Subscribe to RSS Feed

Pregnant in the field: have trowel, will travel

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

An archaeologist gave birth to a new photographic genre by asking fellow scientists to post snaps of themselves digging while expecting

Suzanne Pilaar Birch was seven when she caught the archaeology bug on a family trip to Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. “Oh this is so cool!” she declared. “I want to come back here and dig.” So when, 24 years later – and now a professional archaeologist based at the University of Georgia and still devoted to digging – she was invited on a field trip in Cyprus, it should have been a no-brainer. Except that she would be six months pregnant on the trip.

It was her first baby, due in August, a child that she’d put off having for eight years because of her career, and she’d vowed not to fly far or do fieldwork that summer. Plus, in more than 10 years working in archaeology (she specialises in analysing animal bones to reconstruct ancient environment and diet), she’d never met a single pregnant woman on a field trip.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

What I’m really thinking: the Viagra user

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

At first it was half a pill. After six months, two-thirds. Then three-quarters, until finally I had to take a whole one

We have had a good sexual relationship for nearly 50 years – not bad going when you’re in your 70s. After three children came the contraceptive pill, a wonderful period in our relationship. You felt completely free to enjoy making love, and the pill relaxed you so much that reaching orgasm was scarcely ever a problem. Then the menopause arrived and the pill could be abandoned. At the same time my sex drive began to diminish. Since we had both enjoyed sex so much, we wanted to continue. The answer was for me to take Viagra.

At first, it was half a pill. After six months, two-thirds. Then three‑quarters, until finally I had to take a whole one. For a while it seemed that a glorious new lease of life had begun. But I noticed I would be tired out for half a day after taking the pill. One day, I made the mistake of mentioning this. You were worried sick that I’d suddenly drop dead as both our fathers did: they died with no warning at 49 and 50. You have a mental list of women friends whose husbands inexplicably and suddenly died. You told me we’d had a better sex life than most of your friends, and that at my age I shouldn’t put my life at risk.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

My workout: ‘Being out on the water, surrounded by natural beauty, is amazing’

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Nicky Collins, 43, on the satisfaction she gets from paddleboarding

I grew up in Poole, but I was never into water sports when I was younger. Back then I preferred to spend my time and money on clothes and going out rather than exercise. But when I moved back to Poole three years ago, after 14 years away, one of the first things I did was to book a stand-up paddleboard (Sup) lesson. I instantly fell in love with it. Being on the water, surrounded by natural beauty, is amazing – it’s just a shame I didn’t discover it sooner.

Stand-up paddleboarding – or “supping”, as we call it – basically comes down to standing on the middle of a board with feet shoulder-width apart, and propelling yourself through the water with a long oar. You can do it on any body of water, from rivers and lakes to the sea, and it’s not just a fair-weather sport. I’m out all year round, and it can get very choppy. If you fall off, you fall off – you’re only going to get wet, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

Perfect partner turned out to have a flaw? Here’s what to do | Oliver Burkeman

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

If you’ve got a problem, stop trying to work out how to solve it and instead ask what it’s trying to tell you

I haven’t done a scientific study, but I’d be willing to bet that among the problems most frequently submitted to agony columns is the kind that goes like this: “I’m seeing this woman, or man, and everything’s perfect, except for one thing…” The one thing varies, of course. Maybe her politics are the opposite of yours; perhaps his personal hygiene’s appalling, or you have totally different attitudes to money. But what all such dilemmas have in common is how utterly insoluble they feel. Everything except the one thing feels amazing – a chance you must seize, lest you spend the rest of your life regretting it. And yet the thing itself isn’t a minor flaw; it’s a true deal-breaker. “I’m thrilled and happy and we’re already talking about moving in because we ‘just know’,” as one man wrote to the therapist Lori Gottlieb, at New York magazine, the other day. “Except one thing… she has very strong feelings about not having children.” He wanted to know: could he change her mind? Or would two people madly in love with each other have to call it quits?

Whenever you feel torn between two equally compelling options, it’s likely there’s something you’re not seeing: a third alternative, a hidden assumption, a different way of framing the problem. And that’s often the case with what Gottlieb calls the “perfect-except paradox”. You might believe the person in question is perfect except for one thing, but there’s a good chance they really seem perfect to you because of that thing. This is your unconscious at work, Gottlieb argues. Maybe you’re scared of commitment, so you’re drawn precisely to a relationship that’s doomed to collapse. (See also: affairs with married people.) Or maybe you find a certain kind of person compelling, but for unhealthy reasons – they remind you of your drama-filled childhood, say – so your unconscious is actually protecting you, by zeroing in on someone who comes with a built-in reason not to proceed.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

‘I find myself eating pork pies like the last two decades of near-vegetarianism never happened’

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Pregnancy brings with it cravings, aversions and a nostalgia for the food of one’s childhood – scotch eggs, fish and chips, or more meat than seems reasonable

When pregnant with me, my allegedly vegetarian mother once ate an entire salami, string and all, before she’d even reached the till (apparently toxoplasmosis didn’t exist in 1984).

Now it is my turn to thicken my baby waist with love and longing. And, in keeping with the family tradition, I have found myself eating pork pies and sausage rolls like the last two decades of near-vegetarianism never happened.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

Is there any way to avoid writer’s butt?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Writing novels full-time and snacking in a sedentary position is surefire way of seeing your rear end expand. So what are authors’ best tips for keeping trim?

It began so well. When I first left my office job to write novels full-time I was a totem of cast-iron discipline. At the desk by 9am, I never faltered, never took a day off.

Puffed up with the New Regime, I simultaneously followed Weight Watchers to the letter: so much easier when you can meal-plan and cook at home. I not only produced my first novel, I lost a stone at the same time.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

It’s in smoothies, toothpaste and pizza – is charcoal the new black?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The latest food and beauty fad doesn’t just look good on Instagram, it comes with dubious health claims too. Is it just a gimmick to absorb maximum cash from gullible consumers?

There are two kinds of food that exist solely to be Instagrammed. There’s the gregarious type, prefixed by “unicorn”, striped through with bright colours and dusted with glitter. And then there is its surly cousin, which exists in simple, stark monochrome. Over the last few years, the trend for black food has been growing. Burger King was an early pioneer, offering a “kuro burger” in some of its Japanese stores in 2012, sandwiching a patty between a sliced black bun, with a sliver of black cheese, and a black sauce made from squid ink. Since then, social media-savvy food outlets have increasingly turned to the dark side. You can now get your hands on black hotdogs, black smoothies and black desserts – LA’s Little Damage ice-cream parlour caused a frenzy in press coverage with its black soft serve on a black waffle cone. Waitrose recently released a limited edition antipasti pizza made with a black sourdough base, having launched a Heston-endorsed salmon and cream cheese black bagel last year. There is one key ingredient infusing these snacks with the hue of a teenage goth’s bedroom wall: charcoal.

“Charcoal was an ingredient we started to see emerging in restaurants and food pop-ups last year. With its earthy, slightly smoky taste and dark colouring, it gives a premium feel to food and makes it a real talking point,” says Jonathan Moore, executive chef for Waitrose. But while it may be appearing on buzzy menus and the plates of more adventurous MasterChef contestants with increasing regularity, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to nab a barbecue briquette from the shed and sprinkle it on your salad. Activated, food-grade charcoal is a modified form of the stuff, which means its surface area has been maximised to make it more porous. It’s popular in powdered or capsule form in many natural food stores, and is usually made from coconut shells or bamboo.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

Yoga can be painful and can lead to injury, study says

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The downward dog can be good for you but yoga class may be a bit more dangerous than you think

Yoga can help relieve those aches and pains but it can also lead to an injury, researchers warn.

A University of Sydney study has found yoga caused musculoskeletal pain – mostly in the arms – in more than 10% of participants. Yoga also exacerbated 21% of existing injuries.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

How was your weekend running?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Share your weekend exploits below the line, whether you have triumphant PBs or injury woes to report

What is it with round numbers anyway? Why do we obsess over these completely arbitrary goals or targets? As regular readers of this column will know, missing said target by a few seconds is, anyway, very much the way we roll in my house. This weekend it was the turn of my 8 year old, who smashed her junior parkrun PB but just missed out on her first ever sub-10 minutes for the 2k course (10min 04sec!). Still enormously pleased, of course, and rewarded with crazy golf – the cool down of champions. Now to knock off another five seconds …

My own weekend consisted of my club track session on Saturday morning: 12 reps of 300m and 100m, with a short recovery. Ouch. My legs are not used to that sort of speed! However, it’s something even us long distance plodders should work more on, according to Steve Cram – and more to the point, can all benefit from, whatever the distance we race.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

Are you in with the in crowd? | Mitch Prinstein

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The way we deal with popularity at school stays with us for life. But, asks Mitch Prinstein, is it our true self?

At an early point in childhood, we all worked out how popular we really were. Either we knew we were admired and began to worry about maintaining our special influence over others, or we recognised that others were more popular than us and began to seek more attention.

Our positions in the social hierarchy seemed so important back then, and for good reason: popularity is the most valuable and easily accessible currency available to youth. But there’s something about our popularity in youth that seems to remain a part of who we are.

Continue reading…

Continue Reading »
0 Comments

Powered by WP Robot