MonthJuly 2018

Adopt a black cat – here’s how to make them look great on Instagram

Potential owners aren’t just put off by superstitions – now many monochrome moggies wait for adoption because owners think they don’t photograph well We are by now accustomed to the whims of pet ownership – the post-Potter fashion for owls, the trend for terrapins and labradoodles, each year seemingly bringing a newly desirable beast. Pity the poor creatures, then, who find themselves hopelessly out of vogue. At your local animal shelter, roughly half of the cats up for adoption will be black or black and white. But black cats, in particular, face difficulty in finding adoption. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

‘He’s got unfinished business’: Judy Murray on Andy, ambition and abuse in tennis

Judy Murray’s time in the tennis spotlight has been fraught with sexism and accusations of pushiness. But she’s persisted – and now she’s speaking out about the problems in the women’s game Britain’s most famous tennis mother has got more than her sons on her mind today. Judy Murray wants to discuss all that is worrying her about the sport she loves, notably the abuse of teenage girls in the women’s game. It is 12 years since I first interviewed Murray – a lifetime in British tennis history. Back then, 19-year-old Andy had just established himself as the country’s No 1 singles player, and 20-year-old Jamie had got to his first final of an ATP doubles tournament. Since then, the Scottish triumvirate has transformed British tennis. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

I want to sleep with as many women as I can – even though I could lose my girlfriend

I know it’s selfish and that I might get caught, but I can’t help myself. The thrill of the chase is like an addiction I have a very nice and pretty girlfriend but I can’t help wanting to have sex with as many women as I can, even though I might get caught and lose her. It’s completely unfair on her and I fully realise this, but it’s the persuasion and the chase as much as anything. I’m middle-aged and the ladies tend to be in their early 30s. I’m divorced with two youngish children. It’s selfish and I’m not sure it will make me happy in the long run, but it’s like an addiction. Is there anything to be done? You are not alone in having a high level of sexual desire, and there are people who would consider you very lucky. But while acting on your desires might be physically fulfilling in the short term, you seem to recognise that the choices you make could reduce your overall quality of life. Perhaps you are just not ready for monogamy; if that is required by your girlfriend, you must decide whether you can comply or not. You were honest enough to mention being largely drawn to “the persuasion and the chase”, so it might be useful to consider what the real meaning of sex is for you beyond the erotic thrill itself. For some people, it is being validated as an attractive, socially adept, successful or sexually competent person, and a “conquest” is therefore affirming for those who lack confidence. For such people, the lure of this affirmation – especially from someone new – is very strong, and the pursuit of it can feel like an “addiction”. Try to improve your sense of self-worth in nonsexual ways. Hopefully you will be able to find new strategies to feel more secure as a man. Having strong sexual desire is a blessing, but, as you know, it presents many challenges. Misplaced, unchecked passion can spell social, career and familial disaster. And, unfortunately, we are wired to have heightened lust for the forbidden. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

How design is helping people with dementia find their way around

For people with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases, just navigating around the house can be difficult and disorientating. But some pioneering approaches are offering new solutions One sunflower painting looks like another here, each numberless door is identical and I am hopelessly disoriented; desperate to find an exit, a shaft of light, even. I turn right, up another featureless corridor, and then left and then right again – but is this really the way I came? It’s a relief when a researcher removes my virtual reality headset, but it takes a few moments for my heart rate to return to baseline. I am at Bournemouth University’s department of psychology, where Jan Wiener and his team are researching the difficulties people with dementia have with wayfinding (orienting oneself in physical space). I have just briefly experienced the spatial disorientation that characterises Alzheimer’s, but for Wendy Mitchell, who lives near Hull in Yorkshire, it’s a perpetual experience. Diagnosed with the condition almost four years ago, when she was 58, she now travels around the country raising awareness of dementia. Her journeys demand precision planning. “I have a pink file that’s stuffed with information,” she says. “Walking maps to and from venues, pictures of venues, so they look familiar. My phone with Google maps talking to me. The occasional venue has a video walking map – these are wonderful. It’s important not to panic. I look for the first smiley face to come along and ask them the way or where I am.” Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Seven ways to become a donor

From offering blood or organs to making a gift of your voice or hair, there are many ways to become a donor without opening your wallet Giving blood saves lives: it’s that simple. If you are considered healthy, weigh between 50kg and 160kg (110lb and 350lb), and are aged between 17 and 66 (70 if you have given in the last two years), then you can sign up. Do check, though, if you have been out of the country recently or have any health concerns. You can register at in England, in Wales and in Scotland. Donors in England even get a text message when their blood goes to a hospital to be used. Existing blood donors can also join the bone marrow (stem cell) donor list, or you can contact the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity for a swab kit in the post. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Do our breasts and bottoms really need beauty products?

Are this summer’s creams for busts and behinds part of a movement diversifying beauty standards – or just another way to make women feel bad about themselves? According to a recent report, the global skincare market will reach $135bn (£102bn) by 2021, so it is no wonder beauty companies are thinking about new areas of the body they can sell products for. This summer, it is breasts and bottoms. Many people now find products through social media sites such as Instagram, so this has globalised beauty influences, says Alex Fisher, beauty analyst at Mintel. She points to the increase in products for bottoms inspired by the Brazilian approach to beauty. “In hotter climates, more of the body is on show, which leads to a more involved body care routine,” she says. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Slam from Sudan: how Emtithal Mahmoud shook the world

She has debated with presidents, been comforted by the Dalai Lama, and been called one of the world’s most inspiring women – but it’s as a poet that Emtithal Mahmoud truly shines Emtithal Mahmoud was brimming with rage and misery when she sat down to write her poem Mama. Her grandmother had just died in Sudan, her mother was on a plane to the funeral and she felt consumed by anger. “I wrote it in one of the darkest times of my life,” she says. “It felt like my grandmother had survived everything, the war, famine, and in the end it was not just cancer, it was lack of access to proper medical research. It was a very dark time. And that poem helped me get through it.” My parents got death threats every single day when I was walking. We were constantly under surveillance Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Frozen peas and wet clothes: expert tips on how best to endure a sweltering commute

Temperatures on buses and trains have been approaching 35C, so it’s time to get serious. We asked extreme-weather athletes for tips on how to manage With Britons unable to cope with any temperature that deviates from what you find on a mild spring day, the hot weather has been adding to the already miserable experience of commuting. There’s the standard advice to drink more water, but when temperatures on buses and trains are approaching 35C, it’s time to call in expert advice. Continue reading… [hmp_player]