High50 http://www.high50.com/us A global community for people over the age of 50. Reach out. Reboot. Read on. Mon, 18 May 2015 10:32:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The best vegetarian and raw restaurants in London for brunch, lunch and dinner http://www.high50.com/us/food/best-vegetarian-raw-restaurants-in-london-for-breakfast-brunch-lunch-and-dinner http://www.high50.com/us/food/best-vegetarian-raw-restaurants-in-london-for-breakfast-brunch-lunch-and-dinner#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 09:59:18 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76886

Nama 2 Vegetarian restaurants 620Whether you’re up for the challenge of eating raw or just need some vegetarian dining inspiration, the capital is one of the best places to head for varied veggie dishes. 

Here are the top picks in London for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

Best for vegetarian brunch: 

Source Battersea 620

Newly opened Source is just behind the river on Ransome’s Dock in Battersea. Photo from Source

Not only one of the top new spots to eat by the river, Source has a great brunch menu that includes ricotta pancakes with lemon curd and honeycomb, kefir yoghurt with rhubarb or baked eggs with wild garlic.

A mix of non-veggie and veggie dishes, the food is seasonal and as the name indicates is only sourced from the finest UK suppliers.

Lunch and dinner menus will please those who eat fish, but the sweet potato gnocchi or corgette tagliatelli are winning veggie options. 

Good life Eatery

A cool vibe and popular with the veggie-friendly, green juice clan, this cafe serves up gluten-free and dairy-free breakfast options, protein rich dishes and a great range of breakfast smoothies and juices.

Best for vegetarian lunch

Vantra Vito 620

Vantra Vito on Oxford Street is all about fresh and raw ingredients. Photo from Vantra Vito

One of London’s top healthy restaurants, serving only fresh (and mainly raw) dishes, Vantra Vitao focusses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Their aim is to show how accessible and easy healthy, fresh eating can be and the lunch and dinner menu (lunch is a buffet style) is varied and delicious. 

Expect matcha smoothies,  a ‘quiche’ (raw vegetables mixed with seed cheese, nuts and garlic) and a host of colourful salads. 

Just off Oxford Street, this quaint cafe has daily salads and vegetarian mains to eat in or take away. The menu can be downloaded each week and diners can enjoy Persian quiches, beetroot, feta and tarragon and walnut salad with molasses dressing and flavoursome layered rice dishes with home-made tahini. 
Ethos Vegetarian restaurants 620

Ethos restaurant, near Oxford Street, is a good eat-in option for lunch. Photo from Ethos

New this year to the vegetarian scene, this pick n mix veggie emporium has a fresh menu of cold and hot mezze style dishes. There are a host of colourful salads and vegan-friendly dishes to eat in or take away. Expensive but stylish. 

Best for vegetarian dinners

Cicchetti Vegetarian menu with Aldo Zilli

The new Cicchetti vegetarian menu with Aldo Zilli will run for National Vegetarian Week

This week, chef Aldo Zilli has teamed up with The Vegetarian Society to create a vegetarian menu for Carlo Cicchetti in Covent Garden and Piccadilly. The menu will run exclusively from 18-24 May. 

Diners will be able to enjoy the mouthwatering barley sage butter and broad bean radicchio risotto; stuffed courgette flowers with beetroot risotto; rich pumpkin risotto, and many more dishes. 

Aldo has long been a fan of vegetarian food having cooked for Paul McCartney and his family for 20 years so diners will be in for a treat. 


Nama 2 Vegetarian restaurants 620

Nama is located in Notting Hill and specialises in raw dishes. Photo from Nama

One of the best for those on a raw diet. This ‘raw food oasis’ in trendy Notting Hill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers cleanse programmes, raw food courses and catering. There are salads and wraps to take away for lunch, and pasta dishes and guilt-free desserts.  

From its origins in Brixton Market, this Clapham restaurant is Mama Lan’s first fixed outpost for its authentic Beijing street food.

A good option for a mixed group of meat eaters and vegetarians, the small restaurant offers great hand-made dumplings, soups, noodles and snacks. 

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Volunteering abroad: two women who fulfilled lifelong ambitions to work overseas http://www.high50.com/us/life/volunteering-abroad-two-women-who-fulfilled-lifelong-ambitions-to-work-overseas http://www.high50.com/us/life/volunteering-abroad-two-women-who-fulfilled-lifelong-ambitions-to-work-overseas#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 23:01:03 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76863
Volunteering overseas_Returning survivor Mama Sesay to village_Ali Criado Perez_MSF_620x349

Alison Criado-Perez (left) has done 12 voluntary trips for MSF. Photo by MSF/Ali Criado-Perez

Alison Criado-Perez, a trained nurse and mother of three, harboured a life-long desire to work abroad as an aid worker. But it wasn’t until she went through a divorce in her mid-fifties that she decided to pursue that dream.

“I was really knocked off my footing when I divorced,” she says. “I was very depressed and it was a big shock to my system after 20 or so years of married life.

“I’d always thought about helping overseas and after the divorce it kept coming back in my mind. I wasn’t sure I’d have the guts to do it, but I believe that you only regret the things you don’t do. I wanted to put myself out there.”

Alison went on to study for a tropical nursing diploma before applying to become an aid worker for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Weeks later she received a call asking if she could travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) to help run a mobile clinic providing treatment for people in the bush. “I had to look it up on a map,” she says.

Working in a war zone

“It was in a total conflict zone, but I didn’t hesitate for one second. Once there, in spite of being around armed militia, sleeping on a floor and being way out of my experience, I was so overwhelmingly happy.”

Ali at a clinic in Nigeria. Photo by MSF/Ali Criado Perez

Alison at a clinic in Nigeria. Photo by MSF/Ali Criado-Perez

Since the mission to the CAR in 2007, Alison has completed 12 trips for MSF, working in far-flung places as Uganda, Columbia and Sierra Leone.

Some of the trips can be severely risky. When she was travelling with other workers on a canoe boat in Columbia, a guerrilla group stopped them. “We never had armed protection,” she says. “All we had was the MSF flag. We had to talk our way out of it.”

When she was based in CAR, she regularly heard the sound of gunshots while she treated people.

One of her most harrowing experiences was her most recent mission to Sierra Leone, where she treated patients infected with Ebola.

“That was very quite a traumatic experience. It’s a very horrible disease and for some there’s no possible treatment. When you’re certain you can’t save a life, you try and give the person a more dignified death. Sometimes people died on their own. It was very upsetting.”

Two years ago, Yvonne Lee decided to take early retirement from her job to volunteer in Nepal. She’d been inspired by a trip to Rwanda to visit her son who was volunteering there.

Then aged 59, she worked as an education management consultant in Nepal’s mid hills district of Baglung in August 2013 to March 2014, organised through international development organisation VSO.

“The programme was about bringing quality education to marginalised children which the hill children definitely were,” explains Lee. “Some of them being incredibly poor, very thin and had no shoes to wear on the rugged terrain.”

Mentoring overseas

She also took on a second role of training older girls to mentor younger girls who needed support to stay in education.

Yvonne’s proudest achievement of her trip to Nepal was contributing to a school improvement handbook that is now being used in many other districts by VSO volunteers as the blueprint for improving schools.

“On a personal level, I’m proud that of the wonderful relationships I forged and I have a beautiful Nepali ‘daughter’, a young married girl who is finding life tough who I am supporting in every way that I can.”

But of course volunteering in a developing country wasn’t without its challenges. “Learning and using the Nepali language was a tough call and I had been quite a good linguist back in the day,” says Lee.

“Sometimes keeping connected with my husband, elderly mother and family was hard if connectivity went down, especially with scheduled power cuts in Kathmandu.

“It was testing but in Nepal I was more fortunate than I expected when I look back to my son’s experience in Rwanda.”

The benefits of volunteering abroad

So what advice does she have for mature people who are considering volunteering abroad?

“Don’t hesitate,” she says straight away. “It gives you a whole new perspective and lease of life. I wish I had done it earlier so that I could volunteer over and over again.

“It’s wonderful to immerse yourself in another culture and to find a new way of living and being and to not just be a tourist looking in on life but getting involved in life and hopefully making a difference is fantastic. I will find it difficult to be a tourist ever again.”



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Baseball Legend Mark DeRosa On His New Show, His Career Highlights And His Predictions http://www.high50.com/us/sports/baseball-legend-mark-de-rosa-chats-about-his-new-baseball-show-his-season-predictions-and-the-best-moment-in-his-career http://www.high50.com/us/sports/baseball-legend-mark-de-rosa-chats-about-his-new-baseball-show-his-season-predictions-and-the-best-moment-in-his-career#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 19:46:10 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76351
US_Sports_MLB Central Show_Baseball_620x349

Maddy Vasgersian, Lauren Shehadi and Mark DeRosa host MLB Central


MLB Central is a three-hour morning baseball show filmed in Studio 21, named in honor of Hall-of-Fame baseball player Roberto Clemente’s number. The show features highlights and the insights of 18-year baseball legend Mark De Rosa who chatted with us about his new gig. 

What makes MLB Central a different kind of baseball show?

One of the reasons I want to be a part of the show, is first off, Maddy Vasgersian is unbelievable with his ability to host and his quick wit and Lauren Shehadi has been amazing as well.  But for me, I get a chance to dive into a little bit more of the human element of the players. I played for 18 years and pretty much played with almost 200 current players right now and I have good stories to tell and I feel like this is a good platform for me to be able to do that.

Today was a perfect example of how fun the show can be. We had Kevin James, Paul Blark, Mall Cop II is coming out and we had a band on today, Anthony Rizzo from The Cubs – we get a chance to do a lot of different things and bounce around and be a legitimate morning show which I think is fun.

What’s your favorite segment on the show?

I don’t know if I have a regular segment that’s my favorite but I love talking to players and getting behind the scenes with them with in-depth access where I can pick their brain. Not so much about the day-to-day on how the team’s doing, but more about what motivates them, what they do off the field in the community and how that impacts people.

I like to really dive into their lives on a personal level, because I feel like there’s a story to be told about every guy – they shouldn’t just be represented of what their batting averages is or their ERA.

You retired recently and now you’ve gone straight into sports journalism. How did that happen?

I was approached my MLB network when I was still an active player towards the end of my career to moonlight during some play-off games and give some insight. It kind of just snowballed from there.

Was that always your plan – that when you’re retired you’d go into sports journalism?

I always thought it’d be great to do, but it wasn’t something I was aspiring to  as my career ended. I just thought my experiences in the game would help a lot. I’ve been on the totem poll of every roster from the last guy trying to make the team, to a guy who’s counted on to get some big hits at certain times. I’ve played from coast to coast and gotten to know a ton of guys from the game, so I feel like when I say something, it’s coming from a good place.

Although I’m sitting her watching St. Louis Milwaukee, and I still think I can go out there and play.

How’s it been being on camera three hours a day? Harder than baseball?

It’s definitely easier than baseball. The stress level of performing in front of the world in  baseball and putting it all out there every night was definitely grueling. Staying in the big leagues and having to fight and doing all those things that you have to do to play at the highest level was tough. There are only 750 guys at any given point in the world that are playing at that level so yeah, that by far trumps being on camera for three hours.

But do you get stage fright before the show begins?

I get nervous because I want to to do a good job for the players. I know they’re watching. I want the people at home to learn something, I want the players to feel like I’m knowledgable and what I’m saying is coming from a good place.

The thing I love about  MLB network is you don’t have to stare into the camera all the time. We have amazing producers and camera people that have the ability to get a good shot of you regardless so you can kind of lose yourself in the conversation on the couch.

What are some of the highlights looking forward to this season?

There are a lot of ball players who could play throughout the course of the regular season, but the lights shine brightest in October when the weather starts to get a little cool and you realize you’re the only game in town and can you handle that type of pressure? I always relish that opportunity and I always look forward to it.

The toughest thing about this job is having to make predictions. I have so many friends around the league that I hate disappointing. I want to say everybody that I’ve ever played for is going to make the play-offs but having to predict certain games has been one of the more difficult challenges.

Speak of which, what are your predictions for the season?

I think the Dodgers will win the World Series over the Detroit Tigers and if you ask me my reasons why, I mean obviously I can give them to you, but I could also give you 15 other scenarios that make sense as well.

What’s your favorite baseball stadium?

Old Yankee Stadium was my favorite because I went there as a kid but currently right now, my favorite place to play is Dodgers Stadium. I just love the field. Their fans were passionate and it was like you were playing on a golf course – you didn’t even need a glove because it was manicured to perfection and you were playing against the Dodgers, who I think have such a trademark type uniform and a history. I just really enjoyed being out there.

Who did you learn baseball from? 

My father. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve played for some amazing managers –from Bobby Cox to Tony La Russa to Bruce Bochy,  but I learned the most from father.

How old were you when you started playing?

I had a brother who was six years older so I kind of just followed him around. I would say I was probably five or six.

What’s favorite moment from your baseball career?

My favorite moment in my career? It’s a tough one. I guess calling my father the night I got called up. I remember calling him – I was in Double A and I ran outside to a pay phone after my manager told me and called him up and basically said I was going to the big leagues and his response was, “You’re not ready.”

He was always honest me. I said “Well I might not be ready, but I’m going anyway.”

MLB Central airs Mon-Fri at 10am EST on MLB Network.

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Competition: win a pair of tickets to see TAKE THAT live at Manchester Arena on Monday 25 May! http://www.high50.com/us/competitions/competition-win-tickets-to-see-take-that-at-manchester-arena-on-monday-25-may-2 http://www.high50.com/us/competitions/competition-win-tickets-to-see-take-that-at-manchester-arena-on-monday-25-may-2#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 14:48:54 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76838
Take That competition These Days YouTube still 620x349

Take That are touring the UK until June 2015

High50 has partnered with Newmarket Holidays to give one lucky winner a pair of tickets to see Take That at Manchester Arena on Monday 25 May.

Take That – made up of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald – will perform hits from their latest album III, as well as classics such as Never Forget, Pray and Back For Good.

You must be registered on High50.com to enter the competition. Click here to register – it only takes a minute

Once registered or signed in, answer the question below and a winner will be picked at random from all of the correct entries. The competition closes on Monday 18 May at 23.59, so you only have a few days to enter.

Good luck!

Newmarket Holidays is part of the Newmarket Group. The company has been established since 1983, providing value at affordable prices. It can arrange a two-day trip to a special event right up to a three-week exploration to the other side of the world.

For more information and to book a trip, go to the Newmarket Holidays website.

Conditions apply. Click on ‘competition terms and conditions’ below.

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Have you planned your funeral? It’s Dying Matters Awareness Week, so let’s talk about it http://www.high50.com/us/rip/have-you-planned-your-funeral-dying-matters-awareness-week-may-2015 http://www.high50.com/us/rip/have-you-planned-your-funeral-dying-matters-awareness-week-may-2015#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 23:01:27 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76783
Funerals. Plan your funeral. Dying Matters Awareness 2015. 620 Photo by Jas Lehal

Death is taboo but talking about it won’t make it happen sooner and eases stress for the bereaved

We are living in an age of increasing life expectancy, with many previously fatal conditions now easily treated. Many of us now reach our 50s with no experience of a loved one dying, or knowledge of how to plan a funeral.

Yet death can still be talked about in the hushed tones that cancer once was. “Cancer used to be discussed in whispers and referred to as ‘the big C’. Similarly, people find it hard to use the D word,” says independent celebrant Judy Mansfield. “Instead we use euphemisms such as passed away, lost to us and fell asleep.”

She knows from her experience of discussing funerals with the bereaved that it’s a difficult conversation when a family has never talked about death and don’t know their relative’s wishes.

Dying Matters Awareness Week, using the hashtag #YODO (You Only Die Once), is urging people to change this state of affairs. But what are some of the decisions that have to be made? 

Buy a funeral plan

Buying a funeral plan is a way to organise arrangements and make your wishes known, with the advantage that you pay for the funeral at current prices. 

Just one call to the named funeral director sets the process under way, which will later prove to be a great benefit at a time of emotional pressure.

How to write a great funeral speech

Type of funeral ceremony

One of the choices to be made when you take out a funeral plan is the type of ceremony you want. A religious funeral has its own format and traditional readings and music, but a civil funeral can include both religious (often The Lord’s Prayer, hymns, and a blessing) and secular content, and be led by family or a celebrant.

Humanist ceremonies have no religious element, and recently attracted criticism from Bel Mooney in the Daily Mail under the headline This trend for ‘fun’ funerals demeans the dead and those who mourn them

Having conducted more than 100 funerals, from premature babies to a centenarian and every age between, Judy believes that different people grieve in different ways and should have the freedom to do so.

She says: “What is important is not necessarily adherence to tradition, but to honour each unique life, from a family playing violin and flute to ceremonies with hymns, classical and operatic arias, to those with rap, hip hop and heavy rock music.

“Mourners have come wearing black, in everyday clothes, in uniform, in Ascot hats, in football shirts and in rock-gig T-shirts. One old lady had been a party girl who loved the limelight, so we gave her a standing ovation as the coffin was brought in.”

Legal funeral requirements

It’s not generally known that there is no legal obligation to use a funeral director or hearse, or to have the body embalmed, and no law against being buried on your own land.

David Rutherford, who looked after his dying mother at home, believes that the way we leave life is just as important as how we live it. He contacted the Natural Death Centre for advice on keeping his mum’s body at home, buying a coffin, and transporting it to the crematorium.

He handled every aspect of her death and funeral himself, with help from his family. His brother led the procession into the chapel as he and his sons carried the coffin, and family contributed readings.

“It’s a profound experience to deal with it all yourself,” he says, “but you find the emotional strength from somewhere, and the paperwork is manageable.”

Natural burials or cremation

Having made decisions about the ceremony, there are choices to be made about what happens with your mortal remains. Natural burials are increasingly popular, either in grounds where a tree is planted, or in nature reserve grounds, where coffins and shrouds must be biodegradable and bodies not embalmed.

Ashes are often divided between close family members and put in the garden. Or they can be planted in the pot of a sapling, made into glass jewellery or put into a firework. Judy says she is going to go up in a pink and purple starburst. 

It’s the ultimate playlist: top 20 tunes for your funeral

The conversation about the funeral

Is it time you had the conversation with loved ones to make sure you get the send-off you want? As Judy says, “People don’t want to talk about death and think it’s morbid. But talking about it won’t make it happen any sooner.”

And it could save the living a great deal of time, distress and money, which is one of the best legacies you could leave.


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Unusual Paris architecture: eight hidden gems (from parks to outdoor pools) that you’ll love http://www.high50.com/us/travel/unusual-paris-architecture-eight-hidden-gems-that-dont-get-the-attention-they-deserve http://www.high50.com/us/travel/unusual-paris-architecture-eight-hidden-gems-that-dont-get-the-attention-they-deserve#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 23:01:12 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76801
Viaduc des Arts on la Promenade plantée. Photo from www.leviaducdesarts.com

Viaduc des Arts on la Promenade plantée. Photo from www.leviaducdesarts.com

I’m sitting in a shady green-and-white tiled courtyard sipping sugary mint tea and listening to the sounds of scooter horns and traffic outside. It’s a familiar enough scene from hot summer holidays – but I’m not in Marrakech or Cairo. I’m in Paris, at the Grande Mosquée, to be precise. http://www.leviaducdesarts.com/

The French capital’s most famous and arguably most beautiful mosque is tucked away behind the much more famous botanical gardens, the Jardin des Plantes.

It’s just one of a string of hidden Parisian delights that never challenge the Champs Elysées, the Louvre and the winding streets of Montmartre for a spot on the average tourist’s checklist – but maybe they should.

These hidden gems don’t really fit in. Their architecture goes against the grain of the stately buildings, wide boulevards and neat squares that we think of when we picture Paris. But they offer a different view of possibly the most beautiful city in the world.

1. Grande Mosquée

The mosque courtyard – and the hammam or steam bath next door – makes an ideal place for a breather, just a short walk away from the more traditional sights of the Latin Quarter.

Nearest Metro station: Censier-Daubenton

Paris architecture. Grande Mosquée de Paris © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer Amélie Dupont

Grande Mosquée de Paris. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


2. Promenade plantée

Starting behind the opera house in Bastille, this disused railway line is now a lush rose-lined walkway that whisks you up above the streets and buildings for almost five kilometres. Wander along the fragrant pathways and linger at the Viaduc des Arts, a cultural centre where you can visit exhibitions as well as the workshops of local artists and artisans.

Nearest Metro station: Bastille

Paris architecture. Promenade plantée © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer Amélie Dupont

Promenade plantée. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


3. La campagne à Paris

Paris is famous for the symmetry of its architecture. When the city’s higgledy piggledy medieval streets were razed in the 19th century, they were replaced with the wide boulevards of grand apartment buildings and wrought-iron balconies that we associate with Paris today. But there are tiny pockets of eccentricity amid the uniformity and The Countryside in Paris is one of them.

The little houses and shady cobbled streets of this hilly corner of the 20th arrondissement, tucked away not far from the famous Père Lachaise cemetery, are a pleasure to wander through. The individual houses – a rarity in Paris – were built at the beginning of the last century to give people on modest salaries the chance of owning their own four walls. 

Nearest Metro station: Porte de Bagnolet

Paris architecture. La Campagne à Paris housing estate. © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer Amélie Dupont

La Campagne à Paris housing estate. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


4. Parc André Citroën

Out west beyond the Eiffel Tower, this starkly designed modern park – it was opened in the 1990s on the site of a former Citroën factory – boasts greenhouses, fountains and, most unusual of all, a fixed hot air balloon that, weather permitting, will take you soaring up above the city for an unforgettable view of Paris’s better known monuments. From it you should be able to spot the Arc de Triomphe, Nôtre Dame cathedral and the Sacré Cœur basilica.

Nearest Metro station: Lourmel or Balard

Paris architecture. Parc André Citroën. © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer Marc Bertrand

Parc André Citroën. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


5. Piscine Joséphine Baker

This is no ordinary swimming pool. Housed on a permanently moored barge on the Seine, the Piscine Joséphine Baker is the closest you can get – or would want to get – to swimming in the river itself. It has glass walls for a fabulous view in between lengths, a steam room and jacuzzi, but best of all, a retractable roof, meaning it’s best enjoyed open air in the summer months.

Nearest Metro stations: Quai de la Gare or Bercy

Paris architecture. Piscine Joséphine Baker © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer Marc Bertrand

Piscine Joséphine Baker. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


6. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

With its Italian-inspired temple perched on the crag of an island in an artificial lake, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont looks like something out of a fairy tale. In fact, it’s a former quarry that was landscaped into a charming park in the 19th century. Popular with joggers and picnickers alike – it’s one of the few Paris parks where you’re allowed to walk on the grass – the hilly lawns and winding paths are the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon.

Nearest Metro stations: Buttes Chaumont, Botzaris or Colonel Fabien

Paris architecture. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer David Lefranc

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


7. Musée du quai Branly

This museum, which opened in 2006, was built to house artefacts from Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas and its exhibitions are breathtakingly eclectic, from Inuit art to Mayan sculpture to the history of tattoos. The museum itself is worth a visit in its own right, with earth-toned cubes set in wild gardens, including a wall of vegetation. And if all that’s not enough to draw you away from the Louvre, just think of the time you’ll save queuing. 

Nearest Metro station: Alma-Marceau

Paris architecture. Musée des Arts Premiers. Musée du quai Branly © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer David Lefranc

Musée des Arts Premiers at Musée du quai Branly. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


8. Canal Saint-Martin

Take a boat trip or follow the path of the canal – the canal navigates locks and road bridges and disappears underground for some of the way – from the Bassin de la Villette to meet the river Seine at the Pont de l’Arsenal. You’ll pass through the trendy Canal Saint-Martin district, a formerly poor neighbourhood now revitalised with artists’ studios and lively cafés and bars. If the green metal bridges criss-crossing the canal look familiar, that may be because they featured in the film Amélie.

Nearest Metro station: Stalingrad

Paris architecture. Canal Saint-Martin © Paris Tourist Office. Photographer Jacques Lebar

Canal Saint-Martin. Photo from Paris Tourist Office


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Why flexible working is a win/win for over-50s: staff are happier and bosses keep talented employees http://www.high50.com/us/life/flexible-working-for-over-50s-is-a-win-win-for-bosses-and-staff http://www.high50.com/us/life/flexible-working-for-over-50s-is-a-win-win-for-bosses-and-staff#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 23:01:41 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76738

Flexible working could make your job work for you, and still keep the boss happy

Working later in life is the new normal. More than half of employees over 55 now plan to continue working well past what would have been their traditional retirement age. It might be because we love work, or maybe we need the money.

Our boss can’t even force us to retire now – that’s been illegal since the default retirement age (DRA) was phased out in October 2011.

While it’s reassuring that older workers are no longer consigned to the scrap heap, some of us don’t want to spend our best years strapped on to the hamster wheel either. That eight hours a day, five days a week, grind is just too dull to contemplate for the next 20 years.

Instead of leaping off the wheel totally, flexible working arrangements are widely acknowledged to be the smart way for older people to stay employed but with more time to devote to other responsibilities or interests. We can still enjoy the challenge of work and contribute our talent, taxes and pension contributions.

How to build your personal brand online

The International Longevity Centre (yes, really) found that two-fifths of staff over 50 would like to stay in our current jobs, but with greater flexibility in the hours or days we work. We want to feel more in control and possibly ditch some of the tedious meetings and paper-pushing that get in the way of what we enjoy doing.

Your right to flexible working

Richard Lanyon Hogg of IBM

Richard Lanyon-Hogg, a technical director at IBM, works four days a week

Since June last year all employees (not just parents or carers, as widely believed) have the right to request to work flexibly. Our request doesn’t have to be accepted, but our employer has to consider it reasonably and objectively.

Flexible working is defined as any variation of working pattern, such as working from home, part-time working, flexi-time, job sharing and shift working. More information is available from ACAS.    http://www.acas.org.uk/flexibleworking.

There are eight business reasons an employer can use to turn down your request, such as the burden of additional costs or an inability to meet customer demands.

How to ask for flexible working

You have to be clear on your performance and make a case for how this will continue (or possibly increase) under the new arrangement.

Make yourself so unique and indispensable that the detail of when you are actually present in the office becomes irrelevant. Being proactive and flexible (for example, taking an urgent call even on an ‘off’ day) is key.

Be clear on the value you produce and the outcomes you deliver, rather than a tedious old-fashioned debate about where you sit or when you are at your desk. Remind your bosses that Google offers flexible contracts to nearly every employee.

Patrick Foley of Lloyds Banking Group

Patrick Foley, Lloyds Banking Group’s chief economist, works three days a week

We have worked for long enough to know what we bring to the table and hopefully have the confidence to articulate this, showing that everyone will win under the new arrangements.

Liz Morris from Working Families, the UK’s leading work-life balance organisation, says that for flexible working to be successful you need to get everyone on board – your colleagues and customers as well as your boss.

Be sure you know what is expected of you and that you always deliver the goods, in order to maintain your bosses’ trust. The longer you’ve been in the workforce, the better you tend to be at defining expectations and managing relationships.

The employer still gets the results they want, and you can embrace your work with renewed vigour as your work-life balance is restored.

Working the same hours in fewer days

Carla, for example, a project manager in a small food manufacturer, works longer hours for three days a week (8am to 6pm with a shorter lunch, rather than the usual 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch) so that she has two full days at home with her young family.

She still checks her Blackberry throughout those two days and will usually call in once or twice too.

Carla says it’s not ideal because she gets stressed by having to think about work when she should be focusing on her kids. But she feels it’s a compromise worth making, in order to hang on to a job and career that can give her this flexibility.

Flexible working at senior management level

Flexible working arrangements are not only for entrepreneurial cultures or in lower level jobs. There are plenty of people at the top of the corporate ladder who make work fit their lives, not the other way round.

Timewise is a social business that promotes quality part-time and flexible-working jobs that pay well. It has an annual Power Part Time list of 50 case studies of inspirational people, all in leadership roles and on working fewer than five full days a week.

They have the emotional intelligence and business skills to do the extra communication and prioritising that successful flexible working requires in this culture.

There are plenty of women on the lists, but to bust the part-time stereotype, I’ve picked out two men.

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Richard Lanyon-Hogg, a technical director at IBM, leads a business portfolio worth several million pounds and works four days a week. Nine years ago he bought a wood in Wales and planted 21,000 trees, and now spends his free time there, following his passion for designing and building sustainable solutions.

Patrick Foley, Lloyds Banking Group’s chief economist, works three days a week. He is one of the top 50 most senior leaders in the group and the joint most senior part-time employee (Lloyd’s general group counsel also works three days a week).

Patrick moved to a part-time contract so that he could devote more time to other interests, including Ironman competitions. He feels he is more productive now, with his time away from the office giving him the perspective needed to problem solve.

To prove the business case for flexible working at all levels, show your HR department the Timewise Power Part Time list. Perhaps your company will even become a leader in UK companies promoting work-life balance.  

Flexible working policies are no longer seen as token attempts to accommodate diverse groups of employees (such as parents or carers) but as providing real competitive edge by having motivated, engaged workers at all career stages, including after the age of 50.  

And perhaps you can join the power list yourself (applications open in June) as you enter the next, more satisfying, flexible iteration of your career. 


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Satisfied with your sex life? Over-55s are happier in the bedroom than under-25s (and love sex toys) http://www.high50.com/us/love/satisfied-with-your-sex-life-over-55s-are-happier-in-the-bedroom-than-under-25s-and-love-sex-toys http://www.high50.com/us/love/satisfied-with-your-sex-life-over-55s-are-happier-in-the-bedroom-than-under-25s-and-love-sex-toys#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 10:55:59 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76710

The 55-plus generation is happy to experiment sexually

People aged 55 and over are happier and more confident in the bedroom than youngsters and are keen to talk about what they want sexually, according to a new survey.

Eighty-five per cent are ‘satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with their sex lives now, higher than any other age group. The 55-plus generation is also keener to talk about what they want in bed than 18 to 35-year-olds, with 50 per cent agreeing that they are more confident.

While we may think that it’s younger people who are having all the sex, they are certainly not the happiest in bed. The least sexually satisfied age group is 18 to 25-year-olds.

We moved our bedroom away from the kids – and have great sex now

Last year, High50′s study revealed that 38 per cent of people aged 50 to 65 were having sex more than twice a week. Respondents also said they made the best lovers, with 43 per cent saying they are better in bed now than ever before.

Today’s figures, from sex toy company Hot Octopuss, reveal that people of 55 and over are also willing to experiment. A quarter say that sex toys and role play have improved their bedroom activities. And one in five would choose a naughty weekend away over a relaxing holiday with their partner.

Hot Octopuss co-founder Adam Lewis claims that the ‘older’ market for sex toys has grown continually. The company makes vibrators for solo use as well as for couples, and its products are also used to treat erection problems.

Hot Octopuss surveyed 2,000 people for its Coming of Age research.

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What makes a successful parent? An extract from Rebecca Perkins’ book, A Parenting Manifesto http://www.high50.com/us/love/what-makes-a-successful-parent-book-extract-from-rebecca-perkins-40-words-of-wisdom-for-my-24-year-old http://www.high50.com/us/love/what-makes-a-successful-parent-book-extract-from-rebecca-perkins-40-words-of-wisdom-for-my-24-year-old#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 23:01:16 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=76666
Good parenting. Top tips by Rebecca Perkins. Parents and three kids. 620 Photo from Stocksy

“Roots are about the unconditional love and support that home gives,” says Parenting Manifesto author Rebecca Perkins

In 2008 I was beginning my NLP Master Practitioner course. We were looking at ‘modelling’, which means understanding and learning the behaviours, language, beliefs and ’how tos’ of someone who is really good at something. The purpose is to learn from the expert’s example so as to build one’s own model for success.

What, for example, does Roger Federer do that makes him such a brilliant tennis player? It’s not giftedness alone, nor is it the fact that he practises every day.

What makes Barack Obama such a great orator? What makes my friend Jane so insightful and my friend Elizabeth such an exquisite listener?

In each case, excellence flows from techniques and methods – many of them unconscious – that they have adopted and honed. These can be imitated and applied by others, even beginners, with great success.

Should you let your teen have sex under your roof?

“What do you do really well that others might want to learn from you?” I was asked. It was a question that took me way out of my comfort zone. My self-esteem was too rocky at the time to be able to answer with ease or certainty.

My marriage was ending, my daughter was suffering with anorexia, my eldest was preparing for final school exams and leaving home for university, and my youngest was struggling in school. I was not feeling remotely successful.

So there I sat with tears pricking my eyes. This was hard. This was really hard. Then it dawned on me: the one thing I was good at, really good at, was being “mum”.

Parenting, the most relevant skill of all

Yet here I was dismissing and belittling it. I was surrounded by people who were (in my eyes) infinitely more successful than I was. They must mean some other skill, something much more relevant…

But I heard a stronger voice insist: isn’t knowing how to parent well the most relevant skill of all? I had good relationships with my children. We respected each other, loved each other, listened to each other, gave each other space, encouraged each other.

The group’s questioning turned to me. “So, Rebecca, what are you really good at?”

“I’m good at parenting,” I said, and could feel myself blushing.

None of my fellow students were parents; what would their thoughts be? But they all turned to me with bright, excited eyes, and asked me question after question. What were my strategies? What were my beliefs? How did I behave as a parent?

I answered their questions, watching them make connections with their own lives, and I knew that day that my skill as a parent was meant to be shared.

I got my teen daughter drunk… because she asked me

Parenting Manifesto. Author Rebecca Perkins 620x349 press pic

Mum and author Rebecca Perkins: “Success to me as a parent is measured in the people my children become”


My measure of success as a parent

Success to me as a parent is measured not in the universities or careers my children have chosen but in the people they become.

I know I have succeeded when they desire to spend time with me once they have left home.

I’m not interested in being visited out of a misplaced sense of duty. What delights me are the phone calls to say, “Mum, do you fancy going to the cinema next week?” or “What are you doing on Sunday? Can I come over for lunch?”

One of the fundamental goals and responsibilities for me as a parent for the last 24 years has been the desire to give my children roots and wings. To raise them in a way that gives them a strong sense of self and of belonging, and at the same time instil in them a thorough sense of unconditional love, trust and respect.

For me roots are about having a sense of what home is. Not the bricks and mortar a house is made of, but the unconditional love and support that home gives. It is the understanding of family and of values. A shelter from the storm, a place inside that is always safe.

To give our children wings means truly to give them the freedom to fly the nest. Two of my children have, and they have big plans for their lives; plans that will involve living overseas. I give them my blessing with all my heart to go where they choose.

Because I have given them wings that fly I know those wings will also carry them back home when they need to reconnect. There’s always soup on the stove and a batch of brownies waiting for them.

Five top tips for great parenting

  • Learn to love yourself now. It gets harder if you leave it until you’re older.
  • Don’t worry about what other people think. They think about you a lot less than you imagine.
  • Expect to fail. Failure is not fatal. Learn the lessons, get back up, and try again.
  • “No” is a complete sentence.
  • Cultivate and nurture friendships. With love and care they can last a lifetime. At the same time, don’t be afraid to ‘edit’ friendships.

40 Words of Wisdom for my 24 Year Old: A Parenting Manifesto is available now on Amazon

Rebecca Perkins is the author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons for Midlife and 40 Words of Wisdom for my 24 Year Old: A Parenting Manifesto. She is an NLP Master Practitioner and Personal Performance Coach working with women to navigate the transition of mid-life. She tweets @rebperkins1 and is on Facebook as BestKnickersAlways

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I don’t have sex with my husband any more and our marriage is happy without it (he feels the same) http://www.high50.com/us/love/sexless-marriage-happy-without-sex http://www.high50.com/us/love/sexless-marriage-happy-without-sex#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 10:50:40 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=75990
Sex_Sexless marriage_Happy without sex_Stocksy_620x349

Clare says her marriage is sexless, though still intimate. Picture posed by models

It’s funny to think back on the early days of my relationship with John and realise how important sex was to us both then. It’s hard to imagine that was even us.

The immediate attraction between John and me was physical when we met at work. I always joked that I noticed his beautiful bum in Levi 501s before I even saw his face. For the first decade that we were together, our sex life was active, adventurous and very much the glue that held our relationship together.

Eighteen years after tying the knot with John, I am happy to say that our marriage is a strong and happy one.

Of course, there have been a few bumps in the road (my post-natal depression after having our son Alex 17 years ago, John being made redundant when he was 48 and plunging into a full-scale mid-life crisis). But, on balance, we remain a loving and committed couple.

A marriage without sex

However, we haven’t had sex since the beginning of 2008. We still share a king-size bed every night at our home in Yorkshire. We still kiss and cuddle and enjoy a tactile, physically affectionate relationship, but it’s more than seven years since John and I made love.

So what’s wrong? How do I cope with the sadness of knowing, at the age of 53, that sex is behind me? That my husband no longer desires me physically?

The truth is, I couldn’t be happier about our situation, and nor could John. I don’t feel rejected by him because my libido, like his, has waned.

Sex isn’t how we love each other now; it’s no longer part of the fabric of our relationship, and that’s absolutely fine because we both feel the same way about it.

It’s as if we have moved to a place beyond sex. I would worry for my marriage if we weren’t tender and loving in other ways but we are, and we have always been open with each other about our feelings.

I went off sex when I was approaching the menopause, which is not untypical. It became uncomfortable and, eventually, undesirable.

I told John how I felt and he said he understood. He’d just been made redundant from his job as an engineer and was doing a lot of soul-searching, so I think sex was probably not much in his thoughts then anyway.

I thought my libido would make a comeback after the menopause but it didn’t. “What if it never comes back?” I asked John in bed one night.

“It’s nothing to worry about,” he replied. “We’re in our fifties, we’re fit and healthy and still very much in love with each other, and I don’t see any benefit in fretting about sex if neither of us is bothered about having it.”

A new phase in the relationship

His reply was both logical and reassuring. Our marriage would have been in deep trouble if one of us had still felt the need to be swinging naked from the chandeliers on a nightly basis, but thankfully we both seemed happy to move into a different phase of our relationship.

Perhaps this sounds too easy, but I have always felt secure in my marriage to John. We are very lucky that we talk easily and openly about whatever’s bothering us, and that we have shared interests.

We used to make love until dawn in the early days. Today we’d rather put on our boots and head up into the Dales for a long walk and a pub lunch, or catch a flight to Paris or Budapest to explore the city for a weekend.

We both love cooking and homemaking, taking to the road in our vintage MG, spending time with our 17-year-old son who’ll be leaving for university next year, and dreaming about buying a dilapidated property in France that we can renovate in our dotage.

Happy in a sexless marriage

We have plans and dreams, and we don’t need sex to fulfil them. We do need the closeness of sharing a bed, of cuddling up next to each other on the sofa in the evenings, of walking hand-in-hand sometimes.

I know people will judge the path we have chosen. They will say there must be something wrong, something missing, in a sexless marriage; that there is something unnatural about our celibacy.

But that’s not how we see it. So irrelevant is sex to me, in fact, that I don’t even think it would be a deal-breaker if John had it with someone else.

It would shock me because, like me, he says he’s not interested in sex any more, but it would make no sense to call time on my marriage simply because John had chosen to find elsewhere something he knew wasn’t available at home.

Anyway I’m confident that, like me, he cherishes and respects our relationship, and would be unlikely to put it in jeopardy for something we have both grown to regard as extraneous.

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