Portugal fans mock Cristiano Ronaldo Coca-Cola bottle incident in Germany defeat
As Euro 2020's Group of Death was blown wide open wide open, supporters poked fun at Ronaldo over his fizzy pop controversy with a banner which also gave a nod to Gareth Bale
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Covid news: Brazil hits grim 500,000 deaths milestone amid ‘critical’ situation
BRAZIL faces a "critical scenario" after the country passed another grim milestone.
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Matt Willis on how he explains his addiction past to his young children
The Busted star says his children made an 'interesting discovery' when they found a photo of him with a cigarette in his hand, and he explains how he doesn't hide his past substance abuse struggles from them
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Sunday with Tim Peake: ‘I’m a dreadful chef, but I can do a roast’
The astronaut reveals why he likes nothing more than a nice and relaxed down-to-earth day with the kidsWhat time do you get up? Whatever time my youngest comes bouncing into the room. He’s nine and has an uncanny ability to sleep in on school days and wake up early on weekends.What’s for breakfast? We’ll make pancakes with blueberries and raspberries. We’ve got a little pancake maker – it’s fun and our two boys like getting involved. Continue reading...
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Two-tone lips are double the fun | Funmi Fetto
Playful and chic, using two matching but different tones on your lips wil create an immediate talking pointFor well over a year, our lips, that vital means of expression, have been hidden under masks, and mainly glimpsed by others via Zoom. Now, they are making a comeback. So a playful take on lipstick wearing, as per Ashish SS21, feels apt. Wearing two different opaque, matte hues on the top and bottom lip will really make a statement. Too daunting? Try a more prudent sheer option. Or a touch of pink in the centre of a red. Whatever you choose, have fun. It’s a look that doesn’t take itself too seriously and, ultimately, relieves you of deciding which lipstick to wear that day.1. Valentino Beauty, Rosso Valentino Matte Lipstick £40, selfridges.com 2. Kjaer Weis Matte, Naturally Liquid Lipstick £27, contentbeautywellbeing.com 3. Pat McGrath Liquid Lust Lip £29, patmcgrath.com 4. Glossier Ultra Lip £14, glossier.com 5. Hourglass Velvet Story Lip Cream £35, spacenk.com Continue reading...
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The grounded backpackers filling their gap years with volunteering
With foreign travel tricky this summer, some people are make a difference closer to home, be it building chicken coops or trekking with llamasDjembe Askins had planned to be very far from home this summer, travelling around south-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Then the pandemic hit. But rather than completely abandon his gap year-style trip, the 24-year-old decided to transplant it to the UK.Askins, who left his job at a bank in London, has spent the past nine months volunteering at farms, mostly in Wales, through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (Wwoof), a network where people volunteer for four to six hours a day in return for food and accommodation. Although the weather was “a bit wetter and not as sunny” as his original destinations, he found the experience of living in a different part of the UK and learning how to be “self-sustaining” a revelation. “It does make me think about what else there is across the UK that I’ve never even been to.” Continue reading...
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The Observer view on China’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong | Observer editorial
Western leaders must stand up against Beijing’s assault on democractic freedoms and demand the release of imprisoned journalistsChina did not wait long to demonstrate its contempt for last weekend’s criticism by G7 countries of human rights abuses in Hong Kong. By ordering the arrest of the editor-in-chief and four senior executives of the Apple Daily newspaper for allegedly conspiring with “foreign forces”, Xi Jinping and the Communist party sent a crude message of defiance to the west.That China’s president and his Beijing apparatchiks were responsible for this provocatively timed injustice is not in serious doubt. Hong Kong’s 2019-20 pro-democracy protests, which Apple Daily supported, shook the CCP’s power monopoly and amour propre in ways not seen since Tiananmen Square. It has been punishing the ex-British colony ever since. Continue reading...
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Cesc Fabregas provides blunt assessment of Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara
The Liverpool midfielder is currently playing for Spain at Euro 2020, though Luis Enrique's side are at serious risk of crashing out of the tournament unless they defeat Slovakia
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Australia accused of 'excessive and unnecessary' secrecy
Australia is increasingly suppressing information seen as pivotal to a free and open media
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British judges may no longer be “bound” by ECHR rulings amid major judicial review
BRITISH JUDGES may soon no longer be "bound" by European Court of Human Rights rulings amid a major review of the UK's judicial system.
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Life-threatening flash flooding rises in Claudette's path
Forecasters warned of life-threatening flash flooding in parts of the Deep South, particularly across central Alabama, as Tropical Depression Claudette traveled over coastal states
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Catastrophe stalks Afghanistan as the US and UK dash for the exit
Little has been achieved in 20 years of war, and as the Taliban regroup, ordinary Afghans brace for an uncertain futureMilitary retreats from Afghanistan are problematic, as the British (1842) and the Red Army (1989) discovered to their cost. The cliffs of the Khyber Pass feature many memorials and plaques to departing or defeated foreign forces. The 2021 Afghan withdrawal is less fraught – the US is not yet retreating under fire. But the march to the exit has nonetheless turned into an undignified sprint.Most Americans will welcome this accelerated end to an unpopular war. Yet it spells catastrophe for Afghans who pinned their hopes and their country’s future on western support in fighting Taliban and Islamist terrorism and who believed the nation-building promises made by George W Bush and others. Continue reading...
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Midsummer in Denmark is a time of wild abandon
With the sun staying in the sky until late, nature steps up a gear in the northern climesMidsummer is a big deal in Denmark. There are bonfires on the beaches and in many people’s gardens. Fireworks. The works. The Scandi sun is now rising before 4.30am and setting nudging 10pm. More than 17 hours of sunlight, clouds willing.Farmers here are in their fields much of that time. Making hay for fodder, tending barley, wheat and livestock. Verges are encouraged to flower. A percentage of farmland has by law to be left wild. Hundreds of buttercups compete with thousands of daisies. Poppies are in abundance. Wild blue-eyed chicory colours the roadside. Continue reading...
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UN office says Sri Lanka ship fire causes significant damage
The U.N. representative in Sri Lanka says the sinking of a container ship that caught fire while transporting chemicals off the capital Colombo has caused a significant damage to the planet by releasing hazardous substances into the ecosystem
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Head of Independent Sage to launch international climate change group
Sir David King hopes to emulate success of British Covid advisory body by issuing monthly reports on environmental crisisSeveral of the world’s leading scientists plan to launch an independent expert group this week to advise, warn and criticise global policymakers about the climate and nature crises.The new body has been inspired by Independent Sage – the cluster of British scientists who have held UK ministers and civil servants to account for their lack of transparency and mishandling of the Covid pandemic. Continue reading...
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UK inflation could soar above 4% this year, thinktank warns
Resolution Foundation’s forecast prompts new concerns about household budgets as planned cut in universal credit loomsThe government should prepare for a jump in inflation this year that will eat into household living standards and force more low-income families into poverty, according to the Resolution Foundation.Inflation is on course to rise above 4% in the next few months as the economy opens up and consumers begin to spend some of the savings they have built up over the past 16 months, the thinktank says. Rising prices will squeeze average household incomes by £700 by the start of next year with low-income families among the worst affected, it forecasts. Continue reading...
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Five construction workers die in Belgium school collapse
Nine other people were injured when the Antwerp school, which was still under construction, collapsedFive building workers have been confirmed dead after a school construction site partially collapsed in the Belgian city of Antwerp.The last two bodies were pulled out the rubble on Saturday afternoon, Antwerp’s fire department said, meaning that all the missing victims were now accounted for. Continue reading...
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My sex life has dropped off. Is my marriage at risk?
How often you have sex is not what counts, what really matters is the attention that you pay to each otherThe question I have been with my husband for 10 years. We have two children and are very happy and enjoy being together. But one area does bother me: our sex life has dwindled, particularly since we had children. We used to have sex daily and it was great. But, as time went on and our children arrived, I find that we’re just too tired to have sex as often.Our first child was born prematurely and spent time in neonatal intensive care. We both found that difficult and I think that I am still traumatised by it. My husband says it’s the past and that we should not dwell on that trauma. He’s right, but I can’t seem to help it. Continue reading...
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Unexpected wines from well-known producers | David Williams
Regions and growers often become associated with certain wines, but be sure not to overlook some of the great bottles they make on the sideLoxarel Cora Blanco, Penedès, Spain 2019 (from £13.95, buonvino.co.uk; lescaves.co.uk) Wine regions tend to get type cast after a while. None more so than Champagne, perhaps, which has been synonymous with sparkling wine since the technology for making bottle-fermented fizz became established in the Marne Valley in the 18th century. Before that, though, pale red wines were the region’s thing and, even as bubbles took over, they never went away entirely. Today the wines, labelled Coteaux Champenois, are enjoying a modest revival, as rising temperatures bring more warm vintages capable of ripening pinot noir grapes, and the best from growers such as Egry-Ouriet and Gonet-Medeville, are as good (and expensive) as their equivalents down the road in Burgundy. Similar things are going on in Penedès, the Catalan home of most cava and other Spanish sparkling answers to champagne, where producers such as Recaredo (in their Celler Credo guise) and Loxarel (in wines such as the fragrant, tropical-scented Cora Blanco) are dab hands with distinctive still white wines.Quinta do Noval Cerdo do Noval Tinto, Douro, Portugal 2018 (£19.99, tanners-wines.co.uk; nysawine.co.uk) It’s not just fizz regions and producers who get known for one thing. I got started on this train of thought by a handful of samples sent to me by Axa Millésimes, a stable of wine estates owned by a subsidiary of the French insurance group, Axa. Clinically corporate as that may sound, the group actually does a sensitive, fastidious job with its estates, with each maintaining a separate identity and specialism: from the regal, lusciously sweet Tokaji whites of Disznókő in Hungary, to the fine claret of top Bordeaux estate, Château Pichon-Longueville. But my favourite of the samples I tried this time around were examples of estates breaking out of their established role. Château Suduiraut, for example, is known for being one of the very best producers in the Bordeaux sweet-wine district of Sauternes. But its Suduiraut Blanc Sec 2020 (£19.50, cambridgewine.com – they currently have the 2019, but will moving on to the 2020 very soon) is a nervy, luminously bright, verdant and citrussy example of dry Bordeaux white; while Port estate Quinta do Noval’s Cerdo do Noval Tinto is slick and deep with perfectly ripe, succulent brambly fruit. Continue reading...
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Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, London: ‘Represents all the good things’ – restaurant review
All restaurants tell a story, but the tale behind Imad’s has twists and turns like few othersImad’s Syrian, Kitchen, Top floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London W1B 5PW (020 7434 2448). Small plates £5.50-£8, large plates £9-£15, desserts £5-£6, wine from £26 a bottleWith some restaurants, it’s all about the story. Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is one of them. Imad Alarnab, a round-shouldered man with the sort of soft smile that tells you everything is going to be OK, was a successful chef and restaurateur in Damascus. He ran three restaurants in the city alongside cafés and juice bars. It took just six days at the height of the Syrian war for them all to be destroyed. In 2015, he left to find a better life for his family. He would send for them later. He made his way to Calais where, for 64 days, he slept on the steps of a church. During the day he cooked for fellow refugees, up to 400 of them at a time. Continue reading...
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Hear the people sing! Musicals are back – and they’re retuned for a new generation
We all had our ways to cope with isolation. For me, it was music from Evita, Hamilton, and more. Now as UK venues reopen, a flood of diverse, fresh shows and revivals are due on stage and screenHamilton was the perfect peppy soundtrack to a gloomy mid-February weekend spent painting the hall, Evita injected drama into wet Tuesdays, Jesus Christ Superstar became a balm in anxious times, and walks around wintry Hackney marshes were spent with Willy Russell’s ill-fated Blood Brothers.In a discombobulating, locked-down year when, if you were very lucky, days melded into one, musical soundtracks conjured harmonious, air-punching highs and fictional, finite lows. They felt cathartic and comforting. Continue reading...
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The Observer view on the Tory byelection defeat in Chesham and Amersham | Observer editorial
The Lib Dem victory shows that voters are finally seeing through the lack of substance behind Boris Johnson’s appealThe resounding Conservative defeat in last week’s byelection in Chesham and Amersham should ring alarm bells for Boris Johnson. There are many ways to dismiss this result as an anomaly: opposition to HS2 and planning reforms; a strong local campaign by the Liberal Democrats; a lacklustre Tory candidate. All of these were factors, but this huge swing against a government that won an overwhelming majority just 18 months ago – in one of its heartland seats – hints at the electoral consequences of substituting empty rhetoric and divisive culture wars for competent governance in a national crisis. It suggests that Johnson’s appeal may not be as universal as his backers believe.The byelection result is further evidence of the long-term realignment in English politics. Just as Labour has been losing support among alienated Leave voters in its heartland seats, last month’s local election results highlight how the Conservatives are losing support among working-age graduates, many of whom voted Remain, in what were traditionally Conservative strongholds in affluent areas of London and the south-east. This has become more noticeable since the 2019 election, when many socially liberal Conservative voters who backed Remain supported Boris Johnson because they could not countenance the idea of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister and, despite their pro-European sentiments, just wanted to see Brexit done. Continue reading...
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Father’s Day quotes, images and messages to send your dad today
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and paternal figures out there.
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Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt at 25: a glamorous, gritty portrait of unrelenting grind
As a new five-part podcast series charts the rise of Mr Carter and his debut album itself celebrates a milestone birthday, Yemi Abiade explains how a hustler’s mentality and community spirit propelled the New York rapper to hip-hop’s top table
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The best of Pat McGrath Labs: Our top picks from the cult make-up line
Pat McGrath’s beauty brand is a unique take on the luxury make-up landscape
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PSG boss Pochettino ready to hijack Arsenal's main transfer this month
Arsenal will want to bolster their squad for the 21/22 campaign after a hugely disappointing season under Mikel Arteta who is said to have financial backing from bosses
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Man United can't give Pogba his France role without affecting Fernandes
Paul Pogba has been excellent for France in the European Championship but it's difficult to give him the same role at Man Utd.
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Strictly Come Dancing's Neil Jones 'enjoyed string of dates with Mexican model'
The dance professional grew close to a model while working in Mexico, where he was directing a music video. The pair have reportedly vowed to keep in touch after enjoying dates together.
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Liverpool eye potential Salah replacement and join White chase
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be looking to fine-tune his squad ahead of a Premier League title challenge next season after a trophyless campaign at Anfield
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Washout Father's Day as inches of rain fall and summer is 'placed on pause'
The Met Office has offered a wet outlook for Sunday and then further showers and colder expected as the week continues. Forecasters have said that summer is now on hold after the recent sunny weather
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15 months later, Radio City reopens with Dave Chappelle
Fifteen months after shuttering for the pandemic, New York’s Radio City Music Hall reopened its doors Saturday for the Tribeca Festival premiere of a new Dave Chappelle documentary
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Hakimi left 'confused' as Chelsea backed to make Ramos move
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will be keen to make his mark on his squad in what could be a busy summer transfer window for the Blues
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AP PHOTOS: Tibet tourism boom pressures historic sites
Tourism is booming in Tibet as more Chinese travel in-country because of the coronavirus pandemic, posing risks to the region’s fragile environment and historic sites.
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‘Forces for good will prevail’: Joy in Taiwan as US sends 2.5m Covid vaccine doses
The US donation has more than doubled Taiwan’s available vaccine stocks as it battles a rise in coronavirus infectionsSee all our coronavirus coverageTaiwan has reacted with an outpouring of thanks to the United States for shipping 2.5m Covid-19 vaccine doses to the island, more than doubling its arsenal as it deals with a rise in domestic infections.Washington, competing with Beijing to deepen geopolitical clout through “vaccine diplomacy”, initially had promised to donate 750,000 doses but increased that number as President Joe Biden’s administration advances its pledge to send 80m US-made shots around the world. Continue reading...
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Armenia votes in election triggered by war defeat
Armenians are voting in a national election after months of tensions over last year’s defeat in fighting against Azerbaijan over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh
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Man City's Jack Grealish transfer plan - and what's holding up the deal
Manchester City will look to defend their Premier League title in the 21/22 campaign and they will want to find a replacement for Sergio Aguero in the transfer window
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Brothers set record crossing large gap in park on a highline
Two brothers from San Francisco say they have set a record for the longest highline ever walked in both Yosemite National Park and California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports
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Caroline Crouch 'died in extreme distress' as she was 'smothered' by husband
The British mum's smartwatch showed how her pulse suddenly raced by 50 percent, a Greek doctor reportedly said, as she was murdered by Babis Anagnostopoulos in Athens
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Milwaukee Bucks down Brooklyn Nets in overtime to advance in NBA Playoffs
The side will go on to face either Atlanta or Philadelphia.
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Over The Rainbow: LGBTQ Stars Share Their Favourite Pride Memories
For Pride Month 2021, we’re speaking to different LGBTQ celebrities about their favourite Pride memories, and the queer cinema, music and TV moments that have most resonated with them.Click through below to read interviews from our series Over The Rainbow. 
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For Those Who Lost Someone To Covid, There Is No 'Returning To Normal'
Pamela Addison didn’t expect to cry as much as she did when she got her second vaccine a few months back. But then she thought of her husband, Martin, a speech and language pathologist who happened to work at the vaccination site she had gone to, St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey.Martin died at age 44 in April 2020 from Covid-19, leaving behind Addison, a 2-year-old daughter and an infant son. His wife said he was a hopeless romantic, a Brit who loved Liverpool Football Club and an exceptional father who had a lot more parenting in him. “Getting my vaccine, I thought about how he would have been one of the first to get his had he not caught Covid,” Addison told HuffPost.“I was standing in line to register for my second dose and I looked to my left and there was a plaque with his name and a butterfly on the wall to remember those hospital workers who passed in 2020,” she said. “The moment I saw that plaque, I started to cry and didn’t stop until I left the hospital fully vaccinated.”The heightened mixed emotions Addison felt that day ― fortunate and happy to be vaccinated but heartbroken over her recent loss ― is a common feeling for many who’ve lost someone to Covid-19. My life will never be ‘normal’ again because I have lost the person I planned to grow old with.Pamela AddisonEveryone else seems to be rushing to get back to “normal”: back to normal at the office, back to summer travel plans, back to wedding season, back to sporting events and the beach, back to simply enjoying life again, without fear of the virus. But for many of those who are in mourning, there’s a general feeling that the country has still not done enough to acknowledge the loss we’ve experienced due to the pandemic.For them, there’s no “normal” to return to.“It’s definitely difficult to see people go back to regular life,” Addison said. “My kids will never get the chance to do normal things like go to sporting events with their papa, go on a vacation or spend another holiday with him. My life will never be ‘normal’ again because I have lost the person I planned to grow old with.”Without having experienced a loss like Addison’s, it’s easy to feel like the pandemic is essentially over. But it’s not over for the loved ones left behind.The virus still needs to be managed and monitored, but at best, it seems like concern over Covid-19 has melted away. At worst, it feels like widespread apathy and toxic individualism.For those left behind, it’s tremendously difficult to reconcile all of that with the unique kind of grief they’re still moving through, said Hope Edelman, a grief and loss coach and author of “Motherless Daughters” and “The Aftergrief.”“The cocoon in which they’ve existed this past year, and in which they had to grieve in partial or total isolation, may have begun to feel self-protective,” she said. “They may not be ready to celebrate or resume social activities right away, especially if their loss created a change in status, such as from spouse to widow.”Covid-era grief really doesn’t resemble grief as we’ve experienced it before, Edelman continued.“Losses over the past 15 months are coloured by memories of social isolation, hospital restrictions, and Zoom funerals, and we don’t know how that’s going to play out on a mass scale,” she said.Memorials, graduations and baby showers help us mentally and emotionally process change and transition in our lives. But because of Covid restrictions, funerals and mourning had to take place from a distance, or alone. Without those public rituals, moving through the pain and getting to the other side is a tall order, said Casey Swartz, a Pittsburgh-based counsellor who specialises in dealing with trauma.“When we can’t engage in those rituals, there’s a sense of derealisation ― feeling disconnected from the emotion, or the realness of the loss,” she said.“As we ease out of quarantine life and back into everyday life it can feel like you’re starting the grieving process over again. And in some ways you are,” Swartz added. “The reality of that person missing from everyday real life has begun.”  What Lifting Restrictions Means For Mourning“Getting back to normal” has been a surreal experience for Fiana Garza Tulip, a Brooklyn-based communications worker who lost her mother, Isabelle Papadimitriou, to Covid-19 on July 4, 2020.Papadimitriou was a 64-year old respiratory therapist with visions of retiring at 65 after nearly 30 years on the job. The frontline worker spent her last week  texting and calling her kids, reassuring them she was strong and that there was no need to worry about her.She even found time to send some Amazon packages their way. “After she died, we received a package with a pair of pink frilly sandals for Lua, my 9-month-old daughter,” Tulip said.“Everything happened so fast,” Tulip added. “I had visions of flying down to Texas to see her. I thought she’d be on a ventilator for a few weeks and then we’d have our mum back. I could then tell her I loved her and hug her so tight.”When Tulip hears President Joe Biden and others talk of “getting back to normal”  by July 4 ― the one-year anniversary of her mum’s passing ― she feels like she’s in some alternate universe. “I’m stuck in this cycle of misery and grief. I can’t even imagine what ‘normal’ is at this point,” she said.  Laura Jackson also feels immobilised by grief while the rest of the world seemingly moves on. She lost her husband, Charlie, a 50-year-old army vet “with a zest for life” in May 2020.“This time is bittersweet because I want life to be normal, but when you lose someone so precious to you to a virus that claims so many lives, you proceed with hesitation,” she said. “I’m fully vaccinated but I still wear my mask.”  Mostly, she just misses her partner. “I haven’t properly mourned my husband,” she said. “I am still struggling with the fact I couldn’t be there to hold his hand and say goodbye. My final touch and time with him was in full PPP equipment. I couldn’t feel his skin or kiss his face.”Jerri Vance of Princeton, West Virginia, lost her husband, James, a retired police officer, on Jan. 1 ― roughly one month before the couple were supposed to get their vaccine. Vance said her husband was the ultimate “girl dad,” ushering the couple’s two daughters to and from soccer practice, cross country meets and dance recitals. What bothers Vance most is how quick folks are to put this behind them and throw caution to the wind when it comes to the new strains of the virus.“I do feel like things suddenly started opening up really quickly and my children and myself are still very careful and scared of the virus,” she said. “I say that we have PTSD from Covid.”That’s understandable, given the outsized loss the family has experienced: Just 52 days after James died, the girls also lost their grandma to the virus.Vance wishes there was more empathy for families like hers right now. “I worry that 10 years from now, Covid will be a joke to everyone, but for the 600,000-plus families who lost a loved one, Covid will always be a trigger for us,” she said. “I’ll always be thinking about how the vaccine came a few months too late to save him.”Playing through the what-if scenarios is what Rezina Malik is currently struggling with. Malik lost her 75-year-old father, Khalifa, in February 2021, just as the vaccine was beginning to be rolled out in the UK where the family lives. “At the time, the news would demonstrate how Covid death rates were decreasing with all these snazzy graphs and numbers,” she said. “I hated it.”Malik and her mum both still feel guilt over what they could have done to further protect Khalifa. “My mother blames herself, ‘I should’ve taken better care of him. I shouldn’t have allowed anyone into the house. We shouldn’t have gone to Tesco’s to shop,’” Malik said.She often thinks about how much life he had to live. A study out of the University of Glasgow found that people with coronavirus are dying 10 years earlier than they would have naturally, disproving the notion that those who died were already nearing the end of their lives.  “Hearing that statement lands like a heavyweight punch in my gut,” Malik said.How We Can Acknowledge And Recognise Pandemic GriefKristin Urquiza lost her dad, Mark, in June 2020. A year later, she still feels like she’s in the thick of it sometimes. “When my dad first passed, I felt a combination of rolling grief and pure rage. I felt like there was a hurricane inside of me that could blow over buildings,” she said. “But even just yesterday, I found myself in a heap of tears on the ground saying, ‘When will I ever get to mourn?’” “The point we try to make is that as a society, we need to both celebrate the victories and mourn the losses,” Urquiza said. “I haven’t seen nearly enough on that latter front. We want people to take our grief seriously.”Because of the nature of the pandemic, there’s been few public displays of collective mourning. The candlelit vigils we’ve come to expect in the wake of national crises like 9/11 or the Boston marathon bombings have been eerily absent from this shared experience. To that end, Marked By Covid has organised more than 150 grassroots vigils and hosted online vigils that have been attended by thousands of people grieving.Therapists we spoke to said ritualising these losses in such a manner is important to the grief process. So, too, is finding an outlet to talk about the experience, whether it’s a good friend or clinical therapy. “There’s a saying in therapy that the mentionable becomes manageable, so talk with your friends and family about how you’re feeling if you’re going through this,” Swartz said. “Chances are they’re feeling similarly and would be relieved to hear you are, too.”There’s no timetable for how long grief lasts or how you should feel at any one stage, and that’s especially true with Covid losses, according to Edelman. “There’s no one-size-fits-all model, no ‘shoulds’ or ‘musts,’” she explained. “You get to choose what feels right for you. Anyone who tries to force your emotions into a preexisting model or police your responses simply doesn’t understand this.”The language used to talk about grief matters, too. Just as those impacted by Covid are sensitive to the framing of “get back to normal,” we should be careful about the verbiage we use to discuss the mourning process. “Let’s remember phrases like ‘moving on’ and ‘getting over it’ often make mourners think the ultimate goal is to leave their grief behind,” Edelman said. “We need to change the language to ‘moving on with’ rather than ‘moving on from.’ We carry grief forward, where it continues to flare up from time to time. That’s completely normal.”Related...Covid-19 Has 8 Key Strains. Here's What You Need To KnowI’ve Lost Friends Over Lockdown. And That’s OkayThis Mother's Day, We Mark A Year Of Missing Our Mums
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4 Things Stopping You Having More Orgasms – And What To Do About Them
Having an orgasm isn’t the be all and end all to great sex, but it certainly helps the good times flow.In a survey of 2,769 people, most of whom identified as female, 15% said they orgasm every time they have sex with a partner, 45% said most of the time, 27% said rarely, and 13% said they never orgasm. When discussing the barriers to orgasm, the top reasons flagged in the survey by Cosmopolitan UK were: the partner, body confidence, sex drive and mental health.Orgasms make us feel good. They’re pleasurable (obvs), but they can also boost our mood, relieve stress and help us feel close to our partners. While we shouldn’t be pressuring ourselves to have them all the time – after all, sex can still be amazing without – there are things that can be done to help break down those barriers to orgasm so every sexual encounter can feel more liberating.We asked a sexologist and sex therapist for their advice on overcoming some of the common barriers to orgasm you might face in the bedroom.If your partner is behind your orgasm strugglesCosmo’s survey revealed 39% say it’s a partner who’s stopping them having more orgasms. And there are many reasons why this might be the case. “It could be that they aren’t providing the correct stimulation the person needs, the person doesn’t feel safe with their partner, or they expect their partner to know what they like without ever saying what they like,” says Gigi Engle, a certified sexologist and author of All The F*cking Mistakes.Sex and relationships psychotherapist Miranda Christophers often speaks to women who feel under pressure from partners to orgasm, which isn’t conducive to a good time because you’re constantly thinking you need to achieve something – and the more you reach for it, the further it’ll shy away.“The partner wants to see that they’re really enjoying the sexual experience and while intentions may be good, this can put a lot of pressure on someone,” says Christophers. “Similarly, impatience in a partner can cause issues – most women find they need time to fully relax and ‘let go’. Comments such as, ‘Are you close yet?’ take people up into their head rather than being in their body with their mind totally connected with pleasure.” Comments such as, ‘Are you close yet?’ take people up into their head rather than being in their body with their mind totally connected with pleasure.Miranda Christophers, sex therapistAs with most things relating to relationships, the key to pushing past this is communication. This responsibility falls on both partners, who should be advocating for themselves and their partner’s pleasure in an empathetic way. “This creates an atmosphere of exploration rather than discomfort,” says Engle.If, for example, you’re worrying about your partner’s expectations in bed – and that’s scuppering your ability to orgasm – you need to talk about that. “It’s far more enjoyable and issues are less likely when people don’t feel there are expectations at all – from their partner or themselves,” says Christophers.If the difficulty achieving orgasm is related to technique or approach, it’s helpful for partners to understand, so this can be adjusted. Instead of saying ‘this is what doesn’t work’, think about what might work or what you may like to try instead and focus on that. Don’t be afraid to put forward suggestions of how to switch things up, either. Whatever your preferences, chances are your partner will appreciate the heads up. “Stimulation preferences vary,” Christophers continues, “some prefer to stimulate themselves while others prefer a partner’s hand or oral sex. Some women prefer to use vibrators, orgasm with penetration (or without), before, after or at the same time as a partner, or prefer specific positions or rhythms”. If body confidence is getting in the wayIf there are specific areas of your body you’re not comfortable with, it might help to focus on the features of your body you like rather than things you don’t, adds Christophers. “Remind yourself that your sexual partner is attracted to you so they enjoy your body. I think it’s always important to remind ourselves that... we are far more critical of ourselves than anyone else will ever be.”Stand in front of the mirror and allow yourself to try and see what your partner sees. “If it helps, ask them, or a friend you trust, what they like about you, or feel are attractive attributes,” suggests the therapist.“Ultimately, if you can recognise your own great qualities... this will really help. Feeling sexy and confident as a sexual being has a lot to do with desire and arousal, so consider what makes you feel this way.”This could be what you wear, feeling fit and healthy, or being happy with your diet. For others, it might be more about the context when you’re having sex. Things that may help to improve confidence may be having music on, being in a particular place, mood lighting or enjoying some flirtation or chemistry first.If it’s about ‘sex drive’Low desire tends to result from the type of sex you’re having, says Engle. “Sex is not an innate human ‘drive’,” she says. “It is not like eating or sleeping. You won’t die without orgasms. The misnomer comes from the feelings we have when we’re sexually aroused – it feels like a animalistic hunger – but it isn’t.”There are two types of horniness, says the sexologist, and usually only hear about one: spontaneous desire. The other, responsive (or receptive) desire, is much more common, she says. “We need something to trigger that horniness, whether it’s an event, erotic imagery, a fantasy, a smell,” she explains. “Sexual desire is a bio-psycho-social event. For desire to occur, we need the right number of factors to be in play. Bio (our body) needs to be receptive to arousal; psycho (our mind) needs to be in a mindset that allows for desire; and the social aspects (the relationship with the person/s involved in the sexual encounter) need to be in place – we need to be with people we find attractive, feel safe with, who know how to please us sexually and so on.”Positive feelings around sex are key here. “Explore your own body, discover what feels good through self-exploration and self-pleasure,” says Christophers. “Allow yourself to think about turn-ons and understand what increases, decreases, peaks or interrupts desire and arousal for you.”It’s about educating, empowering and liberating yourself. And that might mean challenging yours – or your partner’s – views around sex. But it’ll be worth it.If mental health is a barrierMental health issues– as well as medicines taken for mental illness – can heavily impact on sexual desire, arousal and ability to orgasm. If this is the case for you, it’s important to be kind to yourself, says Christophers. “Communicate with your partner so they know how you’re feeling, and so they can understand it’s related to that, rather than anything they are/aren’t doing.”Once you’ve had that conversation, take the pressure off yourself. Don’t feel you have to orgasm – or have sex for that matter. Cosmo’s survey found 91% of respondents said sex can be good or pleasurable without an orgasm – and more than half (51%) said they feel satisfied if they don’t orgasm during sex.And if you do have sex, remember it’s not all about the destination, says Christophers. “Think of it as a journey to enjoy. If you’re having solo or partnered sex, let the focus be on relaxing, taking pressure off and touching for pleasure.”There are positive mental benefits to having sex – even without the orgasm – because of chemicals released during and after, and the sense of connection it can bring. “It’s worth remembering while orgasms are great, feeling good during and after sex is great, too,” adds Christophers. And if you’re really struggling, it might be worth seeking out a qualified sex therapist who specialises in anxiety and depression, or other mental health disorders, as they’ll be able to offer more specific help.Related...This Is The Key To Female Orgasm, Say Sex ExpertsYes, 'Masturbation Coach' Is A Job. 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