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Paula Akpan

Paula Akpan

Articles (63)

The best hotels in NYC

The best hotels in NYC

Hospitality is something that New York prides itself on and that is pretty clearly evidenced by its best hotels. Every kind of traveler can find their perfect holiday haven in this glorious city, from sleek boutique hotels in the city’s trendiest neighborhoods to opulent luxury stays near the top NYC attractions. You’ll even find some of the best spas and restaurants tucked inside their lobbies. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the Big Apple or a local craving an inner-city staycation, these properties take the cake when it comes to hospitality and hotel perks. Cue room service. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in NYCRECOMMENDED: Cozy cabins near NYCRECOMMENDED: The best cheap hotels in NYCRECOMMENDED: The best spa hotels in NYCRECOMMENDED: The most romantic hotels in NYC RECOMMENDED: The best hotels with hot tubs in NYCRECOMMENDED: The best waterfront Airbnbs near NYC RECOMMENDED: The best family hotels in NYCRECOMMENDED: The coolest Airbnbs in Brooklyn This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

A ne pas manquer aujourd'hui à Paris

A ne pas manquer aujourd'hui à Paris

Si votre médecin vous conseille de manger cinq fruits et légumes par jour, chez Time Out Paris, on vous fournit vos cinq bons plans quotidiens à ne pas manquer en ville. Avec, comme d’habitude, rien que la crème de la crème des sorties. De l'expo dont tout le monde parle au bistrot bien planqué en passant par le festival qui s'apprête à embraser une des nombreuses friches parisiennes… Tout, vous aurez tout pour être comblés aujourd'hui à Paris. Cet article comprend des liens d'affiliation. Ces liens n'ont aucune influence sur notre contenu éditorial. Pour plus d'informations, cliquez ici.

The most romantic hotels in Chicago

The most romantic hotels in Chicago

No matter what gets you in the mood, Chicago's hotels are perfect for a romantic vacation, staycation or bae-cation with your person. But which of the city's hotels are the most appropriate for a seriously loved-up time? Below are some of our top picks, based on everything from jaw-dropping skyline views and lavish room features to quality dining experiences from some of the best restaurants in Chicago. Whether you're coming from out of town for a romantic getaway in Chicago or merely looking for a steamy staycation, these luxurious stays are sure to satisfy—so pack your overnight bag and prepare for a night to remember at Chicago's most romantic hotels. Alexa: dim the lights. RECOMMENDED: Discover secluded getaways near ChicagoRECOMMENDED: The best spa hotels in Chicago This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 21 best things to do in Oxford right now

The 21 best things to do in Oxford right now

The world-class museums. The scenic waterways and parks. The hallowed halls and libraries and corridors where Nobel Prize-winners, prime ministers and literary giants spent their formative years. Oxford is chock-full of brilliant things to see and do, and best of all, many of them are free to visit.Sure, several of the most famous attractions – from punting and choir services to galleries filled with ancient treasures – have something to do with the city’s storied university. But alongside all the Oxbridge buzz, you’ll find a rich industrial past, meandering rivers crying out to be explored by kayak or paddleboard, and a strong arts and music scene that brings a little edge to this most conservative of cities. Read on to find out about the best things to do in Oxford, from perennial favourites to little-known haunts. RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Oxford

The 18 best things to do in Florence

The 18 best things to do in Florence

It’s true what they say: Florence really is the city of lurrve. And not just because it’s got a whole host of romantic things to do with your partner (or bestie), but because you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the city itself. Florence is one of those Italian cities that has it all, and it’s pretty big too, so you’re going to need a plan in place to get it all in.  Firstly, it’s well known that Florence is home to some of the best art going, from Renaissance pieces at the Uffizi to Michelangelo’s marble. But peppered between its most well-known sights are quaint cafés, food markets and brilliant restaurants for pasta and more. Plus old ancient buildings to get lost in, best enjoyed with a slice of pizza in hand. Ready for your love affair to begin? Here’s 18 things to do in Florence that you just can’t miss.  RECOMMENDED:🛍 A complete guide to shopping in Florence🍦 Here's where to eat the best gelato in Florence🏡 The best Airbnbs in Florence🏨 The best hotels in Florence

The 22 best things to do in Milan

The 22 best things to do in Milan

Magnificent, marvellous Milan. Milano has an intangible quality that cannot be faked, an undeniable sense of style that permeates almost every neighbourhood and flows through the veins of those from here. Beautiful buildings and hotels are everywhere, the food is a triumph. Shopping? Oh, baby, get ready to splash the cash and flash the plastic because Milan is where people go to be seen. Oh and make sure you don't miss out on its incredible Airbnbs if you need somewhere to stay, too. The best thing to do in Milan is to look your best and feel more stylish than ever before, but the city also packs in a fabulous number of more traditional tourist activities to sink your teeth into. Follow our guide and Da Vinci’s canals, and you’re in for a darling of a time. RECOMMENDATION: ⏱ How to spend the perfect weekend in Milan🍴 The best restaurants in Milan🛏 The best hotels in Milan 🏠 The best Airbnbs in Milan

The best Airbnbs with indoor pools in the U.S.

The best Airbnbs with indoor pools in the U.S.

A vacation isn't really a vacation without a swimming pool, right? The water somehow has the ability to wash away all your worries and bring you peace. But sometimes the weather just doesn't allow it. Fear not, there are indoor pools, you know?  We've selected the best Airbnbs around the USA with indoor pools to help give you that water fix you're craving. From Pennsylvania to California, South Carolina to Massachusetts. Whether you're looking for budget options or you're splashing out with your family or friends on something a bit more luxurious, you'll find tons of variety.  RECOMMENDED:The most spectacular places to swim in the worldDestination-worthy spas and wellness retreats in the USThe most impressive Airbnbs treehouses in the US This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The most romantic Airbnbs near NYC

The most romantic Airbnbs near NYC

Fancy a romantic getaway, reconnecting with your other half? What better way than to head out to the gorgeous areas surrounding NYC in an equally-gorgeous and romantic Airbnb? Nothing says romance like sleeping in someone else's bed. Live out your rom-com chick-flick fantasies and spend the night in the Big Apple before frolicking off to somewhere cozy for the night. Luckily for you, there are a million and one places to stay listed on Airbnb. From off-the-grid cabins to riverfront cottages, we've picked the best of the best for your holiday romance. Read on, star-crossed lovers, read on.  RECOMMENDED: Valentine’s Day in NYC guideRECOMMENDED: 10 Airbnbs that'll make you feel like you're in EuropeRECOMMENDED: The sexiest hotels in NYC This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. 

The most romantic hotels in Los Angeles

The most romantic hotels in Los Angeles

Los Angeles might not be the first place you think of when choosing a romantic location for your next trip away, but we're here to tell you that amidst the glamour and glitz, L.A. is actually pretty romantic. Cue the violins. With plenty of picturesque restaurants and enough date night ideas to keep the flame of passion going for years, Los Angeles is ideal for loved-up couples. Whether you’re planning a romantic trip to Los Angeles or are an Angeleno looking to make your partner swoon (aren't we all?), here are the most romantic hotels in the city—which also happen to be some of the best hotels in L.A. Say I love you in a dimly-lit and highly atmospheric hotel bar. Who said romance is dead? This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 13 best Airbnbs in New England

The 13 best Airbnbs in New England

You name it, New England’s probably got it. Stunning seaside? Check. Rich in nature? Obvs. Buzzing college towns? You bet. The six states that make up the region – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts – all boast historic urban centers, characterful towns, and hugely varied natural landscapes. If you're heading to New England on a little vacation, you're probably wondering where best to stay. Well, luckily for you we’ve done the hard (and fun) bit and picked out a bunch of super interesting places to stay in New England. Fancy something rural? We've got it. A cool city-center apartment? Yup. Treehouse? Possibly. Read on to find the region's best Airbnbs.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 16 best Airbnbs in Florida

The 16 best Airbnbs in Florida

Beach vibes and sunshine only. Florida is known for its incredible beaches and the outrageous number of sunny days per year. Ugh, jealous. But Florida is actually also one of the Union's most diverse states. From the Everglades’ world-beating nature to the Sunshine State’s unique cities, there’s a world to discover in the Panhandle and beyond. Let's not beat around the bush, there are a ton of reasons to visit Florida (not just for Disney World). And when you do visit, there's no doubt you’ll need a top-tier place to stay – which is where we come in. We’ve sifted through the state’s Airbnbs to find the finest around so there's something to suit everyone. Happy vacay, baby.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 15 best walking tours in London

The 15 best walking tours in London

London’s one of the most walkable capital cities in the world. Indeed, in many ways, London is the anti-L.A.: here people think you’re mad if you do drive a car around town. Besides, nothing quite lets you get to know a city like a good walk around – after all, London existed long before there were any forms of public or private transport more sophisticated than a horse. Plus, after trekking across half the city, you have the perfect excuse to sit down with a pint (or two).  Sure, bus and boat tours are good, but there’s nothing quite like a London walking tour. From basic sightseeing treks to specialised theme tours, whether you’ve got a day, an afternoon or just an hour, there’s some sort of tour out there for you. Buckle up, folks: here’s our pick of the best walking tours in London. Need more sightseeing inspiration? Check out our list of 101 things to do in London. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

Listings and reviews (4)

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody

3 out of 5 stars

The thing about biopics is that the creative team begins at a disadvantage – not only do they have to produce something that satisfies as entertainment, but their representation of the historical figure has to win out against the viewer’s own preconceived notions. We’ve already formed a pretty robust image of that person in our heads and, let’s be frank, we often don’t like to be challenged on what we feel to be true. It takes a spectacular effort to make us think otherwise. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody – directed by Harriet’s Kasi Lemmons written by Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour) takes on the challenge with limited success. Across 146 minutes, the film does its best to cram in every detail on the pop singer and actor (played by Naomi Ackie) and her meteoric ascent from the gospel choir to the Superbowl. Such a tack normally spells only the most surface level engagement with the subject. Unfortunately for this biopic, it follows suit.   Viewers are swung from one critical moment to the next, with scenes feeling blurred or leaving unanswered questions. As the once-obscure vocalist inches towards the height of her fame, Houston’s relationship with assistant Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams) feels simultaneously central and tacitly engaged with, mournful glances and circular inferences do much of the heavy lifting for what might have been a powerful and direct corrective. Cementing her legacy as ‘The Voice’ in the late 1980s and early ’90s, we’re introduced to t

Happiest Season

Happiest Season

3 out of 5 stars

This year has given us a number of unexpected offerings, but a queer Christmas film is not one we saw coming. Co-writer and director Clea DuVall’s Happiest Season follows a lesbian couple, Harper (Mackenzie Davis) and Abby (Kristen Stewart), as they head to Harper’s family home to celebrate the festive season. It’s only halfway through the car journey there that Harper reveals quite a fairly important detail to Abby: she hasn’t come out to her straight-edged, conservative family. Abby, whose plans to propose to her girlfriend over Christmas are scuppered, finds herself taking on the role of Harper’s straight roommate. Cue chaos.  Quite literally made for the role of the awkwardly charming lesbian, Stewart shines as we watch Abby navigate Harper’s overly competitive family and reckon with the slow realisation that the woman she’s fallen for turns into a closeted high-school mean girl when she’s back in her hometown.  Alongside the classic holiday high jinks, Happiest Season promises humorous explorations of personal authenticity, family dynamics (both biological and chosen) and the complexities of queerness. However, it doesn’t quite manage to tick all those boxes and throws you into darker ethical quandaries than you might expect from a festive flick. Most of these – such as Harper’s stream of selfish and questionable decisions – are left barely explored or even acknowledged. You’ll find yourself frustratedly gesturing towards the screen – particularly if you’re a queer viewe

Elizabeth I: Construction of an Icon

Elizabeth I: Construction of an Icon

Just when you thought that London couldn’t take on any more drag queens, the mother of them all deigns to grace us with her presence. No, not RuPaul – Elizabeth I. This Friday, performer Christopher Green will be lacing up in regal garments based on the famous ‘Armada Portrait’, donning a ginger wig and tackling the role of the original Liz for the one-off performance piece ‘Elizabeth I: Construction of an Icon’. Starting at 10.45am at the Queen’s House – site of Greenwich Palace, where the monarch was born in 1533 – the ‘Queen’ will cruise upstream on a Thames Clipper and proceed in state from the London Eye to the National Portrait Gallery, accompanied by ‘ladies of the bedchamber’ – members of the Amies Freedom Choir, survivors of human trafficking who use their music to raise cultural awareness. On arrival at the NPG, ‘Elizabeth’ will be viewing her portraits and posing for a life drawing session with her loyal subjects. Between the costumes, the pomp, the powerful message of the choir and the whole performance, you won’t ever have seen anything like this before.

London Landmarks Half Marathon

London Landmarks Half Marathon

Opportunities to work up a sweat on the London tourist circuit are usually limited to queuing for Madame Tussauds in July. But the London Landmarks Half Marathon offers a chance to check out the sights, get some exercise and raise money for charity. Founded in 2018, it’s the only half-marathon to go through both the City of London and Westminster on closed roads, giving runners a unique route past icons such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye. For spectators, it’s a great day out with plenty of race-day entertainment. Catch performances from singers, dancers and musicians, take a free guided history tour, discover under-the-radar sites like the house where the Gunpowder Plot was hatched and meet some historic and fictional Londoners, with a tribute to the world of Harry Potter. It’s a one-day transformation of central London, and you can enjoy it even if you couldn’t run a bath.

News (39)

Five of London's prettiest canalside neighbourhoods

Five of London's prettiest canalside neighbourhoods

Back in the day, London's historic canal network used to be smelly and industrial. Now though? Canalside neighbourhoods are some of the prettiest in the city – and are great places to live. Think: well-connected walking routes, heaps of hip coffee shops, and windows overlooking the water. Here's a quick roundup of some of the city's best.  Andy Parsons The extremely well-connected one: King’s Cross  What’s it like? You might know it as the home of trains and a big Waitrose, but thanks to some extremely chichi development work, King’s Cross is now the proud owner of numerous sparkling pedestrianised squares, canalside sunbathing spots, posh restaurant chains (hello, Dishoom!) and the bougie outdoor shopping mall Coal Drops Yard. Basically, move here and you’ll never run out of Aesop.  Best places to eat and drink? Granary Square Brasserie does a mean steak tartare, then roll over to nearby pub The Lighterman for a pint on its pretty terrace. Any downsides? If you’re after a quiet neighbourhood, give this one a wide berth. King’s Cross is buzzing well into the early hours. How much would it cost to rent a place here? According to property aficionados Rightmove (who let us know all the prices in this piece), the average rent is £2,958 per month. And to buy? An eye-watering £1,094,282.       Matt Russell The hip one: Hackney Wick  What’s it like? This east London area has a vibrant but kinda weird energy. Once home to a community of artists living in warehouses, it’s now fil

Activist Lady Phyll on experiencing racism growing up in London

Activist Lady Phyll on experiencing racism growing up in London

Enfield Town was my regular haunt as a young person. On London Road, there was a place called the Townhouse where you could learn how to dance tap, ballroom and disco. In 1983, when I was about nine or ten, I met my friend Hayley at the Townhouse and we found that a National Front march was taking place on the street that day. An old woman with a tartan shopping trolley told me to hide in a shopfront. She said: ‘The people coming down here don’t like your sort.’ Hayley, being white, blonde and blue-eyed, kept an eye out while I hid. I saw these big burly men in bomber jackets and steel-toecapped DMs, with swastikas in tow. I will never forget that. I was utterly frightened of these men. The next day, I asked my history teacher why we were learning about Henry VIII rather than slavery. I didn’t have the language to articulate how I felt. As I got older, I turned some of that anger into passion. I worked for a trade union and studied labour relations. Had that march not happened, I wouldn’t have challenged my teachers or entered into the work I do now. I only went to the Townhouse once after the march. I guess I had felt free up until that moment.  UK Black Pride will be three-day digital event this year. July 2-July 4. Read more from this series: Candice Carty-Williams reminisces about the Camberwell market of her childhood Dane Baptiste on his first stand-up gig, in a London wine bar

This outdoor dining terrace has a canopy made from umbrellas lost on the tube

This outdoor dining terrace has a canopy made from umbrellas lost on the tube

Picture this: it’s the year 2019. You’re sat on a jam-packed tube, sopping wet from one of London’s familiar downpours. Some stranger is essentially sat on your lap while the elbows of the person to your left keep nudging you, as they desperately try to rectify their drenched face of make-up. Your stop is approaching – oh wait, no, it’s here! You wrangle through the masses to alight. As you step off, it dawns on you: bollocks, you’ve left your umbrella. Safely on the platform, you mournfully watch the tube whizz away with your only protection from the elements outside. But could it be that you might be reunited with your beloved brolly? London Bridge restaurant Bala Baya has found a handy use for your lost property, by launching the Discarded Umbrella Winter Garden. Burak Can Aksit The Israeli-inspired eatery is inviting guests to drink and dine under a colourful canopy of London’s finest lost brollies, having sourced 200 forgotten umbrellas from the London Underground. Not only is it a visually stunning cover, but it’ll also protect you from the unpredictable outlook while doing your outdoor socialising this winter. And bonus points if you bring an umbrella to donate to the display: you’ll snag £1 off one of Bala Baya’s cocktails. Bring two, and you get £2 off... you get the idea. So if you’re missing the tube – or worse still, your favourite weather protector – head on down for a little throwback in among the Tel Aviv flavours. Bala Baya is at Arch 25, 229 Union St, SE1

Candice Carty-Williams reminisces about the Camberwell market of her childhood

Candice Carty-Williams reminisces about the Camberwell market of her childhood

I grew up in Streatham but my family and I would go to different markets most weekends. East Street Market in Camberwell was my favourite. It was where my nan would get nighties, socks and knickers from. I have all these memories of being in this loud market filled with people from every walk of life. It was an incredibly vibrant place. When I was younger, with no sense of direction, I didn’t understand where exactly East Street Market was. It dawned on me when I got older and started getting the bus to Camberwell. The first time I heard ‘East Street Market’ on the tannoy, I nearly lost my mind. It had been this mythological place from my childhood and suddenly it was real. I’ve never visited the market as an adult. I wanted to leave it as it was because I was so heartbroken at Brixton Market turning into something I didn’t understand. Visiting the same spaces and being respectful of them since I was a child means that I’ve always had gentrification on my radar. So much of my work is concerned with how things change and how we lose the connection that we had to them. I want to remember East Street as the magical marketplace I visited at the weekends. ‘Queenie’ by Candice Carty-Williams is out now in paperback (Trapeze, £8.99). Follow Candice Carty-Williams on Twitter.  Read more from this series: What Rye Lane in Peckham means to presenter Yinka Bokinni. Michael Dapaah on Recreation Way, the estate he grew up on.

Travis Alabanza reminisces about The Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Travis Alabanza reminisces about The Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Around 2015, I lived near The Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Kennington Lane in Vauxhall. It was around the time that I first started performing in London. I basically lived at the Tavern – I was either there working or watching performances. Vauxhall became the first place, outside of my home in Bristol, where I felt like I knew the beat of it. I would walk past the Tavern when it was open and I’d stop for ten minutes and have a chat with the security guard or have a cigarette with someone I knew in the pub. My career grew while living near Kennington Lane. The Tavern is the only venue in London where I’ve performed so often over the years you can see my growth as an artist. If you know your queer history, you can throw a penny from Kennington Lane and probably hit a legend. The Tavern is the oldest LGBTQ+ venue in the country and there have been some amazing performers there. Doing shows there was an education for me – when you’re not trained as a performer, you learn in the clubs. I miss living there. Kennington Lane was really foundational for me. Long live The Royal Vauxhall Tavern!  ‘Overflow’ by Travis Alabanza is at The Bush Theatre. Dec 8-22. Read more from this series: Dane Baptiste on his first stand-up gig, in a London wine bar. Jade Anouka on her formative years in a New Cross flatshare.

Actor Jade Anouka on her formative years in a New Cross flatshare

Actor Jade Anouka on her formative years in a New Cross flatshare

When I graduated from drama school at 21, I rented a flat on Troutbeck Road with two mates, one who I’d met at drama school and another I’d met at the National Youth Theatre. Living there shaped the person and the actor I am today. At the time, I wasn’t acting that much but I was working three jobs. I’d come home and the three of us would look for auditions. A lot of rejection happened in that house. It was there that I developed a thick skin for this job. But a lot of my firsts happened in the three years I lived there too: my first TV gig, my first lead in a Shakespeare play. The road is quite close to Goldsmiths and Camberwell College of Arts and that’s definitely represented in the area – there’s so much creativity and so many interesting characters. I worked in a café down the road and met loads of locals. I’d learn my lines while I was serving people. Everyone would say good luck. If I’m in the area, I sometimes go back to the road for nostalgia. I still think about the variety of life there that inspired me with my work. Living on Troutbeck Road nourished me in more ways than I can count. Jade Anouka is in ‘His Dark Materials’ on BBC One. Read more from this series: What Rye Lane in Peckham means to presenter Yinka Bokinni. Candice Carty-Williams reminisces about East Street Market.

The street that changed my life: comedian Sophie Duker on Ridley Road

The street that changed my life: comedian Sophie Duker on Ridley Road

I’ve lived in Dalston for six years. I remember thinking that I was an adult because I’d finished university so therefore needed to live in London. I had two requirements for the location – I needed to be able to easily buy plantain and get products for my hair. My best friend and I found a flat just off Ridley Road Market with a Pak’s hair shop on the corner. It was a dream come true. Ridley Road Market is one of my favourite places in London. If I’ve had a stressful day, I just walk down the street and it calms me. I like the fact that everything in a bowl costs a pound. I can buy a yam if I want. I mean, it’s been six years and I haven’t bought one yet but it’s good to know that I can. In 2016, I ran a feminist comedy night, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, at Dalston Roof Park, which overlooks Ridley Road. I decided to do a comedy festival with my friends, comedian Lolly Adefope and poet Bridget Minamore. This idea we’d had turned into a magical place with music and comedy. It was a beautiful night and marked the beginning of my comedy career. For me, Ridley Road is the most perfect bit of London.  Follow Sophie Duker on Twitter and Instagram @sophiedukebox. Looking for more places to hang out in east London? Hackney’s Towpath Café has reopened (and it’s doing dinner).  Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in London. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

The Street That Changed My Life: presenter Yinka Bokinni on Rye Lane

The Street That Changed My Life: presenter Yinka Bokinni on Rye Lane

Rye Lane is the road that paints a picture of my youth. I was born and raised in Peckham and that street is where most of my memories are. It’s where I had my first drink, in a bar opposite the train station that doesn’t exist any more. I still remember watching ‘Coach Carter’ at Peckhamplex. The screen broke but the manager said we wouldn’t get our money back because we’d only paid £2.99 for the tickets. My mum passed away 11 years ago and Rye Lane brings back memories of my family. She’d make us go shopping and walk the bags all the way home instead getting the bus four stops. I don’t live in Peckham any more, but I come back to get my hair done, as it’s the land of Black haircare. Working in radio, the sounds of Rye Lane have always been inspiring. If you walk from Asda towards Peckham Rye station, you’ve got shops blaring radios, gospel music coming from churches and the sounds of the market. It’s eclectic. I often think about how weird it is when you move out of an area and you’re no longer there to see the mundane. The mundane becomes quite beautiful. Yinka Bokinni presents ‘Damilola: The Boy Next Door’ on Channel 4. Broadcast date TBC. Read about how Brixton Courtyard brought clubbing back to London (kind of). Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in London. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Tanya Compas is changing the lives of Black queer young people in London (and beyond)

Tanya Compas is changing the lives of Black queer young people in London (and beyond)

The word to describe Tanya Compas is ‘exuberant’. I’m sat with the youth worker on a bench in Peckham Rye Park’s Japanese garden, halfway between her place and mine. It’s the height of one of this summer’s sporadic heatwaves and the combination of the bright rays and her infectious energy is dazzling. It’s no wonder the 28-year-old has built a loyal following of thousands on Twitter and Instagram. When she talks about her work, you can’t help but feel invigorated. Right now, Compas is overjoyed. A couple of weeks ago, a crowdfunder she created to help her support Black queer young people around the country smashed its initial target of £10,000, raising more than £100,000. That’s ten times what she’d hoped for it. The success was Compas’s most widely reported action, but it’s not the first time she’s made a huge impact within her community. In fact, while you might only just be learning Compas’s name, she’s quietly been changing the lives of young Londoners for years. ‘It’s hard to navigate the charity sector as a Black queer woman, even within queer charities with other queer people, because it’s still inherently white with so many biases,’ says Compas. ‘They don’t acknowledge that how they view these young people can impact the level of care they’re given. They see their Blackness and therefore, view them as strong [and needing less help]. Even within queer-run charities, you see young Black queer people being systematically failed and often reliving cycles of trauma – it’s

Virtual LGBTQ+ spaces will be just as important when lockdown’s over

Virtual LGBTQ+ spaces will be just as important when lockdown’s over

To say that the pandemic has been tough on LGBTQ+ young people would be putting it lightly. The past few months have seen rises in job losses and unstable employment - and of course, we’ve all been locked down in our homes. This has been bad for everyone. But has especially exacerbated issues that members of the community are already vulnerable to, such as homelessness. During lockdown, Switchboard, the north London-based LGBTQ+ helpline, reported a spike of 20% more calls, emails and instant messages than they did before the pandemic. including LGBTQ+ people who have come out during isolation and are in danger of being kicked out by unsupportive family members. Natasha Walker, Switchboard’s co-chair, shares that the helpline has a huge influx of calls from trans and gender-nonconforming folks: ‘One thing we’re all very aware of right now is the pausing of gender-treating, gender-affirming surgery, and gender clinics having to shut down or really strip back their services.’ That’s why the cancellation of this year’s Pride events, such as UK Black Pride and Pride In London, has hit hard. These annual gatherings and protests have historically offered LGBTQ+ folks a space to celebrate and affirm our identities – even when there’s not space to do that at home. However, despite unprecedented challenges, queer organisers continue to demonstrate that spaces for our communities can be carved out anywhere. This year, it’s just meant going online.   Photograph: International Transgend

9 craft kits to order that will keep you entertained during lockdown

9 craft kits to order that will keep you entertained during lockdown

Looking for activities to fill the hours you’d usually spend having nice pints with pals in the pub? If you’re prepared to pivot to wholesome, we have a solution for you: loads of cool London makers have been bringing out DIY kits over the past few weeks, meaning you can get creative without leaving your sofa. There’s everything from brewing to pottery to collaging – and the best thing is that if it turns out you’re shit at whichever craft you pick, no one has to know (just shove the result of your making session to the back of a cupboard and forget about it forever).  1. Fill a terrarium Not got a garden? Make your own tiny one in a jar. Wardian London and Botanical Boys’ terrarium kits come with plant materials, a glass vessel and courier delivery (starting price £28). Order the one you want and then join a virtual workshop (running on selected Mondays until June 22) to learn how to put it together.    Photograph: Botanical Boys         2. Embroider some stuff  Shopping for new threads may not be high up on your list right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t customise what you already have. Get crafty with London Embroidery Studio’s beginners’ hand-embroidery kit (£29.99), which comes with needles, yarn and more. Once you’ve got your newly upcycled wardrobe, make sure you arrange a fashion show via Google Hangouts – it’s only right. 3. Make a whole bike Although we’re all social distancing, you can still get active outside while following guidelines on non-essential conta

What is nature cramming and how do you do it?

What is nature cramming and how do you do it?

That’s what we’re calling the urge to squeeze as much green into our lives as quickly as possible once the rain has finally stopped and we escape self-isolation. The talk The Hayward Gallery’s ‘Among the Trees’ exhibition already has us pumped about trunks, but did you know it’s doing talks too? Have a small existential crisis as you learn about the world’s oldest living things with artist Rachel Sussman. Hayward Gallery. Waterloo tube. Mar 24. £7.50. The big one Chelsea Fringe (the flower show’s less Tory sibling) is always full of edgy ways to connect with plants. The schedule will be revealed soon but expect unusual workshops and smart guided walks. Multiple venues. May 16-24. The craft sesh Make a (recycled glass) terrarium full of ferns and foliage while getting shitfaced on a surprisingly strong gin cocktail at this 90-minute workshop, held conveniently close to Mother’s Day. Harvey Nichols. Knightsbridge tube. Sat Mar 21. £65. The show-and-tell Scientists who work through the night in order to collect moths are unsung heroes of the natural research world. Find out more about their escapades at the Natural History Museum’s ‘A Night in the Jungle’ event. It’s even being held in the so-called Attenborough Suite. Natural History Museum. South Kensington tube. Fri May 15. Free. Want to explore London on a bit more? Here are the capital's prettiest walks

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