If you’re thinking of moving abroad but you’re not sure where to go, this Greek island will pay you to move there. Sun, sea, sand and six grand sounds pretty good, right?
And if that doesn’t appeal to you because you prefer a mountain village feel, then how about this: a beautiful town in Switzerland is selling houses for just 81p. Yes, really. Not quite sure where that random figure came from, but who can complain? A house for less than a pound – a tempting offer, especially when you consider that the average wage required to buy your first home in the UK is a rather eye-watering sum.
The remote town in the Italian-speaking municipality of Monti Scìaga, located in the province of Ticino, is selling nine properties for a bargain price in order to encourage people to come and live there while revamping the stone houses, according to The Local. They have stunning views of Val Veddasca and Lake Maggiore, and as it’s close to the Italian border Milan is just 70 miles away.
We can see ourselves there already.
Scìaga has been ‘almost completely abandoned since the 1970s but has maintained its original structure with traditional architectural elements’ according to an a plan published online.
Small catch – the hamlets, known as rustici to the locals, are currently in ruins so will need to be fully renovated. Finally, we have an excuse to watch all of the decorating shows for, you know, inspiration.
But the good news is that the plumbing is sorted in all the properties, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Currently the plans are waiting for approval, but once the local building authorities have signed off on the proposal in the autumn the houses will be up for sale.
Tempted to pack your bags and head to Switzerland? Same.
I have been so busy but that hasn’t stopped me planning my whole schedule around my 9pm fix of Love Island. Can we just take a second to talk about Ovie? I hear a scream from the cheap seats… Is it just me that sees a complete eligible and MORE than able free, single and bloody gorgeous male in there in need of me!? You wouldn’t need to ask me, ‘where’s your head at?’ twice, as I know ideally where it would be… come to Mama!
Do we need to get a sponsor in there, any opticians? Have they had too much sun and can’t see anything but those little yellow spots… Ovie, don’t you worry baby, there is a Kween on the outside waiting for you. And who doesn’t need a daily dose of Maura? Standing up, sticking up and never putting up with any shit, no matter what! Unless they bring good energy, respect and amples of feel good vibes…. Next.
Maura is my mood all day, every day.
I got jealous of seeing sun-kissed bodies and did some jetting off and holidaying myself. When I got a call from the team at Boutique Retreats to stay, my bags were packed and I was ready for a road trip in the matter of minutes – Cornwall I was coming, ready or not! You know I need no excuse for blue skies and white sandy beaches.
My first stop was Horizon Cottage and it was everything I thought it would be. Overlooking the quintessential Cornish fishing village of Mousehole, just out to sea in the distance you could even spot St Michael’s Mount through the floor to ceiling fold away doors. This was the first time I visited Mousehole and I was at the centre of it; staying at this beautiful property perched so high on a hill, it allowed me to have the best views of this picturesque village.
I loved how the property has an upside down approach; the living space is actually upstairs, which made use of all those breathtaking views. The blue hues throughout made you feel even more connected to the sea – everything has been thought through here and the interiors both upstairs and downstairs are exactly what you require from a vacay. Calm and serene.
A log fire is always essential for me when I’m staying in Cornwall and this didn’t disappoint. I snuggled down in the extremely comfy sofas while my Mamas cooked just opposite me, in what can only be described as the best equipped kitchen I’ve ever been in. Those copper work tops though! And I’m still not over the size of the American style fridge freezer. Three bedrooms meant I had different sleeping options each night too, so it was absolutely fit for a queen, and the en-suite upstairs was a real treat.
My favourite part of my stay here had to be the stunning floral path leading up to a decking area, loaded with my very own hot tub and endless views of the sea. I spent my evenings sitting here, sipping champagne and overlooking all the quirky rooftops that light up the village.
Horizon cottage is absolute relaxation heaven and a delightful seaside retreat. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there, because from a very quirky property I now step into a Cornish dream. A cottage among acres of trees set next to the iconic gardens of Heligan. This was paradise to me; it doesn’t get more peaceful or idyllic than this. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many daisies in my entire life. Thousands upon thousands all around the cottage, swaying in the breeze, and the birds singing made it impossible to not fall even more in love than I already am with this part of the country.
Roses surrounded the very pretty windows and butterflies everywhere. Two floors inside meant there was so much to explore. A traditional cottage kitchen with a separate utility area and of course my all time favourite. An aga. Perfect to cook my pasties in. A nightly occurance might I add.
This leads onto a living space with a circular stone chimney breast and log fire which opened out onto a terrace of natural beauty. All the tones of green outside were incredible. The trees so high they looked like they touched the clouds. There’s a lovely little breakfast terrace at the front entrance of the cottage perfect for summer days. All the outdoor spaces left me speechless to be honest, and it’s where I spent most of the day kicking back on the sun loungers and soaking in the sun. This property has three bedrooms, all perfectly put together with touches of French vintage in the double, giving it a very fairytale like feel, and I loved the St. Ives wallpaper in the twin room.
Nothing prepared me for the master bedroom – just wow. Stunning shades of purple and grey and the rustic floorboards leading to a HUGE sleigh bed, not to mention the roll-top bath. I couldn’t get enough. So decadent. So me. The high beamed ceilings never ended and the gorgeous chandelier was a great centre piece. There was even a hidden away curved wall ensuite shower in the same room with stained glass windows. So extra. Very much like myself.
Rose Cottage is epitome of a family holiday home and perfectly located to nearby beaches and rich in places to explore that’s if you can tear yourself away long enough from this magical property.
Right, got to go… Love Island is about to start. I think need to make an entrance to the villa so I can save Amber from herself. ‘It is what it is, babe’ and seriously, ‘Michael is not for you!’ He is rude and you’re a female warrior, more in need of an Ovie than a Micky. But then aren’t we all! MOVE ON!
Horizon and Rose Cottage are both dog-friendly; for more information and more images on both head to the Boutique Retreats website above.
Brighton is one of the UK’s most popular seaside getaways, and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re heading down to the south coast city to wander through the lanes, dip your toes in the sea or spend your pennies in the pier arcade, the atmosphere is one-of-a-kind. Friendly, fun, relaxed and colourful – it’s a place where individuality is championed, and there’s something happening on every street.
Plus, who can resist the smell of hot, sugary doughnuts or summer drinks in a quirky pub garden?
But Brighton is so much more than fish and chips, seagulls and salty sea air. A bohemian vibe courses through the city’s veins. It’s an utterly unique place – small enough to walk from one side to the other, but big enough to be home to hundreds of independent eateries.
From chocolatiers, to seafood specialists, to the only chip shop mayo-lovers need to know about, it’s a heady mix of fun, fast and fine dining. Forget chain restaurants – make the most of Brighton’s bursting food scene and prepare to get seriously stuffed.
Not sure where to start? Luckily, we’ve put together the ultimate foodie’s cheat sheet to dining in Brighton. You’re welcome.
Where to eat
Tuck into a hipster breakfast at Lost In The Lanes
It’s everything you want from a brunch spot and more – all you have to do is look through the window on a Sunday morning and you’ll see how many other people agree. Lost In The Lanes offers an all-day brunch menu in a cosy, stripped back setting, and you’ll be impressed by plates on offer (and the coffee, too). Flat whites and lattes are carefully crafted here and the smoothies offer a welcome health boost the morning after the night before. Try the vegetarian Lost Breakfast or add salmon and poached eggs to a classic avocado on sourdough. Delicious.
Delight in south Indian cuisine at Curry Leaf Cafe
There are three Curry Leaf Cafes in Brighton and they all serve the same mouth-watering south Indian dishes. The scent of spices welcomes you as soon as you get through the door, and the open-plan dining space emits a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. The focus is on sharing, so order a few different dishes and get a feel for the menu’s diverse flavours. Start with gobi 65, deep-fried cauliflower, alongside a mini onion masala dosa. Then tuck into succulent spiced pudina lamb chops and try the curry tasting platter – which includes chicken, lamb rogan and prawn curry – to really get a taste of what Curry Leaf has to offer.
Prepare to be impressed at The Salt Room
Looking for the best fish in Brighton? Head to The Salt Room and prepare to be amazed. The award winning restaurant sits overlooking the West Pier and offers contemporary seafood plates using sustainable, local produce. Order a glass of fizz and a few fresh oysters – then you’re ready to take on the à la carte menu. Octopus served with white beans and seaweed gremolata or the pollock ceviche are excellent starter choices, followed by the salt baked bream (which is a very theatrical experience when the crust is prized open by the waiter) or the halibut with miso and pancetta.
And let’s not forget the beautifully designed desserts. Don’t miss the epic Taste of the Pier sharing board, featuring blood peach 99s, lemon meringue fudge, white chocolate and raspberry bark, strawberry and lime doughnuts and two large sticks of candy floss.
Where to drink
Enjoy a tea-infused cocktail at Metrodeco
The quaint and wonderfully decorated Metrodeco is a gem of a find with friendly staff, leopard print chairs and a unique take on classic cocktails. When the evening rolls around the quirky tea room is a great spot for enjoying a tea-infused beverage. Try the Metro-Margarita – pink pride tea tequila, cointreau, lychee syrup and lemonade number – or the Rosie Lee – pink pride tea-infused gin with cranberry and Prosecco.
What to do
Sample just about everything in Brighton on an epic food tour
If you’re ready and willing to eat your way through the city but have no idea where to start, book yourself a spot on the Brighton Food Tours. You’ll get a thorough tour of Brighton’s best independent restaurants and food retailers, so let your guide talk you through its interesting history and enjoy the city’s best kept foodie secrets (if you find yourself pounding the pavements with Paul you’re in for a treat).
Try the oysters at English’s of Brighton, the seafood restaurant popular with celebrities, and chip lovers have to make time for BeFries, the one-stop shop for Belgian Fries and a range of house sauces (don’t miss the black truffle mayo or dill and gherkin frites sauce).
Other hotspots include Smorl’s tasty houmous shop and anyone with a sweet tooth needs to visit Rainbow Organic Chocolates, both found in The Open Market.
The sample portions at each stop are more than adequate, so prepare to finish the tour feeling sufficiently full.
Where to stay
Check in to The White House
The White House is an award winning boutique bed and breakfast located in trendy Kemptown and just 100 metres from Brighton seafront. In fact, if you’re booked into one of the south facing bedrooms you can also enjoy sea views. It’s impeccably clean and tidy, and the owners are super friendly. The rooms are kitted out with the usual modcons – a tv, iPod docking station and tea and coffee, along with Orla Kiely toiletries.
It also offers a superb breakfast (which you can take outside if the sun’s out) using local free range produce, and if you want something filling opt for the creamy scrambled eggs with salmon on toast.
For more information about what to do in Brighton, visit www.visitbrighton.com or follow @visit.brighton on Instagram
Summer is here, which means it’s the perfect weather for you to enjoy a G&T in a huge glass at a delightful rooftop bar. If you prefer your gin at home, there’s a Waitrose gin tasting service which allows you to try a range of flavours from the comfort of your couch. Either way, you can enjoy your favourite tipple.
So you’ll be pleased to know you can now combine your love of gin and your love of baking thanks to the new ASDA pink gin cupcake kits. Oh, yes.
The packets cost just £1.75 and they’ll make six cupcakes and includes paper cases. The only additional ingredients you’ll need are eggs, butter and water. Whack them in a bowl with the mix, bake for 15-18 minutes and your pink gin cupcakes are almost ready to eat.
There is one more step, and that’s decorating your baked goods by adding the raspberry gin and tonic flavour frosting mix and sprinkling the red sugar crunch pieces on top.
Just so you know, they don’t contain actual gin – just flavourings. However, they’d make the perfect addition to any summer spread, whether you’re having a BBQ or casual garden drinks with your pals.
The kits are available online and we’re certain they’ll sell out so you’ll have to be quick.
After all, duty free is there for a reason, right?
Well, it turns out that there’s one thing you should never buy at the departures gate. According to Erin Yurday, CEO of NimbleFins, you should always make sure you’ve got your sun cream before you get to the airport. Why? Because despite being duty-free, you can pay up to £6 more for a bottle than you would online.
He told Cosmopolitan UK: ‘Be sure to include sun cream on your holiday packing list, buying online at least a week ahead of your trip to secure the cheapest prices and leave time for shipping.
‘If you need to buy sun lotion from the airport duty-free you might pay nearly £6 more per bottle.
‘However duty-free prices may still be cheaper than what you’d pay once you arrive at your destination, as shops in tourist towns have notoriously high prices for necessities like sun lotion.’
Good to know.
If you do like a bit of a shop while you’re waiting for your flight, you’re better off splashing the cash on bags, branded lipsticks, sunglasses and shoes instead.
But if you’re heading to the US, there’s one thing you need to be sure isn’t in your hand luggage.
Currently passengers aren’t allowed to carry liquids over 100ml in the bag they bring onboard. However, if you’re heading to the US you’re also only permitted to take a limited amount of powder. The TSA explains that powder products (think milk powders and powder cosmetics) are restricted to 350ml (or 120z).
The rules are: ‘If you are travelling from an international last-point-of-departure to the US, powder-based substances in carry-on baggage greater than 350ml or 12 ounces may require additional screening at the central checkpoint.
‘Powder-like substances over 12 oz. or 350ml in carry-on that cannot be resolved at the central checkpoint will not be allowed onto the cabin of the aircraft and will be disposed of.
‘For your convenience, place powders in your checked bag. The measures have already been implemented at US airports nationwide to identify and prevent potentially dangerous items from being brought aboard the aircraft. There are no changes to what is allowed in carry-on baggage at US airport checkpoints.’
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office says: ‘Food items and powders in your hand luggage can obstruct images on x-ray machines.Your bags may need to be checked again manually by security. You can put these items in your hold luggage to minimise delays.’
The Ford Focus hatchback has been among the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK since its inception, and was only beaten to the top spot this year by its smaller sibling, the Fiesta. Get behind the wheel and it’s easy to see why you might choose this car over a VW Golf, Mazda3, Honda Civic, Audi A3, Mercedes A-class, BMW 1-Series or Vauxhall Astra (see how crowded this market is?!): there exists a near-perfect blend of the three ps – performance, practicality and price.
The Ford Focus Vignale is not the most exciting car to look at: the current equivalents from Audi, BMW and Mercedes all look better, but will also cost you more. We had a Vignale version, which is the top spec, with a dark Mulberry paint job (a £550 extra), and the panoramic sunroof (£995).
The new fat grille at the front makes a good statement, and this is the most handsome Focus to date, with a creased rear that hides some of the traditional hatchback lumpiness.
Inside the Vignale spec gives you a dark wood insert along the dash which we could have done without – it kicks any cool, youthful vibe into touch. The black leather is smart, however and the lack of clutter in the cabin adds to a sense of space and light.
Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system isn’t the best – while the graphics for the satnav are clear and helpful, when our iPhone was plugged in for Apple CarPlay, it over-rode the car’s own satnav which we needed as we were in the wilds of the Highlands with no phone reception for most of our long weekend with the car. There was then a short delay between selecting various functions and them actually doing anything, which got annoying, we struggled to get rid of the waypoints on a satnav route and the satnav does not tell you initially how many miles to your destination, which means you can’t readily calculate the fuel you need.
However, the wireless phone charging in the car was a welcome addition for just £100 more, as was the Driver Assistance Pack, which is a positive bargain at £500 for traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control (does the braking and accelerating for you while keeping a monitored distance from the car in front) and lane-centring assist which nudges you back should you stray over the white lines.
Standard tech includes for the Vignale includes a heads-up display, active park assist, hill-start hold, cruise control and pre-collision alert – it proves you should do your homework and check the higher price of a top-spec car against how much kit it’s loaded with – a cheaper initial outlay can sometimes prove a false economy.
A large boot makes this a good family car when combined with a relatively small footprint for easier parking. The seats are supportive and there’s plenty of leg room for four adults. My partner remarked how smooth the car felt over the rutted, potholed lanes of Skye – the supportive suspension set-up is one of the reasons Ford continues to sell its hatchbacks and SUVs in such large numbers over here in the UK. The car was also surprisingly quiet at motorway speeds – normally you have to spend at least £30,000 to achieve such high-speed refinement – see pricing details below.
The 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine that Ford sells is an incredible unit – very feisty from a standstill for the first few seconds, which makes this car feel like it’s got more power than it has (182 horsepower). We had the eight-speed automatic, controlled via a rotary knob instead of a gear lever, which was a bit slow to engage Drive or Reverse: we’d choose a manual gearbox.
You’ll do 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds which is fine for a family car but won’t set your hair on fire, but in return you’ll achieve just under 40mpg which is very reasonable – we drove all over the Highlands from Inverness, across to the top of Skye, and back to the airport via Loch Ness on one tank.
The Ford Focus Vignale with the 1.5-litre Ecoboost starts at £28,500; with our options the price rose to £31,270. Look at both a PCP and an HP deal (no option to keep the vehicle after three years but in return you don’t pay the depreciation as well as the hire price) to decide which monthly payment plan is best for you. With good reliability and a friendly dealer network, the Focus should be on your list if you’re after a hatchback.
Sleep is absolutely essential to a healthy lifestyle but with work, children and life’s everyday pressures, too many of us struggle to get enough shut-eye.
‘I don’t need that much sleep’, we tell ourselves. ‘I can’t fall asleep before a certain time anyway’.
But judging by new guidance that is set to be issued by ministers, we need sleep a lot more than we think – and are more sleep deprived than we expected too.
The guidance in question is part of a series of proposals aimed at improving public health in the UK, with sleep deprivation leading to a multitude of physical and mental health problems.
Yes, according to the research cited in the proposal, there is a link between sleep deprivation and a number of increased health risks, from obesity and heart attacks to anxiety and depression.
So how much sleep should we all be getting? Well, according to the new governmental guidance, a whole seven hours – at least.
And while you may think that sounds easy, a leaked draft of the plans via The Times reveals that a whopping three in four adults do not regularly get seven hours sleep per night.
‘As a first step the government will review the evidence on sleep and health,’ the draft guidance reportedly reads. ‘This is with a view to informing the case for clear national guidance on the daily recommended hours of sleep for individuals in different age brackets and to raise awareness of the key “sleep hygiene” factors that can support healthy sleeping.’
Most people pick pets over their partners according to one recent study, and we can’t say we’re that shocked. If the two don’t get along, you’re more likely to ditch your lover in favour of your fur baby. And who’s to judge? The study also found that most of the participants admitted that their pet smelt better than their other half’s breath. Delightful.
So it makes sense that most people who own a dog kiss their pet pooch more than their partner, and new research proves this to be true.
Pet food company Riley Organics conducted a survey and found that 52% of US dog owners kiss their doggo more than their other half. The same amount of people admitted that they prefer to sleep with their hound, too.
Science does say it’s better to sleep next to a dog than a human, with research finding that those who slept next to their pooch reported a better, more restful sleep than those who snoozed next to another animal or person. Why? Because when we snuggle up with dogs we experience feelings of comfort and security.
However, another study found that sleeping next to your dog can stop you from getting the recommended eight hours kip and should only happen ‘if the mental health benefits outweigh the real risks associated with sleep loss.’
And our love for our pets knows no bounds. No, seriously. The majority of people would pick their pet over their partner according to new research.
A study by Mattress Online found that 64% of people are more likely to choose their dog/cat/hamster over their significant other if the two don’t get along.
But for those of you who might be in a relationship with someone that falls into the above category, 80% of participants said that having an animal actually strengthened their relationship and communication and reduced stress levels. So it’s not all bad.
Slightly more surprising (maybe?) is the fact that half of those involved in the research admitted that they’d let their pet interrupt sex, and most of those surveyed said that their pet smelt better than their other half’s breath. Lovely.