The weekend from hell: an ill-fated trip to KL

Kuala Lumpur: It was supposed to be a quick, quiet weekend away.

Two nights in Kuala Lumpur, travelling light and a couple of days' relief from Jakarta's choking pollution.

What could possibly go wrong?

I booked our KL flights (deliberately not buying checked luggage), the hotel, made some appointments with people I had needed to see in the Malaysian capital for months and announced to Karen we were going.

Malaysia’s Petronas towers are one of the city’s many attractions we didn’t get to admire during our ill-fated weekend away.Credit:iStockphoto

"It'll be easy," I said airily, "trust me."

"Ok," was my wife Karen's guarded, single-word response.

Back when we had had just one baby girl, it actually was easy to pick up and go somewhere for the weekend.

To say that adding 14-month-old twins to the mix had complicated travelling a little bit – by car, train or plane – was like saying that building the 3803 piece Lego Death Star is a little bit tougher without the instruction manual.

But I was determined to make a statement: would could do this, instruction manual be damned.

…once released from pram captivity, toddler twins, like two ends of a magnet, will push (run) in exactly the opposite direction.

In my mind, I was already cleverly compiling a list of all the places I'd wanted to take Karen and the kids, scheduling these in around meetings I had with some political offices and ambassadors.

Our problems began when we landed in Kuala Lumpur.

The budget airline had lost the twins' stroller.

Given the stroller was approximately the size of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, we were confused.

It's a little known fact that once released from pram captivity, toddler twins, like two ends of a magnet, will push (run) in exactly the opposite direction. Airport baggage collection carousels provide plenty of room for marauding, but little room for nappy changes or naps for tired twins.

"But how did you lose it? And where is it now?" I implored the 'customer service' staff.

One person said that it had not made the flight.

A second said it had made the plane but was in a different part of the airport terminal. She wasn't sure where.

The third staff member said it would arrive through over-sized baggage "any minute now".

After 180 "any minutes", we gave up and took a taxi to our hotel. I would be late for a meeting if we waited any longer. I turned around and promised Karen I would be back in an hour.

An hour and a half later, I got a message from my wife: "Are you far away? I need some help".

The twins were asleep within minuted of arrival at the city’s bird park.Credit:James Massola

Now, my wife is nothing if not cool, calm and collected. She's an accomplished journalist who has travelled the world and takes things in her stride.

This message was the Karen-equivalent of "EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE".

I high-tailed it back to the hotel.

The first thing I noticed was the pram had finally arrived. The second was that all three kids were screeeaaammming.

The third was that one son had no singlet on, my daughter had no pants on and Karen was holding the other boy very, very tightly.

"Everything was fine until about 20 minutes ago," Karen began. She explained one of the twins had vomited up his dinner. While she was cleaning him up, my daughter wet her pants [she was newly post-nappy].

Then, the other twin ran into the bathroom and jammed his toe under the door. Karen was still holding him and he was whimpering.

Did he bump his head?

"Not exactly. Can you have a look at this left big toenail, please?"

I reached for his left ankle and the howling started again. The nail was hanging by a thread and bleeding badly.

We rapidly administered Nurofen and then called the front desk to get a doctor sent over. Two hours crawled past and we gave him some Panadol.

Eventually, a doctor arrived. He took one look at the nail and declared "That has to come off". But we'd have to bring him to the surgery Saturday morning.

The doctor re-bandaged his foot and left, leaving Panadol, Nurofen, and a hefty call-out fee.

The next day passed in slow motion. I spent hours in the narrow corridor of the doctor's surgery, waiting with my injured son while Karen tried to corral the other two in the hotel room, trapped inside by pouring rain.

Eventually, the deed was done (with much squealing) and the toe was bandaged up again and I figuratively limped back to the hotel with my son.

The weekend was just about a complete write-off, though we did manage a quick visit to the bird park in the centre of the city.

Both boys, of course, passed out asleep within 20 minutes of our arrival to see the 'birdies'.

There was one final treat in store.

While I settled the twins down to sleep that Saturday night, I insisted Karen take a bath in the beautiful tub in the hotel room.

After a while, I noticed my nappy-free daughter had gone unusually quiet while watching the iPad. Just as I looked over, a voice piped up.

"Papa, I've done poo poo. But, it's ok!"

As we limped back to the airport on Sunday morning, I tallied the carnage in my mind.

Several arguments, four work meetings, three appointments with a doctor, two nappy accidents, one explosive vomit, one serious injury and most importantly, one lesson (re)learned: always listen to my sagacious wife.

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35 Times Millie Bobby Brown's Instagram Reminded Us She's Just Really Cool

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look what u made me do 💋

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When She Did Something Bad With Taylor Swift

While she may be known as the infamous, tough, nose-bleeding Eleven on Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown is really just out there trying to live her best life — her best life happens to include Taylor Swift, designer clothing, and trips around the world. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you’re missing out: it’s where she takes us behind the curtain to remind us that at the end of the day, she’s just like us, but you know, famous. Take a look to see her greatest Instagrams with Ed Sheeran, Drake, and her Netflix costars.




































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Innovative Scores Elevated the Year’s Documentaries

It’s next to impossible for a documentary score to be Oscar-nominated alongside the dozens of fictional narratives entered each year. But it did happen, just once: In 1975, composer Gerald Fried was nominated for his music for “Birds Do It, Bees Do It,” a documentary on the mating habits of animals.

Fried, now 91, perhaps best-known for his Emmy-winning score for “Roots,” recalls his surprise at the nomination. He believes that his fresh use of the relatively new synthesizer sounds, along with more traditional orchestra, was probably the reason his colleagues noticed and approved.

No doc score before or since has been nominated. Yet music for documentaries is being taken more seriously than ever before, going by the number of award-season screenings and even live-to-picture concert performances.

“Documentary films have really come of age cinematically,” says composer Jeff Beal, who will conduct his score for “The Biggest Little Farm” on Dec. 4 at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater, perhaps the most prominent showcase for a doc score this season.

The film chronicles the eight-year odyssey of a California couple realizing their dream of creating a farm that operates in complete harmony with nature, a more challenging process than they could have ever imagined.

“It’s a small film with big emotions, and a very universal, spiritual and beautiful message,” says Beal, a multiple Emmy-winner whose other documentaries include “Blackfish” and “Boston.” His own family roots reach back to farmers in Idaho, and he felt that this “celebration of rural life” demanded a Copland-esque, orchestral Americana sound liberally flavored with guitar, banjo and harmonica.

Beal added a bass flute for a beloved pig, plus tuba and accordion for her piglets, “There’s a lot of lighthearted fun that plays to young people,” he points out, “so I felt that doing a little ‘Peter and the Wolf’ coloring was appropriate.”

British composer Alex Heffes spent five months writing 94 minutes of music for “The Elephant Queen,” about a matriarchal pachyderm that leads her herd across the African savannah in search of water. “There’s a lot of emotion,” says Heffes. “The music is doing a lot of the heavy lifting of the storytelling, so in that sense it’s like doing any regular movie.”

Heffes employed African percussion (notably a huge marimba played by two musicians) and African vocals, but the majority of music was played by a conventional orchestra. “The directors wanted the audience to fall in love with these creatures, to connect on an emotional level,” he says, and they found the financial means to pay for a 75-piece London orchestra.

Heffes even visited the filmmakers on location in Kenya, and it influenced his later composition process. “When you see elephants on film, they seem quite lumbering, but they’re incredibly quiet, stately and graceful on their feet.” So his music for Athena, the title character, is “lyrical and melodic and flowing.

“About halfway through the movie it stops becoming just a nature documentary and you’re just following a family story,” says Heffes, whose other African-themed scores include “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and “Queen of Katwe.” “They wanted the music to take you on that journey.”

Not every doc needs an orchestra, however. For “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” about the renowned author (who died in August), composer Kathryn Bostic used a jazz quartet.

“She’s such a force, so self-aware, she always knew that she had this incredible capacity to create with words,” the composer notes. “So I wanted to elevate that with a kind of music that didn’t have a particular, traditional constraint.”

Bostic decided to give her filmmakers “a menu of different elements that, to me, would enhance the storytelling. So I chose the moodiness and the sassiness of the blues. The jazz element was also part of that, giving it a vernacular that would not be traditional, because she’s not a traditional writer.”

Although the composer re-read much of Morrison’s work in preparation for composing, the film’s animated opening sequence also proved inspiring. “There was something about the way that [animation] was put together that tuned me into the rhythm and spirit and force of Toni Morrison,” she says. “So it pretty much wrote itself once I got that. It was like an endless feast of sonic opportunity.”

Bostic added wordless vocals throughout the film and capped it with a song, “High Above the Water,” inspired by both the author’s waterfront home and by her evocative description of “African angels flying back home.”

The most unique-sounding doc score of the year may have been for “Apollo 11,” the chronicle of the 1969 moon landing and the culmination of the U.S.-Soviet space race of the 1960s. Ohio composer Matt Morton recalls director Todd Douglas Miller’s initial skepticism about creating a score “using only 1969 or earlier instruments. I think he thought I was a little off my rocker,” the composer says.

Because “the Apollo program was the cutting edge of science and technology” at the time, Morton decided to match the footage with its musical equivalent: The Moog IIIc synthesizer, a Mellotron, the Hammond organ, period drum machines and two 1960s devices to mechanically create echo (the Binson Echorec and Echoplex units). For orchestral sounds, he turned to more contemporary sampling processes.

“I wanted to underscore not only the danger, and take viewers on a ride, but also underscore the importance of what actually happened — not just one of the greatest human achievements, but one of the most significant evolutionary steps of life on Earth,” he says.

Morton was literally a one-man band, composing, orchestrating, performing, recording and mixing every note of the score. “I didn’t want to use a bunch of sci-fi sounds, anything that would be distracting,” he says. “So it took a lot of experimentation. There’s a couple of years’ worth of synth experiments. It was a technological challenge.”

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Embrace your inner James Bond with killer High Street outfits inspired by Daniel Craig’s 007 – The Sun

No Time To Die looks epic – but Daniel Craig’s wardrobe does not.

He is seen in a not so suave ribbed navy jumper and trousers fit for a plumber – not 007’s usual stylish clobber.

Despite Bond’s bad dress sense, it seems men around the country have finally found their fashion mojo.

The average bloke now spends up to 15 days a year visiting shops and browsing online for clothes.

With that in mind, we’ve re-styled Bond’s shoddy outfit and show how to recreate four other classic looks from Daniel Craig’s reign as 007.

With these tips you can get your wardrobe shaken and stirred just in time for Christmas.

Cool 'n' casual

  • White high-collar top, £15 from Topman – buy now
  • Navy knit jumper, £35 from Topman – buy now
  • Trousers, £29.50 from M&S – buy now
  • Brown lace-up boots, £85 from Office – buy now

Dressed down

  • Beige chinos, £28 from River Island – buy now
  • White T-shirt, £15 from M&S – buy now
  • Navy cardigan, £12 from Primark – buy now
  • Brown suede boots, £59 from Office – buy now

Eye spy grey suit

  • Grey jacket, £65 from Topman – buy now
  • Grey trousers, £35 from Topman – buy now
  • White shirt, £26 from Burton – buy now
  • Navy tie, £2.50 from Primark – buy now
  • Black sunglasses, £5.99 from New Look – buy now
  • Black brogues, £69 from Office – buy now

Tuxedo or die

  • Black tux jacket, £65 from Topman – buy now
  • Black trousers, £35 from Topman – buy now
  • White tux shirt, £40 from River Island – buy now
  • Shoes, £40 from River Island – buy now
  • Bow tie, £15 from M&S – buy now

Tinker tailor

  • Navy pinstripe trousers, £40 from River Island – buy now
  • Navy pinstripe waistcoat, £40 from River Island – buy now
  • Navy pinstripe jacket, £90 from River Island – buy now
  • Shoes, £40 from River Island – buy now
  • Blue shirt, £20 from Burton – buy now
  • Tie, £10 from Burton – buy now

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Kimora Lee Simmons and Her Daughters Relaunch Baby Phat — See the Teens Model in the First New Campaign

The new era of Baby Phat is officially here.

Kimora Lee Simmons Leissner’s iconic early-2000s brand Baby Phat — which she founded with then-husband Russell Simmons in 1999 — relaunched Friday on babyphat.com with 16 totally nostalgic pieces, including velour tracksuits and bedazzled tank tops, ranging from $80 to $300.

The former model’s teenage daughters, Aoki Lee, 17, and Ming Lee, 19, (whom she shares with Simmons) star in the very on-brand campaign images that feature updated versions of your favorite ’00s trends.

In the photos, the Simmons sisters sport the new holiday collection while decked out in throwback accessories (like flip phones!) and pose with kittens (a nod to the brand’s iconic cat logo).

The sports-themed first drop pays homage to the hip-hop inspired styles that put the brand on the map 20 years ago and we’re 100 percent here for it. According to a press release, Baby Phat will following in the footsteps of other successful streetwear brands by releasing new products on a continuous basis, with the second launch happening later this month.



Baby Phat originally launched as a subsidiary of Simmons’ Phat Fashions line, and thanks to signature pieces (like its baby tees featuring the Baby Phat rhinestone cat) and major celebrity endorsements (from Britney Spears, Alicia Keys and more) it became a hugely successful line.

However, Simmons Leissner exited from her long-held role as Creative Director in 2010, tumultuously, it had been reported at the time, as it became a part of the Kellwood Company.

All that is in the past now.

Simmons Leissner announced the exciting relaunch in March, revealing that her daughters would be along for the ride this time around.

“Here we are again, 20 years later in 2019, and now [my daughters] are with me taking the reigns,” she told PEOPLE at the time. “This is a woman-owned company, run by me and my daughters. I’ve been in fashion for 30 years. But now it’s about passing the torch from one to the next.”


And Ming Lee and Aoki Lee are both ready to give their input to revive the iconic line.

“Aoki and I grew up walking the runway at the close of our mom’s New York Fashion Week shows,” Ming Lee said in a statement. “We’ve spent so much of our lives with this brand – it’s so cool to bring a fresh approach and to be able to create something for how women and girls dress today. Athleisure got too basic – style got diluted – this is about refreshing the streetwear our mom invented.”

Aoki Lee, who got accepted in Harvard earlier this year, is also excited to see where they can take the brand now that social media is at play.

“From the first day we announced that there was a Baby Phat relaunch in the works [in March], we have had women clamoring for new tracksuits via comments and DMs on Instagram – or begging us to restock our capsule collab,” she said in a statement. “There’s so much passion – we take all the feedback to heart. We get to interact with Baby Phat fans in a way the brand never got to do before.”

In June, Baby Phat surprised fans by dropping a capsule collaboration with fast fashion retailer Forever 21, which sold out in 24 hours.

So if that’s any indication, the new styles that launched Friday at babyphat.com are bound to go fast!

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Lea Michele's Holiday Tradition Will Warm Your Heart (& Your Stomach!)

(CREDIT YU TSAI)

‘Tis the season to celebrate like Lea Michele!

With the holidays officially underway, the actress and singer is busy preparing for a fun-filled month with her nearest and dearest loved ones. E! News caught up with Michele about her many Christmas traditions, and let’s just say they might inspire you to start some of your own!

The Same Time, Next Christmas star said she looks forward to spending plenty of time in the kitchen whipping up her go-to recipe. “I love making a hearty vegetable soup with potatoes and tons of veggies,” Lea shared. “Something yummy to have on a cold winter day. Everyone always loves it!”

And speaking of staying warm on the chilliest days, the 33-year-old is extra keen on cuddling up with a hot toddy. Lea called it her favorite holiday cocktail and says she makes hers with hot water, whiskey, honey, lemon and sometimes includes a dash of cinnamon! 

Lea has so much to be thankful for this year, especially in light of the release of her first-ever holiday album Christmas in the City, but nothing warms her heart more than some well-deserved R&R with her family. 

At the top of her holiday to-do list is to watch The Family Stone starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Dermot Mulroney. “It’s our favorite holiday film!” she dished. 

And after enjoying the classic holiday flick, there’s no doubt she’ll rock out to Christmas in the City. Though she admits it’s “so hard” to pick her absolute favorite track from the successful project, Lea told us she can’t get enough of “Christmas in New York City” because, “I wrote it and it’s my love letter to my hometown NYC.” 

Happy holidays, Lea!

Watch the 2019: What E! Year end-of-year special Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 10 p.m.! E! News returns Monday morning, Jan. 6 at 7 a.m.!

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Jersey Shore Cast Was 'Surprised' by Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi's Retirement Announcement: Source

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi took fans by surprise when she announced that she was retiring from Jersey Shore: Family Vacation — and, according to a source, she surprised her costars as well.

“Production knew that she had been thinking about this so they were not surprised,” the source tells PEOPLE. “The most surprised are the cast, but I think they all understand that she is just exhausted and wants to try and do something on her own. I think she just is probably burned out.”

Polizzi, 32, made the announcement on Friday’s episode of her podcast It’s Happening with Snooki & Joey, acknowledging that being away from her kids while filming was “really, really hard.” She also said the show was “getting so dramatic” and that she didn’t like how she was being portrayed.

“The roomies disagreed with some of her sentiments,” says the source. “How can you go on a podcast and complain that there’s drama when this is a reality show? If there wasn’t drama, it wouldn’t air.”

Still, according to the source, Polizzi might not be putting her Jersey Shore days behind her for good.

“Everybody is saying she’ll be back after she takes a step back for a little,” the source says.

On her podcast, Polizzi explained that while she “can’t believe [she’s] saying this,” her choice to step away from the MTV show, which originally premiered in 2009, is “what is best for [her] at the moment.”

“I love you so much, and don’t hate me for my decision,” she said. “I am retiring from Jersey Shore. I am not coming back to Jersey Shore for season 4 if there is one.”

“The main reason is really … I just can’t do it anymore,” continued Polizzi, who shares daughter Giovanna Marie, 5, and sons Lorenzo Dominic, 7 and Angelo James, 6 months, with husband Jionni LaValle. “Literally, leaving my kids to film it is really, really hard on me.”

“I try and quit every single day,” she admitted. “I quit every time we film because I just hate being away from the kids. I don’t like partying three days in a row. It’s just not my life anymore. I want to be home with the kids. I don’t mind here and there going to a dinner or whatever, but it’s just really hard for me to leave the kids and film the show.”

Continuing, she explained that lately, the reality series has been “very drama” and “so serious.”

“For me, I don’t want that and I’m not leaving my kids days on end to film this show when that’s the result of it,” she said. “I just don’t like the turnout of it and I don’t like the person I’m being portrayed as. This is getting a little too much. At 32 years old and with three kids, if I’m doing a reality show I just want it to be fun and light-hearted, and lately, it’s not like that.”

That said, Polizzi insisted this would not be the end of her time on reality TV. “I’m not saying goodbye,” she said. “I just need to move on from the show because I don’t like the direction it’s going in when it comes to the drama and the cattiness.”

MTV has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The cast has not publicly addressed Polizzi’s announcement, but her costar and bestie Jenni “JWoww” Farley alluded to it on her Instagram Story with a photo from the show of the two hugging.

“Til the end…#rideordie,” she wrote.

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Olivia Culpo Showcases Her Stunning Figure In Totally Sheer & Sparking Holiday Dress Over Lingerie – Pic

Winter may be around the corner, but Olivia Culpo is bringing the heat! The brunette stunned in a barely-there outfit as she attended a lavish soiree at the Miami Art Basel!

Olivia Culpo‘s latest look leaves little to the imagination! The 27-year-old looked gorgeous in a totally sheer nude dress by contemporary designer Reve Riche as she stepped out to the ARTNews in Miami, Florida on Thursday, Dec. 5! The sexy turtlenecked number was adorned with sparkly sequins, as she showed off her nude bra, high-waisted panty and incredibly toned tummy underneath. Olivia complimented her whimsical dress with the sky-high Follies Strass crystal mesh pump by Christian Louboutin and a metallic clutch by Jimmy Choo, perfect for a glam night out in the Magic City!

Her beauty was totally on point, too, as she opted for a metallic look to pick up on the sparkles in her dress, shoes and clutch. Rocking a bronzed smokey eye, Olivia’s highlighter glowed at all the right angles as she opted for a darker nude gloss reminiscent of some of Kim Kardashian‘s recent makeup looks! Keeping things neutral, the model opted for a nude manicure as her legs glistened with a golden body highlighter. Olivia completed her look with a chic high ponytail, perfect for a holiday party.

The former Miss Universe winner documented her night out on Instagram, as she was apparently stuck in traffic heading to the party — which was one of many happening over the glamorous three-day basel. “Sir, can you unlock the window? she could he seen asking. “Party in Miami!!! Woooooo!” she then screamed outside a car window to pedestrians on the street. “Said no one ever,” Olivia hilariously wrote over the video, proving her sense of humor is alive and well.

Hello Miami! @reveriche @fwrd @sonjamchristensen

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Upon arriving to the glam W Hotel South Beach, Olivia was seen posing for photos by the pool and later shared a set of gorgeous event pics to her Instagram captioned, “Hello Miami!” At the dinner, the Maxim cover star could be seen hanging with actress Rosario Dawson, while music producer’s Swizz Beatz and DJ Cassidy could also be seen making the rounds!

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Jenna Jameson Says She Regained 20 Lbs. After Break From Keto Diet: ‘The Weight Came Back Fast’

Jenna Jameson had a ‘confession’ to make to her fans and followers, revealing that she quickly gained back some of the weight she had lost after going off her Keto diet.

Jenna Jamson, 45, revealed on her Instagram page on Dec. 5 that she experienced a 20 pound weight gain after she went off her Keto diet. The former adult film star took to her social media account to air the revelation. “Confession,” Jenna started the caption to her post. “I’ve gained 20 pounds. Ugh,” she lamented. “I decided to take a break from #keto and live my best carby life. The weight came back fast and furious,” she revealed. But, as she usually does, Jenna took her thoughts to her fans and inquired about their own experiences.

Jenna continued her caption, saying, “I know a lot of people are quitting keto because it’s hard to maintain and after a year and a half I concur. Not sure if I’m going to go back full force or just calorie count. What are your thoughts? Love you guys!” Naturally, a slew of her fans left their own stories in the comments section, with one revealing, “I really enjoy keto. I take Saturdays off and when I vacation. I normally go right back to keto after vacation and Saturdays and so far it’s worked for me. You’ll find what works for you. I still calorie count when I do keto it’s just that I feel fuller longer.”

Just as the weight quickly came back, Jenna’s results from the one-year anniversary of her diet were clear to see. Jenna celebrated her achievement on May 2 with a set of before and after pics that flaunted her jaw-dropping, 80 pound weight loss. “Today I celebrate 1 year of being #keto I have absolutely never felt better! Combining #sobriety, the keto lifestyle and intermittent fasting is the perfect trifecta for me when it comes to a healthy sustainable fitness journey. Thanks everyone for supporting me and joining me in my quest for ultimate health!!! Love you!” she captioned the post.

#transformationtuesday 👏🏻 I’ve finally gotten the hang of health. I have found my perfect weight. I had dropped down to 120 and I felt a little off. So I added back calories, but stayed #keto and I’m back up to 125. This feels like my body is running optimally. You can see in these pics most of the change is in my waist… I still have nice muscle in my legs. The point to this post is how the #ketodiet is easily manipulated to serve you! Your body runs beautifully while in ketosis, but if you want to maintain or even add weight, it’s absolutely easy just by adjusting your caloric intake. While in weight loss mode, caloric deficit is paramount! #beforeandafter #ketolifestyle #intermittentfasting #beforeandafterweightloss #gettingfit #fitmom #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #fitnessmotivation

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Confession. I’ve gained 20 pounds. Ugh. I decided to take a break from #keto and live my best carby life. The weight came back fast and furious. I know a lot of people are quitting keto because it’s hard to maintain and after a year and a half I concur. Not sure if I’m going to go back full force or just calorie count. What are your thoughts? Love you guys!

A post shared by Jenna Jameson (@jennacantlose) on

Throughout her dramatic transformation, Jenna has been incredibly open about the successes and fallbacks of her dieting. As Jenna enjoys a bit of a break from her intense Keto diet, fans love to see her reaching out and connecting with their own stories trying out the health craze. We cannot wait to see her next update as we follow her journey!

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Tory candidate says those with learning problems should be paid less

Anger as Tory candidate claims people with learning difficulties should be paid less as they ‘don’t understand money’ during election hustings

  • Sally-Ann Hart, candidate for Hastings and Rye, made statement at a hustings
  • Disability equality charity Scope branded her comments ‘inexcusable’
  • Ms Hart was met with jeers and heckles from the audience as she spoke

A Conservative party candidate has been heckled at a hustings after claiming people with learning difficulties should be paid less than the minimum wage.

Sally-Ann Hart, who is standing in Hastings and Rye, was accused of making ‘inexcusable’ claims that ‘should be consigned to history’ after also alleging that those with learning disabilities ‘don’t understand money’. 

The shocking statement came after she was asked about an article from 2017, which focused on pay for people with Down’s Syndrome, autism and other conditions, that she had shared on social media.

Sally Ann Heart, conservative candidate for our constituency, has just defended her view that disabled people / those with learning disabilities should be paid LESS than others. Absolutely disgusting. The response from the audience was not welcoming of that idea….

Sally-Ann Hart, Conservative candidate for Hastings and Rye, told a hustings event that disabled people should be paid less than the minimum wage

Speaking at the hustings Ms Hart, who has been a councillor for Rother District council for four years, said the article is ‘about people with learning difficulties being given the opportunity to work because it’s to do with the happiness they have about working’.

‘Some people with learning difficulties, they don’t understand money. 

‘It is about having a therapeutic exemption and the article is in support of people with learning disabilities.’

Her comments were met with an eruption of boos and jeers from the audience, as people shouted ‘shameful’ and ‘rubbish’.

A member of the audience can also be heard shouting: ‘I’m autistic and I want to get paid for the work I do!’

And another can be heard yellling: ‘We deserve the same rights as everybody else!’ 


Her comments were met with boos and jeers from the crowd as audience members shouted ‘unbelievable’. She made the comments after being asked about a 2017 Spectator article that she shared on social media

Disability equality charity Scope branded her comments ‘outdated, inexcusable and should be consigned to history’.

The charity’s head of policy, campaigns and public affairs, James Taylor, told The Metro: ‘Disabled people should be paid equally for the work that they do. 

‘There are a million disabled people who want to work, but are denied the opportunity.

‘We need urgent action from the next Government to make sure disabled people can get into work, stay in work and thrive in work.’

And learning disability charity Mencap’s campaigns support officer Ciara Lawrence said that people with a disability, like herself, ‘can work and can make really fantastic employees with the right support’.

‘We have a right to be treated and paid equally – it’s the law’, she said.

‘I’m proof that with the right support people with a learning disability can make some of the best and most committed employees.’

It is understood that Ms Hart was formerly a governor at Ark Hastings Primary Academies, which supports children with learning disabilities and special educational needs, for six years.

The article, published by The Spectator in 2017 was written by Rosa Monckton, who has a daughter with Downs Syndrome. 

The Conservative’s hold the constituency, Amber Rudd’s former seat, by a hair’s breadth of 300 votes. 

In a statement uploaded to social media, Ms Hart said: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, I was trying to emphasise that more needs to be done to help those with learning disabilities into the workplace and having properly paid work. 

‘I did not say anyone should be paid less.’ 

‘My comments have been taken out of context, but I do apologise if any offence or alarm has been caused. 

‘The number of disabled people in work has hit a record high under this government, and I am committed to doing more to supporting those with learning disabilities into good, secure jobs.’ 

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