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Greater financial support needed for country’s most poorest communities, say Labour and Liberal Democrats


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Unhidden Is Strictly 'Pyjama-Free' Adaptive Fashion And We Love It
Victoria Jenkins has worked on fashion lines sold everywhere from Tesco and Primark to Jack Wills and, most recently, Victoria Beckham. But the style savvy 35-year-old, from Islington, London, has been forced to spend much of her own free time living in pyjamas. Jenkins has multiple gastro-intestinal problems that have required multiple surgeries. Her symptoms make many high street clothes uncomfortable to wear on good days – and impossible to wear when she’s recovering from surgery.But in 2017 the designer and garment technologist quit her job at Victoria Beckham to create Unhidden, a new capsule collection of adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. Four years of hard work and a Kickstarter campaign later, the brand has finally launched. It will even have its own pop-up shop on Oxford Street in May, making Unhidden the first adaptive brand to be sold on London’s fashion-focused high street.The collection includes tailored trousers specifically designed for wheelchair users, a layered dress that gives easy access to stomas, and buttoned shirts that open to the whole arm. Online items are all made to order, so customers can request alternations (such as velcro instead of buttons) at the checkout. It’s not the first range of adaptive clothing out there, but it’s a far cry for the traditional ‘pyjama-like’ options that dominate the market, says Jenkins. “I want people with disabilities to feel like they can express themselves and that they’re included,” she tells HuffPost UK. “I’m in the community myself and I work in fashion. I just want people to feel comfortable in their own bodies and have a bit of dignity, because I think that’s been sorely lacking.”Although Jenkins now benefits from the clothes she’s created, it was a chance meeting that sparked the idea for Unhidden, rather than her own experience. “Internalised ablism is so strong, it hadn’t even occurred to me,” she says.In 2016, she was in hospital for 10 days while doctors monitored her diseased appendix (that was later removed), when she met a woman who’d recovered from ovarian cancer. The radiotherapy had damaged her bowels, leaving the woman with a stoma and a PICC line (for medicine) in her arm. She was in hospital to have another line fitted to her chest. The woman had to get completely undressed every time a doctor examined part of her body, and Jenkins began thinking about how adapted clothing – with subtly placed poppers or zips – could make the whole process easier. They got chatting about their lives – and fashion – and the woman told Jenkins she was bored or wearing the same old t-shirts. “She couldn’t dress up. There was nothing else, because she couldn’t access her own body,” Jenkins recalls.When she started researching adaptive clothing from her own hospital bed, she was disappointed with the options available, which seemed to be marketed towards carers, rather than disabled people. “It didn’t feel like anyone was actually asking people with disabilities what would help them,” she says. ”On top of that, a lot of it still kind of looked like hospital wear. In fact, a lot of it even now is very pyjama-looking, it’s all very stretchy and casual. There’s nothing that’s formal.”A year later, she quit her job to start working on Unhidden alongside freelance work. Now, she’s finally launched the first collection.“It’s formal, but you can chuck a t-shirt on with trousers too and make it look more causal,” she says. “But I wanted it to feel high-end, because I think that’s a space where people with disabilities never get to be seen.”A few brands, including Tommy Hilfiger (as modelled by actor Jillian Mercado) have created or expanded adaptive lines since Jenkins began working on Unhidden, but no one is specifically targeting young professionals, she says. “I think a lot of it ties into the assumption that people with disabilities don’t work, so no ones tried to make clothes for us that would be appropriate in a work setting,” she says. “And sometimes, the fact that people can’t dress up formally means they’re not going to apply for jobs where that kind of clothing is required, because they don’t have it or it makes them uncomfortable, or it literally causes pain to wear it.”The collection isn’t cheap, with a shirt costing £80 and a dress priced at £90, but Jenkins hopes it will be an attainable treat and tap into the so-called ‘purple pound’ (the spending power of the disabled community), which is estimated at £250bn in the UK, but largely ignored by high street brands. Although the collection has been created for the disabled community, Jenkins emphasises that anyone is welcome to buy it (and notes that the trousers with an elasticated back may be helpful for people with period pain, too). Sustainability is also a priority, with the collection made using ‘dead stock’ – leftover materials that would otherwise go to landfill or left at the back of a warehouse. Jenkins has utilised her industry contacts to find suitable fabrics. It means that some of the clothes and colours – which are made in a woman-owned factory in Bulgaria where garment workers are paid above the living wage – will be limited edition. Creating the collection has taken years of research into different disabilities and the needs of individuals. It’s a huge moment to secure Unhidden a spot alongside Oxford Street’s most recognised brands, but Jenkins’ next dream, is to get the line in concessions, or work with existing brands directly.  “I’m conscious that people with disabilities want to be included, so what they really want is existing brands to design inclusively,” she says. “I want customers to have that luxury and feel that somebody understands what they need, and cares about why they need it.”Unhidden’s pop-up shop will open on May 20 at 58 Oxford Street, London.READ MORE:'I'm Not Here For The Warm and Fuzzies': The UK Stars Of Disability TikTokThese New 'Second Class Citizen' Stamps Send A Powerful MessageOpinion: It’s Not Okay To Ask Why Someone Is Getting The VaccineWhen Will Hollywood Learn Scars Don’t Make People Like Me Evil?
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We Tried 5 Products To Combat 'Lockdown Face'. Here's What Worked
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change.If you’re wondering whether the past year of in-and-out lockdowns has aged you, you’re not alone. Sure, we all are a year older – and perhaps a bit wiser – but there may be another reason you aren’t looking as fresh as you once thought: so-called “lockdown face”.And it’s no fault of your own. A year spent cooped up indoors, a lack of vitamin D, poor sleep, staring at screens, and even that cranked-up heating through the long winter has left us with dry skin, puffy eyes, and maybe even breakouts.When the topic of “lockdown face” came up on a HuffPost UK Zoom call, many of us could relate. We pondered why our faces, at times, looked a little off – especially when we were all in a video meeting at 8.30am each morning. Dr Hiba Injibar, consultant dermatologist and founder of Dermasurge, tells HuffPost UK the issue of ‘lockdown face’ is “fairly common” at the moment. “Many people believe that the absence of vitamin D, lengthy enforced periods of heating and permanently looking at our computers or televisions has had a detrimental effect on our complexions and general skin health,” she explains. Injibar says people are complaining about breakouts due to stress – whether that’s homeschooling, work pressures or general anxiety.“This kind of stress can cause a corticotrophin-releasing hormone to drive up the skin’s oil production, which can cause spots,” she says. “And for the same reason, many of my patients have complained their skin looks older since Covid hit… that their key ‘wrinkle areas’ of around the eyes, the forehead and lips are far more beset with fine lines. In some people, an excess of alcohol has had a damaging effect – it dehydrates and makes your skin duller and less ‘plump’.”Dr Injibar’s advice is to drink plenty of water, sleep more, exercise and reduce your screen time. “Up your vitamin D with some time outdoors (always remembering your SPF) and eat fish or seafood rich in vitamin D,” she adds.In terms of skincare, she advises to cleanse morning and night using products that are non-comedogenic (ie. that don’t block your pores) and to try salicylic-acid cleansers for any breakouts. Prompt enough for us to try some products – five to be exact, handpicked for their well-rated reviews online – to see if they made any difference to “lockdown face”. We tried them over the course of three days minimum – some for up to a week – to see if we could see any difference. Did the products actually work – or just feel nice?Brightening serumThe Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% 30m, £8.90 Reviewed by: Rachel Moss, Life reporter“The Ordinary’s brightening serum is designed to wake up the skin and reduce signs of ageing, but the forehead wrinkles I’ve acquired during lockdown are still alive and well after three weeks, yes weeks, of application. The skin across my face does feel slightly tighter and marginally more hydrated, but there’s little visible difference. My face is also left feeling a tad sticky and shiny after use – my boyfriend asks whether the same result could be achieved with PVA glue.“A bit harsh, I think, and important to note there’s plenty of positive reviews online from other people, even if it doesn’t hit the spot for me personally. One plus, is that it hasn’t actually irritated my eczema-prone skin at all. For under a tenner, it’s also decent value for money as you only use a tiny amount of liquid on each application. Still, I wouldn’t personally buy it again.” 2/5Sheet mask111Skin Sub-Zero De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask, £20Reviewed by: Amy Packham, Life editor “Puffy eyes during morning meetings have been starting to get on my nerves – I felt like I didn’t look like myself. This sheet mask aims to tackle the problem: it promises a ‘refined appearance’, leaving skin ‘invigorated and refreshed’, while reducing signs of puffiness and fatigue. I first use the mask in the evening, after staying indoors all day (it happens). It’s so soft and gloopy, and easy to put on and mould across my face. It’s cooling, then warm and even tingly in places. I happily leave it on for the 20 minutes, then pat my skin when I take it off.“Is there much of a difference? There’s a glowy dew to my skin, it’s incredibly soft, and I notice – right under my eyes – the once, slightly greasy patches look a little.. smoother? My face feels alive and alert, simply because it’s been cooled for a while. When I use it in the morning, before my work meeting, I appreciate the benefits more – mainly because it makes my tired face feel more awake. I’m left with a slight shine, which feels better than my usual appearance. Can I notice a world of difference? Not hugely. But it’s a treat and felt amazing.” 3/5  Jade rollerBeauty Bay, Jade Facial Roller, £9.60Reviewed by: Angela Hui, Life reporter“Lockdown has aged me horribly. I keep looking at before and after photos of myself from the start of the pandemic to now. So, in the hope of looking less Michelin Man, I turn to the ancient Chinese practice of Jade rolling. “I’ve heard rave reviews, but am sceptical about its claims to reduce facial tension and aid lymphatic drainage. You’re meant to store the dual-ended facial massage tool in the fridge before use and as soon as my skin comes in contact with the roller, I yelp in anticipation of how cold it’s going to be.  But it’s soothing and strangely relaxing. I close my eyes and pretend I’m standing on a Fox’s glacier mint, while someone is stroking my face. Used with the SkinHit Protecting Serum with it, it helps my skin drink and soak up the product.“After a few days, my face does feel both tighter and silkier, though I’m not sure it’s doing its job yet to reduce puffiness. There’s a lot of rolling involved – and by the end of my daily skincare regime, my right arm is pathetically trying to hold itself up. But with the words of Limp Bizkit in my head, I vow to keep rollin’, rollin’. Hey, I might even get a hench right arm from it, too. Win, win.” 3/5Eye CreamVichy Minéral 89 Eyes with Hyaluronic Acid + Caffeine 15ml, £15Reviewed by: Adam Bloodworth, features writer“I love the nourishing sensation I get when I use eye serums, and this one from Vichy definitely makes the skin around my eyes feel great. The idea is that the product smooths and brightens the eye area and while there is a little darkness still lurking after a few days’ use, I don’t expect miracles.“My eyes definitely look fresher and smoother and less like I’ve not left my lockdown setup in forever, so that’s a big win, especially as I start making more social plans. But as ever with these products, the fun is really in the routine of applying it, which feels luxurious. For £15, I suspect this serum – in a cute little blue bottle – will provide me with a satisfying morning and evening routine for a good few months, with or without perfect results.” 4/5Facial OilVirgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (Drunk Elephant), £61Reviewed by: Tasha Hinde, Life reporter“At six months’ pregnant, I’ve been waiting for that pregnancy glow to kick in for a while now. Reader: I’m still waiting. The past year has taken a toll on my face – my forehead is dryer than the desert and more pronounced frown lines have appeared between my eyebrows. Recently, I moved to a hard water area and found my skin was even drier than normal. My everyday moisturiser wasn’t doing the trick on its own anymore.“I’ve been trialling this facial oil for over a week now and noticed a difference, but only when I’m wearing it – if I give my face a day off, I’m back to square one. The oil is described as “rehab for your skin” – rich in antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9, it’s meant to “nourish and balance” your skin “while restoring a youthful glow”. I wouldn’t say I’m glowing, but my flakey face is a little more dewy. My cheeks have a nice sheen to them (they were very ‘matte’ before).“The only issue is my forehead, which was the reason I wanted the extra help in the first place. When I apply my moisturiser and the oil, small spots appear. The oil does the trick on the rest of my face, leaving it feeling smooth and like I’ve had a facial. At £61, it’s expensive but I can see the appeal. As for my lockdown face, it’s looking much better – but I’m still on a quest for something that’ll quench my problematic forehead without causing a breakout.” 4/5Related...The 4 Ways Lockdown Has Messed With Your Eye Health39 Painfully Relatable Tweets About Early Pandemic NostalgiaWhy Is Boris Johnson Playing Down The Vaccine Impact?Long Queues Form For Surge Testing In London After South African Variant Found
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7 Reasons Why You're Waking Up Feeling Congested
If the first thing you do in the morning is reach for your bedside box of tissues to blow your streaming nose – or you find yourself constantly sniffing – listen up.Dr Claudia Pastides, a GP for online doctor service Babylon GP, tells HuffPost UK one of the major causes of people waking up with a stuffy nose is rhinitis – which is basically the inflammation of the tissues lining the inside of your nose.The inflammation can be caused by an allergy, referred to as allergic rhinitis, or it may be non-allergic rhinitis, says Dr Pastides. Here, she walks us through how to deal with the issue – as well as some of the other reasons you could be awaking bunged up.1. AllergiesThe most common contender is likely to be an allergy. Allergic rhinitis is thought to impact around one in five people. “It’s commonly caused by something in the environment around us triggering an allergic response,” says Dr Pastides. “The allergic response causes the lining of the nose to swell up and produce more mucus.” Cue: all of the snot.Some of the most common allergens wreaking havoc on our nostrils include pollen, mould and dust. “Some people only get allergic rhinitis at certain times of the year – for example, if your allergy is to certain pollens,” adds Dr Pastides. “Or it may be year-round – if, for example, your allergy is to dust.”If you’re often really congested first thing in the morning, but the issue resolves itself over the course of the day, it might mean you were exposed to a particular allergen overnight – for example, dust, dust mites or pet fur. Or, if you have hay fever, you might notice it’s worse in the morning when pollen counts are high.Thinking about when in the day you struggle with the issue – and whether it’s seasonal – can help you determine what it is you’re allergic to. Failing that, you can take an allergy test. Dr Pastides recommends discovering what the allergen is so you’re able to avoid it, although she notes this is easier said than done. Most people won’t know what the allergen is – or simply cannot avoid it. If this is the case, you can take over the counter medicines such as antihistamines or regularly flush your nose with saline water. But if it’s affecting your day-to-day life and not improving, speak to a doctor about it as there are prescribed nasal sprays which can help, she adds.  2. The common coldYou’ve probably had less colds over the past year, as you’ve been exposed to fewer germs while spending more time at home. But that doesn’t mean there’s zero risk of getting one. If you have a short period (one or two weeks) of waking up congested, it could be because of a cold attacking the lining of the nose. Symptoms of a cold, which appear gradually, include: a blocked or runny nose (obviously), a sore throat, headache, muscle ache, cough, sneezing, a raised temperature, pressure in your ears and face, and loss of taste and smell.“Allowing the cold to run its course is often the best treatment,” says Dr Pastides. You’ll want to rest up, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of fluids and possibly take painkillers for any aches and pains.3. Your environmentReally cold or hot weather, humidity, or being in very smoky environments can all cause you to wake up with a stuffy nose. Avoiding these circumstances will stop the blocked nose, says Dr Pastides.If you can’t avoid them – we get it, you can’t control the weather – there are things you can do to ease the issue.If it’s really cold, for example, wrap a scarf over your nose to warm the air around your face or go to sleep with the heating turned on low.4. PregnancyYes, that’s right. Being pregnant causes a whole host of bodily changes, one of which is inflammation of the nose lining due to hormones.Sadly, there’s not a huge amount you can do about this. “The blocked nose will settle down when you’re no longer pregnant, but in the meantime it may help to lift up the head end of the bed a bit,” says Dr Pastides.“If you’re still struggling, it’s a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional about it and see what treatments are suitable to use in pregnancy.”5. Overusing nasal spraysMore patients are turning up in hospital with self-induced rhinitis caused by overuse of nasal sprays like Sudafed or Vicks Sinex, according to Paul Spraggs, an ENT surgeon at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.“These are medicines you buy over the counter for short-term use in colds, but people tend to get addicted to them,” he told HuffPost UK. “That causes a type of rhinitis we see in secondary care a lot, which is very difficult to treat.”If you’ve been using nasal decongestant sprays a lot, they might – ironically – be causing your blocked nose. If you suspect this might be the case, speak to your GP about it.6. PolypsNasal polyps are painless, fleshy swellings that grow inside your nose. While they’re not usually serious, they can keep growing and block your nose if not treated, states the NHS. Symptoms are similar to a common cold – blocked nose, runny nose, constant need to swallow, reduced sense of smell or taste, nosebleeds and snoring – however while colds tend to disappear after a week or so, symptoms of polyps will not clear until the issue is treated.If you suspect you might have polyps, speak to your GP who should be able to offer a steroid nasal spray to shrink the growths. If it doesn’t improve after about 10 weeks, they might suggest surgery to remove the growths.7. SinusitisInflammation of your sinuses can cause a runny nose in the morning – the issue can be acute (short lasting for about one or two weeks, often due to an infection) or chronic (long lasting), says Dr Pastides.Sinusitis is common after a cold or flu, with symptoms including: pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead; a blocked nose; a reduced sense of smell; green or yellow mucus from your nose; a sinus headache; a high temperature; toothache and bad breath.“Although acute sinusitis is often short-lived and typically gets better by itself, polyps and chronic sinusitis should be diagnosed by a doctor and may require specific treatment,” says Dr Pastides.But if a blocked nose has been going on for a while and isn’t improving, or if you have other symptoms such as a fever that isn’t settling or you’re feeling generally unwell, it’s wise to bring this up to your GP.Related...How To Manage Hay Fever When You're Outdoors More Than UsualRhinitis Is More Common Than You Think – So What Is It And How Is It Treated?The Key To Treating Covid-19 Could Be In The NoseNasal Sprays Are Part Of The Fight Against Covid-19. 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