• Cara Delevingne said she and Ashley Benson "weren't looking" for love when they met
    Style
    Cosmo

    Cara Delevingne said she and Ashley Benson "weren't looking" for love when they met

    Plus, an in-depth timeline of their relationship

  • What is heatstroke, what are the symptoms and how can it be treated?
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    The Independent

    What is heatstroke, what are the symptoms and how can it be treated?

    The Met Office has warned that a heatwave is due to sweep over parts of the UK as the school summer holidays begin this week.With temperatures on the rise, Britons unused to the scorching weather will need to take precautionary measures to ensure they don't suffer from heat exhaustion or heatstroke.If an individual's body is unable to cool down and they develop heatstroke, then their health could be at serious risk.So, how can you spot the signs of heatstroke and how can you treat it?Here's everything you need to know: What is heatstroke?Heatstroke, otherwise known as sunstroke, occurs when a person's body temperature has become overheated to a harmful degree, St John Ambulance explains.An individual may develop heatstroke if they've been suffering from heat exhaustion.When a person spends too much time in the sun or in hot temperatures, they may become too dehydrated.At this point, they may stop sweating, which means their body will no longer be able to cool itself down. This can result in them developing heatstroke.If an individual experiencing heat exhaustion is able to cool down within 30 minutes, then their health shouldn't be at serious risk, the NHS states.However, if they develop heatstroke, then an ambulance should be called on 999 or 112. What are the symptoms?Symptoms of heat exhaustion include experiencing a headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, excessive sweating, cramping, an increased heart rate, a temperature of 38C or above and feeling very thirsty, the NHS outlines.Adults and children who experience heat exhaustion tend to exhibit similar symptoms. However, children may also appear sleepy.If a person displaying these signs hasn't improved within 30 minutes, then their condition may have developed into heatstroke.Symptoms of heatstroke include lack of sweat even if they feel very hot, a temperature of 40C or above, shortness of breathe, confusion, experiencing a seizure, losing consciousness and becoming unresponsive. How can you help someone experiencing heatstroke?If you spot that someone may be suffering from heat exhaustion, then they should be moved to a cool environment, the NHS advises.You should do all that you can to help them cool down, including ensuring that they drink lots of water, cooling their skin with a spray or sponge and having them lie down with their feet slightly raised.If they haven't improved in 30 minutes and you believe they may have developed heatstroke, then an ambulance should be called on 999 or 112.While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, St John Ambulance recommends trying to cool them down by either wrapping them in a cold wet sheet or sponging them down.If their temperature appears to go back to normal, then replace the wet sheet with a dry one.As you wait for the arrival of a paramedic, keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response, St John Ambulance says.If at any point they become unresponsive, then you must check their breathing and ensure their airway is open.For more information on how to look after a person who has become unresponsive, click here. How can heatstroke be prevented?There are certain measures you can take to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke in hot temperatures, the NHS states.These include drinking lots of cold drinks, bathing in cool water, wearing loose clothing, avoiding the sun during peak sun hours and not drinking too much alcohol.The NHS advises keeping a close eye on those who may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, including children, older individuals and those who have long-term health conditions.For all the latest news on the UK weather, click here.

  • Here's how to break up with someone in the kindest possible way
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    Cosmo

    Here's how to break up with someone in the kindest possible way

    You don't have to be nasty to make your point.

  • The truth about applying after-sun on sunburnt skin, according to the experts
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    The Independent

    The truth about applying after-sun on sunburnt skin, according to the experts

    While for some summer might mean spending days on end lapping up the glorious sunshine without a care in the world, for others it’s inescapably linked with months of sore, sunburnt skin.Taking care of your skin after excessive sun exposure is incredibly important, as failing to do so could lead to long-lasting damage.However, if your first course of action after sustaining a sunburn is to immediately buy and apply after-sun, then you may not be doing an adequate job.According to the experts, applying after-sun could do your skin even further harm if you don’t take a thorough look at the ingredients.That’s why it may be a wise idea to opt for an aloe vera gel instead.“After-sun formulas tend to have rich, thick consistencies containing oils, which create an emollient barrier on top of the skin trapping in the heat in the upper layer of the epidermis and exacerbating the inflammation and ‘burn’ feeling on your face,” Michaella Bolder, Time Bomb skincare expert tells to The Independent.“Plus, many over the counter after-suns will contain chemicals and/or fragrance. This will just irritate the damaged skin!”Aloe vera has been highly regarded for a very long time due to its remedial properties, Lorraine Shrivener, director of Eden Skin Clinics, explains.“Aloe vera has been a trusted skin saviour for many years,” she says. “With its immediate cooling effect to the skin, it’s a firm favourite for post-suncare.”According to Ms Shrivener, aloe vera is most potent when attained as a pure, clear gel.While gels allow heat to escape from the skin, thicker creams that have been designed to lock in moisture could trap heat within the skin, making it feel cooler rather than hotter.However, as medical director of CosmedicsUK and GP Dr Ross Perry points out, the medicinal properties of aloe vera have not technically been affirmed by scientific research. “Aloe vera is a traditional herbal remedy believed to reduce sunburn symptoms,” he explains.“There is no scientific evidence in support of its use for sunburn, but anecdotal evidence is that it is soothing and safe and can feel cooling.”Aloe vera is a plant species that can trace its origins to the Arabian Peninsula.Mentions of aloe vera as a curative ingredient can be found in the Ebers Papyrus, from 16th Century BC, and in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, which was written in the mid-first century AD.Despite the supposed lack of scientific evidence to back its use as a treatment for sunburn, many health professionals still recommend it for soothing irritated skin.“Aloe vera is thought to have a myriad of positive effects on skin, especially sunburnt skin,” says Dr Natalie Spierings, consultant dermatologist at Dermatica.“True clinical effectiveness has yet to be established. But aloe vera is not harmful and it might aid in helping calm down sunburnt skin, so it is worth giving it a try.”While some skincare experts would advise opting for a clear aloe vera gel instead of a heavier, moisturising after-sun when treating sunburn, others would suggest simply finding an after-sun that contains the plant.“After burning the skin you should think cool and repair,” says Ms Bolder. “The best way to do this is to apply a formula with a high water and high aloe vera content - the more natural and gentle the better!“Aloe vera has quite impressive cooling, healing and antiseptic properties so will beat a generic after-sun every time.”Using an after-sun can still be beneficial if you make sure that the ingredients are gentle and natural as possible.However, if you’re not entirely sure of whether a specific after-sun will do more harm than good, then going for a clear aloe vera gel would likely be your safest option.With around 15,970 new cases of melanoma skin cancer reported in the UK between 2014 and 2016, according to Cancer Research UK, looking after your skin is of the utmost importance during the hotter months.Dr Vikram Rajkomar, a consultant dermatologist at Pall Mall Medical who specialises in the treatment of skin diseases and skin cancer, recommends speaking to a consultant dermatologist as soon as possible if pain caused by sunburn persists.

  • In over your head: how to master Instagram’s favourite pose – the headstand
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    The Guardian

    In over your head: how to master Instagram’s favourite pose – the headstand

    When you’re over your head ... a yogic headstand. Photograph: fizkes/Getty Images/iStockphotoInstagram has long been filled with fitness crazes, from urban parkour to HIIT workouts and even the chair challenge – a feat of core strength that involves climbing under and over a chair without once touching the floor. Not to be outdone, celebrities are embarking on a new craze – taking photographs of themselves upside down in headstands and handstands, with everyone from 70-year-old Dragon Duncan Bannatyne to TV presenter Fearne Cotton getting involved.Otherwise known as inversions, headstands and handstands are a key part of advanced yoga practice, but when performed incorrectly they can have damaging consequences, up to and including causing a stroke.“Instagram is full of peak-level poses,” says Anna Taylor, a yoga teacher. “Something like a headstand really needs to be built up to, so you’re not crushing your shoulders. It might not be one for office workers who have bad back alignment.”In order to perform a headstand, your core strength needs to be built up through poses including the plank, dolphin plank (where you keep your forearms on the floor) and downward dog poses, according to yoga teacher Sarah Scharf. “For a complete beginner, it might take anything up to six months to build your strength properly with other poses,” she says. “Then, when you feel ready, I would start with a handstand against a wall, or using props that take the weight off your neck. Always make sure you’re practising with an experienced friend or instructor.”When you are ready for a headstand, make sure your back is straight, your elbows are aligned with your shoulders, your forearms angled behind your head and your fingers interlaced around the back of your neck, says Adam Hocke, a yoga teacher. “There’s a real meditative focus to achieving the headstand,” he says. “It gives you a new perspective and it is calming to have the heart above the head.” Hocke cautions against kicking up into the pose too forcefully and placing too much weight directly on to the neck.“These celebrity poses are a great way to get people into yoga,” Hocke says. “But I wish more accounts would show the basic poses and work that goes into achieving these inversions. You can get the same effect just by bringing your legs up against a wall. Anyone can do it and it shows that the hardest poses aren’t always the most beneficial.”

  • What is the environmental cost of ironing?
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    The Guardian

    What is the environmental cost of ironing?

    Ironing ... an unnecessary evil? Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick. Photograph: Snap/Rex Features Photograph: SNAP / Rex FeaturesWhat is the environmental cost of ironing? Am I saving the planet by being a scruff?Nick Riches, London W13Post your answers – and new questions – below or email them to nq@theguardian.com

  • Three-quarters of dermatologists want sunbeds banned amid skin cancer rise, poll reveals
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    The Independent

    Three-quarters of dermatologists want sunbeds banned amid skin cancer rise, poll reveals

    The majority of British dermatologists believe that sunbeds should be banned in the UK, a new survey has found.Earlier this week, it was revealed that there has been a 70 per cent increase in skin cancer rates for people aged 25 to 49 since the 1990s.Now, skin experts across the country have collectively condemned the use of tanning salons, calling for a UK-wide ban.The survey, of 245 dermatologists, conducted by the British Skin Foundation, found that 77 per cent agreed that sunbeds should be banned altogether in the UK, while 91 per cent stated that tanning salons are contributing significantly to the rates of skin cancer in the UK.Furthermore, 94 per cent of those surveyed agreed that there should be stricter enforcement of age restrictions on sunbeds in the UK, while 91 per cent called for the age at which people are legally allowed to use them to be increased from 18 to 21.Lisa Bickerstaffe, a spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, said: “The dermatologists’ opinions appear to support research stating the potential to get skin cancer, including melanoma, is increased in those who have also used sunbeds.“We know that there is no such thing as a safe tan from UV rays, therefore, the British Skin Foundation, in line with other health organisations does not recommend sunbed use.”To find out just how dermatologists feel about the use of sunbeds, The Independent has spoken to a number of skincare professionals, including Dr Emma Wedgeworth. “I think from the body of medical evidence out there, there is no doubt that indoor tanning is detrimental to the skin and increases the risks of skin cancer,” Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist, tells The Independent. While Wedgeworth agrees that banning indoor tanning seems like “a sensible measure” she fears that doing so could drive the industry underground, potentially making it more dangerous. Instead, she is calling for stricter regulations regarding the advertising of tanning salons.“At the very least, I think there should be much greater legislation around advertising, the appearance of tanning shops and health warnings, in exactly the same way as tobacco is legislated,” Wedgeworth adds.Dr Adam Friedman, consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, agrees, stating that the majority of young patients (under 30) he sees with melanoma have been sunbed users at some stage of their lives. Speaking to The Independent, Dr Anil Budh-Raja, a leading dermatologist specialising in anti-ageing treatments, says that he “totally agrees” with the survey’s findings and believes that many salons are “unethical and continue to advertise sunbeds as having health ‘benefits’”.Melanoma UK, a patient support and advocacy group, also supports the call for a complete ban on subeds, stating that every day in the UK seven people die of melanoma.> 77% of dermatologists agree that sunbeds should be banned altogether in the UK according to a recent survey undertaken by the British Skin Foundation. https://t.co/WhgPSCGHqy pic.twitter.com/OqqXss77Ch> > — British Skin Foundation - Skin Cancer (@bsfcharitysc) > > July 22, 2019“Despite the threats of legal action from the Sunbed Association, we will continue to petition for a complete ban on sunbeds,” Gill Nuttall, founder of the organisation, tells The Independent.“We see the devastation of melanoma every day, and we also see how much the treatment of advanced melanoma costs our NHS. We have cross party support for a ban and we are very pleased that dermatologists are also supporting a ban”.A recent study conducted by Cancer Research UK, found that melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have risen by 45 per cent since 2004 for the general population in the past decade. Meanwhile, rates of melanoma have increased by 35 per cent for women and 55 per cent for men. > View this post on Instagram> > Do you know how much sunscreen you should use in the sun? As the temperatures rise in the UK, please look after your skin and avoid the burn. The simple rule should be to put enough sunscreen on so that the skin looks completely white before the cream is absorbed into your skin. Please remember to apply at least 20 minutes before going out and then every two hours, or after swimming or towelling. itsnotjustskincancer melanoma awareness> > A post shared by MelanomaUK (@melanoma_uk) on Jul 23, 2019 at 6:00am PDTSo, what steps should you be taking take care of your skin?So, what steps should you be taking take care of your skin?Dr Budh-Raja recommends the regular use of sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure where possible and protecting the skin using items of clothing.The skincare expert also states that sun cream which offers both UVA and UVB protection with high protection of at least SPF 30 should be used.“Remember to apply half an hour before going out in the sun, and half an hour after being in the sun,” Dr Budh-Raja explains.“Reapply liberally at least every two hours, and immediately after contact with water . Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it is sunny.”If you are worried about a mole or patch of skin the British Skin Foundation suggests you seek help sooner rather than later.It states that anyone who has moles or a patch of skin that is changing shape, growing, developing new colours, inflamed, bleeding, crusting, red around the edges, particularly itchy or behaving unusually in any way should visit their GP or dermatologist as soon as possible.For more information on checking your skin, click here.

  • England could become ‘smoke-free’ by 2030 under new government pledge
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    The Independent

    England could become ‘smoke-free’ by 2030 under new government pledge

    The government has announced its aim to end smoking in England by 2030.On Monday evening, the government released a green paper titled "Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s", outlining its plans to tackle preventable ill health in the near future.One of the concerns highlighted in the paper is the detrimental impact of smoking, a national health issue which has improved in recent years."Thanks to our concerted efforts on smoking, we now have one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe with fewer than one in six adults smoking," the document reads."Yet, for the 14 per cent of adults who still smoke, it's the main risk to health."The government states that it is "setting an ambition to go 'smoke-free' in England by 2030"."This includes an ultimatum for industry to make smoked tobacco obsolete by 2030, with smokers quitting or moving to reduced risk products like e-cigarettes."The document explains that further proposals regarding the government's efforts to make England smoke-free over the next 11 years will be outlined "at a later date".The green paper proposes that hospital patients who smoke receive support to help them give up the habit.The government adds that England became one of the first countries to ban smoking in public places in 2007, in addition to introducing plain packaging for cigarettes three years ago.Two years ago, the government published its tobacco control plan for England.The plan included the aim of reducing the number of adults in the country who smoke from 15.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2022.The newly-released green paper also references issues including obesity, mental health services and diabetes prevention.The document states that measures will be put into place to "shift the health system away from just treating illness, and towards preventing problems in the first place".Members of the public can respond to the proposals laid out by the government by clicking here.The consultation on the green paper will close at 11.59pm on Monday 14 October.For all the latest health news, click here.

  • Pinterest introduces wellness activities to support mental health of users
    Style
    The Independent

    Pinterest introduces wellness activities to support mental health of users

    Pinterest has launched a series of new wellbeing activities on the social media platform in order to provide mental health support for its users.The aim of the interactive activities is to help soothe individuals who are feeling anxious, stressed or sad.They have been created in collaboration with Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, and Pinterest has also received guidance from mental health organisation Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.The activities are being made available to all Pinterest users in the US on iPhones and Android smartphones over the next few weeks.When Pinterest users in the US search for mental health-related terms such as "stress quotes" or "work anxiety", a prompt will appear asking whether they would like to explore the platform's wellbeing resources.The resources include activities such as deep breathing exercises and tips on how to practise self-compassion.If a person searches for terms related to self-harm, they will be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.Pinterest explains that use of the platform's wellbeing resources are kept private and are not tracked, with the activity being logged anonymously by a third-party service.This means that advertisements based on users' searches will not be used when they use the platform on a day-to-day basis.Pinterest explains that the new interactive activities have been introduced after the company noted an increase in searches on the platform related to anxiety and stress."In the last year there have been millions of searches in the US related to emotional health on Pinterest," states Annie Ta, product manager at Pinterest."Over the years we’ve worked with experts to make it easy for people in distress to access supportive resources."Together we wanted to create a more compassionate, actionable experience that tries to address a broader emotional spectrum of what Pinners [Pinterest users] may be looking for."Several Pinterest users praised the company with regards to its newly introduced wellbeing resources."Amazing work! Can't wait to try it," one person wrote on Instagram."Love this idea!" another added.For mental health support, you can contact the Mind helpline by calling 0300 123 3393, texting 86463 or emailing info@mind.org.uk. The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 6pm, except on bank holidays.

  • Poldark screenwriter says postnatal depression helped her write hit BBC show
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    The Independent

    Poldark screenwriter says postnatal depression helped her write hit BBC show

    Poldark screenwriter Debbie Horsfield has said that her postnatal depression helped her write the BBC one period drama and gave her “insight” into mental health issues that its characters face.The fifth series of the hit show returned earlier this month and sees character Doctor Dwight Enys take an interest in mental health following the death of his daughter, Sarah.Horsfield, who adapted the series from Winston Graham’s Poldark novels, told Radio Times magazine that mental health issues can strike anyone, at any time and a taboo about them still exists."After the birth of my first child, it didn't occur to me to talk about the permanent 'fog' I felt I was wading through, let alone consider it a form of post-natal depression,” she said."When I eventually confided in a family member, she actually got up and ran out of the room!"This was something of a blow... until I realised that the person concerned had probably struggled with that same issue herself...The writer said that the experience gave her “insight into the challenges involved in acknowledging and addressing the stigma and fear surrounding the subject”.The NHS states that postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby.The condition is expected to affect more than one in every 10 women within a year of giving birth and can affect also affect partners and fathers. Symptoms of postnatal depression can include a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood, problems concentrating and making decisions, and difficulty sleeping.Since Sunday night's episode, several Twitter users have praised the show for exploring mental health issues.“Loving the fact they are dealing with mentalhealth with the insanity side plot,” one user wrote.Another added: “Dr. Dwight looking out for mental health. A man ahead of his time.”> poldark. Loving the fact they are dealing with mentalhealth with the insanity side plot> > — Marlena Kellie (@marlenakellie) > > July 21, 2019> Dr. Dwight looking out for mental health. A man ahead of his time Poldark> > — Becca. (@RebeccaWard22) > > July 21, 2019Earlier this month, actor Luke Norris, who plays Dr Enys in the show, opened up about his character’s interest in mental health in this series following the medical expert’s struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and bereavement."He goes into the royal college of surgeons as someone who is interested in mental health,” Norris said during the premiere of the fifth series. “And obviously at the time, and even now, it is quite a taboo subject. It is a difficult subject.”Horsfield continued, stating that she hoped the new and final BBC One series will encourage viewers to open up about any mental health issues they have.The full interview is in this week's Radio Times magazine.If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact the following mental health organisations:mind.org.ukapni.orgpandasfoundation.org.uk

  • I can reach orgasm masturbating to erotica, but not with a partner
    Style
    The Guardian

    I can reach orgasm masturbating to erotica, but not with a partner

    Posed by models. Composite: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Guardian DesignI am a woman in my early 20s and have had a few sexual partners, with one longer-term on-off relationship (in which I had my first sexual experiences). My mother never spoke to me about masturbation, which I began experimenting with, well before any sexual activity, after reading about erotic fiction websites in a women’s magazine in my teens. I am worried my use of erotica may be affecting my ability to orgasm during sex. While I masturbate (successfully) regularly, I have only reached orgasm once with a partner. I know my own body, but am unable to translate this into sex, possibly due to my own insecurities from my teens. What can I do? I am worried about having unsatisfying sex for ever.There is nothing to be concerned about; everything you have described is completely normative. Using erotica is not a problem – in fact, it most likely helped you to fire your own erotic imagination and learn how your body works. Your task now is to go through the process of teaching partners how to please you. This might mean simply guiding them verbally – or perhaps physically guiding their hands or mouths. Many people erroneously imagine it is easy to switch between masturbation and sex with someone else, usually because they expect partners to read their minds. But satisfying sex requires communication; patiently helping your partner to know and do exactly what you want, and fully reciprocating. And relax – it takes time to learn the arts of giving and receiving.• 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). 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.

  • Chelsea Clinton announces birth of son Jasper on Twitter
    Style
    The Independent

    Chelsea Clinton announces birth of son Jasper on Twitter

    Chelsea Clinton has announced the birth of her third child with husband Marc Mezvinsky.On Monday, Clinton revealed on Twitter that the couple had welcomed their second son that morning."This morning we welcomed our son, Jasper Clinton Mezvinsky," the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton wrote."We are overflowing with love and gratitude and can't wait to introduce him to his big sister and brother."Clinton and Mezvinsky already have two children together – Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, born in September 2014, and Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky, born in June 2016.> This morning we welcomed our son, Jasper Clinton Mezvinsky. We are overflowing with love and gratitude and can’t wait to introduce him to his big sister and brother.> > — Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) > > July 22, 2019The couple were married in New York in 2010 in an interfaith ceremony, Clinton being Methodist and Mezvinsky being Jewish.Several Twitter users have wished the family congratulations on the announcement on of their new arrival."Congratulations! May you only have nachas, health, and love in your lives," one person tweeted.Congratulations to the entire Clinton-Mezvinsky family. You are truly blessed," another added.Bill and Hillary Clinton are yet to comment publicly on the birth of their third grandchild.In January, Chelsea Clinton revealed she was pregnant with her third child.The former first daughter tweeted: "Marc and I have loved watching Charlotte be such a wonderful big sister and we're excited to watch Aidan become a big brother."The 39-year-old added she and her husband "cannot wait to meet our newest addition later this summer".Clinton has written several children's books, including She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World; Don't Let Them Disappear, a tale about 12 endangered species; and It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going!The author is also vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, working alongside the organisation's partners to "help create greater opportunities for people to build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities".Clinton's husband, Mezvinsky, is an investor and former vice chairman at venture capital firm Social Capital.

  • People just do nothing: is the Dutch concept of niksen the best way to relax?
    Style
    The Guardian

    People just do nothing: is the Dutch concept of niksen the best way to relax?

    ‘When thoughts occur, you don’t interrogate them or imagine them being carried away on balloons, you just let them occur.’ Photograph: Posed by model/Getty/iStockphotoDoing nothing is exhausting: mindfulness involves keeping a running tally of every single passing thought and sensation, while transcendental meditation involves concentrating on your breathing and mantra. Perhaps we should all try niksen instead?Niksen is an increasingly popular Dutch relaxation technique where you relinquish control and just ... stop. When thoughts occur, you don’t interrogate them or imagine them being carried away on balloons, you just let them occur. At a time when meditative practices can feel like yet another thing to do, niksen is liberatingly simple. Stop doing everything right now. Congratulations, you just did a niksen. It is essentially sanctioned daydreaming.It sounds tremendous, so I had to try it. The brief from my editor was possibly the best I have ever received – sit down and don’t do anything for an hour – so I retired to a chair away from my desk and, well, just sort of stopped.And it was brilliant. A working day can often feel a bit like a zombie attack, with requests and demands coming in from every imaginable angle. To deliberately remove myself from that felt amazing. There was a freedom to it, a tranquillity. We are all so busy doing as much stuff as we can that to suddenly stop felt preposterously luxurious.Or at least it did for about 30 seconds, because that was when the thoughts started to trickle in. I was staring out of my window, but I was seeing the dozens of unread emails that were almost certainly piling up in my inbox. I was nagged by the sinkful of washing up that needed doing and the bin that needed to be taken out. I thought about the podcasts I could be listening to. Shamefully, I found myself wondering if anyone had written any good tweets.In the end, I managed 10 minutes of niksen before my brain stopped idling and told me to stop being such a layabout. Still, they were 10 very nice minutes. Niksen isn’t something you can just plunge into, it turns out. It takes time to build up to a level of comfort where you can happily do nothing. And so help me God, I’m going to get there if it kills me.

  • Love Island: Counselling offered to contestants’ families by ITV
    Style
    The Independent

    Love Island: Counselling offered to contestants’ families by ITV

    The family members of contestants on this year’s series of Love Island are being offered counselling, ITV2 has confirmed. The revelation comes after Curtis Pritchard’s father, Adrian, told The Daily Star that he and the rest of his family had been offered therapy by the channel should they feel affected by what they see on the reality TV programme.“Counselling is on offer to us whenever we need it,” he said. “There have been tough moments for us since Curtis went into the villa, but we can just ring for support at any time.“The people at ITV say to us, ‘If there’s anything that’s worrying you, ring us, whatever the problem might be’.”Adrian went on to praise the channel for its ongoing support.“I don’t think the general public are aware, but ITV are always in touch when something significant is going to air on the show that they feel might concern you,” he added.A spokesperson for ITV confirmed that support is “always” there for those who need it.“We have always ensured that the families of Islanders have the contact details of key members of our production team and there is always an open line of communication. We have always offered support to families where appropriate and when requested," they said.Love Island’s duty of care processes have been under scrutiny in recent months following the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, both of whom took their own lives.Prior to the current season of Love Island, which began on 3 June, ITV2 revealed it had revamped its aftercare package and would be offering contestants a minimum of eight therapy sessions following their appearance on the show. Additionally, Islanders have access to a psychological consultant throughout the series. You can read more about the new duty of care here.Love Island contestant Amy Hart, who left the series last week, recently revealed she sought therapy 12 times while on the programme.Hart, who broke up with Pritchard prior to her departure, told OK! Magazine that she chose to prioritise “her mental health over the reality show”. “I had therapy 12 times in the villa – but I’ve come out stronger,” the 26-year-old added. “I deserve a man who loves me for who I am.”

  • Eating more fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by almost a quarter, study suggests
    Style
    The Independent

    Eating more fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by almost a quarter, study suggests

    Vegan and vegetarian diets have become more and more mainstream in recent years, with one recent survey suggesting as many as 3.5m people have cut out animal products for environmental, health and ethical reasons.While there are endless studies that document the myriad of benefits reaped by people who consume diets high in fruit and vegetables a new analysis has revealed there is one major health advantage to eating your greens.According to a study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, eating plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables could reduce the risk of developing diabetes by almost a quarter.The study of more than 300,000 people analysed the association between plant-based foods and Type 2 diabetes and found that those whose diets were mainly plant based were 23 percent less prone to the disease.Researchers say the findings could be due to such foods being rich in antioxidants which protect against diabetes, while many also improve sensitivity to insulin – the hormone that controls blood sugar – and reduce weight gain.The study also differentiated between healthy and less healthy plant-based foods.The former included fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, and legumes and the latter, potatoes, white flour, sugar and modest amounts of animal products.Researchers found the association was strengthened for those who ate diets emphasising healthy plant-based foods and lower consumption of unhealthy ones.Senior author Professor Qi Sun, a nutritionist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, said: “Overall, these data highlighted the importance of adhering to plant-based diets to achieve or maintain good health."People should choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, tofu, and other healthy plant foods as the cornerstone of such diets."Sun added: "Higher adherence to plant-based eating habits was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, especially when only healthy plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, were included in the definition of plant-based."The findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine add to evidence that diet is crucial in tackling a condition that now affects around four million people in the UK.It is also estimated that 549,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but are not aware of it.Diabetes UK supports the findings, agreeing that diets high in antioxidant-rich foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, can help lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.The charity recommends people opt for foods in "a rainbow of colours to get as wide a range of vitamins and minerals as possible".As well as fresh fruit and vegetables, Diabetes UK also advocates consuming wholegrains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fermented foods like unsweetened yoghurt.According to the NHS, symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can include: * feeling thirsty all the time * feeling very tired * losing weight without trying to * blurred visionThe NHS also states that you are more at risk of developing the disease if you: * are over 40 – or 25 for south Asian people * have a close relative with diabetes – such as a parent, brother or sister * are overweight or obese * are of south Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean or black African origin – even if you were born in the UKYou can find out more about Type 2 diabetes here.

  • Women 'must be warned' of breast implant illness, say plastic surgeons
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    The Independent

    Women 'must be warned' of breast implant illness, say plastic surgeons

    Women who choose to have breast implants should be warned about breast implant illness (BII), plastic surgeons say.According to the the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), BII is a term used by patients who have breast implants and describes a variety of generalised symptoms that they feel are directly connected to silicone implants.Symptoms can include tiredness, “brain fog”, joint aches, immune-related symptoms and sleep disturbance, the organisation explains.However, BII is currently not recognised as a medical diagnosis and therefore there are no diagnostic criteria nor investigative protocols to treat is as such.That said, medical experts are now calling for more research into the illness and for women to be told about the condition prior to undergoing breast implant surgery. Naveen Cavale, the UK's National Secretary for the International Society of Plastic Surgery, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: "As far as some of my patients are concerned, breast implant illness is a very real thing for them, and I have no reason to doubt them. But, to me, as a doctor, it makes no scientific sense."Breast implant illness isn't something we used to always talk about - but the proper plastic surgery associations such as ourselves, have started advising we do so, which I think is a good thing for patients to make more informed decisions."Nora Nugent, consultant plastic surgeon of BAAPS, added: "Surgeons should be warning patients about breast implant illness. Patients need the most up-to-date information possible, with the caveat that breast implant illness is poorly understood. So it's going to be difficult to give absolute information."The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) states it received 1,586 Adverse Incident Reports for breast implants between 2014 and May 2019.While the regulator states that there is no new evidence of an increased risk to patients, last month it said it was willing to reconsider its position on breast implant illness after medical concerns were highlighted by the Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches.“Patient safety is our highest priority and we always investigate where there are safety concerns raised about a medical device,” a spokesperson said at the time.“It’s entirely reasonable that book should be opened again now, and we and our advisory group are already looking at the evidence around this. We would be eager to learn more from patients about their experiences in this area.”BAAPS agrees with the MHRA's guidance on breast implants, telling patients that “there is no need to remove or exchange any current implants based on the most up-to-date scientific data available”.During the programme, Naomi Macarthur, a 28-year-old fitness instructor, explained that she received breast implants in 2014 but within weeks of the incident she revealed she began to suffer “the most horrific symptoms”."I remember getting severe pain in my stomach," she told the programme. "And the tiredness was like I had run a marathon and dug a million trenches and I hadn't done anything. Writing with a pen was too tiring."Macarthur suffered several symptoms including hair loss, allergies and rashes.Despite being told her condition was unrelated to the implants by medical professionals, Macarthur sought support from women on online groups who had suffered similar symptoms that they believe resulted from their breast implants.Last year, Macarthur had her implants removed and said that she soon found her symptoms to disappear.“I can’t believe how much I’ve bounced back,” she added.BAAPS states that on average, around 50 per cent of women who self-identify as having BII feel that their symptoms improved after implant removal – sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently.Steph Harris, from Woking, concurred with Macarthur, revealing she has had three different types of implants and has experienced symptoms of breast implant illness.“Dealing with the breast cancer was easier,” Harris told the programme. “That’s going to sound really strange. Chemotherapy was much easier to deal with than the chronic fatigue…I’ve been through both and this is harder.”In 2010, PIP breast implants were withdrawn from the UK after it was found they had been fraudulently manufactured with unapproved silicone gel, and were far more prone to splitting (rupturing) than other breast implants, the NHS explains.It is estimated around 47,000 British women had PIP implants fitted prior to the withdrawal, most of whom are still living with them.In 2016, the NHS set up the Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry which details all breast implant procedures completed in England and Scotland by both the NHS and private providers.In April, France's National Agency for Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) ruled that the macro-textured and polyurethane breast implants for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery would be banned due to a slight risk of patients developing a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.However, the MHRA said the implants would continue to be sold in the UK.“Based on our analysis of the latest scientific evidence and expert clinical advice our advice remains the same," a spokesperson said."There is no new evidence of an increased risk to patients and there is no need for people with breast implants to have them removed.”Read more about breast implant safety here.The Independent has contacted the MHRA for further comment.

  • ‘My oestrogen levels were all over the place’: when men have ‘sympathy pregnancies’
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    The Guardian

    ‘My oestrogen levels were all over the place’: when men have ‘sympathy pregnancies’

    ‘I shared my morning sickness medication with him.’ (Posed by model) Composite: Getty Images/Guardian Design TeamKirsten, 22, knew something strange was happening at about eight weeks into her pregnancy. The classic first trimester symptoms, such as weight gain, food aversions and nausea, were all arriving as expected – but she wasn’t the only one affected.Her partner, Silas, 23, was experiencing similar physical shifts. He started gaining weight and felt repelled by familiar foods. As Kirsten’s morning sickness took hold, he was struck with equally debilitating nausea. “I felt sick every day for weeks,” he says.Initially, Kirsten was sceptical. She worried that Silas’s symptoms were an elaborate joke, or that he was being insensitive. “But, as time went on, I realised he was truly suffering,” she says. “The nausea was the worst of it. He had it much worse than I did. I ended up sharing my morning sickness medication with him so he could get through the day.”Silas’s experience was no freak phenomenon. He had Couvade syndrome, otherwise known as a “sympathy pregnancy”. The mysterious – yet surprisingly common – condition causes pregnant women’s partners to manifest the physical and psychological symptoms of pregnancy. Those with the syndrome report abdominal pain, morning sickness, bloating and lethargy, as well as mood swings, memory loss and depression. In more extreme cases, they can even experience pseudocyesis, in which their stomach swells throughout their partner’s pregnancy, only to begin retracting after the birth.For Kalu, 25, the symptoms were brief, but all-consuming. During the first trimester of his partner’s pregnancy, he struggled with extreme anxiety and nausea. “My stomach was twisting and turning,” he says. “I was throwing up for days. The only thing I could eat were liquids, such as water and fruit smoothies.”It is easy to dismiss these men as simply being melodramatic, especially when you compare Couvade syndrome with the intense physical strain of a real pregnancy. Perhaps that is why there has been so little research into the causes.“I don’t think that people understand the nature of the disorder,” says Dr Arthur Brennan, a senior lecturer in nursing at Kingston University, who has written several research papers on the condition. “It sort of straddles the boundaries between a mental disorder and a physical disorder. It doesn’t fit tidily into one or the other category.”As for how many men may be affected, the research is surprising: one study found that up to 52% of US fathers will experience some symptoms of Couvade syndrome, with 59.1% in Jordan and up to 61% in Thailand. In Poland, a 2013 study found that 72% of expectant fathers could experience at least one pregnancy-related symptom. Lack of research in the UK means that recent statistics are sparse, but estimates in the early 1970s put rates between 11% and 50%. Of course, there is a lot of room for interpretation when symptoms such as mood swings and depression are involved.The syndrome is not a modern-day one. There are references to Couvade rituals in Corsica, Cyprus, Papua New Guinea and ancient Iberia that stretch as far back as 50BC, with expectant fathers apparently lying in bed throughout the pregnancy, and receiving the same level of attention as mothers. In some cases, they would even wear their partner’s clothes, groan and cry out, and complain of labour pains.Couvade syndrome may not be limited to heterosexual human couples, although they make up the majority of the reported cases. Dr Bartlomiej Piechowski-Jozwiak, a neurologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, says the most severe case of Couvade syndrome he has ever heard of came via a vet: “A woman developed a variant of Couvade syndrome triggered by her dog’s pregnancy: she had all the symptoms of the syndrome, and she knew she was not pregnant.”So what does cause Couvade syndrome? For a long time, it was believed to be purely psychological. Some early explanations, rooted in psychoanalytic theory, suggested that the symptoms were born out of a man’s envy of the woman’s ability to procreate. Others suggested it could be a way of diverting attention back to the man, who can feel irrelevant or marginalised during pregnancy.> When Amanda is pregnant, I just get emotional and lazy, and eat cakeBut more recent studies have suggested that Couvade syndrome could be linked to empathy and attachment. Symptoms, it seems, are more prevalent in men with greater investment in their unborn baby, and increased involvement in the pregnancy.This was the case for Mike, 32. The tattoo artist had Couvade syndrome with all three of his partner Amanda’s pregnancies, experiencing morning sickness, pseudocyesis, exhaustion and heightened emotions. He believes it may have been down to the couple’s closeness. “We breathe each other’s air constantly,” he says. “We own a couple of businesses together, we live together, we work together and we have children together, so we’re very close. We also spend a lot of our free time together, too, because we’re friends.”There are potential physical explanations for Couvade syndrome. What we know from the very few studies that have been carried out so far is that men’s hormonal levels shift significantly during the antenatal period. Testosterone tends to diminish, while oestrogen and prolactin rise.“I’d say my oestrogen levels were all over the place when Amanda was pregnant,” says Mike. “I was an emotional wreck.”“My training regime practically stopped because I didn’t feel like I had the urge or energy. I’m quite a testosterone-y bloke: I’m mad on the gym, and I train hard and often. But when Amanda is pregnant, that just stops. My ‘want’ just disappears. I just get emotional and lazy, and eat cake.”Dr Robin Edelstein, a psychologist from the University of Michigan, has studied these hormonal shifts in expectant fathers. The lower testosterone, she suggests, may be to blame for some of the symptoms. “Lower testosterone is associated with weight gain and depression,” she says. “It could [also] make men more supportive and more invested in their relationship, and more prepared to become a parent.”“A number of studies have found that testosterone is lower,” Brennan agrees, “whereas prolactin tends to rise. The link, or the apparent trigger, is found in men who had the greatest concern or responsiveness to the unborn baby. Possibly, this could be to do with empathy, but it could be due to anxiety as well.”But for those with Couvade syndrome, it’s not really about finding answers. Instead, the priority is removing the stigma that surrounds the condition, and for it to be acknowledged as a legitimate part of the pregnancy process.“I don’t really think it’s a cause for research,” says Mike. “Obviously, some people may take the piss, or say I’m trying to steal the thunder from Amanda’s pregnancies. And, yeah, they are her pregnancies, but I can’t deny what’s going on.”If anything, he says, the syndrome should be celebrated as a symbol of intimacy between two parents (the couple are now working on a book about how to stay close during pregnancy, which they credit to the experience). “Couvade syndrome taught me to be more compassionate; to have more understanding of what it was Amanda was going through – not just physically but mentally,” he says. “Maybe Couvade syndrome will give men more of an understanding of what a woman goes through when she pushes her body to its limits.”

  • Camila Cabello discusses overcoming anxiety and how she coped with being ‘incredibly nervous’
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    The Independent

    Camila Cabello discusses overcoming anxiety and how she coped with being ‘incredibly nervous’

    Camilla Cabello has opened up about her struggles with anxiety, revealing she has been “incredibly nervous” and “socially anxious” since she was a child.On Sunday, the singer – who just reached number one in the Official Chart for her single “Senorita” with Shawn Mendes – posted two Instagram posts in which she detailed her mental health issues.Despite her successful singing career, the “Havana” singer revealed she would struggle to sing in front of her parents as a child and “get flustered” when asked to show off her vocal skills.“I sang in my room when my parents left for Walmart and cried when one day I saw them filming me through the crack of the door, I got teary eyed when people sang happy birthday to me because people looking at me actually made me overwhelmed,” she captioned a photograph of herself lying down on a sofa.“I was generally incredibly nervous and socially anxious when I was little; and people always have this look of disbelief when I tell them that,” she added.The NHS states that anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe.The condition’s symptoms vary from person to person but can include feeling restless, having trouble concentrating or sleeping, dizziness and heart palpitations.> View this post on Instagram> > I remember growing up hearing stories of the singers I loved, all the stories sounded the same, kids who would grow up performing for their families and putting on talent shows for their parents when they were little who grew up to be dazzling to me. I was the opposite, I never ever sang in front of my parents or friends and would get flustered when they would ask me to, I sang in my room when my parents left for Walmart and cried when one day I saw them filming me through the crack of the door, I got teary eyed when people sang happy birthday to me because people looking at me actually made me overwhelmed. I was generally incredibly nervous and socially anxious when I was little; and people always have this look of disbelief when I tell them that. I did an interview the other day where I got it again, the interviewer said something along the lines of “So... how’d you end up here?” The answer is, I feel like my whole life there’s been two Camila’s in me. There’s little Camila that is terrified of the unknown, is aware of all the ways everything can go wrong, (actually can picture them vividly lol), and thinks it’s safer to stay home than to play ball. Then there’s the other Camila. And she knows what she wants out of life, is aware of how little time I have to let little Camila run the show while time passes by, and grabs young me by the hand and forces her out the door saying “Let’s go. You’ll survive, and I’m not gonna miss out on this. Let’s go.” And that is literally how I can sum up how I’ve gotten to this point in my life. (I’m talking about as a person, not success.) remember feeling discouraged when I felt like some people were just “born” to do things. That they always had it in them. “They were always this outgoing, they always loved to entertain, they were always this bold, they were always this outspoken.” (.....continue)> > A post shared by camila (@camila_cabello) on Jul 21, 2019 at 10:14am PDTOn the subject of her success, Cabello continued, stating that she feels she has lived her life as “two Camilas”.“There’s little Camila that is terrified of the unknown, is aware of all the ways everything can go wrong, (actually can picture them vividly lol), and thinks it’s safer to stay home than to play ball [sic],” she wrote.“Then there’s the other Camila. And she knows what she wants out of life, is aware of how little time I have to let little Camila run the show while time passes by, and grabs young me by the hand and forces her out the door saying “Let’s go. You’ll survive, and I’m not gonna miss out on this. Let’s go.”In a second post, the “Real Friends” singer urged her fans to not let their mental health struggles or insecurities stop them from being their authentic selves.“The truth is you decide who you’re going to be,” she wrote. “Every day. I’m not talking about talent or success. I just mean the type of person you’re going to be. If you haven’t been very brave, or very social, or wild, or an adventure seeker, if you describe yourself as the opposite of those things... it doesn’t mean you can’t be.”> View this post on Instagram> > (part 2..) The truth is you decide who you’re going to be. Every day. I’m not talking about talent or success. I just mean the type of person you’re going to be. If you haven’t been very brave, or very social, or wild, or an adventure seeker, if you describe yourself as the opposite of those things... it doesn’t mean you can’t be. The other you needs to grab little you by the hand, yank you by the hairs and tell you, “Let’s go.” Little me hasn’t left. I just don’t let her boss me around as much. I felt like sharing because I think sometimes we see other people do things and think “Ah, well.. that’s just not me. I’ve never been like that.” It’s NOT TRUE. I’m telling you. I went from never wanting to sing in front of my family to being addicted to performing, from being too anxious to hang out with new people to... still being a little anxious but having THE BEST time and making irreplaceable memories. The essence of me is the same, but i’ve changed so much as a person. You choose who you’re going to be. Force yourself to do what you’re afraid of, always- and go after what you want and who you want to be, because you’re worth that. You’re worth the fight. It’s the most worthwhile one there is. Love you ❤️> > A post shared by camila (@camila_cabello) on Jul 21, 2019 at 10:20am PDT“The essence of me is the same, but I’ve changed so much as a person. You choose who you’re going to be. Force yourself to do what you’re afraid of, always- and go after what you want and who you want to be, because you’re worth that. You’re worth the fight. It’s the most worthwhile one there is.”Several of the singer’s fans have commented on the posts to commend the star for her honesty.“Beautiful words,” wrote singer Zara Larsson.Another wrote: “Camilla words can’t explain how much his means you’re so inspirational I love you and thank you.”“This is so exactly what I needed to hear today,” added another.Last year, Cabello spoke openly about living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). “OCD is weird. I laugh about it now,” she told Cosmopolitan UK. “Everybody has different ways of handling stress.“And, for me, if I get really stressed thinking about something, I’ll start to have the same thought over and over again, and no matter how many times I get to the resolution, I feel like something bad is about to happen if I don’t keep thinking about it.”Cabello told the publication that she hasn’t always understood what triggered the condition but, following her diagnosis, she has learnt methods which help her to cope with it.“I didn’t know what it was and when I found out, and [learned] how to step back from it, it made me feel so much better,” she revealed. “I feel so much more in control of it now. To the point where I’m just like, ‘Aha! OK, this is just my OCD. I’ll ask my mom a question for the fourth time, and she’ll be like, ‘That’s OCD. You’ve got to let it go.”​OCD is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours, the NHS explains.Symptoms of the condition can include an unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters the mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease and a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.The main treatments for the condition are psychological therapy and medication.If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or any of the following mental health organisations:mind.org.ukmentalhealth.org.uk

  • Argos now allows customers with bowel conditions to use staff toilets in 800 stores
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    The Independent

    Argos now allows customers with bowel conditions to use staff toilets in 800 stores

    High street retailer Argos has signed up to a scheme with charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK to allow people with bowel conditions to use their staff toilets in 800 stores.According to the charity, Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and together they affect more than 300,000 people in the UK.One of the most common symptoms of the bowel conditions is sudden diarrhoea, and the charity states that a major anxiety for people living Crohn’s and Colitis is being refused access to toilets while out in public.To help make it easier for people with the conditions to find a toilet when they’re out, Argos has joined a list of retailers who now accept Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s Can’t Wait Card.The card, which is available to members of the charity, makes it easier for people to ask to use toilets in shops, restaurants and other buildings, without having to give a long explanation about their condition. The card displays a message which reads: “The holder of this card has inflammatory bowel disease and needs to use your toilet facilities urgently”.Membership costs £1.25 a month or £15 for a year and includes a range of other benefits, including a RADAR key which gives you independent access to over 9,000 locked public toilets around the country.Young people who are patients aged between 16 to 18 years in the UK are eligible for free membership.Sharing the news on Twitter, Crohn’s and Colitis UK wrote: “Great news: Retail giant @Argos_Online is recognising invisible diseases such as Crohn’s and Colitis, by allowing members with our Cant Wait Card to access staff toilets in 800 UK stores”.The announcement has been praised by a number of people on social media with many thanking the retailer for taking “such a positive step”.“This is fantastic news Argos! Let’s hope other retailers are inspired by your example,” one person wrote on Twitter.Another added: “Nice one Argos , it’s a small thing that means a lot to anyone with a bowel disease.”> GREAT NEWS: Retail giant @Argos_Online is recognising invisible diseases such as Crohns and Colitis, by allowing members with our CantWaitCard to access staff toilets in 800 UK stores. > > Find out how to get your Card and RadarKey when joining us: > > 👪 https://t.co/bpklzcKaHL pic.twitter.com/PjmvySn5iV> > — Crohn's & Colitis UK (@CrohnsColitisUK) > > July 20, 2019While a third person commented: “This is such a great idea. A positive step that hopefully will be followed by many more stores. For people who suffer from Crohns and Colitis it can be so stressful when out shopping with no in-store toilets.”An Argos spokesperson tells The Independent: “Argos is a proud supporter of Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Our group vision is to be the most inclusive retailer and we recognise that some customers often need to use a toilet, without delay. Together with our colleagues, we welcome the use of our facilities in store.”Dan McLean, communications director at Crohn’s & Colitis UK, added: "Argos is actively giving their support to many thousands of people with debilitating and chronic health conditions such as Crohn’s and Colitis; their help along with other national retailers, will reassure people and enable them to shop more confidently. This can reduce the stigma of toilet urgency and help to reduce isolation".Other companies that accept the cards include: Retail * Argos * B&Q * Co-op - 240 Midcounties stores * M&S * Starbucks - Northern Ireland * Superdrug * Waitrose * White Stuff * ZaraTravel hubs * Birmingham Airport * City of London Airport * Gatwick Airport * Luton Airport * Newcastle AirportThe announcement follows the launch of Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s Not Every Disability is Visible campaign, which aimed to raise awareness of people with invisible illnesses using disabled toilets.A survey issued by the charity found that 93 per cent of people would challenge someone who looks healthy if they saw them using a disabled toilet, while 61 per cent of people with the disease said they had experienced abuse.What’s more, around two thirds said they had been refused when they asked to jump the toilet queue because their disease isn’t visible.

  • Why terrarium plants like a nice cup of tea
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    The Guardian

    Why terrarium plants like a nice cup of tea

    In a different glass: a succulent terrarium requires very little water, but a spray of cold chamomile tea keeps mould at bay. Photograph: Getty ImagesIt’s one of the most frequent gardening questions I’m asked: “How do you tackle mould growth in terrariums?” On Instagram I have been asked at least half a dozen times today – and it’s only lunchtime. I guess that’s what happens when you share your tiny flat with 30 or so tanks and terrariums, in all shapes and sizes. So, as you asked, here are my tips for keeping your ecosystem under glass healthy and mould free.Terrariums are an ingenious piece of technology first invented in the 19th century by amateur naturalist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. He discovered that delicate, moisture-loving plants, like ferns and mosses, that were next to impossible to grow in the dry, drafty air of Victorian parlours suddenly thrived when the humidity and warmth were sealed around them in closed glass cases. Unfortunately, the same sky-high humidity levels that keep these plants alive can also be perfect for the growth of mould, which can strike without warning and soon overtake a terrarium. However, there are three simple steps you can take to keep the balance in check.The best thing you can do to stop the spread of an infection is to spot it early. Inspect your terrarium once a week for any signs of fuzzy, white filaments creeping over the soil surface. I dampen the patch to prevent the airborne spores from spreading and wipe the moistened mould away with a soft paintbrush. You can use plain tap water to do this, but there is one thing that’s even better: cold chamomile tea. Chamomile plants contain a range of natural antifungal agents to fight off infections, and made into tea these compounds are extracted into an easily administered solution.In fact, I water all my terrariums once a week by spraying them sparingly with a cold chamomile tea poured into an atomiser. This neatly brings us on to the main cause of mould growth: overwatering. Given their lack of drainage holes and sealed tops, closed terrariums need very little extra watering, and certainly never use a watering can. Doing this can cause root rot, which not only kills plants but creates the perfect environment for fungal infection (both of which are related).As a general guide, a light misting with a fine spray just to moisten the leaves, only when condensation on the glass completely disappears (which for me is about once a week or every 10 days) is a good guide.Finally, let’s talk aeration. Yes, good ventilation will prevent mould growth. But it will also reduce the humidity many plant species require to be healthy, which is the whole point of a terrarium.So it’s a trade off. If you are growing relatively resilient ferns and moth orchids, leaving the lid off the terrarium one day a week would be beneficial. But if you have delicate, branching moss species or filmy ferns, it can mean the kiss of death.The good news is that if you aren’t overwatering in the first place, are applying chamomile tea and removing any tiny mould patches as they appear, you probably won’t need to do anything else.Email James at james.wong@observer.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @Botanygeek

  • After a century of inflight meals, our trays are yet to soar
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    The Guardian

    After a century of inflight meals, our trays are yet to soar

    Wrapped in foil, scalding hot and served at weird times of day… Inflight cuisine has been stuck in departures for 100 years. Last week I spent eight hours on a plane, and learned it is exactly 100 years since the first inflight meal was served. All around me, my fellow passengers were attempting to conquer their seats, unravelling wires, tucking complimentary blankets around themselves at speed, like sausages gladly accepting their Christmas bacon. Crackling with static, they were taking their shoes off, each thigh movement releasing a new expression of gas, attempting to build a nest for themselves with polyester and breath. Here was a woman who had architected a pink pashmina tent, under which she appeared to be meditating on loss. Here was a man, rageful and wiry, whose bare feet melted into the aisle like pedicured ice cream. He had brought his own pillow, of course. Beside him a girl’s headphones were weighted with a unicorn horn, which bobbed in time to lazy pop. But, of course, these travellers weren’t just making their beds, they were laying their tables; just as the cabin had settled, eyes silently weeping at romcoms, the toilet flushing with a deep and ancient rush, a vengeful snore from business class, breakfast was served. It must have been around 3am, breakfast time seemingly having been selected by cabin crew who’d gargled with lottery balls and seen what number fell out first. And do you know what they served? ‘Pizza sticks. Pizza sticks, the answer to the joke: “What’s brown and sticky?” They led with their smell, which was low down and ripe, a cheese of tomorrow, but with sweet notes, honeyed, like an old body. Mine arrived with a plop on the tray table in a paper shroud, a short limb of dough, bleeding sauce. I looked around at my guys in their identical seats with their identical neck problems tomorrow and their identical pizza sticks, but nobody made eye contact – to acknowledge our internal selves, our humanity, during feeding time would be fatal. I held the hot weight of the stick, my first, and thought about the politics of breakfast. The British army is adding avocado on toast to its breakfast options. They say it’s because too many soldiers are overweight, which one high-ranking officer has described as a “national security threat.” Language often also heard, interestingly, when describing avocado on toast itself, by those blaming young people’s lack of cash and houses on brunch. But, of course, 35,000ft in the sky, there is neither enough space nor air pressure for politics. They could have served veal up here, or caterpillar cake, and we would have eaten it, silent but glad to be remembered. The Sun recently ran a series of pictures airline passengers had posted of their meals alongside the cost of their tickets, juxtaposing the stewish masses of wet meat with random numbers like “900”, and comments from a man called Steve Hislop, who was ‘“disgusted” after being handed a cereal bar and croissant for breakfast instead of the traditional full English on his 12-hour flight to Grand Cayman. And while I do have a particular problem with refrigerated rolls, the corpse-like chill of a sandwich frozen into a scream, its exterior lightly dusted with flour as if to signify baking, its filling once having been a cheese, I am not yet on a Hislop-level of revulsion. Instead, I remain somewhat bewildered that food happens at this height, and grateful to be cared for by people constantly smiling, even as they must swim through the effluvia of passengers’ moods. One hundred years ago, on a flight from London to Paris, they served cold fried chicken, freshly made sandwiches and fruit salads, with later flights occasionally stopping for lunch, on picnic tables set up in the airline hangar. In the 1940s, fresh meals were replaced with frozen ones, and glassware was replaced by plastic, removing the need for cabin crew to do the dishes mid-air. And soon the in-flight meal became the brown violence it is today, a foil-covered cliché relentlessly fingered by Michelin chefs, yet never achieving such heights as taste. But the food is not the thing. The food is never the thing. For all the cash that airlines throw at their “menus”, the problem with in-flight meals is not the meal, it’s the eater. It’s the person, dining in their own filth, destined to be picking crackers out of their creases across two time zones. The myth that food should be integrated into sex play has been largely debunked, and with it the last remaining argument for eating in bed. Looking around the icy cabin on that humid night, blanketed passengers’ heads impaled on their breakfast pizza sticks, I felt a deep shame on all our behalfs, like a dog being watched as it defecates. In-flight meals may be celebrating a century of evolution, but unfortunately, the design of human beings is yet to catch up. Email Eva at e.wiseman@observer.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman

  • How to grow foxgloves
    Style
    The Guardian

    How to grow foxgloves

    Digitalis sown now will bulk up before autumn and be ready to plant out next spring. One of the many joys of foxgloves is that they appear just as spring’s flurry of blooms has disappeared and the garden is waiting for summer to take off. It can be a surprisingly dull moment in the garden, with all the yellowing leaves of tulips among the tired aquilegias. But the spires of foxgloves unfurl to raise your eye away from the dying back below. Combined with ferns, astrantias, dusky cranesbills and cultivated cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, they make the most of dappled shade and please the bees with it. This moment is long gone. In fact, many will now be setting seed. If you don’t have your own plants, this is the moment to start sowing. Digitalis sown in the next month or so will bulk up before autumn and be ready to plant out next spring. They are surprisingly easy to grow from seed, for a fraction of the cost of mature plants. If you have the common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, tap it as you pass by and it will scatter itself where it pleases. If, however, you want to sow some of the many and glorious cultivars, or try your hand at some of the perennial foxgloves, you will need to buy seed. Digitalis seed is tiny and needs light to germinate. Whether you are scattering in the garden or on to a seed tray, it is very important the seed does not get buried. With seed trays, it is best to pre-water and then sow on top. Gently press the seeds into the damp compost and leave the trays somewhere bright, but slightly shaded. Seed germinates between 15C and 18C, but if the seed tray is left in full sun, the temperatures may soar and scorch the germinating seedlings. Seeds should germinate in 14 days. When they are large enough to handle, prick them out into modules or 9cm pots. Go for D. purpurea and the lovely, pure-white D. purpurea forma ‘Albiflora’ – or, if you want both colours, D. purpurea ‘ Pam’s Choice’, with its white flowers and purple insides. D. purpurea and cultivars are biennial, so they need to be sown or allowed to self-seed every year, so there is a fresh batch next spring. They prefer light shade, so if your garden basks in a little more sun, try the perennial Mediterranean species such as D. grandiflora or D. lutea, which are shades of buttery pale-yellow. Then there is also the cross between D. purpurea and D . grandiflora, D. x mertonensis, which is soft strawberry-pink, or D. ‘Sutton’s Apricot’ which has whipped cream added to its colour scheme. All digitalis are very toxic if eaten, so wash your hands after handling if you want to use them as cut flowers.

  • What links prayers at 6am with 0 degrees longitude? The Weekend quiz
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    The Guardian

    What links prayers at 6am with 0 degrees longitude? The Weekend quiz

    Please make it be the right answer… Photograph: Getty Images Photograph: FangXiaNuo/Getty Images/iStockphoto The questions1 Which Nazi leader died in Paddington in 1981? 2 What are produced at La Masia and La Fábrica? 3 In publishing, what does ISBN stand for? 4 Adopted in 1625, what symbol is the Dannebrog? 5 Gabriele Münter was a founder member of what expressionist group? 6 What was nicknamed the Honourable John Company? 7 Which country separates Guyana and French Guiana? 8 In what novel is Constance unhappily married to Sir Clifford? What links: 9 Asgard and Midgard, in the form of a rainbow? 10 Singer O’Dowd; outlaw McCarty; slugger Ruth; bank robber Nelson? 11 Statant; sejant; rampant; passant; dormant? 12 Victoria Embankment; Cardiff City Hall; Colchester station? 13 Khumbu icefall; Kangshung face; Hornbein couloir; Hillary step? 14 Prayers at 6am; 0 degrees longitude; 2, 3, 5, 7, etc? 15 Prince of Morocco (Au); Prince of Arragon (Ag); Bassanio (Pb)?Blue sky thinking. Photograph: Getty Images Photograph: yupiyan/Getty Images/iStockphoto The answers1 Albert Speer. 2 Footballers (academies of Barcelona and Real Madrid). 3 International Standard Book Number. 4 Danish flag. 5 Der Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider). 6 East India Company. 7 Suriname. 8 Lady Chatterley’s Lover. 9 Bifrost (bridge in Norse myth, linking gods’ realm and Earth). 10 Young nicknames: Boy George; Billy the Kid; Babe Ruth; Baby Face Nelson. 11 Attitudes of animals in heraldry: standing; sitting; rearing; walking; lying down. 12 Statues of Boudicca. 13 Parts of Mount Everest. 14 Prime: canonical hour of prayer; prime meridian; prime numbers. 15 Caskets chosen by Portia’s suitors in The Merchant Of Venice: gold; silver; lead.