Unfortunately in the world of childhood, things are still very blue and pink. So with girls playing in their plastic kitchens and dressing up dolls, where do dads fit in with playtime?

Author Mark Frauenfelder has come up with a genius idea: DIY with dad. And no, we’re not talking about fixing light sockets or removing grout.

His book, Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects, looks at things daughters and dads can do together, that are actually pretty cool.

Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, he said: “I wanted to do fun projects with my two girls but the books for dads and sons didn’t appeal it them. And the girls’ craft books didn’t appeal to me. So I decided to create projects we’d both like to do.

“It is meant for adults to read first, and then they can make the projects with their kids. But most 12-year-olds would have no problem reading the book and doing most of the projects on their own. The book is full color, with large photos and easy to read step-by-step instructions. ”

Between work and home, life can extremely hectic. So there’s no judgement against parents who pop their kids in front of a screen, be it TV or iPad.

But, Mark says, the problem is that while he isn’t against screen time, it doesn’t prepare your kids to “think with their hands and interact with the physical world.”

It’s certainly a hit with his own two daughters. “I asked my 16 year old and she said the projects give her the opportunity to be creative and spend time with me doing something fun. My 11 year old told me she likes the book because “astronaut ice cream is yummy”. We did the projects together. If they didn’t enjoy something (or if I didn’t) we didn’t include it in the book!”

He also included electronics and programming projects in the book because he felt there was no reason not to introduce these skills to girls at an early age.

As for those of us who collectively groan at the pink/blue divide between the sexes, Mark says he has noticed a change.

“The tide is turning. When I go to Maker Faire I see ask equal number of girls and boys taking soldering workshops and other hard tech workshops.”

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Prince Harry, Lily Cole, Ed Sheeran – there are plenty of wonderful redheads in the world, but all that could soon come to an end.

According to experts, people with ginger hair could be extinct in a few hundred years.

Thanks to climate change and the rapidly increasing temperature across the British Isles, the red hair/blue eyes combination is now the rarest in the world.

Scientists believe Brits once evolved over time to have red hair because of a lack of sunshine – ginger colouring allows people to get the maximum vitamin D from what little sun there is.

But now our hot weather and sunny days mean auburn locks have been made redundant.

The few red heads left seem to be congregating in Scotland – 650,000 of the Scottish population (13%) have ginger hair.

But that figure could fall dramatically if predictions about British climate change are true, meaning redheads could completely die out in a few centuries.

Speaking to The Daily Record, Dr Alistair Moffat, boss of genetic testing company ScotlandsDNA, said: “We think red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the climate. We do not get enough sun and have to get all the vitamin D we can.

“If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.”

There may be a glimmer of hope for our flame-haired friends though, as Joshua Akey, associate professor of genome sciences at University of Washington, has dismissed claims that ginger hair is dying out: “There is no scientifically compelling basis to the claim that redheads will become extinct in 100 years,” he told MSN News.

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“There is no version of this ending that is not super-painful for me,” Jon Hamm said recently about the finale of ‘Mad Men’.

Read More:

  • What Makes Don Draper A Proper 21st Century Hero
  • What’s So Special About A Single Malt Whisky, Anyway?

Nor for the rest of us, Jon.

We’re going to need a stiff drink (probably whisky) when we finally bid farewell to Sterling Cooper & Partners advertising agency. Here are eight reasons why…

  • 1. Jon Hamm/Don Draper
    “Be slick. Be glib. Be you,” Roger Sterling told Don in season four. He forgot “Be an alcoholic, womanising, advertising genius”… but no matter. For the fact remains: ‘Mad Men’ introduced us to Jon Hamm – and for that, all of womankind will be forever grateful.
  • What do women want, Jon?
  • They want to do this to you.
  • 2. Elisabeth Moss/Peggy Olson
    Using her talent and smarts to rise from humble secretary to copy chief, the driven, complex Peggy is arguably the show’s greatest female role model.
  • And who can forget “I’m Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana”? Not us!
  • Go Peggy!
  • 3. Christina Hendricks/Joan Holloway
    Like Peggy, the sex bomb that is Joan worked her way up the corporate ladder – and words cannot express how much we’re going to miss watching Christina Hendricks in action. Not least because she uses her eyes like this…
  • …like this…
  • …and like this…
  • …and leaves a room like this.
  • 4. The fashion
    AMC
    The men’s impeccable suits. The women’s impeccable party wear. Yes, the coveted clothes in ‘Mad Men’ have taken us from 1960 to the early 1970s…
  • Via Betty’s ice queen, Grace Kelly style…
  • Joan’s sassy pencil skirts…
  • …(and sassy dresses)…
  • And the men’s dapper suits and (occasionally bow) ties.
  • Oh, and there’s the hats.
  • Never forget the hats.
  • No you don’t, Roger. You look like cool advertising guys in hats.
  • 5. The drinking
    The whiskies! The cocktails! The drinking at work! Naturally, we’re not going to condone the smoking in ‘Mad Men’, but the drinking…
  • …well, that’s a little harder to resist.
  • No. No, you’re not, Peggy.
  • (Let’s allow Roger to explain.)
  • 6. The design
    AMC
    The offices, the homes, the bars… and the furniture in all those offices, homes and bars. Whatever the scene setting, ‘Mad Men’ just looks so gosh darn wonderful.
  • In fact, the show’s attention to detail even evokes nostalgia for orange sofas. Orange sofas!
  • It’s amazing, really, that they let Jon Hamm destroy any of it.
  • Careful, Jon!
  • 7. The music
    The music in ‘Mad Men’ is, as one commentator put it,”true to the story, true to the characters and true to life.” From Acker Bilk to Frank Sinatra, ‘The Twist’ to ‘Zou Bisou Bisou’, the musical choices are perfect…
  • …and also a reminder that people really should start dancing like this again.
  • And like this.
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A group of students is hoping to combat food waste at Cambridge University by launching a scheme to donate excess produce to food banks.

Shivan Thakrar was prompted to found the CU Foodbank Society in December after hearing “worrying reports” of increasing numbers of people relying on food banks.

“Meanwhile, at Cambridge, there are numerous events held by colleges and societies, for example formal dinners or May Balls, that are potential sources of surplus food,” he says “In some cases, this surplus food may be redirected to local foodbanks, but in others it may be thrown away.”

CU Foodbank Society
L-R: Stephen Woodmansey, Emily Payne, James D’Rozario, MP Daniel Zeichner, Ravi Thakar, Shivan Thakrar

Thakrar founded the society to “address the disparity” and to “energise” studens and colleges to support a more responsible and open management of surplus food – including engaging with local foodbanks where possible.

The society has five members on its executive committee, and currently has representatives at 13 of the university’s colleges, with hopes of expanding to all 31.

“These college representatives primarily promote the use of college boxes set up, but also help promote awareness of the campaigns or events we hold,” Thakrar explains.

Eventually, the society wants to see Cambridge introduce a policy which will see the pre-planning of what will happen to surplus food from any university-related event.

“We hope this would encompass societies as well as colleges.” Thakrar says. “This pre-planning should strongly encourage liaison with local food banks where possible. However, we believe it is important to begin by first demonstrating behavioural changes between students with their own surplus food.”

Thakrar highlights the difficulty of shopping “for one”, which often leads to excess food being thrown away as it has passed its sell-by-date before the buyer can consume it.

“We can act to reduce this excess food, by encouraging sharing between students.”

The society has so far set up hubs at more than nine colleges, where students can share non-perishable items throughout term by dropping items off in a box planted within each college.

The society’s got perishable food items covered too, starting a novel campaign to encourage students to share food they can’t eat or don’t want.

Students who share fridges can simply place stickers with the phrase “take me” on any item they won’t eat, rather than them throwing the food in the bin.

Cambridge students have been “wholly receptive” to the idea, with more than 300 supporting the society.

“These schemes are attractive to students as they promote changes to their behaviour in an easy,  effective manner,” Thakrar says.

“We hope student use of this scheme grows and that this will empower us further as we approach the University to liaise with local food banks where possible.”

He adds: “We are actively looking for sponsors to provide these ‘Take Me’ stickers, which we hope we can bring to students at Cambridge University to tackle the excess of perishable food.”

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Suicide is the cause of death for a quarter of males aged 20-34.

This shocking statistic, combined with the tragic death of Lil Chris in March, has once again brought the subject of men’s mental health to the forefront of conversation.

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness week, The Self-Esteem Team (SET) – a trio of women in the media, who tour the UK’s schools and colleges delivering classes on mental health and body image – are urging men to open up about their feelings.

SET has created a video starring celebrities Stephen Fry, Clarke Carlisle, Professor Green, YouTube star Charlie McDonnell, TV presenter Ortis Deley, Deaf Havana frontman James Veck-Gilodi, and comedian Ian Royce, who reveal their daily battles with mental health.

“Everyday I battle to be a somebody and a something,” says one of the stars.

While another adds: “My main fear has always been my mental state coming between me and a loved one, that they may not understand that I cannot control when a moment of panic arrives. And to them it seems I’m being selfish or miserable for no apparent reason.

“I guess my deepest fear is ending up alone because of it.”

The video hopes to stamp out stigma by showing that emotions don’t emasculate.

It’s dedicated to James Mabbett, 24, a close friend of Nadia Mendoza from the Self-Esteem Team, who took his own life earlier this year.

Mabbett’s death, as well as those of Robin Williams and Lil Chris, inspired the team to create a campaign aimed specifically at men.

Nadia Mendoza, showbiz editor at Daily Star, says: “Mental health is not reserved for people frothing at the mouth with zombie eyes in straitjackets. Anyone with a body and brain has a mental health, just as we all have a physical health.

“On the surface, James always seemed so high on life. Yet a smile can mask a lot. And the ‘happiest’ one in the room could be the saddest. Open discussions on mental health – in the classroom, at home, with friends – play a vital role in destigmatising.

“Equally, talking about feelings doesn’t mean surrendering your privacy by spilling your secrets to random peers at school or work, sometimes it’s enough to say ‘I’m having a bad day’ to communicate if you’re struggling and it’s up to the rest of us to understand what that could mean.”

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Meanwhile fellow SET member, columnist and TV pundit, Natasha Devon, says: “The statistics on young people and self-esteem tend to focus on girls, because young women are more likely to stop themselves from partaking in activities because of low self-worth and therefore their struggles are more tangible.

“But if you think about it, that means lots of their male counterparts are just soldiering on, pretending everything’s okay, despite having low self-worth and that comes with its own unique set of challenges. It’s important we don’t just include men and boys in a tokenistic way when we discuss mental health and self-esteem.

“That’s why we want to give men an opportunity to discuss the things that worry them and difficulties they face. We’re simply providing a platform to enable them to do that.”

Throughout the week, The Self-Esteem Team will be encouraging conversations amongst men online using the hashtag #MENtalhealth.

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind, reveals: “Men account for more than three quarters of suicides and yet research from Mind suggests that almost a third of men would be embarrassed about seeking help for a mental health problem.

“Less than a quarter of men would visit their GP if they felt down for more than two weeks, in comparison to a third of women.

“We are getting better at talking about mental health and when high profile people speak out about their own wellbeing it inspires others to do the same.”

By engaging fans in the issues that surround mental health problems, celebrities are helping to “break down stigma” and “inspire people to get support when they need it”.

“However, there is still a long way to go,” adds Buckley.

“Mental Health Awareness week is the perfect opportunity to start those conversations – to talk to friends and family about mental health, about your own experiences, or just to ask those close to you how they’re doing.”

If you’ve been affected by the issues in this article, please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

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Let’s face it, sex in real life is nothing like it is in films and sometimes, things get a little bit #awkward.

In the video above, created by Cosmopolitan, a group of men reveal the most embarrassing things that have happened to them during sex.

While one man says breaking his nose on the back of a woman’s head was his all-time low, another says his friends walking in on him while he was in high school made him blush.

“It may not have been her first time, but it was quite a messy situation,” he says.

Meanwhile, another man will make you feel better about your own awkward encounters.

“It’s mostly embarrassing all the time,” he says.

Bless. 

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A paediatric nurse has received an influx of donations from the families of the children whose lives she helped save.

Tracey Clohessey’s husband Peter has motor neurone disease, a rare health condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system leading to muscle weakness.

When her husband began to fall ill, the local community, who Tracey had spent years tending to at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital, decided they wanted to give something back. 

So far they have raised £2,500 of the £5,000 target, which will pay to make the couple’s house wheelchair-friendly. 

Go Fund Me
Peter Clohessey

Peter was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2015. As time went on, he gradually lost the ability to move parts of his body and is now reliant on a motorised wheelchair and breathing apparatus.

His wife Tracey said: “We had our application for a disabled facilities grant refused. [This] means Pete can never have a shower or use the bathroom in the way it was intended.

“Pete is reliant on respiratory support 24/7, he has a motorised wheelchair but no ramps to get him out of the house and so this has made life difficult for us both.

“I’m currently having to take time off work to care for him.”

Go Fund Me
Peter and Tracey

She added: “We were just normal hard working people, loving our jobs and life and now this evil disease has taken over.”

Tracey is a much-loved nurse in the Birmingham community and, as such, the people who she had helped wanted to give her something back.

To give Peter the best quality of life, patients and their families donated money to help him get a downstairs wet room built and furnished. 

Any extra money raised will go towards making their garden wheelchair-friendly.

The crowdfunding page for Peter was set up by local pub landlord Adrian Bates. 

“Peter has always been an honest hard working bloke who was fit and healthy and Tracey is a pillar of the community who has helped so many local families,” said Adrian. “I’m not surprised that people are keen to help.”

Adrian explained that Tracey helped care for his daughter Rebecca who was born prematurely weighing just 1lb 6oz – less than a bag of sugar.

One of the builders involved in the project, Anthony Coughlan, had twins who were also nursed by Tracey when they were born prematurely in 2015.

“Every contractor I ask for support is more than willing to help,” Anthony said.

Together, Adrian and Anthony have organised for the works to be completed. The money raised on crowdfunding site GoFundMe will pay for the materials and other jobs around their home. 

Adrian said: “Any money left over after all the work is complete will be put towards a few days away at a UK resort that specialises in breaks for people with debilitating illnesses.

“We’re all determined to make this caring couple’s life easier.”

Bobby Whithorne, spokesperson for GoFundMe.com, said: “It’s great that the campaign set up to help Tracey and Peter is doing so well.

“The GoFundMe team all send their best wishes and hope the donations for a new wet room continue to come through to make life easier for the family at this difficult time.”

To donate to Peter and Tracey’s cause, visit their GoFundMe page.

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Abortion rates are rising among women who are married or in relationships, as well as those who are aged 30 and over, new figures show.

The statistics, released by the Department of Health, show a small increase overall in the number of abortions between 2014 and 2015.

Since 2005, abortion rates for women aged 30-34 have risen by 18%. Meanwhile for women aged 35 or over, the rates have risen by 15%.

Jennie is one of many women aged 30 and over who have had an abortion. She is happily married and has three children.

For her, it was important to have a “choice” and the thought of bringing another child into the world – and struggling to afford childcare – was affecting her mental health.

JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

The new report found that most abortions (92%) are carried out at under 13 weeks into pregnancy, while 8% are performed at 13 weeks or later.

Figures for England and Wales show the total number of abortions in 2015 was 185,824, which is 0.7% higher than in 2014 when there were 184,571.

Since 2005, abortion rates for women aged 30-34 have increased from 14.5 per 1,000 women to 17.1 in 2015. 

Rates for women aged 35 or over have also gone up from 6.8 per 1,000 women in 2005 to 7.8 in 2015.

Meanwhile abortion rates are dropping among the under-20s.

Jennie, who is now 42, had an abortion in 2007 when she was 39 years old. 

She told The Huffington Post UK that she chose to have an abortion after she accidentally fell pregnant, as she wanted to “enjoy life” and enjoy the children she already has. 

“In April 2013, two months before my 40th and a week before my husband was due to have his vasectomy, I missed a period and was shocked to discover I was pregnant again,” she said. 

“We had been using contraception (condoms) and in all the years we’d been together it had never happened. I thought stupidly it was some kind of ‘sign’ and was at first positive about it, although at the back of my mind it was niggling away at me that I wasn’t happy.

“As time went on I felt myself sinking into depression, there were so many questions rushing through my mind. How could we afford another child? What was going to happen to the free time me and hubby? Did I really want to do the late nights and everything else all over again?”

She continued: “One evening as I was lying in the bath and my hubby came home from work, I told him I really didn’t want another baby. He said ‘We’ll cope’ and I replied ‘But I don’t want to just cope. I want to enjoy our life and enjoy the children we already have’.

“I thought that some things are forced upon us and we have no choice but to cope, but with this I had a choice.”

Natika H Halil, chief executive of sexual health charity FPA, told The Huffington Post UK that there are many reasons why a woman might want, or need, an abortion.

“You certainly don’t have to be single or unmarried to experience an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy,” she added.

“Reasons can include not wanting to continue with a pregnancy due to financial, employment or relationship pressures, or feeling like the family has already been completed.

“Women have a right to choose how many children they want and when they want them, and since no method of contraception is completely effective all of the time, it is inevitable there will be times when they need to access abortion services.”

She continued: “We don’t know how many of these abortions have been carried out as a result of women not being able to access contraceptive services or not having the knowledge to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

“With the devastating public health budget cuts we have already seen, contraceptive services may become an easy target for restrictions – particularly for women who are in their 30s and 40s.

“Women have to control their fertility for around three decades and it’s vital that whether they are 20 or 40, they have access to a full range of contraceptive choices and are empowered to make decisions that are best for them.”

The new report shows that in 2015, more than half (54%) of women undergoing abortions either already had children or had experienced a stillbirth – up from 47% in 2005.

Some 29,358 abortions were for women who were married or in a civil partnership. While 96,564 were for women who were not married but had a partner.

In response to the new statistics, Genevieve Edwards, director of policy at Marie Stopes UK, said it was “encouraging to see a continued increase in the proportion of women coming forward for early procedures”.

“Last year, 11 in every 20 terminations were early medical procedures, where pills are taken to safely end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks.

“Ten years ago, only a quarter of abortions were carried out this way.

“Many women choose medical abortion, as they feel it gives them more privacy and greater control over their bodies.”

She continued: “Giving women and girls access to a full range of contraception, when and where they want it, is instrumental in bringing down abortion rates.

“Following recent cuts to the public health budget, it is vital that women can continue to access the contraceptive services they need to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.”

The report also found that almost four in 10 (38%) of abortions in 2015 were to women who had already had one or more abortions – up from 32% in 2005.

Just over a quarter (26%) of abortions to under 25s were among women who had one or more abortions before, while 46% of abortions to those aged 25 and over were repeat abortions.

Overall, some 3,213 abortions (2%) were carried out where there was a risk the child would be born with a serious disability.

Clara Watson, from the pro-life charity Life, said she was “deeply saddened” by the figures.

“We are shocked that the abortion rate in this country is climbing and that babies with disabilities are still being targeted and eliminated, in particular,” she added.

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Recovering from an eating disorder is difficult. And this is precisely why Francesca Baker, 29, has created a cookbook that aims to help people with eating disorders change their mindset towards food.

Baker, who is in recovery from an eating disorder herself, says the book, called ‘Eating & Living: Recipes for Recovery’, is by “those who have been there”. 

The recipes not only offer ingredients lists and methods for balanced, wholesome meals, but they also offer inspirational stories from those in recovery.

iuliia_n via Getty Images
In the book, Shani Raviv tells of how her gran’s mac’n’cheese was rediscovered and allowed her and her grandmother to bond again.

Eating disorders aren’t necessarily about food, writes Baker in a blog post on The Huffington Post UK.

“They’re about distress, shame, low self esteem, fear, and a whole host of other difficult emotions which manifest themselves through food and weight.”

Her book features a collection of recipes that have been shared by people who are recovering or recovered, as well as carers, friends and family of sufferers, professionals and health experts.

The idea stemmed from conversations in an inpatient ward for severe eating disorders, where patients would talk about meals they loved and wished they felt able to eat again.

“We joked about how we should make a recipe book, what with all the food knowledge and meal ideas we had, as we told stories about those delicious foods we feared we had lost,” says Baker. 

Importantly, her recipe book is not exclusively about food.

“We all know that great meals are so much more than a nice taste,” she says.

“Circumstances, company and memories all play a role. Losing the ability to engage with food in a ‘normal’ way cuts you off from all of these things, and it’s that which really hurts.

“Meals are meant to be an important and enjoyable part of a happy life. It can be hard to remember that.”

As a result, Baker asked people submitting recipes to not only include ingredients and methods, but to share a story or cherished memory as to why their particular recipe matters to them.

One of the contributors, Tabitha Farrar, tells of how she fought her fear of fat and found cheese on toast again.  

Shani Raviv tells of how her Granny’s mac’n’cheese was rediscovered and allowed her and her grandmother to bond again.

Proceeds from the book, which costs £10, will go towards eating disorders charity Beat, which provides helplines, online support and a network of UK-wide self-help groups to adults and young people in the UK.

“The book communicates the message that there is no such thing as a ‘good’ food, but that the old mantra ‘everything in moderation’ still rings true,” adds Baker.

“Recovery is hard. But to live, you must eat.”

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In a world where we’re bombarded with filtered and Photoshopped images on a hourly basis, it seems none of us are immune to experiencing a lack of body confidence.

A new study has found that men and women are equally self-conscious when it comes to their appearance.

In an online survey of more than 12,000 adults, 6% of men reported being “very to extremely dissatisfied” with their overall appearance compared to 9% of women.

When asked specifically about their feelings towards their weight, the numbers for men and women were also similar.

A total of 15% of men reported being “very to extremely dissatisfied” with their weight, along with 20% of women.

Hisayoshi Osawa via Getty Images

At the other end of the scale, the figures between the two genders were similar again.

More than a quarter (28%) of men said they were “very to extremely satisfied” with their overall appearance, compared to 26% of women.

Meanwhile 24% of men surveyed identified as “very to extremely satisfied,” with their weight, compared to 20% of women. 

The study authors suggested our exposure to the media, as well as our individual levels of neuroticism, have an impact on our body confidence.

“Dissatisfied people had higher neuroticism, more preoccupied and fearful attachment styles, and spent more hours watching television,” the study’s abstract reads.

“In contrast, satisfied people had higher openness, conscientious, and extraversion, were more secure in attachment style, and had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction.”

A spokesperson from eating disorder charity Beat previously told The Huffington Post UK: “Men are equally aware of body image nowadays, especially with all of the magazines that concentrate on body shape – ripped muscles, the six pack – all purporting to be the ‘ideal’ shape’.” 

The spokesperson added that roughly 15% of those affected by an eating disorder are male and the numbers being treated are rising – “although that may well be due to better diagnosis and greater awareness”.

“The pursuit of excessive muscularity shares the same features as anorexia nervosa in terms of behaviours, thoughts and feelings,” they added.

The new study is published in full in the journal Body Image.

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