Drinking My Bloody Mary with V8 and A1 Sauce Now Because Actress Ali Larter Said So

Let me tell ya, celebs have gotten reaaaal original with their Stir Crazy cocktails. I can only imagine how hard it is to whip up a mediocre, 5-ingredient alcoholic beverage with only the random sh*t you’ve got in your kitchen. Actress Ali Larter was able to come up with something using her mom’s month-old V8 and some barbecue sauce, so really…all wild ideas are acceptable here.

You’re definitely not the only feeling some type of way about the (possibly expired) V8 chillin’ in her fridge, but honestly we’ve gotta be thankful for it because it was the reason why she decided to put together a homemade Bloody Mary! For the rest of the ingredients, she gathered up: celery juice, actual celery, Worcestershire, horse radish, A1 sauce, and V-O-D-K-A. Mmm, enticing.

Her approach to making this drink was, um, unique. Ali just went right in and poured in quite the load of V8, but then also matched that with a hell of a lot of vodka. I mean, needed. At this point she had barely any room for the rest of the ingredients, but she made it work and stirred it all up with a piece of celery.

Def not your traditional Bloody, but, worth a shot at this point? 😅

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Feel Good Friday: 6 Uplifting Stories to Head Into the Weekend With

We can all use a little heartwarming content heading into the weekend, right?

In this round-up of Feel Good Friday stories, we’ve got babies, puppies and free Wi-Fi, possibly the only things you need in life to bring a smile to your face, in our humble opinion. 

In one story, a little boy’s love for his mom will possibly, definitely, totally melt your heart, as will the tale of two dogs discovering they are related while on a stroll in England. (Waiting any day now for Disney to option this story, TBH!)

Plus, a few celebrities helped make their fans’ wishes come true, including Shaun White stopping to shred with some of his youngest skateboarding fans and an iconic singer’s daughter unexpectedly stepping up to help a woman honor her stepfather’s dying wish.

Plus, Prince William and Kate Middleton staged an epic royal surprise and a dedicated mother of four received the sweetest surprise when she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Here are six stories to help you feel good heading into the holiday weekend…


One Less Lonely Mom

“But I love you the most in the whole wide world!”

An adorable five-year-old was in tears when he was told he couldn’t marry his mother, not understanding the concept of marriage quite yet. 

In an Instagram video shared by his mom that went viral, the young boy is devastated, telling his mom she was breaking his heart “like, a lot.” And when she tries to explain it to me, he sobs, “You’re breaking my heart even more!”

Yes, it’s as adorably heartbreaking and heartwarming as it sounds. 


Long Lost Siblings

A Twitter user, @libpincher, shared a heartwarming story about two hugging dogs in England that went viral, amassing close to 1 million likes. 

“Dave was out walking his dog, and there was a couple walking towards him with a white version of his dog,'” a text she shared from her father read. “Turns out they are brother and sister from the same litter.”

Rather than play “like they do with other dogs,” the pair just hugs. 

Instagram/Shaun White

He Was a Skater Boy

Olympic gold medalist made his young neighbors’ dream come true when he stopped to skateboard with them after they held up a sign asking him to try their ramp.

“When you drive by a request like this you can’t say no. Definitely brought back some memories seeing these kids killing it on their starter ramp in the neighborhood, so I stopped to skate with them from a safe distance,” he wrote on Instagram. “Hard to see cuz the masks but I was stoked to put smiles on some young faces during these tough times and these kids definitely brightened my day… thanks for the session.”

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Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

A Dying Fan’s Wish

Thanks to the power of social media, Sting‘s daughter Mickey Summer was able to help a a stepdaughter help her stepfather’s dying wish come true. In a story shared to the popular Humans of New York account, the woman explained that her stepfather had to give up his dream of being an artist in order to help support his family, going on to become a cop.

Though he built an art studio in their home, “He painted a single painting—a portrait of Sting that he copied from an album cover,” his stepdaughter recalled. When he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, his dying wish was for the portrait to get to the singer.

“All of us started laughing. But Dad grew very serious. His eyes narrowed,” she wrote. “He looked right at me, and said: ‘Give it to Sting.’ So I guess that’s my final assignment.”

And it seems her mission was accomplished, as Sting’s daughter commented on the Instagram post confirming that she had gotten in touch with the man’s stepdaughter. “Update: we connected! And working out logistics love love love.”

Warner Bros.

Free Wi-Fi

Tawana Brown, a mom in Indiana, has been driving to a local parking lot so her four kids could access free Wi-Fi in order to do their schoolwork even though she’s been struggling to pay her bills. “When I decided to have kids, I made a vow that education was going to be the most important in their life to get them where they needed to go in life,” she said.

So when Ellen DeGeneres heard of Tawana’s commitment to her children’s education, she wanted to surprise the Brown family when she had them on her talk show, giving each of them iPads and headphones. But that wasn’t all: Green Dot Bank also gave them $5,000 to help cover their Wi-Fi bills for the next two years, as well as an additional $20,000 for other needs. DeGeneres said she also wants to fly the family members out for a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show once the program returns to the studio.

The Royal Family / Youtube

A Royal Surprise

Everyone was saying bingo during this virtual game after Prince William and Kate Middleton decided to check in with a few nursing home residents and their dedicated workers, dropping into their Zoom room for a surprise appearance.

“And your next Bingo callers are…” the couple’s Instagram shared with video from the special moment. “Visit our YouTube page via our Story to see more as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thanked staff at Shire Hall Care Home in Cardiff, and care workers across the UK for their tireless efforts as they continue to look after the most vulnerable in our society. #ThankYouCareWorkers.”

The residents were thrilled by their unexpected guests, with Prince William ending his run as Bingo caller by saying, “A big thank you and goodbye to everybody and we’ll try to do a bit better at Bingo next time. And enjoy your cake.” 


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Who'll find love on our virtual date?

Who’ll find love on our virtual date? This week it’s Ysabelle, 29, and Archie, 29, but will romance be on the cards?

  • Every week FEMAIL sends a couple on a blind date and asks them to report back 
  • PR consultant Ysabelle, 29, and marketing manager Archie, 29, shared their date
  • Would you like us to find you a date? Are you a singleton, or is there someone you’d like to send on a blind date? Email: [email protected] 

Ysabelle, 29, (pictured) who has been single for three months, is a consultant in public relations 


Dating Past?

I’ve had a couple of long-term relationships, but neither was in the UK. My life has been rather nomadic; I was born in Ireland and grew up in Australia — in total I’ve lived in five different countries. I’m now studying for a Masters degree at Leeds University. I have dated a few people in the two years I’ve been here.

Pre-Date Nerves?

I’ve never been on a virtual date, but I’m not someone who gets nervous. It was an exciting change.

First Impressions?

Archie is a good-looking guy. Initially I thought he might be older than me because (in a nice way) he has a mature look, but in fact we’re the same age. I was glad we were both dressed casually; I didn’t want to put pressure on the date by making it overly formal.

Easy To Talk To?

Archie’s a good listener. We spoke about my name and how I must have French ancestors because my surname sounds French, too. And I discovered Archie has travelled extensively around South America, somewhere I want to see when the world eventually opens up.


Single for three months, no children.


A consultant in public relations.


A man who is funny, down to earth and kind. I don’t have time for people who don’t have manners. 

It was gorgeous weather, so I sat outside with a gin and tonic while Archie sat inside with a few beers. We discussed what our expectations had been about ‘meeting’ online and how awkward it could have been — and had a laugh about how pleasantly surprised we both were.

Embarrassing Moments?

When Archie’s wi-fi cut out and the call dropped after 30 minutes, I thought it was an excuse to end the date early. But then it happened a few more times and I realised it wasn’t deliberate. I jokingly accused him of trying to get out of the date.

Did Sparks Fly?

Yes, definitely. We only stopped talking because I was getting sleepy — I get up at 5am, so tend not to stay up late. He is lovely.

Would you like to meet in person?


LIKED? That we have very similar goals.



Yes. I’m moving to London when the lockdown ends and have already been looking at a neighbourhood near Archie’s. We swapped numbers and have been messaging one another ever since.

What do you think he thought of you?

Hopefully only good things! I suspect he’ll say I talk a lot.

Would your family Like him?

My family are happy to welcome anyone that I like, but I know they would like Archie.

Archie, 29, (pictured) who has been single for seven months, is a marketing manager


Dating Past?

I’ve had one serious relationship, which lasted for seven years. While it’s true we grew apart, I was more willing to fight for our relationship than she was. It ended seven months ago and since then I’ve dabbled with dating apps. I’ve had both good and bad experiences, but it’s been fun.

Pre-Date Nerves?

Not especially. But that moment when you see one another pop up on the screen is a little weird!

First Impressions?

I was shocked when Ysabelle first started talking because I’d assumed she’s French — she isn’t! However, she’s physically my type and I was really happy.

I’m self-isolating at home with my family and have only summer clothes with me, so while I wanted to make an effort, my options were limited. But I made sure I wore my nicest jumper. I don’t have my computer here, either, so I had to use my phone for the video call.

Easy To Talk To?


Single for seven months after a seven-year relationship, no children.


Marketing manager.


Someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously and is open to exploring new places and travelling

I was worried there would be awkward silences, but that wasn’t the case at all. Ysabelle is easy to talk to and we covered everything from where we live to where we’ve been in the world.

It was quite a general chat, though. With the wi-fi cutting out here and there and the weirdness of a virtual date, it was hard to have a deep conversation.

Embarrassing Moments?

Nothing too awkward, except when my wi-fi cut out a few times. Thankfully Ysabelle realised I wasn’t doing it deliberately.

Did Sparks Fly?

Yes — there is definitely chemistry between us. We chatted for two hours while we had a few drinks. It was a lovely Friday evening.


LIKED? Ysabelle is good looking and easy to talk to.



Would you like to meet in person?

Yes, when the lockdown is over. Ysabelle gave me her phone number and we have messaged each other several times since the date.

What do you think she thought of you?

I’m not very good at judging that sort of thing, but I think she liked me.

Would your family like her?

Absolutely. I’m the middle child of five brothers and I think Ysabelle would fit in very well with us.

Would you like us to find you a date ? Fancy a date with an eligible single like you? Or would you like to play cupid for someone else? Email your — or their — details and a photo to [email protected]dailymail.co.uk

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Mike Pence DOES wear mask on visit to ventilator facility after second lady said he ‘was unaware of Mayo Clinic policy’ – The Sun

VICE President Mike Pence donned a face mask as he toured a ventilator production facility on Thursday – just days after coming under fire for not wearing one at the Mayo Clinic.

Pence wore the covering as he visited a General Motors/Ventec facility in Kokomo, Indiana, having previously claimed he was not aware of the Mayo Clinic's mask policy when he chose not to wear one.

The Kokomo facility Pence was visiting had previously been closed because of coronavirus concerns, only to be brought back online in mid-April to help produce ventilators.

According to Jim Cain, a company spokesman, General Motors requires workers to wear masks in the plant's production area.

During a roundtable with top officials, though, Pence, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ventec CEO Chris Kiple and others chose not to wear face coverings.

On Tuesday, Pence visited the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, where he broke the hospital's policy and did not wear a mask.


Footage from the vice president's visit showed Pence without a mask as a met a Mayo employee who had recovered from COVID-19 and was now donating plasma.

Everyone else in the room appeared to be wearing masks during the discussion, and Pence also opted to remain maskless as he visited a lab where Mayo conducts coronavirus tests.

Mayo tweeted that it had informed the Vice President of its mask policy before his arrival, only for the tweet to later be removed.

On Thursday, Pence's wife, Karen Pence, defended her husband's decision not to wear a mask.

Mrs. Pence told Fox News Channel that he had been unaware of the hospital’s coronavirus policy during the visit and that the vice president has been following the advice of medical experts.

Pence, like other senior White House staff, is tested for the virus at least once a week.

Karen Pence said: “As our medical experts have told us, wearing a mask prevents you from spreading the disease. And knowing that he doesn’t have COVID-19, he didn’t wear one.

She added that it “was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask.

“So, you know, someone who’s worked on this whole task force for over two months is not someone who would have done anything to offend anyone or hurt anyone or scare anyone."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in supermarkets, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

President Donald Trump has previously expressed his discomfort about wearing a mask.

When the CDC's recommendations were unveiled, the president went as far as to say that he did not intend to wear one – though he has since said he may wear one when he travels to Arizona next week.

Addressing reporters Thursday, Trump asked whether it would be appropriate to wear a mask while giving a speech.

He said: "“Should I speak in the mask?” he asked. “You’re going to have to tell me if that’s politically correct. I don’t know. If it is, I’ll speak in a mask.”

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Sanders tells supporters not voting for Joe Biden is ‘irresponsible’

Sen. Bernie Sanders told his supporters that it would be “irresponsible” not to vote for Joe Biden, saying that the failure to do so would essentially reelect President Donald Trump for a second term.

“Do we be as active as we can in electing Joe Biden and doing everything we can to move Joe and his campaign in a more progressive direction? Or do we choose to sit it out and allow the most dangerous president in modern American history to get reelected?” Sanders told the Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.

“I believe that it’s irresponsible for anybody to say, ‘Well, I disagree with Joe Biden — I disagree with Joe Biden! — and therefore I’m not going to be involved,’” Sanders, who endorsed Biden on Monday, continued.

Sanders, 78, did not lay out any specific plans to hold rallies for Biden but said he would be at least as active for the former vice president as he was for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, noting he held dozens of events for her.

But he said because of the coronavirus pandemic, he’s “incarcerated in his home” and did not know when he could return to the campaign trail.

He will, he said, not spend money on advertising or campaigning in the remaining primary elections but still urged his supporters to vote for him anyway so he could gather as many delegates as possible to gain leverage to help shape the Democratic Party platform.

The Vermont independent said he would continue to fight for his progressive agenda like “Medicare for all.”

“If people want to vote for me, we’d appreciate it,” Sanders said and predicted that “I think you’re going to see significant movement on the part of the Biden campaign into a more progressive direction on a whole lot of issues.”

Sanders, who dropped out of the race last week, said he didn’t see a mathematical path to the nomination and soldiering on would have only benefitted Trump.

“What would be the sense of staying in, of spending a whole lot of money, of attacking the vice president, giving fodder for Trump — what’s the sense of doing that when you can’t win?” he asked.

“I will do everything I can to help elect Joe,” Sanders continued. “We had a contentious campaign. We disagree on issues. But my job now is to not only rally my supporters, but to do everything I can to bring the party together to see that (Trump) is not elected president.”

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Cheeky Bosh! boys give tasty vegan recipes to get you through coronavirus lockdown – The Sun

MIX a pinch of Jamie Oliver’s enthusiasm, a spoonful of Joe Wicks’ social media savvy and a sprinkling of Ant & Dec’s double-act banter and what do you get?

Answer: Bosh! boys Ian Firth and Henry Theasby, who serve up delicious vegan meals to the masses.

With their take on classic meals — but made without meat — they have become the biggest names in plant-based food.

With three bestselling books and ITV’s Living On The Veg, the UK’s first fully vegan Sunday morning cooking show, Ian, 35, and Henry, 36, have helped make vegan food accessible.

And now we are in lockdown, they are hosting live cook-alongs to bring more inspiring recipes into our homes.

Every weeknight at 6pm the boys cook up a vegan meal from scratch while answering questions from anyone who tunes in to make dinner alongside them.

Ian says: “Food is such a sociable thing. Whether it’s eating out somewhere nice with friends, bonding over something delicious someone has cooked for you at a dinner party, or just sitting with the family and eating and talking together, it’s a bonding experience.

“Now, with so many of us isolating away from those we love and maybe struggling with the lack of social contact, food is something to celebrate.

It’s the centre of all the big events — Christmas dinner, birthday cakes, New Year buffets — so it holds lots of ­memories and comforts. That’s what made us want to start doing live cook-alongs.

“It’s one thing posting recipes, but if we can invite everyone into our kitchen, so we can cook together, eat together and enjoy food together, that can really mean a lot right now.”

The lads, who became internet ­sensations in 2017 after bursting on to the vegan scene, are isolating together at their house in Clapham, South London.

Henry says: “Lots of people say to us, ‘I really want to try vegan food but I don’t have time to start learning a whole new way of cooking.’

"But being in lockdown is a great chance to try some vegan dishes.” With their meals, the boys reinvent much-loved classics, leaving out any meat or dairy.

Ian says: “I think we all want home comforts like spag bol as well as guilty pleasures like takeaways.

"We’ve been focusing on these sorts of meals — food that makes you smile — and doing it in a vegan way.”

Henry adds: “People are thinking about their health a bit more right now, and wanting to get more nutrients through food, which is why plant-based diets are so great.

"Whatever your reasons, we hope you enjoy these exclusive recipes.” Here, we share some of the boys’ favourite dishes.

  •  Recipes From Bosh! and Bish Bash Bosh!, both by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HQ, Harper Collins).

Crispy chicken tofu

(Serves 2-4)


  • 1 x 280g block firm tofu
  • 150g cornflour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 lemons
  • 250ml orange juice
  • 100g sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha or other chilli sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion, to serve
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, to serve

METHOD: Press the tofu using a tofu press or by placing it between two clean tea towels, laying it on a plate and putting a weight on top.

Leave for at least half an hour to drain any liquid and firm up before you start cooking. Carefully slice the pressed tofu into 1cm-wide sticks and spread them out on a board.

Sift cornflour over the top, coating the pieces generously.

Use tongs or two forks to turn the pieces and sift over more cornflour until the tofu is covered on all sides – the thicker the better with the cornflour as this coating gives the cooked tofu its crunchy texture.

Pour enough oil into the pan to fully coat the bottom and heat until it makes the tip of a wooden spoon sizzle.

Carefully place the tofu pieces in the pan, with a bit of space around each one (you may need to cook them in batches).


Cook for five minutes, turning the pieces every minute or so until they start to turn golden brown.

Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Tip away the excess oil in the pan and reduce the heat to medium-high.

Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the pan, catching any pips in your other hand (be careful as the pan may spit).

Add the orange juice, sweet chilli sauce, sriracha and soy sauce and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Add the tofu strips back to the pan and stir until fully coated.

Continue to cook for five minutes (stirring regularly) then remove from the heat.

Finely slice the spring onion and sprinkle over the tofu along with the sesame seeds before serving.

Nice spice rice

(Serves 3-4)


  • 100g kale
  • 20g fresh coriander
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 1 large fresh red chilli
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 25ml maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 80g baby corn
  • 60g small asparagus shoots
  • 80g sugar snap peas
  • 80g sprouting broccoli
  • 120g smooth peanut butter
  • 30ml water
  • 500g cooked basmati rice (shop-bought or pre-cooked)
  • Sriracha sauce, to serve, optional
  • Fresh lime, to serve, optional
  • Salt

METHOD: Place a wok on a medium heat. Chop the kale and coriander and set aside. Peel and finely slice the garlic and ginger.

Rip the stem from the chilli then cut it in half lengthways (remove the seeds if you prefer a milder flavour). Finely chop chilli and spring onions.

Cut the pepper in half and cut out the stem and seeds, then cut into bite-sized chunks along with the rest of the vegetables. Measure out the oils, syrup and soy sauce into saucers or small bowls ready to use.

Add the coconut oil to the wok and stir until melted. Add the toasted sesame oil and let it infuse into the coconut oil.

Add the garlic and ginger and stir them around for 1-2 minutes, until the ginger looks like it has begun to froth. Add the chopped chilli and spring onions and stir until the onions have softened.


Pour in the maple syrup and soy sauce and stir. Add the baby corn, asparagus and red pepper and stir for roughly a minute.

Throw in the sugar snap peas and broccoli and stir for another minute. Add the peanut butter and water to the pan and stir until all the vegetables are well covered.

Finally, add the kale and stir until it is slightly wilted. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Turn the heat down to low. Add the rice to the wok and fold it into the vegetables for two minutes.

Sprinkle over the coriander and briefly stir through. Serve immediately with wedges of fresh lime and sriracha sauce on the side, if using.

Super-speedy spaghetti

(Serves 4)


  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 75ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp red wine (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 400g spaghetti
  • Handful of black olives (we like Kalamata)
  • Black pepper
  • 20g fresh basil leaves

METHOD: Put a large saucepan with a lid on a medium heat and boil a kettle. To make the tomato sauce, peel and thinly slice the red onion and grate the garlic.

Pour the olive oil into the saucepan and add the sliced onion and salt, then fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir them around for two minutes, until the skins start to split.

Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and pour in the wine, stirring to coat the tomatoes. Pour the boiling water into the pan.


Add the spaghetti, let it soften and then move it around with tongs in the pan until it is well submerged. Put the lid on the pan, turn up the heat and bring to the boil.

Take off the lid and cook at a rolling boil for 10-12 minutes, moving the pasta in the water fairly often to ensure it cooks evenly (it’s easiest to do this with tongs).

When most of the starchy water has been absorbed by the pasta, taste to make sure it is cooked to your liking. Quickly slice the olives and stir them through the pasta.

Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil and grind over some black pepper. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve.

Loaded potato nachos

(Serves 4)


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 700g Maris Piper potatoes
  • For the toppings:
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 100g pickled jalapenos
  • 100g dairy-free pizza cheese
  • 400g tin refried beans
  • Green chilli guacamole, shop-bought
  • Sour cream, shop-bought
  • Salsa, shop-bought
  • 10g fresh coriander leaves, optional

METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C. Put the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix with a fork.

Cut the potatoes into 2.5mm-thick slices and add them to the bowl. Toss to coat evenly.

Spread the potato slices over baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown, swapping the sheets between the shelves halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature. For the toppings, finely chop the cherry tomatoes and jalapenos and grate the dairy-free cheese.


To layer up the nachos, cover the bottom of a lasagne dish with the potato slices. Spread over some refried beans, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos and dairy-free cheese.

Add another layer of potato slices and repeat. Keep going until you finish with a layer of nachos and a light sprinkling of cheese.

Cover with foil, then pierce it a few times with a fork. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, removing the foil halfway through, until the nachos around the edges of the dish are crisping up.

When the nachos are cooked, drizzle over the sour cream, spoon over the salsa and dollop over the guacamole. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves, if using, and serve immediately.

Chocolate chip cookies

(Makes 25)


  • 250g dairy-free butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 85g dark vegan chocolate

METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put the dairy-free butter, sugar, vanilla extract and golden syrup into a food processor and whizz to a cream.

Pour in the flour, baking powder and salt and whizz everything together (you could also do all this in a big bowl with a wooden spoon).

Chop the dark chocolate into small chips then fold them through the mixture with a spatula until they are evenly spread.

Spoon walnut-sized pieces of the mixture on to the lined baking sheets, leaving 5cm between each ball of dough (you may need to cook them in batches).

Squash the balls to flatten them slightly (but don’t make them flat like pancakes).

Put the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes, swapping them over halfway through so they cook evenly.

When they are ready, the cookies should be golden around the edge but paler in the middle.

Take the baking sheets out of the oven but leave the cookies on them for 5-10 minutes to firm up a little, then transfer carefully to wire racks to cool.

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Belief, love, work: three pillars of a happy life to rethink under lockdown

With the lockdown shifting the parameters of how we live, a Harvard Business School lecturer has put forward three facets of a happiness portfolio that we can reflect on a little more deeply. 

What’s the meaning of a happy life? You may have zero headspace to consider this right now, and if so, that’s perfectly OK. But, on the flip side, you may find that being stuck at home allows you a unique window of time to reflect on the things that really matter.

That’s the hope of Harvard Business School lecturer Arthur C. Brooks, who runs a course on happiness that he’s just translated in a new column for The Atlantic

“In our go-go-go world, we rarely get the chance to stop and consider the big drivers of our happiness and our sense of purpose,” he explains, so his aim in running the series during the coronavirus pandemic is to “help you leverage a contemplative mindset while you have the time to think about what matters most to you”.

Brooks then goes onto explore different equations of happiness, one of which is especially pertinent during lockdown. It’s all to do with the elements that bring balance to a so-called “happiness portfolio”, as based on years of longitudinal research. Here they are:


Brooks terms this as “faith” but it comes to the same thing, and it’s not at all prescriptive. Faith, or belief, doesn’t have to mean religion. It’s simply anything that gives you a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life; and also something that connects you to others.

“The key is to find a structure through which you can ponder life’s deeper questions and transcend a focus on your narrow self-interests to serve others,” Brooks writes.

For example, volunteering might fall under the belief category. Studies show that people who donate their time are likely to feel more socially connected and live longer as a result of their altruistic efforts. 

The reason for this effect is complex, but it may well come down to the strong sense of purpose and connection that unites people who volunteer for a common cause.

“Volunteering likely exerts its positive effects on health by connecting people to others as well as to an activity that they find meaningful,” writes scientist David Fryburg in Psychology Today. “Achieving connection, purpose, and meaning is critical to attenuating stressors of life—particularly loneliness.” 


It should go without saying that love is incredibly important to wellbeing. But it isn’t just the grand, Hollywood-style romantic love that makes the difference. Indeed, that type of love may lead to heartbreak and divorce, which can be major life stressors of their own.

Instead, science shows that love of all kinds makes us happy. Our friends, our family. The local community and neighbours who power up an everyday yet crucial sense of belonging. Even an incidental chat with a stranger has a positive effect on wellbeing that is far more profound than we might first assume.

Time and again, studies show that the quality of our relationships in life are one of the leading variants of emotional and physical wellbeing; more so than factors such as smoking, obesity or how much we earn.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, spanning eight decades of research, brings this point into razor-sharp focus.  

“People who are more socially connected to family, friends, and community are happier, healthier, and live longer than people who are less well connected,” says the study’s current director, psychotherapist Dr. Robert Waldinger.

It’s not just any relationships that count, though (and especially not toxic relationships, which have the opposite effect). Instead, as Brooks says, “The key is to cultivate and maintain loving, faithful relationships with other people.” 


Last but not least, work plays a vital role in living a happy life. Needless to say, being miserable in your job, or being unemployed, can cause unprecedented stress that has real and lasting consequences. But it’s more than just that.

It doesn’t really matter what you class your work as. You might be a high-powered banker, a volunteer art teacher or a stay-at-home parent. “What makes work meaningful is not the kind of work it is, but the sense it gives you that you are earning your success and serving others,” explains Brooks.

The serving others part links to the benefits of connection and kindness that we touch on above, with the example of volunteering.

Earning your success is something that’s linked to lots of different factors, but autonomy may play an important role here. Studies show that when we have a sense of freedom and direction over what we do, we feel happier as a result.

Learning new skills is also key. Learning helps to build confidence and creativity, and it also wards against the kind of stagnancy that can creep over months or even years of doing the same thing.

A happier life

So what does all this mean? This odd intercept of lull time that some of us are facing right now may be a good opportunity to decide how the various elements of your life add up.

Have you got enough purpose and direction? What’s getting you out of bed in the morning? (read about the Japanese concept of Ikigai for more on this). Are you giving the most important relationships in your life the time and attention they need? 

This global pause may feel uncomfortable, but one tiny silver lining is the ability to take stock and consider how you can re-jig the building blocks of your life for a happier way forwards. Read more on The Atlantic right here.

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Governor to take coronavirus ventilators for NYC as hospitals buckle

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NEW YORK — With coronavirus deaths surging in New York, the governor announced Friday he will use his authority to seize ventilators and protective gear from private hospitals and companies that aren’t using them, complaining that states are competing against each other for vital equipment in eBay-like bidding wars.

“If they want to sue me for borrowing their excess ventilators to save lives, let them sue me,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. He added that he will eventually return the equipment or compensate the owners.

The executive order he said he would sign represents one of the most aggressive efforts yet in the U.S. to deal with the kind of critical shortages around the world that authorities say have caused health care workers to fall sick and forced doctors in Europe to make life-or-death decisions about which patients get a breathing machine.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference against a backdrop of medical supplies at the Jacob Javits Center. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)


The number of people infected in the U.S. reached a quarter-million and the death toll climbed past 6,500, with New York state alone accounting for more than 2,900 dead, a surge of over 560 in just one day. Most of the dead are in New York City, where hospitals are getting swamped with patients and are facing shortages of ventilators.

The move by Cuomo came as the outbreak snapped the United States’ record-breaking hiring streak of nearly 10 years. The U.S. government said employers slashed over 700.000 jobs in March, bringing a swift end to the nation's 50-year-low unemployment rate.

The true picture, though, is far worse, because the government figures do not include the last two weeks, when nearly 10 million thrown-out-of-work Americans applied for unemployment benefits.

Worldwide, confirmed infections surged past 1 million and deaths topped 55,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say both numbers are seriously undercounted because of the lack of testing, mild cases that were missed and governments that are underplaying the crisis.

Europe's three worst-hit countries — Italy, Spain and France — surpassed 30,000 dead, or over half of the global toll. The crisis there was seen as a frightening portent for places like New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, where bodies are being loaded by forklift into refrigerated trucks outside hospitals.

Shortages of such things as masks, gowns and ventilators have led to fierce competition among buyers from Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

A regional leader in Paris described the scramble to find masks a “worldwide treasure hunt," and the French prime minister said he is “fighting hour by hour” to ward off shortages of essential drugs used to keep COVID-19 patients alive.

Cuomo warned on Thursday that New York could run out of ventilators in six days. He called for a coordinated national approach that would send supplies and people to different areas as their needs peak.


More than 1,200 miles south, the situation grew more dire by the day in Louisiana, where nearly 10,000 people have tested positive and more than 300 have died.

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge has gone from one unit dedicated to coronavirus patients to seven. Nurse Christen Hyde said nurses call family members twice a day to update them on how their family members are doing, in some cases delivering bleak news.

“To have to call a family member and tell them that their family member is not doing well and they are probably going to be passing soon is just devastating,” said Hyde, who has had four patients die.

Among the patients, “the last thing that they see is us telling them that they are going to have a tube placed down their throat to help them breathe,” she said. “It’s awful. It’s horrible. It’s really affected me.”

In Florida, hundreds of passengers on a cruise ship where four people died were finally being allowed to disembark after a days-long standoff. More than a dozen critically ill patients were taken to hospitals, while people healthy enough to travel were taken to the airport for chartered flights home.

Some glimmers of hope emerged that Italy, with about 14,700 dead, as well as Spain and France might be flattening their infection curves and nearing or even passing their peaks in daily deaths.

A medical staffer holds up a phone in front of a COVID-19 patient for a video call with relatives at Bergamo’s Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital, northern Italy, Friday. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)


Still, "the work is extremely tough and heavy,” said Philippe Montravers, an anesthesiologist in Paris. “We’ve had doctors, nurses, caregivers who got sick, infected … but who have come back after recovering? It’s a bit like those World War I soldiers who were injured and came back to fight.”

France canceled its high school exit exam known as the Baccalaureat, a first in the 212-year history of the test.

Spain reported 932 new deaths, down slightly from the record it hit a day earlier. The carnage most certainly included large numbers of elderly who authorities admit are not getting access to the country's limited breathing machines, which are being used first on healthier, younger patients. More than half of Spain's death toll of nearly 11,000 has come in the last seven days alone.

In a vast exhibition center in Madrid that was hastily converted into a 1,300-bed field hospital, bed No. 01.30 held patient Esteban Pinaredo, age 87.

“I’m good, I love you,” Pinaredo told his family via Skype. “I will run away as soon as I can."

The facility's organizer, Antonio Zapatero, said Spain's nationwide lockdown must be maintained.

"Otherwise, this is what you are facing,” he said, pointing at the rows of beds.

In some places in Europe, officials began talking tentatively about how to lift lockdowns that have staved off the total collapse of the health systems but have also battered economies.

The deserted Maximiliansplatz is seen in the city center of Bamberg, Germany, shortly after midnight, early Saturday morning, March 21, 2020. (Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP)


But Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in her first video message after emerging from two weeks of quarantine at home, urged Germans to stay home over Easter, saying it would be irresponsible for her to set a date now for loosening restrictions that include a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

With forecast glorious spring weather likely to tempt stir-crazy families out of lockdown this weekend, the firm message across the continent remained: “Stay home.” Paris police set up roadblocks out of the city to stop those trying to escape for Easter vacation.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive last week, said in a video message on Twitter that he is feeling better but still has a fever and will remain in isolation.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause pneumonia. The World Health Organization said this week that 95% of the deaths in Europe were of people over 60.


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Coronavirus victim, 90, gave ventilator after saying 'keep this for the younger'

An elderly woman has died in Belgium after turning down a ventilator to give to a younger coronavirus patient.

Suzanne Hoylaerts, 90, from Binkom, near Lubbeek, is reported to have told doctors: ‘I don’t want to use artificial respiration. Save it for younger patients. I already had a good life.’

She went to hospital on March 20 after her condition deteriorated when she contracted Covid-19, suffering from a lack of appetite and shortness of breath. She tested positive for coronavirus and was put in isolation, meaning her daughter Judith could not visit. She died two days later on March 22.

Judith spoke to Dutch newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. She said: ‘I can’t say goodbye to her, and I don’t even have a chance to attend her funeral.’

She added that she did not know how her mother contracted the virus because she had stayed at home and complied with the lockdown measures.

There have been 705 deaths in Belgium after a jump of 200 fatalities yesterday. A 12-year-old girl in the country became Europe’s youngest victim to die from the disease.

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Deaths from the coronavirus spiked in Europe on Tuesday with Spain, France and Britain reporting their highest daily tolls to date, as field hospitals shot up across New York, the epicentre of the US outbreak bracing for dark times ahead.

With more than 40,000 killed by the disease barrelling around the globe, the United States, already home to the largest number of confirmed infections, hit a bleak milestone as its national death toll surpassed China’s.

In a matter of months, the virus has infected nearly 850,000 people in a crisis hammering the global economy and transforming the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people who have been told to stay home under lockdowns.

Deaths shot up again across Europe. While there are hopeful signs that the spread of infections is slowing in hardest-hit Italy and Spain, more than 800 died overnight in both countries.

France recorded a one-day record of 499 dead while Britain reported 381 coronavirus deaths.

With hospitals direly overstretched, lockdowns have been extended despite their crushing economic impact.

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