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Things you need to know about Botox

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It might cause an allergic reaction in some people. The higher your metabolism, the fast your Botox will wear off. If it’s done by someone not very skilled at it, Botox could give you a plastic-like effect and limit facial expressions. There are a few medical conditions under which Botox is contraindicated. Hence, you need to make sure you check with your doctor. Pregnancy is also a contraindication for Botox.


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Marble runs and building bridges: five creative, educational play ideas for kids | Child’s play and learning

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Drawing with brush little kid. Horizontal indoors shot






Joining a child in play helps them develop their creativity.
Composite: Stocksy/Guardian Labs

Whether it’s a toddler making a trail of handprints across a piece of paper, or a seven-year-old repurposing a cardboard tube to make a marble run, play empowers children to become creative. When children create, they experience the joy of interacting with the world and of changing it and being changed by it.

“Born into an age of rapid innovation, our children need a creative mindset more than ever,” says Garrett Jaeger, a developmental psychologist and research specialist at the LEGO Foundation, an organisation that advocates for learning through play. “Play-based learning is the best way to help children develop these skills and set them on the path to becoming future innovators and flexible thinkers.”

Add a responsive caregiver into the mix and the creativity of the child can be taken to the next level. “We need to let the child lead, so they can take ownership,” says Jaeger. “But we can enhance their experience by adding constraints and challenging them to select high-quality ideas.”

Parenting expert and GP Clare Bailey says playing alongside your child is also vital to improving their social and emotional development. “Play is the golden key to building a better relationship with your child. They will feel closer to you, and will be more likely to cooperate and do what you ask. Even 10 minutes of play together a day makes a difference.” Joining a child in play not only helps them develop their creativity, but it teaches them about sharing, negotiating, cooperating, and being kind and humorous.

Creativity can be fostered by all sorts of games and activities, not just the obviously creative ones, such as painting and drawing.

“We wanted to help parents find new ways of engaging creatively with their children and so have developed a ‘playlist’ of activities that caregivers can choose from when they are stuck for ideas,” says Jaeger. “Very few of these activities actually involve LEGO bricks, we have tried to use things that are readily available not just in Boston, but in Bangladesh.”

Using household objects, such as toilet rolls, paper plates and old cloth, allows children to reimagine what objects are. “So the next time they see that paper plate they are going to be dreaming about what it might become. That is the kernel of creativity we want to plant.”

Here are five activities from the playlist for you to try at home.

Build a bridge
Build a bridge using LEGO or DUPLO bricks and make sure a minifigure can walk over it and a toy boat can go under it.

“Don’t be afraid of rules with creativity. There is a lot of power in just putting a few constraints on a task and watching children push up against them and even try to break those rules,” explains Jaeger, who says children instinctively know that a bridge has to start on one piece of land and end on another. If the bridge collapses they learn one of the fundamental rules of creativity: if things go wrong, you can choose to start over.

“When they start to walk that little man over it, the creation becomes meaningful for them because they have begun to play with it,” he says.

Co-drawing
Take a piece of plain paper and fold it into three sections. The first participant draws a head on the top section and then marks the neckline on the middle section. The second participant draws the torso and marks the leg lines on the final section and the third participant (or back to the first, if just two players) draws in the legs.

This is an old creativity activity known as “exquisite corpse” or “exquisite cadaver”, and it can also be done with text. There is room for elaboration by drawing imaginary beasts, or changing the number of folds. This sparks the imagination and provides a lesson about a different way of collaborating. Also, the results are often hilarious. “I spent a whole afternoon during lockdown doing this with my two children aged three and five,” says Nicola Moss, from Stroud. “We stuck all the crazy drawings up on the wall and then began to tell each other stories about them.”

Flip the blanket
Can you flip a blanket over with people standing, lying or sitting on it?

This may not seem like a creative activity, as it feels more like a game of Twister with people getting tangled up and often falling over. However, the game helps you to see a flat piece of material in a different way. It changes your perspective. It is a game that exercises physical and mental flexibility.

Parachutes
Make a parachute that gets a LEGO minifigure or small toy safely to the ground.

This is a physics experiment made fun. Working with a paper plate or a piece of tissue paper and some string, work out how many points of contact you need to have with your string, and how short or long those points need to be so the character doesn’t tip. The fact it is, a parachute engages the imagination and children begin to tell stories with it.

Young boy playing with marbles on living room floor



Marbles on their own are less fun – add cardboard tubes or guttering to make a track. Composite: Getty Images/Guardian Labs

Marbles on the run
Can you build a racetrack and let your marbles run?

“This encourages children to reimagine materials in their home, [such as] old cardboard tubes, or bits of guttering,” says Jaeger. “It’s a favourite of ours at the LEGO Foundation. You can look at what others have created with the hashtag #chainreaction, some are really phenomenal.”

Having fun with your child will not only increase your bond and boost their creative thinking, you may actually find you have fewer interruptions. “Once a child knows that you will join them when you can, they are more likely to be accommodating to your schedule,” says Bailey. Meaning you may just have enough time to work on your own creative contribution to society.

Find out more about learning through play at: legofoundation.com


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‘While we’re going through such change, we have to engage our children’: the importance of play during coronavirus | Child’s play and learning

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Two young girls dressing up






Role play is particularly important for revealing children’s inner worlds.
Composite: Flashpop/Getty Images/Guardian Labs

Before March 2020, few of us had heard the terms “self-isolation”, “lockdown” and “social-distancing” – but they have now become ubiquitous as we adjust to living through a global pandemic. So it’s not surprising that lockdown has left a third of children feeling more worried or stressed, according to a recent poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of Barnardo’s.

Another survey by YouGov, for Public Health England (PHE), found that more than half of parents with children aged five to 18 said that their primary concern for their children was their mental wellbeing. Almost a quarter of parents said that not knowing what action to take had prevented them supporting their children’s mental wellbeing. PHE recommends establishing a routine and encouraging children to indulge in their interests and hobbies to help counteract this.

Laura Maher, an education lecturer from Warwickshire, says play is central in developing the holistic wellbeing of the child and that it can help assuage anxiety during stressful times. “With an ever-increasing focus on formal learning, it’s more important than ever for adults to see the educational value in play,” she says.

Playing not only provides a welcome distraction but also helps build resilience and coping mechanisms, says Dr Genevieve von Lob, a clinical psychologist and author. “Play is like breathing to children. It’s essential for processing emotions, building resilience and to give them a sense of control,” she says. “Playtime offers ideal opportunities for children to express natural emotion such as anger, sadness or happiness in a safe environment and explore their identities in relation to their peers, their family and the world.”

It’s through play, especially role-play, that children reveal what is going on in their inner world, says von Lob. “Children will often role-play different characters and give their dolls or teddies the voice they are unable to express themselves because their feelings are too confusing. This can help them feel powerful in a world where they often feel small and powerless.”

Two boys in cardboard boxes playing with can and string phones



Playing with found objects helps develop a child’s imagination and creativity. Composite: Stocksy/Guardian Labs

Sarah Bouchie, LEGO Foundation’s vice president of global programmes, says play also helps children strengthen their relationships with the people around them and reinforces bonding. “I have friends who say it can be hard to find the time to sit down and play with their child, but we can incorporate play into day-to-day life, such as counting the steps or singing a song on the way to school. Little things like this can make a real difference,” she says.

Von Lob believes unstructured, free play is one of the most effective ways children can learn to socialise and interact with others. “Playing creates a sense of belonging to the group and feeling part of a community,” she says. “Children learn to communicate, negotiate, share and cooperate through play. As they mature, they learn teamwork, collaboration, and taking the perspectives of others.”

Maher believes that grownups can promote a love of play by encouraging indoor and outdoor exploration. “Finding loose parts – crates, cardboard tubes, plastic bottles etc – and natural objects [such as] shells, sticks and stones to create something will not only help develop a child’s imagination and creativity, but also provides them the opportunity to develop problem solving, cooperation and negotiation skills,” she says. Creating a story from household objects, which helps bring the outside inespecially on rainy days, can reinforce these skills.

It’s clear that children recognise how play can help calm them. Sophie Clark-Venner, an early years specialist and founder of MontiSensory, says her nine-year-old son, Sebastian, realises how beneficial playing can be.

“I discussed what playing teaches us with Sebastian and he said ‘resilience’. He said: ‘You can spend a long time building something amazing and then put the final piece on and it gets knocked down by your brother and you have to start again, but that’s OK because the second time you build it, it will be even better!’”

Clark-Venner says play is crucial to a child’s physical development. “As adults we know the benefits of exercise both for our bodies and our minds,” she explains. “Children have an innate drive to get up and move their bodies. They love to move. Dancing or playing at the park are fun and natural for them but what’s underneath all that is their bodies saying ‘get up, move about, strengthen your muscles, fine tune your balance and coordination’.”

Bouchie says it’s never been more important for parents to play with their children. “Children pick up on more than we think they do about what’s going on in the world, so now, while we’re going through such change, is the time for us to connect and engage with them,” she says. “We know that playing with children helps them to develop their social and emotional skills, which are key to reducing stress in difficult situations. If we can help them increase these executive functions, we can help give them a sense of control and joy during this time of uncertainty.”

The LEGO Foundation has developed a free online course, Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play, to help give primary caregivers and teachers knowledge and ideas on how to boost children’s social and emotional wellbeing.


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From Martha Washington to Melania Trump: 250 years of first lady portraiture | Fashion

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Bess Truman, US first lady from 1945 until 1953, has not become the sort of historical figure people quote on Instagram. “A woman’s public role is to sit beside her husband, be silent, and be sure her hat is on straight,” she said, even though, behind the scenes, she was nicknamed “the Boss” and wrote many of President Truman’s speeches.

Martha Washington



Such anecdotes permeate Every Eye Is on Me, a new exhibition of first lady portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, which tracks the development of the role from the early 19th century to the present. The portraits, which range from Martha Washington’s detached stare and stiff white bonnet to Melania Trump’s soft-focus smise, aim to examine “the way these women were framed”. The show is also part of an effort “to help rectify the absences of women in US history,” according to its curator, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw.

Louisa Adams and Jacqueline Kennedy



  • Louisa Adams by Charles Robert Leslie, 1816, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Boris Chaliapin, 1960-61

Ideally, we would be talking about first spouses, of course, but so far, alas, the US president has always been a man, with a first lady beside him. The position was born of what we might now describe as emotional labour, too. In the early 19th century, says DuBois Shaw, “propriety dictated that a woman be present, as a hostess, if it was a mixed gathering of people”. If no wife was available first daughters, and first female friends were roped in.

Mary Lincoln



These early first ladies were often very ambitious. “I was struck by how many of these women were smarter than their husbands,” says DuBois Shaw, “but, because of women’s secondary position, had to attach themselves to a man who could take them where they wanted from to go.” Mary Lincoln, for example, “was very interested in politics. But she can’t run so she finds a guy who also wants to go places and tries to partner with him.” This was no easy ride, of course. Being opinionated and outspoken, says DuBois Shaw “she was constantly thwarted by sexism. She develops a reputation as being a difficult woman.”

Eleanor Roosevelt



The question of whether the first lady should verbalise her opinions has reverberated through the ages. Eleanor Roosevelt, for example, had a newspaper column, a weekly radio address and published more than 40 books over her lifetime. Her portrait, in which she is theatrically lit like a screwball heroine, and symbolically holds a pencil, brings this to life. She was “an amazing writer, a woman who found her voice in middle age, and was very active, travelling places her husband couldn’t after contracting polio”, says DuBois Shaw. As a tireless social justice activist, often expressing more radical political views than her husband, her outspokenness made her a polarising figure.

If Eleanor Roosevelt represents the years, during her tenure of 1933 until 1945, when many women’s lives changed dramatically as they entered the workforce as part of the war effort, Mamie Eisenhower’s portrait expresses a thousand words about the 1950s backlash.

In a candyfloss-coloured dress with matching opera gloves and a clutch bag, Mrs Eisenhower, “is an example of the homemaker in chief”, says DuBois Shaw. “She is all about wearing the Dior New Look, with cinched waists and full skirts, and putting pink doilies all over the White House. She is kind of a regressive antidote to the liberated work-empowered women that had come out of the war years; it’s a way to get women back in the kitchen. She models that for working-class and middle-class white women. A shade called Mamie pink became really popular in fashion in the 1950s.”

Mamie Eisenhower



All the portraits illustrate something unique about each of the sitters and their approach to the role. Jacqueline Kennedy’s Time magazine cover, for example, speaks of the growing prominence of the role as a political celebrity. She stands in front of the White House portico, with a baby’s pram on the balcony. “It’s a really poignant image because it speaks to the young family she brought to the White House. She is the future.” It also foreshadows the unimaginable tragedy she would soon face when her third baby died two days after he was born, just months before her husband was assassinated.

Betty Ford



Betty Ford’s steadfast bouffant, meanwhile, is represented in oils. During the course of her research, DuBois Shaw says Ford became “my new favourite”. During her time as first lady, she spoke openly about many taboo issues, notably breast cancer and mastectomy. After leaving the White House, she talked about her addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol, and then memorably launched the Betty Ford clinic. “She initiated a national acceptance of addiction as a disease that is treatable, not shameful, not a moral failing,” says DuBois Shaw. “We have Betty Ford to thank for that.”

But while many first ladies have achieved extraordinary things, within the confines of this unpaid and unelected role, many more have been unsure how to use their power and prominence. Even Mrs Washington, says DuBois Shaw, had a “complicated” relationship with the position. “She was very unhappy about being put into this role because it confined her; she complained to her friends in letters that she hadn’t been able to go anywhere or do anything since her husband had been president.”

Edith and Ethel Roosevelt by Cecilia Beaux Oil



This was before the role was, to some extent, regularised by Edith Roosevelt, who established offices in the East Wing and hired a social secretary in 1902. Over the ensuing decades, a retinue of staff sprung up, “helping the first lady to meet the expectations of the public”. Still, over 250 years, there is no satisfactory answer to the question of exactly what a first lady should be. And perhaps that is appropriate: until there are more women in office, and there are routinely first gentlemen too, the role of first lady, and its assumed continuation of a gendered division of power, must remain uncomfortable.

Melania Trump by Régine Mahaux-Van Wassenhove, 2017



Uncomfortable is certainly the sense you get from Mrs Trump, who publicly wears the perma-peeved expression of a person stuck in a gilded cage with an orange narcissist. A secret recording of her frustrations with the role was recently leaked, in which she complained about the public perception of her as “complicit” in her husband’s cruel immigration policies and the thankless months she had spent on the White House’s festive decorations with the immortal line: “Who gives a fuck about Christmas stuff?”

At least later first ladies have had the chance to create their own images. Since 2006, first lady portraits have been actively commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, along with its long-running collection of presidential portraits. Hillary Clinton was the first, captured in side-profile, by Ginny Stanford, looking composed and regal, like the head of a coin, flanked by gold leaf panels, and wearing a hopeful shade of buttercup yellow. It is a rather poignant image, given what happened later of which, DuBois Shaw believes, the role of first lady played its part. “Much of the animosity towards her begins when she does not inhabit that role of first lady in the way that the sexist powers-that-be would have it.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton



Michelle Obama’s 2018 portrait, by Amy Sherald, reflects her openness and interest in contemporary art as well as her understanding of the power of her endorsements. Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, who painted Barack Obama’s portrait around at the same time, were the first black recipients of commissions from the National Portrait Gallery. There was some controversy when the portrait was released because Obama’s skin was represented in greyscale, which Sherald has used, she has said, “to exclude the idea of colour as race”. Obama was open to working with an artist with her own very strong ideas about how the finished portrait would look, says DuBois Shaw. The dress she wears, designed by Michelle Smith, was also thoughtfully chosen. Its patterns are reminiscent of “patterns and designs commonly found in American quilting, particularly African American quilting traditions, and references the history of women’s needlework and American folk art, and that was something Mrs Obama was drawn to,” says DuBois Shaw.

Michelle Obama



It will be the Trumps’ turn to be captured next for their exit portraits if, please God, they concede and vacate office (a process on which, sadly, DuBois Shaw would not comment). Until then, the White House provided Mrs Trump’s official photograph, for the exhibition. The current first lady’s razor-sharp jawline, tonged hair and HD eyebrows present a level of grooming that would have been alien to first ladies of yore. It is a highly structured portrait. “Mrs Trump was a model, so she really understands the camera and knows exactly how she wants to look. I think it reflects the desire she may have had – going into the White House back in 2017 – to present a composed and straightforward image of herself,” says DuBois Shaw.

Given that Mrs Trump has played close to a nonspeaking role over the past four years, the choices she makes for her official portrait, when it is released, will be worth a thousand words, and everyone will be listening.

An online version of the exhibition can be accessed here.


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