Lay off Generation Sensible: getting wasted is not an essential rite of passage

The youth of today, eh? Far from teenage rebellion, it seems that around a third of them are – brace yourselves – not drinking alcohol at all, while 17 per cent say that they have always been teetotal. Pause for the lamentings of older columnists everywhere, bemoaning how boring “Generation Sensible” has become and beseeching them to give sex, drugs and rock’n’roll a whirl. Hey, Baby Boomers: leave those kids alone. Dare I suggest that the younger generation is getting it right? They may be br

More of us are travelling alone, but I found it more of a challenge than I expected

I’m not sure how it took me until I was standing at a fork in the overgrown path, swatting away dragonflies with my crumpled map, to remember what a bad sense of direction I have. Out here, on the brink of a ravine in the southern Italian countryside, my trusty Citymapper app was useless. I squinted at the map again, then at the path ahead. Time to retrace my steps… I’m one of those irritating people who call themselves a traveller, yet I’ve been mostly shielded from anything resembling a chal

Ibiza’s racy cabaret club Lio is coming to London – but can Brits handle the hedonism?

The master of ceremonies looms over our table, coiffed moustache curling further north as his near-maniacal grin widens. We nod, shy and self-conscious despite the fact that the wine was already flowing. I’m not sure what to expect from a night at Lio, a dinner party-meets-cabaret-meets-nightclub in Ibiza’s high-end marina district. We’ve been here 10 minutes, and already are a bit slack-jawed: rhinestone-twinkling performers greet guests like old friends, women strut through the dining area l

Pret’s move on labelling is a watershed moment for allergy sufferers

Grabbing a quick lunch is something many of us do without a second thought. If you suffer from an allergy, however, you get used to lingering in front of the fridge section, reading labels and scanning ingredients to see if there’s anything “safe” to eat. Some outlets were never too keen on that. In recent years, even as the range of “free-from” products increased, and most retailers upped their game on allergen labelling, there has been a quiet backlash from some “artisan” producers and resta

Turning pensioners into fitness instructors could be just what the doctor ordered – for all of us

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to retirement. Granted, I’ve got about three decades to go (or more if the goalposts keep moving), but by then I’ll be more than ready to put my feet up. Or perhaps not, if the health tsars have anything to do with it. A new campaign from ukactive is encouraging pensioners to consider retraining as fitness instructors to help over-55s feel more comfortable in the gym. I know what you’re thinking – we slog all our lives and then you want us to pra

Laura Ashley The Belsfield, hotel review: a sumptuous stay in the heart of the Lake District

The Belsfield Hotel has had a Laura Ashley makeover, one of two Laura Ashley hotels in the UK. A third, Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire, will join the family next spring. The British textile brand has also announced plans for expansion overseas to the Middle East and Indian Ocean, hoping to stimulate its interior decor sales by showcasing them in hospitality environments. The hotel is perched on the banks of Lake Windermere, with rooms offering panoramic views. About a five-minute walk from

How to cut down on household rubbish for Zero Waste Week

Douglas McMaster launches into his spiel before we’ve even taken a seat. The sofa we’re about to sit on has been upcycled from waste materials, he tells me, as has all the furniture in his industrial-chic restaurant, Silo. Some very decent coffee materialises in front of us, along with milk that arrived at the restaurant that morning in a giant pail (the staff use it to make yoghurt, cream, cheese and butter, too), and two fizzing glasses of kombucha, a fermented tea that has been brewed in-hou

The secrets of living to 100? We've known them all along

I always wonder if the centenarians are pulling our legs when we beg them to reveal the secrets behind their longevity. Raw eggs, they tell us solemnly. Daily plunges into icy ocean waters. A can of Stella and a packet of custard creams (props to you, Eileen Maher of Blackpool). No wonder we’re desperate for some nuggets of wisdom – barely a day goes by where scientists are not locking horns over the best course of action for a long life. High-fat, low-carb, some say, while others wring their

Pockets are a feminist issue

Women, eh? We moaned about not having the vote, and got it; we whinged about unequal pay and that was alleviated (well, not quite). We lamented being denied pockets by the patriarchal fashion overlords – and were granted them, at least in some items of clothing. Now, it turns out, we’re not satisfied with the shape or size of said pockets. A study published on US website The Pudding revealed that the pockets on women’s jeans are only 60 per cent as deep as men’s, with most unable to accommodate

Cycling through history: new London bike tour celebrates women’s achievements

Think of your average historical city tour: chances are, it will comprise a rambling round-up of dead white blokes. Statues of conquering heroes on horseback, plaques for playwrights, those kinds of things. But a new London bike excursion is taking people on a tour marking a few of the city’s females heroes, some of whom you will probably never have heard of. Tour de Force, a joint initiative between Santander and Transport for London, is aiming to put the spotlight on some inspirational women

How I learned to love the over-friendliness of my hometown

Believe the hype: Ireland is awash with friendly cities, according to a recent travel poll. Cork was voted third in Condé Nast Traveller’s 2018 Friendliest Cities in the World, with Galway and Dublin also in the top 10. I could have told you that about Cork: I grew up there. Maybe it’s because you can’t ask for directions without entering into a 20-minute conversation (The “well, I wouldn’t start from here” cliche is made for Corkonians). Or that they call everyone “boy” or “girl”, no matter t

Gerry Adams’ new cookbook could be just what Theresa May needs

Silly season continues apace. Headline writers had a field day this week when former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams announced that he was working on a cookbook filled with the recipes that saw negotiators through the 1998 peace process (because “the British didn’t feed us”, he explained). “Cookie ár lá” was my favourite, with honourable mention for “Good fry-day” and “Give peas a chance”. You might initially think that Adams fancies himself a Paul Hollywood character. That steely glint in his ey

Teach children how to be married, says a top divorce lawyer who would know

Despite what certain popular dating shows would have you believe, it hasn’t exactly been the summer of love. Divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton condemned this week the “archaic” divorce laws in England and Wales, which require couples to prove in court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. She warned star-crossed lovers that it isn’t “just about the heart”, and that children should be taught to be more practical about marriage. It’s hardly romantic – but is it time we rethink how we

Hey guys! Isn’t it time we thought of a better email greeting?

It’s finally happened: the backlash has begun against “guys”, and I couldn’t be more delighted. No, no, I’m not on a feminist crusade to wipe out the male gender, nor am I coming a bit late to the Me Too movement, before you all start writing in. I’m talking about the ubiquitous use of “guy” in our day-to-day language. “Hey guys!” chirp group emails. “Can I get you guys anything else?” waitresses enquire. Well, I’ve had enough. No more Mr Nice Guy, if you like. BBC Woman’s Hour host Jane Gar

Mothers of Invention: Mary Robinson on why climate change is a feminist issue

Forging a double act can be powerful, but risky. The chemistry needs to be just right, with no one person dominating. And, importantly, they have to at least appear to get on. So the podcast producer who came up with the brainwave of pairing the former president of Ireland with an irreverent comedian deserves a plaudit for their genius – and bravery. Mary Robinson, 74, an academic, diplomat, campaigner, barrister and politician, is a luminary in the fields of human rights and climate change. S

How to make your food look good enough to Instagram

A decade ago, telling someone that you were a “food stylist” would have been met with a blank stare, if not an eye-roll. And some people might still react like that now – after all, purely worrying about what food looks like in photographs, beyond how it tastes, will sound to many like the ultimate example of style over substance. But style does matter in the world of gastronomy, more so than ever nowadays in the “food porn” age of Instagram where people want to share pictures of their meal in

My childhood memories may be imagined, but they’re real to someone

Whenever I go home to visit my parents, it’s not unusual for us to drag out the photo albums for a trip down memory lane. There’s me, standing beside the cherry blossom tree in front of my childhood home. I loved that cherry tree. There’s Christmas 1985 – I remember being so excited about unwrapping Noelle Lamb, a ride-on fluffy sheep that quickly became my best pal. Or do I? A study has found that almost half of us have memories that probably aren’t real. You know the ones – how many of us

Don’t write off summer just yet: here are some reasons to be cheerful

Remember how summer used to stretch on for ever? Long, hazy days, barbecues and Mr Whippy ice creams, scorched grass and paddling pools? That’s how this summer was beginning to feel, only with a more grown-up flair: we woke up day after day to blue skies, drank cocktails at sunset (on a Tuesday!), and watched England beat the odds to rise through the World Cup ranks. And then, all at once, summer sort of sputtered to a halt. The clouds rolled in just as England crashed out, just as the English

Plogging: the Scandinavian trend that helps you get fit while doing your bit for the planet

If you’ve ever fancied drawing the ire of thousands of commuters during morning rush hour, I have some tips. Number one, join a pack of runners for an 8.30am city-centre jog. Number two, have each of those runners randomly stop without warning and crouch to pick something up off the street. It seems that trying to save the world won’t win everyone over, especially not on the mean streets of the capital. But as I find myself donning gloves and a bag for a central London plogging expedition, I’m

What can we learn from a 16th-century wellness bible? That snake oil has been around for quite a while

The world of wellbeing is undoubtedly a strange one. I must admit I have fallen down the rabbit hole on occasion, spending my hard-earned cash on “superfood” concoctions including outlandish ingredients such as baobab, and spirulina (ugh), and turmeric, and chlorella. Use these ingredients and you could be like us, the wellness goddesses cooed, all glowy skin and shiny hair and flat tummies. So I imbibed, and spiralised, and infused, all with the hope that this was some kind of elixir of youth
Load More Articles