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What links the Bosphorus with the Bering Strait? The Saturday quiz

Life and style | The Guardian

From the Kalevala to Noël Coward, test your knowledge with the Saturday quiz

The questions
1
What was stolen from China by botanist Robert Fortune?
2 Which palace is known as the Viennese Versailles?
3 Carolyn Shoemaker found 32 examples of what?
4 Who were Spengler, Venkman and Stantz in a 1980s film?
5 Reintroduced to the UK, what is the heaviest flying bird?
6 Who changed his middle name from Winston to Ono?
7 The Kalevala is the national epic of which country?
8 The torch relay was devised for which Olympic games?
What links:
9 Dijon department; rode through Coventry; Spartan king; mother of God?
10 Motion; planetary motion; thermodynamics; robotics?
11 Darién Gap; Bering Strait; Bosphorus; Suez Canal?
12 Gillian Lynne; Harold Pinter; John Gielgud; Noël Coward?
13 Marbles; tug of war; honeycomb; green light, red light?
14 Where the Light Enters; Becoming; Spoken from the Heart?
15 Artist Lubaina Himid; singer Freddie Mercury; novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah?

The answers
1
Tea plants and seeds.
2 Schönbrunn.
3 Comets.
4 Ghostbusters.
5 Great bustard.
6 John Lennon.
7 Finland.
8 Berlin, 1936.

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Blind date: ‘He was fully on board when I suggested we order champagne’

Life and style | The Guardian

Alizée, 25, advertising account manager, meets Rhys, 34, chef

Alizée on Rhys

What were you hoping for?
Good food, meeting someone interesting and that my date would be as tall as me (six-foot gal over here!)

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Tim Dowling: my laptop’s new lease of life has landed me in a stew

Life and style | The Guardian

Carrying it under my chin like a teenager, I’m convinced I can use it, watch TV and cook dinner all at once. I can’t …

Three years ago, I bought a laptop, days before flying to America, because the old iPad I had long used for working away from home had just died.

Compared with the other technology in my life, this laptop was like something from the future. I’m not an early adopter. After my phone was stolen on a train, I went in search of the least-desirable model available for purchase: reconditioned, obsolete, unrecommended.

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Will we ever cure the common cold? We ask the expert

Life and style | The Guardian

Prof Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist at the University of Manchester, on the possibility of a cold vaccine

Famously, there is no cure for the common cold. But with the success of the Covid vaccine, could it finally be in grabbing – or, rather, jabbing – distance? I asked Prof Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist at the University of Manchester, about the possibility of a cold vaccine.

I have just recovered from what everyone is calling the “super cold”. It was awful. Eyes streaming, head about to explode. I hadn’t felt like that since I found out Boris Johnson had won the election. Could a vaccine end this misery?
Let’s take a step back. The common cold is just a blanket term for different upper respiratory viruses: adenoviruses, coronaviruses, parainfluenza and so on. Rhinoviruses are the most common cause, but there are roughly 160 variations. So a vaccine that works on one might not work on another. And they’re expensive and complicated to make. A company isn’t going to fund something that doesn’t work against many strains.

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Paul O’Grady: ‘I’m not worried about sex, money or fame – I just want a mongoose’

Life and style | The Guardian

The comedian and broadcaster on a near fatal heart attack, his fear of rats and flashing his bum from a train

Born in Birkenhead, Paul O’Grady, 66, found fame as the drag queen Lily Savage, who became presenter of the TV gameshow Blankety Blank in 1997. After retiring the character in 2004, he was given his own chatshow, The Paul O’Grady Show, which won a Bafta in 2005 and ran until 2015. He has just published his first children’s book, Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang: The Amsterdam Adventure, and there will be special Christmas episode of his new ITV show Saturday Night Line Up. O’Grady has a daughter and lives with his husband in Kent.

When were you happiest?
When I hit 30 and managed to get a council flat in London. It was in the most terrible state, but it was bliss to have a flat of my own.

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Joanne Froggatt: ‘Mick Jagger is a big Downton fan’

Life and style | The Guardian

The actor, 41, talks about double entendres and the Duchess of Cambridge, her awe of musicians and why friends call her Jo-Fro

My childhood was like Wuthering Heights. I grew up on a smallholding in the middle of the North York Moors. It’s one of my favourite books. My mum used to play the Kate Bush song in the car on the drive to school and we’d all sing along.

Fame doesn’t change you, but it gives you confidence to be who you really are. When I was on Coronation Street, at 16, I was very uncomfortable with recognition. By the time I did Downton Abbey, I was older, wiser, prepared for it. Now I just do things my way and try to stay true to myself.

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

‘They’re enjoying themselves a bit too much!’: the steel band leader getting Stockport dancing

Life and style | The Guardian

Janice Turley has led the band of visually impaired players for 10 years – for free. The Guardian Angel helps her repair a beloved childhood toy

When Janice Turley was 39, she was focused on her career as a teacher – perhaps a little too focused. She’d retrained after bringing up her children and was in her second year as a primary school teacher in Hulme, Manchester. Often she’d put in 70-hour weeks. One of the school governors said she needed a night off.

The governor took Turley to see a steel band at a local school. It was taught by British-Trinidadian musician Arthur Culpeper, one of the pioneers of steel band music in the UK. The room was big and draughty, but the atmosphere was brilliant. “There was a chattery buzz,” says Turley. Learning to play steel pan was addictive. Culpeper was gentle and patient with newcomers. “Arthur stuck me on the bass,” Turley remembers, “I never looked back.”

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Christmas gifts: the best tech gadgets for all the family

Life and style | The Guardian

From smartphones to tablets and headphones to laptop bags, there is plenty to choose from

If you are stuck for ideas for Christmas gifts this year and looking for something more exciting than socks, here are some gadgets that might be just the ticket.

From folding phones, headphones and VR headsets to smart speakers and eco-friendly phone cases, all of these great gadgets are excellent, built to last and won’t end up languishing in a drawer or, worse, the bin.

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Separation anxiety: how to manage your pet’s mental health as post-lockdown routines resume

Life and style | The Guardian

Experts say demand for wellness and calming products for animal companions have surged since Australia’s restrictions lifted

When Melburnian Anni O’Donnell used to arrive home from work, her sausage dog, Ziggy, would be excited to see her. Since lockdown, though, “he cries and wiggles his body for a good five minutes”.

“He even does it for short periods of time, like a five-minute pop to the shops,” O’Donnell said.

Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

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November 27th 2021, 3:25 pm

Black Friday: how to avoid scams when shopping for deals

Life and style | The Guardian

Fraudsters aim to exploit shoppers’ desire to save money, but follow these tips before splashing out

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t only on shoppers’ and retailers’ radars – scammers take any opportunity they can to exploit our eye for a bargain, and last year used the busy shopping days to defraud consumers in the UK of £2.5m.

According to the banking trade body UK Finance, theatre tickets and e-scooters are targeted by criminals – but it adds “whichever gift you might be seeking a deal on, it’s likely fraudsters are looking to exploit it”.

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November 25th 2021, 1:30 pm

I am a 25-year-old woman who has never reached orgasm. What should I do?

Life and style | The Guardian

I have experienced an unpleasant pulsing sensation – but that seems a far cry from how an orgasm is usually described

I have a question that you might find slightly weird so, from the outset, I would like to stress that, despite how ridiculous it sounds, I am a 25-year-old woman and I have never learned how to masturbate. I have touched myself occasionally, but always given up long before reaching anything like orgasm. I have also been having regular sex for the past couple of years but again, don’t think I’ve ever reached an orgasm. I recently purchased a vibrator to help with the patience/laziness factor but I find that when I use it, a tension builds up and at some point I have to stop. I also experience a pulsing sensation and my breath is a little faster. My question is: is this an orgasm? I realise the physical signs fit, but it doesn’t feel particularly pleasant and is nothing close to what I have assumed it would feel like. What I feel is a far cry from the earth-shattering experience that orgasm is usually described as. For me, it’s a “meh” experience. Is it possible that I just haven’t really orgasmed?

Your question is neither weird nor ridiculous. You have been taking a creative step to try to solve your anorgasmia, and have reached the same stumbling block as many other women, due to the fact that the sensation one experiences from a vibrator can be too intense and lead to an unsatisfying climax or a complete turn-off. You could try a less intense type of mechanical vibration, but it would be far better to experiment manually. And you are correct in that, although it is possible to achieve orgasm without mental arousal, the two are highly connected. Make time to discover your path to orgasm. You have already experienced pleasure from oral and penetrative sex – neither of which creates intense clitoral pressure. In a safe and relaxed space use some erotic fantasy material to elevate your desire, then try gentle manual stimulation using different types of touches, perhaps supplementing with the vibrator – applying it in a less harsh manner. You may need several sessions, but be patient in this very important task of learning about your own body.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

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November 25th 2021, 11:17 am

Nigel Slater’s recipes for the Christmas season

Life and style | The Guardian

Roast pork and green olives, mushrooms with herbed hummus, pear biscuit cake – the menu to see you through the festivities

You can plan Christmas dinner. A neat list in black ink on white paper – a roast goose and a figgy pudding; a seating plan and a playlist of carols – but Christmas is not about just one meal. There are the smaller feasts to consider, meals for special friends and family who may be at someone else’s table on Christmas Day. A roast turkey may feel inappropriate on such occasions – a bit premature or over the top – but the event must still be special. My own plans (I am a list-maker) include a menu that feels right for any time over the next few weeks, from now till New Year’s Eve.

I am looking forward to Christmas more than ever this year. The tree will be twinkling aside the fireplace, its branches laden with old baubles and frosty lights; there will be presents tied up with golden ribbon and the pudding – rich, sweet and heady with brandy – will be no doubt be puttering away on the stove. Yes, there will be the sound of carols, but tucked in the background will be the soft crackle and hiss of something roasting in the oven.

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November 25th 2021, 11:17 am

Dining across the divide: ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but people relate to the English different

Life and style | The Guardian

Cross-border differences, religion, Scottish independence, immigration: can two strangers find common ground over dinner?

Click here to take part

Anne, 72, Argyll

Occupation Psychotherapist and writer

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November 25th 2021, 11:17 am

Our best Christmas food gifts and recipes

Life and style | The Guardian

From our archive: from festive pickles and homemade sweets to luxury biscuits and exotic oils, a a gift you’ve made yourself can make someone’s Christmas

A trio of presents that you’ll want for Christmas dinner: a ginger nut brittle to serve as is or to blitz into a toast-topping paste, crumbly cheese biscuits and an enticingly easy fig jam

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November 25th 2021, 11:17 am

‘An uplifting experience’: readers’ favourite places in Lisbon

Life and style | The Guardian

Hidden bars, architectural gems and brilliant restaurants and museums are among our tipsters’ highlights of this gleaming city

After a morning’s sightseeing in the historic centre, my favourite place in Lisbon is an uplifting experience: the Santa Justa elevator links downtown Lisbon to the Chiado district up the hill. I simply love the beautiful wrought iron of this 100-year-old neo-Gothic tower, created by Raul Mesnier de Pondard, a student of Gustave Eiffel. At the top you can enjoy the fabulous 360-degree views over the Baixa, before relaxing on the terrace with a cool drink and visiting the impressive ruins of the 14th-century Carmo Convent, which was destroyed in the great All Saints’ Day earthquake of 1755.
Susanna

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November 25th 2021, 7:13 am

Long-running Christie and pigs that are shifty – take the Thursday quiz

Life and style | The Guardian

Fourteen questions on general knowledge and topical trivia plus a few jokes every Thursday – how will you fare?

Welcome once again to the Thursday quiz, the moment that I like to think signals the beginning of the end of the middle of the week. No anagrams for you this time, but your other regular and beloved features are all here: Kate Bush, Ron from Sparks, and a particularly tricky hidden Doctor Who reference to spot. It is just for fun. Honestly, there has been no thought put into awarding prizes at all. Let us know how you get on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 31

If you do think there has been an egregious error in one of the questions or answers, please feel free to email martin.belam@theguardian.com but remember, the quiz master’s word is always final, and you don’t want to be like the many people who emailed him last week to haughtily point out that Kansas City was not in the state of Kansas but in Missouri without taking two seconds to check first whether Kansas City, Kansas also existed. Which it does.

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November 25th 2021, 7:13 am

The seven types of rest: I spent a week trying them all. Could they help end my exhaustion?

Life and style | The Guardian

When we feel extreme fatigue most of us focus on sleep problems. But proper relaxation takes many forms. I spent a week exploring what really works

“Are you the most tired you can ever remember being?” asks a friend. Well, yes. I have it easy – my caring responsibilities are limited and my work is physically undemanding and very low stakes – but I am wrecked. The brain fog, tearful confusion and deep lethargy I feel seems near universal. A viral tweet from February asked: “Just to confirm … everyone feels tired ALL the time no matter how much sleep they get or caffeine they consume?” The 71,000-plus retweets seemed to confirm it’s the case.

But when we say we are exhausted, or Google “Why am I tired all the time?” (searches were reportedly at an all-time high between July and September this year), what do we mean? Yes, pandemic living is, objectively, exhausting. Existing on high alert is physically and mentally depleting; our sleep has suffered and many of us have lost a sense of basic safety, affecting our capacity to relax. But the circumstances and stresses we face are individual, which means the remedy is probably also individual.

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November 25th 2021, 4:00 am

I was a schoolboy chef at Birmingham’s Grand Hotel | review

Life and style | The Guardian

Four decades after taking a part-time job in the city’s top hotel, our reviewer checks out its newly restored incarnation – and finds it as eye-popping as ever

The Grand Hotel is where I met the big bad world. In 1979, when I was 15, a work-experience place led to a part-time job as a commis chef, so I spent weekends as an underling in a huge, sweltering hotel kitchen full of moody, permanently hungover chefs preparing 1970s delicacies like prawn cocktail, black forest gateau and joints of meat and cauliflower cheese for the carvery restaurant.

I still have asbestos hands developed from handling sizzling pans, can chop carrots in that show-offy chef way and have a scar on my finger to prove it (all of which I’m still, ridiculously, quite proud of). I was constantly sworn at and occasionally shoved out of the way for messing up. It was an exhilarating and slightly terrifying crash course in growing up, and I loved every minute of it.


I left in 1981 and the hotel was boarded up for half of the following 40 years. It was easy to see why: the Grand had opened in 1879, and a century later the rickety back of house still felt Dickensian (thrillingly so in my eyes, though not the hotel inspector’s). The crumbling stonework had become so dangerous by 2002 that it was forced to close.

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November 25th 2021, 4:00 am

The 2021 good gift guide: 130 Christmas gift ideas for anyone from kids to chronic grumps

Life and style | The Guardian

From presents that give back to edible treats, Guardian Australia and a team of guest editors select the best shopping options across Australia this Christmas

We’ve been warned: shop early or risk disappointment. Between supply chain chaos, local delivery woes and the ongoing pandemic, getting your end-of-year gifts in order is going to take a bit of extra planning in 2021.

So we’ve made a list – of gift ideas that are local, sustainable, socially minded or just plain delightful – and checked it twice, to create Guardian Australia’s largest gift guide to date.

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November 25th 2021, 4:00 am

Sweet memories of long-lived Christmas puddings | Letters

Life and style | The Guardian

Readers on the varying durability of Xmas puddings

Re ancient Christmas puddings, (Letters, 22 November), during the second world war my grandmother sent a year-old pudding to my dad in the Royal Navy. The pudding turned up 18 months later while he was on HMS Victorious in the Pacific. By this time it had grown a covering of green mould. Undeterred, Dad shaved it and ate the remains seated on the mess piano (which was floating at the time due to a storm).
Jane Ghosh
Bristol

• My father was in Malta in the second world war and one of his favourite tales was about the Christmas parcel my mother sent. It had taken so long to arrive that the carefully knitted socks had rotted around the Christmas pudding that they were meant to protect.
Simon Fowler
Lamberhurst, Kent

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November 25th 2021, 4:00 am

My husband’s illnesses destroyed our savings. His well-off family won’t help us. How do I not hate t

Life and style | The Guardian

It is misleading to think that anger can only end in loathing or forgiveness, writes Eleanor Gordon-Smith, when anger can be used productively too

My husband and I are retired teachers. He is 81. He had a devastating stroke four years ago, and I have been his 24/7 caretaker ever since. (He also has diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and pulmonary fibrosis.)

His illnesses have destroyed our life savings, and we are running out of money. His two adult children, both very well off, have abandoned him. His sister has $60m in the bank, and will not lift a finger to help. My question, and it’s a serious one: how do I not hate them?

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November 24th 2021, 11:45 am

How to make shortbread – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass

Life and style | The Guardian

Christmas shortbread as made by our resident perfectionist, with a few choices of festive flavourings

The world may have gone mad for spiced speculoos this year, but, for me, Christmas will always be all about two biscuits: gingerbread, for decorations, and shortbread, for actual consumption. Easy to make and a genuine crowdpleaser, shortbread will keep well for several weeks, which makes it the gift that keeps on giving well into the dark days of January. Not that it’ll last that long.

Prep 15 min
Chill 20 min
Cook 30 min-1 hr
Makes About 24

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November 24th 2021, 8:30 am

Berry intelligent? Take our quiz to find out how much you know about coffee

Life and style | The Guardian

Grown from Ecuador to Ethiopia, coffee has millions of us under its spell. But how much do you really understand about the plant that makes your day go round?

Discover what’s next for Nespresso’s journey to carbon-neutral coffee here

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November 24th 2021, 7:17 am

Chirashi sushi: a home-style fish and rice dish readily adaptable for any occasion

Life and style | The Guardian

The internet is awash with brick-like salmon bowls, but the same idea can exist in service to beauty by creating a garden of textures

It takes an optimistic outlook to combine salmon and broccoli florets on a tray baked at 200C and hope for more than misery. But a large brick of overcooked salmon is the foundation for thousands of recipes, often dressed with a glow of healthfulness, or, failing that, a generous glug of Kewpie mayonnaise.

Anthony Bourdain made a career from the pithy observation “never eat fish on a Monday”. It resonated with a legion of people whose only retail experience of fresh fish was at the supermarket, or the high street retailer you can smell a block away.

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November 24th 2021, 4:00 am

The £3 chicken: how much should we actually be paying for the nation’s favourite meat?

Life and style | The Guardian

Fifty years ago, a medium broiler cost the equivalent of £11 today. Now it is less than a latte or a pint of beer, raising serious ethical and environmental questions

A giant metal shed in Somerset is alive with the chirps of more than 17,000 three-day-old chicks. The yellow balls of fluff are still adjusting to their new home. When one breaks into a run, dozens more follow. They move like leaves blown around a town square.

“They’re not all named!” says Simon Barton, raising his voice above the din. Chicks climb over our boots, pecking at everything in search of food. We shuffle rather than walk lest we squash one.

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November 24th 2021, 4:00 am

A moment that changed me: The haircut that liberated me as a butch lesbian

Life and style | The Guardian

I came out in my late teens, but still felt repressed by my appearance. Almost 10 years after first booking a short back and sides, I finally took the plunge – and immediately felt revitalised

The hairdresser steadied my head as I sat in the swivel chair, face mask on, staring into the mirror. In December 2020, another lockdown loomed, and nearly 12 months earlier I had made it a New Year’s resolution to get short hair that year. Within 45 minutes, my shoulder-length mop was down to a couple of inches.

People often get radical haircuts in response to life-changing events, such as a breakup or the loss of a loved one. I got mine because I wanted to embrace how I felt as a butch lesbian.

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November 24th 2021, 4:00 am

Perfect for the wilderness: a Cairngorms safari by e-bike

Life and style | The Guardian

Host to lush forests, red deer and buzzards, an out-of-season guided cycle trip around Braemar reveals a landscape in a state of flux

Braemar out of season is a strange place to be. Not quite lifeless, but definitely falling into an autumnal torpor. After an extraordinarily busy summer hosting the great flood of northbound domestic tourists, in late October just a few B&Bs and pubs are hanging on before some much-needed downtime.

At the edges of the village though, and in the wider, wilder countryside beyond, a lot more life is to be found. Red squirrels are emboldened by the reduced traffic, the red deer rut is just coming to an end. Dan Brown and Rachael Iveson-Brown, owners of Wild Discovery, are at a similar stage of life: busy preparing for winter and renewal next year.

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November 24th 2021, 4:00 am

Fit fiftysomethings: why the hot new sex symbols are moreish middle-aged men

Life and style | The Guardian

Whether it is Paul Rudd, Will Smith or Gareth Southgate, men who have passed their half century are having a moment. Welcome to the age of affability, steadiness and deeply desirable dependability

Name: Fit fiftysomethings.

Age: 50-59.

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November 24th 2021, 4:00 am

Samantha Willis was a beloved young pregnant mother. Did bad vaccine advice cost her her life?

Life and style | The Guardian

When the UK’s jab programme began, expectant mothers were told to steer clear – so Samantha decided to wait until she had had her baby. Two weeks after giving birth, she died in hospital

It was typical of Samantha Willis that she bought the food for her baby shower herself. No fuss; she didn’t want other people to be put out. She even bought a cheese board, despite the fact that, because she was pregnant, she couldn’t eat half of it.

On 1 August, the care worker and mother of three from Derry was eight months pregnant with her third daughter. The weather was beautiful, so Samantha stood out in the sun, ironing clothes and getting everything organised for the baby.

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November 24th 2021, 3:14 am

Nigel Slater’s sweet potatoes, spices and spinach recipe

Life and style | The Guardian

A robust, satisfying and flavourful midweek treat

Put a deep pan of water on to boil and salt it lightly.

Peel 800g of sweet potatoes and cut them into large pieces – the size you might cut them if making for roast potatoes – then cook in a steamer basket over the boiling water for about 15 minutes, until they are approaching tenderness. Drain them in a colander and then put them in a large mixing bowl.

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November 23rd 2021, 8:45 am

Christmas gift guide: 200 feelgood gift ideas

Life and style | The Guardian

From plastic-free presents to independent makers, organic beauty to vintage treasures, find a feelgood gift for everyone with 200 ideas to make 2021 the greenest Christmas ever

Small gifts, big joy

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November 23rd 2021, 8:45 am

Treetop sleepouts to walking with wolves: six of the most exhilarating outdoor activities in Germany

Life and style | The Guardian

Idling in a biergarten not your thing? Germany has plenty of extraordinary alternatives, from stargazing and beekeeping to culinary donkey trekking

Extreme sleepouts in Saarland
The German language has some marvellous words, ranging from wegbier (“beer to drink on the way”) to hamsterkauf (“panic-buying”). Another to add to that lexicon is waldeinsamkeit: a feeling of being alone and finding inner peace in the forest. Arguably, travellers can’t get any more at one with the woods than sleeping in a portaledge tent (or cloefhänger) suspended between trees in the Saarland forest. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself into forest life: think morning mists, twit-twooing owls, mysterious nocturnal noises, and occasional bursts of “we’re up how high?!” when peering at the clouds below (the tents are perched at head-spinning heights overlooking a dramatic bend in the Saar river). The website specifies cloefhängers aren’t for people who don’t have schwindelfreiheit (“freedom from dizziness”; AKA a head-for-heights) or trittsicherheit (“tread safety”; AKA surefootedness), but there’s a less vertiginous version involving hammocks in the same forests.

Price: €119 (£102) a night, June-September
cloefhaenger.com

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November 23rd 2021, 7:15 am

When is the perfect time to start preparing for Christmas? It’s right now | Zoe Williams

Life and style | The Guardian

Starting late makes you look classy – but might also mean you miss out on festive treats. Too early and you will eat all your stocking fillers

My kids’ dad has a rule that nobody can discuss Christmas until his birthday has passed at the end of November. It has a folkloric inarguability, like “ne’er cast a clout till May is out”, except it is much more strictly observed. Nobody really knows what casting a clout means, and everybody knows what discussing Christmas sounds like. I think the kids might have some residual fear from early childhood that a breach will result in the cancellation of Christmas; my daughter cleaves to it so closely that she gets the heebie-jeebies even when her friends start talking about the festive season too early, and I always wonder, should I explain how this works? That not everyone’s dad is born on 21 November? Or would that be considered patronising, her being 12?

Christmas preparations are often dressed up as a question of what is classy, where in fact it is an issue of class with a side-order of gender. The most elegant MO is to affect not to notice it’s happening at all, to wander round town going “why is everyone so drunk?”, to roll your eyes at the fake holly festooning the supermarkets, to affect disgust at the choral muzak, until 18 December, when you will finally acknowledge that the arrival of the Christ child is almost upon us. To pull this off, however, you need both money and leisure in considerable quantities; you’ll have done nothing to spread the cost of the event, and you have only seven short days to do a month’s emotional labour, which, even if you don’t have a job, is not enough. It might just work if you have a wife, but then it doesn’t count.

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November 23rd 2021, 4:30 am

Brooding beauty: why Carmarthenshire is Wales’ best-kept secret

Life and style | The Guardian

With its glacial lakes, silky beaches and verdant hills, it’s a wonder this brilliant county for walking is often overlooked

Thank God no boozy poet or philandering painter was born or buried in Llandeilo in the heart of Carmarthenshire. If there were, it would probably be flooded with pilgrims. As it is, the small inland town on the mighty Tywy (or Towy) – the longest river that has its source and outlet in Wales – has a degree of quaintness, but not too much, and only a handful of gawpers admiring the pastel-painted facades. Most are, like me, on road trips, as the A40 which runs through Llandeilo is a greenery-fringed alternative to the busier Heads of the Valleys road just to the south, and there are coffees and buns and bowls of cawl (a local lamb and veg stew) to be had here.

Carmarthenshire – or Sir Gâr – known as the Garden of Wales, is one of the 13 historic counties. Still largely agricultural, it’s criss-crossed by quiet back roads and is where the M4 runs out. It’s one of many places in Wales people pass through without stopping and is something of a Cinderella county.

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November 23rd 2021, 4:30 am

Keeping it crisp: how to care for white shirts

Life and style | The Guardian

From cuff-scrubbing to the power of sunlight, how to have white shirts that are bright, stain-free and neatly pressed

An old friend once described her style to me as, “like an apple, crisp and fresh”. The description was apt for that period of our lives (early 20s) and although a decade has passed, I still think of it every time I put on a white shirt.

The wardrobe classic looks best when it is exactly that: bright white, crisp and fresh. But keeping it that way is not always straightforward.

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November 22nd 2021, 2:03 pm

After sex and on the toilet: why we can’t put our phones down – but we really, really should

Life and style | The Guardian

A new survey has found that nowhere is sacred for a society of phone addicts, not even weddings and funerals

Age: Fresh out of the poll oven. A new one, of 1,098 American adults by the games website Solitaired, finds we use our phones all the time and everywhere.

No way! People are addicted to phones? I honestly had no idea … Hey, less of the sarcasm. You might not realise the extent of it. Nowhere or no occasion is sacred.

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November 22nd 2021, 2:03 pm

Men’s meat-heavy diets cause 40% more climate emissions than women’s, study finds

Life and style | The Guardian

Research also shows 25% of diet-related emissions are from ‘optional’ food and drinks, such as coffee, alcohol and cake

Men’s meaty diets are responsible for 40% more climate-heating emissions than those of women, according to a UK study.

The research also found a quarter of diet-related emissions were from “optional” food and drink, such as coffee, alcohol, cakes and sweets. The scientists said policies to encourage sustainable diets should focus on plant-based foods but switching drinks and cutting down on sweet snacks presented further opportunities.

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November 22nd 2021, 10:31 am

The 20 best Christmas recipes – our all-time favourites

Life and style | The Guardian

From canapés to the ultimate turkey and roast potatoes, a celebratory vegetarian pie to steam ginger pudding and custard, we’ve got Christmas covered

Presenting Nigella’s drunken devils on horseback, Simon Hopkinson’s prawn cocktail, Edson Diaz-Fuentes’s Mexican bacalao. Feast on Lindsey Bareham’s foolproof turkey, trimmings and gravy, Trine Hahnemann’s salmon and Andi Oliver’s glazed ham. We have mince pies, a sherry trifle, Elizabeth David’s definitive St Emilion au chocolat. Plus, of course, Nigel Slater’s essential cake, without which Christmas is incomplete.

Happy holidays all, from all at OFM.

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November 22nd 2021, 7:16 am

Spread the joy: 20 mouth-watering ways to jazz up toast, from olive paste to molasses and tahini

Life and style | The Guardian

British tastes may favour jam or marmalade, but that’s just the tip of the toppings iceberg. Chefs and other food-lovers pick favourites from around the world

Britain loves toast for breakfast but, arguably, lacks a sense of adventure about how to top it. As a nation, we tend to stick to marmalade, lemon curd and a small number of fruit jams, neglecting what, if you look around the world, are the endlessly varied, spreadable ways in which you can titivate toast. To inspire you, here are 20 chefs and food-lovers on the international spreads that make their breakfast toast bang. You may never eat strawberry jam again.

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November 22nd 2021, 7:16 am

Grounds for growth: how to use coffee waste in the garden

Life and style | The Guardian

As an organic grower for restaurant royalty, Anna Greenland uses everything at her disposal to help her plants flourish, including used coffee grounds, as she explains here

Chances are there’s at least one coffee drinker in your household. In ours it’s my husband and, as I’m an organic grower and gardener, I’m regularly eyeing up his spent coffee grounds.

No matter how small your space, if you’re a plant obsessive like me, it’s worth knowing that you can use this nitrogen-rich organic matter in several ways throughout the garden. It’s also preferable to sending spent grounds to landfill, too; globally, a third of food that’s produced is lost or wasted, making it a big contributor to climate change, releasing 8-10% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions as it rots. So, finding ways to cut down what ends up in your rubbish bin is a positive step.

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November 22nd 2021, 7:16 am

How we met: ‘I told him my father had died and he said I’d never be alone’

Life and style | The Guardian

Jackie, 79, and Colin, 81, became pen friends in 1958 during his army service in Hong Kong and met two years later when he was home on leave. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary

At the end of 1958, Jackie was living with her parents in Kent and working as a filing clerk in London. Then a friend asked if she would like to write to a British soldier who was stationed in Hong Kong: “She knew a soldier out there and he wondered if any of her friends would like to write to him,” she says. “I thought it would be nice for them to get letters so far away from home.”

She began to write to Colin and they soon struck up a friendship. “Jackie and I wrote about once a week, and talked about our lives,” he says. While he was living near the Chinese border, taking part in military exercises, Jackie was helping her mother to look after her father, who had a disability, and going out with friends in London when she had the chance. “Colin comes from a big family – he’s one of 16 children. I remember him telling me all about his brothers and sisters,” says Jackie.

Want to share your story? Tell us a little about yourself, your partner and how you got together by filling in the form here.

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November 22nd 2021, 7:16 am

‘People expect cheap food, drink and accommodation – that horse has bolted’: a hotelier on life with

Life and style | The Guardian

Veryan Palmer should be looking forward to her Cornish hotel’s best ever November. Instead, she is having to shut rooms at the five-star establishment

The Headland hotel in Cornwall has been in Veryan Palmer’s family all her life. Her parents bought the imposing Victorian pile overlooking Fistral Beach, Newquay, 43 years ago. Now Palmer, 37, is director. They have always had staff from Europe. “My parents would talk about when European countries joined the EU they would suddenly get an influx of staff from a new country,” she says. “They remember the summer that Poland joined and the sudden influx of Polish housekeeping staff who are just phenomenal.”

In 2019, about half the staff were non-British. Palmer attributes the identity and the success of the hotel – one of just two in the county with five stars – to them. “There is no chance we would be where we are now without the skills of people coming from other countries.”

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November 22nd 2021, 4:30 am

When taking the bins out is a blissful escape: sketches of lockdown with a baby

Life and style | The Guardian

Pia Bramley set out to draw babies that weren’t just ‘squashed adults’. The results were funny, frank and struck a chord with other new parents during the pandemic

“Their proportions are strange,” says Pia Bramley. “They exist completely at odds with the rest of the world.”

The artist is talking about drawing babies, something she has been doing a lot of since her son, Fran, was born two years ago. She describes seeing Marlene Dumas’s giant watercolour baby paintings in the Netherlands, with their large, almost alien-like heads and flailing arms. “I thought of that exhibition when my son was born. I’d seen pictures of babies on nappy boxes and adverts for baby shampoo, and that is not what they look like. When Fran was born he was absolutely purple with solid black eyes and his hands were in claw shapes.”

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November 22nd 2021, 4:30 am

Brooke Shields on child stardom, sexualisation and nailing comedy: ‘It’s not in my nature to be a vi

Life and style | The Guardian

From Hollywood movies to naked photoshoots, the actor spent much of her youth in projects that now look more than a little creepy. She talks about her alcoholic mother, her new romcom and the happiness she has found in her 50s

How, I wonder, is Brooke Shields so sorted? She has survived a childhood with an alcoholic mother, some disturbing early films, a nation’s creepy obsession with her, a divorce and severe postnatal depression. She even came through the 90s’ overplucked-eyebrow trend unharmed. And here she is, radiant through my laptop screen, in her beautiful New York townhouse kitchen, with a dog at her feet, husband milling about in the background, one teenage daughter upstairs, another successfully packed off to college, and her sense of humour very much intact. She has, she says with a smile, when I point out how together she seems, “been going to therapy for 35 years”.

Shields is in a Christmas romcom, for Netflix, which is the gift you didn’t know you wanted. “There’s dogs, castles, knitters, pubs!” she says, laughing. I don’t need convincing. The plot of A Castle for Christmas may be as predictable as gift-wrapped socks, but sometimes you just need preposterous cosy escapism. Shields is great as bestselling American author Sophie Brown, who, suffering with writer’s block, escapes to Scotland to trace her roots and ends up acquiring a stately home. And, despite the film’s many conventions, a middle-aged romcom still feels quite radical. There are lots of women in their 50s like Sophie, she says, “who are taking their life in their own hands. They’ve raised kids, they’re moving on to this next phase and there’s a lot of power that comes with that.”

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November 22nd 2021, 4:30 am

Rhik Samadder tries… flower arranging: ‘I’m expanding the art form – and it looks rubbish’

Life and style | The Guardian

You need to be in the right frame of mind for floristry – but I can’t stop channelling Match of the Day


At McQueens flower school, I’m trying to get my head in the game. I lack the visual flair for this. Whenever I make a bouquet, it always looks as if it’s been plucked from the central reservation of a dual carriageway. Senior tutor Christophe Berreterot, by contrast, worked on the flowers for Meghan and Prince Harry’s wedding, and now demonstrates a flawless hand-tied bouquet with Secret Garden roses, blue eucalyptus and cotoneaster. “Flower arranging is a reflection of personality,” he murmurs. I’ve been watching a lot of classic Match of the Day, which I do not think is the required personality.

We learn to spiral stems, rather than jamming them in a fist in a criss-cross mish-mash. That’s helpful. Think about visual weight, balance and colour, Berreterot advises. Anna, assisting today, lays flowers on our individual tables and we set to work. I throw in leaves, Christmas berries, some stuff that looks like Elmo the muppet’s fingers. This is the 4-4-2 of flower arranging, I think. Couple of big lads sitting in midfield to hold up the ball, shuttle some long boys down the wings, a bit of wispy stuff up top for the highlights reel. Sorted.

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November 22nd 2021, 4:30 am

A new start after 60: ‘African dance helped me escape the bullies. Now I teach it’

Life and style | The Guardian

Whenever she is down, Genny Jones knows that ‘shaking her boombsey’ will lift her mood. On turning 60, she set out to spread the message far and wide

‘In Africa, when a baby is born, you dance. When you reach puberty, you dance.” Genny Jones grew up in Sierra Leone, and her childhood was full of “reasons to dance”. At 15 she moved to the UK and still, she says, “Dance was always at the back of my mind.” This year, shortly after her 60th birthday, Jones qualified as a teacher of African dance.

“My plan is to be a mobile Genny, going different places, stopping, dancing … I want to give back to the community, to lift people up through dancing and laughter,” she says. She already has the wheels, a Suzuki Liana she calls Good Vibes, and has added rainbows to the black paintwork.

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November 22nd 2021, 4:30 am

Which monarchs would have lived longer if modern medicine had been available?

Life and style | The Guardian

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

Which British monarchs would have survived their illness or wounding if today’s medical knowledge had existed then? (Bonus question: which monarchs would we have had but for illnesses that are now easily preventable?) Jane Shaw

Post your answers (and new questions) below or send them to nq@theguardian.com. A selection will be published on Sunday.

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November 21st 2021, 10:44 am

Glennon Doyle: ‘So many women feel caged by gender, sexuality, religion’

Life and style | The Guardian

Glennon Doyle’s memoir inspired Adele – but do we all need to be ‘untamed’?

The marriage wasn’t unbearable, but it didn’t feel right any more. The lightbulb moment came when she realised she needed to think about what she truly wanted, rather than about what society had trained her to think she wanted. Also, she became aware that remaining in an unhappy marriage meant she wasn’t being the parent she wanted to be: following her heart would cause heartbreak to her family now, but it had a noble purpose. Today, her ex lives within walking distance and they share parenting. She got out, and she wants to tell the world how it’s changed her life.

Who is this woman? Well, it could be Adele, whose new album reveals why she decided to leave her husband Simon Konecki, and what it means for their son Angelo, nine. “It just wasn’t right for me any more… I didn’t want to end up like a lot of other people I knew. I wasn’t miserable-miserable, but I would have been miserable had I not put myself first,” she said in a recent interview.

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November 21st 2021, 10:44 am

Readers reply: where should I move to in order to best survive the climate crisis?

Life and style | The Guardian

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

Where should I move to in order to best survive the climate crisis (thinking within the UK, but open to other suggestions)? Pamela Gray-Jones, London

Send new questions to nq@theguardian.com.

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November 21st 2021, 10:44 am

Lulu Guinness: ‘I am basically a recluse who likes people’

Life and style | The Guardian

Designer Lulu Guinness moved to a gothic folly in the sticks in lockdown to restart her life. Now she talks about her brother’s tragic death, and how she has learned to live with her own depression

I’ve had 30 years of trying to do lots of things at once. Now I want to stand and stare a bit more,” says Lulu Guinness from the splendid isolation of her gothic folly in deepest Gloucestershire. “Lockdown also taught me how much you can get done from your phone.” It was during the pandemic that Guinness, 61, with two grown-up daughters, swapped her London terrace for life in the countryside. She recently put the house she bought with her ex-husband Valentine Guinness, from the Irish brewing dynasty, on the market. “At first I saw this place as a getaway. But I’ve moved on.”

Guinness, best known for her glossy lip-shaped clutch and vintage-infused handbags, has found the move transformative. Lulu’s Folly, a hexagonal, three-up-three-down perched on the rim of a sheep-dotted valley, is where she now lives and works.

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November 21st 2021, 9:00 am

Nigel Slater’s recipes for hake and fennel soup and salmon soup

Life and style | The Guardian

Now’s the time to fill your bowls with autumn warmth

You can spend hours making a pot of fish soup. Simmering the bones with water, onion and bay; steaming mussels and clams and winkling the flesh from its shell; crushing crab shells with a mallet and pounding egg yolks, garlic and oil to make a sunny accompanying aioli. A day’s work, a kitchen in turmoil – oh the washing-up – but your trouble is rewarded with a cauldron of piscine, rust-coloured gorgeousness. It is something I might do twice a year, on a wet Saturday.

But fish soup can be a quick supper, too. A simple broth of stock and vegetables, white or oily fish and a handful of herbs can be ready in half an hour. I made a hake and fennel soup this week – a one-pan job – a substantial, filling bowl despite its broth-like consistency. (It works admirably with water or vegetable stock if you have no bones with which to make fish stock.)

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November 21st 2021, 9:00 am

Is it better to be a grandmother than a mother? | Ed Cumming

Life and style | The Guardian

Why does the sternest of British matriarchs turn to puree when confronted with her children’s young, wonders a rookie parent

On Thursday morning I sent my mother a WhatsApp message. “Entertaining discussion on Radio 4 about how it’s better being a grandmother than a mother,” I wrote. She didn’t reply. It is not easy being a son.

On the Today programme, Amol Rajan and Sheila Hancock had been discussing a study by anthropologists in Atlanta, Georgia, which found that grandmothers may be more emotionally connected to their grandchildren than their children. The researchers showed 50 women pictures of their biological grandchildren, the child’s parents and random children and adults, and watched the effect it had on their brains. When the grandmothers looked at the grandchildren, the part of their brain associated with “cognitive empathy” lit up. We don’t know which part of the brain lit up when they saw their children. Have scientists even identified the part associated with contempt and regret?

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November 21st 2021, 7:16 am

Five inspiring books about gardens

Life and style | The Guardian

Here’s how to turn over a new leaf

Written by the “plantfluencer” and rosy-cheeked protégé of Sarah Raven, this book is a playful invitation to garden on a truly small scale. “It is a calling out against what is small-garden dysmorphia, where gardens with lawns, sheds and even greenhouses are indeed called small,” states Parkinson in his introduction. HisParkinson’s own Nottinghamshire town garden is more accurately described as a brick path of “flamboyant and defiant” pots. On these pages, Parkinson shares his flair for cramming them with colour year-round, creating a garden of galvanised and terracotta pots brimming with bronze, toffee, chocolate and beetroot purple blooms. Hachette, £22

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November 21st 2021, 6:46 am

Ten of the best exfoliators

Life and style | The Guardian

Forget sore, scrubbed skin. The new style of exfoliants employ a gentle touch to give you a fresh, glowy look

Exfoliator. Exfoliating. Exfoliants. They don’t sound particularly friendly do they? Admittedly, in the past, exfoliating – this act of resurfacing our dull, congested skins for brighter, clearer, smoother, blackhead-free, light-reflecting skin – was brutal. Thankfully brands (and people) are coming to the realisation that we don’t have to scrub our faces to smithereens in order to get a good glow. Which is why I love AHAs – aka acids: most commonly glycolic, lactic, salicylic and, increasingly, mandelic. These exfoliating liquids dissolve dead skin cells and help increase cell turnover so your skin looks brighter. And you don’t have to rinse it off. Of course you can’t literally see the dead skin cells that build up, but the signs are obvious – dullness, congestion, sluggishness and your once brilliant skincare products become ineffective. So what’s best? A chemical (liquid) or a physical (scrub) exfoliator? I never used to prescribe scrubs – stories of people scrubbing their faces into oblivion were all too common. Today, scrubs are better formulated. Still, I’d advise anyone to be discerning about both scrubs and liquids. Start every other day – less for sensitive skins.

1. Balance Me BHA Exfoliating Concentrate £20.80, balanceme.com
2. Murad Daily Clarifying Peel £37, johnlewis.com
3. Dennis Gross Ultra Gentle Daily Peel
£89 (5 pack), spacenk.com
4. Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant £28, cultbeauty.co.uk
5. Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid £40, marksandspencer.com
6. Sunday Riley Charcoal Smoothie Jelly Body Scrub £32, spacenk.com
7. Drunk Elephant TLC Glycolic Body Lotion £21, boots.com
8. REN Ready Steady Glow AHA Tonic £22.95, feelunique.com
9. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment £21, lookfantastic.com
10. StriVectin Daily Reveal Exfoliating Pads £39, strivectin.co.uk

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November 21st 2021, 4:31 am

And so to bed: 10 of the best pyjamas to snuggle up in

Life and style | The Guardian

At this time of year, sleepwear comes into its own. Our roundup will ensure you get a good night’s sleep – in style

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November 21st 2021, 4:31 am

Life feels a bit out of kilter, but Covid is not the only reason | Eva Wiseman

Life and style | The Guardian

Politicians who take with one hand and take away with the other; the joy of star-struck teenagers; the tragedy of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe… The world feels unmoored – is this the new normal?

Aren’t things a bit… weird right now? Aren’t they? A bit odd? Everywhere I look Britain seems to be glitching slightly, news melting under the gentlest light, people fixed in 10-minute yawns. Last week I was walking through central London on a frosty evening when, upon turning a corner, I found myself suddenly in the crush of a crowd, young people dressed in glitter and lipstick and screaming with a kind of desperate joy. I panicked a little. This was the most people I’d been in contact with for two years, each one a stranger, two in pink furs, and I got that feeling again, the same feeling I’d had when I looked out of the window at falling leaves only to realise a moment later that they were in fact discarded face masks. The feeling that nobody, nothing, is yet quite right.

I’d stumbled, it turned out, into a crowd of Lady Gaga fans outside the House of Gucci premiere – on my way home later that night teenagers in full Gucci looks sat on the pavement in Leicester Square eating McNuggets through lace gloves. It was a Tuesday, and not far away Richard Ratcliffe was entering his third week camping outside the Foreign Office, writing of his young daughter, “She knows that Daddy is on hunger strike to get Boris Johnson to bring Mummy home.” The whole country seems poised, confused. Johnson, unmasked in a hospital, is at its centre, misdirecting traffic.

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November 21st 2021, 4:31 am

Sunday with Nadiya Hussain: ‘I fry pancakes in my dressing gown’

Life and style | The Guardian

It’s walking, laundry, relaxing and getting organised for the prize-winning chef

Sunday morning? My daughter comes in at 6am. She’ll be wearing a long nightdress, with her hair over her face, like a horror movie character. She gives me a cuddle and says, ‘I appreciate you, Mum.’ She’s not a teenager yet like my boys, which is probably why I like her. I’ll make a tea and then I pray, before scrolling through tabloid fodder.

A morning routine? Frying pancakes in my dressing gown before a stroll through the woods with Abdal, my husband. We walk at the same time every day, I love the familiarity; saying hello to the same dogs and people. Halfway along – opposite a retirement home – there’s a bench where we sit, looking out for deer and talking about growing old together.

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November 21st 2021, 2:15 am

The promise of spring

Life and style | The Guardian

Bulbs, pots and cuttings help bring it closer

There is a ruthlessness to some roof terrace gardening that doesn’t sit well with me. I try to bend with it, but it doesn’t always work. It’s too often gardening without growing. Planting in pots requiring culling.

Our autumn terrace was mostly about blues – tall lobelia and even taller salvia. Impulse buys from my local garden centre to replenish fading spring/summer.

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November 21st 2021, 2:15 am

From the archive: falling in love in the permissive society, April 1968

Life and style | The Guardian

What chance was there for true romance in the swinging 60s?

The Observer Magazine of 28 April 1968 (‘Falling in love’) wondered, ‘In this increasingly permissive and casual society, what are the prospects for the survival of romantic love?’

Robert Shields wrote that romantic love was ‘a state of ecstasy, of romantic sentimentality, which turns the grass greener and the sky bluer, and’ – he’d been going so well up to this point – ‘the plain, plump girl we adore into Venus herself.’

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November 21st 2021, 2:15 am

Spanish flyers: how Spain moved to the top table | David Williams

Life and style | The Guardian

In terms of both quality and quantity, Spanish wine producers are proving to be Europe’s biggest hitters

Tapa Roja Monastrell, Yecla, Spain 2019 (£7, Marks & Spencer) Of the big three European producers, France and Italy usually produce the most wine each year. 2021 has been a different story, however. According to figures released earlier this month by the international wine research body the OIV, a year of extreme weather events including unseasonal frost and record high summer temperatures saw wine production drop dramatically across the continent. The weather gods were particularly unkind to France, where output fell by almost a third on the previous vintage. That means Spain, which itself experienced a significant but lesser drop of 14%, and which is still some way behind Italy, is currently Europe’s second-largest wine producer. Similar movement is afoot if we turn from quantity to quality: over the past decade, Spanish wine has become so much more exciting and diverse. It’s now a genuine challenger on both scores to France and Italy, while still providing some of the continent’s best-value red wines, such as this spice-edged plummy number from the southeastern Spanish DO, Yecla.

Baldovar 923 Cañada Paris Blanco, Valencia, Spain 2018 (£19.95, stroudwine.com) One of the more exciting recent developments in Spanish wine is the way that producers in what were once considered lesser, out-of-the way regions have embraced various neglected and often very obscure local grape varieties. This is a big change on what was happening in the years just before and after the millennium, when big name “international” varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and syrah, or the big Spanish hitter, tempranillo, were dominating new vineyard plantings. Baldovar 923 Cañada Paris Blanco is an absolute archetype of new-wave Spanish white: it’s made from a grape variety exclusive to southeastern Spain, and rarely found on labels, and which most guides still deride as easy to grow, but not very interesting to drink. Grown at high altitudes (around 1,000m) above sea level, using organic methods, and made by a dedicated, low-production winemaker, using sensitive, low-intervention techniques, it produces something very lovely indeed: all gently flowing waves of stony minerals, white fleshy fruit and a squeeze of lemony citrus.

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November 21st 2021, 2:15 am

My mother’s secrets weigh too heavily on our relationship

Life and style | The Guardian

There’s no reason to carry the weight of your mother’s decisions. You need to take control of her secrets by writing them down in order

The dilemma I have kept secrets for my mother for many years. She has had several extramarital affairs and I am the only one who knows about these. She has never held back in telling me about her feelings for the people she has been involved with. She despises my father and tells me whenever we meet of his failings and of her disappointments in life. She discusses – and has discussed since I was 10 – leaving him, but she has never gone through with this.

I am now in my 50s. To her friends and the rest of the family, she is considered kind and compassionate. She is, though, a troubled woman. However, my daughter considers her to be the perfect grandmother and has invited her to her graduation ceremony. There are not enough tickets so I will not be able to attend. I am crushed by this. I wonder if I have reached the point where I should cut her out of my life.

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November 21st 2021, 2:15 am

Brook’s, West Yorkshire: ‘A startlingly good modern brasserie’ – restaurant review

Life and style | The Guardian

It’s come sailing through a storm and a pandemic, no wonder Brook’s in Brighouse is looking on the bright side

Brook’s, 6 Bradford Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire HD6 1RW (01484 715284). Small plates £7.50-£10, large plates £16.50-£25, desserts £6.50-£7, wine from £21

My name is Jay Rayner and I am powerless in the face of good bread. I am especially powerless in the face of the treacle and malt bread with a whipped peak of Marmite butter, served to me at Brook’s, a startlingly good modern brasserie opposite the civic hall in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. It arrives oven hot and shaped as a tall, pert muffin. The top is glazed to a shine with a slick of sticky treacle. I tear at it, so that it puffs warm, sweet-savoury gusts of come-hither hot air. The texture seems open until I chew and it becomes satisfyingly cakey. When spread lavishly with the butter, it reminds me of the dark slices of Soreen paved with salted Anchor, eaten on winter afternoons when I was a kid. Only this malt loaf has grown up a bit. It is Soreen’s older brother, the more sophisticated one who has seen things.

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November 21st 2021, 2:15 am

Is smart tech the new domestic battle ground?

Life and style | The Guardian

Now that Alexa, Siri and Google have moved in, it’s only a matter of time before some of us are left out in the cold, says Emma Beddington

I came into the kitchen recently to find my husband cradling our electricity smart meter with the kind of tender attention more usually directed to a new-born, his phone clutched in his free hand. “You didn’t turn your office heater off last night,” he said. I didn’t like his tone.

“I did! I went in this morning to turn it on again!”

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November 20th 2021, 1:27 pm

Sheila Atim: ‘Six wings, chips and a drink. That’s my guilty pleasure’

Life and style | The Guardian

The actor, 30, talks about learning tenacity, gaining an MBE, meeting Tom Hanks and her pole-dancing addiction

It’s fun to write MBE after your name occasionally. I got the honour in 2019 for services to drama. I have complex feelings about it and it hasn’t made any tangible difference to my career, but it solidified my sense of responsibility. I’m a big advocate for youth arts access and young people often ask me about the MBE, so it’s cool to show them what’s possible. It’s almost an ambassadorial role. Hopefully I’ll get invited to those ambassador’s parties where they serve pyramids of Ferrero Rocher.

My mum taught me tenacity. I was raised by a Ugandan single mother in Essex. Immigrants want to succeed and find a stable life, of course, but it’s also quite easy in a foreign country to accept your position and settle for a perceived glass ceiling. Mum never did that. She was always striving and studying. She’s got degrees coming out of her ears. She showed me I didn’t have to place restrictions on myself.

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November 20th 2021, 10:59 am

Smell of success: How Chanel No 5 gained a sprinkling of stardust

Life and style | The Guardian

As the fragrance turns 100, Chanel’s perfumer-in-chief Olivier Polge describes what it takes to create and curate a classic brand

Through the floor-to-ceiling windows of his seventh-floor office at Chanel’s chic Parisian HQ, Olivier Polge can look out over the French capital. From here, in the western suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, much of the city’s iconic skyline is in full view: the Eiffel Tower, mansard roofs, and the greenery of Bois de Boulogne; the Sacré-Cœur atop Montmartre opposite.

It’s a vista that has captivated some of Europe’s most celebrated visual minds, but from here Polge takes inspiration for another of his senses. He is, after all, the fashion house’s nose, Chanel’s perfumer-in-chief: the steward of its iconic scents past, and the man charged with creating their fragrances of the future.

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November 20th 2021, 10:59 am

Mo Gilligan: ‘My greatest achievement? Getting a house. I didn’t think that was possible’

Life and style | The Guardian

The comedian on the perks of fame, not having read his own book and his worldwide hunt for the coolest trainers

Born in London, Mo Gilligan, 33, began his career uploading comedy clips to social media, and was given his own Channel 4 series, The Lateish Show, in 2019. His Netflix special, Momentum, has been released in 190 countries, and he won the 2020 Bafta for best entertainment performance. He produced and fronted the Channel 4 documentary Mo Gilligan: Black, British and Funny. Currently touring his show There’s Mo to Life, he stars in the latest Purplebricks advertising campaign. He lives in London.

What is your earliest memory?
I’ll never forget my first day at nursery. My mum dropped me off and I was like, “Wow, this is fun.” I was playing on the swing and the slide, and turned around and she was gone. I remember losing it.

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November 20th 2021, 9:29 am

Cheese biscuits, brittle and fig jam: Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for edible Christmas gifts

Life and style | The Guardian

A trio of presents that you’ll want for Christmas dinner: a ginger nut brittle to serve as is or to blitz into a toast-topping paste, crumbly cheese biscuits and an enticingly easy fig jam

It’s hard to write about homemade festive food gifts without sounding like a cliche. But some opinions are overused simply because they are, well, just so true. The older I get, the less “stuff” I want, and the more happiness looks like something delicious someone has taken the time to make for me. So, for anyone else planning on some DIY gifts for the weeks ahead, here is something savoury, something sweet and something to raise a glass (or piece of toast) to.

UK readers: click to buy these ingredients from Ocado

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November 20th 2021, 9:29 am

No school, no hair cut: one girl’s journey through one of the world’s longest Covid lockdowns

Life and style | The Guardian

Antonella Bordon’s hair was her family’s pride and joy. But as the pandemic kept her out of school for 18 months, the 12-year-old Argentinian vowed to lop it all off as soon as she could return to class

When she finally cut her hair, Antonella Bordon had trouble sleeping. At the age of 12, her first haircut meant more to her than a simple change of style.

For most of her childhood, Bordon’s silky hair ran all the way down her back to her calves, such a deep brown it looked like a black mane. Her mother and sister would comb it every day, rubbing the locks with rosemary oil, and helping her style it in a way to keep her cool during the hot Argentinian summer.

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November 20th 2021, 9:29 am

Dog days: Dimpy Bhalotia’s best phone pictures

Life and style | The Guardian

‘Before, I had a phobia of dogs. I spent a week getting closer, not allowing myself to run away when they barked at me’

Street photographer Dimpy Bhalotia works out where she will spend the next month shooting by walking in the direction of the sun. “I land at my location and set off on foot,” she says, reflecting on her time in countries including Germany, Sri Lanka and Portugal. “I use only the light from the sky, and aim to capture life as it’s happening. I’m drawn to beaches. There is so much energy and freedom there.”

This series was captured in cities across India, Bhalotia’s first home; she moved to London in 2005 but returns for visits. She won’t reveal the location of her photographs, concerned that others may visit and disturb the wildlife there. “I’ve seen it before – the birds stop coming, the nature adapts. Some photographers forget to draw the line. I spent two and a half months returning every day to one beach, and I never once asked anybody to do anything.”

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November 20th 2021, 9:29 am

Are the 2020s really like living back in the 1970s? I wish …

Life and style | The Guardian

With queues for petrol, inflation and Abba on the radio, it’s easy to compare the two decades. But you wouldn’t if you were there, says Polly Toynbee, as she revisits the styles of her youth

Queueing for petrol, I turn on the radio and there are Abba, singing their latest hit. Shortages on shop shelves are headline news, with warnings of a panic-buying Christmas. And national debt is sky high. But this isn’t the 1970s; it’s 2021. People who weren’t born then have been calling this a return to that decade. There are similarities, of course: this retro-thought was sparked by the recent petrol queues, people as frantic to fill up to get to work as I remember back then. Elsewhere, flowing floral midi dresses are back, just like the ones I wore; Aldi is selling rattan hanging egg chairs; and, as well as Abba, the charts have been topped by Elton John. But is this really a 1970s reprise?

No, nothing like it; not history repeated, not even as farce – just a stylist’s pastiche, as bold as the wallpaper I’m posing in front of here. Folk memory preserves only the 1974 three-day week; the miners’ strike blackouts, with no street lights and candle shortages; the embargo that quadrupled the price of oil. True, I did queue at the coal merchant’s to fire up an ancient stove for lack of any other heat or light. But the decade shouldn’t be defined by this, or by 1978-79’s “winter of discontent” strikes, a brief but pungent time of rubbish uncollected and (a very few) bodies unburied by council gravediggers.

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November 20th 2021, 9:29 am

What was the filling of humble pie? The Saturday quiz

Life and style | The Guardian

From Mont Sainte-Victoire to the Mexica, test your knowledge with the Saturday quiz

1 Dafydd ap Gruffydd was the first nobleman to suffer what fate?
2 Which German monument is topped by a quadriga?
3 METI is an attempt to do what?
4 Which continent lies in all four hemispheres?
5 What was the filling of a humble pie?
6 Which people called themselves the Mexica?
7 Inge Lehmann discovered that what was solid?
8 Who repeatedly painted Mont Sainte-Victoire?
What links:
9 South American country; US federal district and two state capitals?
10 Jubilee; Harris; Gripp; Rocky; Erin; Poppy; Georgie?
11 Silence film; A Pale View of Hills novel; Madama Butterfly opera?
12 Anglerfish; lanternfish; vampire squid; click beetle; firefly?
13 Peyton Manning and Tom Brady?
14 Khaki (1900); coupon (1918); flapper (1929)?
15 Phra Phrom statue; tetrahedron; Mount Rushmore?

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November 20th 2021, 6:00 am

Tim Dowling: we’ve been doing pilates together for a year – and it’s got competitive

Life and style | The Guardian

The winner is the one who complains the most, thereby sucking up the attention and doing the least actual exercising

It is 8.44am, and my wife and I are arguing on the way to pilates. We’ve been exercising together for about a year – with assorted Covid-induced breaks – and over time it has got competitive. The first competition is to be the person with the most legitimate reason for running late.

“Sorry,” I say, pulling the front door shut behind us. “I couldn’t find my shoe.”

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November 20th 2021, 6:00 am

Europe on a plate: foodie holiday itineraries in France, Spain and Belgium

Life and style | The Guardian

Make the local cuisine the highlight of a trip, with perfect pintxos in San Sebastián, great galettes in Saint-Malo, and brilliant beers in Ghent

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November 20th 2021, 6:00 am

Blind date: ‘He ate his burger with a knife and fork’

Life and style | The Guardian

Ivan, 28, activist, meets Ethan, 23, masters student/waiter

Ethan on Ivan

What were you hoping for?
Someone I could enjoy a meal and good conversation with, and maybe a second date.

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November 20th 2021, 6:00 am

Pickles, ketchup and chutney: David Atherton’s recipes for Christmas gift jars

Life and style | The Guardian

A jar of homemade pickle looks like you’ve made a big effort, but this festive ketchup, pickled beets, carrot chutney and marinated feta are all surprisingly easy to make

We all have our own traditional dishes at Christmas, but each one can have a new dimension with condiments. These pickled roast beets go amazingly with roast potatoes and turkey; chopped up finely, they can also be added to braised cabbage; and they’ll make your cheese board sing on Boxing Day (or any other day).

UK readers: click to buy these ingredients from Ocado

UK readers: click to buy these ingredients from Ocado

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November 20th 2021, 6:00 am

How to make quick pickled red onions – recipe | Waste not

Life and style | The Guardian

Onions are among the most wasted foodstuffs in the UK, but there’s no need to throw them away when pickling them is such a cinch

To prolong the life of onions, take them out of any plastic packaging, put them in a breathable container, such as a basket or mesh bag, and store in a cool, dry space, such as an outhouse or a porch. If you don’t have a cool spot, the next best option is the fridge, where they should keep for a couple of weeks. Even if your onions sprout, all is not lost: peel them down to the sprouts inside, plant in the garden or in pots, and they will grow into fresh onions.

If you have a bounty of onions that need using up, try slicing and freezing them raw for later use, or make something extra-delicious with this quick pickle recipe. It works with both red and white onions, though the former make a brilliant vivid-pink garnish.

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November 20th 2021, 6:00 am

Do long jail sentences stop crime? We ask the expert

Life and style | The Guardian

Penelope Gibbs, former magistrate and founder of Transform Justice, on whether harsher sentences are effective

Until recently, the subject of criminal punishment hasn’t been a massive public concern for the public (putting aside that small demographic committed to a “hang ’em all!” approach). But in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, calls for misogyny to become a hate crime have gone from a whisper to a roar. That change would give judges the power to increase sentences when misogyny was found to be an aggravating factor in a crime. But would harsher sentences do much to stop such crimes happening? I asked Penelope Gibbs, former magistrate and founder of Transform Justice, a charity campaigning for a more effective justice system.

Did you hear about the Thai fraudster who was sentenced to jail for more than 13,000 years? I guess they needed a number to describe ‘throwing away the key’. Are long sentences becoming more common?
I don’t know about across the world, but I can tell you that in England and Wales sentences have been getting steadily longer over the past decade, by roughly 20%.

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November 19th 2021, 1:12 pm

Bottle it: the best drinks gifts for Christmas | Fiona Beckett on drinks

Life and style | The Guardian

A bottle of a favourite tipple is bound to be a surefire hit, but the trick is to choose something you know the recipient would like, but won’t necessarily be expecting …

Giving a bottle is a good way to get you off the Christmas present hook, but picking the right one can be a bit of a minefield. If it’s the same bottle you give every year, it might look as if you just couldn’t be bothered to think of something more imaginative – the booze world’s equivalent of a pair of socks. And if it’s a drink on which the beneficiary is something of an expert – whisky, say – you might well choose the wrong thing.

My strategy, then, is to focus on something I think the recipient would like, but not something they would necessarily expect. So, for example, if they’re into cream liqueurs, make it the stylishly bottled and wickedly good Kyrö (£19.95 for 500ml Master of Malt, 16%), which is a sort of grown-up Baileys; or the delectably nutty tawny port bottled under its own label by the Port of Leith distillery (£14.95, 19%). Even a small twist can make a bottle interesting: I can’t say I’d be over-thrilled to be given a bottle of tomato juice, but make it the Pickle House’s Spiced Tomato Mix with pickle juice (£4.95 Ocado, and perfect for non-drinkers and pickle-lovers alike), and I’d be more than chuffed.

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November 19th 2021, 1:12 pm

‘I love becoming art’: Lady Gaga pushes boundaries as fashion shapeshifter

Life and style | The Guardian

With her latest role in House of Gucci, Gaga levels up to become the most powerful woman in fashion

There are still days to go before House of Gucci lands in cinemas, but the fashion industry may as well go ahead and hail Ridley Scott’s thriller as the most successful fashion film for a generation.

Certainly, there is no denying the fact that the actor who plays the protagonist is the axis around which the entire fashion world is circling at the moment. Undoubtedly, she is the woman designers are desperate to dress.

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November 19th 2021, 8:12 am

Cafe Cecilia, London E8: ‘Hot but with a homespun edge’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent on restaura

Life and style | The Guardian

‘It’s so on-trend, I half-expected Cafe Cecilia to be a dull dud. But it’s not’

Cafe Cecilia in Hackney, east London, put to the test the question that strangers often ask me, which is: “So, can you get a table anywhere at any time?” The answer is complex, but, for shorthand, I always reply: “Yes!”, when I really mean: “Usually yes, but sometimes no, depending on myriad variables, including the ‘hotness’ of the establishment in question, the pliability of its maître d’ and, of course, my own cunning while trying to inveigle my way in.”

For now, let’s concentrate on hotness, which has nothing to do with its suitability for the peri-menopausal, but rather the almost tangible fervour that surrounds certain new openings. Cafe Cecilia, which recently appeared just off Broadway Market on a relatively charmless side road close to an old gasworks, is run by Max Rocha, a chef with connections to the River Cafe and St John, and heavy links to the fashion industry, with both his father and sister, John and Simone, being much-loved designers. This type of buzz inevitably leads to all 15 or so tables being booked up for weeks in advance, while every lunchtime another tempting array of social media reports seep into the ether, showing us the likes of pig’s head, sage and potato pie, cuttlefish with orzo, pork braised in milk with fresh coco beans, raspberry galette and Guinness by the can.

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November 19th 2021, 8:12 am

Stirring stuff: 10 simple and delicious risotto recipes, from Anna Del Conte, Yotam Ottolenghi, Meer

Life and style | The Guardian

Whether you’re looking to feed the kids, getting over a cold or just using up a few leftovers, we’ve got you covered

Risotto is perfect food. Warm, starchy and comforting, it is one of the most versatile dishes the home cook can learn. It is an ideal first food for young children who don’t quite have it in them to chew yet and it’s perfect for anyone under the weather. My mother always taught me, in a manner that would have purists running for the hills, that risotto was basically a dustbin for any scraps you happen to have lying around. That isn’t necessarily the case, but there is still plenty you can do with it, as these 10 recipes attest.

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November 19th 2021, 8:12 am

Rukmini Iyer’s coconut, chilli and lime cod with celeriac chips and roasted tomatoes

Life and style | The Guardian

The author of The Roasting Tin series returns to add citrus and spice to seasonal celeriac in her monthly Ocado recipe

An easy all-in-one dish, the fresh flavours of the lime, chilli and coconut work so well with the cod. Celeriac is a lovely seasonal ingredient, served here as spiced chips along with the squashy roasted cherry tomatoes.

Chilli fiends could add a second red chilli and leave the seeds in, but those with less tolerance, like me, should stick to one and take the seeds out.

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November 19th 2021, 8:12 am

Experience: I found a 95-year-old message in a bottle

Life and style | The Guardian

I used a hook to pull the paper out, unfolded it and saw the date – November 1926

I grew up on Black River, Michigan, and started learning how to captain boats when I was three years old. I’d go out on my dad’s fishing boat, had a toy Playmobil boat and trawler, and every year for my birthday I’d get a miniature floating vessel with a viewing window to take out on the water. In Michigan, we’re surrounded by lakes and I soon discovered that I loved diving and skipping school days for the beach.

After my divorce, three years ago, I became a single mom to three boys. We were in a difficult place and needed to make money. I’d been working as a waitress but successfully pitched an idea to an investor for glass-bottom boat tours in the small town of Cheboygan, where I now live.

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November 19th 2021, 7:27 am

‘It puts more pressure on the remaining staff – you have to divide the work’: a spice importer on li

Life and style | The Guardian

From overtime to having to cut back its next day delivery service, Tasneem Alonzo’s ingredients business has been hit hard by a lack of warehouse workers and drivers

It has been, says Tasneem Alonzo with a sigh, “really stressful”. She is the joint managing director of her family’s food business, EHL Ingredients, which imports and blends spices and seasonings for food manufacturers and wholesalers, along with nuts, fruit and dried legumes. As with much of the UK’s food production industry, workers from EU countries played a vital role in her company. In her warehouse, Alonzo employed a number of Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian people. “We lost quite a few, who went back home, and trying to replace good staff has been really difficult,” she says. “It puts more pressure on the existing staff. We have to do overtime and you just have to divide the work.”

The business has managed to replace some staff, but there are still vacancies and it remains hard to fill them. She is keen to emphasise that it is not about EU workers being better than British ones – “we have some amazing British workers” – but even though she’s had to increase wages to attract people, she’s still struggling to get the right staff. Working in a spice warehouse is not an easy job, she says – staff have to understand allergens, blending spices can be messy and the smell can be strong.

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November 19th 2021, 4:43 am

Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t want people discussing her clothes – she could distract them by communicating

Life and style | The Guardian

The Arizona senator’s flamboyant attire and ever-changing style has inspired headlines and intrigue

The Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema, who memorably posted a photo of herself wearing a ring that said “Fuck Off”, thinks it is offensive that the media keeps discussing her sartorial choices. Sinema has become a household name in recent months because of her resistance to Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, but her flamboyant attire and ever-changing style has also helped keep the senator in the news. She’s inspired headlines such as Kyrsten Sinema’s Style Keeps Us Guessing (The New York Times) and Take note, AOC – Kyrsten Sinema’s bad style actually makes a statement (The New York Post).

“It’s very inappropriate,” Sinema told Politico on Wednesday. “I wear what I want because I like it. It’s not a news story, and it’s no one’s business. It’s not helpful to have [coverage] be positive or negative. It also implies that somehow women are dressing for someone else.”

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November 18th 2021, 1:14 pm

‘Families are desperate’: an au pair agent on life without EU workers

Life and style | The Guardian

Jamie Shackell used to place 500 young people with British families every year. She hasn’t matched any since December – and some working parents are being forced to cut their hours

Before Brexit, Jamie Shackell placed about 500 au pairs from mainland Europe with British host families every year. She hasn’t placed a single one since December. She says her agency, Busy Bee Au Pairs , is now essentially “nonexistent”. Shackell – who is also the chair of the British Au Pair Agencies Association (Bapaa ) – says it is the same for other similar agencies. At one point, there were about 30 members . “ Now, there’s only a handful of us left,” she says. “A lot have shut up shop.”

Occasionally, someone from the EU with pre-settled status, will look for a placement. “Then we’ve got the agencies that are left scrabbling after her or him, as well as families that are looking independently,” says Shackell.

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November 18th 2021, 1:14 pm

Dining across the divide: ‘I think some of the ideas are horrible – but it’s nice to sit and talk’

Life and style | The Guardian

One is a Belgian resident in the UK, the other was a Ukip candidate: can two strangers find any common ground?

Stijn, 47, Norwich

Occupation Humanitarian aid worker

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November 18th 2021, 9:45 am

‘I’m fully booked, but can’t take on jobs’: a builder on life without EU workers

Life and style | The Guardian

Sebastian Przetakowski arrived in London when he was 24, and now has a family and thriving business. But he is turning down work as Brexit and Covid mean he can’t find bricklayers and carpenters

Sebastian Przetakowski came to the UK when he was 24. He wanted a holiday, and to make a bit of money to buy a car. His uncle was working in construction here and got Sebastian a job as a labourer. The plan was to spend two or three months working in the UK, then return to Poland. That was in 2004, and he’s still here – settled, a UK citizen, married, with two kids.

He gradually climbed the ladder, eventually starting his own construction business in London, doing loft conversions, extensions and garden offices. His daughters, six and four, are at school here; they supported England in the recent World Cup qualifier with Poland. “We had a small war at home,” he laughs.

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November 18th 2021, 7:27 am

‘The greats are all here’: readers’ favourite UK permanent exhibitions

Life and style | The Guardian

From impressionists in Wales to pre-Raphaelites in Yorkshire, a huge wealth of culture is on tap across the UK – and entry to museums and galleries is often free

The ceramics collection at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent must be among the best in the world – I would say even better than that held by the V&A. It’s free and easily accessible if you’re in the Midlands. The collection covers everything from prehistoric jugs, the history of household names, such as Royal Doulton and Wedgwood, to studio potters of the 20th and 21st century. My favourite pieces have to be the huge collection of cow shaped cream jugs, which have their own section, and viewing them is a suitably random way to spend an afternoon. Given how central they are, the galleries are quiet and never seem to get the numbers of visitors they deserve.
Matt

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November 18th 2021, 7:27 am

The sudden, uncomfy fall of the biggest pandemic fashion trend

Life and style | The Guardian

Covid-19 has indeed changed the way we dress, but it’s not all about lounging around in comfy pants: ‘it’s actually for the better’

Last year, many people got many things wrong about how the pandemic might change our lives. No, cities did not die; yes, people still blow out birthday candles and risk spreading their germs. But few 2020 forecasts missed their mark so spectacularly as the oft-repeated claim that, as the world reopened, we’d return to it in sweatpants.

If any single event crystallizes this misfire, it’s last month’s announcement that the direct-to-consumer loungewear brand Entireworld was going out of business. The company had been a breakout darling of 2020, its cheerfully hued cotton basics poised at the fortuitous intersection of “cute enough for Zoom” and “cozy enough to work, sleep, and recreate from bed in, for the bulk of a calendar year”. News outlets, meanwhile, pointed to Entireworld’s astonishing 662% increase in sales last March not as a right-place, right-time one-off, but an indication of our collective sartorial destiny.

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November 18th 2021, 7:27 am

Staying power! How to thrive in the great resignation if you don’t want to quit

Life and style | The Guardian

The pandemic has sparked a surge in people leaving their jobs. But if you aren’t one of them, how do you survive the tumult – and even flourish? Here is the expert advice on how those left behind can prosper

In the US, they are calling it the great resignation or (my preference) the big quit. In the UK, the language is less portentous, but the reality is similar: there are more vacancies than jobseekers. Nearly 1.2m jobs were open in the UK in the most recent quarter, with 15 of 18 sectors reporting record numbers.

People cite all kinds of reasons for quitting – they want a better work-life balance, they want more challenges, better conditions, more meaning. But what about those left behind? How do you stop your own career getting trampled as your colleagues race out the door? What’s the best way to deal with the void left by your familiar co-workers, not to mention the workload? How do you manage your Fomo and quarry some advantage out of the situation?

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November 18th 2021, 7:27 am

A Japanese princess, an emperor’s church, and Prince’s destination – take the Thursday quiz

Life and style | The Guardian

Fifteen questions on general knowledge and topical trivia plus a few jokes every Thursday – how will you fare?

Alas and alack, the Thursday quiz is back. Fifteen questions on general knowledge and topical trivia, laced with a few jokes and regular appearances from Kate Bush, Ron from Sparks, the anagrams that everybody loves so much, and a hidden Doctor Who reference to spot. It is just for fun, there really are no prizes – but let us know how you get on in the comments

The Thursday quiz, No 30

If you do think there has been an egregious error in one of the questions or answers, please feel free to email martin.belam@theguardian.com but remember, the quiz master’s word is always final, and you wouldn’t want him to release the scorpions.

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November 18th 2021, 7:27 am

Scientist say the perfect hug should last more than five seconds – but there is one problem | Adrian

Life and style | The Guardian

Too-quick embraces are less pleasant, according to research. But how do you get the other person to stand still for long enough?

I salute the open-access science journal Acta Psychologica for publishing a paper entitled The influence of duration, arm-crossing style, gender and emotional closeness on hugging behaviour. The top lines for you: hugs lasting one second were rated as less pleasant and less under control than five- and 10-second hugs. There’s also something I didn’t really understand about men being more likely to hug other men in a different arm-crossing style than women.

I’m not quite sure what to do with this information. I’m looking for someone to hug to see what kind of duration I generally roll with. This will be difficult to determine as, unless I get the use of a dummy in a shop window, I wouldn’t be in sole control of the duration. It takes two to hug, after all. This issue is doubtless addressed in the main body of the paper but I’m afraid the scientific language became impenetrable as soon as I got past the abstract.

Adrian Chiles is a Guardian columnist

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November 18th 2021, 3:12 am

15 of the best food and drink experiences in Northern Ireland

Life and style | The Guardian

Seafood straight from the boat, a cooperative brewery, community hubs – these daring food and drink producers are proof that necessity is the mother of invention

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November 18th 2021, 3:12 am

Delays at ‘approved’ PCR test firm Rightangled have cost me £600

Life and style | The Guardian

I had to refund pharmacy customers out of my own money

I run an independent pharmacy and was approached by Covid PCR testing firm, Rightangled, to sell its fit-to-fly tests. It is on the government-approved list of providers, so I paid for the tests upfront to sell on. Two customers bought five tests between them and didn’t receive the results on time, causing them to miss their flight. Rightangled refuses to refund them. I have therefore had to reimburse both £600 of my own money to protect my business reputation.
VS, London

Rightangled has earned itself free publicity in this column before by dint of its disappointing service, and refusal to engage with customers it has let down. It has never yet responded to my requests for a comment, but an automated email sent to customers who complain blames an “inundation” of orders. Nevertheless, the website is still selling PCR travel tests at £120 a pop and still reassuring customers that “we know speed is important”, while stating in its terms and conditions that it operates a strict “no refund policy” if results are delayed.

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November 18th 2021, 3:12 am

How to make gratin dauphinois – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass

Life and style | The Guardian

A step-by-step guide to the indulgent treat of sliced waxy potato layered up with cream, butter and cheese

Is there any culinary pleasure like a creamy, carby dish of dauphinoise potatoes? Well, perhaps a mound of buttery mash, a fluffy jacket potato with melted cheese or a big pile of chips with rich, yellow mayonnaise – consider this the fancy French dinner party version of all of the above. That said, you don’t need to use guests as an excuse; I’d eat it straight from the dish in my pyjamas.

Prep 35 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

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November 17th 2021, 8:55 am

‘Carers enable us to live, not just exist’: a personal care employer on life without EU workers

Life and style | The Guardian

Katy Etherington’s personal assistants help her live independently and run a website matching up disabled people with PAs. But shortages are so acute some disabled people may be forced into residential care, she says.


Katy Etherington runs a website, PA Pool, that matches disabled people with personal assistants (PAs). “Last year, we had 460 PAs join from Poland, and this year we’ve only had 36,” she says. “It’s a serious problem.”

Before Brexit, most of the people who worked as a personal assistant to Etherington herself were from mainland Europe. Of the current team who help her live and work independently, three are from the EU and have settled status – but if they leave, the thought of having to replace them is, she says, “terrifying”.

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November 17th 2021, 8:55 am

It can feel like the world’s most spectacular wilderness; the savage beauty of Connemara

Life and style | The Guardian

Connemara has inspired film crews, writers and maharajahs with its wild mountains and endless expanses of sky and sea

When I was 20 and straight out of teacher training college I took a job in a school in Connemara for a year. My friends were heading for the bright lights of Dublin, but after a childhood of caravan holidays along Ireland’s west coast I was drawn to the “wild mountainous country” of west Galway beloved of Oscar Wilde and countless other artists and untamed spirits.

Instead of the indoor excitement of city life, I spent the year knee-high in bogs, scrambling up the Twelve Bens, island-hopping to Inishbofin and Inishark and pedalling along deserted roads to the show-stopping beaches at Glassilaun and Rossadillisk. A sign on the road for Rossadillisk beach read “Welcome to Paradise”. I learned to ride on Connemara ponies at Errislannan and on weekends I’d hitch lifts to random events in Letterfrack, involving local poets, map makers and sculptors who breathed life into this quiet corner of Ireland. With no advance planning, I’d find myself at the summit of Diamond Hill or spotting porpoises at Renvyle beach with a gang of newfound friends.

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November 17th 2021, 5:27 am

Can I give you a call bark? DogPhone lets pets ring their owners

Life and style | The Guardian

When dog moves ball containing device it sends a signal to a laptop and launches a video call

Whether it is a silent stare or simply a rousing bark, dogs have found myriad ways to communicate with humans. Now researchers have created a hi-tech option for canines left home alone: a ball that allows them to call their owners on the old dog and bone.

The device – nicknamed the DogPhone – is a soft ball that, when moved, sends a signal to a laptop that launches a video call, and the sound of a ringing telephone.

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November 17th 2021, 5:27 am

Not a grain of truth in Weetabix stats | Letter

Life and style | The Guardian

In response to a report that claimed Britons eat ‘an average of 336 Weetabix a year’, Alan Woodley does some number crunching

“Britons eat an average of 336 Weetabix a year each,” you claim (Weetabix workers to hold four-day strikes over pay and conditions, 8 November). Let’s do some maths. The population of the UK is 68,366,392. If everybody ate 336 Weetabix, this would give an annual total consumption of 22,971,107,712 Weetabix.

But not everybody eats Weetabix and some don’t eat cereal at all. You say that Weetabix accounts for 7% of UK cereal sales. So let’s make a generous estimate that 5% of the population (3,418,320) eat Weetabix. To come up with an average of 336, this 5% would have to eat 18.4 Weetabix a day. I don’t think so.
Alan Woodley
Northampton

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November 17th 2021, 5:27 am
Get it on Google Play تحميل تطبيق نبأ للآندرويد مجانا