My pickled veg is fizzing – is it OK? | Kitchen aide

Upping the (sea) salt and adding vinegar can add longevity to fermented veg – but the fizzing means the bacteria are doing their job • Do you have a culinary dilemma? Email I pickled some small home-grown cucumbers in spiced and sweetened vinegar, packed tightly into a lidded jar. The liquid leaked out of […]

What did Santa bring us? Two Syrian refugees

Christmas for my family means midnight mass, It’s a Wonderful Life and a game of pass-the-orange-under-the-chin. How would our guests Mohammed and Ayman fit in? We were halfway through the annual game of pass-the-orange-under-the-chin when I realised that Christmas was going to be OK. No, not just OK, better. My Dundonian mother is pretty competitive […]

Mariah Carey: ‘They’re calling me a diva? I think I’m going to cry!’

A brutal childhood, a traumatic marriage, decades of racism: the singer has overcome it all on her way to the top. She lets rip about the people who have wronged her and the self-belief that sustains her It is a rainy Thursday afternoon and Mariah Carey is talking to me from her home in Los […]

What causes bad breath? – and 11 other common dental questions answered

Is coffee really that bad for our teeth? Does it matter if we don’t floss? And is it possible to repair enamel? Dental expert and hygienist Elaine Tilling has the answers From the first signs of tooth decay to at-home whitening advice, we asked TePe’s dental hygiene expert Elaine Tilling to answer our most pressing […]

Issa Rae: ‘It’s astounding that our talent hasn’t been recognised’

The woman behind cult HBO comedy Insecure has been making and starring in her own series for years. What took Hollywood so long to notice? Issa Rae, one of the first black women to create and star in a premium cable series and potentially the hardest-working person in Hollywood, is putting in overtime with the […]

‘It’s about breaking boundaries’: Nicola Adams on dancing with a woman on Strictly

The Olympic boxing champion retired last year, but her competitive spirit will soon have a new chance to thrive – when she takes to the ballroom and makes TV history Nicola Adams is used to being a trailblazer. As a boxer, she fought her way to historic firsts, picking up trophies in a sport that […]

Jason Derulo: ‘Lockdown’s been the most fun I’ve ever had in my life’

The singer, 30, on being a cool uncle, speaking Creole at home and having 30m followers on TikTok I was four when I decided I was going to be an entertainer. I saw Michael Jackson for the first time and said, “Mum, I want to be him.” She was like, “Yeah, OK baby.” I grew […]

‘I like to infiltrate the brains of the nation’: CBeebies’ Andy Day, Britain’s favourite babysitter

Having spent 14 years time-travelling on TV, the presenter explains how having his own child has changed his output – and what the future holds for preschool programming Andy Day is defending his patchy record as a time traveller. “I understand the worry out there,” he says, his voice frantic with reassurance. “But it’s all […]

Smoked out: why me and a million other people have given up nicotine in 2020

My lifelong love affair with cigarettes was so intense I could only have smoked more if I had slept less. But smashing my vape kit was the final straw One million cigarette smokers have apparently given up since the start of lockdown. It’s like a massacre. (OK, arguably, the massacre is what would have happened […]

In good health: meet the people who have quit their jobs to join the NHS

From the dinner lady retraining as a nurse, to the credit controller with her eyes on midwifery, coronavirus has encouraged many to follow their dreams of a caring career It wasn’t that Zeta Annear didn’t like being a dinner lady. The children were lovely and the school felt like a community. It was straightforward work […]

Beverley Ditsie: the South African woman who helped liberate lesbians everywhere

Growing up in 80s Soweto, Ditsie was immersed in the struggle against apartheid. But she knew racial oppression was only part of the fight – and organised the first Pride march in Africa Beverley Ditsie first understood what the word “gay” meant while listening to Boy George. She was a teenager in the South African […]

The new taboo: how ‘flattering’ became fashion’s ultimate F-word

Every season comes with an ostensibly complimentary shorthand. But the one that has outlived them all is probably the most problematic ‘I’ve got loads of dresses that I bought because someone in the changing room told me they were flattering,” says Billie Bhatia, the fashion features editor at Stylist magazine. “In that moment, I feel […]

‘If I die, that is OK’: the Calais refugees with nowhere to turn

Why asylum seekers are resorting to desperate measures to reach the ‘better, fairer’ UK Sami was on a beach near Calais, crying, when Claire Moseley found him. The charity worker got a text asking for help and went to collect him in the early hours of the morning. He and three friends, one of them […]

I feel ashamed that my marriage is over: how can I tell our young son?

Children pick up on undercurrents, says Annalisa Barbieri. Look at this as a new chapter, but be clear in agreeing boundaries After 22 years together (half my life), my husband and I have decided to separate. We’ve had extensive therapy, we love each other and want the best for each other, but unfortunately, the romantic […]

I’m terrified that I will die, leaving my son. How can I cope?

Big life transitions are hard, says Annalisa Barbieri. Maybe you are worried about him leaving you as he heads into adulthood I’m 54 and happily married, with a 15-year-old son. In the past, I didn’t have maternal feelings, but since having my son, I feel as if an extreme emotional switch has been turned on. […]

Comedian Helen Lederer on rebellion: ‘It always surprised me that just being myself got me into so much trouble’

The Absolutely Fabulous actor and comedian can’t stop laughing at the absurdity of middle age – leaky bladders included Striving to be funny because your parents tell you not to be might sound rather childish, but that’s how I discovered the joy of laughter from an early age. It started when I was diagnosed with […]

The latest Instagram trend: putting your name on photos of frogs, cats and Harry Styles

Quarantine has made us teenagers again, feverishly matching our names with various animals as well as Guy Fieri A week ago, I opened my Instagram for the 10th time – OK, 20th, we’re still in quarantine – that day to an unexpected message from my friend. Splashed across the image of what appeared to be […]

The meal kits from restaurants you can plate up at home

Getting a little tired of your own cooking? There are new ways round it, says Jay Rayner The bleakest of crises can also gift us the most impressive of innovations. The Second World War gave us radar and rocket propulsion. This pandemic has given us… evolved restaurant food delivery. Oh, what a time to be […]

Football fans: what did you make of the Premier League’s return?

It was not the best night for Hawk-Eye or David Luiz. How was it for you? Will you be tuning in for the 90 remaining games? All eyes – Hawk-Eye, aside – were on the Premier League on Wednesday night and it was as eventful as ever, with one red card, two David Luiz howlers […]

Mind your language: is it ever OK to correct someone’s grammar?

If you find yourself doing it, consider this: are you genuinely attempting to help, or just trying to gain the upper hand? After Sunday’s episode of reality TV drama 90 Day Fiancé, people were left with an important question: is it ever OK to correct someone’s grammar? The show follows long-distance couples in a pressure […]

What does it mean to be a ‘Karen’? Karens explain

As the meme has become more prominent online, its meaning has become confused – with real-life Karens caught in the crosshairs It is the eye-rolling retort that Karens everywhere have come to know all too well: “OK, KAREN.” Yes, it is their given name – but on the internet, “Karen” has come to stand for […]

No posh bread, no fancy cheese and certainly no mayo: the seven unwritten rules of eating baked beans

From that initial cold forkful to just the right amount of cheese, we’ve settled it – this is how you should be enjoying your beans Forget whether the dress was blue or white, or if there was room for Jack on that floating debris – the most heated debates of our generation revolve around food. […]

Cosmetic surgery conundrum: is it OK to speculate about Jared Kushner and Botox?

The ‘haunted doll’ look of Donald Trump’s son-in-law has attracted a lot of attention. When people comment on famous women and surgery there is often a backlash, but should the same apply here? What has happened to Jared Kushner’s face?Richard, by email People get a little antsy about the subject of cosmetic surgery: they don’t […]

Is old yeast OK? The 17 rules of expiry dates – from eggs to meat to oils

Use-by dates are a food-safety matter so you should always take them seriously. Here’s a guide to where you do – and definitely don’t – have some leeway One news event you may have missed this month was that Tesco lost a judicial review over selling foods past their use-by date. The company been taken […]

UK coronavirus live: Starmer calls on government to set out lockdown exit strategy

All the developments in the UK’s Covid-19 crisis Care providers allege Covid-19 death toll underestimated UK economy could shrink by 35% with 2m job losses, warns OBR Coronavirus – latest global updates Coronavirus latest: at a glance See all our coronavirus coverage 8.10am BST Labour leader Keir Starmer has been speaking to ITV’s This Morning. […]

Why Damien Hirst has been talking about art, money – and painted genitalia

In a series of Instagram videos, the artist has discussed sobriety, Rembrandt and an eyebrow-raising experience with Leigh Bowery Name: Damien Hirst.Age: 54. Appearance: Taxi driver from Romford. Occupation: Artist. Enfant terrible (retired). Net worth: More than £200m, apparently. Often said to be the richest artist in the UK, the world, the universe. Sharks pickled […]

Is coronavirus stress to blame for the rise in bizarre ‘lockdown dreams’? | Mary-Ellen Lynall

Many people are reporting unusually vivid dreams – and scientists think they could be a key way we process emotion Mary-Ellen Lynall is a neuroscientist Coronavirus latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage How are your dreams these days? If they’re unusually vivid and bizarre, you’re not alone. Your housemates might not be interested in […]

Tim Dowling: Houseparty is the kind of party I’d leave early, but it’s followed me home

I realise I’m one technical glitch away from not knowing anyone here I’ve tried to occupy myself in the garden these past weeks, but gardening turns out to be an activity best enjoyed in the context of a busy life, because germination is slow. I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees, […]