• Should You Wash Your Groceries? COVID-19 Food-Safety Myths, Busted
    Lifestyle
    Refinery 29 UK

    Should You Wash Your Groceries? COVID-19 Food-Safety Myths, Busted

    COVID-19 is changing the way we handle everything from work to play to fresh produce and other groceries. With so much uncertainty and anxiety in the air, it’s only natural to wonder whether that perfectly ripe avocado could be a potentially deadly weapon. But what are the actual facts around food safety? Is now a good time to go vegan, and do I really need to be washing my vegetables in soap and water?We consulted the experts. Some useful best practices and myth-busting below.  Do I need to wash fruit and vegetables with soap?The debate around giving your fruits and veggies a bubble bath blew up last week following a viral video in which a family doctor from Michigan said soap and water was a good way to keep veggies COVID-19 free, which sounds like it makes sense (treat your honeydew melon as you would your hands). Since then a whole bunch of experts have refuted this advice, many pointing out that of the 1-million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, not a single one has come from contaminated food. Still not convinced? Okay, there is also this from the FDA: “Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent, or commercial produce wash is not recommended.” Jodi Koberinski, a food safety researcher at the University of Waterloo, agrees, noting that dish soap is likely to cause more problems than it solves including nausea, diarrhoea, and cramping. “It is not made for and not safe for human consumption,” she explains. But what if I rinse everything really well?, you may be thinking. The problem is that fruits and vegetables are porous and may absorb harmful chemicals that won’t come out with even the most rigorous rinse. Okay, but isn’t a little diarrhoea better than contracting COVID-19? First off, nobody said anything about a little diarrhoea — you can get really sick, and so can your kids, if you have them. Secondly, that question is based on exactly the kind of false equivalency we need to be avoiding right now (along with bars, playgrounds, and IRL hangs). “Technically, it may be possible to contract COVID-19 from the surface of a piece of fruit,” says Koberinsk, noting that is not the threat that people should be focused on. And also that there’s no evidence that soap and water kills the COVID-19 virus on fruits and vegetables anyway. (Ditto for lemon juice, baking soda, and bleach — whatever you do, please don’t wash your edibles in Clorox.) In other words, contracting COVID-19 through produce isn’t something you need to stress about. So chill out. And then do the same for your produce, washing them in cold (wan-wan) water, which will remove between 90% and 99% of germs and bacteria. For items with tough skin (avocados, potatoes) you can also use a scrub brush. It’s okay to wash that with soap. Same goes for your hands before and after you handle food of any kind.  Should I quarantine my groceries before I bring them inside? This one is a little more straight forward: No, there is absolutely no reason to leave groceries outside or in the garage or the car, despite what you may have read on that fountain of misinformation known as the Internet. “This is absolutely not a good idea,” says Koberinski. And, in fact, the potential risks of ignoring best practices around refrigeration (ie, putting things that need to be in the fridge in the fridge) make this behaviour not just excessive but dangerous. “It’s really important to remember basic food safety,” says Koberinski. “Both because best practices haven’t actually changed much. And also because any kind of sickness may weaken the body’s ability to withstand a truly virulent illness.” (Cough, cough, COVID-19.)  By all means, she says, bring groceries inside when you come home from the store. Place your bags and do your unloading on a surface that you can wipe down — with any alcohol-based cleaning spray — once everything has been put away.  Should I disinfect all the grocery packaging too? Paranoia around packaging spiked last month after a new study showed that the COVID-19 virus can survive longer on certain surfaces (24-hours on cardboard, up to three days on plastic and stainless steel). So you can go to the hypothetical scenario where an infected grocery shopper has contaminated your box of Cheerios, and use this as justification for sanitising every bit of packaging that passes your threshold. Or, you can simplify by washing your hands and surfaces before and after all eating. If that doesn’t feel like enough, Koberinski suggests discarding packages rather than disinfecting. A lot of groceries (like cereal and crackers) have a bag within the box. Others can be stored in homemade jars of Tupperware. That way you’re feeling protected without wasting valuable cleaning products, which is probably the more relevant safety concern, Koberinski says.  What about using a UV light to kill the virus on groceries? That wouldn’t waste cleaning products. UV lights don’t work, either. In short, because the level of UV required to kill COVID-19 is extremely unsafe.   Is now a good time to go vegetarian? I’ve heard meat holds particular threats.There are plenty of reasons to consider a plant-based diet, but COVID-19 safety is not one of them. Particular worries around meat may come from the fact that the virus is believed to have originated with animals. But as far as food safety goes, that has zero baring. “Heating meat to the recommended temperature is the recommendation, same as always,” says Koberinski. What about reheating takeout just to make sure it’s coronavirus-free? Obviously you want to be careful about all food that is coming into your home, and if you don’t feel secure about food safety practices of a particular restaurant maybe just stick to home cooking, since repeated reheating isn’t safe either.  Is there a problem with being extra cautious?If by that you mean upping safety measures, and erring on the side of caution, then no. Obviously people have every reason to feel scared and since the grocery store is pretty much the only place anyone’s allowed to go these days (as infrequently as possible), concerns around food safety are something we’re all talking about. That’s a good thing, and if COVID-19 gets us to think more seriously about food safety in the long term, that’s good too, says Koberinski. At the same time, she says, “We don’t want everyone turning into a cartoon version of a germaphobe or shelling out big bucks for bogus miracle cures.” Safety is important, but so are the facts. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?12 Coronavirus Myths, Debunked By ScienceEvery Celebrity Diagnosed With The CoronavirusI’m Not Giving Up On L.A.’s Homeless

  • Exactly How To Start Running, According To An Expert
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    Exactly How To Start Running, According To An Expert

    So you want to start running. On the one hand, it seems so simple. All you need is a pair of trainers and some running leggings, and you’re good to go. But on the other hand, getting started can be surprisingly daunting. That’s where we come in.There’s no one set plan or training program that works for every single runner; it is, by nature, an individualistic sport, says Sean Fortune, the owner and founder of Central Park Coaching. But there are a few simple guidelines that can help can any new or returning runner get into the swing of things. Here, Fortune’s top tips. Start by stretchingBefore heading out on a run, it’s best to do some dynamic stretches to loosen up your legs, Fortune explains. “I have all my runners do a minimum of 10 leg swings front to back on each side, and then 10 leg swings side to side.”Fortune says that dynamic stretches like these will help with long-term mobility, and that plays a role in helping to keep you injury-free. Run, then walk Run for one to five minutes, then walk for as long as you want, suggests Fortune. Repeat three to five times. “During the walking interval, take as much time as needed, recovering both physically and mentally, before you start the next run segment,” says Fortune. The mental recovery is key. Running, at first, is hard! It’s tough to find a sustainable pace, and you can feel achy, off-rhythm, and out of breath. All of that will get easier over time — but only if you don’t quit entirely. Knowing you only have to keep up a job for a finite number of minutes before you get a break is motivating. And don’t worry. Since you’re moving the whole time, you’re still building up cardiorespiratory endurance, despite the walking intervals. Start running slowlyThere’s no need to set off sprinting as soon as your feet hit the pavement. “The biggest mistake beginner runners make is running too fast from the outset,” says Fortune. He says purposely going slow and easing into it is better for you, and your body. And he really means “go slow.” Like, slower than you think. You shouldn’t be gasping for breath. You might even be thinking, “This is too easy!” You can always ramp up the speed on the next interval; whereas if you gas yourself right off the bat, it’s harder to recover. Set a running schedulePlanning out your runs ahead of time helps ensure you’ll stick to them. But Fortune recommends taking a conservative approach at the start, to “allow the body to safely absorb the stress of running and avoid mental burnout.”He suggests beginning by running one to two days in a row, then taking one day off. “If you’re completely new to running, I’d advise not to go more than three runs without a day off,” he explains. “Being smart now with your running will pay off down the road with being able to do more while keeping you healthy.” Take time to recover“Make the recovery portion of your running just as important as the running portion of your running,” stresses Fortune. After all, your muscles actually get stronger when you’re resting, not when you’re moving them. So while you’re starting out, prioritise getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and listening to your body. Post-run stretches are important, too, and you might want to invest in a foam roller, a yoga strap for stretches, and an ice pack to help you with recovery. Set goals for yourselfBeing super-clear about what your end goal is gives you something concrete to work toward, which is motivating. Maybe one day you want to run an entire marathon or maybe you just want to be able to make it around your block once without huffing and puffing.When Fortune’s wife first started running, for instance, she set a goal of completing a 10k. “It’s a goal that seems challenging to her, something she’s never done before, but also something she aspires to do and can actually visualise herself doing,” he says. “That’s the kind of realistic goal a beginner runner should look for.” Stay committed“The most important thing when starting a running regime is establishing consistency,” says Fortune. “This will be the hardest challenge to making it stick.”Of course there will be days where you just don’t feel like getting up off your couch and going for a run — we’ve all been there — but consistency is key. “What helps me on those days is just taking one step at a time,” says Fortune. “I change into my running clothes. I put my shoes on. I get out the door. I put on music. By that time, I usually can’t not start running.”If you find that you’re still feeling bleh once you get out the door, slow down to a walk. Even if you never pick up the pace, at least you’re covering some distance. When you’re done, you’ll feel more accomplished than if you’d stayed on the couch.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Only Running Playlist You'll Need This YearIs It Safe To Run Outside During Coronavirus?The Best Apps For Beginner Runners

  • The Psychology Of Wearing Makeup When No Can See You
    Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    The Psychology Of Wearing Makeup When No Can See You

    Every weekday, Allyson Fisher, a home product developer for Neiman Marcus, religiously engages in her 10-minute makeup routine before starting work. But instead of commuting the 25-odd minutes to the company’s corporate offices in downtown Dallas, Fisher walks a few steps and logs on from her dining room table. It’s part of her new normal during COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates.An incredible amount has changed in the two short weeks since Fisher started working from home, but her makeup look has remained pretty consistent — even if no one will see her that day. “I like a morning routine and this was already a factor in mine, so I kept it up,” she says. “I’m not doing foundation, but a bit of concealer, a swipe of bronzer, and mascara, always. It makes me feel set to take on the day.”The idea that women put on makeup for the consumption of others — particularly men — retired a long time ago. But the notion of wearing makeup for ourselves sharpens when our face is the only one we’ll see that day. During a global crisis, it might even feel a bit trivial to pull out your makeup bag and go to town on bronzer. But experts say it can actually make a huge difference in navigating these unpredictable and overwhelming circumstances. “I tell my patients to put lipstick on in the morning if they’re having trouble separating home and work life,” says Samantha Boardman, MD, a clinical instructor in psychiatry and assistant attending psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College. “It can [help] to separate your weekend self from your work self by presenting differently.” Studies have shown that wearing makeup while test taking can lead to higher scores — so it makes sense that wearing makeup can help boost productivity for some. “I like to practice similar getting-ready processes as if I was going into work. That helps me treat the day like a work day versus the weekend, during which I’m rarely ever in makeup,” agrees Fisher. “It keeps me on routine and gives me some normalcy in a very abnormal time. It’s also amazing what a little eyeliner can do for your general attitude.”> View this post on Instagram> > All we can do is try to live in the moment. If you need something to do watch the stories for this easy look! You can wear it to your kitchen or to clean up the living room. I hope everyone is okay. One day at a time! What other content would you like to see? Comment below. Sending love and be safe out there. ❤️ jamiemakeup> > A post shared by Jamie Greenberg (@jamiemakeup) on Mar 20, 2020 at 3:41pm PDTOf course, not everyone affected by COVID-19 social distancing measures is fortunate enough to recreate their nine-to-five in a makeshift home office. Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, who works with stars like Kaley Cuoco and Rashida Jones, is one of many beauty professionals who are currently out of a day job. Still, she’s created her own morning routine: feeding her kids, going for a run, showering, then lighting a salt lamp, putting on music, and doing her hair and makeup. It not only helps her feel ready for the day, but it also serves as a mood elevator. “I noticed on the weekend, I wasn’t as active and I was a little more sad and frustrated and definitely had some crying moments,” she says. “But I’m a firm believer that in the eye of scary shit, you have to remove yourself and laugh because there’s nothing you can do if you sit around and let it completely cripple you.” Meditative Makeup SessionsIt’s not just Greenberg who has taken to her makeup drawer for a serotonin hit while self isolating. The beauty pro of 14 years, who has used this time to post tutorials on Instagram and launch The Make Down podcast with hairstylist Christine Symonds, has seen a significant spike in engagement around makeup-driven content — and people are clamouring for more. “I’ve gotten so many lovely emails from people saying, ‘Thank you. This is what I needed today. Please don’t stop doing this,’” she says. “When you’re in a catastrophe and in real trauma, you have to take everything day by day and you have to try to have purpose that day. People are asking for it, and I think it’s helping people and that feels good.”It can feel a little weird turning to makeup or other ordinary tasks (like making your bed or completing a puzzle) to calm the spirit. But as Dr. Boardman notes, it’s the tactile nature of creating a look — and the total concentration it takes — that can create a sense of centredness in ways that hitting “next episode” on Tiger King won’t. “Because we’re constantly interrupted by dings and pings, especially right now, we have fewer and fewer moments of flow in our daily lives,” says Dr. Boardman. “So when we can have these calm moments, when all of our intention is being directed into one area, and when we are using our hands, there’s something beautiful about the level of attention you’re bringing to something that makes you feel strong and good.”Beyond the practical reasons for creating a productive work environment, mastering a technique, or completing a relaxing activity, there is still a deeper driver to get all done up with nowhere to go, according to Tara Well, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Barnard College. Well, whose research and client work focuses on using mirrors and reflections to build self awareness and emotional resilience, cites this unique time of shelter-in-place as an opportunity to delve inward and heighten self awareness. For some, she says, the ritual of putting on makeup can be the perfect starting point.> Try to look in your own eyes in the mirror and recognise, ‘I’m here, I’m relaxed, I’m calm, I’m okay.’> > Tara Well, associate professor of Psychology at Barnard college“This juncture is a really great opportunity for people to confront themselves in new ways than they had before, when their attention was always outwardly focused. Instead of thinking, ‘How do I look to other people?’ You can bring attention back to yourself,” she says. To start, Dr. Well suggests trying a few practices she typically gives her private patients. “Try to look in your own eyes in the mirror and recognise, ‘I’m here, I’m relaxed, I’m calm, I’m okay,’” she says. Taking a few moments to look deeply into your own eyes while doing your makeup (and past whether your brows are even) might feel strange at first. But according to Greenberg, who has incorporated this ritual into her own routine, it can be incredibly reassuring.“For me, I relate it back to mental health,” Greenberg says. “We’re so used to doing our makeup in a rush that we don’t even pay attention to ourselves. We don’t look ourselves in the eye. So this is a great time to slow down and connect with yourself. If you look at doing makeup while in isolation as a daily meditation, it can be a really pretty thing.” Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?5 Parisian Makeup Trends You'll Want To Try NowDoes Your Skin Purge When You Stop Wearing Makeup?Why I Let My Young Daughters Play With Makeup

  • The £30 gadget you need to make your TV a smart TV
    Entertainment
    Yahoo Style UK

    The £30 gadget you need to make your TV a smart TV

    Looking to stream live TV, films and YouTube on your TV, this affordable gadget is a household essential.

  • I Love Being Single, So Why Am I Desperate For A Coronavirus Boyfriend?
    Celebrity
    Refinery 29 UK

    I Love Being Single, So Why Am I Desperate For A Coronavirus Boyfriend?

    It was only day two of being quarantined alone in my Lower East Side apartment when I got a text from Ethan, a guy I had been on a couple of dates with. We had great conversation and mind-blowing sex, and conveniently lived within a two-block radius of one another. But between work and travel, a month went by without seeing each other, so I figured things just fizzled out. I was a little confused by this because we obviously clicked — but I wasn’t too concerned, because in all seriousness, I wasn’t looking for commitment. As a content creator, I’ve built a brand as “The Queen of Confidence,” based around unapologetically loving yourself and not giving a f*ck what people think. I’m very vocal about being happily single and frequently remind my young female audience on Instagram that being alone doesn’t equate to being lonely. We are indoctrinated from a very young age through the media we consume (what’s good Cinderella?) that in order to live happily ever after we must find our Prince Charming. I fell victim to that sentiment as a young girl and struggled a lot with my self-esteem through college. It took years of therapy to break the cycle, and to eventually learn to find happiness and validation from myself and no one else. Some might argue I took this to an extreme, but as a 26-year-old trying to secure the bag, a relationship is just not in the cards for me.Until, that is, the coronavirus hit New York City. All of a sudden, people stopped shaking hands and hand sanitiser became a staple in my purse. The term “social distancing” entered the public consciousness. My roommate told me she would be spending time with her parents indefinitely, which left me alone in the apartment. At first this sounded fine. As an only child and now a freelancer, I love spending my days solo. But as the reality of the situation sunk it, I started to feel anxious… and I began craving a “corona boyfriend” to keep me company through quarantine. > My own desperation baffled me. Begging for a boyfriend? On camera? It was so not me. > > Serena KerriganTo be clear, a boyfriend and a “corona boyfriend” are two different things. I define the latter as someone who you wouldn’t date under normal circumstances, but who you like enough to hit up when you’re feeling a fit of quarantine-induced loneliness — when you need to cuddle, watch “Tiger King” on Netflix, drink red wine and honestly, just pass the time.But where would I find one? Reaching out to my ex boyfriends was absolutely not an option. And surely it was too late to find someone brand new. I approached the situation the same way I do when I want anything in life: I repeat it out loud for the world to hear. I vocalized my sudden desire for a “corona boyfriend’ on my new daily Instagram Live show Quarantinis with SFK and asked my followers to send me photos of their coronaboyfriends. I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one feeling anxious about not having a partner with whom to weather this storm. My followers and friends commiserated with me, explaining how they found themselves reaching out to toxic exes, having phone sex with old flames, and engaging in FaceTime dates on Bumble. Many of my friends have been single for a long time without any panic, so why were they craving this intimacy now? My own desperation baffled me. Begging for a boyfriend? On camera? It was so not me. But as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.I spoke with a clinical psychologist Helen Resnick, PhD, who explained that my anxiety was completely normal and expected. It comes down to the three C’s: control, connectedness, and competency. These are fundamental elements of mental health in humans, and the quarantine heavily impacts all three. The entire pandemic — its sudden descent, the way it’s changed our routines — shakes our sense of control. Social distancing takes away our connectedness. While technology and social media gives us the ability to connect verbally, we lose physical touch. And like primates, humans have an evolutionary need to connect. Finally, we can’t do what we usually do to feel competent, effective, and instrumental in our own lives: We can’t plan, focus, or manage our emotions. All that means that being quarantined results in higher levels of stress hormones, adrenaline, and anxiety, Dr Resnick says. So it’s no surprise that we are finding creative ways to seek the three Cs in efforts to soothe our anxieties. We are rearranging our closets and DIY-ing our outgrown roots in an effort to regain control. We are attending virtual workout classes and meetings on Zoom to feel competent. And most of all, we are constantly on our phones, seeking intimacy to feel connected — or, in my case, a corona boyfriend. Two days after my outcry, the universe heard me and I received the text from Ethan. He asked me to grab dinner, but restaurants had just closed, so I invited him over to my apartment for wine, a movie, and a snuggle session. I would consider this far too intimate to do with someone I’ve only been on a couple of dates with, but was left with no other option. When he arrived, I flaunted my cosy set-up, my kitchen-turned-bodega, and the absence of my roommate as a way to lure him into what could be an amazing quarantine relationship. I even hinted at the fact that my birthday was rapidly approaching and I was anxious about spending it alone. When we had sex I found myself saying out loud, “Wow, it just feels so good to be touched.” Not having hugged or touched anyone in days, I was unaware how much I was craving a physical connection. It felt euphoric (and not just because I orgasmed). The following morning Ethan went back to his apartment and there I was… all alone again. Who the fuck did I become? Since when did I become co-dependent and needy? Regardless, I was triumphant! I wished for a corona boyfriend and received one immediately. Easy there, tiger. He texted me to invite himself over later in the week saying, “We could have dinner and quarantine together.” It sounded like the commitment I wanted, but after hearing New York City would be forced to “Shelter In Place,” I began to second-guess my big idea. Did this mean we just went from a handful of dates to full-blown living together? Would I have to share a bathroom with him? Practice my TikTok dances in front of him? When all of this ends, will the relationship dissolve, or am I expected to date him post-pandemic? All of a sudden, this became way too serious, way too fast. As the days passed by, though, my fear of commitment subsided and I couldn’t wait to see him. I spent the day fantasizing about all the indoor activities we could do together. And then the worst possible thing imaginable happened: He cancelled because he started to feel flu-like symptoms. Oh my god. Did my corona boyfriend get corona? I sat there in my apartment and I couldn’t help but cry — out of fear for his well-being, but also because I didn’t recognise myself. I felt so isolated and lonely. I had I become so attached to someone I had only been on two dates with. Where was the fierce independence I had fostered? And yet… The following morning, when someone asked me if I wanted to go on a blind date on Instagram Live, I said yes. Seven hundred of my followers and friends tuned in to watch me cover my eyes with a blindfold and go virtual date a stranger. (Think: “Love Is Blind” without the pods.) The experience was electrifying… But the date was horrible. When I expressed I didn’t want to move forward, the guy blew up at me, screaming, “I’m a doctor! You don’t want to be with a doctor?” I kept my cool and laughed off the toxic masculinity jumping through the screen. I couldn’t believe I signed up for a pseudo-reality dating show, but we’re living in a crazy time.> There will be many more divorces and many more marriages. A catastrophe wakes people up and forces them to move to the next stage of their life.> > Helen Fisher, PhDI’m not the only one who’s embracing the feeling that we have nothing to lose. Take John, 32, a Senior Director of development at MTV, who is single and currently quarantined with his family in New York. During a recent conversation, he told me a touch of corona-loneliness inspired him to agree to appear on Love Is Quarantine, an Instagram “dating service” that tries to imitate the Netflix show. John was set up on five 10-minute phone dates. He matched with a man who lives in Oregon and they’ve been texting ever since. John says that although he’s not sure he’ll ever meet his match after quarantine ends, dating someone virtually keeps things exciting and fun. “Just the act of texting and flirting is a really nice distraction from the craziness and the anxiety,” he admits.Despite the fact that panic levels are at an all time high, Helen Fisher, PhD, a cultural anthropologist, believes that this is actually a very positive time to start dating. That’s because during a catastrophe, people assess what they want and what they don’t have. “There will be many more divorces and many more marriages,” she predicts. “A catastrophe wakes people up and forces them to move to the next stage of their life. This is a result of the dopamine system, which rises with loneliness, anxiety, and fear, enabling you to focus on what you need now.” She said it’s a very good time to be single, because everyone is on the internet and more people than ever are using dating apps.Fisher firmly believes that dating during quarantine can lead to really successful relationships. For one, everyone has more time. Even if you are working at home, the logistics of picking a place to meet, travelling and scheduling are non-existent. Moreover, sex and money are off the table. The anxiety about splitting the bill or asking someone back to your apartment is absent. The date is stripped down to the most fundamental part of a relationship: communication. Making conversation is easier too. The novelty of the pandemic immediately gives you something to talk about, and you’re more likely to have a strong and intimate dialogue from the beginning. “No one has experienced something like this before, and everyone is impacted by it. This allows you to immediately empathise with someone and overlook things that may have been important to you in the past,” Fisher says. What’s more, the novelty of the current situation drives up the dopamine system in the brain. That same system what drives feelings of romantic love. “It’s a good time for love,” Fisher notes.But finding love with a romantic partner isn’t the only way to ease the quarantine jitters. In fact, Resnick says the best antidote is completely free. “Laughter is a connection to boosting the immune system, it increases the level of antibody producing cells in our body,” she says. Think about it: When you’re upset, you suck your breath in, when you laugh you exhale. Air comes out, which is much healthier. As my anxiety began to subside, I got to work and shifted my focus from myself to my audience, asking myself how I could connect to them during this scary time. I noticed that the more I leaned into my comedic side, the more receptive my audience was, and the happier I became. I created a daily live show on Instagram, a spin-off dating show on Fridays called “Let’s F*cking Date!” I committed to learning TikToks my teenage self would be enormously proud of and produced video content that spun a negative situation into a comedic story. I realized that my quarantine content not only provided my audience entertainment, but fulfilled my own need to connect and laugh as well.The truth is, life without a corona boyfriend gave me the opportunity to connect at a much larger scale and to shift my focus into creating and taking risks in a way I hadn’t before. While we are not physically together, this rare time has accelerated intimacy, because these limitations have pushed us to connect, create and reassess what is important to us. Perhaps being single is what I needed. I do have a vibrator after all.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?One Celebrity Is Bravely Quarantined With His ExHow To Date In The Age Of CoronavirusWhat To Do When You Feel Lonely

  • The One Treatment Viola Davis Turns To When She’s Stressed
    Celebrity
    Refinery 29 UK

    The One Treatment Viola Davis Turns To When She’s Stressed

    “Stress is my number-one achilles heel,” Viola Davis, wearing a crisp white pantsuit and red lipstick, told me at a L’Oréal Paris event last month, two weeks before Angelenos were asked to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. “I should be doing meditation, but I’m not; there’s too much going on up here.” While there was no shortage of topics to discuss with Davis during our interview —like being the face of L’Oréal Paris’ Age Perfect line or her upcoming role playing Michelle Obama — with growing unease about a global pandemic, it was impossible to ignore the elephant in the room: the stress and anxiety we were all feeling.But, if there were ever a celebrity to take advice from on the subject, it’s Davis. The award-winning actress, who is also a professional motivational speaker, has spent years learning how to cope with internal pressure — and her words are proverbial milk and honey in these unprecedented times. Keep scrolling for highlights from our sit-down, including how she’s preparing to play FLOTUS in the upcoming First Ladies Showtime series, what being the face of a beauty brand truly means to her, and the epiphany that changed how she manages stress.People are more stressed out than ever and it’s showing up on our faces. How do you combat stress? “I am one of those people whose brain never shuts off, so I have to do something physical to knock the stress out of me. Sleep is important, and so is exercise, but how I combat stress most is I take a lot of baths. I put epsom salt and lavender in the tub and just soak. I don’t want my stress to show on my skin, that’s my big thing, so I always use serums before moisturizer. I love the L’Oréal Revitalist moisturiser.”You are the face of L’Oréal Paris at 54. Do you think that women above 50 are fairly represented in the beauty world? “No, and I think that’s why Age Perfect is resonating. I grew up with beauty brands that were [represented] by skinny white women. I certainly loved all those women, like Twiggy, but I couldn’t have been any further from them. L’Oréal is giving a message that is so deep and meaningful of a woman’s worth. Ageing gets a bad rap in general, perhaps because people think you’re closer to death, don’t look as good, or are not as viable, when in fact, everything gets better. There is honest pressure, then there is the pressure that’s a lie — and most pressure is a lie.”What kind of pressures do you consider lies? “The ultimate image of perfectionism is money, youth, and beauty, and when you get to a certain age, you begin to understand that it’s a lie. So what happens next is this extraordinary thing where all the other values, like wisdom and authenticity, take over and you cannot help but feel less anxiety — it just happens! One day you just wake up and say, ‘I feel great!’ You cannot put a price tag on wisdom, on getting to the point in your life where you feel worth it, on understanding the power of no.”What advice would you give to young people who are trying to feel less stressed? “I was always in internal strife in my 20s — always. It was every single day and I didn’t know how to get out of it. People don’t value the internal, but that’s where all the value lies.”How did you beat those feelings of daily turmoil? “Becoming a mother, then my career taking off and feeling like, ‘I did it! I’m done! I am successful!’ — but then feeling tired, disillusioned, and not happy. Then one day, I was sitting next to a life strategist at a party and he said, ‘Viola, that’s not the final step; the final step is living a life of significance.’ He said that when the last person who has a memory of you dies, that’s when you’ll truly be dead. So that made me think, What are you leaving behind? What’s bigger than putting on the perfect shade of lipstick? What’s bigger than your brand and your net worth? I realized that I became worthy on August 11, 1965 — the day I was born. Realizing this sort of blows a hole in everything that the world tells you value is.”> You cannot put a price tag on wisdom; on getting to the point in your life where you feel worth it; on understanding the power of no. > > Viola DavisYou just signed on to executive produce and star in First Ladies as Michelle Obama. How are you feeling? “I talk about worth and then I’m like, ‘Oh shit!” I feel terrified!'”What are you doing to get into the role? “I started looking at interviews and started reading her book, and then, of course, I am talking to my makeup artist and hairstylist. I am one of those people who will work work work then I get scared and fall apart… and eat. And then I’ll work work work and then fall apart again.”Have you talked to Michelle about the role? Do you feel like you need to get her blessing? “I have met Michelle Obama twice and we’re certainly representing her beautifully. There is something about her… she’s perfect. I haven’t had the real interview, which is the getting in there, getting to know her, sitting down and really hearing her feedback. I have to do it before I start, but I am terrified. I am, but you know what? I am not afraid to fail.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

  • I Was Supposed To Get Married Last Weekend — Here’s What I Did Instead
    Lifestyle
    Refinery 29 UK

    I Was Supposed To Get Married Last Weekend — Here’s What I Did Instead

    For two years, I’ve had a very clear image in my mind of what 28th March 2020 was supposed to look like. There would be wildly intertwined flora cascading from the roof of a greenhouse, set against the sublime backdrop of a Moroccan-red sunset. Spring’s very first roses would be in bloom. My wedding day was meant to be a meticulously planned symphony of colour, pageantry, and romance. But it never happened. Instead, 28th March was a much less dramatic affair, with me in a dress dug out from deep within my neglected closet (I’ve had the same few pairs of sweatpants on rotation for days), the freshly buzzed scalp of my fiancé, Mohamed, who’s given himself what we’re calling “the quarantine cut,” and a laptop arranged on the table that currently functions as both office space and eating area. The screen featured pixelated clusters resembling the top halves of 20 family members — including my recently ordained brother and a quarantine cut of his own. And there were roses after all… just the kind that arrive on your doorstep in a slim cardboard box. It didn’t look anything like the event we had initially scheduled — and we still haven’t said, “I do” — but the uncomplicated specialness of it all turned out to be a different kind of perfect.  Navigating our way through the emotional turbulence of postponing a wedding was an unfortunate but obvious choice for Mohamed and me as the coronavirus outbreak started to escalate in early March. Our wedding was something we’d always seen as an opportunity to celebrate love in all its forms, and to thank our communities for their support as we stepped into the next phase of togetherness. We’ve never taken that responsibility lightly, and weren’t going to start as the quiet rumblings of a threatening disease began to crescendo. With the safety of 160 guests as our top priority, there was simply no event big or important enough to jeopardise their wellbeing.Still, typing out the words of our postponement email felt like tiny jabs to a heart that was so set on experiencing the Marrakesh wedding we’d organized together — the one that kept us up at night giddy over cake and playlists, eager to share Mohamed’s family, culture, and home country of Morocco with a flurry of Americans. But to host any kind of in-person social gathering would not only have been impossible, it would have been utterly irresponsible. So hitting send was also a relief, like removing the backpack of worry I’d been carrying around for weeks, and unloading its contents on the table for all to see. The concerns growing deep within my gut were no longer internalized and a revised plan to push the festivities to late November was officially in place. But just as Mohamed and I were gaining a personal sense of clarity and control, the world plunged deeper into a state of disaster. What was, at the time, an epidemic has since evolved rapidly into a pandemic, leaving people without jobs, parents without childcare, and healthcare providers overburdened. Small businesses are struggling to survive, and too many lives have been weakened and lost. We’re all adjusting to some new version of normal during this global crisis that has thrown the world off balance while uniting its dizzied inhabitants against a common enemy. The virus itself may be invisible, but the avalanche of chaos and uncertainty it has caused is something that’s been seen and felt everywhere. So rescheduling the caterers? That’s about as insignificant as getting dressed up these days when we’ve got absolutely nowhere to go. As everyone grapples with a radical shift in routines and priorities, the things that seemed to matter so much just weeks ago — for a bride-to-be like myself, that was guest-to-canapé ratios and an uncooperative seam on my gown — simply don’t anymore. We now long for the most basic parts of life that were taken for granted like hugs, a meal enjoyed in the company of friends, and the ability to enter a grocery store without feeling terrified. But the strange emptiness where the banality of the everyday used to exist is nothing like the grief consuming many who have lost loved ones to this pandemic, and disrupted schedules and cancelled plans are a surmountable consequence of the outbreak in comparison. Even though I wanted to acknowledge 28th March, and everything it was supposed to be, by doing absolutely nothing at all, Mohamed had other plans. We were to fully embrace what responsible socialising looks like in 2020: a cyber cocktail party courtesy of the ever-popular Zoom video conferencing software. This was our non-wedding wedding day, and we were going to make the best of it. The attire was formal and the menu comprised of anything lying around the house that could be turned into an acceptable meal. When we logged onto the call, there they were: aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, my brother, and my grandmother, all formally dressed (at least from the waist up) and ready for us. Their tables were set, their drinks were served, and their smiles were tremendous. Despite the border closures and social distancing rules keeping us apart, we were still together. My heart was so swollen with love for these digital beings, and for the man that managed to get them all into our living room, that I actually felt it expand into my throat as I choked my way through words of gratitude for their health and participation. I thanked them for taking this gathering seriously and for persisting to make 28th March an unforgettable day — one that was always supposed to be about people, not things.As a family, we’ve been hit hard with the fact that nothing in life is guaranteed after my 55-year-old, marathon-running aunt was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer last year. The coronavirus pandemic has only amplified this reality. So if the only thing we and the rest of the world have for sure is the present, we have to seize it and live those moments beautifully. Side by virtual side — and in a fabulous dress when possible.  These days, as Mohamed and I continue preparing for the lifelong commitment of marriage under circumstances more extreme than we’d ever imagined, the promise of “in sickness and in health” has never been so relevant. Each new day of being quarantined together has brought me deeper into this relationship, revealing even more parts of him to appreciate and to cherish. Our official vows may be on hold, but our love has guided us through this difficult time so far, and I just can’t wait to see where it takes us from here. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. It says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Pure Positivity Of A Quarantine DogHaving a Partner in COVID-19 QuarantineI Quit My Friend’s Wedding Because Of COVID-19

  • I Taught My Grandparents How To Zoom & You Can Too
    Technology
    Refinery 29 UK

    I Taught My Grandparents How To Zoom & You Can Too

    The other night, I successfully taught my grandparents how to use Zoom, a feat that filled me with so much pride (both in my grandparents and in myself) that I’m pretty sure I exclaimed “woohoo!” after hanging up (to no one, obviously). Also, my grandparents huddling around their computer screen waving at me was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. And I’m here to tell you that you, too, can coach your grandparents in downloading Zoom so that they can partake in all the family Zoom parties to come while we remain socially distanced and sheltered in place. For those not well-versed in the app installation process, it can be pretty confusing and counterintuitive — a fact I did not fully appreciate before attempting to instruct my grandparents. It was an exercise in patience for us all — my grandpa told me with a laugh that I was interrupting their weekly American Idol viewing — but a necessary measure for keeping in contact for the foreseeable future. Keep this in mind, and maybe just stick to the basics — no need to open the virtual Zoom background can of worms just yet. First things first — I called my grandparents on their landline to tell them I’d be calling them via FaceTime so that I could better direct them on how to download Zoom. I told them to look out for a FaceTime call, which they could accept by clicking on the green right hand phone button when the call came in. I then showed them how to flip the camera, via the flip button on the bottom panel of the FaceTime, so that they could point the camera at their computer screen while going through the steps, since I figured it’d be pretty hard to give direction without being able to see exactly what was on their screen. Since you don’t need a Zoom account to join a meeting, the easiest way to get your grandparents into the family Zoom is by sending them a link. To do this, the meeting host should schedule the meeting either through the Zoom desktop app or web portal, and send the invitation via email or by copying the link and sharing it via text message. From here, the recipient can click to join the meeting via in the link in the invite, which will then prompt them to install the Zoom app. Once the user clicks to download, a file called Zoom.pkg will appear at the top of their Downloads folder, or in the bottom downloads panel on their Chrome browser or the top right corner of their Safari browser. Clicking this will launch Installer and an Install Zoom window. After clicking through the prompts to Install, they will have Zoom on their computer. Step one complete! For this step with my own grandparents, I had my grandma point the phone at each prompt and told her exactly what button to click on throughout the installation process. Once the app is downloaded, when the participant clicks the invite link, they will be prompted to open Zoom. They will also be prompted to grant Zoom access to their computer’s microphone and camera — both of which are necessary to participate in a Zoom video conference call. The user will then see a preview video pop up, where they should select Join with Video. They should also select the Join Audio button in the bottom left corner of the Zoom window, and then join with computer audio. They can use this same button to Mute/Unmute throughout the call. If their video input doesn’t start as well, the user should select the Start Video icon in the bottom left hand corner.Remember that, for the meeting host, it’s also important to take privacy precautions against “zoombombing,” which can be done by disabling screen-sharing for participants. And if your grandparents have the TV going on in the background and aren’t sure how to mute themselves, the meeting host can mute participants at their discretion. I’m proud to share that my own grandparents are now confident Zoomers, as evidenced by the fact they were the first ones to show up to the party we had the other night with our extended family. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?How To Keep Your Zoom Calls Safe & SecureHow To Use Google Hangouts While Working From HomeHow To Use Zoom For Remote Work & Classes

  • This Playlist Will Make Your Next Run Feel Easier
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    This Playlist Will Make Your Next Run Feel Easier

    When it comes to what to listen to while running, I’ve experimented with it all. I’ve cued up audiobooks. I’ve subscribed to murder podcasts. I’ve even plodded along to nothing, hoping to transform my daily run into something more like meditation. (Spoiler: I hated it.) Ultimately, though, nothing keeps me motivated like music.It’s not all in my mind, either. A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology has found that listening to faster-tempo music can reduce your perceived effort while exercising. Translation: A good playlist can actually make your sweat sesh feel easier. And when your workout feels easier, you’re able to push yourself harder. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The study also suggested that people who perform endurance activities, such as walking or running, are the ones that will receive the greatest benefit from the right tunes.With this in mind, we put together a running playlist filled to the brim with high-tempo hits to optimize your next workout — whether it’s a lap around your street or a LSR (runners’ nickname for a long, slow run). Check out our picks below!Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?You Need These Chic Running LeggingsIs It Safe To Run Outside During Coronavirus?The Best Workout Apps To Download Now

  • 31 Instagram-Worthy Hairstyles To Try In April
    News
    Refinery 29 UK

    31 Instagram-Worthy Hairstyles To Try In April

    Remember in January, when your optimism was at an all-time high? You were actually excited about going to the gym. You were downloading meditation apps and making a list of all the books you wanted to read. And when you were scrolling through Instagram and saw a hairstyle you loved, the reaction was, "I can totally do this." We're just four months into the year and, thanks to the global novel coronavirus pandemic, this all feels like a distant memory. It's easy to fall into a rut while being quarantined at home — and there is no right or wrong way to cope with isolation — but if you want to stretch your creative muscles with a fresh new hairstyle for your next family FaceTime or work Zoom call, we're here with the assist. We've been putting the Instagram "save" feature to use to compile a month's worth of hair inspiration. From accessorized styles to braided looks, there's something for everyone to try. Ahead, find 30 gorgeous looks to keep the feel-good vibes coming through April. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Kendall Jenner's Crimped Bob Looks So GoodI Got The Chunky 90s Highlights All Over InstagramAutumn's Top 6 Hair Colour Trends

  • Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    Why Are Beauty Brands Afraid To Say They’re Halal?

    Once at dinner at a London restaurant, I asked whether the steak was halal. Horrified and unprepared, the managing staff explained they had a vegan menu instead. While there’s no denying that veganism and ‘clean eating‘ have truly taken off, it’s fair to say the halal requirement is rarely catered to.It isn’t just food. The same disregard can be applied to halal beauty products. If you’re unaware, for a beauty product to be halal (this means ‘permissible’ in Islam) it must be alcohol-free and contain no pig, carnivore or blood-based ingredients. But it also encompasses many other things, such as being cruelty-free (not tested on animals), sustainable and ethical where both ingredients and packaging are concerned. Not all halal beauty brands are vegan, however, as ingredients such as beeswax and honey are allowed.In 2020, halal beauty has become an even wider umbrella term. According to Jolie Nubani, cofounder of Shade M, a halal-certified beauty brand, it excludes things such as “sulphates (including SLS and SLES), parabens, formaldehydes, phthalates and mineral oil,” to name a few components which many of us now choose to omit from our beauty routines. Yet unlike ‘clean’, ‘natural’, ‘vegan‘ and ‘eco-friendly‘, ‘halal’ is rarely plastered across beauty packaging, even though it often encapsulates many of these buzzwords. In fact, it is barely noted at all. > With Islamophobia at an all-time high, being a halal beauty brand might imply allyship towards the Muslim community. This may be viewed as risky business.This is surprising when you consider that by 2025, the global halal beauty market is predicted to be worth $52.02 billion. It is only slightly behind the global natural beauty market, which is set to be worth $54 billion by 2027. For some time I’ve wondered whether halal beauty isn’t as common in the UK’s skincare lexicon because Muslims themselves don’t mention it enough. Are other communities louder than us when requesting what they need? Or is it to do with the erasure of brown and black beauty rituals and requirements, which some might argue have been whitewashed as ‘clean’ or natural beauty? The word ‘halal’ may not be explicitly advertised on beauty products for a number of reasons. Firstly, it could suggest that being halal is a ‘Muslim thing’. In reality, halal practices are a lifestyle choice which everyone can follow – not just the Muslim community. Secondly, the term ‘halal’ has become politically charged. Do brands think that this might have a knock-on effect on sales or how they are perceived? With Islamophobia at an all-time high, being a halal beauty brand might imply allyship towards the Muslim community. This could be viewed as risky business, given that frankly, we’re not seen as ‘cool’ right now. All of this begs the question: Are beauty brands reluctant or even afraid to state that they are halal? The above reasons are futile, especially when you consider the diversity of what being Muslim looks like today. On the other hand, as the Muslim community endures xenophobia and racism, solidarity could be a positive thing. Alongside clean beauty trends, inclusivity and kindness is currently at the forefront of many people’s minds. Surely being halal-certified is great PR?> When I pressed brands on why they are not halal-certified, they refused to comment. One even stated that it chooses not to be ‘political’.“Having done some research, which includes contacting popular, mainstream beauty brands directly, I know that many of them do cater to halal requirements,” says Mona* from east London. “I think it is a shame that brands don’t bother to get the halal certification or state so on their packaging, though. Not only would this take the guesswork out of shopping for halal beauty products, it would make me feel more represented.”Of course, there are brands which do get it right, although they aren’t considered mainstream. Ammaarah adds: “I’ve always loved painting my nails but didn’t want to use anything that wasn’t breathable as it would affect my wu’du (the Islamic cleanse before prayer). So when I found 786 Cosmetics (which produces halal nail polish) it was a solution to my problems.” Nailberry (popular products include L’Oxygéné Nail Lacquer), Inika and Farsali (Instagram-famous for its influencer-adored serums) are also great halal beauty brands to know. For Rose Brown, the founder of PHB Ethical Beauty, gaining the halal certification ensured no animal derivatives or animal testing was involved in her products. Choosing to go down the halal beauty route was also a way to benefit everyone, “whatever your beliefs, age or skin type,” Rose told me. “That’s whether you want vegan, non-toxic or halal,” she added.Still, I couldn’t shake how the term ‘halal’ is something many mainstream clean, conscious and vegan beauty brands are failing to advertise across their packaging. I reached out to some cult beauty brands to ask why. If you look at the fine print, some of these brands are halal-friendly. But when pressed on why they are not certified, all brands refused to comment. One even stated that it chooses not to be ‘political’. For Shade M, a beauty brand which is proudly halal, these certifications champion women of colour. “We chose to focus on the Muslim woman who represents over one billion people across the world. Yet she is rarely seen in the mainstream beauty space,” said Nubani. She added: “The global halal beauty industry is also growing significantly faster than the beauty industry as a whole. Seeing the response from consumers, retailers and manufacturers further supports the drive and demand for halal makeup – it isn’t just a trend, it’s here to stay.”> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Shade M (@shadembeauty) on Mar 27, 2020 at 7:04am PDTThat said, halal beauty is yet to make its mark on social media, where makeup, skincare and hair trends reign supreme. “Halal beauty isn’t something I come across often,” says Brooke DeVard, host of the award-nominated Naked Beauty podcast. Halal practices are deep-rooted cultural traditions yet, says Brooke, the conversation around halal beauty often presents it as a novelty, when it is anything but.Nubani says that shouting about halal beauty is important, as it is an extension of the beliefs and principles that so many Muslim women hold. “Inclusivity isn’t just about shades, it’s about maintaining the ethos for all women and making that need accessible. Outside of creating a brand that tells these stories, it allows women who are undervalued to dream without losing their core values. Halal is for everyone and if you care about clean beauty, you should be asking if it’s halal-certified, too.”If brands were more open with their branding, it would go some way towards normalising halal and perhaps help to combat the wider vilification of the global Muslim community. For mainstream beauty brands, advertising as halal or gaining a halal certification may not be on the radar. It might even seem irrelevant. But to Muslim women, it signifies inclusion and solidarity – and shows just how much brands really care about their Muslim consumers.*Name has been changedLike what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?SUST Is The New Online Beauty Hub For Eco ProductsMeet The 'Halal Dating Guru'How To Make Your Beauty Routine Cruelty-Free

  • 9 Creative Recipes For Your Spare Tin of Chickpeas
    Lifestyle
    Refinery 29 UK

    9 Creative Recipes For Your Spare Tin of Chickpeas

    Which self-respecting millennial doesn't eat a chickpea curry at least once a week? A tin of chickpeas is a cupboard staple for good reason – the legume with a mild, nutty flavour is used in a range of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Chickpeas can be comfortably relied on to bulk out meals, add bite and absorb flavour. They are also very versatile. Chickpeas can be roasted, sautéed, cooked low and slow in a broth or blitzed into dips (hello hummus). Somewhat surprisingly, they also work in sweet recipes thanks to their mild flavour and even the liquid in the tin is useful; known as aquafaba, it has many similar properties to egg whites. This makes it an ideal surrogate for vegan baking and useful at times like these when eggs are scarce. If you're bored of your well trodden chickpea and sweet potato curry recipe, we've pulled together some more creative ways to feed yourself during these very strange times. While none of these includes meat, many welcome the addition (though probably not the cookies). Supermarket shelves may be lacking many of the supplies we've become accustomed to but it's likely you'll have a rogue tin lurking at the back of your cupboard, ready to be transformed into a feast.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

  • Lifestyle
    Refinery 29 UK

    Workouts To Stream When You’re Stuck At Home

    Working out at home is a funny beast – in the past, I've praised it as a great way to save money and guarantee you'll never have to queue for the shower. However it feels a bit different when the gym is a health hazard and you literally can't go to the classes you normally frequent. For many of us, not only working from home but also working out at home is the new normal (unless you're going on your one government-approved solitary walk/run/cycle a day). As well as all the standard benefits of exercise, it can give structure to your day and help you reframe your home space as somewhere you don't just rest in. There are already many incredible working out from home options which you can find here (some need equipment, some don't, and there is a variety of price points) but with workout spaces, classes and gyms all closed for now there has been an influx of new workouts to stream from home. Whether you're after barre or cardio, strength or stretching, there's a world of workouts you can follow, either on IG:TV, Instagram Live or YouTube. We recommend checking out all the schedules and trying a range of classes to find the class style most suited for you. And thanks to the free IG Live/IG:TV/streaming format, you could be trying different workouts every day for the next few weeks. For free! Just make sure you have the right sports bra (no matter what your cup size) to withstand any jumping and you're good to go.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Best Home Workouts To Save You Time & MoneyHow To Solve Common Working From Home ProblemsThere's No Such Thing As Work-From-Home Style

  • Business
    Refinery 29 UK

    ‘I’ll Lose Everything’: The Women Who Can’t Get Financial Aid

    When Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £350 billion bailout package to help British companies cope with the coronavirus lockdown, the government was heavily criticised for not putting workers first. Soon after, Sunak announced that the government would pay the wages of millions of workers – a move he described as “unprecedented measures for unprecedented times”. A YouGov poll last week found that one in 20 people in the UK have lost a job due to coronavirus, while one in 11 have had their hours cut as a result of the pandemic. The numbers this week would likely be far higher. While everyone will be impacted in some way, young women are among the most vulnerable. According to the Young Women’s Trust, over a million young women are already struggling to live on low or no pay and the coronavirus outbreak is only going to make it worse. Sophie Walker, CEO of Young Women’s Trust said: “Young women are more likely to be in precarious, unprotected contracts and dependent on a dysfunctional benefits system that faces ever greater demand. We call on the government to urgently overhaul universal credit and extend a work safety net to ensure those who are already economically vulnerable are not plunged into even greater hardship.”> One in 20 Britons have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.> > YouGovRhéa Rosana, 25, from Manchester says that the coronavirus outbreak has left her in financial limbo. After deciding to move from marketing to the hospitality sector, she interviewed for a number of jobs in January. She secured a role, handed in her resignation and worked her month’s notice up until 28th February. She started her new role the following Monday 2nd March. Then as the government announced the job retention scheme, her company started to furlough its staff. Rhéa, however, was kept on as skeleton staff. “For me, this was great as I had expected to be made redundant with being so new,” she tells Refinery29.Rhéa was later placed on furlough. As part of its financial plan for coronavirus, the government has agreed to pay 80% of the wages of people on furlough, up to £2,500, for three months. It is hoped this will prevent companies from making their staff redundant or firing them. But Rhéa is unable to claim. The new rules mean that workers who were not on payroll on 28th February will not be eligible. She started work on 2nd March. “I have been stuck in limbo not knowing what is happening with my job or pay as my company tries to explore every avenue and assist me in this situation,” she says. “I am a young professional and while I have some savings, these can only get me so far. I live on my own and I am not financially dependent on anyone, so if I do not make a wage then I face the possibility of losing everything.”Following the news, Rhéa launched a petition that calls for the government to support workers who started their jobs after 28th February. The petition has garnered over 35,000 signatures at the time of writing and a Facebook group has now emerged with over 3,000 members supporting and lobbying for change. Rhéa says she’s been contacted by over 100 people across her social media accounts sharing similar stories.> I am a young professional and while I have some savings, these can only get me so far. I live on my own and I am not financially dependent on anyone, so if I do not make a wage then I face the possibility of losing everything.> > Rhéa, 25“There was one man who messaged me to support the petition who was due to start his new position on 6th April,” she says. “He was working his notice period for his employer, due to finish on 3rd April, and now has been told that his start date will be deferred indefinitely until this is over. His old employer, who he is technically still on the books for, has told him they won’t help as it was his decision to leave.”There are many other reasons women are falling through the cracks of the government’s bailout. One young woman from R29’s Money Diaries Facebook group said she was due to start freelancing on 20th March but because of the coronavirus outbreak, all of her work has been cancelled. “I had asked my employer to retract my resignation as I was aware of the issues surrounding the virus but they declined,” she wrote. Another said her job offer had been revoked. “My new company has now retracted my offer stating that because of COVID-19, my role as office manager is no longer required,” she wrote. She added that the company has told her they will pay her for only one week, as per a clause in her contract. “I am now in a situation where my current job is coming to an end and I am set to have no income for the foreseeable. I am not entitled to furlough because I was not on the payroll on 28th February.”After the backlash from the public, the government eventually also outlined new measures to help self-employed people, who are set to receive an average of 80% of their salary with back pay in June. However, this package, too, comes with caveats. “Anyone else become self-employed a year ago?” another young woman in the Facebook group asked. “Seems we’re excluded from the new announcement. Can’t do a self-assessment until the end of the financial year and I was PAYE in 2018-19.”If you don’t qualify for one of the government’s new schemes, the alternative is universal credit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced that claimants “don’t need to worry” about financial penalties such as sanctions (a cut in their payment) if they cannot meet the requirements in their commitment or if they miss a meeting. Nearly a million people have applied for universal credit since the UK announced a lockdown, putting pressure on DWP staff who are used to processing 100,000 claims in a two-week period. Reports of delays are common. > Universal Credit hitting me with an £80 sanction , despite the COVID19 crisis and the fact I will not be able to work March and April ! How the fuck is this a thing STILL @10DowningStreet pic.twitter.com/myWqbJheWa> > — Grace Bollins (@grace_bollins) March 30, 2020> So a private company whose owner doesn’t even pay tax in this country can get an emergency meeting with the Government to request a £7.5billion bailout but self employed people must still wait 5 weeks to receive £317.82 in universal credit. virginatlantic> > — *R* (FUND THE NHS PROPERLY) (@Heath0X89) April 1, 2020> When I die and my life is flashing before my eyes, it will be playing to the Universal Credit holding music.> > — lauren (@laurendelilahh) April 2, 2020> One in four young women already skip meals every day due to financial pressures and more than four in ten currently face a struggle to make their money last all month. We @YWTrust are very worried about their financial and emotional wellbeing during CoronavirusOutbreak 1.> > — Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) March 17, 2020But for Rhéa, this isn’t an option. “We are being told that universal credit is the answer. £100 a week certainly isn’t going to pay for anyone’s rent or mortgage and I’m still technically employed at this point so I don’t even know what it would mean to get another job to top that payment up,” she says. “Plus, I’m not naive enough to believe that if I were to apply right now I would receive any payment in time for my next bill’s due date.”Many others have expressed their concerns, with some already being hit with sanctions. Others have been unable to register for universal credit due to the high volume of applicants. Rhéa says her current and former employers are doing their best to try and support her but she’s disappointed that HMRC and the Treasury haven’t clarified the issues relating to those who don’t qualify for furlough. “I’ve worked consistently since I was 16, even alongside my studies, and do not see why at this time I am being penalised for not being able to see into the future and predict that coronavirus would be a pandemic before some of the world’s smartest minds could see it was going that way. “I get that no scheme can be perfect and cover everyone but the last few days have shown me we aren’t that much of a minority. There needs to be something in place to support the people that fall through the gap.”The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. It says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?What It Means To Get Furloughed During CoronavirusThe Shocking Reality Of Living On Universal CreditI'm 27 & I Was Hospitalised With Coronavirus

  • 3 Women On The Joy Of Making Your Own Clothes
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    Refinery 29 UK

    3 Women On The Joy Of Making Your Own Clothes

    Before the boom of ready-to-wear fashion, every piece of clothing someone owned was made for the individual, either themselves or by someone they knew. Now, around 30 years after fast fashion began taking hold, we don’t know who delivered our dress to store, let alone who made it. The facelessness of this model allows us to brush aside our concern over the ethics of the production line – out of sight, out of mind! – while the merry-go-round of trends combined with the addictive serotonin hit of social media has us trapped in a never-ending cycle of buying more, quickly, now. Purchasing a new-season piece is as easy as click-click-checkout – enabled further by next-day delivery – but a growing number of women are rallying against this dehumanised and detached fashion model. These women have learned to make their own clothes and in so doing have altered their perspective on everything from the importance of community to the tricks of advertising campaigns. Digital magazine service Readly revealed that out of 5,000 titles, with more than 83 million issues read globally in 2019, the most searched-for topic was needlework craft, with knitting, crochet and sewing all featuring in the top five trends. While we should be wary of the jingoistic ‘make do and mend‘ mentality, which often overlooks the complex psychological impact of platforms like Instagram as well as the economic and time privileges that sustainable fashion demands, young women are clearly turning to traditional craft as an antidote to fashion’s current, highly problematic state. With an upswing in the popularity of buying and tailoring vintage, and Pinterest reporting a 30% rise in searches for ‘how to make clothes’, it’s apparent that a DIY ethos is back in vogue. Equal parts mindfulness, activism and creativity, it’s joyful resistance and sartorial originality all rolled into one. Three women who make their own clothes invited us into their workspaces to discuss getting started (hint: baby steps!), the best fabric markets and how, once you start sewing, your relationship with fashion changes forever. Lydia Higginson“My mum taught me to sew when I was a little girl but I used to get frustrated with her because I wanted to make all these elaborate things and she’d say: ‘No, we’re going to start from the beginning.’ She made our clothes when we were small but I’m the youngest of five, so by the time she got to me she was pretty busy. I learned the basics from Mum but instead of pursuing a degree in textiles, I studied politics, but realised pretty quickly I’d never want to work in that world. I had bad depression and anxiety, and that was when I really got into sewing – I’d lock myself away for hours on end and it really calmed my mind. One day I was looking through the window of Prangsta Costumiers in south London and the manager at the time asked if I wanted to come in. She was lovely, so I applied for an apprenticeship there. She started me on a week’s internship and it turned into two years. It was a baptism of fire because they were known for their really complex commissions, from huge showgirl headdresses with feathers, to corsets and top hats. I learned to make men’s shirts, create embellishments and embroidery, and how to put a costume together. Learning to dress someone is an art form. After the apprenticeship finished, I moved from London to Bristol to freelance as a costume designer. I landed on my feet when I found an amazing studio called the Bristol Textile Quarter: 10 fashion and textile artists working together in one big room, sharing industrial machines and cutting tables. I realised that there was a real disconnect between what I did for a living and the way I dress myself; I was making clothes for other people but still wearing leggings from the high street. I didn’t feel good wearing these clothes or going into these shops, so I decided to make my entire wardrobe with the shortest supply chain in the world – made and worn by me!I started on 1st January 2016 and to stop myself breaking my New Year’s resolution, I created my blog, Made My Wardrobe, as a declaration. I began with a bra and pants because that’s the first thing you put on in the morning. They weren’t perfect but they were beautiful in their own way. Next was a coat, then trousers and a jumper and shirt, and so on. In the first month, I’d made a complete outfit. I wasn’t regimented, I just did what I could in evenings and weekends between work. I gradually gave away the high street clothes I had until 31st December, when everything went to the charity shop and I had made 75 of my own pieces. Since then I’ve only made things I need – like a bikini for a holiday or a dress for a wedding – as I don’t like to make things for the sake of it. What’s cool is that when the seasons change I can make adjustments to what I already have, like taking sleeves off in summer and putting them back on in winter. When you have a better understanding of how the things you own are made, you have so much more respect for them. Even if you only make one pair of jeans, the next time you go to buy a pair you’ll think so much harder about the work and care that went into that product. My studio is a stone’s throw from Oxford Street and knowing I don’t need anything from there is really liberating. It’s made me look at other areas of my life, too: can I build my own bed? My own kitchen table? Being self-sufficient is a really good feeling. I’ve also gained a sense of community from this. I learned so many of my skills from other people, like swimwear from Claire Stidston and shoemaking from Lucy and Olly from Ottowin. That’s the part that most excites me – skill sharing – and I never want to lose that. Since finishing the year of making my own wardrobe, so many people got in touch saying they wanted to learn to make pieces, so I’ve been running workshops for the last three years. I now sell digitised patterns and run online workshops so that people can make the pieces using locally sourced fabrics. There’s an amazing project, Fibershed, which is all about closed loop fabric production; another, Bristol Cloth, sells wool from local sheep which is botanically dyed by a local micro mill, so I can make a coat out of this beautiful fabric that’s only travelled two hours by train.I struggle with the knowledge that privilege plays a part in making clothes but as an artist living and working in London, I can’t make my workshops any cheaper. I do a lot of work with charities, from Tender, an arts charity which aims to end sexual abuse, and Fine Cell Work, which teaches the incarcerated fine needlework, to Off The Record, a mental health youth charity. For those who have never made anything before but want to get started, I’d begin with borrowing a sewing machine, buying a pattern and some cheap fabric and getting stuck in. If you ask around, I guarantee someone’s mum or auntie will have a sewing machine in their loft and as they range from £100 to £1,000, you want to go secondhand first. If you’re in London, my go-to is an amazing guy called Tony in Tufnell Park who has an incredible secondhand sewing machine shop. I am scared for when he retires because he services all my machines – he’s so knowledgeable and kind.For fabric, Goldhawk Road market and MacCulloch & Wallis on Poland Street are great, and online I like Offset Warehouse. You’ll make mistakes along the way but you can’t go that wrong – at most, you’ll have to unpick it while sitting in front of Netflix! Patterns from my favourite indie brands cost between £10 and £15 but then you’ve got the pattern to make not only yourself a pair of dungarees but your best friend, your mum, your sister… And once you’re proficient, you can hack the pattern to make overall dresses or trousers. In nearly every workshop I run, someone tells me about a textiles teacher who killed their confidence but I say anyone and everyone can do it.”   Atia Azmi“My mum made our clothes for special occasions; I’m one of four and she’d use the same fabric to make different styles for us all. My dad also worked in the garment industry in Manchester and had his own knitwear business so seeing people sewing was totally normal for us, but I never learned to sew from my parents. I enjoyed cross-stitch and embroidery from age 8 or 9, and I did textiles at GCSE, but I didn’t pick it up again until after university, where I trained to be a GP. After I finished my initial junior doctor hospital training, I thought I’d like to sew again and began mostly making small quilts – I got very into knitting – and from there I decided to learn more about making my own clothes. As a junior doctor doing shift work, I actually had lots of time – work is either completely full-on or you have a whole day free after a night shift. The freedom and creativity I got from sewing was such a nice change from the way I worked in medicine, where there’s very much a right and wrong answer. I developed skills that I couldn’t have done now that I have children. I always tell people who are trying to learn when they have kids or a full-time job that you can’t expect to suddenly know everything – it takes time. It can be frustrating when you feel you can’t find the time but I realised that you’ll never find the time if you keep saying: ‘I’ll get everything else in life done first, then I’ll start.’ Now, our conservatory is my sewing room. One thing you don’t realise when you start out is how much you’ll accumulate! For material, I love Simply Fabrics in Brixton, The New Craft House and Fabworks. How much I make varies; last year on average I made something new every week. A complex piece like a coat would take several [weeks] but I could make two or three skirts or tops a week. At this stage I’m conscious I don’t need anything so I’m more focused on new skills I want to learn or something that’s more creatively inspiring, like using a new fabric. I’d say two thirds of my wardrobe are things I’ve made; it feels strange to wear something I haven’t now. I really enjoy making things for my daughter, and from a sustainability aspect, children’s clothes tend to be poorly made and in bad materials.  Making my own clothes has changed how I view fashion. When I go to the high street, all I can see is that there are too many clothes – such huge numbers, it’s quite overwhelming. All of those pieces have been made by somebody and will probably only be worn a handful of times. Once you know firsthand all the time that went into that garment, how long you’ll wear it for becomes so important. I spend so much less on clothes now; when I do buy something it’s only occasionally and I can afford for it to be different or special, which is nice. Because I’m a Muslim woman who wears hijabs, a lot of people assume that I sew because I can’t find what I want to wear. While that is not the case – there are lots of options for modest dressing – I do sew because I can’t find what I want to wear, but only because I’m petite and love Scandinavian style. You can’t always find those pieces in small sizes so I make clothes that are tailored to my preferences.I’d advise people starting out to just build it into your day; maybe cut out your pattern one day, then thread your machine the next. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you can finish a garment in a week or two, small steps at a time. Start off simple. Instagram is great for challenges to help with this – I used to do one called Kids Clothes Week, where you spend 30 minutes a day making something, and the community aspect really motivated me. There are YouTube tutorials on everything from how to put in zips to using particular sewing machines, and tags on Instagram like beginnersewing or indiepatterns are great for contacting people who are working on the same pieces as you, who managed to solve a problem you’re stuck on. Because you sew alone, it’s easy to feel isolated and get stuck on something but there really is a whole community out there.” Alex Rita“I did a bit of sewing in school but it wasn’t something I took home. Growing up, my mum was always into flea markets and would teach me about good quality fabrics. For a while I was super broke, eating porridge for dinner, so I didn’t have the money to buy clothes. I live next to Deptford Market and I picked up lots of affordable secondhand pieces that I would then cut up, take apart and adjust to fit me, because I’m 5’11. The pieces were like £3, it didn’t matter if I messed up. I started off by hand-stitching, but now I have a non-fancy Janome sewing machine. The first time I made something properly was when I was going to my ex’s brother’s wedding. My auntie is a wedding gown maker so I spent two weeks going back and forth to her house, learning how to make a dress. I learned a lot, just basic things I didn’t know before. After that, I just started copying the style of pieces I already liked. I’m a very visual person so I just laid them flat and worked out the shape from there. It clicked for me when I thought, Oh, this T-shirt is just four squares put together. Anyone can do it. I think if people realised how simple it can be, they’d be less intimidated. I’ve been interested in very simple kimono silhouettes for some time and Japanese pieces are really simple to make, so that’s a good place to start. Maybe it’s the Scandinavian in me but Danish culture is all about quality. I don’t shop a lot. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of my energy and space, and going into a shop in central London is so daunting, I just can’t. When a friend buys something made of polyester, you can feel how shit it is. Growing up in Denmark, we didn’t have pound shops or anything like that so I’ve always been an advocate for quality. I like one-of-a-kind things, too, so going into a shop and seeing 15 of the same dress just makes me sad. I only want clothes on my rail that I want to wear every day. When you change your perspective on clothes, you notice other areas, too. I don’t really eat meat anymore and when I do, it’s organic. People say ‘That’s so expensive!’ but I look at £2 meat and think, That’s so cheap! We’re fed such a false idea of what things should cost.Instagram is amazing in terms of inspiration. Once in a while I’ll see an advert for something that’s £200 and I’ll think, Ooooh, and try and make it myself. Now I only buy things I can’t make myself. I can’t knit, which I find very upsetting! I don’t have the patience so I buy woollen jumpers, and shoes. In the beginning, I didn’t put things on Instagram – it was just something to do for myself – but then people started to ask where I got things from. It seemed like people could maybe be inspired by it so that’s why I started sharing it. I think it’s important to show the process, too – social media is often fake and picture-perfect, and I want to show the reality of things. Photos with captions like ‘I just bought this £5 fabric’ then pictures of me cutting it. When people see that, they might think, I can do this too. I’ve been sent a few photos by other women who have made things after they saw my posts and that fills me with so much joy. If you’re getting started, the main thing is setting aside time – you can’t underestimate that. London is so diverse and every borough has a brilliant market where you can buy affordable fabric. I use old bedsheets, curtains and throws to make most of my pieces, because they’re made from cotton and thick wool and are built to last. Community is so important, too. In Deptford there’s a stall run by an older couple who collect scrap materials from different places which I love buying from. Also, I make stage outfits for my friend who is a musician and she’s teaching me to sing! Exchanging skills is really underrated. Living in London, everything is frantic and fast, but we should make time for these things. Sewing is so therapeutic, just the sound of the needle bobbing away. We’re always looking at screens but when I’m sewing, I’m meditating.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

  • 320K children have celebrated their birthdays under lockdown - here are the best online party shops
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    Yahoo Style UK

    320K children have celebrated their birthdays under lockdown - here are the best online party shops

    Celebrating your birthday in lockdown may leave you feeling a little deflated, but we know how to help you through an unforgettable party.

  • The Beginner Arm Workout You Can Do At Home
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    The Beginner Arm Workout You Can Do At Home

    There's a quote from the TV drama Desperate Housewives that's stuck with me for years: "I have the upper body strength of a kitten." The phrase was originally employed by fictitious former model Gabrielle Solis, but I use it constantly. I say it when I can't open pickle jars, and when I'm trying to get out of carrying grocery bags from the car to the house. I once said it to my trainer who chuckled and said, "Then do 10 more reps." The point is, I use humour to deflect from the fact that I don't have the strongest upper body in the gym. However, building up my triceps, biceps, and shoulders is something I genuinely want to work on. I'd love to get bigger muscles, may even graduate to "the upper body strength of a bobcat." But to be honest, I wasn't sure where to start. Push ups? Bicep curls? So I asked the experts over at the fitness app obé for some tips. Their instructor Liz Marie Chestang, a personal trainer and fitness professional, came up with a series of moves beginners can put together for a killer arm workout. She even demoed them for us. Follow along at home to begin building the strong arms of your dreams.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Ultimate Yoga Pants For Every PoseThe Latest Yoga Trend May Surprise YouFrom HIIT To LIIT: Why Exercise Is Slowing Down

  • These Are The Best Sports Bras You Can Buy On Amazon
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    Refinery 29 UK

    These Are The Best Sports Bras You Can Buy On Amazon

    Apple News push notifications. Laundry day. Tequila. Sports bras. What do these four things have in common? Chances are, you have a love-hate relationship with 'em. Sports bras, specifically, have the tendency to remain in the "hate" category until we find one that actually supports us. Because at the end of the day, we're just out here trying to comfortably workout — not bounce around on a Peloton bike feeling like there's a set of free weights strapped to our chests. To save you the chest-ache, we went ahead and scouted out the best sports bras money can buy on Amazon. Let's get on the love side of our sports bra relationships, our boobs will thank us. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?How To Find The Perfect Sports BraThe Best Plus-Sized Sports Bras For Your Workouts10 Workout Items To Buy For A Legit Home Gym

  • What It’s Like Fighting For Abortion Access In America In The Age Of Coronavirus
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    What It’s Like Fighting For Abortion Access In America In The Age Of Coronavirus

    For the past five years, Kristin Hady has been a regular clinic escort at Capital Care of Toledo in Ohio, walking patients past hordes of protesters who scream in their faces that they’re murderers and are going to hell. A mother of three, she also helps care for her husband’s parents. Her father-in-law is in at-home hospice care, and both have been under strict quarantine for the better part of a month. But Hady hasn’t volunteered as a clinic escort for nearly a month; she simply can’t risk exposing her in-laws to COVID-19. And just a couple of weeks ago, her clinic escort group stopped their work altogether. “We collectively decided that, as much as we hated it, it would be time to suspend escorting, at least while the ‘stay-at-home’ orders are in place,” Hady told Refinery29. “We would have felt awful if our presence there, even comforting for the 30 seconds that they’re outside, could have contributed to getting a patient sick.” There have been over 2,000 coronavirus cases in Ohio, and like in the rest of the US, the number is growing. The governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 22.Capital Care still has upwards of 30 protesters gathered outside its front door on any given day, and according to Hady, they stand mere inches away from patients’ cars, shamelessly ignoring social distancing guidelines from scientific experts. These protesters are overwhelmingly politically conservative and while some are Catholic, many are evangelical Christians, a demographic that has largely dismissed the coronavirus pandemic. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that only 32% of white evangelicals say coronavirus poses a major health risk to the U.S., and more than three-quarters think the media has overhyped this pandemic. The same group that’s showing up to protest at abortion clinics, endangering others, has seemingly refused to accept that this pandemic is real. This leaves Capital Care patients on their own, forced to try to avoid protesters who refuse to stay six feet away. Accessing an abortion is already rarely an easy feat. Depending on where you live, you may have to take multiple trips to a clinic, endure a mandatory ultrasound against your will, or even travel hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic. Now, abortion patients are facing a new obstacle: navigating the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has threatened more than just the safety of abortion clinic staff, escorts, and patients. It’s also provided anti-choice lawmakers in several states with a prime excuse and unique opportunity to do what they’ve been trying to do for years: end legal abortion in their state. They are facing robust court fights.Recently, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost ordered clinics to stop performing “non-essential” abortions to preserve statewide resources. In his order, Yost declared “non-essential” abortions as “those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient.” Research shows that denying abortion can negatively affect a patient’s mental health. Texas immediately followed suit, requiring the postponement of “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” Clinics that do not comply will be met with penalties up to $1,000 (roughly £800) or 180 days in jail. On Tuesday, an appeals court let Texas uphold the ban, for now.Ohio clinics have continued to provide abortions, citing them as “essential care” and therefore “fully compliant” with the law. They filed suit to keep it that way, and on Monday, a federal judge sided with them by temporarily blocking Ohio’s restriction from closing their doors. But according to Stephanie Sherwood, executive director of Women Have Options, which provides financial and logistical support to people seeking abortion care in Ohio, pregnant people are still scared. “We’re getting calls and messages on social media and email, saying, ‘I’ve got this appointment. Can I still go? I don’t know what I’m going to do if I can’t get the care that I need,’” Sherwood said. “People are afraid that they will lose the opportunity to get their abortion.” In Ohio, 93% of counties already don’t have an abortion provider; in Texas it’s 96%.Abortion isn’t like other “elective” healthcare procedures. For someone who needs an abortion, it doesn’t feel elective. It’s also time-sensitive. Unlike knee-replacement surgery or cosmetic procedures, there is a firm time-table when it comes to abortion, particularly in states like Texas that have banned abortions at 20 weeks. Amid this pandemic, you now don’t even have the option to travel to another state. If you can’t get an abortion in your state’s allotted time, you are essentially being forced to give birth.> Abortion is essential care.Even in states where abortion is more easily accessible, pregnant people are struggling to get care amid the pandemic.“I found out I was pregnant on March 16, right when the coronavirus pandemic was starting to get extremely serious here in New York,” Jennifer, who asked that her last name be withheld, told Refinery29. “My brain was so foggy at that moment, but the only thing that was clear was the fact that I had to get an abortion, and I had to get one as quickly as possible.”Jennifer lives in New York City, which, while certainly an easier place to find an abortion, has now become the epicentre of America’s coronavirus crisis. She didn’t have to contend with space-invading protesters or travel all that far to get to a clinic, but she did feel like she had to rush against the coronavirus clock. That included deciding whether to have a surgical or medication abortion.“The nurse said that she usually pushes for the [surgical abortion] due to the fact that the abortion pill [can] come with very intense side effects, but she was afraid of the clinic having a forced closure, and every minute was sacred at that moment,” Jennifer said. “Even the nurse told me she wouldn’t want to be me at that moment.”Ultimately, Jennifer opted for medication abortion. As an editor, she was already working from home when she found out she was pregnant. Now, she worked at home through the physical symptoms because she was afraid to take more time off. While she’s relieved that she was able to access an abortion, she hasn’t been able to fully process the pain and trauma of having to navigate an unplanned pregnancy in the middle of a pandemic.“I’m glad that I can take my time in quarantine to fully process everything that’s going on, but the constant fear of getting infected by far outweighs the relief I feel from this whole process being over,” she said.As long as Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land, abortion is still legal in every single state. Despite the onerous restrictions in place in many states, abortion clinics remain open. For how long now depends on the courts. What’s frustrating to many abortion-rights supporters is how much easier it could be to get an abortion, particularly in the middle of this pandemic. Medication abortion, which Jennifer relied on, doesn’t require undergoing a procedure in a clinic. Telemedicine allows patients to access care remotely from a doctor or nurse via technology. A study published last year in Obstetrics & Gynecology showed that telemedicine abortion is just as safe and effective as the in-person procedure. Yet it faces significant restrictions. Currently, 18 states require in-person visits to obtain medication abortion, an onerous and unnecessary requirement at any time. Now, it could potentially endanger the lives of abortion patients. Amid this crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could relax restrictions on medication abortion and potentially save lives. Why won’t it do so?Perhaps because abortion, an incredibly common experience that one in four women in the U.S. will have, isn’t prioritised. Politicians treat this essential care that has allowed millions of people to create the kinds of lives they want, and in some cases, literally survive, as a political football and a selfish choice. In reality, abortion is essential care, and the U.S. is very close to seeing what will happen when access to it erodes. Before coronavirus hit, we were already at a crisis point for abortion access, with a third of abortion clinics forced to close and 400 abortion restrictions passed over the past 10 years. Now, that crisis will only grow more acute for the most marginalised among us. Unless states begin to crack down on the mass of protesters still assembling at clinics and the FDA eases restrictions on medication abortion, safe and legal abortion could become a pipe dream for many pregnant people.Instead of helping shepherd patients past protesters at Capital Care, Hady now puts in 24-hour shifts, switching off with her husband, to provide care to her in-laws. She obsessively washes her hands, disinfects everything around her, and employs strict social distancing practices. Her father-in-law is dying, and she doesn’t want to expedite it by potentially exposing him to the virus. But she plans to get back to helping abortion patients seek the care they need as soon as humanly possible. “Such is life these days,” she said. “But when I’m able to go back to clinic escorting, I’ll be back. As soon as this is all over, we’ll be back.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?"I Can't Get An Abortion Because Of Coronavirus"Women Will Be Able To Take Abortion Pills At HomeHow The Coronavirus Crisis Hits Women Hardest

  • The best Easter cards to send to a loved one
    Lifestyle
    Yahoo Style UK

    The best Easter cards to send to a loved one

    Easter Sunday is fast approaching, and there are a vast array of cards to send your loved ones come 12 April.

  • The Best High Impact Sports Bras
    Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    The Best High Impact Sports Bras

    As a woman who's run a marathon and who has D-cup boobs, I can tell you that running shoes are not exactly my first priority. For me, it’s all about the heavy-duty sports bra. I would rather run barefoot than in a flimsy brassiere. I would take a sock’s worth of blisters over the intolerable feeling of my boobs flopping around like an off-kilter windmill. And while running safely is more important than ever during the lockdown, that feels impossible you're being hit in the face by your own body parts. And so, over the years, I’ve been on a quest for a high-impact sports bra that could contain my runaway breasts. For a long time, I thought it was hopeless. I would buy a size down, and wear two sports bras at a time to keep things in place (and to create a nifty pocket for my phone and keys). It's a good hack, but there are downsides. You have to wash your bras twice as often, and it’s annoying to have to pull two bras on and to try to wrestle your way out of them when you're covered in sweat. Luckily, there are many companies out there trying to find a solution for bustier women who want to participate in high-impact activities. Here are a few of the best high impact sports bras on the market. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Best Plus-Sized Sports Bras For Your Workouts5 Days Of Wearing Track PantsThe Best Home Workouts To Save You Time & Money

  • The Best Plus-Size Sports Bras To Eliminate Chafing, Digging, & Bouncing
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    Refinery 29 UK

    The Best Plus-Size Sports Bras To Eliminate Chafing, Digging, & Bouncing

    As more of us than ever are staying inside for the foreseeable future, we're turning to indoor workouts we can do in our living room. But nothing can ruin a good workout quite like an ill-fitting sports bra. Whether it digs in, chafes you, or just isn't supportive enough, it's uniquely distracting and frustrating — sometimes even painful. People who wear a larger bra size may be especially affected. The options for plus-size sports bras are seriously under-served. Many retailers only offer options up to size DD, or have limited selections for band sizes. That forces people to squeeze in to wrong-sized bras, to double up on bras for extra support, or to wear non-sports bras during workouts, all of which is a recipe for discomfort. If you're living this struggle right now, don't despair. We combed through reviews and recommendations to find the best plus-sized sports bras in the game. They're so thoughtfully designed, that you'll basically forget you're even wearing them while you work out. And that's the best endorsement a sports bra can hope for.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?R29 Readers Confess Their Amazon Hidden GemsWe Know How You Can Quit Your Nastiest HabitKayla Itsines Creates A 2020 Workout Plan For You

  • What Does The Future Hold For Jobs In Fashion?
    Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    What Does The Future Hold For Jobs In Fashion?

    Ever since the coronavirus outbreak became a global pandemic, we’ve seen fashion companies and retailers laying off employees, furloughing others, and closing for an indeterminate future. Unemployment, at 32%, is higher than it’s ever been before (it was at 25% during the Great Depression). But what does this indicate for the future of fashion and retail? I don’t think any of us saw this coming; however, I have hope about the future of fashion. As a recruiter in the fashion space, I am familiar with the ups and downs of the industry. This is what I predict.The wholesale model — in which department and speciality stores buy product from fashion brands at a wholesale price and then mark it up and sell it at retail price to the end consumer — was already broken, and now may disappear altogether. It’s challenging for both sides to make money this way because of over-distribution, markdowns, and returns. Some bigger luxury companies have taken back control of their brands by instead leasing space within the department stores and staffing their own “shop in shops” as they would their own stand-alone retail stores. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada and others have been doing this for many years. In this scenario, the companies own their product, employees, visuals, and they also capture the loyal department store customer — be it Saks, Bloomingdale’s, or Neiman Marcus. I see this trend continuing as Nordstrom’s new NYC store opened with numerous brand partnerships or “pop ups” including  Christian Louboutin, Burberry, and Everlane. Fashion companies will continue to build relationships with other brands, stores, and partners. We see designers collaborating with (sometimes) the most unlikely of brands (like Dries Van Noten x Christian Lacroix, Fila x Chupa Chups, Museum of Ice Cream x Sephora, Ikea x Off White) and I don’t see this trend disappearing.  However, more of them will do it online, and many of the players will not survive this. Many fashion brands are shifting their strategy from being overly reliant on wholesale to instead building their own physical retail stores, growing the direct to consumer and e-commerce businesses, and focusing on brand partnerships and other alternate revenue streams such as licensing for fragrance and eyewear. Storytelling or “brand marketing” is a fast-growing and ever-more important function for brands to develop and hire into, as well. Will brick and mortar retail disappear? I don’t think so, but I believe we will see smaller shop-and-go formats across all sectors. We have seen this recently with Target stores in Manhattan. Luxury and contemporary brands will still want to have a presence in major cities, as it’s important for brand recognition, but the size and number of stores will be more carefully considered. I doubt we will see as many locations and large scale flagship stores as we do now, as it’s too risky and expensive. And we have to be prepared for another shutdown like this to happen again, because it likely will. I predict we will see investment in more personalised, VIP client services and customisation as consumers value relationships and individualised experiences. We see women entrepreneurs on Instagram like Gabriel Waller sourcing out-of-stock luxury goods for her clients all over the world. Luxury brands are investing in CRM and loyalty programs like never before. Top 1% of VIP clients at fashion brands account for millions of revenue every year. Companies will continue to nourish relationships with those top clients and much of this can happen through text, What’s App, Facetime, and Zoom. CRM, digital marketing and Artificial intelligence (AI) will be an area of growth for hiring. We see consumers caring more about buying sustainable goods and we see companies rushing to catch up and build a strategy that adapts to changing consumer values. Every new start-up claims to have some element of sustainability to it, and a give-back mission as well. We will see this more as bigger companies expand their sustainability efforts from just the communications team to hiring someone in every area of the business who deeply understands what it means to be sustainable and how to execute that strategy. Carrie Phillips, one of the partners of BPCM a top global Communications and PR firm, is teaching companies how to build a sustainable business from the ground up and advising brands on how to incorporate sustainability into their DNA, platforms and supply chains.This is something every company must do if they expect to survive. I anticipate recruiting more talent into sustainability-focused roles in the years to come. In the short term, we will see brands innovating and adapting to our new reality. It’s time! Certainly we will see brands producing face masks and gloves. We already see designers and fashion brands volunteering to make PPE and hand sanitizer and donating them to hospitals but I think every household will want to buy washable gloves and masks in stylish patterns and materials immediately. I see a business opportunity. Sales of food and essentials are skyrocketing. Smart business entrepreneurs may shift their businesses to provide more of what people need and not just what people want. This includes wellness products, CBD, immune-boosting supplements but also clothes you can wear at home that are chic, stylish, and comfortable. Will there be a shift to more casual work from home wear? Suzie Kondi is having a moment with her reboot of the velour tracksuit. The company confirms that average daily sales have doubled since February in this period. Athleisure will continue to see growth with at-home workouts. Beauty and skin care will continue to thrive, especially the clean, non toxic and sustainable brands. I also predict more businesses emerging that teach us how to do it all ourselves (DIY). We should see more delivery and drive-through services, yes, but also experts teaching us how to do it all at home, and fashion and beauty brands producing goods to support that. We will learn how to cook, clean, exercise, style our hair, do our makeup, style our daily look. YouTube and TikTok will continue to explode. Prada is courting teen TikTok star Charli D’Amelio with her 43.8 million followers as she attended her first Milan fashion show in February, sitting front row with fashion and beauty brand partnerships head Derek Blasberg. Similarly, Celine announced teen TikTok personality Noen Eubanks as a brand ambassador with his 10.5 million fans back in December. Fashion wants Gen Z, and is prepared to do what it takes. Will fashion change forever? Yes. Will it die? Never.The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. It says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Long-Term Effects Of Coronavirus On FashionThere's No Such Thing As Work-From-Home StyleHow We’re Staying Connected During COVID-19 Crisis

  • A New Coronavirus Test Can Accurately Diagnose People Without Symptoms
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    A New Coronavirus Test Can Accurately Diagnose People Without Symptoms

    One of the most talked-about issues to come out of the coronavirus pandemic has been testing. Why is it so hard to get a COVID-19 test? How accurate are they, really? Why does it take so long to get results?One big roadblock experts are dealing with is that as many as 50% of people with coronavirus don’t show symptoms. These carriers are probably major sources of the spread of the virus. They don’t realise they’re sick, so they leave their homes and pass the illness on to people around them. And because they don’t have a fever, a cough, or any other signs of illness, they don’t seek out testing. That’s part of the reason why Ian Lipkin, MD, the world’s leading infectious-disease epidemiologist, and researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have developed what they call the C3 Test. It’s a nasal swab like other coronavirus tests, but it’s meant to detect precise viral load. That could make it uniquely useful at diagnosing asymptomatic people, who may have very low viral loads, but are still able to infect others.“The C3 Test is able to detect really low levels of viral RNA, which means that even if you have a little bit of coronavirus, it’ll still know that you have it,” a spokesperson for the Mailman School of Public Health tells Refinery29. “It cuts down not only on false negatives but it also cuts down false positives. So if you have the flu or something else, you’re not as likely to get a false positive, which means that people who don’t have COVID-19 don’t have to be quarantined for no reason.”What’s more, because the C3 Test measures viral load so precisely, it can be used to show how someone is responding to treatment, which can help move us closer to finding a cure for COVID-19. Another benefit? The C3 Test offers results in just four hours. Current tests have a high rate of false negative results, reports The New York Times. “The C3 Test runs on a platform that is considered the gold standard,” explains Gary Miller, PhD, vice dean for research strategy and innovation at Mailman School, where the research is being conducted. “It is the same system as recommended by CDC, but the C3 Test is superior due to its multiplex design.”The creators of this test hope that ultimately, as many people as possible are able to use it, whether they’re showing symptoms of COVID-19 or not. “It is crucial we expand our testing to include those who may be infected and spread the disease without symptoms,” the Mailman School of Public Health’s website states. More widespread, accurate testing can help individuals figure out how to take care of their own health, and will allow experts to come up with more targeted and effective treatment plans.Normally, a lab would apply for funding from the government or Columbia University for medical tests. But in this case, the researchers have turned to crowdfunding. The team behind the C3 Test launched a campaign via Indiegogo with the goal of raising $1 million (£804,000), which would allow them to test 1,000 samples a day. Those who wish to support the making of the C3 Test can donate as little as $10 (£8) or $25 (£20). Currently, $423,549 (£341,000) been collected through the platform, along with a $100,000 (£81,000) contribution from PepsiCo and $250,000 (£201,000) from off-platform donors. This approach maximises the funding that goes directly to these efforts and this lab, according to the test’s campaign.Crowdfunding for medical ventures and expenses is becoming more and more common. “I do believe that the applications for crowdfunding in healthcare will continue to increase,” Cyrus Massoumi, a member of the Mailman School’s Board and founder of ZocDoc tells Refinery29. “We’ve already seen crowdfunding become a form of social security for Americans who have nowhere else to turn. Technology is the only thing that can help us fill the gap.”The World Health Organization has declared coronavirus a global pandemic. It says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Gig Workers Tell Us Why They Are Going On StrikeI'm 27 & I Was Hospitalized With CoronavirusThe Coronavirus Is Now Officially A Pandemic

  • How To Get That Iconic Potato Filter & So Many Others On Zoom
    Technology
    Refinery 29 UK

    How To Get That Iconic Potato Filter & So Many Others On Zoom

    You may have read by now about the boss who accidentally turned herself into a potato for the duration of her Microsoft Teams video conference. An absolute icon. If you haven’t yet, a simple search for PotatoBoss yields hundreds of results on Twitter. And folks, you, too, can turn into a potato — or a baby, or even the Tiger King himself — directly on the video conferencing service of your choice, including Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and Skype. The filters in question come from Snap Camera, Snapchat’s desktop app, which you can download here, as long as you have either Windows 7 SP1 (64 bit) or newer or MacOS 10.11 or newer. Once you have download the app, you can play around with its thousands of available Snapchat Lenses, from Star Freckles to Toilet Paper Craze — many of which were created by real users in Snapchat’s Lens Creator community. > my boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting and can’t figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was just stuck like this the entire meeting pic.twitter.com/uHLgJUOsXk> > — Rachele with an e but pronounced Rachel (@PettyClegg) March 30, 2020In order to use the Lenses on Zoom, select the up arrow next to the Stop Video button in the bottom left corner of your Zoom video conference. From there, select Snap Camera underneath the Select A Camera menu. This will pull video input from Snap, and should reflect whatever Snap Lens you’re using in the Snap Camera app. The same applies to Hangouts and Skype — just select Snap Camera as the video input option in settings. In the Snap Camera app, you can also star your favourite Lenses so that you can access them more easily, as well as search for Lenses by creator or Lens name. And while video conferencing, you can change your Lens in real time through Snap Camera — which means your boss and everyone else can see you trying on that pizza crown.Over the past month, Snap has seen a tenfold increase in downloads of Snap Camera, and that makes sense — with a whole lot of working and learning from home going on, it’s the little things that help us get by. Like turning our heads into potatoes for the company all-hands meeting.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Tumblr Is Curating Cozy ContentIncredible Virtual Tours To Help Pass The TimeHere's How To Organize The Tech In Your Home