While most people celebrate their hundredth birthday with a message from the Queen and a little lie-down, Bentley has been hard at it all year, devising its car of the future. Called the EXP 100 GT, the jaw-dropping two-seat, electric, autonomous grand tourer was unveiled today to Marie Claire at their Crewe HQ.
It’s electric, of course, with four motors giving it huge acceleration – 0-62mph in under 2.5 seconds, which is F1-car fast. Bentley also says owners will be able to charge the batteries to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes, which is more or less half the current charging time.
But really it’s all about the extraordinary sustainable materials used, and the technology this car has – in the next 10-20 years, it will be what’s inside cars that counts.
Approach the car and the glass grill and headlight surrounds glow and pulsate to welcome you. The paintwork on this car is called Compass: it uses a deep, soft grey pigment made from rice husk ash – rice husks end up in landfill in huge amounts as an otherwise harmful by-product of the rice industry, apparently.
Open the huge gullwing door to this car and a spacious, calm oasis of luxury is revealed. The two thin, cream seats seem to be covered in leather but actually the textile is a by-product of the wine industry. The carpets are made with British farmed wool, and there are cotton-clad surfaces, embroidered by Hand and Lock, the 18th-century British company that sews royal and military dress uniforms.
Perhaps the most extraordinary material is the burnished warm wood that surrounds the seats – it comes from 5,000-year-old riverwood – wood that has fallen naturally over time and sunk to the bottom of peat bogs, from where a company called the Fenland Black Oak Project recovers it for future generations. Bentley is working with the project, and has infused its own reclaimed wood with copper for a more lustrous look.
Naturally there is a high degree of artificial intelligence in the car – biometric analysis detects via gesture and touch whether the occupants are tired, stressed or energised, and adapts the lighting, temperature, air purification and seats within the car accordingly. The AI system is called the Bentley Personal Assistant and can also suggest journeys you might like to take, or point out places of interest as you pass. One activates it via a huge cut-crystal, illuminated interface in the car made from crystal sourced and hand blown in Cumbria.
This, then, is the new face of British automotive luxury, using rare, high-quality materials found in the UK from sustainable sources. It’s a fitting way to celebrate Bentley’s extraordinary heritage, while looking firmly forwards to the next 100 years.
But have you ever wondered just how polite we are as a nation? You’re probably guilty of saying sorry at least once a day – whether it’s because you’ve genuinely done something wrong or because someone else has bumped into you. It’s a reflex reaction, right?
You’ll be shocked when you realise just how many times a day we apologise.
A new study commissioned by chocolate biscuit bar PiCKUP! found that 88% of us regularly say sorry for things that aren’t their fault, and the average Brit apologises eight times a day, amounting to 4,380 times a year.
The research showed that 57% of us say sorry when someone bumps into them, and a third say it when asking a colleague to do something at work. Astonishingly, 7% of those involved in the study admitted that they apologised when someone else bumped or crashed into their car.
And when we don’t say sorry, others are deeply offended. More than 8 out of 10 admit they’ve been furious when someone hasn’t apologised for something they’ve done wrong.
But being too polite can be irritating to some, with 77% of Brits claiming that those who are too well-mannered are taken advantage of – and we’re not happy when it comes to queue hopping, with around 7 in 10 of us complaining if someone jumps the line.
When it comes to pay rises, though, we’re less vocal with 77% of us unwilling to ask for more money at work.
Weddings are pretty emotional business – from the touching speeches to the first dance, there are many opportunities to cry (with happiness, hopefully).
But have you ever wondered when we’re most likely to grab the tissues?
Wedding insurance provider Protectivity surveyed 1,000 people in the UK to find out which moments cause us to well up during a wedding.
According to the research it’s not watching the happy couple saying ‘I do’, with 37.72% of participants admitting they get emotional when they see a long-lost friend or relative.
But the ceremony does get us tearing up, with 36.03% crying during the exchanging of vows and 35.73% getting emotional when the bride walks up the aisle.
There are moments that aren’t grabbing our attention, however, with 31.74% of those involved in the study admitting that they check their phones most due to boredom during the evening entertainment and 28.34% during the meal.
Sean Walsh, Marketing Manager from Protectivity Insurance said: ‘It’s clear to see that people in the UK love a wedding – from seeing long-lost friends and relatives to sharing the experience with others on social media, we love to get involved in our loved ones’ special day.
‘With a huge amount of time and money going into the big day it is interesting to see that the most emotional moment of the day has nothing to do with the bride or groom directly, but reuniting with that long-lost friend or relative. But, with all the love in the air, who can blame them!’
But if you want something unique and delicious, you’re in luck. Cadbury is releasing not one but three new chocolate bars to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Last year the Cadbury Inventor Competition gave people the chance to produce their own chocolate bars with up to three ingredients, and the three finalists have now been chosen – and their creations sound like a proper treat.
The new flavours put a twist on the original Dairy Milk bar, and they sound really tasty. There’s a Dairy Milk Choco-Latte bar, which is a milk chocolate number with coffee flavoured creme and digestive biscuit pieces.
Then there’s the Dairy Milk Simply The Zest, orange flavoured chocolate with almond caramel pieces and digestive biscuit.
And lastly, there’s a Dairy Milk Raspberry Shortcake flavour, milk chocolate studded with raspberry pieces, white crisp pearls and shortcake.
However, there can only be one winner. Brits have the very tough job of trying all three and reporting back to Cadbury to let them know which one is their favourite.
You can vote for the one that tickles your tastebuds here.
The official website reads: ‘We scoured the nation for the finest inventors to create a new Cadbury Dairy Milk flavour… and now it’s time for you to cast your vote for which of our three shortlisted bars will go down in history as a permanent part of our Cadbury Dairy Milk range.’
The bar with the most votes will become a permanent fixture in the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk range.
Hot on the heels of the Jaguar I-Pace, and quite a long time after Tesla’s Model X, comes the Audi E-tron, an electric SUV. The floodgates are now open for electric vehicles (EVs), with Mercedes’ ECQ electric SUV also out now and plenty more to follow. But is the time right to buy electric?
To the naked eye, there isn’t much to differentiate this car from a petrol Audi Q5 or Q7 SUV, which is probably just as well – no one wants to scare the horses by suggesting that electric cars are a whacky, tricky purchase – “Think Normal” is the phrase du jour.
A few telltale signs are there – the rear has a futuristic taillight bar stretching across it, and there’s a charging port where the fuel filler cap would be, plus the front headlights are a bit more mean-looking, but, er, that’s about it.
Inside is a similar story: all standard Audi fare although the automatic gear-lever is a very funky horizontal bar, and there are two big digital touchscreens plus another digital display behind the steering wheel instead of dials.
A rear-view camera and parking sensors come as standard, and a 360-degree camera is an option (one we’d recommend for reverse parking). You can also specify – wait for it – virtual door mirrors which replace the wing mirrors with cameras mounted on the doors which project the view on door-mounted screens. An impressive toy.
There’s the usual DAB, Bluetooth and very good Audi satnav, plus you can toggle across the screen to see how much electric charge you have left. The car will also recommend ways to save the available mileage, by showing you just how many miles of range you’re wasting on, say, aircon.
This is a big car which, while it doesn’t make for easy manoeuvring around town, does mean there’s plenty of space on the inside for five adults and luggage in the boot. A handy touch is the button in the boot to lower the rear seats so you can load bigger items. There’s also a pleasingly wide centre console with loads of room to bung your purse and phone in.
Being electric also means you get that trademark silent ride which leaves you more relaxed at your destination.
The suspension is wonderfully set up to counter-balance the added low weight of the battery pack, and the kids and I enjoyed floating over speed humps on the way to school.
The E-tron has two electric motors – one for the front wheels and one for the rear, producing 400 horsepower between them, which is plenty for a premium motoring experience. The 0-62mph sprint is a claimed 5.7 seconds when you put the car into Sport mode: in reality that translates into plenty of confidence when overtaking other vehicles.
As for the all-important range: it’s about 240 miles, which isn’t quite as good as the Jaguar I-Pace’s 290 miles, but it will be fine if you have a wallbox mounted at home and one at work, too.
Charging couldn’t be simpler: you release a bonnet catch to retrieve your cable and plug, push one end into the charging point on the car which is revealed by a nifty sliding door, and plug the other end into the power source (I charged it overnight on a three-pin domestic socket in my garage which was painfully slow and gave me enough for the 12-mile school run – you’ll definitely need a wallbox installed). Locking the car locks the cable in place so you can walk away, and a little light by the plug glows green on and off while it’s charging.
As with all EVs, there’s a hefty upfront price to pay, not helped by the government knocking £1,000 from its £4,500 grant. But you’ll immediately start to recoup that money in running costs – the industry reckons an EV will cost you on average 3-4p per mile to run, while a petrol or diesel will be more like 7-8ppm.
The E-tron has a sticker price of £71,420, which is about £20,000 more than the bigger Q7 starts at, and makes it more expensive than the Jaguar I-Pace but less so than the Tesla Model X. But its resale value is predicted to remain high and the battery is covered for 8 years, or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Well if you’re looking for something new to satisfy your sweet tooth then we have some excellent news. M&M chocolate bars are coming to the UK for the first time ever and what a time to be alive!
The little mouthfuls of crunchy chocolate are confectionary favourites the world over, and now they come in a bar – quite frankly making all of our snack drawer dreams come true.
Each of the four flavours – Chocolate, Peanut, Crispy and Hazelnut – contain mini M&Ms in a chunky chocolate bar. Drooling yet? Same.
They’re currently available in the US and Australia, and have proved very popular already.
Cordelia Linacre, M&M’s Senior Brand Manager, said: ‘We’ve been inundated with requests to bring M&M’s Bars to the UK – so we’re extremely excited to announce that the wait is over! We invite existing fans and all chocolate lovers to get stuck in!’
You will be able to get your hands on the M&M chocolate bars in Tesco from 17th July with a full rollout in other retailers from 17th August.
These days, there are the verified influencers who have hundreds of thousands, even millions, of devoted fans on social media, but there are also micro influencers – those who have between 2,000 – 50,000 followers on their channels.
So at what point does someone go from small time influencer to Insta-famous?
According to The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), anyone with over 30,000 followers is deemed an online ‘celebrity’, meaning that they must adhere to strict advertising rules and regulations.
The authority determines the social media guidelines for those with a large following when it comes to ads and sponcon. They have determined that those who fall within the over 30,000 followers category are subject to the advertising rules – something recently highlighted when a mummy blogger promoted over-the-counter sleeping aids.
Celebs and health professionals are banned from promoting medical products, and while she marked the post as an ad, a ruling heard that with 32,000 followers Sarah Willox Knott (@ThisMamaLife) is deemed a celebrity.
Sanofi, the company behind the collaboration, claims the promo was cleared with the heathcare trade body – but this was rejected as a result of Sarah’s large following.
The ASA concluded: ‘We considered over 30,000 followers indicated that she had the attention of a significant number of people. Given that she was popular with, and had the attention of a large audience, we considered that ThisMamaLife was a celebrity for the purposes of the CAP Code.’
So if you’ve ever wondered at what point someone becomes a social media celeb, there’s your answer.
Fluffy bathrobes and slippers, room service, fancy toiletries, a big comfy bed – really, who doesn’t love staying at a hotel?
But if we have one pet peeve, it’s the fact that when you’re given an electronic swipe card as a key there’s no way of charging devices once you’ve left the room as the card needs to be in the slot by the door in order to keep the electricity on.
It also means that if you go out for the day, the air conditioning goes off and you can enjoy returning to a nice, humid room. Lovely.
However, this hotel room hack will change the way you stay at hotels forever. Yes, really – forever. Because long gone are the days of stuffy rooms and not being able to charge your phone.
The key cards don’t actually need to be in the slot to keep the electricity on. One Twitter user pointed out that any card that fits in there will keep things going. There’s no special chip or sensor that requires the key – as long as there’s something keeping the button at the bottom down, the slot is none the wiser.
‘Travellers’ tips (an occasional series): you see, you can use ANY card to work your hotel-room light switch. In this case my Ely Cathedral shop discount card,’ Jonathan Jones tweeted.
So now you know you can leave the room with your phone on charge
It also means that if one of you decides to pop out while the other has a snooze, they can take the card with them and the napping person doesn’t have to suffer with no air conditioning.
As Charlotte Philby’s debut novel is published – nine years after her first manuscript was rejected by countless agents – she reflects on the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity and why failing is so much a part of the journey for many successful women
‘You are just so bloody accomplished!’ a friend said while scanning through the bio of my new novel, as testimony to the fact that I am a highly competent human being. It was all I could do not to howl with laughter. Because what now, neatly pulled together on that page, reads as a perfectly plotted journey on the road to becoming a published novelist, at each interchange has felt like an ever-mounting pile-up of my failures.
What that bio doesn’t include is the novel I wrote eight years ago, which I poured my heart and sleep-deprived soul into while on my first maternity leave and then had rejected by no less than seven agents. It doesn’t mention the crappy bit-jobs I’ve taken between roles to fund writing, nor the crippling self-doubt that culminated in several emotional breakdowns along the way.
The pressure to know oneself and one’s dreams, and to have fulfilled them by a certain stage in life can be crippling. I clearly remember a friend telling me how relieved she had been to leave behind her twenties, how it had taken having a baby and turning 30 to understand who she was. Later, weeping to my husband, I said, ‘But I’m 34 and have three kids and still I have no idea who I am!’ As far as I was concerned, my life was in free-fall. This was the story I told myself night after sleepless night, not knowing how it would end.
It was impossible to imagine then that two years later I would have one novel published and two in the pipeline. Having spent eight years as an intern-turned-features assistant-turned-writer-turned-editor-turned-reporter-turned-columnist at a national newspaper, I left not long after my second baby was born. I had been struggling since finding myself catapulted into the baffling landscape of surprise motherhood at the age of 27, while in the throes of a career I loved but which no longer worked for me (I doff my hat to those who can successfully combine hands-on parenthood and being an effective news reporter).
Running my own business, I decided, was the answer. And so in 2014, while on my second maternity leave, I created a new parenting platform for mothers. This was going to be my success story! And yet, after two years (and a third baby), I was forced to pull the plug on that, too. The reality was that the multiple and seemingly endless pressures of running a business while trying to raise three young kids without proper childcare (which the earnings of the business couldn’t afford us) made it impossible to justify, financially and emotionally.
The day I walked away from my business, I walked the streets of central London in a state of shock. In a deeply surreal moment, I stumbled on a Marie Curie cake sale in a random church hall and sat at a table amid chattering old ladies, and wept. I had hit rock bottom – albeit a rock bottom with flapjacks. The sense of failure was all-consuming, yet there was more than a flutter of liberation, too. On reflection, I sensed it already – the crack that had opened up, allowing in new light.
As executive coach Phanella Mayall Fine says, sometimes you have to discover what isn’t working before you find what does. ‘I trained as a lawyer and a fund manager before requalifying as a coach,’ she says. ‘I can choose to see those years of training as wasted time, or I can acknowledge them as fundamental to my ability to coach now… The path to success tends not to be linear, particularly for women. Few of my clients are living the vision of success they had at the outset of their careers. Lives have shaped careers, and events that seemed to be failures (a redundancy, for example) have taken careers in new, brilliant directions.’
Overcoming adversity is par for the course in getting somewhere worth being, says Philip Corr, professor of psychology at City University. ‘Success is born of failure,’ he says. ‘It is easy not to fail: simply do nothing of significance. Failure is a sign of trying and this can lead to learning new ways of succeeding. All “successful” people have a history of failure – people who do not fail have a history of doing nothing.’
Yet, while serving as inspiration, stories like mine can also seem daunting. For me, getting to where I wanted to be (and even realising where that was) has been an ongoing process of understanding when something wasn’t working and then walking away, even if that felt painful. My mum likes to tell me that as soon as I’m getting good at something, I give it up, as if that is a slight of character. And yet, rather than feeling shame for my refusal to pursue something that I know in my gut isn’t working, I pride myself on having the strength to constantly reassess what I want and what I’m doing, and subsequently redirect my energy. Life is not always straightforward – it is a process of reassessment, to understand the way forward; to redress the balance.
In many ways, the impact of what I regarded as hitting rock bottom enabled me to think about what I wanted from life – and that was to write fiction. One afternoon, after an emotional lunch with a friend in which we shared a mutual yearning to run away from the pressures of our own lives, I started to think about what it would take to push a young mother to walk out on her children. I’d spent a lot of time thinking about my grandfather, the spy Kim Philby who duped and ultimately betrayed not just his country but his wife and five children, and when I transposed the idea of the woman walking out on her life on to my yearning to write a stylish spy novel, I had the formula for my book.
Billed as ‘The Night Manager set in a woman’s world’, The Most Difficult Thing is a modern domestic suspense thriller set between London, Greece and the Maldives, which opens with Anna, a mother of three-year-old twins walking out on her children and her seemingly perfect life as a magazine editor, forever. Through the novel –partially based on a true crime and told by two female protagonists –we’re forced to question the nature of betrayal and what we’d sacrifice to uncover the truth.
A key part of finally writing the book I wanted to write, was, I think, failing at so many other things. This process allowed me to really know myself, and to have confidence in my own voice. That confidence pushed me through when the writing process threatened to subsume me.
What I’ve learned, in the past year since landing the book deal I’ve been working towards for nine years, is that human capacity is not infinite and you have to make space to flourish. When my first book deal was just for one book, I panicked, but after persevering and holding tight, I’ve since sold two more novels to the same publisher. The second one, A Duplicitous Life – which moves between the stories of two women whose lives mysteriously interconnect – is a reworking of that eight-year-old much-rejected manuscript. It’s proof that nothing is ever really wasted. Sometimes, you just need to bide your time, to know when the universe (or your gut) is telling you to try something else – and when it is telling you to carry on.
The Most Difficult Thing is published on 11 July by Borough Press
Endless deadlines, cramming yourself onto a packed train during your commute and the unreliable British weather are just a few reasons you might be daydreaming of packing your suitcase and jetting off to a beautiful little island.
But what if you could do just that and get paid for it? Sounds too good to be true, right?
Wrong. If you like the sound of sun, sea and sand on a secluded slice of paradise then the Greek island of Antikythera, located between Crete and mainland Greece, is looking to boost its population. If you decide to make the move they’ll provide you with a plot of land, a house and €6,000 (€500 per month).
Currently there are only twenty residents living on the island, and it’s hoped that the attractive offer will encourage young families to pack their bags and make the move.
However – and yes, there’s always a catch – despite the fact that a ferry runs from Crete to Antikythera if can be a pretty hard place to get to as travel can be disrupted due to the weather.
It may also be a little isolating at first, considering that only a handful of people live there at the moment. One resident, 62-year-old Vassals Aloizos, told the LA Times: ‘We are an island of pensioners, old men.’
Four families have reportedly been approved for the move but it should also be noted that the process for new residents can take up to five years according to Insider.