The first ever McStrike is happening, and people are conflicted

The first ever McStrike is happening, and people are conflicted

Over 200 people have gathered by Parliament to support the first ever strike action in the UK against McDonald’s (which has been labelled the McStrike), including members of the Labour party like Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Emma Dent-Coad. The strike action has also produced praise from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as he posted on his Facebook his hopes that all fast food workers would organise and join trade unions to improve their working lives.

The strike action has been organised and is represented by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) after several members from London-based McDonald’s restaurants joined the union after being left unhappy with bullying and misconduct from management. The strikes have been called to tackle this mistreatment from management as well as concerns about low-paid and job insecurity with their zero-hour contracts.

A McDonald’s spokesman stated that the strike is solely related to internal grievance procedures and not over concerns surrounding pay or contracts – yet refused to go into detail on the internal grievances as they didn’t want to single out any specific cases. However, many have stated that this is untrue, as multiple workers taking strike action have singled out their need for better job security and pay that doesn’t leave them within the poverty line.

The strikers have originated from two McDonald’s restaurants within London, in Crayford and Cambridge where members of staff have frequently experienced problems with management as well as their struggles over pay and their contracts. Some staff have provided stories of sexual misconduct and bullying being breezed over by management as well as the refusal to allow staff members to call in sick – while holding the security of the few hours that they have available to them over their heads. Many others have discussed how their low pay means that some are left without a permanent roof over their heads, while others cannot afford to pay for their own meals aside from the meal that the company provides them in their shifts.

The fast-food employees within the restaurants had voted in favour of industrial action following their concerns around the zero-hour contracts that they were offered with their roles in the company, and also requested that a minimum wage of £10 an hour was applied – following Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to raise the national minimum wage to this price during his election campaign. The BFAWU also said that McDonald’s had failed at their attempts to become fairer employers, and also stated that they believed the fast-food chain had yet to introduce any working conditions that could be deemed acceptable, as well as job security or even an affordable living wage.

McDonald’s announced earlier this year that they were allowing 11,500 workers that lived in the UK the option of switching from zero-hours (or flexible) contracts onto fixed ones, as well as increasing pay three times since April 2016 which has increased the hourly rate by 15%. Yet, many within the union do not believe that these movements have been enough, or even doubt the existence of these offers in the first place.

Over the last few years, there has been a global fight back by fast-food workers to get organised and create unions so that they can demand decent living wages and their right to union recognition. And in some countries it has proved successful – workers in Denmark have managed to higher their working wage so that they earn over $20 an hour, as the company was forced to recognise their trade union. There are also fights happening with the US and New Zealand, with The Fight for $15 winning significant pay rises for over 22 million workers in the US, as workers linked with community groups to fight for their justice. In New Zealand, zero hour contracts have been abolished by the UNITE union – all of which have helped begin the strike movement seen within the UK.

And this is only the beginning of the strikes in the UK. Already workers in Scotland and other areas have seen the strike movement started within the two London restaurants and have began to speculate on their ability to fight back against the unfair treatment of fast-food workers in chain restaurants. With plenty of people being left homeless or in poverty from the existence of zero-hour contracts – a fate that is exacerbated by the existence and combination of the minimum wage – it is time to fight back against the difference in wages between the real workers in McDonald’s and those on the top. McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook took home a combined wage of £11.82m last year – while a 17-year old on minimum wage working in the blistering heat of a McDonald’s kitchen would be earning £4.75 an hour – a touch over the national minimum wage for someone of that age in the UK which stands at £4.05 for under-18’s currently.

It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn! The return of the PSL

pumpkin-spice-starbucks

For many coffee crazed fans, the release of the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks marks the beginning of Autumn and this year most definitely isn’t any different. This year the Starbucks marketing team went a bit overboard on the PSL 2017 release by hosting a 72-hour Facebook Livestream for the grand reveal of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. This Livestream consisted of a pumpkin sat in a nest in the middle of what looked like a barn and a whole other array of crazy, spooky, autumn themed activities and entertainment such as ‘did you know’ cards appearing on the screen every now and again with seasonally hilarious jokes such as ‘trained pumpkins can tell the difference between the paintings of Picasso and Warhol’ whilst a magical pair of arms painted the pumpkin and its companion the orange bouncy ball in great detail. These magical hands would also appear to play with the pumpkin by bouncing the ball to it as well as holding up signs and feeding the pumpkin. Half way through this live stream the magical hands put up a sign saying they were looking to rehome the bouncy ball and giving updates about the bouncy balls adoption including one that informed the audience of the bouncy ball being with its new family and asking for the audience to send the pumpkin extra love. Some of the other things that the people who watched this Livestream witnessed was the pumpkins ultrasound scan (a drawing of the outline of a pumpkin with a latte cup inside of it), the ‘barn’ being filled with cats and then dogs, the pumpkin listening to music on a radio/watching TV/having a live musical performance, a ghost flying around the barn, the pumpkin doing yoga and guided meditation, the pumpkin receiving fan mail drawings, poetry and pictures that were submitted by the people watching the live stream and an aeroplane flying around the barn with different things written on a flag flying on the back of it with the room filling with bubbles. Oh and a creepy old man in a window (I’m guessing he was the pumpkin farmer?). Finally, after 72 hours of non-stop pumpkin craziness, the room started to fill with a fog like smoke until it revealed the barn crowded with a party of pumpkins, a banner saying ‘ PSL is here!’ and a latte cup with the name ‘Fall’icia’ on it (chosen by the audience, of course).

The reveal Livestream started on Friday the 1st of September leaving some Starbucks fans rather confused as well as many Starbucks employees, which led to most Starbucks stores in America to start serving the iconic PSL on Friday. The official release of the PSL was Tuesday the 5th September which means you can fulfil your autumn fantasy and order your Pumpkin Spice Latte now in Starbucks stores all across the country and this year you can not only get the PSL, Starbucks has also released the new caramelised pecan latte that is made from coffee and pecan syrup being topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of burned caramel sauce. Starbucks isn’t just great at marketing they’re also the best at making coffee.

All About Alton Towers Scarefest 2017

smiler-alton-towers

On selected dates in October, the resort of Alton Towers is transformed into a Halloween horror festival that is sure to scare and surprise anyone who dares to enter. Named Scarefest, the festival is taking place this year on the 7th-8th, 14th-15th and 20th-31st October. You’ll get to enjoy all of the rides until 9 pm, plus a ton of extra entertainment. There is live entertainment for everyone, from young children to older families. Those who are feeling brave can enter the scare mazes, but beware – you might not make it out in one piece. Here’s all you need to know about this year’s Scarefest.

For Families

For families, there is no shortage of entertainment at Scarefest. At the House of Monsters (located in Cloud Cuckoo Land), you’ll join a vlogger-turned-monster-hunter as he heads to a disused house to discover if the rumours of ghouls lurking within its walls are real. Every morning during the Scarefest, the Alton Ancestors will be taking to Towers Street to perform a flash mob. Plus, there are three different shows to see throughout the day on the Trick or Treat stage – Skelvin’s Spooky Storytime, Patch’s Trick or Treat Party and Phil and Franklyn’s Ghoul School. There’s even a fancy dress competition to take part in. If the live entertainment wasn’t enough for you, you’ll be able to enjoy the rides until 9 pm – including selected rides in CBeebies Land.

For Thrill-Seekers

If you’re feeling brave, enter one of Alton Towers’ four scare mazes during Scarefest. First up, it’s the award-winning Terror of the Towers, which won Best Halloween Scare Attraction in 2011, and has had a revamp (pardon the pun) for 2017. It’s located in the Gothic surroundings of the Towers and is sure to scare all who enter. Next up, it’s Sub-Species: The End Games. This centres around a post-apocalyptic community who live in a sewer, sacrificing innocent people to a mysterious otherworldly creature in order to survive. However, the demise of the innocent people (aka you) has become the entertainment for the community, and you must escape via a series of underground tunnels. Thirdly, it’s Altonville Mine Tours:  a deep underground tour, where you’ll hear all about the legend of the Skin Snatchers, and experience their hospitality for yourself. Lastly, it’s a new maze for 2017 and billed to be the scariest yet – The Welcoming: Be Chosen. The woods surrounding Alton Towers are rumoured to be home to a group who are angered by technology and the lack of respect for natural resources. Each year, they host their own celebration of Halloween, celebrating the crossover between the living and the dead. This year, they’ve invited the ‘outsiders’ to celebrate with them – but beware of their friendliness.

Once you’ve escaped the horror of the mazes, head to the Freak Show: Scare Zone, which is the home of a travelling circus. You’ll find it near the Spinball Whizzer.

How to Get Tickets

The best (and most affordable) way to buy tickets for the Scarefest is online. If you just want to go on the rides and have access to the Freak Show, you can buy a standard online saver one-day ticket from £32. To enjoy the theme park and three of the scare mazes, it will cost you £50. For the theme park and all four mazes (the Welcoming: Be Chosen isn’t included in the 3 maze ticket), it’s £58. If you wish to simply enter the mazes, you can do this for £20, or £28 including the Welcoming: Be Chosen. If you are a Merlin Annual Pass holder, you will get a 20% discount when you book in advance online.

So, if you’re looking to be scared this Halloween, why not head to Alton Towers? You may never look at the park in the same way, but it’s a thrill to be there after dark.

 

Nike are Back at it Again With the Sweatshop Controversy

sweatshop workers

Nike has been dealing with accusations and complaints about their use, or misuse of sweatshops since the 1970’s and now almost 50 years on they are seeing a new wave of activism from students worldwide. In the 1970’s most of Nike’s factories were located in Taiwan and South Korea but about 15% of their products were made in American factories, this changed in 1984 when Nike packed up and left its American factories to move to Asia’s cheap labour.

When the economy started to grow in the countries that Nike’s sweatshops were located in (Korea and Taiwan) and workers started demanding better pay and more humane working conditions Nike once again just picked up their stuff and moved to locations that enabled them to continue operating at an extremely low cost with horrible working conditions and ridiculous pay for employees in countries that prohibited labour unions.

Now, most of Nike factories are found in China, Vietnam and Indonesia these countries have no protective labour laws over their factories allowing the factory owners to force labourers to work over 9 hours a day, in horrible working conditions for very little pay and sometimes even employ children as young as 8.

The problems started for Nike in the early 90’s when the conditions that workers in Indonesia had to deal with started to be exposed by a man called Jeff Ballinger, Nike decided to respond to this by releasing their factories code of conduct which triggered Ballinger to fully expose Nike’s factories by highlighting how workers were paid less than about 70 pence an hour which is less than the minimum wage in Indonesia as well all the abuse the workers had to endure.

The protests started outside the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and continued when CBS released interviews with some Nike factory workers in 1993 and Ballingers organisation ‘press for change’ created a surge of mainstream media attention. In 1996 Nike creates a department for improving the lives of their factory workers but their product promotions became events for public outrage and the increase in ‘Niketown’ stores seen another wave of protests and sports media started to question spokespeople such as Michael Jordan.

More and more stories emerge of the abuse workers were experiencing and in 1997 thousands of college students across America started to protest and boycott Nike. Nike finally realises it needs to make steps towards change in 1998 when they faced poor demand and were forced to lay off workers, the CEO of Nike at the time Phil Knight made a speech announces they will be raising the minimum wage of their workers.

In 1999 they begin to create the fair labour association to combine human rights representatives and companies to establish independent monitoring of factories, including a minimum age and 60-hour working week, Nike then encourages other brands to join too. In theory, this would have completely cleared Nike’s image of horrible sweatshops but in recent years hundreds of accusations have been bubbling under the surface of mainstream media.

On July 29th 2017, students in cities such as Bangalore, Washington, Boston and San Pedro in Honduras started demonstrating in a day of protest against Nike, organised by the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). Some of the allegations that caused this protest include claims of wage theft, verbal abuse, working for hours in temperatures over the legal limit of 30°C to the point that workers would collapse at their machines, Nike pulling jobs from a factory with a strong union presence and also allegedly refused the WRC entry to their factories for inspections.

One former Nike factory worker spoke out about her experiences at the factory, describing the fears employees felt as they could have faced being fired or reprimanded for sitting down, going to the toilet, drinking water or even just yawning. They are not allowed to join unions as they are threatened with wage reductions and are forced to live in tiny shared spaces and work 14 hour days, 7 days a week with a monthly salary of only £115.

Nike has denied many of the accusations and has tried to make excuses for leaving certain factories but they have not made a formal response to the new wave of protests, it will be interesting to see how they will try and cover this one up.

 

 

Call me, maybe – or never: 66% of us hang up on cold callers

Majority of us hang up on cold callers with little guilt

They never seem to call at an appropriate time, so should we really feel guilty that the majority of us hang up on cold callers – or should they just accept that it’s nothing short of annoying?

We imagine it’s a tough job calling random people to try and sell them something they didn’t want in the first place.

But cold callers are generally unwelcome, with these beleaguered souls always having to sound bright and breezy to the irate resident who answers the phone. Because there’s never a good time to talk to a cold caller, is there?

Somehow they either manage to ring halfway through EastEnders or when we’re doing something tricky like feeding a baby/doing some intricate DIY task/playing Minecraft (delete as appropriate).

But while these guys are just trying to make a living, many of us don’t see it that way and resent this telephonic intrusion of our homes. Wired and wireless telephone headset provider Headsets4Business.co.uk carried out a survey of 1,500 people, asking what really gets our goat when it comes to cold calls. But firstly, they asked if we ever just hang up on cold callers, and the results were most interesting.

The least patient people

On average, 66.5% of the UK puts the phone down on someone trying to sell them something. But the people with the least patience in the UK & Ireland are the Irish – a whopping 77% of them will immediately hang up on a conversation about double glazing or insurance.

As for England, it’s the East Midlanders who are least tolerant: almost 70% of them leave their cold callers listening to the sweet sound of the dial tone… However, happily, for them, cold callers are guaranteed the warmest reception in the South East. Over a third of South Easterners (37%) say they wouldn’t hang up on a stranger who called them out of the blue to discuss something like mobile phone tariffs (at least those who don’t slam the phone down are decent enough to give an excuse – 36.3% are just really honest, saying they’re not interested; 10.8% of us say we’re too busy, and 5% of us pretend we’re just about to sit down to a meal).

Actually, when it comes to the topic of conversation, phone deals are apparently one of the least irritating – only 7.3% of people said that was the type of call they had the least patience for. The biggest bugbear, for over a third of us (38.9%) is people trying to help you recover PPI refunds, which is surely the dullest thing in the world. Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps because it jogs people’s memory to actually do something about it, pensions are the least irritating topic, with only 1.9% of us finding them excruciating.

The most annoying cold call topics

  • PPI 38.9%
  • Accident Related 32.9%
  • Home improvements 8.1%
  • Phone deals 7.3%
  • Insurance 6.2%
  • Energy 4.7%
  • Pensions 1.9%

And while the majority of us don’t actually feel sorry for cold callers, just over a quarter of us (25.8%) do actually understand that it’s just a job, and they’re only doing what they’ve been asked to. After all, if we’re the ones irritated by an unwanted call, just imagine how the cold callers feel, facing rejection after rejection during an eight-hour shift.

It’s a tough job, being a cold caller, but someone’s got to do it,’ says David Whitehead from Headsets4Business.co.uk. ‘They’re almost like unsung heroes, really. So give these guys a break next time you get a call and you never know – you might get a really good deal on your next mobile phone tariff.

Holiday shopping costs 21% more for women due to ‘pink tax’

Holiday shopping costs 21% more for women due to ‘pink tax’

Summer holiday season is upon us, and Brits are reportedly splurging £529 million on sun tan lotions, toiletries and pharmaceuticals, as well as £1,832 million on clothing, however, new research shows there’s a big difference in the cost between men and women due to ‘pink tax’.

Research carried out by showerstoyou.co.uk has discovered the enormous disparity between the cost of a basic holiday shop for women, in comparison to men, revealing the true extent of ‘pink tax’.

What is pink tax?

The pink tax has been a prevalent issue for feminism in the 21st Century, and something that retailers use appallingly to their advantage. The pink tax sheds light on the price difference for gender specific goods; as it is known that men have a substantial advantage for several products which are gender neutral.

Showerstoyou.co.uk carried out a survey of 754 women and 623 men, determining the essential toiletries men and women would buy for a ten-day holiday to their favourite European beach destination. Following this, a comparative study of products was conducted, exposing the truth behind the partialities of retail pricing.

The graphic below, designed by showerstoyou.co.uk, highlights the discrepancy between the ‘pink tax’ and the ‘blue tax’. Basic holiday clothing items were added to the list to form the “holiday pink tax”. Findings reveal a whopping £20.50 difference for a basic holiday shop – a 21% gap.

Holiday shopping costs 21% more for women due to ‘pink tax’

It must be noted that this does not consider the number of items an individual will take regardless of the basics. According to the survey, men and women take on average 3 items of swimwear. With this considered, the sum of three pieces of swimwear would equate to a shocking difference of £38.19.

Regarding toiletries, women spend £27.40, whilst men spend £24.76. Interestingly, a previous report suggests that women are paying up to 75% more on these products due to the ‘pink tax’.

Female and male razors

Additionally, specific toiletries highlight the concerning differences between male and female hygiene expectations; female razors are often described as a luxury product. Whereas just eight female razors cost £2.69, a greater sized packet of ten razors cost £1.24 less for men a 60% difference.

Companies claim they are manufactured differently, however, this specific brand of razors was almost identical, with the size of the razor to the number of blades; the only obvious difference was marketed for women.

Stella Creasy, Labour MP, highlights that it could be perceived that this is due to a lesser demand for the need of products such as female razors: “I recognise that (men’s) razors are zero-rated, and judging by many Conservative Members the opportunity to shave every day is a human right.”

This argument also accounts for the zero-tax rate of male razors. Likewise, this explains the concerning disparity in shaving foam prices. Whilst the issue has come to light, positive changes have been made – with Tesco slashing their razor prices to be gender neutral earlier this year.

Martin Smith, the MD of showerstoyou.co.uk comments on the report: “The claim that men needing to shave as a necessity as opposed to women is ludicrous. The way products are marketed these days has got out of hand, the only difference in the two disposable razors seems to be the colour. What is more, is that there is a zero-tax rate in the UK regarding male razors, yet there is still a tampon tax. Whilst individual retailers have been decreasing the price of their products, brands hold a responsibility over how much they are supplying their products for. Not to mention, action can and should be taken by MP’s and more authoritative figures.”

How to make the Perfect Summer Pimms

How to make the perfect summer Pimms

With summer only a light breeze away, that refreshing jug of Pimms is set to be a table top essential for al fresco feasts.

The quintessentially English beverage boasts a recognisable tawny colour and a delicious blend of citrus fruits, offering a familiar taste of summer.

Bohemia’s Head Chef Steve Smith has provided a round-up of top tips to ensure you’re serving the perfect party Pimms this sunny season.

These tips will ensure you have something different to offer than your usual jug of Pimms this summer, and will definitely make your summer parties and evenings stand out that little bit more.

Don’t forget to pick up the freshest ingredients at your local supermarkets like Asda, to ensure that you have the best ingredients to hand. Don’t forget the critical bottle of Pimms too.

Fruit Fusion

Don’t overload your Pimms with fruit. Instead, pick a few strong flavours that complement each other. An unusual flavour combination that works well is Pomegranate and Basil. Alternatively, take your Pimms to super food heights with the quirky addition of trendy Acai berries.

You could even use frozen fruit in your punch jug. This will help cool the liquid without diluting it too. It’s amazing just how many different frozen fruits are on offer in supermarkets now. Plus it means you don’t have to worry about them going off.

Herbal Remedy

If you’re using herbs such as basil and mint, crush the leaves before adding them to your drink. This will maximise the aroma and leave your Pimms perfectly seasoned.

You could even grow your own too, growing simple herbs at home will ensure you have the freshest ingredients on hand, and they’re definitely the simplest thing to try to grow yourself as they require little upkeep. So they’re perfect for those who aren’t particularly green-fingered.

Cue the Cranberry

Those with a sweet tooth might like to add a splash of cranberry juice or opt for flavoured lemonade for an extra boost.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Get creative with your ice by freezing flowers into your ice cube tray. However, try to limit the ice to a few cubes to ensure the Pimms isn’t too diluted by the time it comes to drinking it!

Sugar-coat it

Sprinkle a little lemon juice and sugar over the fruit before you add them to your drink. Let the fruit pieces stand for ten minutes so they macerate and then add them to the liquid at the last minute, to save them from going soggy.

Tom Daley encourages us to get over our socialising slump

Tom Daley encourages us to get over our socialising slump

Tom Daley has partnered with Argos to inspire people to make the most of their spare time and get over our socialising slump.

New research shows that time-poor Brits could be missing out on making the most of moments with friends and family this summer, as day-to-day family life and work commitments put pressure on planning social gatherings.

But it’s not because we don’t want to. The poll shows we’re a nation of social butterflies, with nearly six in ten wishing they could get together with loved ones more often, and a third saying they enjoy nothing more.

Olympic diver and food fanatic, Tom Daley, has teamed up with Argos to demonstrate how easy and quickly it is to entertain, surprising 20 of his followers at a pop-up supper club – created in just one day.

Diving in at the deep end, Tom surprises and delights his hungry guests with a selection of best-loved recipes from his hugely successful debut cookbook, ‘Tom’s Daily Plan’.

How Tom Daley makes the most of his spare time

Tom Daley said: “My training schedule is so hectic, it’s hard to put aside time to plan for socialising – on the rare times I get a day off, I’m more likely to ring up friends and family and invite them round that day!”

“The Fast Track challenge was probably the quickest I’ve ever turned a dinner party around. It was a bit touch and go for some of it, but it just goes to show, with a little creativity and same day delivery it can be done as fast as you need it!”

Planning events this summer

The study of over 2,000 Brits revealed hosts get cold feet over the time it takes to plan, believing it takes, on average, 8.5 days (204 hours) of planning time to pull off a dinner party with aplomb.

For nearly a third, not having the right items to cater for guests, such as enough tables, chairs, kitchenware and tableware were major barriers.

Lack of creative inspiration in the kitchen affected one-fifth, who struggled to know what to put on their menu to impress.

When asked what would make Brits more likely to entertain, guaranteed good weather, having more time and getting everything you need that same day topped the poll.

Dan Elton, brand director at Argos, said: “Brits love nothing more than getting together with family and friends, but many of us find the planning and organising of it daunting. In reality, it can take just a matter of hours; whether it’s a new dining set, kitchen gadgets or sprucing up the garden – with our Fast Track same-day delivery service, if our customers want it today, they can get it today.”

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Weirdest Fashion Trends of 2017 So Far

kendall-cannes-socks

It’s been a funny old year so far. Trump is officially the President, Harry Styles is easily pulling off suits made out of your nan’s curtains, Katy Perry has morphed into Miley Cyrus circa 2012 and Hanson are making a musical comeback. It’s no surprise that 2017’s fashion is just as weird. We’ve seen trends make a comeback like the Ghost of Fashion Past, and it seems to go from one sartorial extreme to another – crop tops that come above the breasts, and sleeves that go over your hands for that whole ‘look, I’ve got no arms’ vibe that you’d go for as a mischevious child playing pranks on your friends. Here are some of the weirdest trends of the year so far, and my friends, I feel that the worst is still yet to come.

Socks and Sandals

After Kendall Jenner wore sheer socks with her heels in Cannes, Topshop was amongst the first to proclaim that socks and sandals were ‘back’. Of course, the general public (i.e. anyone with eyeballs) disagreed, with one Twitter user proclaiming that the look was a fashion crime. Kendall, with her stunning looks and endless legs, can probably get away with a pair of sheer socks on the red carpet, but don’t expect to be seeing us striding down the street, pairing our socks with our favourite pair of sliders. It’s not happening now – or ever.

One sleeved bikini

I mean, the main issue that we have with this one is the tan lines. If you rock the one-sleeved bikini on holiday in any sort of hot climate, you can only expect to acquire a van man tan of sorts. One arm out of the window and in the sun, and the other one in the cool shade whilst you steer. Let’s imagine for a second that you actually swim in this thing (shock horror!) and you can only think that the statement sleeve will drag you down – either that or you’re going to be a sopping mess when you climb out of the pool. Let’s leave this trend safely on the shores of England, shall we? Or better yet, in fashion hell, where it rightfully belongs.

Extreme Crop Tops

Crop tops have been at the forefront of fashion for a few years now, but they just seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Until they border on ridiculous – like this little number from ASOS. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m just not sure what’s the point of wearing a top over your bra, if you’re just going to expose the bra anyway! I’m all for crop tops. They look great with high-waisted jeans, but I’m just not seeing the benefits of this trend…

See through jeans

I’m pretty sure that the person at Topshop who designed these jeans came in one day, probably around Christmas after all of the festive parties, and came up with this design whilst they were still drunk on last night’s sherry and turned their vision into a reality. Yes, that is a pair of plastic see-through jeans. They retailed for around £55 and actually sold out. Topshop’s head designer said that their inspiration for the jeans came from the vinyl trend on the catwalks. They said that the typical Topshop customer is an ‘early adopter’ of trends, so they made a small batch to experiment with. I don’t believe that – it was definitely a drunk design.

Jeans that turn into shorts

Yep, not content with see through jeans, we have jeans that turn into a pair of booty shorts. The jeans look completely normal (just a straight leg, if you’re wondering) but on closer inspection, the crotch is attached to the legs with a set of buttons – when you undo them, your ordinary straight leg jeans magically become a pair of sexy denim shorts (or jorts, if you will). Harpers Bazaar deemed it ‘questionable’ whilst many Twitter users proclaimed that 2017 was the ‘summer of weird fashion trends’. However, it might be cheaper to just buy a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts, given that the convertible jorts in question retail for $425. Why is the ugliest clothing always the most expensive?

Underboob Swimwear

For swimwear, 2017 seems to be the year of the high leg. We’ve all seen those slogan swimsuits (think like the Megan McKenna Miss Pap collection) where the leg is cut so high that you can’t help but wonder how the wearer doesn’t get a frontal wedgie. However, it’s going one step further now, and not content with a high leg, we are also seeing a high cut along the chest. It’s all about the underboob. Popular influencer Sarah Ashcroft recently designed a swimwear collection for In the Style, and when I saw this particular swimsuit on Instagram, all I could think of is how unflattering it would be on anyone…well, normal. Each to their own though, and if I looked like Sarah, heck, I’d probably give it a go.

Fishnets under Jeans

This is a big trend, with everyone from Missguided to Topshop pushing it. Fashion went hardcore on ripped jeans last year (you know, the ones so extreme that you could probably smuggle a cute puppy through the hole in your leg) but this year, we’re all about covering those rips with a bit of fishnet. The chances are that if you follow any blogger on Instagram, you’ll have seen a super-flattering shot of their waist with the top of their fishnet tights poking above their jeans. Some shops even started selling jeans with fishnet panels, to cut out the need to buy fishnet tights.

Phone Case Bags

If you read Vogue and Glamour, then you will be under the illusion that phone case bags are set to be one of the big accessory trends of the year. Yep, that’s a bag that holds only your phone. Sorry boys, we can’t carry your wallet or your house keys. We can’t even carry our own – that’s fashion for you. As someone who likes to prepare for every eventuality when I leave the house, I don’t think I’ll be going for this trend…

Newsboy Hats

Newsboy hats were big in the 90s, but they’ve made a comeback this year. Bella Hadid was spotted wearing one in January and Vogue proclaimed that the trend would make a comeback way back in June 2016. Tweed has been swapped for leather, to give the style a punk edge, but for me, it’s still all a little too Oliver. No sir, I don’t want anymore…

Bonus: Beauty Trends

Feather/ Barbed Wire Eyebrows

We love a statement brow. I’m a big fan of the fluffy, arched brow, but some people have been taken it a step further with feathered brows. For anyone not in the know, that’s a centre parting down the middle of the eyebrow to create a feathered look. Do you prefer something a bit fiercer? Stay there. Barbed wire brows – sharp points in four different directions. Something for everyone in the world of eyebrow trends!

Glitter Boobs

Arrived at Coachella and forgot to bring a top? No problem. Glitter! Yep, the big festival trend this year is to cover your entire chest in glitter. It’s not for the faint hearted, but if you’re looking for a festival look that stands out, you’ve found it!

 

Barclays Launches £10m Digital Safety Ad Campaign

Barclays Launches £10m Digital Safety Ad Campaign

Barclays have launched a £10million digital safety campaign to combat the number of UK citizens currently being affected by fraud. The campaign includes two adverts, an online quiz to monitor your vulnerability and ‘tea and teach’ sessions in Barclays branches to help inform the public of the dangers they may be facing.

Currently, Londoner’s with a master’s degree aged 25 to 34 are the UK’s most vulnerable group, significantly more than older members of the public, with men in this category seen as slightly more at risk than women. Studies say that nearly a fifth of people who have suffered from fraud or are victims of scam take no further action after the incident to boost their digital defences, leaving them vulnerable to further attacks.

Apparently, only 17% of people in the UK can accurately identify basic digital threats, that can be found in ways like social media messages that are designed to trick users into sharing their personal information details or downloading a malware that will find the information for itself. These leaves many people vulnerable to attempts to steal their personal information and therefore gain access to their lives.

Because of this, Barclays UK Cheif Executive Officer Ashok Vaswari has called for the public, the police and business of the UK to unite in tackling this growing issue. Half of recorded crime in theBarclays Launches £10m Digital Safety Ad Campaign UK at the minute is made up from fraud and cyber offences, with 5.6 million people and companies suffering from its effects. This costs the UK around £11 billion each year. Plus, new research from Barclays shows that a quarter of people in the UK have experienced cyber-fraud or scam in some way in the past three years, with 18% saying they’ve encountered it more than once, meaning that the real victims could be much more than the official figures, as this truly is a growing problem that is desperate for a solution.

This is why Barclays new initiative is so important, as it shows the corporation truly trying to protect not only their customers but the British public in general. Barclays customers now have the chance to instantly switch the function for remote purchases on and off and can set their own daily ATM withdrawal limits with their mobile banking app, meaning that access to their account is monitored by the customers themselves.

Barclays have also created an online quiz that allows people to assess their own digital safety level and gives the customers further tips on how to strengthen their defences depending on how they fare within the quiz. There is also a multi-channel ad campaign screening, with two adverts showing examples of fraud in action. One shows a young man supposedly emailing his family asking for money after being involved in an accident abroad, and the other features a woman in a call centre posing as a bank employee, as she uses a subtle trick that will result in customers giving her their PIN over the phone. Both of these represent current techniques used by fraudsters and help to spread the message of the dangers the public faces.

Along with this, Barclays have begun providing digital safety teach-ins within their branches to help customers learn the correct ways to protect their information and fight against scammers online. This will equip their customers with the opportunity to avoid ever becoming victims to fraud.

There are three basic measures that Barclays estimate would drop fraud levels by up to 75% if people were to follow them. The measures are:

  • Never give out your full online banking PIN, passcode or password to anyone, even someone calling claiming to be the police or your bank
  • Do not click on any link or open any attachments from any emails that you have received which are unsolicited
  • Avoid letting someone you do not know have access to your computer, especially if it is remotely

By following these measures many people could be saved from the trauma of fraud.

Any individual or company that suspects they have been the victim of fraud can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or contact them.