~ Posted by Lucy Farmer, June 19th 2015

    Last week, I donned my Lycra and trainers and ascended to the rooftop of the Berkeley hotel in London for a rather unusual fitness class: hula hooping, led by Anna Byrne from HulaFit. Stationed around the white, Provençal-chic pool, with the open sky above us, and the green panorama of Hyde Park beyond, it was an invigorating experience. And one that didn’t feel like exercise.

    Hula hooping is probably a game you remember from your childhood—endless attempts to spin a candy-coloured hoop around your middle, and hours spent giggling and picking it up again from around your ankles. It also has a nostalgic Fifties air about it, the decade when the hula hoop as a toy went mainstream and the American company Wham-O sold 100m worldwide in two years. But the hula hoop has a much longer history than that.

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT FitnessLifestyleLucy FarmerSPORT

    ~ Posted by Charlie McCann, April 13th 2015

    Time is an unusual commodity: we all have it and, if we’re lucky, plenty of it. It’s in ample supply, yet highly valuedand some times more than others. For our last Big Question, we asked seven writers to choose their favourite time of day. Readers voted for the answer that chimed most in our online poll.

    Ann Wroe, the author of the forthcoming “Six Excursions in Light”, waxed lyrical about twilight, that sliver of evening when light is on the wane. She won the day (just) with 20% of the vote. Tied at 17% were the poet Simon Armitage and the pilot Mark Vanhoenacker, both champions of the solitude that steals in when the sun slips away. Vanhoenacker relishes the small hours, when “the world below sleeps”; Armitage thrills to 5am, when the day isn’t yet “muddled with people”. The poet Kathleen Jamie yearns for 9-11am, when her children are at school and “time is my own”; she took in 15% of the vote. With her ode to midnight, the novelist Elif Shafak claimed 10% for the night. The author Romesh Gunesekera prefers 7.23am, when there’s “still time to save the day”; he convinced 8%. The novelist Ali Smith recalled a January afternoon 45 years ago: 4pm, school finished, marbles out. She won 4%.

    Some readers voted for their own slices of time. But one commented that this Big Question “enriches any time of the day”.

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT Charlie McCannLifestyleThe Big Questiontime

    ~ Posted by George Pendle, March 4th 2015

    One of the least mourned casualties of the smartphone revolution has been boredom. Whether we are queuing up for coffee, waiting at a doctor’s surgery, or even stopped at a red light, our smartphones can now fill any dead moment with instant distraction. But are we losing something vital by not allowing ourselves to wallow in what Tolstoy termed “the desire for desires”?

    This is the question behind a campaign called "Bored and Brilliant", launched recently by the New York radio station WNYC. It encourages people not only to rethink their relationship with their digital devices, but also tries to overturn the negative preconceptions surrounding boredom itself. The campaign used as its theoretical basis a groundbreaking experiment in boredom studies first carried out by the British psychologists Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman in 2014. In this experiment, subjects who were asked to perform boring tasks like reading the phone book subsequently showed more imagination in performing creative ones. Boredom, in other words, was beneficial. So "Bored and Brilliant" sought to squeeze boredom back into our lives by squeezing our smartphones out.

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT george pendleLifestylePsychologysmartphonestechnology

    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, December 12th 2014

    In 2012 a young British chef called Oliver Dabbous opened his first, eponymous restaurant on an unremarkable corner in the West End of London. Within months it was the hottest ticket in town, with a waiting list as long as the restaurant was small. The dish at the eye of the Dabbous storm was his version of coddled egg, which he cooked with cream, smoked butter and mushrooms, and served in a nest of hay. I was lucky enough to try it, and it was an entirely memorable experience: “like,” I said in this piece for Intelligent Life, “being punched by fungi while sitting next to a smoky fire.”

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT cookingFOOD & DRINKIsabel LloydLifestyle

    ~ Posted by Tim de Lisle, June 25th 2014

    Our pick of six new songs that you should have on your iPod. Hear them on our player below, or find the playlist on Spotify by searching for IntLifeMag. All songs available at iTunes.

    Metronomy: The Upsetter
    Sparkling electro-pop, with a lyric that's a love letter to 1992.

    Beck: Heart Is a Drum
    The album "Morning Phase" is a bit one-paced, but this mellow piano chugger is a gem.

    Hurray for the Riff Raff: Good Time Blues
    Meet Alynda Lee Segarra, the Latina Emmylou Harris.

    Simone Felice: Running Through My Head
    As ballads go, this is an epic.

    Robert Ellis: Chemical Plant
    Country music without the rhinestones.

    Todd Terje feat. Bryan Ferry: Johnny and Mary
    Robert Palmer with a sinuous twist.

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT intelligent tunesLifestyleMusicRockTim de Lisle

    ~ Posted by Samantha Weinberg, January 14th 2014

    In the first week of January, a large crate of Seville oranges appeared in our local farm shop, and bijou boxes of these oranges appeared in the local supermarkets, at several times the price. These oranges are not to be confused with regular eating ones, as our children discovered: the Seville variety has an out-sized peel, rather like a sharpei dog, and tastes like metal. In what I regard as typical male shopping practice, my husband went and bought 10kg of oranges. There were going to be no half-measures. Last time he did this was seven years ago: "I’ve got to make enough to last seven years."

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT FOOD & DRINKLifestyleSamantha Weinberg

    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, January 28th 2013

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    ~ Posted by Simon Willis, November 30th 2012

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    ~ Posted by Robert Butler, November 28th 2012

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, September 24th 2012

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