On Her Majesty's Sandwich Service

On Her Majesty’s Sandwich Service: Bukingham Palace’s famous garden parties are cancelled this year, but you are cordially invited to have one in your OWN garden – with help from a top royal chef

Scones, sandwiches, sunshine and a chance to chat to her subjects, it’s no wonder the Queen loves hosting her annual summer garden parties. 

The gatherings, at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, have been taking place for 160 years with the Royal Family throwing open their gates to the great and good of local communities, who feast on 20,000 sandwiches, 20,000 slices of cake and 27,000 cups of tea. 

This year, sadly, all four garden parties have been cancelled. Palace sources say the Queen, who looks forward to the events more than any other royal occasion, was ‘deeply disappointed’ they couldn’t take place. 

A Royal Garden Party with Sarah Rainey as she tries out Her Majesty’s favourite treats

The 30,000 guests — whose gilt-edged invitations were sent out earlier this year — have been invited to attend next year’s parties instead. 

But there’s no reason not to enjoy the lovely weather, with a royal tea party in your own garden. 

There’s even help on hand from the Palace chefs, who have been sharing their recipes for tea-time classics on the Royal Family’s official Instagram account. 

I called on royal chef Darren McGrady, who cooked for the Queen for 11 years, for his step-by-step guide to making an afternoon tea Her Majesty would love. 


‘These are the Queen’s favourite,’ says Darren. ‘She has them for tea every day, wherever she is in the world: plain one day; fruit scones the next’

‘These are the Queen’s favourite,’ says Darren. ‘She has them for tea every day, wherever she is in the world: plain one day; fruit scones the next.’ 

To make ten royal scones, mix 420g plain flour, 70g granulated sugar and 4 teaspoons of baking powder in a bowl, before adding 110g softened butter and rubbing it between your fingers until the mixture turns into fine breadcrumbs. 

Next, make a well in the middle and add a beaten egg and 95ml milk. Use a metal spoon to bring the mixture together and then dig in your hands. 

This stage is messy and I ended up with flour all over my party dress and clumps of dough wedged between my fingers. ‘It’s important you don’t knead it,’ Darren explains. 

‘You want the scones light and fluffy. Once the dough has come together, turn it out on to a floury worktop and roll it to around 2.5cm thick.’

Cut circles using a 5cm cutter. Put them on a baking sheet a few centimetres apart, brush the tops with egg yolk and bake the scones for 15-20 minutes at 180c. 

‘When they’re ready they’ll be golden brown on top, firm on the outside and gorgeously soft in the middle.’ 

Now for the controversial bit. Jam or cream first? ‘The Queen is always jam first, followed by a layer of delicious clotted cream,’ Darren says. 

The Queen’s favourite jam is made from wild strawberries (fraises des bois), picked from the gardens at Balmoral Castle. 

I’ve had to make do with a jar from my local supermarket, but I did manage to get my hands on some clotted cream — and the combination is truly mouth-watering. 


The key is to cut them to just the right size. ‘There’s a huge focus on everything being tiny — just one bite,’ explains Darren

Bridge rolls — small, soft, fingershaped rolls — were a favourite of the Queen Mother, and regularly make an appearance at garden parties, filled with coronation chicken, which has been on the menu since the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. 

The key is to cut them to just the right size. ‘There’s a huge focus on everything being tiny — just one bite,’ explains Darren. 

‘The Queen is very particular about this. She wants everyone to feel at ease — so, if you’ve just popped a sandwich in your mouth and turn around to find the Queen behind you, you don’t have to spend ages chomping away.’ 

His recipe, which makes six portions, requires 450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts — which are poached in a large pan with an onion, four sticks of celery, a bay leaf and 1.4 litres of cold water. 

The next bit is easy: mix 230g mayonnaise, 125g yoghurt and 60g double cream together with a tablespoon of curry paste, a teaspoon of sugar, the juice of a lime and a handful each of diced red pepper, diced red onion, diced mango, diced pineapple and diced tinned apricot, before seasoning. 

The curry paste makes the mixture bright yellow and it smells fragrant and spicy. I finish by cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces and stirring these into the mix. 

I’ve bought brioche rolls, which were the closest I could find to bridge rolls, so I slice each in half and dollop a generous serving of coronation chicken inside. 

I don’t bother making mine any smaller, I’m unlikely to be interrupted by anyone — let alone a royal — and they’re far too tasty to cut in two. 


Darren — who worked at Buckingham Palace from 1982 to 1993 — remembers baking this shortbread for Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter. Sieve 225g plain flour, 115g cornflour and 115g icing sugar into a bowl. Cut 225g unsalted butter into pieces and rub it into the dry mixture until it forms a ball. Then dust a rectangular mould with flour and press the ball of dough into it until it’s around a centimetre thick. Tip the shortbread out on to a tray lined with baking paper, prick it all over with a fork and bake at 180c for 20 minutes. Next cut the shortbread into fingers, only going a third of the way. It’s important to do this while it’s hot, as it means it will snap apart easily when it cools. Finish with a dusting of granulated sugar. 


‘[Drinking] in the royal tent, it’s just not the done thing — you don’t want people getting tipsy at the Palace,’ says Darren.

No garden party would be complete without a glass of Pimm’s — but royal gatherings are, officially, dry affairs. 

‘Even in the royal tent, it’s just not the done thing — you don’t want people getting tipsy at the Palace,’ says Darren. 

Instead, during the day, guests are offered tea (usually Twinings Earl Grey) or iced coffee, made with coffee which is supplied by London-based merchant H.R. Higgins. But at 6pm, when the party’s over and the guests have gone home, Her Majesty can be found sipping on something a little stronger.

If it’s not her trademark gin and Dubonnet, it’s almost invariably a glass of Pimm’s and lemonade — made to a special royal recipe. 

Darren explains: ‘She likes the gin-based Pimm’s No. 1, with lemonade; but the interesting bit is the garnish, which makes it more like a fruit cocktail than a drink. ‘It’s made with oranges, lemons, cucumber, mint, strawberries, cherries and borage [an edible garden plant].’

I dutifully put every fruit I can find in the fridge into my jug of Pimm’s — and even forage in the garden for some borage, which gives it a fresh, and rather herby aftertaste.


Although chocolate doesn’t always make an appearance at garden parties — ‘it’s normally warm, so you risk it melting and going on the ladies’ dresses’

The Queen is a ‘chocoholic’, says Darren, and both her go-to cakes — a no-bake chocolate biscuit cake made with Rich Tea biscuits, and a sponge recipe dating back to 1899 which she has on her birthday — are flavoured with chocolate. 

Although chocolate doesn’t always make an appearance at garden parties — ‘it’s normally warm, so you risk it melting and going on the ladies’ dresses’ — there are always large cakes on the tables in the tea tent, so guests can cut a slice of whichever they prefer. 

This chocolate sponge recipe is Her Majesty’s favourite. I start by whisking two whole eggs and six yolks together with 115g granulated sugar, and placing the bowl over a pan of hot water so it heats up. 

I whisk until it doubles in volume before adding 55g melted butter, and 55g plain flour and 30g cocoa powder, sieved together. 

Next, I spoon the mixture into a lined, greased 20cm cake tin, and bake it for 20 minutes at 180c. 

While the cake cooks, I make the topping and filling, by melting 570ml double cream with 450g dark chocolate. 

Once this, and the cake, have cooled, I slice the sponge horizontally into three and spread it in between each layer, before topping with yet more chocolatey icing and chocolate curls. 

It’s decadent and requires an extremely sweet tooth — something, it seems, Her Majesty and I have in common. 


An afternoon tea classic, cucumber sandwiches sound simple — but, made according to the royal recipe, they’re the fiddliest dish on the menu. 

First, the bread. It must be brown (white is used for egg salad, ham and mustard or beef and horseradish), cut wafer-thin, crusts off and lightly buttered.

Next, the cucumber, which is cut with a vegetable peeler, rather than a knife, to give perfectly thin, evenly sliced, pieces. 

Darren explains: ‘Start by peeling the whole cucumber. Keep going with the peeler, slicing the flesh in long, thin strips, until you get to the seeds. Turn it over and peel it again from the other side. Then, lay the strips over the buttered bread and cut them to size.’ 

The sandwiches are finished with a sprinkle of black pepper — never salt, as it pulls the moisture out and makes the cucumber chewy. They’re then sliced into thin, dainty fingers. 

They are utterly delicious — crisp and fresh, and a lovely contrast to all the sweet dishes. They aren’t the Queen’s favourite sandwiches, however. 

These are a Palace creation called ‘jam pennies’, made from white bread, butter and jam, and cut into circles the size of old English pennies. 

‘They’re what the Queen and Princess Margaret used to have in the nursery,’ Darren explains.

‘When she’s on her own for tea, she likes a small plate of them. 

‘But they’re not for garden parties — people expect a bit more than a jam sandwich.’


The mixture is meant to be light, fluffy and full of air, so it’s important not to over-beat

This teatime treat is notoriously difficult to make, but a must for a royal spread. 

I whisk eight egg yolks with 320g granulated sugar before folding in four whipped egg whites, 160g potato flour — a thickener similar to cornflour — and four more whipped egg whites. 

The mixture is meant to be light, fluffy and full of air, so it’s important not to over-beat. I pour it into a greased, lined Swiss roll tin and bake the sponge at 180c for 10-15 minutes. It’s ready once it springs back. 

Once cooled, I spread it with a thick layer of strawberry jam (leftover from my scones) and 570ml thick cream, which I’ve whipped to soft peaks. 

Even Mary Berry struggles with the next bit but, going ever-so-slowly, I manage to roll the sponge up into a tight spiral, with only a few cracks, and a liberal dusting of icing sugar saves the day once again. 

I sprinkle on some strawberries, slice it into wedges and it’s ready to serve.


These tartlets are a garden party staple. They’re also easy to cheat, as you can buy the pastry cases ready-made from the supermarket

The Queen loved these little tarts as a child, and they were often made when she and Princess Margaret had been raspberry-picking at Balmoral. 

Today, they’re a garden party staple. They’re also easy to cheat, as you can buy the pastry cases ready-made from the supermarket. 

The tart cases are then filled with pastry cream, made by mixing 115g sugar, 35g flour, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and four egg yolks together in a bowl, then adding 375ml warm whole milk and whisking it over a bowl of boiling water until it reaches the consistency of thick custard. 

If this sounds like too much hassle, you can also use whipped cream, flavoured with vanilla extract. 

The final touch is to top each tart with upturned raspberries — and, Darren’s secret tip, ‘brush the berries with melted jam to give a lovely shine’.

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Kate Middleton Is Giving Her Kids At-Home Haircuts with the Help of Her Nanny Maria

Much like the rest of us, the royal family hasn’t had access to a professional haircut in months—and apparently Kate Middleton’s taken matters into her own hands. The Duchess is currently self-isolating at her country home in Norfolk with a “scaled back household staff,” and a source tells The Sun that she’s giving her kids haircuts. In fact, Kate has apparently been super good at cutting hair this whole time.

George, Charlotte, and Louis usually have their hair cut at Kensington Palace by Kate’s stylist Richard Ward, and since she has a pair of his scissors lying around, stepping up has been no bigs. Per the source, “Kate is able to trim all the children’s hair because she has this professional kit at home, including scissors, from Richard.”

Meanwhile, the source says “Kate would get Maria to do her hair during the lockdown. But it has only had a little trim so far. Kate does use a home colour on it from Richard. She would normally be given products from his salon between her appointments with him but for this lockdown ‘the package was rather larger than usual.’”

Cool, I’ll just be here cutting my own bangs with literally no supervision.

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Ashley Benson Ditched Her Bob For Long, Blonde Hair & Looks Totally Different

For the past few months, Ashley Benson has had a bobbed hairstyle, but the actor just followed many other celebs who are undergoing hair transformations during quarantine. Benson recently revealed long, blonde hair that serves Pretty Little Liars vibes, and Hanna Marin would definitely be into it.

Benson showed off the look on Instagram Stories, appearing markedly more blonde and with way longer hair. The style appears to fall nearly to her waist, and although she’s still rocking somewhat of a rooted ‘do, there’s no doubt that the actor is fully back to blonde now.

In her Story, Benson tagged celeb extension expert Violet Teriti — who was previously responsible for Kylie Jenner’s $8,000 pony — and hair stylist Chandlar Vandersteen, so it’s likely they helped her achieve the new look.

The change comes amid reports of Benson and model Cara Delevingne’s recent breakup. The pair had dated for about two years and even got tattoos of each other’s initials. Although switching up your look is common after relationships end, Benson hasn’t said whether or not personal reasons were behind the decision to try a new style. Either way, though, her new long locks are gorgeous.

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Katie Price takes her five children out for ice cream as she spends the weekend celebrating her 42nd birthday – The Sun

KATIE Price enjoyed the perfect British summertime day out with her five kids as she indulged in ice cream to mark her 42nd birthday.

The former glamour model hunted out the Desert Ice Cream Club van parked up near a grassy field and swiftly treated her brood – despite it being her special day.

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Katie looked cute in blue cycling shorts paired with a top of the same colour.

She added a splash of glamour with huge black sunglasses and showed off her cheeky side as she dived straight in for a lick of eldest son Harvey's frozen treat.

Harvey, 17, joined Katie in a song for the NHS on Thursday, was busy enjoying a cone with huge scoops of vanilla ice cream and appeared chuffed with the birthday snack.

His mum later got an ice of her own and left the youngsters in giggles as she appeared to sing into the cone, with remnants of the ice cream around her mouth.

Katie's children with Peter Andre, Princess, 12, and Junior, 14, who live down the road from her and Dreamboys boyfriend Al Warrell, joined her in the queue.

Junior opted for a huge drink and an ice cream with tasty blue sauce dripping off it.

The TV star's youngest daughter Bunny could clearly be spotted in her cute denim jacket, with a Bugs Bunny logo on the back.

Meanwhile doting mum Katie was on hand to clean up after the sticky dessert and seen wiping some of it from Harvey's cheek.

Katie was reunited with the entirety of her brood at the start of May, after coronavirus imposed lockdown regulations saw them forced to spend six weeks apart.

She had a difficult time being separated from her children; Junior and Princess, who she shares with popstar Peter, Harvey, 17, as well as Jett, six, and five-year-old Bunny, who she shares with ex husband Kieran Hayler.

Yet her birthday reunion, which has spanned the weekend, has seen them come together once more.

As Katie was seen picking up a huge pink cake to mark the celebrations, Junior quipped she was "getting old."

The star beamed with happiness as she walked outside her front gate where the Essex-based Perfect Parties baker dropped off the giant treat.

Excited Katie practically skipped down the drive of her rented home in fluffy slippers and a matching shorts and tee-shirt, with her hair scraped into a ponytail.

Her son Junior wished her happy 42nd birthday on his Instagram page and joked she's "getting old now"

Junior shared a photo of the pair at Thorpe Park last year and wrote: "Happy birthday mum. Love you lots. Have a gd day. (Even tho we’re quarantined) Ur getting old now @katieprice."

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Woman transforms her table ruined by candle wax with vinyl stickers from eBay and it looks brand new in seconds

A WOMAN transformed her side table which was covered in candle wax by using some vinyl stickers from eBay – and it only took minutes. 

Natalie Beech said she adored her grey side table, but it had got damaged after she burned some candles on it. 

Rather than chucking it out, Natalie decided to cover up the stains with some stickers – and it worked a treat.

She picked up a pack of grey mosaic tile stickers from eBay, which starts at £7.99 for a pack of 16.

Natalie transformed the table in a matter of minutes, giving it a new lease of life.

She shared her transformation to Facebook group DIY On A Budget UK, where her mini-makeover has been liked more than 700 times. 

Natalie wrote: “Loved this tray table but sadly it got stained with speckles of candle wax. . . 

“So I thought I would have a go at covering it. 

“I ordered mosaic vinyl stickers from eBay and here's the end result.”

People are seriously impressed with her quick fix, and are eyeing up the tiles to cover stains in their own home. 

  • Grey Mosaic / Pattern Tile Stickers, eBay, £7.99 – buy now

Commenting online, one person said: “I have this table and mine's stained.

"Love it as well. Yours looks amazing. What stickers did you use please?”

Another wrote: “Wow! Great transformation!”

A third thought: “I’ve got this tray it’s stained too. I might copy your idea.”

Someone else wrote: “Looks fab.”

While someone else added: "Love it, looks so good!"

Meanwhile this mum makes her old dining table look brand new with just a lick of paint and saves herself hundreds.

In other news, we shared how one mum turns a shabby Wendy house into an amazing outdoor café for her kids for just £14.

Plus we shared how one bloke transforms an old cabinet into an epic mini bar for less than £20 with a splash of paint and LED lights.

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Heidi Klum Revealed Her Fave Skincare Products, And They're Surprisingly Affordable

  • Heidi Klum, 46, just revealed her favorite skincare products on Instagram.
  • She gave fans a peek into her medicine cabinet, which was filled with Drunk Elephant and Glossier.
  • The Making the Cut host also uses Mario Badescu’s spot treatment for blemishes.

Model and Making the Cut host Heidi Klum, 46, just took her Instagram followers inside her medicine cabinet to show off all the skincare products she swears by to keep her skin glowing and wrinkle-free. While the photo was a social media ad for Perfectil hair, skin, and nail vitamins, the celeb gave fans a peek at the other creams, serums, face masks, and more that she uses on the reg.


Clearly, Heidi takes her skincare seriously. The photo shows a plethora of brands, including Drunk Elephant, Glossier, and Mario Badescu (Heidi previously shared that she swears by the Mario Badescu Buttermilk Moisturizer). Here are some of her favorite beauty products:

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum

T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Resurfacing Night SerumDrunk Elephantsephora.com$90.00SHOP NOW

This night serum from beloved beauty brand Drunk Elephant is meant to exfoliate built-up dead skin cells and resurface dull, uneven skin for a smoother, brighter, more even-looking complexion.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ 25% AHA + 2% BHA Mask

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ 25% AHA + 2% BHA MaskDrunk Elephantsephora.com$80.00SHOP NOW

Consider this product a cult-favorite (Drew Barrymore is also obsessed with it!). It’s an AHA/BHA facial that resurfaces skin to reveal greater clarity, improved skin texture and tone.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma™ Vitamin C Day Serum

C-Firma™ Day Serumdrunkelephant.com$80.00SHOP NOW

This vitamin C day serum is packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and fruit enzymes to firm and brighten skin and improve the signs of photoaging.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu Drying LotionMario Badescusephora.com$17.00SHOP NOW

It might be hard to believe, but it seems like even Heidi Klum gets a zit now and then. This spot treatment is formulated with salicylic acid, sulfur, and zinc oxide to dry up blemishes.

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

Augustinus Bader The Rich Creamaugustinusbader.com$265.00SHOP NOW

This super-rich night moisturizer is made of argan, avocado, and evening primrose oil. It’s rich in omega 6 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder

Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme PowderTatchasephora.com$65.00SHOP NOW

This exfoliator contains rice and papaya enzymes to reduce the appearance of fine lines, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation.

Glossier Solution

Glossier SolutionGlossierglossier.com$24.00SHOP NOW

This exfoliating skin solution contains three acid groups: Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) that slough away dead skin for a fresh, smooth complexion.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Glossier Priming MoisturizerGlossierglossier.com$22.00SHOP NOW

This hydrating moisturizer is non-comedogenic, paraben free and fragrance free to help soothe and hydrate skin.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub

Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial ScrubDR. BARBARA STURMnordstrom.com$70.00SHOP NOW

This facial scrub contains ingredients like vitamin A, purslane, and horse chestnut to help to remove dry, flaky skin and reduce fine lines.

And that’s exactly how Heidi gets—and maintains—her glow.

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Rescued elephant scratches herself on a tree to relieve a jumbo itch

That’s got it! Heartwarming moment elephant discovers a tree trunk is the perfect thing to scratch a jumbo itch

  • An elephant called Cartoon, 58, was filmed in Koh Samui, Southern Thailand
  • She scratched herself against a tree before giving her head a good branch rub
  • Australian-born Fiona captured the video of an elephant in its natural habitat

Cartoon the elephant found the best way to relieve an itch was to rub her entire body against a tree.  

The 58-year-old Asian elephant scratched thick mud off her ams and legs before giving her head a good rub against a branch in a heartwarming video.

Fiona Hardie shot the footage at the new Samui Elephant Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Southern Thailand.


Cartoon the Asian elephant found the best way to get at an itch was to scratch her head against a branch in Koh Samui, Southern Thailand

She uses the tree to scratch behind her ear, rubbing her jaw against the bark to clean herself 

The 58-year-old, mud-covered elephant scratches her whole body against a tree in a hilarious way

Cartoon lifts her front left leg up to scratch her armpit before sliding her whole body down the tree to get at her back leg.

She gives her leg a scratch before turning around to start rubbing behind her right ear. 

Clearly enjoying herself with her mouth hanging open, she scratches her head up and down.

She then walks towards the camera, rubbing her head against a branch while scratching her back leg at the same time. 

Cartoon starts her scratching session by lifting her front leg up to relieve an itch in her arm pit

She slides her whole body down the trunk before doing the same with her hind legs, making sure not to miss a spot

Australian-born Fiona, who now lives in Hong Kong, said: ‘Other than feeling pure joy, for me, it’s really thinking about how Cartoon must have felt.

‘I believe elephants have the presence of mind to understand their situation. I love that she can just be an elephant, just how it should be.’

Cartoon was rescued from a working life giving rides to tourists and will live out her retirement in comfort at the Sanctuary, with Asian elephants capable of living to 80 years of age.

Australian-born Fiona Hardie, who now lives in Hong Kong, took the video and says she loved seeing Cartoon act so naturally

Fiona runs social media platform Elephant Stories with Fiona, a Facebook page ‘dedicated to the love of elephants as sentient beings’.

She said: ‘I love this video. It gives me the opportunity to witness natural behaviour by observing them, for example, watching them scratch.

‘Every elephant has a story. I love to share this in the hope we can all understand more about these sentient animals.’

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Mackenzie McKee: How Are Her Kids Coping With Her Mother’s Death?

It’s been six months since Mackenzie McKee’s mother, Angie Douthit, passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Recent episodes of Teen Mom OG captured the aftermath of Angie’s passing, and not surprisingly, it was an extremely difficult time for Mackenzie and her family,

The McKee kids were apparently quite close with their grandmother, and Mackenzie is understandably worried about how they’re coping with her absence.

In particular, she’s worried about the possibiliy of her son Gannon developing an anxiety disorder.

“I just want him to know it’s OK to come to us and talk to us,” she said to her husband on Tuesday’s episode.

Of particular concern to Mackenzie was the fact that Gannon decided to come home early from a sleepover because he was feeling sad.

When she confronted him, Gannon denied that he had been crying, and he described his feelings in a way that Mackenzie interpreted as indicative of an anxiety disorder.

“There’s this thing about me that whenever I go to somebody’s house, it just feels like something bad is gonna happen,” he said.

“I don’t know.”

Mackenzie became concerned that Gannon was hiding his feelings in a fashion similar to his taciturn father.

“One day it comes out in a huge explosion,” Mackenzie said.

“It’s a little weird what he’s saying about feeling uncomfortable. To me, that seems like anxiety.”

Josh suggestes taking Gannon to a doctor, but Mackenzie is wary about the possibility of her son being placed on anti-anxiety meds.

“We should always focus on their best interests, and I always want what’s best for them no matter what happens,” she said.

That may sound like an obvious statement, but there’s a profundity to it, especially coming from a woman who’s coping with the loss of her mother.

Mackenzie and her mother were very close, and Angie’s battle with cancer took an incredible toll on the entire family.

Now, she’s continuing to inspire with her bravery, even after she’s gone.

Mackenzie is going through the most difficult time in her life, and she’s still putting her children’s needs above her own.

No doubt, she reminds herself that that’s what Angie would do.

The death of a figure as beloved as Angie is enough to tear a family in two,

But Mackenzie seems to realize that if she continues to follow her mother’s example, the adversity might actually strengthen her bond with her children.

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Russian woman plunges to her death from cliff in UAE

Russian woman plunges to her death while posing for holiday pictures on a cliff top in Dubai

  • Julia Khabibulina, 34, from Ufa in Russia, slipped after posing on a cliff edge 
  • Russian media reported she squatted at the edge and plunged 32ft into the sea  
  • Friends said Julia left Russia before the coronavirus outbreak and hadn’t planned to stay in Dubai for long
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A Russian woman has died after plunging to her death while posing for holiday pictures on a cliff top in Dubai.  

Julia Khabibulina, 34, from the city of Ufa in the western Russian republic of Bashkortostan, moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in October 2019 hoping to develop her photography career. 

Russian media reported that Julia plunged 32ft to her death after squatting at the cliff’s edge and losing her balance on Friday 15 May. 

The injuries sustained when the 34-year-old hit the water were fatal and her body is now at a UAE hospital waiting to be repatriated. 

Pictured: Russian photographer Julia Khabibulina, 34, fell to her death after posing for a photograph on a cliff edge on Friday in Dubai 

Pictured: Julia stands in front of the water at Dubai Creek, backed by the city’s skyscrapers, at the end of last year 

Pictured: Julia sits on steps in an unspecified Spanish city in this image from March last year 

Friends said that Julia – who had a solid photography portfolio with tens of thousands of shots – left Russia for Dubai before the coronavirus crisis began and hadn’t planned on staying very long. 

They said she was trapped when borders were shuttered due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Russian media reported that she had planned to return home to Ufa but had to delay her flights due to rising ticket prices. 

Pictured: Julia sits with her dog at a coffee shop in her hometown of Ufa, in Russia in 2018

Pictured: Julia poses in a photograph in front of the Seville Cathedral in Spain in February last year 

The 34-year-old specialised in extreme sports photography, namely kite and windsurfing.  

The day before her death, she wrote about how she was enjoying lockdown being partially lifted in Dubai due to Ramadan. 

‘Thanks to Ramadan for quitting total quarantine! On the first day of the Holy month, we were allowed to go out without a pass and opened cafes, ‘Julia wrote. 

‘People during quarantine were hanging out at hotels. This is the whole of Dubai! If you die, then with music.’   

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Girl, 12, transforms her family home in seven days for just £50

Girl, 12, transforms her family home in seven days for just £50 in between home schooling – and even used a power drill and handsaw (with only a little help from her mum and brother)

  • Susie Levache, 47, from Kent, told how 12-year-old daughter transformed home
  • Bea had developed her DIY skills, including using a power drill and a handsaw 
  • Before and after photos shared to Facebook received hundreds of comments

A mother has revealed how her 12-year-old daughter transformed their home in seven days for just £50 in between home schooling lessons during lockdown.

Susie Levache, 47, from Kent, said Bea developed her DIY skills – including using a power drill and a handsaw – by redecorating the utility room, stairs and office, as well as designing a feature wall.

The portrait photographer said Bea was ‘a natural’ and did a ‘blinding job’ – and before and after photos which she shared to Facebook received thousands of positive comments. 

Susie Levache, 47, from Kent, told how her 12-year-old daughter transformed their home into a chic and stylish living space during lockdown. Susie encouraged Bea to decorate the stairs (pictured left before and right after) with black panelling using the assistance of her brother Ted – totally unsupervised after seeing how well she had done on their home office

Susie showed her daughter Bea (pictured) how to correctly cut MDF strips to decorate floors and walls in their home office and utility room 

Susie added that she and Bea’s brother Ted, 15, also lent a hand, and the family aims to reuse as much as possible, so only needed to buy a few extra items from eBay for the projects.

Writing about the home office transformation, Susie said: ‘I usually tackle all the DIY projects alone, but my 12-year-old daughter took an interest and actually I figured I had a lot of time on my hands to rectify anything she might damage.

‘Turns out after telling her to just go for it, she’s a natural and did a blinding job – with direction she did this herself. She was VERY handy with a handsaw.

‘We just used some thin MDF strips, paint and a roll of wallpaper to transform my office.’

Susie added: ‘I supervised and told her how to use the spirit level and how to measure and cut the MDF strips we had. 

The office was decorated using some thin MDF strips, paint and a roll of wallpaper. The office panelling took just a few hours to do and the following day to paint. Pictured, the home office before it was renovated left, and right after

Susie said they have been as resourceful as possible during lockdown. She is pictured with daughter Bea 

Susie said she had been steadily renovating the family’s 1970s semi-detached house for 10 months, and decided to use the time at home to give the plans a boost. The only purchase they’ve made during pandemic has been kitchen handles used in the utility room. Pictured: Susie’s utility room before and after the renovation

‘She was really nervous to begin with as she was worried that she would mess up.

‘The room was gloomy and hadn’t really been used properly for ages anyway so she had nothing to lose – then there was no stopping her!

‘This gave her the confidence to just go for it and after the first two panels she then did the rest alone.’

Susie watched as Bea successfully marked, levelled, glued, pinned and added a dado rail before filing the room ready for painting.

The office panelling took just a few hours to do and the following day to paint.

Bea had developed her DIY skills, including using a power drill and a handsaw, to transform the home 

Susie said she had been steadily renovating the family’s 1970s semi-detached house for 10 months, and decided to use the time at home to give the plans a boost.

She homeschools Bea and Ted in the mornings, but after week two of lockdown, the children seemed ‘bored’ – so she asked them to help with DIY projects in the afternoon.

Susie told FEMAIL they have been as resourceful as possible during lockdown by using things, such as paint, that they already had in the shed and loft. The only purchase they’ve made during pandemic has been kitchen handles. 

 Susie watched as Bea successfully marked, levelled, glued, pinned and added a dado rail before filing the home office ready for painting 

Susie added that the family DIY projects haven’t just resulted in an incredible home transformation – it has also helped Bea’s confidence. She is pictured working on their home office 

The family’s stairs were decorated with statement art pieces following the renovation 

After seeing how the new home office looked, Susie encouraged Bea to decorate the stairs with black panelling using the assistance of her brother Ted – totally unsupervised.

They also did the living room; Susie said: ‘We used up some old tester pots I had to stencil and hand-paint an accent wall in a funky animal print design. She had the patience of a saint for hand-painting that job!’

Then the family moved onto the kitchen utility room makeover, which had the floor completed before lockdown but still required a lot of work.

Susie said: ‘The room was full of orange pine. I taught Bea how to use the drill and change the drill bits and how to use the little work bench.

Then the family moved onto their living room, which had one of it’s walls transformed by Bea 

Bea helped to apply a stylish hand-painted leopard print feature to a wall in the living  room

The space was transformed  by the wall and the family added brand new black shelves and a stylish clock 

‘She filled the existing drawer holes, drilled new holes and put in different drawer pulls. They look fantastic!

‘The whole room was then transformed with chalk paint (Frenchic) so all of it including the handles came to about £45 – we loved the end result.’

Bea spent three days redecorating the room.

Susie wrote about her achievement on Facebook in a post that was liked nearly 9,000 times. She shared: ‘We had a grim “dumping ground” utility room to part renovate – I showed her how to use a power drill at the weekend (very confident).

Bea added a dado rail to the bottom of one of their home office walls before painting it pastel pink and decorating it with various art pieces

Their stylish home office included statement wallpaper and a pink and black colour scheme 

The duo also used their DIY expertise to transform an old broken rattan table for the family’s dreamy outdoor terrace 

‘My daughter customised the fronts of the drawers (looked easy but was tricky) then we used leftover paint to repaint the cupboards.

‘We also made little initial blackboard effect plaques from leftover MDF, paint and glue – then aged them for the laundry baskets.

‘As before, if my 12-year-old and I can do this – ANYONE can do this.’

The duo also used their DIY expertise to transform an old broken rattan table for the family’s dreamy outdoor terrace.

Bea used leftover tiles to create a stunning mosaic on the table before placing the original glass on the top to finish.

Their utility room and kitchen area included quirky modern decor with dark green walls and some matching furniture 

The tiles for the garden table were left over from previous tiling where the family had purchased the amount needed including spares for breakages – and luckily, there were none.

Susie said: ‘The table now has pride of place on our terrace. During lockdown, we have taken all the blankets out, sat by the fire and drank hot chocolate in the cosy haven.

‘It’s definitely a makeover we are proud of. It was probably around £20 if somebody wanted to have a go at upcycling.

‘It’s comforting that all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the planning, faffing and upkeep of the terrace garden – that it is enjoyed by everyone.’

Susie posted her DIY successes online and received hundreds of questions from parents wanting to do the same with their kids – so she created an Instagram account dedicated to sharing her tips and decorating secrets.

Their utility room was decorated with personalised home accessories for each family member with a pastel colour scheme 

She added: ‘We have been staggered by the reaction. Some of the posts have had thousands of likes. We’ve also had some great messages from carpenters and builders lending advice which has been terrific.’

Susie added that the family DIY projects haven’t just resulted in an incredible home transformation – it has also helped Bea’s confidence.

She said: ‘I was always a creative child and my daughter thought she didn’t have any skills before lockdown, I hope this will give her confidence that it’s all there. She just needed to believe she could do it!

‘Initially she was quite timid about using the power tools and things, but now she’s so proud of what she’s achieved.

‘Pre-lockdown I would never have thought to include Bea in my work – this period has really shown me that children are far more capable than we may think.’

The family’s six-week complete ‘spring fling’ came after Susie decided to decorate the house.

Susie homeschools Bea and Ted in the mornings, but after week two of lockdown, the children seemed ‘bored’, so she asked them to help with DIY projects in the afternoon. The pair are pictured working on the stairs 

Despite transforming numerous rooms in the house, Susie said their DIY endeavours are not fully complete just yet and they are already working on bedroom renovations. Bea is pictured sanding wooden panelling 

She revealed in a recent social media post: ‘No more white box. My husband has zero interest in DIY and interiors which leaves me in charge!’

Despite transforming numerous rooms in the house, Susie said their DIY endeavours are not fully complete just yet.

She revealed: ‘We’re going to gold leaf some furniture and hopefully the last thing will be to make a brick wall.

‘Then we will finally do Bea’s bedroom which she is designing at the moment by researching colour swatches and looking on Pinterest.

‘This whole thing has made her a lot more involved and she is excited to plan her post-lockdown bedroom renovation.’

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