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Refinery29

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    If like us you're burning the candle at both ends right now, chances are your skin will be bearing the brunt. When eight hours of sleep is out of the question, there's only so much concealer can do. So perk yourself up with a fatigue-fighting under-eye mask.

    “The skin around the eye area is extremely fragile and is often neglected, and if not looked after correctly, can become dry, puffy and congested and age your face beyond your years," explains Noella Gabriel, cofounder of Elemis. "An eye mask will provide an instant boost of deep hydration, and have a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect.”

    But if we're already investing in an eye cream, do we really need an eye mask as well? Gabriel thinks so: “An eye cream is a continuous everyday maintenance product to protect and support skin throughout the day, whereas an eye mask is like a booster, it delivers a concentrated surge of hydration instantly.” So there you have it. Despite your social calendar heating up as the temperature drops, your skin need not suffer.

    Read on for our pick of the best masks for tired eyes, to see you through the end-of-year festivities.

    These award-winning eye gels are popular for good reason. They're cooling, transdermal and effective, designed to alleviate the effects of stress on the skin. Enriched with hydrolysed elastin to increase firmness and acetyl hexapeptide to reduce visibility of fine lines, they're the perfect accompaniment to a high-adrenaline lifestyle.

    Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels x8, £25, available at Marks & Spencer

    These hydrating eye masks are formulated with a balance of naturally fermented coconut juice, brightening liquorice root extract and a bio-cellulose serum which reduces the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. We recommend popping a pair on first thing in the morning; by the time you've finished brushing your teeth, you'll be left with rejuvenated and luminous skin.

    Starskin Eye Catcher Smoothing Coconut Bio-cellulose Second Skin Eye Mask x2, £8.50, available at Look Fantastic

    Infused with Estée Lauder's famous Advanced Night Repair technology, these masks combat the stresses of modern life, whether that's lack of sleep, pollution or dehydration. They contain a highly concentrated dose of the brand's ChronoluxCB ingredient, which stimulates the skin's reparative process, being both soothing and hydrating.

    Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Recovery Eye Mask x4, £36, available at Boots

    Perfect before a big night out, Elemis's Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks are formulated with collagen-boosting potent plankton extract and skin-tightening padina pavonica. Gabriel says: "Use them whenever you need them most, depending on you and your lifestyle."

    Elemis Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks x6, £47.50, available at Look Fantastic

    Alleviate dark circles with these fatigue-fighting eye masks from Japanese beauty house, DHC. Infused with brightening mulberry and peony to combat discolouration, the olive leaf extracts and natural soy essence will eliminate puffiness and deliver much-needed antioxidants to tired eyes.

    DHC Revitalising Moisture Strips x6, £8.75, available at Feel Unique

    With 52% of women reportedly concerned about under-eye wrinkles, this fast-acting, dual-purpose treatment is one of few under-eye masks to contain the anti-ageing ingredient retinol, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles and leaves the skin texture refined and awake.

    Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask x12, £60, available at Space NK

    Re-energise your eyes after all those late nights and winter weather damage with these eye patches, formulated with caffeine and aescin to improve the skin's radiance and increase circulation round the eye contour. They're perfect for an emergency eye care boost or a month-long treatment.

    Institut Esthederm Eye Contour Lift Patches x10, £53, available at Feel Unique

    These travel-friendly patches are the perfect pick-me-up for tired skin, and each set can be used up to three times, which gives you 18 treatments from six patches. With active ingredients including avocado, wheatgerm and musk rose, to revive and nourish skin, they're fast-acting and come in this pretty silver case. So if you're going away for Christmas, you have no excuse.

    Talika Eye Therapy Patches x6, £50, available at Space NK

    Rodial's dragon's blood is actually an extract from the South American tree, croton lechleri, which reduces redness and inflammation while the accompanying ingredients, arnica, hyaluronic acid and bio-cellulose, provide a de-puffing and intensely moisturising effect.

    Rodial Dragon's Blood Eye Mask x8, £39, available at Marks & Spencer

    Designed to bring vibrancy back to the eye area, these elastic hydrogel patches are filled with volufiline, an ingredient derived from plant extracts, to help lift and tighten sagging skin while promoting circulation. They're also formulated without parabens or sulphates.

    DR JART+ Dermask Spot Jet Cheek & Eye Lift, £9, available at Selfridges

    Great for the time-conscious, these concentrated eye masks will deliver a brighter and firmer appearance around the eye area in as little as five minutes. They're hydrating, soothing and perfect for a quick fix before a night on the town.

    Trish McEvoy Instant Solutions Triangle of Light Eye Mask x8, £56, available at Harvey Nichols

    Formulated with green tea, aloe vera and vitamins A and E, these eye masks improve elasticity and the cooling effect from the gel will de-puff and soothe swollen eyes. They're a refreshing boost after spending all day in an air-conditioned office, and almost as good as an extra hour in bed.

    Beauty Pro Eye Therapy Under Eye Mask With Collagen And Green Tea Extract 3 applications, £4.95, available at Look Fantastic

    Enriched with cucumber extract, these hydra-gel eye masks reduce the appearance of fine lines, including crow's feet, while the blend of aloe and chamomile will calm any inflammation. Offering a boost of hydration with a blend of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and hydrolysed collagen will leave the eye area visibly brighter.

    Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Hydra-Gel Eye Masks x60, £46.50, available at Look Fantastic

    Like an energy drink for your eyes, these masks from Bliss leave you looking refreshed and more awake in just 15 minutes. They're enriched with cucumber extract to reduce puffiness and antioxidant vitamin C to deliver radiant and revitalised skin.

    Bliss Triple Oxygen® Instant Energizing Eye Mask x4, £40, available at Marks & Spencer

    This antioxidant-rich treatment combining vitamin E, kaolin and collagen is a welcome hydrating and firming boost for tired eyes. When late nights and early mornings start to wreak havoc on the most delicate part of your face, reach for these to improve suppleness and fine lines.

    Christian Breton Anti-Wrinkle Eye Patches x3, £27, available at Look Fantastic

    Oculoplastic surgeon and founder of MZ Skin, Dr. Maryam Zamani advises using these eye masks to restore radiance to fatigued skin. They're supercharged with hyaluronic acid, rose oil and seaweed to increase elasticity and minimise fine lines while also being vegan-friendly.

    MZ Skin Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Mask x5, £65, available at Harrods

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    Following a froggy-green 2017, last week Pantone revealed the colour of 2018, a decidedly more wearable, uplifting hue of Ultra Violet. According to Pantone, the "dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade... communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future."

    "We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination," Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute explained. "It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

    Elected the colour of 2018, the shade has already made a significant cultural impact over the past year. Remember the purple-accented Ralph Lauren trouser suit Hillary Clinton wore to nobly concede defeat to Donald Trump in November 2016? In June 2017, Prince's Purple Rain Deluxe Expanded was posthumously released, with suitably ultra violet album artwork from the iconic musician whose artistic image was intrinsically linked to the colour purple.

    Then, in September during Milan Fashion Week, Gucci's SS18 collection was not only presented under an ultra violet strobe light but a number of the 106 looks were head-to-toe ultra violet, from a purple jumpsuit and shimmering ruffled gown to velvet trousers worn with a snake-adorned jacket.

    Mixing blue and red, two shades which are seemingly opposed, to create something entirely new, Ultra Violet is therefore one of the most complex colours. "Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own," Pantone stated.

    During such turbulent sociopolitical times, we're excited about the prevalence of a colour that stands for hope, discovery, limitlessness and reflection. It's time to get into the colour purple. Click ahead for 18 ways to wear ultra violet now.

    Tassel earrings were a huge accessories trend in 2017 and their popularity shows no sign of abating for 2018, especially if in an ultra violet, eye-catching hue.

    Mango Tassels pendant earrings, £12.99, available at Mango

    If you're not on board with adding a vivid shade of purple to your wardrobe, try this sweater for a low-key way of wearing ultra violet. Well, as 'low-key' as ultra violet could ever be...

    & Other Stories Sparkling sweater, £45, available at & Other Stories

    Ready to trade your trusty denim for velvet? Then these straight-leg disco trousers have your name all over them. Wear with sparkles and ruffles for a show-stopping party look.

    Marc Jacobs Straight high-rise velvet trousers, £355, available at Selfridges

    Summer may be a distant memory but wear this mood-enhancing floral dress over jeans for now, until the warmer weather returns when you can pair with white boots or sandals.

    Mango Floral pattern dress, £49.99, available at Mango

    Tremaine Emory and DJ Acyde conceived Art Dad during a late-night conversation about Kanye West’s Madison Square Garden show and soon after, Virgil Abloh of Off-White texted them to collaborate. This '70s-inspired ‘Cigars and Tequila’ T-shirt is perfect for down days, worn with denim and trainers.

    ART DAD x Off-White Cigars and Tequila cotton-jersey T-shirt, £210, available at Selfridges

    A boot Prince would be proud of.

    Mango Geometric leather ankle boots, £79.99, available at Mango

    Embellished with shimmering gold, bronze and silver sequins that create a leaf motif, let this satin pouch swing from the sleeve of an evening gown.

    Attico Embellished-leaf satin pouch, £340, available at Matches Fashion

    Alessandro Michele is a master of purple and this skinny flared silhouette skims the leg in all the right places.

    Gucci Cady flared pants, £590, available at Net-A-Porter

    For the girl who's more statement than subtle when it comes to earrings.

    Mango Metal pendant earrings, £15.99, available at Mango

    Add some colour to your everyday work wardrobe with this easy, elegant sweater.

    Zara Sweater with slits, £12.99, available at Zara

    Upgrade your knitwear with this textured, XL long-sleeved jumper.

    Topshop Boutique Extreme long sleeve knitted jumper, £60, available at Topshop

    Just because it's winter, that doesn't mean you have to resign your feet to ugly, clonky footwear. Wear these heels with (thick) tights and your favourite dress.

    Zara Ruffled leather high heel shoes, £79.99, available at Zara

    Bored of the trousers you wear to work every other day? These purple paper bag trousers are just as suitable for the office as your favourite Friday night haunt.

    Miss Selfridge Paper bag trousers, £35, available at Miss Selfridge

    Because the sock boot trend isn't going anywhere fast.

    Uterqüe Velvet ankle boots, £120, available at Uterqüe

    This jewel-toned silk shirt is a luxurious investment piece that will become a versatile staple.

    Prada Silk crepe de chine shirt, £560, available at Net-A-Porter

    These purple and green Gucci glitter monogram socks will add a dash of glitter dust to your party feet.

    Gucci Interlocking G Socks, £100, available at Browns Fashion

    Have you noticed that ultra violet satin pouches are a big thing?

    Mango Satin bag, £19.99, available at Mango

    This AW17 purple Prada silk blend lurex velvet high neck midi dress is not for shy, retiring types. Minimalists, look away now. Maximalists, we think we've found The One.

    Prada Lurex velvet high neck midi dress, £2,590, available at Browns Fashion

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    There’s something about winter that really lends itself to breakfast. Give me a frosty first light and a cosy kitchen and I'll give you any number of start-the-day eats and warming drink ideas.

    Over the past few years our morning meals have got far more exciting as we've learned to play around with traditional breakfasts foods. No longer is milk just milk; there are now a million different incarnations to have in your coffee, on your cereal, or to bake with.

    One of our current faves is new-to-the-UK Califia almond milk. It's made in the traditional way, by taking whole raw almonds, blanching them, grinding them and then soaking them in water which is as close to homemade as you could get! This means it's super fresh and really tasty too, it also has a thicker consistency making it the perfect creamy addition to coffee. Ahead, we've got three recipes showing you how to use it to create a healthy and delicious breakfast but first, let's make you a ginger latte to accompany your reading...

    Chop yourself one teaspoon of stem ginger, add two teaspoons of the ginger syrup and a quarter of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Pour in 150ml of steaming hot, freshly brewed black coffee, stir and leave for a minute to infuse. In the meantime, heat 100ml of Califia unsweetened almond milk in a saucepan (almost to the boil). Take off the heat and froth the hot milk in the pan for a minute or two with a whisk (battery frothers work brilliantly). Strain the spiced coffee into a heatproof glass or cup and top with the frothy hot milk. Finish by sprinkling your drink with a little grated nutmeg, cinnamon or dark chocolate.

    Nice.

    Now you're settled with that, click through to find out how else you can use Califia to make yourself an excellent winter warmer breakfast.

    Winter is peak porridge time. Team yours with this quick plum and blueberry compote and sweet almond dukkah. Both are easy and quick to make and will keep in the fridge for a few days.

    Porridge with spiced plum and blueberry compote and sweet almond dukkah
    (Suitable for vegans)
    Serves 2

    Ready in 35 minutes (but you can take that down to just a few minutes if you make the compote and dukkah the evening or day before).

    Ingredients

    For the porridge
    80g raw porridge oats
    1 tsp golden caster sugar (optional)
    Pinch of salt
    300ml Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk

    For the plum compote
    4 plums, chopped into small pieces
    150g blueberries
    Juice and zest of a clementine
    1 dessertspoon golden caster sugar
    1 star anise

    For the dukkah
    75g almonds
    1 tsp light muscovado sugar
    1/2 tsp olive oil

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/160 C fan/ gas 4 degrees. Put the plums and blueberries into a small heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat with the zest and juice of the clementine, the sugar, star anise and 30ml of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for around 20 minutes until soft and jammy. Take off heat and leave to cool.

    2. While that’s cooking, make the dukkah by putting the almonds on a shallow baking tray. Sprinkle with the sugar, drizzle over the olive oil and combine with the sugar.

    3. Roast in the oven for around 5-8 minutes. Leave to cool. Crush lightly in a pestle and mortar or chop roughly with a knife.

    4. Put the porridge oats in a saucepan with the sugar (if using) and Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk over a medium heat. Bring to the boil stirring all the time. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat, add the salt and continue to stir for another five or so minutes until it’s cooked and creamy, adding a little more milk if needed.

    Photographed by Sophie Davidson.

    Who can say no to pancakes? They’re a no-brainer for breakfast, perfect for brunch and let’s face it, nobody minds when they show up for pudding too. Sweet or savoury? It’s your call. But with breakfast firmly in mind here, we’ve gone for these simple banana-rich beauties, topped with bananas, pistachios and a drizzle of flavourful maple syrup.

    Banana pancakes with maple syrup and pistachio
    (Dairy-free)
    Serves 2

    Ready in 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    75g self-raising flour
    25g buckwheat flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 banana (mashed)
    1 tsp maple syrup
    1 egg, lightly beaten (or vegan alternative such as a chia seed solution (1 tablespoon chia seeds combined with 3 tablespoons water)
    100ml Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk
    1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    To serve
    1 tbsp pistachio nuts, chopped
    1 banana, sliced

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to lowest setting and put a baking tray or heatproof plate on the middle shelf. In a mixing bowl, measure out the flours and baking powder.

    2. Add the mashed banana, maple syrup, egg and Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk and whisk lightly into a thickish batter. Leave mix to rest for a few minutes.

    3. Heat a little of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a heaped tablespoonful of the mixture and flatten slightly. Let it cook for a minute or so until surface starts to bubble. Then flip and cook the other side for another minute or so until that bubbles.

    4. Stack cooked pancakes on baking tray or plate in the oven until all pancakes are cooked. Stack and serve with extra banana slices, drizzle with maple syrup and top with pistachio nuts.

    Photographed by Sophie Davidson.

    There are many cinnamon buns out there, mostly delicious, though for me the fine buns they knock out at the Swedish Bageriet Bakery in Covent Garden take some beating. However, baking your own is surprisingly easy, strangely satisfying and super impressive. Not a quick breakfast fix, it has to be said, so save these low sugar Scandi delights for a relaxed weekend brunch.

    Nordic cinnamon breakfast buns
    Makes 6-8 buns

    Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the buns
    150ml Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk
    80g butter
    350g plain flour
    50g golden caster sugar
    7g dried yeast
    Pinch of salt
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    1 egg, lightly beaten

    To bake
    Egg wash, made with 1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt

    For the filling
    75g sugar
    110g butter
    1 tbsp ground cinnamon

    To serve
    Icing sugar

    Instructions

    1. Heat the almond milk in a pan on a medium to low heat. When it’s hot (don’t let it boil), take off heat and stir in butter. Leave until butter is melted and mixture is warm.

    2. Meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and lemon zest into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dried ingredients and then tip in the beaten egg and the milk and butter mix. Stir together (I use my hands for this) until the mixture comes together into a soft ball.

    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled board and knead with both hands for about 5-6 minutes. This will be a messy business to start with but keep going, the dough will come together into a soft smooth ball, I promise.

    4. Cover dough in clingfilm and put into the fridge to rest for half an hour.

    5. Make your filling by beating the sugar and butter together in a bowl, then adding in the cinnamon.

    6. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan/ gas 6. Place the dough between two large sheets of greaseproof paper and roll out into a rectangle around 25 x 16cm.

    7. Remove paper and spread your spiced sugar/butter mix over the surface. Then carefully roll up the dough along the longest side. Cut the finished roll into 8-10 pieces and place them swirl side up on a baking tray. Brush with the beaten egg wash and bake for around 20 minutes. When cooked, leave to cool before dusting with icing sugar.

    Photographed by Sophie Davidson.

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    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    "I think we've pierced every nipple in Los Angeles by now — and then some," Brian Keith Thompson, celeb piercer and owner of Body Electric, told me on the phone yesterday. "It's definitely taken the septum’s place as the most popular piercing."

    Thompson knows a thing or two about what's cool; after all, he's the piercer of choice for celebs like Beyoncé and Scarlett Johansson. But if you think that means the waitlist for his services must be miles long, think again. If you were to pop into his shop on Melrose Avenue tomorrow, there's a 50/50 chance you'd be sitting in his chair. That mix of A-list and local clientele makes him the guy to consult on West Coast industry trends, on which he has a lot to say — starting with the body.

    "I think the nipple is very sought-after because it's the piercing you can share with only the people that you want, like your significant other; it’s totally concealable," he says. Right now, Thompson prefers just one nipple piercing for women, and two for men, but notes it's currently primarily a female-driven request. To make it feel fresh, pick the right jewellery: "I am doing a lot of my nipple piercings in gold and rose-gold barbells," he says. "It’s kind of elegant; it bumps up the sophistication." Oh, and before you commit, consider this: The healing time is between six to eight months.

    The belly button piercing is once again gaining traction, too — but it got an update. "It's more petite, more delicate now. In the '90s, it was heavy, big, and bulky, but now I am piercing 99% with curved barbells, with gold and genuine stones," he says. "I'm excited to see it get more popular again; it got a bad rap for a while."

    These two body trends, according to Thompson, are eclipsed only by the ear — and it's all about the conch in single, double, even quadruple piercings. Nose trends are also shifting: Multiple piercings are popular, as is the classic, single-nostril piercing with a simple hoop. That's in sharp contrast to last year's septum craze. "It's dramatically slowed down; I still have a lot of clients that are coming in and buying jewellery for the piercings we’ve already done — it’s still relevant — but sometimes I think that everyone who wanted it already got it," he jokes. "A year-and-a-half ago, we would do 12 to 15 septums every day; now we’re doing maybe four or five a week."

    Of course, at the end of the day, it's all about what you like, he reminds us. "There are no rules when it comes to piercing. Whatever someone’s taste is, and whatever they're into, there's no good or bad way of doing it," he says.

    To get the creative juices flowing, Thompson shared some of his recent work and more insight in what's happening in his L.A. shop. Rad new piercing combinations to try, ahead.

    Thompson gave Bella Thorne this combination, which calls upon the biggest piercing uptick of late: the conch.

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    Another trend that Thompson is loving? Mixing metals. “A lot of people are afraid to mix metals — white, rose, and yellow gold — but I love it," he says. "I did that on Beyoncé’s ear on the album cover for Lemonade: white and rose gold together."

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    Fret not if you're nervous about going into cartilage territory. Multiple piercings in the lobe are still having a huge moment (and heal much faster), but it's all about being creative with the spacing. "For girls that have come in with multiple lobe piercings, I've started to go above them, vertically," he says. "I find it looks great, and they tell me they get a lot of compliments because it’s so unusual."

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    The same goes for spacing out a second hole. Thompson likes going higher than one might expect for a more interesting look.

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    Rocking the "It piercing" right now doesn't require an ear full of jewellery. "I am seeing girls who don’t have much pierced in their ears actually decorating their conch first," Thompson says. "I think that’s really cool."

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    A back view of this trending piercing.

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    The conch with just a dainty stud.

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    The helix is holding strong, trend-wise. "It's always going to be popular," predicts Thompson. Make it feel fresh and modern by doubling up the holes.

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    "The multiple nose piercing is really popular right now," Thompson says, warning that it's important to consider whether it's appropriate for your workplace. His favourite way to adorn twin holes on the side of the nose? "A hoop in the front and a stud in the back, or two tiny studs."

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    "Express yourself the way you want to express yourself," Thompson says. "Be unique, and come up with a combination that will be cool on you."

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    If you want to go big or go home, consider a few new piercings. "Multiple conch piercings are really cool," Thompson says. "You can add a higher conch with a stud and a lower conch with a hoop, even multiples of three or four, because the conch can actually accommodate many piercings. You have to commit, but you can really have fun with how you decorate it."

    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

    Double nose piercings also work well with two hoops, but Thompson notes that the single hoop is the most en vogue at the moment.

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    Photo: Via @bodyelectrictattoo.

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    Skincare experts have long advised us to steer clear of makeup wipes – they strip the skin and don't remove makeup thoroughly – but sometimes using them is unavoidable (after a big night, at a festival). And if you're a parent, baby wipes are likely a staple in your armoury against all manner of bodily fluids.

    However, wipes are doing some serious damage to the environment, according to a new study. Water UK, which represents the country's main water and sewage companies, found that wipes make up a staggering 93% of the material blocking our sewers.

    They're causing hundreds around 300,000 sewer blockages and costing us an eye-watering £100m each year, Water UK said – money that could otherwise go towards reducing our water bills or improving services.

    Rae Stewart, Water UK's director of corporate affairs, said the findings highlight that we can all do something about the problem of blocked sewers. Simply put, we need to either stop putting them down the loo or refrain from using them completely.

    He said: “There are things that water companies can do, such as improve education about what should and shouldn’t be flushed. There are things manufacturers can do, such as make labelling clearer on non-flushable products. And, of course, there are things individuals can do – which is bin the wipes rather than flush them.”

    There's now even a campaign to remind people to only flush "the three Ps: pee, paper and poo." A useful, if grim, reminder of how to properly dispose of waste. Natalie Fee, from plastic pollution group City to Sea, which is behind the initiative, urged wipe manufactures to list plastic more prominently on their ingredients lists as it would make people less likely to flush them.

    Remember when a giant fatberg the length of two football pitches was found blocking east London's sewage system earlier this year? At the time, many remarked on the sheer number of wipes, nappies and sanitary products that could be spotted among the congealed mass of fat.

    If you're an avid makeup-wipe user and are looking to cut down, you could do a lot worse than cleansing the old-fashioned way, with a muslin cloth. Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser, Cleanse & Polish, is one of the most-lauded products on the market and a good place to start.

    Using micellar water and biodegradable cotton pads is another way to make your bedtime beauty routine more environmentally friendly. Or you could can simply invest in some eco-friendly wipes (Yes To wipes are made with compostable fabric and cost about £3). The most high-end ones may cost a bit more, but at least the environmental brownie points will help you sleep better at night.

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    A post shared by Nigella (@nigellalawson) on

    For some people, it's not Christmas until the festive cookery specials start airing on TV. The cosy houses strewn with a hazardous number of candles. The "friends" enlisted to coo over the celebrity chef's quirky take on a Christmas dinner. The outlandish recipes we know we'll never attempt but like to pretend we might one day... eventually.

    Yule kicked off last night for many BBC Two viewers thanks to Nigella’s Christmas special of At My Table. The hour-long show came complete with all the delicious clichés we've come to expect from our favourite celebrity chef – the enviable kitchen (which everyone knows isn't hers, but who really cares?), the coquettish sidelong glances to camera and even a trademark midnight fridge raid, complete with a red silken dressing gown.

    Watching Nigella, who's well-known for cooking and behaving as if every day is Christmas, in the company of Twitter was almost as amusing and satisfying as the show itself.

    On the menu were roast duck with orange, soy and ginger, parmesan mashed potato gratin, devilled eggs, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate pistachio meringue cookies and a Christmas martini. While the recipes were all characteristically decadent, viewers were particularly concerned about Nigella's liberal use of one ingredient: salt, with many claiming her guests' health was at risk. Cranberries, eggs and caramel were all sprinkled with alarming quantities of the stuff.

    Some were concerned about the menu for other reasons...

    Others were more amused by Nigella's fascination with fairy lights, which admittedly was weird considering how au fait she must be with them at this point, and her typically flamboyant language.

    Some people just seemed rather turned on by the whole experience.

    We're already counting down the days until next year's special.

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    Dear Theresa May & Justine Greening,

    On Wednesday 20th December, from 5-8pm, you will not fail to notice a crowd gather opposite Downing Street. You will see hundreds of people, of all genders, races and ages, stand together, wearing red, waving banners, and demanding change.

    We will be there because it is time to end period poverty. This is the #FreePeriods movement, and we invite you to be a part of it.

    My name is Amika George and I’m an 18-year-old A-level student from London. I started the #FreePeriods campaign from my bedroom in April after reading about the plight of children across the UK who cannot afford menstrual products when they have their period. These children can be as young as 10. They miss school every month because they cannot face the embarrassment, shame and fear of going to their lesson using socks stuffed with tissues or old, torn clothes to catch their period blood. These are children whose parents face a daily struggle to feed them let alone afford menstrual products, which are considered an unattainable luxury. Sadly, the stigma surrounding periods means they suffer alone and in silence.

    Although eradicating the taboo is a mammoth task which can take generations to dispel, your government can consign period poverty to history by taking immediate, legislative action. We ask that you address the needs of these children without delay. By providing free menstrual products for all children already on Free School Meals, you will be ensuring that they can continue their education without interruption, with dignity and in confidence so that they can achieve their goals without impediments.

    We have calculated an estimate of what this would cost, which you can see on our website, #FreePeriods. For a relatively small amount of funding, you can transform the lives of children who live in crippling, abject poverty, who will struggle to escape its clutches unless they can better their lives through education.

    The recent Budget was hugely disappointing – it failed to address period poverty, despite unwavering cross-party support and the efforts of passionate campaigners working tirelessly to elicit change. Periods are not a choice, and menstrual products should NEVER be a luxury for any child. Indeed, we believe that access to menstrual products is a fundamental human right.

    Our protest will be peaceful, and we will stand united in solidarity on behalf of every one of these children who feels voiceless and powerless. More than 80,000 people have added their name to the #FreePeriods petition, asking your government to make a statutory pledge to end period poverty by providing all children receiving free school meals with free menstrual products. We are hopeful that you will listen.

    Best wishes,
    Amika and the #FreePeriods campaigners

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    It’s a fertility clinic, but I’m not here to be fertilised. I’m here because I’ll be 35 in 42 days, a real adult by any normal person’s standards. Though I couldn’t feel farther from it because, in my mind, real adulthood has always been defined by the transition from child to parent, and that’s certainly not happening to me any time soon.

    I’m here to freeze my eggs.

    A matching man and woman in navy blue peacoats sit across from me. Their spines are pulled straight, like a string is holding them upright. The two peacoats smile at me and I feel naked, suddenly spotted, foolish and alone, lacking in the simple elements of life that everyone else in the world has easily and neatly made regular. Yet I don’t hate being alone. I kind of love it, and I’m convinced this is the biggest factor keeping me single. Being alone is the only time I ever really feel like myself, free from other people’s expectations. I don’t fear solitude. Sometimes I fear what I’ll become without it.

    I flash back to my walk over, stomping down 23rd Street, when I felt like a woman in charge. A woman who had made up her mind to take her fertility into her own hands. A woman with a good enough job to have that option. A woman who doesn’t want to be bothered with other people’s needs right now because she’s finally learning to listen to her own, yet deep down she knows that if anyone tries to get in her way, she’ll let them, like she’s done so many times before. She’ll slide into their world and forget what it was she wanted — because their needs and dreams will be clear in that way that men’s needs so often are — and she’ll make them happy, because what makes other people happy is often so much easier to understand.

    The manicured woman behind the desk, with the thick, penny-coloured hair and glossy plum lipstick, makes me feel like the opposite of a woman in charge. Her clothes look brand new, perfectly matched like what you’d see on a magazine cutout of a woman with a shiny diamond on her left hand. As if a light has been switched on, I notice the frizz of my hair, everywhere now; the sloppiness of my pilling, stained sweatshirt; my big, dirty sneakers, unfit for a 4-year-old, let alone a 34-year-old.

    Surely this magazine woman won’t have to freeze her eggs, I think.

    The act of giving her my last, then first name, then birthday — mumbling the year so the other patients don’t hear — feels like my declaration of failure as a woman. The irony punches the pit of my stomach as I realise my fancy job and good friends and fierce independence, things I spent decades fighting for, are rendered useless in this space. The one job my body was “made” for, the simple act of finding a partner and bearing a child, has slipped through the cracks. I think about this from the dark, honest corners of my mind, and then hate myself for thinking it and then hate myself for hating myself. I close my eyes for a few seconds to make it all stop.

    The purple-lipped woman writes my name, and I wonder, like I always do, what it’s like to live in another person’s body; to inhabit their mind while retaining some level of your own consciousness to understand how it compares. Do other people, the ones who laugh easily and talk like they're scripted, feel like failures some of the time? Of course they do, my mom would tell me, curled up in her bathrobe at the foot of my bed. Everyone does.

    I visit my mom often between the hustle of our working days. We don’t do much of anything but seep in each other’s company to remind one another that it’s possible to be with another person and still feel like ourselves.

    Life is a performance for a certain kind of woman. For the kind, hardworking woman who thinks the best version of herself is making other people happy. We slip into other people’s reflections like ghosts, millions of times in a single day, inhabiting their fears and dreams, bouncing around in their jokes, cringing at their horror, making them feel seen and heard. Until finally we’re left alone at the end of the day to sit in the fragments of our own reflection, and all we can do is hope that in the short hours before the next morning we can remember who we are.

    "I never set out to have kids," my mom says, holding her steaming mug of tea with both hands against her cheek. "I never knew if I wanted them. It just kind of happened." She’s trying to reassure me that no one really knows what they’re doing, but I can’t help but wonder why it never just kind of happened to me.

    My mom teaches kindergarten in Queens. I visit her class to help with the boxes and papers and books, and she’s surprised at how much I smile around kids because, by all accounts, I am not a kid person: I don’t fawn over photos of cute children; I hate holding babies; caretaking is not my thing.

    But it’s always little girls, fierce and spunky little girls, who do this to me; who make me smile uncontrollably. It’s not because I want them as my own — the thought of catering to a tiny creature’s needs when I’m just starting to understand my own still makes my stomach twist. I envy them: the girl with the wild hair and dirty knees; the one who tells the boy sitting too close to get away so she has room to draw her purple monkey; and the one who tells me, without hesitation, that when she grows up she wants to be president. I envy them, and I’m grateful that energy like theirs exists.

    The woman takes my papers, hands me my insurance card with her diamond hand. I take a seat in the empty room, grabbing a Time magazine to signify, if nothing else, that at least I am a person interested in the news. “Billing” is a small man who talks for what feels like an hour, but by the end I know nothing at all. When I ask how much I’ll have to pay for this initial consultation, he sighs audibly and tells me it will be a few hundred dollars. When my jaw drops, he mentions the process would be cheaper if my eggs were fertilized (i.e., if a man were doing this with me).

    The taxes of being single, I think. It starts with the rent. Twice as much as our coupled-up counterparts without a person anticipating, caring, even knowing whether or not we’ll come home. This is fine: We learn to be our own support. We know there’s a difference between loneliness and being alone. But then there’s leaving the house, which singles have to do far more often to fend off the nagging pressure to be what society deems “complete.” We endure the cold to buy beers we strain to finish, as strangers tell their stories and we listen, desperate for a thread of intimacy to make the ride over worth it.

    I’m brought into the doctor’s office, which is far bigger than my entire studio apartment and has almost nothing of medical relevance in it. Mostly, it’s a place to display photos of the doctor’s perfect-looking wife and even more perfect-looking kids. I do notice a poster of the female reproductive system in the corner, with a glossy, white male doctor explaining it.

    Growing up, the posters on my walls were always men. The women in the spotlight at the time were the agreeable Rachel-esque sidekicks, goofy Cameron Diaz-types, sexy Britney Spears. Those women didn’t interest me, so I lined my walls with athletes: Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Characters from action movies, like Harrison Ford and Keanu Reeves, heroes and problem-solvers. The role models I knew.

    When puberty came, I learned in the chatty hallways of my small suburban middle school that if something wasn’t sexual, it wasn’t acceptable. I didn’t want to sleep with the men on my walls, I just wanted to be them. So I replaced my piles of baseball cards with stacks of Teen Magazine and YM, covers telling me the ten million ways to get a man. How to look and laugh and dress and smile. If I couldn’t be the men on my walls, I would at least please them.

    I still have no idea how to matter, or what I want from life.

    I imagine I can see judgments about my hair and my backpack and my dirty old shoes scroll behind his white toothy smile like a scene from The Matrix. I imagine him thinking, No wonder she has to pay me for more time.

    “Being a woman is hard,” he begins, once he’s settled into his leather chair. “You have to make decisions quickly, and that will make you feel like you don’t have control.”

    I nod and laugh a little but not too much, because while it’s ridiculous that he feels the need to tell me, I also agree. He has PowerPoint slides to back himself up. He continues like this, and I nod, excessively. I don’t understand why he’s doing this, why he’s telling me how hard it is for women like me when I’m the one paying hundreds of dollars to sit in this miserable wooden chair and listen to him. I’m embarrassed for him, so I try to look extra eager and interested: I lean forward, make direct eye contact, make sure he feels heard as he explains my needs to me, because making men comfortable is annoyingly reflexive. I forget what I want to say or ask because I’m distracted by the challenge of responding to his pushy presentation in a way that makes our situation feel more normal.

    Every time I do have a question, I feel like I’m interrupting his speech, and I apologise before I ask it. I’m old and aware enough to hate that I do it, but it’s instinctual. He offers me countless reasons why women should freeze their eggs, and they all make sense.

    Some people hate the childless. They think we’re selfish, that we lack concern for other people; that our lives are big empty holes with no real purpose or meaning. Personally, I find children to be a kind of lazy path to purpose. It’s so paved. The others — art, justice, impact at scale — seem way more exciting to me; terrifying, in their unreliability, but exciting nonetheless. They require you, yourself, to actually figure out how to matter.

    I still have no idea how to matter, or what I want from life. Maybe it’s kids, but I’m not ready to assume that. I’m afraid if I do, I’ll never really know. But every year I get closer, sand down another layer of expectation, dig toward a real self. I know she’s in there. I just need more time.

    After the 20th slide or so, I’m caught off-guard when, finally, he asks me a question. “Do you want kids?”

    I laugh again. I have no idea what he’s asking. When all you’ve ever wanted is what other people want for you, it’s a tricky thing to figure out. When you spend your entire life assuming you’ll grow up to have kids, complete the grand finale of your gender, and then find yourself unable to perform, it’s easy to feel like a failure. I’d love to not feel that way. But that’s not what he asked me.

    I should do what I want, not what people expect, he tells me. I try and imagine what it’s like to inhabit the mind and body of someone who knows the difference between the two.

    illustrated by Anna Sudit.

    He leaves for a moment and I wait for him, naked under a robe on the exam room chair. I have never had a male gynaecologist, and the force of his hands as he shoves his equipment in my vagina makes me feel like a giant lump of flesh. A sonogram appears on a screen, and I tilt my head 90 degrees to see it: It’s a shaky, black-and-white image, like the kind I’ve seen a million couples smile at on TV as they hold each other’s hands and watch a heartbeat together. Today, though, it’s just my ovaries, my follicles, no life other than my own.

    Later, the room is ice as I step into my underwear, put on my clothes, and head back out to the waiting room. I don’t realise the full extent of my loneliness until I find myself swiping Tinder. I hate Tinder, the gamification of human insecurity, but I’ve been on it for years. I swipe every now and then when I’m particularly craving human contact, like before bed. Never during the day. Swiping during the day feels like drinking in the morning; it’s a bad sign. Swiping in the middle of an empty midtown egg-freezing clinic feels even worse, like modern independent womanhood has been playing a practical joke on me my entire life and, now, I’m living in its punchline.

    “Emily?” A woman in a suit hands me her card. “Call me to talk about your next steps.”

    “Can we talk about them now?” I ask. I took the day off for this appointment, and still I don’t fully understand how it’s supposed to work.

    “No,” she says. “I’m busy now.”

    Four hours from the time I left, I’m back home in my apartment. I feel like the grossest version of myself — all wrong because right has been abstracted to the point of obscurity, an invisible target. I order greasy Chinese takeout that could feed a family because I know that trying to do anything remotely healthy or productive will only make my grossness that much more acute, so I submit, crawl in bed with a carton of fried rice, and sink deeper.

    I don’t yet know that in two months I will go through the whole consultation again, with a new doctor because when I think of calling the woman about my Next Steps, I’ll freeze. I won’t want to imagine that beautiful pushy man in control of my life and my ability to create more of it — a power I didn’t ask for and still don’t know that I want, though I am pretty sure I don’t want it taken away.

    I’ll go to another doctor, a man, still, because the choices are slim, but a kinder and more thoughtful man. He’ll explain that the dosage the first doctor would have prescribed would have put me at severe risk because I have something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which will explain so much about my body and my mind — why I never get my period; why I’m always slightly depressed; why my hair is so painfully thin. I’ll learn this 10 days after my 35th birthday, and he’ll know because he’ll have taken the first 20 minutes of our time together to ask me questions.

    I’ll go through the egg-freezing treatment, pumped with hormones each day, and feel like a living balloon, completely empty inside and so bloated I can barely move, but the procedure will give me the chance of maybe, one day, having a child, the act that gives so many people a sense of true purpose and meaning. Yet through the growing of eggs in my body and the sacrifices I’ll make just in those short 10 days — unable to work or write, run or travel, all the things that I’m learning bring me real joy — I will realise, when I’m completely alone, staring back at my own reflection, that I’m just not sure that’s the purpose I want.

    I need more time.

    A version of this essay originally appeared on Catapult.

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    End-of-year roundups are cool, but arguably even more interesting are the trends we've got to look forward to – which is where Pinterest 100 comes in. Our favourite virtual pin-boarding site has compiled a global forecast of the biggest crazes in fashion, food, home decor, travel and more coming next year, and we're eager to get stuck in.

    The list, compiled based on the percentage rise in saves for Pins within the past year, provides a riveting insight into the crazes that will no doubt be taking over Instagram and lifestyle publications in 2018. Here's a taste of what you can expect.

    Food and drink

    North African spices, such as cumin, coriander and cardamom, will be flavouring our food and tantalising our tastebuds next year, with Pinterest saves for “Moroccan” up by 2,579%. Other than that, and the continuing dominance of hot sauce, specifically Korean condiments, 2018's most hyped-up food is predicted to be very much in keeping with the #cleaneating trend.

    "Air frying" (frying without oil) is in the ascendant – the technique allows you to make some mean drive-thru-quality fries, apparently – as is vegan protein, with searches for "plant proteins" like lentils, hemp and quinoa continuing to rise, as well as vegan desserts. "Super" coffee (adding protein and superfood powders to your morning brew), soup and snap peas will also be making us feel smug af in 2018.

    Home

    Our home decor choices will be getting bolder in the new year, if Pinterest's report is anything to go by. Wall art will be bigger – think large posters and blown-up works of art and photography – with the number of "big wall art" pins saved up by 637%. "Statement ceilings" (a bold paint job or striking wallpaper that's different from the walls) will be big news, along with patterned plants. No more plain green foliage – bring on the flashes of colour.

    Travel

    Pinterest is ripe with 2018 holiday inspiration and apparently river cruising will be the next big thing. Travellers are swapping sea cruises for the natural scenery of a more sedate riverboat cruise through places like Vietnam, Germany and Egypt (saves for “river cruises” are up by a substantial 346%). Desert escapes in places like Morocco, Dubai, the Atacama Desert and Joshua Tree National Park look set to be all the rage, and more of us will be seeking an "authentic" experience from our holidays. We'll be shunning big-name tourist hotspots in favour of living like a local.

    While we're travelling, more of us will be documenting the experience in our travel log, according to Pinterest, adding creative touches like watercolours, washi tape and calligraphy to our IRL journals. How quaint.

    Women's fashion

    Lots of 2017 trends will be staying put next year: Big statement earrings are a big one, with Pinterest saves up by a jaw-dropping 1,809% on this time last year. Berets, wide-legged trousers and logos will also be sticking around, along with embellished detailing on our shoes (studs, pearls and bold buckles) and slits in our clothes.

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    Every year, The Black List compiles a list of scripts that come recommended by film executives. Specifically, the scripts have to either be written in or associated with the current year, and not have begun principal photography during it. According to the document, 2017's list is compiled from suggestions of over 275 film execs, each of whom submitted up to ten of their favorite scripts. Basically, it's a list of scripts that desperately need to be made into movies, and while all 76 look like they would make great blockbusters, there are eight in particular that are really getting us excited.

    Let Her Speak by Mario Correa received a total of 42 recommendations, and tells the true story of Senator Wendy Davis who filibustered for 24 hours to save abortion clinics in Texas in 2013. It's been announced that Sandra Bullock will be playing the role of the senator.

    There are also some true stories that are up for adaptation. This J.K. Rowling biopic by Anna Klassen, When Lightening Strikes, coming in at 20 recommendations, or The Fifth Nixon by Sharon Hoffman, which tells the story of Watergate through the eyes of his secretary, Rose Mary Woods, or Call Jane by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi, which takes place in Chicago when an underground group of women performed safe but illegal abortions in the 1960s.

    There are some inspiring coming-of-age tales, like The Other Lamb by Catherine McMullen, about a girl growing up in an alternative religion, or Queen Elizabeth by Shatara Michelle Ford about an "uptight, high-achieving, Black post-grad" who realizes her life isn't what she wanted.

    And then there are the ones that look absolutely bonkers. Breaking News In Yuba County by Amanda Idoko tells the story of a woman whose husband dies after she catches him cheating, so she buries his body and soaks up the attention of being a wife with a missing husband. The Grownup by Natalie Krinsky is adapted from Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name about a con woman hired to banish an evil spirit from the house of wealthy woman. And, finally, Jihotties by Molly Prather, about two women who literally "catfish ISIS."

    There's not a single one of these I wouldn't see on opening weekend. Hollywood, chop chop.

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    The Southern California wildfires are now so expansive that you can see them from the space. Travel + Leisure reported that NASA data visualisation and cartography lead Joshua Stevens has posted a satellite photo of the fires from space, which shows just how far they have spread.

    The devastating fires have destroyed an area larger than New York City and Boston combined, according to CNN, and the Santa Ana winds have been making them worse. The Thomas Fire, which started in Ventura County and is currently moving across Santa Barbara County, is the largest one at 234,000 acres. It's the fifth-largest fire in the modern history of California.

    The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said at least 95,000 people have evacuated so far as a result of the fires. Cal Fire said about 25,000 homes have been threatened by five wildfires and over 1,000 structures have been destroyed. Nearly 9,000 firefighters, including many from states outside California, have tackled the blazes. Only about 20% of the Thomas Fire has been contained as of Tuesday morning, according to CNN.

    Last week, new NOAA/NASA nighttime satellite photos were released of the wildfires spreading.

    If you want to help those who have been affected by the fires, you can choose from several organisations that are taking donations of money and supplies. Check out our guide here.

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    “One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other”, wrote Jane Austen in Emma. Fittingly, that is the premise of episode two of Sky Arts' Passion series entitled I Hate Jane Austen.

    Writer and food critic Giles Coren is the ‘I’ here, and Coren can’t get his head around why over 200 years after her death, readers and moviegoers are still so taken with Austen and her novels.

    His dislike, he explains, began in school, where he holds Austen personally responsible for ruining one of his summers. Reading Jane Austen deprived him of opportunities for “partying and shagging”, but Coren’s premier objection is that Austen’s books, characters and themes are all too trifling for him. He classes her as "an average chick-lit writer of her day”, who doesn’t hold a candle to his personal literary heroes, Shakespeare and Henry Miller.

    Of course Coren, who has been known to court a little controversy from time to time, says this all while doing his best to come across as the twinkly-eyed class clown in school who you can’t help but love.

    His particular charm fails to work on author Joanna Trollope (who penned a reworking of Sense and Sensibility in 2013). In fact, she is totally unmoved by Coren’s limited understanding of Austen’s books, asking him at one point, “Do you know what ‘sensibility’ means?”

    As it turns out, he doesn't.

    Trollope succinctly dismisses his assumption that Austen is too “girly” and light, arguing instead that she is sinewy, tough and capable of brilliantly conveying the subtlety of human interaction.

    Trollope also points out, in her cut-glass accent, that we should give Austen credit for correctly identifying that romantic love, money and class would continue to preoccupy the writers who followed her for centuries. Yet Coren holds firm that Austen's themes are trivial.

    Author Marian Keyes has spoken about this. She believes we should stop using the term 'chick-lit' altogether. Speaking at the Hay Festival in 2015, Keyes said: "It’s simple fact that one way of keeping women shut up is to call the things they love ‘fluff’. It’s a device. And I think people probably aren’t even aware that’s what’s going on, but it’s absolutely innate in our society that anything pertaining to women will be treated with less respect and given disrespectful names.”

    It’s simple fact that one way of keeping women shut up is to call the things they love ‘fluff’

    She continued: “It’s definitely a pejorative term. I’m going to quote Gandhi here: ‘First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you’."

    In I Hate Jane Austen Coren definitely has a go at mockery. He is seen sniffing at the myriad of Austen merch and sneers over a Regency ball held by Austen fans. When getting dressed up in full Mr Darcy regalia ahead of the ball, he addresses himself in the mirror, saying that if he were to be a character in one of Austen's novels, he'd be the bad boy. Later he meets some men at the ball, neither of whom have ever read any Austen, and concludes they are right to prefer ‘proper honest novels by blokes’.

    Though Coren chooses to ignore many of them, the hour-long show contains genuine insights into Austen and her legacy. The good-humoured director of Bride and Prejudice, Gurinder Chadha draws Coren's attention to how Austen shone a light on ordinary women's lives, and the barriers they existed within. Elizabeth Bennet’s love of stomping across fields seems petty to him, but Chadha points out this is a symbol of women's need for freedom.

    In a pertinent moment, when Coren is invited to a reading with the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan, one woman spells it out for him. “ Pride and Prejudice may be period drama to contemporary people living in London but to me it was a roadmap”, she explains.

    It’s a vital point. For many women (and men) around the world, the issues in Jane Austen’s 19th-century England – class, status, the obsession with appearance, marriage, money and snobbery – still resonate, even if they don’t seem important to a privileged white man in London.

    As a presenter, Coren isn’t unlikeable, and he knows exactly which feathers he's ruffling, but for someone who positions himself as anti-fluff in literature, there is much in I Hate Jane Austen that should have ended up on the cutting room floor. He tells us he doesn’t like dancing several times, and in one scene we watch Coren take an Austen-themed BuzzFeed quiz in real time. He complains that Austen wrote the same book over and over, yet the viewer is supposed to never tire of Coren’s mischievous lad act.

    Time-wasting and waffle aside, I Hate Jane Austen has some timely reminders of Austen’s subtlety, innovation, nuance and wit. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy learned a lesson from being too up himself – there may be hope for Coren, too.

    Passions S2 continues on Sky Arts, Tuesdays, 9pm

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    Better Late Than Never

    At just 18 years old, writer and director Atheena Frizzell is already working to make film a more inclusive medium for women by showcasing the issues that impact them most. Her new short, Better Late Than Never, gives a darkly comic look at the struggles faced by young girls growing up in deeply religious homes — above all, the immense tensions surrounding teen pregnancy and abortion. While we won't spoil the climactic, sadly hilarious ending, we will say that the lengths to which Marie, Frizzell's main character, goes to explain a potential high-school pregnancy truly underscore the urgency of changing the often caustic tone of women's rights debates.

    "The plot of the film was not inspired by any one event in particular, but rather an accumulation of my interests at the time," Frizzell explains. "Girlhood, religion, and how the two intertwine has always fascinated me." And though Frizzell wasn't raised in a devout household herself (her mom is actress Augustine Frizzell, by the way), her film is nevertheless inflected by the stories of the kids she knew growing up. "I was homeschooled, which means I spent a lot of time around kids who were homeschooled because of their religious affiliation," she says. "Additionally, I am always eager to desensitize menstruation. I think I’ve seen three maxi pads on screen in my life, if that!"

    It's clear that the goal of Frizzell's provocative movie is to enrich the diversity of narratives featured on the big screen, especially those created for female actors. "Filmmaking is freeing in this sense; there's magic in the realization that you have the power to put whatever you want to see on screen. There are so many stories to be told."

    Press play above to catch all of Better Late Than Never. If you're anything like us, you won't know whether to laugh or shed an empathetic little tear.

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    Sarah Michelle Gellar is reviving her role of the biting and cunning Kathryn Merteuil, and she has a message for everyone going to see Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical Experience.

    The actress is bringing back one of her most iconic characters to tell people to silence their cell phones before watching the Off-Broadway musical of the 1999 teen classic, reports Entertainment Weekly.

    In the recorded pre-show announcement, shared exclusively on PEOPLE, Gellar falls right back into character as the elitist, Upper East Sider resolute on ruling her prep school alongside her brother Sebastian Valmont, played by Ryan Phillippe. "It's not that difficult, morons," she snips as she asks – nay, demands – that the audience silence their cell phones before the start of the show. "Take out that second-rate phone and hit the silent button."

    For those coming from out of town to see Cruel Intentions at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, Gellar has a special message. "For all of you tourists out there who think it'll be swell to take a photo or video of the show and bring it home to bum f— nowhere? Well guess what — that’s not permitted either," Gellar adds. "Please obey or I will cyber-shame you into oblivion."

    The show sounds like a must-see for anyone who loves a good '90s throwback. The musical brings together the hit film and some of the top songs from the decade including "Just a Girl" by No Doubt, "Genie in a Bottle" by Christina Aguilera, 'NYSNC's "Bye Bye Bye," and "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve, just to name a few. Basically, it's all of your favourite songs from your '90s playlist.

    The show debuted in 2015 in Los Angeles where original cast members including Gellar, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair all came to see it.

    And what would a biting speech from Kathryn Merteuil be without one of her most memorable lines? Gellar ends the message by saying, "Happy hunting...and enjoy the show!"

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    The country anxiously monitored the Alabama special election on Tuesday night, which determined whether Democrat Doug Jones or Republican Roy Moore would fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' empty senate seat. Despite Moore receiving support from President Donald Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Jones was victorious, winning 49.5% of the vote.

    The election attracted much attention due to the multiple women who came forward accusing Moore of sexual misconduct, one of whom said she was 14 at the time of an alleged assault. In addition to these allegations, Moore has also been criticised for racist and homophobic comments.

    A triumphant Jones beamed as he addressed a cheering audience Tuesday night, celebrating his victory and his 25th wedding anniversary.

    "I am truly, truly overwhelmed. I always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than what divides us...We have shown the country the way that we can be unified," he said. Later, he added, "This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency."

    The internet erupted with opinions on the results, but it was Trump's reaction that people anticipated most. Surprisingly, the president refrained from name calling and using all caps.

    "Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory," he wrote. "The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great. And the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!"

    For some, like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Jones' win sent a clear message that Americans are rejecting bigotry and are starting to take allegations of sexual assault and harassment more seriously.

    Others, like Meghan McCain, took the opportunity to drag Steve Bannon.

    Some celebrated the first major win for Sir Charles Barkley, who campaigned on behalf of Jones. Of course, there were the inevitable, "OMG, we agree with Barkley?" comments.

    What a night.

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    Sunday, 11.15am, BBC Radio 4 app, the reassuring sound of "By The Sleepy Lagoon" – the opening score to Desert Island Discs. First aired in 1942, Desert Island Discs was an idea the broadcaster Roy Plomley had in his pyjamas one day. It’s a 45-minute programme with one presenter interviewing one famous person about their life and work within the format of a story, and the story is the same every time, every Sunday for 75 years, the same story, but it never gets boring. It goes that the famous person is stranded on a desert island, and they can take with them eight songs – which are played live in the studio in front of the person to evoke a real emotion – a book, and an inanimate luxury item. The castaway is also given the Bible or an equivalent text, and the complete works of Shakespeare.

    Since 2006, the presenter has been the journalist Kirsty Young, and she has her interview technique well and truly down, moving her subjects seamlessly from very difficult, personal stories about their lives, to witty anecdotes related to one of their chosen tracks. Young’s predecessor, Sue Lawley, lasted a whopping 18 years and described the job as “one of the best in broadcasting.” Though the show runs every single Sunday, the prestige of being a guest on Desert Island Discs never abates; it is always considered an honour – a lifetime achievement – even for the already very famous. The interview has also proved to be a career-defining moment for many guests, who reveal things to Kirsty that they’ve never revealed in public before.

    Choosing 10 from all the amazing women who have featured on the show was difficult, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the 10 that affected me the most. Listening back to these women’s interviews over the last few days, I realised the one thing that unites them as women in the public eye, is that they have all experienced difficulty in their lives. Some of them grew up isolated and lonely, some of them had very tough home lives, some of them experienced illness, divorce and loss. It’s clear that all of them learned to be who they are, it was never just given to them.

    Maya Angelou, 1988

    One of the nicest things about Desert Island Discs is that a recording from 1988 sounds pretty much the same as a recording from 2017. DID is the most consistent media format there is, and in an industry where everything refreshes all the time in order to ‘be relevant’ and ‘engage audiences’, staying exactly the same for 75 years is remarkable. From 1986 to 1988, the programme was presented by Michael Parkinson and this is surely one of the best interview pieces of his career. There are no words to describe Maya Angelou besides Maya Angelou’s own words, and it’s in this interview that she says my favourite Maya Angelou quote: “My expectations are just beyond my reach and they have to do with me, not with the world. I hope to become a better human being: a kinder, wiser, funnier, more courageous human being – for me. […] My fantasy is to be six feet tall, black, female, American, a writer, successful, who laughs a lot, and drinks just enough white label Scotch, and a little white wine, and goes to church on a Sunday and really means it.” Listening to her talk about her life as a writer and activist in that famous, slow Southern accent, is a modern-day thrill. And each piece of music, when it comes recommended by Maya Angelou, takes on a different quality.

    The artists: Mahalia Jackson, Max Roach, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, George Gershwin, Ray Charles

    The book: The Negro Caravan: Writings by American Negroes compiled by Sterling A. Brown and Ulysses Lee.

    The luxury item: A painting by John Biggers

    Listen here

    Photo: Jeff Daly/REX/Shutterstock

    Zaha Hadid, 2016

    Recorded only a month before her sudden death from a heart attack in early 2016, this interview is essentially Hadid’s last word. Apart from her blunt, witty way of talking, my favourite thing about this Desert Island Discs is that one of the eight songs the 65-year-old Hadid chooses to take to her desert island is Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. She also takes Adele and Sam Smith because she likes their voices. Speaking about her fantastically successful career as an architect, Hadid sums up the challenges she has overcome, saying: “I’m a woman which is a problem to many people, I’m a foreigner – another problem, and I do work which is not normative, which is not what they expect.” She talks about her father as being “a very serious man”, and her music choices are a wonderful mix of cultures, times and moods. While Kirsty has never said who her single favourite person to interview on DID has been, she did note Zaha Hadid as a particularly good one.

    The artists: Bryan Ferry, Umm Kulthum, The Beatles, Harry Nilsson, Simply Red, Drake, Adele, Sam Smith

    The book: Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas

    The luxury item: Family photo album

    Listen here

    Photo: Roger Askew/REX/Shutterstock

    Victoria Wood, 2007

    Along with Zaha Hadid, Kirsty Young listed this interview with comedian and writer Victoria Wood as one of her all-time favourites. The country grieved when Wood died, from cancer, at the age of 62 in 2016. In the interview, she talks about being the cleverest girl at primary school but having a difficult home life; her mother was depressed for most of her childhood and her father worked all the time so, as she puts it, her parents’ “interest was not in their children.” They never had people round so she wasn’t taught to be social, and yet she became one of the most popular women in the arts, truly beloved by so many generations. She didn’t get into drama school but she did study drama at university and struggled to fit in with the “very tall slim blonde girls from the Home Counties”, leaving with “the worst degree you can get and still call it a degree.” She says it took her a few years to start standing up as a stand-up comedian (before she would play topical songs she’d made up, sat down at the piano). Wood also talks candidly about the breakdown of her marriage and how therapy helped her get through it – and how writing a musical helped her get through it!

    The artists: Randy Newman, Weather Report, Gidon Kremer, Mr. Scruff, Tom Waits, The Doobie Brothers, Arvo Pärt, John Rutter

    The book: Charles Dickens

    The luxury item: Sudoku

    Listen here

    Photo: Ken McKay/REX/Shutterstock

    Kay Mellor, 2017

    Kay Mellor had her first daughter at 16, and her second by 19. This interview is first a delight for Kay’s accent and easy, northern charm, and second for her very inspiring journey to success as an award-winning screenwriter and director. She talks about going from being “a young, working class girl from Leeds” to winning Baftas for her shows. Her anecdotes about her mother are particularly funny, and about her husband particularly astute; she talks sensitively about his struggle to keep up with her when she went back to school to study Shakespeare and Sophocles – “I was moving away from him intellectually, and he felt left behind […] he couldn’t relate to this girl who was morphing into something he didn’t understand.” With excellent song choices, from Amy Winehouse’s “Our Day Will Come” to The Beautiful South’s “Perfect 10”, the theme tune to her hit show Fat Friends, this interview will lift your spirits and make you feel like going out and getting a dream.

    The artists: The Beautiful South, Amy Winehouse, Procol Harum, The Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong, George Harrison, Diana Ross, John Legend

    The book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

    The luxury item: Coloured pens and paper

    Listen here

    Photo: Ken McKay/REX/Shutterstock

    Kathy Burke, 2010

    Kathy Burke says she once found herself so funny watching Gimme Gimme Gimme one night while babysitting at her friend’s house that when she heard the key in the door, she quickly switched the channel as if she was watching porn because she was embarrassed that she was laughing so hard at herself. This interview is full of gems – about how Burke thinks Gary Oldman sounds just like her auntie Joan, about how she had to get a private jet to Cannes when she won Best Actress because she didn’t have a passport. She talks about growing up in Islington and about her mother, who died when she was two, and her father, who had an alcohol problem, and her brothers, who looked after her. Burke says she hated being a teenager and actually based Perry from Kevin & Perry on herself at that time. As a wayward teen, she found solace and a sense of belonging in punk, and her song choices include the Sex Pistols. Burke talks of the freedom she felt the moment she realised she didn’t need to be in a relationship, because she was done doing everything for everyone. The last song she chooses for her desert island is “Get Your Freak On” by Missy Elliott, and you just imagine her dancing to it as Perry in Ibiza. Her last hilarious request is a life-size cutout of James Caan from Dragons' Den as her luxury item, which she’d like laminated so she could body surf on him.

    The artists: Lady Gaga, The Specials, Joy Division, Sex Pistols, T.Rex, Frank Sinatra, Gorillaz, Missy Elliott

    The book: The complete works by Graham Linehan

    The luxury item: Life-size photo of James Caan

    Listen here

    Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

    Zadie Smith, 2013

    The author of bestselling books White Teeth (which she started writing at 21), On Beauty, NW, Swing Time and most recently Feel Free, Zadie Smith has had the rare privilege of being a famous author for all of her adult life. And yet, the success never seems to go to her head; she appears to remain untouched by the media’s obsession with her books and her looks and her cool, north London demeanour. On being an ‘overweight’ teenage girl she says, “There was one way to be, and I was, in many ways, the wrong thing”. She talks about not feeling attractive when she was growing up, and about how her now husband was “not at all interested” when they first met at university. The interview provides a rare insight into the author, who keeps herself to herself and away from social media. You’ll feel more like being yourself after listening to this.

    The artists: Notorious B.I.G., Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Prince, Mozart, Wretch 32, Wagner

    The book: A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust

    The luxury item: Goggles for swimming

    Listen here

    Photo: Jonathon Hordle/REX/Shutterstock

    Caitlin Moran, 2017

    If you know Caitlin Moran’s work, you know her politics and her standpoint, but the reasons behind her politics are nowhere better relayed than in this interview piece. Kirsty asks her why she [Caitlin] sums herself up with the catchphrase “I was raised on benefits” and she answers, brilliantly, that the reason she talks about her background so often (growing up as one of eight children in a three-bed council estate on benefits in Wolverhampton) is because she feels a responsibility to represent: “Culture and art and the media are supposed to be a mirror to show us what we are and that mirror is so hopelessly bowed and broken and distorted that we do not see what we are as a country […] It’s incredibly important for me to try and be a bit of the mirror that can represent the people who are on benefits and go ‘Yeah, you are seen, you are heard, I will talk about your story'.” Now one of the most prolific journalists in the UK, Caitlin has a column in The Times and has written several books, including bestsellers How To Build A Girl and How To Be A Woman. Caitlin talks so incredibly quickly in this interview, it sounds like you’ve accidentally pressed the fast-forward button on her audio, while Kirsty remains at normal tempo. Kirsty almost tells Caitlin off for talking too much during the course of the interview, saying, “I like you but you’re slightly infuriating to interview.”

    The artists: The Beatles, Kate Bush, Flowered Up, Crowded House, Madonna, David Bowie, Pulp, Ameriie

    The book: The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

    The luxury item: Laptop

    Listen here

    Photo: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

    Sue Perkins, 2017

    The best Desert Island Discs are the ones where you realise that that person from a quite rubbish TV show is actually incredible. This realisation happened for me with Sue Perkins and with Davina McCall, but first to Sue Perkins. Famous for being part of the comedy duo Mel and Sue, for presenting The Great British Bake Off for six years, and most recently for delivering a searing takedown of Harvey Weinstein on The Last Leg, Sue has been a recognisable face on British television for ages, but before this Desert Island Discs interview, she was just that really: a recognisable face on British television. Since this interview, Perkins has become something of a personal hero – for many women, not just for me. She talks to Kirsty about finding her confidence as a comedian, about the experience of being brought up working class and inadvertently becoming “posh”, and about the experience of realising she was gay following a heterosexual relationship that had a profound effect on her.

    The artists: Sylvester, Lonnie Donegan, The Smiths, T.Rex, Kate Bush, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Nick Drake, Philip Glass

    The book: How To Clone Your Dog [this book doesn’t actually exist]

    The luxury item: A bit of hair from her beagle, in order to clone him

    Listen here

    Photo: Brian J Richie/REX/Shutterstock

    Davina McCall, 2016

    “Big Brother house, this is Davina, please do not swear!” Presenting Big Brother on Channel 4 for 10 years from 2000 to 2010, Davina McCall was the voice and the face that everybody who owned a television in the noughties knew about. She also notably presented Comic Relief for years, and found additional success later with a series of fitness DVDs. In a similar vein to Sue Perkins, Davina McCall’s Desert Island Discs interview transformed her from a loud TV personality that you didn’t feel either way about, to a truly inspiring woman that you feel a lot about. In the interview she talks about her relationship with her mother, who was an alcoholic and a drug addict, with such searing honesty that it’s a surprise she doesn’t cry on air. From her mother to her own problems with addiction before getting clean at 25, and finally to her amazing 500-mile triathlon experience, which raised £2 million for Sport Relief in 2014, you start to see McCall as a pillar of strength and a prime example of resilience.

    The artists: The Divine Comedy, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, Syreeta, Funkadelic, Todd Terry, Kate Bush, Andrew Gold, Sarah McLachlan

    The book: Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

    The luxury item: A bath

    Listen here

    Photo: Ken McKay/REX/Shutterstock

    Theresa May, 2014

    This Desert Island Discs was recorded at a time when Theresa May was Home Secretary and described as “a very popular choice among Conservative voters to be the next PM”. During the interview, Kirsty keeps pressing the rumour that May is gunning it to the top spot of PM and May keeps answering that it’s simply not true. Aside from the typical politician spin, this interview does show a nice side of May – a human side to the only child of a vicar and his wife, who loved reading and debating at school. We learn that her life has not been without tragedy; her mother suffered from multiple sclerosis and was in a wheelchair by the time May got married to her husband, who she met at an Oxford University disco, introduced by the former Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. May talks about coping with the death of both of her parents when she was young; her father died in a car accident, and her mother soon after. She talks about losing confidence the first time she had to debate, at school – it was her turn to present and she couldn’t think of anything to say. She goes on to say that the skills she learnt in the debating society at Oxford put her in good stead for the House of Commons – which anyone who’s ever tried to have a conversation with someone from Oxbridge knows all too well. And she wore flares, tank tops and voluminous sleeves in the '70s. And she says this good quote: “I’m very clear that women, in politics, in business, in whatever field they’re in, should be able to do the job as themselves, and not feel they’ve got to walk like a man.” I mean, if you took this interview out of its time and context, and listened to it just as an interview with a woman who worked in politics, you might actually think ‘Oh, she’d make a good prime minister’. At the very least, it makes you wonder if, when the Brexit result came in, Theresa May didn’t put on “Dancing Queen” by Abba in her living room.

    The artists: The Jersey Boys, Capella Gregoriana, Elgar, Abba, Mozart, Paul Eddington & Derek Fowlds, Isaac Watts

    The book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    The luxury item: Lifetime subscription to Vogue

    Listen here

    Photo: Wiktor Dabowski/REX/Shutterstock

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    Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.

    This week we're with a comedian who makes her living doing that and lots of different bits and bobs, and is currently doing something to do with freelance social media on the side. She lives in London, always takes too much on, and is consistently chasing invoices. Sometimes she says she is very good with money and then sometimes, like last month, she drunk-bought £200 of expensive moisturiser.

    Industry: Writer/comedian
    Age: 29
    Location: London
    Salary: £35,000
    Paycheque amount per month: I don't ever get paid on time, literally ever. It's usually between £1,500-£3,500. This month it's £250 because everybody decided to pay me late.
    Number of housemates: 2

    Monthly Expenses

    Housing costs: £579 for rent and council tax (I am living in my sister's flat and the landlord doesn't know)
    Loan payments: £0 (I haven't paid my student loan in ages OOPS)
    Utilities: £50 covers water, electricity and gas
    Transportation: £250 a month
    Phone bill: £27
    Savings? HAHAHAHAHAHA
    Other: I put 20% of my earnings in a tax account which I use to pay, er, tax. It's the most sensible thing I do and would recommend it to all freelancers. I also pay £150 a month to my dad, because he paid for my MA which was £10k. I also pay £65 a week to a therapist because I have anxiety issues.

    Day One

    9.25am: I am not used to rush hour because I'm a freelancer, so I buy a second breakfast at Pret despite having eaten porridge at home. It's more porridge, and some fruit. Vow not to do this again. £7.95

    12.50pm: I bought one of those reusable water bottles and lost it so need to buy water bottle at the gym. I lost the reusable water bottle five months ago. Probably should sort this. £1

    6pm: I have a meeting after work with my director who is directing a live show I'm doing. He buys me a wine, which I hate, because it means I have to buy him a wine. I buy him a wine. £6.95

    8pm: I am doing a friend's gig, as I do live comedy, and I can't afford to buy dinner until I'm paid tomorrow so I buy some cashews to keep me going. £3

    Total: £18.90

    Day Two

    10am: I am moving house and need to buy my rabbit a new hutch because I sat on it when drunk and it broke. All hutches are expensive, so get my flatmate, who is really handy, to make one. Just have to buy all the wood and hinges and stuff I don't understand online. Nobody has paid me today, so I feel sick and am in my overdraft. £147.56

    6pm: Seeing Queens of the Stone Age. Meet up with friends beforehand at TGI Friday (?) and everyone orders cocktails. I forget nobody has paid me and buy two Pornstar Martinis and some chips because I am high on life. £24

    7pm: I realise what I have done and am so annoyed at myself I buy another glass of wine at the venue bar, which is A TENNER. I feel ill. £10

    Total: £181.56

    Day Three

    2pm: I have the day off from my job to do freelance stuff, so I pack a lunch. I forget the lunch. I buy some of those lentil crisps that look healthy but aren't and starve for the day as can't afford food. I really want to name all the places who haven't paid me on Twitter, but I don't. I just glower. £2

    6pm: I cave and have a burrito because forgot I was doing a friend's gig which means I will not be able to eat until about 10pm and I'm shaking. I do not enjoy the burrito. I call my dad and have a little cry. £5.95

    10.30pm: I do a shop at Tesco Extra (pasta, tomato sauce, porridge oats, raisins to make the porridge less sad) on way back from gig because I haven't had time to do a proper online shop. Also, I'm not in for the slots. I leave at 7am and am back at 11pm. Tesco Extra is so much more expensive than online Tesco. £16

    Total: £23.95

    Day Four

    12.25pm: Yes, I still haven't bought a reusable water bottle, so buy another cheap one at the gym. £1

    3pm: I pay my accountant. She has done my tax return for me and I can't thank her enough, what an absolutely wonderful human. £125

    7pm: I haven't seen my boyfriend for a week, so we have a date night. I like Zizzi and I'm not ashamed, it does really good pizza. I refuse to let him pay for me even though he earns three times the amount I do. Feminism or stupidity? You decide. £25

    8pm: We go on the Thames Clipper rather than take the Tube. It's a lot nicer than the Tube. £4.50

    Total: £155.50

    Day Five

    9.30am: Two water guns. I am doing marketing for a new live show I'm working on and would like the image to be me spraying water everywhere. I have left it to the last moment to buy them so have to sign up for Prime and then put a note in diary to cancel Prime. £9.99

    12.25pm: I STILL haven't been paid. I am too panicky to go to the gym so sit in a café and have lunch by myself so people at work don't see me cry. £5.99

    1.30pm: Get message from flatmate. The moisturiser I bought when drunk a month ago because they said they would help my chronic IBS have arrived and he just had to pay £30 custom charges as they came over from the US. I forgot I'd bought them. I chase all my invoices again, and transfer him the money. £30

    Total: £45.98

    Day Six

    11am: I buy food for a breakfast and lunch as I need to make packed ones and don't have anything in the kitchen that can reasonably be packed and eaten cold. £24

    2pm: I have to pay a share of the rehearsal room I'm, er, rehearsing in. £10

    7pm: I am doing a show that I'm really nervous about, so I have a glass of wine. That's allowed. IT'S ALLOWED. £6

    11.30pm: I get an Uber home because the gig was awful, it ran on incredibly late, nobody cared or laughed and my boyfriend's much more attractive ex was also on and was really good. £11

    11.30pm: OK fine I had three more glasses of wine. £18

    Total: £69

    Day Seven

    10am: I'm writing at a friend's house all day and we are pooling resources for lunch. I buy a meat thing (actual sausage) to go with my not-meat thing (vegetarian sausage) so we can both have the same meal (sausage and mash). £5.47

    4pm: How is nothing in my kitchen an actual meal, when I've been buying bits and bobs all week? I buy hummus, loads of salad stuff, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pesto. £18.99

    5pm: Walking past a charity shop I see a warm winter coat! I don't have one! I'm so cold! I also see some shoes that I definitely do have, but want. It's a charity shop, right? So it's fine?! £23.99

    7pm: As a flat, we sort out money we all owe each other from food shops, when someone hasn't had their card, etc. I get off quite lightly but still have to pay £65. God.

    Total: £113.45

    The Breakdown

    Food/Drink: £181.30
    Entertainment: £0
    Home Supplies: £65
    Clothes/Beauty: £23.99
    Travel: £15.50
    Other: £322.55

    Total: £608.34

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    2017 has proved an exciting and eventful year for beauty, for fans and industry players alike.

    It was the year we embraced vegan products, weighed up the benefits of both synthetic and natural ingredients, and reached for the scissors to crop our hair. Blonde in all its shades – from cream soda to champagne – reigned supreme, as did sparkly, shimmery makeup.

    We’ve had long-anticipated UK launches, bricks-and-mortar store openings, and landmark government bans, but while there’s been more diversity in campaigns and makeup ranges, the media has at times struggled to keep up, being called out for conspicuously altering images of women’s natural beauty.

    This year was a thrilling one for all things skincare, makeup and hair – let's hope 2018 brings more diversity and representation, more creative techniques, and more innovative launches.

    Click through to see our beauty highlights of the year.

    The Government Banned Microbeads

    In a landmark ruling that signalled a huge step forward for the industry, the government announced in July that it was banning microbeads, with effect from early 2018.

    Following calls from environmentalists for the tiny manmade exfoliants to be banished from our daily-use products – think toothpaste, face scrub, and body wash – Michael Gove announced the ban in his first speech as Environment Secretary.

    The ban is only relevant to wash-off products, as they have a direct correlation to what's found in the world's oceans, with 300 billion pieces in the Arctic Ocean alone.

    While we have a mammoth task ahead of us in tackling the world's plastic pollution – 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950 – nationwide changes like this can make a real difference.

    Illustrated by Abbie Winters.

    Glossier's Triple Threat

    In October, after years of anticipation from British fans, New York-based beauty brand Glossier launched in the UK. Having hosted a fleeting pop-up in London in July, the brand announced international shipping to the UK, meaning beauty fans could try every product we'd seen on our Instagram feeds.

    The brainchild of Into The Gloss 's Emily Weiss, the simplicity of the products – the motto is skin first, makeup second – and the millennial pink packaging has garnered a cult following. To add to the excitement, the brand announced another London pop-up soon after, giving fans a chance to try out the products for themselves, from the skin-saving Milky Jelly Cleanser to the brow-defining Boy Brow.

    On top of this, Glossier launched its first fragrance, You, soon after. "The ultimate personal fragrance", it's designed to enhance your own natural smell, much like the makeup aims to highlight your natural beauty. 2017 truly was Glossier's year.

    Enter Fenty Beauty

    The same month, after three years of anticipation, Rihanna's Fenty Beauty finally launched. Available exclusively in Harvey Nichols in the UK (and Sephora in the US), fans queued for hours to get their hands on the star's makeup.

    With a campaign that showed some of the most exciting and diverse faces, from Duckie Thot to Slick Woods via Leomie Anderson and Halima Aden, Fenty's tagline is "The New Generation of Beauty".

    The campaign reflected the makeup's inclusivity, with 40 foundation shades sending customers wild – YouTube reviews proved that Rihanna had created products suitable for albino skin and very dark tones, plus every shade in between. Competitor brands then fell over themselves to boast their (not quite as wide) shade offering.

    Since the initial drop, Rihanna's released the Holiday Galaxy collection, full of shimmer and shine, and the Stunna Lip Paint, a universally flattering red liquid lipstick. All hail Fenty.

    Courtesy of Fenty Beauty.

    Bleach London Launched Makeup

    Colour pioneers and the salon responsible for making us all experiment with sea greens, fiery reds and acid yellows, Bleach London expanded their signature hues into makeup in July.

    The Dalston-based salon, headed up by Sam Campbell and hairstylist Alex Brownsell, launched the line with an in-store glitter press, encouraging customers to mix and match their favourite shades of iridescent, pearly and holographic sparkle to create gel eyeshadow palettes.

    The brand's waste-not attitude (all products are vegan, too) led to their genius customisation palette, which allows you to buy individual colours and collect them in a magnetic box.

    From pigmented eyeshadow to liquid lipstick that matches their Super Cool Hair Colours, Bleach London's makeup offering was a fun and creative breath of fresh air this summer.

    Courtesy of Bleach London.

    ASOS Launched Its Own Beauty Brand

    Having played host to some of the biggest beauty brands for some time, it made complete sense for the e-tailer to expand its own brand to makeup, which launched in September.

    With 46 shades of vibrant matte lipsticks, contouring palettes, iridescent eyeshadows and highlighting chubby sticks, the packaging was as Instagrammable as you'd expect.

    According to ASOS, the collection, named to reflect certain moods ('Uncompromising', 'Overqualified'), "is about embracing and expressing the full range of who you are" and empowering "twentysomethings to confidently be themselves, however they choose to do so. We believe your face and body are a canvas, an adventure in individual self-expression, an opportunity to experiment and play."

    The real highlight, though? Alongside the launch came a campaign to rebrand the site's beauty department, Face and Body. Featuring women of colour, plus-sized women, men, and gender non-conforming people, the ads showed what real inclusivity in beauty looks like.

    Courtesy of Asos.

    Gigi Collaborated With Maybelline

    Creating her first ever makeup line, Gigi Hadid collaborated with Maybelline, channelling her international lifestyle into three drops: East Coast Glam, West Coast Glow, and Jetsetter.

    The East Coast collection gave us everything we need to emulate the glamour of New York, with a smoky eye palette, eyeliner pen and three sultry lip colours. The West Coast look was all about a downtown LA vibe, with strobe highlighters, siren-red lipsticks, and a contour palette.

    Finally, the Jetsetter offering was an all-in-one kit for those on-the-go, reflecting Gigi's own global lifestyle. The line was a near-immediate sellout. Will the model develop more makeup next year? Watch this space...

    Courtesy of Maybelline.

    Munroe Bergdorf's Triumphant Return After Being Dropped By L'Oréal

    We were thrilled when L'Oréal announced its landmark partnership with trans model Munroe Bergdorf. Just days later, however, the brand came under fire for parting ways with Bergdorf following a Facebook post she wrote calling out white supremacy and systemic racism.

    Twitter rushed to defend Bergdorf and question L'Oréal's authenticity and ideas surrounding representation. Bergdorf also received death threats and violent messages during the furore.

    The model came back triumphantly, though, fronting makeup brand (and longtime collaborator of Bergdorf) Illamasqua's Christmas campaign. Full of colour, creativity and individuality, the campaign, 'MERR Y X MAS: Celebrate Without Chromosomes' was a breath of fresh air.

    Courtesy of Illamasqua.

    Pat McGrath Labs Finally Reached The UK

    In the same week she announced she was joining Edward Enninful's line-up at British Vogue , industry giant Pat McGrath revealed that her innovative makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs, was launching globally on Net-A-Porter.

    Having been the creative vision behind the cosmetic launches of brands like Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, it was only a matter of time before McGrath brought her experience, spanning two decades, to her own line.

    From Metalmorphosis 005, a Midas-touch eye colour, to Dark Star 006, an '80s-inspired kit of electric shades, everything from Pat McGrath Labs has been a near-instant sellout.

    It's been a great year all-round for the legendary makeup artist, who most recently was awarded the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the Fashion Awards. Here's to an equally game-changing 2018, Pat.

    The Legendary Sam McKnight Launched Haircare

    Debuting back in February at Halpern's LFW show, Sam McKnight launched his eagerly awaited haircare line to the masses in June, allowing fans and beauty lovers alike to emulate Sam's styling at home.

    Following a huge exhibition at Somerset House charting the stylist's 40-year career, Sam's line is made up of four hero products: Lazy Girl, a dry shampoo for longevity between washes; Modern Hairspray, a firm-hold brushable formula; Cool Girl, a texturising spray promising hair as rock'n'roll as Kate Moss's; and Easy Up-Do, a base for any kind of 'do.

    On top of the pretty packaging, which you're bound to want to give pride of place on your bathroom shelf, the products' scent was conceived by Lyn Harris of Miller Harris perfume, waving goodbye to stale hairspray and dusty dry shampoo scents.

    Courtesy of Sam McKnight.

    Misguided Photoshopping In The Media

    Two incidents of misguided photoshopping took place later on in the year, the first from The Evening Standard. Interviewing musician and cover star Solange, who regularly uses her platform to celebrate her natural hair, the magazine curiously photoshopped her crown of braids out of the issue's cover image.

    Solange, who clearly wasn't aware of the edit before it went to print, took to Instagram to write 'DTMH', an abbreviation of “Don’t Touch My Hair,” the name of a song from her much-lauded album A Seat At The Table. The second instance came from Grazia, which featured actor Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of a November issue.

    Once again, Photoshop was used to edit natural hair out of the cover shot. Lupita remarked on Twitter: "Disappointed that @GraziaUK edited out & smoothed my hair to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like. #dtmh."

    Fans criticised both magazines for their wrongdoing, and important conversations were had about censoring black women, embracing natural hair, and the insidious nature of Photoshop. Both publications apologised for their editing of the photographs.

    The Many Faces Of Bella Hadid

    She may have lost out to Adwoa Aboah for Model of the Year at 2017's Fashion Awards, but Bella was arguably the face of beauty this year. Fronting a series of major beauty campaigns, she was transformed from sultry to '70s starlet to slick siren.

    Following in the footsteps of Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence, she starred in Dior's ad for its Pump 'N' Volume mascara, with slicked-back hair and electrifying lashes. Next up, she emulated a rock'n'roll Joan Jett with a '70s shag and smoky eyes for NARS' Fall Colour Collection, which promoted the brand's Highlighting Bronzing Collection and Powermatte Lip Pigment.

    Finally, she took a Roman Holiday for Bulgari, launching Goldea, a musky, fruit-floral fragrance. With this many huge campaigns under her belt, we can't wait to see her metamorphoses in 2018.

    Photo Via @bellahadid.

    Huda Beauty's Sellout Products

    Huda Kattan, makeup artist turned influencer turned beauty mogul, knows how to make products that will sell out, and fast. This year was a stellar one for her makeup brand Huda Beauty, with products rivalling our cult favourites generating a buzz among the industry and fans alike.

    Desert Dusk, a pigment-rich palette made up of shades reminiscent of the colours of the Middle East, features burnt oranges, dusky neutrals and vibrant reds. With glitter-rich options to layer on top, it was the perfect autumnal drop. The #FauxFilter Foundation, comprising 30 shades of full-coverage velvet-matte formula, was an instant hit, with 11 of the shades selling out in just three days at Sephora.

    But of course, Huda Beauty made its name with its lip products. A representative from Sephora told The New York Times that Kattan's lip liners were one of the biggest launches they'd seen in years. Her Contour & Strobe Set, a matte pencil liner, lightweight liquid lipstick, and gloss strobe to highlight, were an Instagram sensation, too. More product drops next year, please, Kattan.

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    Wedding season may be spring through summer, but you'll often find the best venues and caterers are more available during the colder months. So while your calendar may not be brimming with invites to your friend's big day in December, we guarantee there will be the rogue one taking advantage of the benefits of a winter wedding.

    But what to wear? Resist the urge to don 60 denier tights, and instead opt for a statement piece that'll slot nicely into your everyday wardrobe post-event. From ruffled dresses to sleek clutches, via elegant mules and floral floor-skimming gowns, we've found the most gorgeous pieces to wear to a winter wedding.

    Any dress from Rixo would be suitable for a wedding, but this satin space-age number is top of our list.

    Rixo Sheena Space Age Spot Long Sleeved Midi Dress, £295, available at Rixo

    Add a little drama with ruffles and a waterfall hem.

    Warehouse Soft Jacquard Asymmetric Dress, £51.75, available at Warehouse

    Who said winter meant muted tones? This silk amber dress works as well for day or night, ceremony or party.

    Kitri Isadora Silk Midi Dress, £185, available at Kitri

    You simply can't go wrong with Ganni. Wear this to a wedding now, and with sandals come summer.

    Ganni Marceau Georgette Maxi Dress, £190, available at Ganni

    Layer a classic coat over this ruffled Dodo Bar Or dress.

    Dodo Bar Or Embroidered Flared Dress, £1,854, available at Farfetch

    No need to make a statement with the rest of your get-up when these emerald beauties take centre stage.

    Tabitha Simmons Reyner 100 Crystal Buckle Sandals, £595, available at Browns

    This is a winter floral if ever we've seen one. Layer a faux fur over the top, and you're good to go!

    Ghost Colette Dress Ruth Flower, £75, available at Ghost

    Mini bucket bags are having a moment, and this metallic Zara one will see us from wedding to NYE.

    Zara Metallic Mesh Mini Bucket Bag, £29.99, available at Zara

    For a more casual affair, this Marni dress is the epitome of winter floral.

    Marni Long Dress, £1,570, available at 24 Sevres

    Mules are here to stay after a year of reigning supreme. This tassel update from Uterqüe is top of our shopping list.

    Uterqüe Black Mules With Tassels, £95, available at Uterqüe

    Pastels aren't just for spring, and dresses aren't your only wedding option.

    Les Heroines The Betty Jumpsuit, £504, available at Les Heroines.

    These fuchsia mules look more luxury than their price point suggests.

    Topshop Galaxy Flare Heel Mules, £69, available at Topshop

    Another flash of colour, courtesy of Preen By Thornton Bregazzi – that asymmetric shoulder is a showstopper.

    Preen By Thornton Bregazzi Danica One-Shoulder A-Line Dress, £850, available at Matches Fashion

    No matter what you wear, these Finery earrings will be conversation-starters.

    Finery Dolly Two-Tone Mirror Crinkle Earrings, £39, available at Finery

    This dress can help us pretend it's spring when really it's 2 degrees.

    Ganni Seneca Silk Maxi Dress, £475, available at Ganni

    To be worn with heels at the church ceremony and trainers at the pub lunch reception.

    Alexa Chung Tiered Garden Dress, £565, available at Alexa Chung

    If dresses aren't your thing, this French Connection jumpsuit does the trick – we're wearing for work, too.

    French Connection Hiva Crepe Flared Jumpsuit, £140, available at French Connection

    These heels from Charlotte Olympia are pure glamour.

    Charlotte Olympia Blyton Sandal, £525, available at Charlotte Olympia

    Lace doesn't need to mean vamp.

    Ganni Flynn Lace Wrap Dress, £210, available at Gianni

    De La Vali is Kate Moss-approved, and this silk maxi will be a mainstay of our wardrobe, post-wedding.

    De La Vali Silk Maxi Floral Dress With Bell Sleeves, £595, available at Browns

    YAS do wonderful floral dresses, like this teal number.

    YAS High Neck Maxi Dress, £60, available at Topshop

    This Zara suit ensures two things: you're sitting comfortably for the ceremony and feeling free enough to tear down the dance floor during the reception.

    Zara Printed Trousers, £39.99, available at Zara

    Zara Pyjama Shirt, £39.99, available at Zara

    Another clutch to hide your essentials while breaking shapes on the dance floor.

    & Other Stories Velvet Clutch, £59, available at & Other Stories

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    Acids are no longer reserved for monthly facials with a dermatologist, having become a mainstay of our bathroom shelves. Cult Beauty has over 200 products containing the word 'acid' and Space.NK has nearly 300. But are they for everyone? We have a tendency in beauty to follow the leaders, whether or not our skin agrees, but with something as harsh as an acid, this isn't always wise.

    First things first; it's important to understand the distinctions between acids. "There are different kinds of acids used in skincare – some are very beneficial. For example, hyaluronic acid, which helps refill the skin's moisture reservoirs due to its very high ability to bind water," celebrity facialist and dermatologist Dr. Barbara Sturm explains. "Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of our skin whose production diminishes with age. We can replenish it through topical application or supplemented oral intake."

    Next up, there are AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids). "All acids have an exfoliating effect but AHAs can be used by all skin types, while BHAs are good for people with problematic skin as they have an antibacterial effect and prevent clogged pores," Lixir Skin founder Colette Haydon tells Refinery29. "Each acid offers a special benefit: Lactic acid improves hydration, lactobionic acid reduces oxidative stress (which makes your skin look dull and grey) and phytic acid eliminates heavy metals to detoxify the skin. Salicylic acid is antibacterial and prevents clogged pores and azelaic acid controls sebum."

    When there are so many options, how do we know what will work for our skin type? Should someone with sensitive skin be using it as much or in as high a concentration as someone with dry skin? And does age come into it at all? "The 'good' acids like hyaluronic acid or citric acids support the skin with moisture, strong anti-oxidative effects and other valuable benefits," Dr. Sturm says. "The acids that damage the skin, however, cause a serious disruption of its protective barrier and often cause dehydration. They accelerate the cell renewal and cause a long-term effect of the skin thinning out, as the cells cannot divine infinity. This affects all skin types, but someone with very sensitive skin might suffer a faster negative response, which could lead to serious cases of hyperkeratosis."

    While this sounds scary, rest assured that the acids you'll find on the market are regulated by the EU. "The critical point is the concentration used on our skin," Dr. Mirela Mitan, CEO and founder of MMXV INFINITUDE, states. "The safety level in cosmetic products is if the concentrations are lower than 10% at final formulation (pH > 3.5) and when formulated to avoid increasing sun sensitivity or used with daily sun protection. When applied by trained professionals, in beauty salons, the AHAs are safe at concentrations less than 30% at final formulation and a pH higher than 3. If applied according to a dermatologist's recommendation, an even higher concentration of AHA preparation could be considered safe to use."

    So once you've found a good acid that works for your skin type, and made sure it's lower than 10% in concentration and above 3.5% pH level, the next step is making sure you apply it properly. "It’s very important to only apply acid at night and never use it on holiday when you’re exposed to the sun," Haydon warns. Of course, apply SPF every day when using acids, too.

    If you think your skin is too sensitive, or you've had bad reactions in the past but still want that cobweb-blasting exfoliation, there are alternatives to acids. "Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is an acid but it’s not an AHA, so it won’t exfoliate your skin and it will just give you a magic quick fix of radiance," Haydon says. "It’s a wonderful ingredient, one of the most active of them all and is increasingly beneficial to your skin with continued use."

    "An alternative to AHAs are called PHAs (Polyhydroxy Acids) and bionic acids, which carry similar effects of AHA without the possibility of skin irritation," Mitan explains. "PHA is more compatible with sensitive skin, has better moisturisation activity and enhances skin barrier function." So whether you stick with the popular acids in your skincare routine, or you try out their alternatives, there are countless ways to get the glow this winter.

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