Then at 16 I had no idea what I wanted to do. My father was a power station supervisor up in Darwin and he said there was something going, and I managed to get it. I started off as an apprentice instrument control systems tradesman and worked my way up. It goes with my mind. I’m logic-minded. I was in the technical side of it for over 40 years, I saw huge changes in the industry.

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January 12th 2021, 11:58 am

Light of my life: why do candles feel so important right now?

Life and style | The Guardian

Buying a nice candle is a small comfort at a time when days blend into each other, stringing themselves together to form one huge, interminable bummer

Something was missing from Elizabeth Black’s car.

In July, she and her husband had sold their house in Seattle and packed up all of their belongings, which the movers would bring to Boston. The couple decided to drive there, and in the car were just the necessities: their two Labradors, two suitcases, an ice cooler. But Black couldn’t hit the road without one other thing.

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January 12th 2021, 11:12 am

Love creamy pasta, can't eat cream? Read on ... | Kitchen aide

Life and style | The Guardian

Beyond plant-based dairy substitutes, you can add creaminess with squash, cashews, beans, coconuts ... and a trick using oil and white flour

How can I make a creamy pasta sauce without using dairy?
Hannah, Southport

Come winter, all routes point to pasta. Happily, there are many ways Hannah can pull off a vegan creamy sauce, whether that’s with dairy-free “milk” (oat, nut, soya – never sweetened) or “cream”, cashews, white beans, root veg or coconut milk. It all depends on what she’s looking for, says Stephen Flynn, one half of plant-based empire The Happy Pear.

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January 12th 2021, 10:09 am

‘Don’t let your defences down’: the rise of investment scams (and how to avoid them)

Life and style | The Guardian

Financial fraud has shot up during the pandemic so it’s vital to understand how scammers target their prey – knowledge that could save you a fortune

Financial fraud is nothing new, but the number of scams soared in 2020 with fraudsters taking advantage of financial uncertainty and coronavirus worries to swoop on vulnerable victims.

According to data published by Action Fraud in November, there was a spike in scams between May and September. The types are myriad, from stereotypical “romance” scams, where people are befriended online then duped, to fake tax emails and impersonation scams.

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January 12th 2021, 8:25 am

Kamala Harris and why politicians can’t resist Vogue (though it always ends in tears)

Life and style | The Guardian

The latest row over a high-fashion magazine cover, involving the US vice-president-elect, illustrates the chaos than can ensue when alpha worlds collide

When Theresa May appeared in US Vogue in 2017, even her deliberately anodyne choice of a posh-end-of-the-high-street dress by British label LK Bennett did not prevent this newspaper calling the Annie Leibovitz shoot a “defining moment” which, “like Margaret Thatcher in the tank turret looking like a cross between Boudicca and Lawrence of Arabia … might easily become a signifier of all that is flawed in her prime ministerial style”. Michelle Obama’s bare upper arms appeared no fewer than three times on the cover of Vogue during her White House years, causing pearl-clutching uproar at the sight of her toned triceps.

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January 12th 2021, 4:23 am

Modern life is rubbish! The people whose homes are portals to the past

Life and style | The Guardian

What is it like to live in a time machine? Five people explain why they made their home into the perfect replica of an earlier era

Will future generations look at the interior design of the early 21st century in appreciation? Possibly not. We do not appear to have crafted many design classics, unless slab-like corner sofas in mud-grey velvet are Eames chairs in the making. Our feature walls are gaudy; our furniture cheaply made. Scarcely anything seems to be built to last, which is just as well, as the next Instagram-led interior design trend will be along soon enough.

But there are those who retreat from modern trends into the interiors of the past, drawn by the allure of original designs. We speak to five people whose homes are portals into the past.

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January 12th 2021, 4:23 am

I am in my 60s and dating men in their 40s. The sex is great – so why do I feel guilty?

Life and style | The Guardian

I have always preferred younger partners, but now that I am getting older I think other people are getting judgmental

I am a divorced woman in her 60s who has recently dated a couple of men in their 40s. I have always looked young and my ex-husband is much younger than me. I have never thought much about it, but now that I am getting older I think other people are becoming judgmental. The sex is great and they are not boys, so why do I feel guilty?

It is not easy to shrug off societal judgment. I suspect the people who judge you negatively would barely notice a man in his 60s with a 40-year-old woman. Is there an obvious derogatory word for an older man who dates young women? No. Ageism, hypocrisy and double standards regarding “acceptable” partnerships abound in our society. In most cases, age differences between partners are no one else’s business. Your best course is to ignore judgmental looks or comments – including congratulatory words that constitute veiled criticism. People who are sexually confident can attract adult partners of any age – and they have a right to feel comfortable about that.

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January 12th 2021, 4:23 am

Busted! What The Great and Bridgerton reveal about cleavage

Life and style | The Guardian

Corset sales are up, even in lockdown, as the nation binge-watches glossy costume dramas. But even in the 18th century, the cantilevered look could be fraught

Can cleavage ever be a plot device? The 18th-century Russian court, as visualised in The Great, a bonkers new satire from Hulu and Channel 4, is a hotbed of moral iniquity, vodka and bears. But, like most costume dramas, it is also about breasts.

Take Lady Svenska, a courtier hellbent on ousting Catherine the Great. We know from her decolletage that she’s a baddie long before she calls Catherine “a bitch” for refusing a biscuit. Then there’s Georgina Dymov, the mistress of Catherine’s husband, Peter III, whose libidinal interests are crystallised by the gold-plated pendant pointing directly towards her bosom.

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January 11th 2021, 9:44 am

Super-dry: 10 non-alcoholic cocktails to make at home – from a hot buttered pineapple to a dirty mar

Life and style | The Guardian

This is usually the season for atoning for festive excess. If you have decided (heroically) to stick to dry January, these recipes will help

Traditionally, January is a time of reining it in; of attempting to atone for a month of near-constant consumption by suddenly deciding that you want to be Gwyneth Paltrow. Putting a pause on the booze is a very simple first step, but you can quickly discover that your options are limited to juice, squash and cola. Instead, try some of these complex and sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktail ideas. Just whatever you do, don’t call them mocktails. You’re an adult, for crying out loud.

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January 11th 2021, 6:42 am

How we met: We were locked down on different continents – and our marriage joke became a reality

Life and style | The Guardian

Nelly Sutro, 30, and Ryan Lacey, 35, dated over Instagram and FaceTime in the first wave of the pandemic. They married after meeting in Boston and now live in Kaiserslautern, Germany

At the end of 2019, Nelly Sutro was living in New York, facing the fast-paced grind of city dating life. Fed up with apps, ghosting and rushed drinks with strangers after work, she complained to her friend Lina about the situation.

Unbeknown to her, Lina had been in touch with another friend, Ryan Lacey, who was based in Germany for his US army job, and also struggling to meet someone. “She connected us on Instagram and suggested that we chat,” says Nelly. “She thought we’d be really good together.”

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January 11th 2021, 6:42 am

Semi-solo hiking brings me the gift of time alone, and the joy of reuniting

Life and style | The Guardian

Needing solitude in lockdown but wanting her partner’s presence, our writer came up with the idea of taking opposite walking routes

On my 13th birthday, my sister gave me a pale pink card with a cat playing a harp. There was a halo above its head and the words “My sister, the angel.” I smiled and opened the card to read the message inside: “Always harping on about something”.

I laughed because it was true: I was a talkative child. In fact, later that day, a different sister gave me the very same card. Two decades on, I’m still a talker. I thrive on sparring, debating, gossiping and teasing. I solve problems by talking them through, be it the convoluted plot of a movie or a thorny personal issue. This works perfectly well when I have people to talk to. Under lockdown, however, I’ve only had my partner, Peter.

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January 11th 2021, 1:41 am

'Kornacki khakis for the win!' Internet agrees MSNBC host is trousers icon

Life and style | The Guardian

Presenter helps dun-coloured pants also worn by President-elect Biden roar back into geek chic fashion

Steve Kornacki, the MSNBC pundit who broke the internet in November with his khaki trousers, returned to TV screens for the Georgia Senate runoffs this week.

Related: 'You can’t lose a single vote': can Biden navigate the 50-50 Senate?

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January 10th 2021, 7:22 pm

The Lion King's syrupy songs make me want to throw my screening device to the hyenas | Prove me wron

Life and style | The Guardian

That film is the worst, argues Ellen Leabeater. And don’t get her started on adults who sing Hakuna Matata at karaoke. Calla Wahlquist tries to prove her wrong

Ellen Leabeater: Calla, I hate 1994 movie The Lion King. Is my heart made of tin? Yes. I have hated it since first forced to watch it at age four. In fact, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep out of sheer boredom during the opening scene, and any subsequent attempts to remain awake and finish the film have failed. I mean the opening scene is four minutes long and nothing happens! And even if you convince me to watch the film, you will not convince me to like the soundtrack. The syrupy, gleeful singalong tunes make me want to throw my screening device into a pack of hyenas. Ditto any adult who decides Hakuna Matata is their karaoke song or life mantra. Can you give me a heart? Doubt it. But prove me wrong, Calla.

Related: Come-hither lions and sleazy old owls: when Disney classics are difficult

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January 10th 2021, 11:35 am

'They respond to vibrations': does talking to plants actually help them grow?

Life and style | The Guardian

After a year at home with her orchid, Seetha Dodd was rewarded with a large spray of blooms. Could her words of encouragement have played a part?

There is an orchid plant that lives on my kitchen windowsill. For the first two years in my care, she produced two flowers a year. When it comes to house plants, I am more brown- than green-thumbed, so this performance exceeded my expectations. I put it down to sheer luck (mine) and some serious willpower (the orchid’s). I was grateful for this two-flower miracle that survived despite my lack of gardening knowhow.

But last year was an anomaly. Like many of us, I spent many iso hours cooking, baking, singing and talking in the kitchen.

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January 10th 2021, 11:35 am

Does vitamin D combat Covid?

Life and style | The Guardian

It’s cheap, widely available and might help us fend off the virus. So should we all be dosing up on the sunshine nutrient?

In March, as coronavirus deaths in the UK began to mount, two hospitals in northeast England began taking vitamin D readings from patients and prescribing them with extremely high doses of the nutrient. Studies had suggested that having sufficient levels of vitamin D, which is created in the skin’s lower layers through the absorption of sunlight, plays a central role in immune and metabolic function and reduces the risk of certain community-acquired respiratory illnesses. But the conclusions were disputed, and no official guidance existed. When the endocrinology and respiratory units at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS foundation trust made an informal recommendation to its clinicians to prescribe vitamin D, the decision was considered unusual. “Our view was that this treatment is so safe and the crisis is so enormous that we don’t have time to debate,” said Dr Richard Quinton, a consultant endocrinologist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Soon clinicians and endocrinologists around the world began arguing about whether sufficient levels of vitamin D might positively impact coronavirus-related mortality rates. Some considered the nutrient an effective treatment hiding in plain sight; others thought of it as a waste of time. In March, the government’s scientific advisers examined existing evidence and decided there wasn’t enough to act upon. But in April, dozens of doctors wrote to the British Medical Journal describing the correction of vitamin D deficiencies as “a safe, simple step” that “convincingly holds out a potential, significant, feasible Covid-19 mitigation remedy”.

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January 10th 2021, 7:31 am

Are our personalities set in stone, or can we work on – even improve – them?

Life and style | The Guardian

Ask yourself what your ideal personality will be and, with self-awareness and repetitive practice, traits will follow

At some point most of us have been assigned a neat label for our personality, as if it were a brand of clothing. It could have occurred during a job interview, for an online dating profile, or in a social-media quiz that matches your traits with a character from Game of Thrones. Or perhaps you’ve endured a conversation with friends in which everyone is declared an “introvert” or “extrovert”, the two tribes into which the entire world’s population can seemingly be divided. ​The dogma of personality classifications, says psychologist and author Dr Benjamin Hardy, is that they reveal “your true core authentic self – and that [once you have] discovered it, you can finally live your true life.” They are supposed to be empowering and are presented as definitive. They work on the assumption that personality is a rigid thing, cast in plaster.

Speaking over Zoom from his home in Florida, Hardy says all this is “bogus”. In his recent book Personality Isn’t Permanent, he argues personality isn’t fixed at all. Some shifts occur naturally as we go about our lives – but we can also consciously alter our traits should we so desire. He speaks about personality – “your consistent attitudes and behaviours, your way of showing up in situations” – as a collection of learnable skills, like riding a bike.

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January 10th 2021, 7:31 am

Recipes for ham and pickled cabbage | Nigel Slater

Life and style | The Guardian

Perfectly pink ham and zesty pickles make a timeless pairing

There are three things I remember about my gran’s house: the smell of coal dust from the open fires; the freezing cold outside loo; and the slow and peaceful bubble of a ham cooking on the black-leaded kitchen range. Even now, half a century later, I think of her whenever I boil a piece of ham, its fat slowly turning to quivering jelly, the meat puttering away in an aromatic bath of water with onion and carrot, bay leaves and peppercorns (I’m pretty sure she popped a clove or three in there, too). It’s a favourite dinner I cook all too rarely, despite every mouthful coming with deep affection and a ladle’s worth of memories.

My gran, Lily, served her ham in thin slices with some of its broth and, always, a dish of pickled beetroot. I offer mine in a similar way, but with a tangle of pickled cabbage whose crunchy, sweet-sour addition I prefer to beetroot, and a bowl of fried jerusalem artichokes, first steamed for softness then fried with parsley and lemon to crisp the edges. I can’t imagine my gran ever saw (or heard of) a jerusalem artichoke, but they do have an affinity with ham.

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January 10th 2021, 5:48 am

Making waves: the female surfer smashing records and stereotypes

Life and style | The Guardian

In the intimidating and macho world of big-wave surfing, Brazilian Maya Gabeira is breaking male and female records – and challenging the sport’s testosterone-fuelled identity

The thing that struck Maya Gabeira was the sound. “I had never heard anything similar: it was the first affirmation that that was the biggest wave I had ever ridden,” she says. “It was just ‘phwoooaaaarrrrrrr.’” She mimics a bomb exploding in her hands. There was also a continuous “Brrrrrrrrrrrrr,” she says, like a deep engine humming – the sound of tonnes of water falling, falling, falling from a great height. “It almost vibrates inside your body.”

The Brazilian big-wave surfer is reflecting on the events of 11 February 2020, when she rode a monstrous 22.4m (73.5ft) wave at Nazaré in Portugal. It set the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed by a woman. It was also the biggest wave surfed by anyone, male or female – the first time this feat has been achieved by a woman.

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January 10th 2021, 5:30 am

‘I see human resilience every single day’: people in tough jobs on how to stay hopeful

Life and style | The Guardian

A hospice nurse, bereavement counsellor, firefighter, climate change lecturer and social worker share their secrets

Adam Graham, 41, hospice nurse, Newcastle upon Tyne
People say: your job must be so depressing. It’s actually not. Of course there are sad moments, but they are few and far between. A hospice is not somewhere you go to die; many people return home. We specialise in palliative care, which means making the best of your life. Obviously death is a part of that. But death is a part of regular life, too.

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January 10th 2021, 5:30 am

Our son may be left-handed – but he can throw food with both…

Life and style | The Guardian

Holding a pen with your left hand is no longer seen as sinister… unless you count drawing on the sofa

I’m watching my son use his tools carefully. Pencils, forks, the fiddly bits on his toys. I’m not just doing this for our benefit – although his propensity for scribbling on our sofa is prodigious – but because I’m doing important science.

My wife first noticed his left-handedness a few weeks ago. Since then, we’ve been watching him closely to confirm her hypothesis. It’s harder to determine than you might imagine. I, for example, write and eat with my right hand, but throw or kick a football, with my left hand or foot. My son isn’t particularly proficient in any of those disciplines, but appears to be my opposite – left-handed, right-footed, ambidextrous only when it comes to hurling Ready Brek with his fists.

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January 10th 2021, 5:01 am

It’s time to rethink our attitudes to native flora | James Wong

Life and style | The Guardian

Native doesn’t always mean better when it comes to gardening – in fact, when you look at it, it can mean very little at all

It’s part of human nature to project our values on to the world around us, and given that gardening is all about shaping nature to fit our perceived ideal, I think it’s hard to find a better expression of these deep impulses. It’s one of the things that makes gardens as fascinating as they are beautiful.

But sometimes our assumptions can colour our understanding of scientific reality so much that they run the risk of making us worse gardeners. Nowhere is this more the case than in some of the beliefs that surround the idea that native species are always better in UK gardens.

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January 10th 2021, 3:31 am

On the road to nowhere: has the shine worn off the home workout?

Life and style | The Guardian

In 2020, in response to Covid, gyms closed and moved online – with massive success. But can we really get fit at home?

If Britney can get through 2007, you can get up this hill!” My quads are burning. Sweat soaks into the handlebars. But deep down? I know that Cody Rigsby, my Peloton instructor, a Hercules in Lycra, is correct. I can get up this hill. Furthermore, I can’t let Cody down. You don’t want to disappoint someone who calls you “boo” on a regular basis. “Get your life together, boo!” says Cody.

I dig deeper. I push those pedals. I climb the hill. I attempt to get my life together. “Proud of you Peloton!” says Cody. It might be the Britney soundtrack, it might be the endorphins coursing through my system, but for a moment, at least, I believe him. Even though Cody is in his studio in New York and I am in my garage in Bristol. Even though there is no hill, just a £1,750 stationary bicycle with a dial I turn to increase resistance. Even though the Britney Spears 30-Minute Class I just completed wasn’t even live. I am not even a number on Cody’s screen.

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January 10th 2021, 3:31 am

My vow against weddings has been spoiled by the virus | Eva Wiseman

Life and style | The Guardian

There’s nothing like a pandemic to make us reconsider long-held prejudices… including the romance of a fancy wedding

Rest in peace, the wedding. I will refrain from dancing on its grave, but only because I’m wearing the wrong shoes. Which is typical. Even in death it screws us on footwear.

Long have I bored on about the wedding’s faults, occasionally in the voice of a person fallen out of love with the world, sometimes with reference to such nostalgic concepts as “capitalism” or “commodification of gender” or “bad cake”. I may have totted up its costs, like a particularly bitter divorcee, grinching in print about the grossly inflated bills for canapés and balloons and sentimental table fetishes. I may have grabbed you in the smoking area and shouted about the passivity of princess culture and its inevitable conclusion, the massive white dress and its required pedestal. The erasure of a woman’s name coming at the end of a performance of proposals and symbolic rings so politically retro it would be no-platformed if booked for a university debate.

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January 10th 2021, 3:31 am

Sunday with Maya Jama: ‘I’ll create my perfect roast from Deliveroo’

Life and style | The Guardian

The TV and radio presenter on afternoon starts, clean sheets and playing music for passersby

Early bird or lie-in? Lie-in. Always. If I’ve done a mad Saturday night, then it could be a 3pm start. Sunday is my day off.

Sunday scruff or Sunday best? I don’t do my hair and makeup unless I’m working. There’s a massive contrast between when the hair and makeup people help me and my own slicked up ponytail. On Sundays I look like Stig of the Dump.

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January 10th 2021, 2:31 am

My daughter is at uni, but bad relationships are bringing her down | Dear Mariella

Life and style | The Guardian

These are difficult times for the young but chasing down life partners always pushes them away, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma I have a daughter at university who, since she was 17, has gone from one bad relationship to another, making her feel depressed and worthless, and impacting on her work. It’s a recurring cycle. She becomes deeply committed to a relationship only to be slowly cast aside or dumped, further denting her already low self-esteem. When she is on form (and single) she is fun-loving and outgoing, always kind. She is smart and attractive. I am not clear what is going wrong or how to advise her.

Her last boyfriend spent several months chasing her; eventually she agreed but, after a few happy months, he slowly “reeled her out”, saying that he could not commit. Now in lonely lockdown she feels ever more abandoned and is wondering what is wrong with her or what she is doing wrong. On our long phone conversations I advise her to focus on her degree and get immersed in the work as a cure. I reassure her that things will work out in the end and that these things are normal and nothing to do with her personally. I am worried that this will affect her degree. I know life is a learning process, but I would like her to learn some strategies.

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January 10th 2021, 1:14 am

The Garden at Corinthia, London: ‘The food is good, the pricing brutal’ – restaurant review

Life and style | The Guardian

This Alpine-inspired courtyard takes prices and luxurious eating to new heights – and without the skiing

The Garden at Corinthia, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD (020 7321 3012). Starters £11-£14.50; mains £24-£30; desserts £10-£12 and wines from £48

If wealth has any purpose, it is to make things easier, which is to say less effortful. The Garden at the shiny Corinthia hotel on London’s Whitehall Place has this sewn up. There, they have been offering a spendy après-ski experience, only without the tiresome bother of any skiing, what with mountains being in short supply on the Thames Embankment. As a man with weak ankles, no balance and a reasonable concern about the impact of gravity upon what, given my job, I should call my critical mass, this strikes me as a top idea.

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January 10th 2021, 1:14 am

Power play: 10 of the best activewear outfits for women - in pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

A new workout look might just add to your new year motivation. Give your fresh regime a lift in bold colours and patterns

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January 9th 2021, 7:00 pm
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