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‘One big virtual love-in’: how children’s book authors are creating online sanctuaries

Authors are going online in real time to engage children and create a safe place where imaginations are fired The childrens author and illustrator wunderkind live on Instagram. And they are pure magic. Jeffers, in quarantine in Belfast, is reading a story a day, having started with his first ever book How to Catch a Star. According to Jeffers, [This is] for all you folks stuck at home in the coming weeks due to Covid, I will be reading one of my books every weekday, and talking about some of…

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Dogs working from home during coronavirus crisis? There’s an Instagram account for that

@DogsWorkingFromHome made its first post during the onset of the coronavirus crisis, and already has hundreds of submissions An errant ear appearing in the bottom right corner of the screen. A blur of fur flashing in the background, followed by a crash. The chance to check out our colleagues pets during video conferences can be a voyeuristic joy for workers stuck at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic. It took Mark Polchleb, a brand manager from Melbourne, just one day to realise that experience deserved its own home online. I…

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Lena Dunham: Caroline Flacks death hit me with a sickening power

I adored the former Love Island host, and wish we could have shown her a more hopeful reality: that women who err and fail are worthy of love My adoration for Cher) and the empathy she brought to a bloodless and occasionally unkind television format lent her an air of approachable glamour, a local-girl-done-good sheen, aspirational but earthy. Not since I saw Storm I C Cup, and took comfort in her durable, bounce-back brand of vulnerability. Her quotes about heartbreak (I feel at my most calm, in control and happiest…

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Ditch candlelit dinners: five activity dates to try from bowling to board games

A hike up a rainy hillside with a fitness bore may not be your idea of romance, but a study shows that when it comes to finding love, the usual dates are out. Anyone for Scrabble? Looking for love but hate organised fun? Bad luck. A study has found were snubbing the standard dating script of drinks and dinner in favour of more ambitious activities a hike up a mountain was the most popular first date activity for 40- to 60-year-olds, while the top choice for twentysomethings was mini-golf. Admittedly,…

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Banned, snubbed, and saved by Colin Firth my life in Oscars parties

The 2020 Academy Awards will be my seventh. Ive yet to win one but Ive brought home some great stories When you read this, I will be in Los Angeles, which is nice. I love LA, which is not a sentence you hear often, especially in Britain, where the city is often derided as too shallow, too full of celebrities and too hot, none of which are negatives in my book. The British antipathy to LA is rooted in a suspicion that anything that pleasant cant be good for you,…

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Katy Perry offers no respite for the embattled royals

Another blundersome week for the royal crew who, still reeling from Harrys exodus and revelations about Andrew, now find out that the singer has no Asian heritage Over the past few years, the royal helicopter took off comparatively infrequently from the field by Kensington Palace. Over the past month, however, it has been like an Oliver Stone movie out there. Its the Platoon of ribbon-cutting, the Nam of nursery visiting. Since Harry and Meghan decided to step back from their royal duties, the general stepping forward of other royals has…

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Country life: the young female farmer who is now a top influencer in China

Li Ziqi, 29, has garnered millions of followers with her videos of her idyllic life in rural Sichuan. Is she too good to be true? Since she began posting rustic-chic videos of her life in rural Sichuan province in 2016, Li Ziqi, 29, has become one of Chinas biggest social media stars. She has 22 million followers on the microblogging site Weibo, 34 million on Douyin (Chinas version of TikTok) and another 8.3 million on YouTube (Li has been active on YouTube for the last two years, despite it being…

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Stellan Skarsgrd: I dont give advice to my children

The actor, 68, tells James McMahon about dreaming of being a diplomat, smashing telephones with skill and the days before Marvel ruled the world I intended to become a diplomat. That was my dream. I didnt take acting seriously until I was 16 and got a role in a Swedish show that made me extremely famous right away. There were screaming girls, all that stuff. Id never had any girl take an interest in me before that. Suddenly being a diplomat didnt seem half as attractive as it had done.…

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Readers on the pain of miscarriage: In my head I was already a mum and then suddenly I wasnt

According to a new study, a third of women experience PTSD after losing a baby in early pregnancy. Guardian readers describe their experiences Eleanor, 34, Northamptonshire I had three miscarriages in 2018, all under 12 weeks. I became very anxious to the point that it was impacting every area of my life. It affected my sleep and I had very negative thoughts. I spent a lot of time crying and kept having flashbacks to the third, most traumatic miscarriage, particularly when I was trying to sleep or relax. I had…

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Vivian Suter: the rainforest-dwelling artist who paints with fish glue, dogs and mud

She was ignored for decades, but now Suter has been rediscovered as a pioneering eco-artist. We meet her, and her 97-year-old collagist mum, in the wilds of Guatemala A large dog romps across a blue and white canvas, leaving a trail of brown paw prints. Oh well, shrugs Vivian Suter. Theyre part of the work now. I dont think anyone will mind. I realise Bonzo one of three Alsatian crossbreeds that shadow the artist wherever she goes in her Guatemalan home has just put the finishing touches to an artwork…

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From renewables to Netflix: the 15 super-trends that defined the 2010s

It was the decade of austerity, fracking, populism and internet lies. But not everything about the 2010s was terrible The plastics backlash Garbage, including plastic waste, is seen at the beach in Costa del Este, Panama City. Photograph: Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images It was once the height of metropolitan chic: the dash into Starbucks for a skinny decaf caramel latte en route for work, the takeaway cup a mark of upward mobility. Those were the days of Sex and the City, when the culture of doing everything on the…

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Thank you to … the stranger who knew I needed to cry for my mother

In this series writers celebrate someone who changed their lives. Here Samantha Morton recalls the person who arrived out of nowhere to provide comfort in her grief Dear stranger, I often wonder if you were an angel. The feast of the assumption was upon me again. I was feeling frightened, lost, alone, raw; riddled with the unexpected sucker punch of grief. I was filming far away from home, from my friends and family and the things that grounded me, things that had always helped me cope in the past. At…

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Animal magic: how my pet saved me

From Wolfy the lurcher to Trixie the hamster, these affectionate animals helped five people get their lives back on track I put myself on peternity leave and we hung out: Kate Spicer, 49, journalist, and Wolfy the dog, 9, London There were a lot of things that were a bit awry about my life. The main problem was that I went out and didnt come home. Id go on these benders that were incredibly destructive to my wellbeing. And then when I was working, Id never leave the house. Id…

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Kamala Harris and Mindy Kaling’s Indian cooking melted my heart and made me cringe

As Harris struggles to protect her flagging campaign, its clear why turning to Kaling, and dosas, is important I have a complicated relationship with Mindy Kaling. Ill watch pretty much everything she makes, and eagerly, but not without disappointment. While her more recent productions exclusively by white writers and producers. I feel similarly about presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who is black and Indian. On the one hand, Harris gave me goosebumps when she took Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, dialogue with then supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. On the…

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More fathers are taking paternity leave, but mothers are still doing all the work

A survey found 62% of fathers in the US took time off for their newborn, but women saw a greater damage to future job prospects Attitudes towards paternity leave have drastically changed in America in the last five years as more fathers feel comfortable taking extended time off, but gender stereotypes persist when it comes to career prospects and the home, according to a new study of working parents. Research by the Boston College Center for Work & Family, which surveyed new parents at four large US companies who were…

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