Redheads like actor Jessica Chastain can now get to the root of their hair origin
Redheads like actor Jessica Chastain can now get to the root of their hair origin

Lifestyle Barometer: Your guide to what’s hot and what’s not

From Christmas jumpers and redheads to chocolate and gender stereotypes

Sarah Young
Friday 14 December 2018 15:10

Going up

Gender-neutral clothing

H&M is launching a gender-neutral collection with fellow Swedish label Eytys (H&M)

In 2018, gender is no longer dictating the way people dress – more and more retailers are combining their men’s and women’s collections.

Earlier this week, Swedish brand H&M announced that it will launch a gender-neutral collection in collaboration with cult label Eytys.

Entirely unisex, the collection has a traditional workwear feel and features everything from boxy leather jackets and heavy cotton sweaters to graphic tees, raw denim jeans and chunky soled shoes.

Speaking of the collaboration, Eytys cofounder Max Schiller said: “With this collaboration we hope to introduce the H&M customer to our design philosophy of robust and fuss-free design, where function triumphs embellishment and styles span genders.”

Celine Dion recently spoke out about her inspiration for launching a gender-neutral children’s clothing line, explaining she wanted to give children a chance to feel free and find their own individuality without being tied to stereotypes.

“I think that every child needs to have their own identity, to express themselves freely, and to not feel like they have to be like someone else,” the singer said.

Christmas jumpers

People celebrated Christmas Jumper Day this week to help raise money for charity (The Night Before 2015)

Garish festive knitwear was spotted everywhere this week in celebration of Christmas Jumper Day.

Created by the charity Save the Children in 2012, the aim of the event is to raise money by having people who are wearing festive knitwear on the day donate a minimum of £2 towards the organisation, and a minimum of £1 if participants are in nursery, school or a youth group.

This year, famous faces including Chris and Kem from last year’s Love Island, boxer Nicola Adams, 2018 Strictly Come Dancing contestant Katie Piper and comedian Joel Dommett all joined forces with Save the Children to encourage the nation to spread the joy with their festive fashion.


Scientists have discovered how individuals with red hair inherit their locks 

From fiery copper to strawberry blonde, redheads make up approximately one to two per cent of the world’s population, making it the rarest hair colour in the world.

This week, people with ginger hair made headlines as scientists published what is being described as: “The largest genetic study of human hair colour.”

Scientists at Edinburgh University carried out the investigation using data from the UK Biobank study to find out how individuals with red hair inherit their locks.

While it was previously thought that the MC1R gene determined whether or not a person would be a redhead, this new research found a total of eight genetic differences connected with redheads that they hadn’t detected before

Crisp packets

Walkers has launched a scheme to help customers recycle their crisp packets (Getty)

Earlier this year an online petition was launched calling for Walkers and other crisp companies to either eliminate all of their plastic packaging or only use plastic packaging that can be recycled.

The petition, which garnered more than 330,000 signatures, stated that the “majority of crisp packets in the UK and worldwide are not recyclable” and so often end up in landfills.

This week, Walkers crisps revealed that they had indeed taken the criticism on board and have launched a recycling scheme, which will mean consumers can use collection points around the UK to recycle their crisp packets via TerraCycle.

The crisp packets will then be used to manufacture other plastic items.

Furthermore, anyone who’s unable to access a recycling collection point can organise for a courier to pick up their crisp packets for free – a service that’s available on the TerraCycle website.

Royal baby names

Royal baby names are predicted to be popular in 2019 (Getty/iStock)

Experts at family and parenting website BabyCentre have revealed their trend predictions for baby names in 2019.

The results found that new parents are expected to gain inspiration from the royal family, with the name Louis rising 17 per cent in popularity since the introduction of the newest royal baby.

Similarly, the Duchess of Sussex’s name looks set to appear more frequently with Meghan seeing a 49 per cent increase for girls.

The website also predicted a rise in names inspired by trainers including Van, Chuck and Taylor, as well as Nike shoe names such as Max, Cortex, Monarch and Jordan.

Going down

Christmas chocolates

Tins of Christmas chocolates are shrinking in size 

Christmas chocolates are going down, and by that we mean they’re quite literally shrinking.

It turns out that some of the nation’s favourite Christmas chocolate selection tubs are getting smaller. Quality Street, Celebrations and Cadbury Roses are among those to have reduced the size of their tubs as part of a phenomenon dubbed “shrinkflation” that sees confectionery brands reducing the size of their products without changing the price.

This year, the standard size of Quality Street tubs has shrunk from 750g to 720g, which is the equivalent of roughly three green triangles.

Meanwhile, Celebrations tins have been reduced from 680g to 650g. But both remain priced at £5.

Cadbury Roses have also been getting smaller, going from 729g to 660g in 2017.

Eating out

Meals served in restaurants contain more calories than fast food (iStock)

A new study has revealed that dishes served in restaurants are in fact higher in calories than those from fast food chains.

Analysing more than 13,500 meals on the menus of 21 sit-down restaurants and six fast food chains, researchers at the University of Liverpool discovered that just one in 10 meals served in restaurants could be classed as healthy.

The biggest offenders were Hungry Horse and Stonehouse, which clocked up 1,358 and 1,275 calories in an average main meal respectively.

Other well-known restaurant chains with high calorie content included Harvester, at 1,166 calories, JD Wetherspoon, with 1,119 calories, and Nando’s, at 1,019 calories.

In comparison, fast food meals at Burger King had an average of 711 calories, followed by Wimpy, at 721 calories, and McDonald’s, at 726 calories.

KFC topped the fast food list with an average of 987 calories per meal.

Pornstar martinis

People have taken issue with Marks & Spencer for selling pre-made cans of pornstar martini (Getty/iStock)

This week Marks & Spencer came under fire from angry shoppers who accused the store of “normalising porn” by selling pre-made cans of pornstar martini.

Taking to Twitter, feminist campaigning group Object hit out at Marks & Spencer, which recently launched a pre-made version of the cocktail in a can.

“Marks & Spencer normalising porn,” the tweet read.

“And if you try to complain online, the system rejects the word ‘porn’. Mixed messages huh?”

The post quickly gathered almost 200 likes and was flooded with comments from people in agreement.

Others, however, came to the retailer’s defence, pointing out that the name of the drink wasn’t originally created by Marks & Spencer.

In response to the comments on social media, an M&S spokesperson told The Independent: “Pornstar martini is a common and popular name for a passion fruit cocktail drink. We launched it back in September and it has already become one of our most popular cocktails.”

Gender-stereotyped toys

A charity has launched a social media campaign to combat gender-stereotyped toys (Getty)

Gender equality and women’s rights charity Fawcett Society has announced the launch of a social media campaign to combat gender-stereotyped toys in the lead up to Christmas.

The charity will be teaming up with Let Toys Be Toys, an initiative that advocates for companies in the toy and publishing industries to stop stereotyping products that are geared towards children.

It says that the aim of the Smashing Stereotypes campaign is to highlight products – including toys, clothes, stationery and books – that have been designed specifically with girls or boys in mind, as opposed to for all.

The charity is calling on people to join it “on the hunt for stereotyped toys and children’s clothing” by asking them to either send in photos of products that they deem to be stereotypical, or to post photos of them on social media using the hashtag #SmashingStereotypes.


Kotex has had to recall one of its products after a ‘quality related defect’

US brand Kotex issued a voluntary recall of one of its tampon products this week after reports they had begun to unravel inside people.

Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kotex, announced the recall in a press release on Tuesday, in which it said regular absorbency U by Kotex Sleek Tampons have a “quality related defect”.

According to the company’s statement, the recall comes after customers noticed the tampons “unravelling and/or coming apart upon removal, and in some cases causing users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body”.

The company also said there has been a “small number” of reports of infections, vaginal irritation and injury associated with the product.

This isn’t the first time Kimberly-Clark has had to issue a recall of its products. In 2011, the company recalled its Natural Balance unscented tampons after bacteria capable of causing urinary tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease and potentially life-threatening vaginal infections was found in the applicators.

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