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Velvet is this season’s must-wear material — and here’s our guide to the perfect picks

IT’S the material of the moment and it hasn’t come a second too soon – velvet is high-fashion once again. Spotted on catwalks at London, Paris and New York fashion weeks, it’s the perfect fabric to keep cosy against the winter chill – or to glam up with for nights on the town. But it’s […]

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IT’S the material of the moment and it hasn’t come a second too soon – velvet is high-fashion once again.

Spotted on catwalks at London, Paris and New York fashion weeks, it’s the perfect fabric to keep cosy against the winter chill – or to glam up with for nights on the town.

Catwalking.com
A model rocks a full-velvet suit on the Altuzarra catwalk during New York Fashion Week[/caption]

But it’s not limited to clothing and accessories (although ,thankfully, there’s plenty of that).

Instead, velvet has seen a resurgence across all areas of the style spectrum, including make-up and interiors.

From a soft-touch monkey lamp to jumpsuits and a chic clutch – there’s something for all velvet-loving fashion fans.

Check out our top picks for the trend of the season below…

Plush platforms

Shoes, £46, Lost Ink at Asos.com

Monkey business

Lamp, £95, Abigail Ahern/Edition at Debenhams

Crushing on cushions

Cushion, £30, J by Jasper Conran at Debenhams

Jump for joy

Jumpsuit, £29.99, Bershka

Suit up

Blazer, £75, Massimo Dutti

Eye say…

Laura Mercier Crème Eyeliner in Canard, £19.50

Gotta bag it

Bag, £59, Charleskeith.com

Three chairs for this

Armchair, £399, Atkinandthyme.co.uk

Powder blue

Wunder2 Pure Pigments Eyeshadow in Midnight Blue, £8.95
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Blue Planet II TV crew capture incredible sight of a fish leaping from the water to attack a BIRD

BLUE Planet II TV crews may have captured one of their most incredible sights yet: a vicious fish leaping out of the water trying to snatch a flying seabird. Sir David Attenborough’s latest nature doc will air on October 29 – two decades after the original Blue Planet stunned viewers and redefined the documentary genre. […]

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BLUE Planet II TV crews may have captured one of their most incredible sights yet: a vicious fish leaping out of the water trying to snatch a flying seabird.

Sir David Attenborough’s latest nature doc will air on October 29 – two decades after the original Blue Planet stunned viewers and redefined the documentary genre.

This is the incredible moment a hungry fish leapt from the water to attack a flying seabird
BBC

The upcoming seven-part season took four years to film, with crews searching along the planet’s coasts and deep beneath the waves in search of the oceans’ most magical spectacles.

And it sounds like they’ve found some.

The Sunday Times reports that crews returned from their ocean voyage with a world first: images of a hungry fish species leaping feet above the waves to pluck a bird right out of the sky.

As you’d imagine, the fish in question, called a giant trevally, is an enormous beast capable of growing to 80kg, bigger than many sharks.

The aptly-named giant trevally has never been captured on camera attacking birds like this before
BBC

And the predatory fish have now been caught out attacking low-flying seabirds, something nobody knew they were capable of.

A filmmaker managed to snap a mid-air shot of the hefty fish as it leapt towards a tern flying six feet above the water’s surface.

With the BBC playing it coy, it is unknown whether they got any actual footage of the fierce fish snatching birds from the sky – but it’s highly likely that they did.

Snapped in the Seychelles, the crew risked massive financial losses by chasing around the giant trevallies without proof of what they were capable of.

The hefty fish were seen nabbing birds above the waters of the Seychelles
BBC

Miles Barton, who directed the sequence, said: “A fish that launches itself, missile-like, to try to take birds from the air sounded too extraordinary to be true.

“Despite it being a fisherman’s tale with no photographic evidence to back it up, I decided it was worth taking the greatest risk of my 30-year career.”

Another revelation coming from the doc is just as stunning: fish have worked out how to use tools.

Australia’s orange-dotted tuskfish has reportedly been captured on camera treating a solid piece of coral as an anvil, using the hard outcropping to break into mussel shells.

The new season of Blue Planet promises some staggering encounters – narrated by Sir David Attenborough
BBC

Narrator David Attenborough, 91, said: “The amazing thing is how every film and every series has found new things.

“There were details on fish behaviour which I thought were completely new. You suddenly saw this fish which is more intelligent than you imagined. It was extraordinary.”

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From leaving an unhappy marriage to switching jobs — four women reveal the instant they knew their changed their lives and reignited their sparks

FIRST there was the midlife crisis. But this year is all about the midlife breakthrough – having a lightbulb moment that sparks a big change. Former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp, 42 is the figurehead. After appearing on Strictly last year, she split from retired footballer Jamie, her husband of 19 years, and is concentrating on […]

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FIRST there was the midlife crisis.

But this year is all about the midlife breakthrough – having a lightbulb moment that sparks a big change.

Oliver Dixon
These four women explain how making important changes have improved their lives for the better[/caption]

Former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp, 42 is the figurehead.

After appearing on Strictly last year, she split from retired footballer Jamie, her husband of 19 years, and is concentrating on putting herself first.

The mum of two said: “I lost myself. This happens to a lot of women when they get married and have children. You have this feeling, ‘Where did I go?’ ”

Here, four women tell LYNSEY CLARKE and CLAIRE DUNWELL they chose to make the change.

Oliver Dixon
New jobs, dramatically losing weight or leaving your unhappy marriage can give you the breakthrough you need[/caption]

Broke away from an unhappy marriage

SINGLE Jane Gray, 46, runs an online arts business and lives in Cheltenham with her children Luca, 14, Corinna, 13, and Frankie, ten.

At 41, she called time on her 11-year marriage and says she has never felt better.

She says: “My 40th birthday was a huge turning point for me because I realised I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in an unhappy marriage.

Oliver Dixon
Jane Gray, 46, had her lightbulb moment when training for a marathon[/caption]

“When the children came along, I decided with my husband to leave my full-time job and be a stay-at-home mum. I happily devoted myself to that but after a decade, I was desperate to get my independence back.

“I’d lost part of who I was before, and being financially dependent on someone else never sat well with me. I spent my late thirties trying to make things work with my husband but we’d grown apart.

“I was 41 and training for a marathon when I had my lightbulb moment. Long hours running on my own gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted in life. I couldn’t carry on being unhappy and days later, I ended things.

“My friends and family were pretty shocked. It felt like a weight had lifted and while telling the children is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I have no regrets. I feel like the Jane I was in my twenties – more driven, confident and happier than ever. Getting out there and living life to the full doesn’t make you any less of a mum.

After 11 years, Jane Gray decided to not to stay in her unhappy marriage

“I hope some day I’ll be able to show my kids what it’s like to be in a happy relationship.”

Turned from frumpy to fabulous

FORMER events manager Joanne Collins, 47, turned her life around, going from frumpy to fabulous.

She lives in Southampton with her husband Mark, 46, who runs a curtain business, and children Luke, ten, and Finlay, six.

Oliver Dixon
Joanne Collins, 47, had her lightbulb moment at Center Parcs when the only activity she enjoyed was eating[/caption]

She says: “Growing up, I had always been fit and active but then my struggles with weight began after having Luke.

“I adored baking for my family and cooking big, hearty meals – and after having Finlay, I was the heaviest I had ever been.

“My lightbulb moment came during a family holiday at Center Parcs just over two years ago.

“I should have been able to swim and cycle with my children, like the other mums we had gone with.

Southampton-based Joanne was a size 22 and could not swim and cycle with her kids

“But as a size 22 and almost 18st, the only activity I really enjoyed was eating.

“Even just walking around the park with my husband left me exhausted.

“As soon as we got home, I burst into tears. I felt I wasn’t just letting myself down, but letting my family down. I knew I had to change.

“Having tried and failed countless diets in the past, I signed up to the Cambridge Weight Plan. I’m now a size 12 and weigh 10st 10lb. We went to a different Center Parcs last year and this time I took part in everything. It was like the same holiday with a different mum.”

Oliver Dixon
Joanne said she never expected to be so happy in her forties[/caption]

Put herself first and found the one

NHS programme manager Debbie Crohn’s confidence was at rock bottom until she got chatting to university lecturer Nick, 47, on a dating website two years ago – and realised she had finally met “the one”.

Debbie, 45, who is mum to Scott, 26, Daniel, 22, and Sophie, 21, lives in Hull.

Oliver Dixon
Debbie Crohn, 45, had her lightbulb moment when she finally met ‘the one’[/caption]

She says: “I spent 15 years being a single mum after my relationship broke down, and that was my priority.

“I was juggling looking after the children with work and there was no time to think about me.

“I lost my self-respect and put myself at the bottom of the list when it came to relationships. I felt I wasn’t important.

“My needs always came second and I didn’t think about myself or my appearance.

“I was on my way to New York with Sophie when she took a photo of me at the airport.

Debbie and husband Nick got married last year after meeting on Plenty of Fish

“I was a frumpy size 20 and nothing like the person I wanted to be. It was in that moment that I knew I had to change. I’d spent my whole life thinking about everyone else and now it was time for me.

“A few weeks later I signed up to online dating website Plenty of Fish and soon hit it off with Nick. I was a little nervous before we met for the first time but when he arrived, he brought the most gorgeous bunch of flowers.

“He showed me I did matter and that a relationship is really about love and mutual respect. With my exes, every time I did something for myself they weren’t supportive so I lost my confidence and felt worthless.

“Nick is the opposite and supports me in everything I do. When we got married last year, I was a size 12 and felt the most confident I have ever been.

Oliver Dixon
Debbie, 45, admits she lost her self-confidence and did not see herself as a priority[/caption]

“Now I don’t recognise myself in the airport photo.

“I don’t want to remember the sad and unhappy person I used to be because I’ve got my sparkle back.”

Changed my career to spend more time with the kids

TWO years ago, senior civil servant Sarah Kelly, 44, quit her job and set up her own upholstery business so she could be a more hands-on mum.

She lives in Manchester with husband John, 57, a business consultant, daughter Olivia, six, and stepchildren, Abigail, 23, Luke, 17, and Alex, 16.

Oliver Dixon
Sarah Kelly, 44, had her lightbulb moment when she realised she could not have it all[/caption]

She says: “I was 42 and burnt out trying to juggle work with a family.

“Most days I left the house by 7am, which meant I never did the school run and I rarely got home in time to see Olivia before she went to bed. When I did make it to the school, I was a stranger in the playground.

“I felt I was letting Olivia down because I couldn’t be around for important school assemblies or sports days.

“I had to rely on Abigail to help out with school pick-ups and babysitting because I was always at work.

“John works full-time and the situation was not working for any of us.

Sarah Kelly left her job as a civil servant and started her own business so she had more time with her young children

“I was grumpy, stressed and distracted because I was being pulled in too many directions.

“I would just lie awake at night worrying because I had so much on my mind.

“My lightbulb moment came when I realised I couldn’t have it all and something had to give.

“Making the decision to leave my job was a big risk financially but life’s just too short to be unhappy.

Oliver Dixon
Sarah Kelly admits to laying awake all night because she had so much on her mind[/caption]

“Creating bespoke footstools was my hobby and two years ago I set up my business, Nellie K.

“Now I work around my family, which is what I’ve always wanted.

“I drop Olivia at school and walk to my workshop. My only regret is not making the 7 change sooner.

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Woman spends £50 on this ‘bicep’ cake for her boyfriend… but what she receives is VERY different

A WOMAN wanted to buy a birthday cake that resembled a bicep – but what she received was a bit of a Great British Bake Flop. Sharon Bijin, from Lemington, Newcastle, paid a fee of £50 to a shop on Facebook in order to get the special design. She had specifically chosen the flexing bicep […]

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A WOMAN wanted to buy a birthday cake that resembled a bicep – but what she received was a bit of a Great British Bake Flop.

Sharon Bijin, from Lemington, Newcastle, paid a fee of £50 to a shop on Facebook in order to get the special design.

Sharon thought she’d come up with the perfect way to celebrate her hunky boyfriend’s birthday

She had specifically chosen the flexing bicep as a tribute to her bodybuilder boyfriend Jay, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday.

The 44-year-old remembered: “It was meant to look like a bodybuilder’s arm.

“The woman told me she could make it look even better.”

But sadly, when Sharon received the special delivery, it didn’t look anything like she imagined.

The image of the cake Sharon sent over looked far more realistic than what she received
Pinterest
The cake that arrived left a lot to be desired
The hopeless romantic ordered the surprise for her hunky boyfriend

Even though Sharon checked that the baker had good reviews online, the end result was very questionable.

She explained: “When I went to collect it she said not to open it as it was raining but when I got home and saw it I was pretty shocked, everyone thinks it looks like a cashew nut or an alien.

“I went to contact her but she’d blocked me on Facebook and then she entirely removed her account when I tried to get friends to find her.”

Sharon paid £50 for the dodgy bake – and it doesn’t look like she’ll be getting her money back
Thankfully, the couple are able to laugh at the unfortunate situation

Thankfully, Sharon was able to see the funny side.

She admitted: “It cost £50 but I’ve written that money off.

“Initially I was angry as it’s a lot of money and I only work part-time but now I can’t stop laughing.”

When it comes to baking, it’s often easier said than done.

So can you guess what these unusual cakes are really meant to be?

And if you need a laugh, here are the biggest ever birthday cake fails.

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