Barbie’s world: the normalisation of cosmetic surgery

If Barbie were a real woman, she wouldn’t be able to walk. Her enormous head would loll forward on her spindly neck, her tiny ankles would buckle under her elongated legs, and she would be forced to move about on all fours. In the upcoming Barbie film, Margot Robbie nails her character’s toothy smile and blonde bouffant, but even she cannot come close to imitating Barbie’s monstrous proportions. More adventurous imitators have tried. It’s rumoured that the so-called ‘Eastern Bloc Barbie’ – a 37-year-old Moldovan by the name of Valeria Lukyanova, one of several plastic surgery addicts dubbed ‘human Barbies’ – had ribs removed and her eyelids trimmed in her

Watch out Wimbledon: padel is taking over

For the past 15 years, I’ve had an entirely healthy compulsion – my wife, I suspect, would disagree – to play tennis at least twice a week. I assumed this habit was so ingrained that nothing short of a calamitous injury could ever keep me from my fix. Spain is where the craze took hold. Now it’s the country’s second most popular sport, after football I think I may have been mistaken. Recently, I’ve discovered a new sport which is proving, if anything, more addictive. Time will tell if this is a fleeting crush, or the start of something more enduring – but I am beginning to wonder whether my

How padel courts became hot property

Peloton has peaked and troughed, wild swimming has made its splash – and now, it seems, it’s padel’s turn for the prime spot. Said to be the world’s fastest-growing racket sport, the game – a hybrid of tennis and squash, with a dash of ping pong – is fun and sociable (it’s played in doubles) and has been adopted by around 25 million people worldwide. Easy to get good at quite quickly, it’s also apparently the ‘new golf’ among retired footballers – David Beckham is a fan.  ‘Padel has become an obsession in the shires… a padel court is the latest must-have in country houses’ Across the UK, any sports