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UK

January is really a month for the winter blues. Christmas is a hazy memory, you can't quite shake that cold that's been bothering you, and summer seems like an eternity away.

Why not escape for a weekend to see some of Europe's most incredible sights, and stay in the best Airbnb's you can find. Treat yo'self, gowan.

Luckily for you, we've curated a list of some of the continent's best apartment finds.

We've already booked our flights straight out of Dublin airport, ASAP….

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1. Zagreb, Croatia

This new stylish apartment is in the perfect location in the centre of the beautiful Zagreb, on Križanićeva street.

For a quiet and safe space which is still central, this is one of the best areas to stay in. Close to the main city square, central bus and train station, everything is easily within walking distance.

A modern, contemporary apartment with a monochromatic décor theme, yet still so comfortable, this apartment is perfect. It can host three guests, and has two beds and a bath. 

New stylish central apartment
Price: €37 per night

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is an incredible city to visit, the Old Town is stunning and has a huge amount of history, and most of the town is within walking distance.

It also is home to some of the best pub crawls in the world, just sayin'. This gorgeous boutique apartment has us DROOLING.

The spacious design, the window panels allowing light to stream in, we just need to stay here ASAP.

The boutique apartment is located in the Bohemian Zizkov district, packed with unreal cafés, bars, restaurants and bars with some amazing views of Prague.

3. Paris, France

We have found a sunny, cosy studio apartment LITERALLY just down the road from the Eiffel Tower. What more would you need?

The charming apartment is ideal for an escape to the Parisian life; it's both residential and family-oriented.

There are windows throughout the apartment to let in the French sun, and the location is absolutely perfect; the seventh district of Les Invalides

Just picture yourself having a coffee and croissant downstairs, looking out the window at the Parisian aesthetic. We can.

4. Berlin, Germany

A 'superhost' owns this GORGEOUS Berlin apartment, which can house four guests and his also an absolute bargain of an offer for what you're getting.

The apartment is a short walking distance away from some of Berlin's top spots, with restaurants, shops and bars surrounding the area.

The subway station is only a seven minute walk away, and the location is both safe and central. You'll be prancing around Alexanderplatz in no time…

Design apartment
Price: €34 per night

5. Barcelona, Spain

This spacious loft is on Airbnb Plus, and for a good reason.

The stunning studio apartment has an actual JETTED TUB. Be still my beating travel heart. The location is extremely central; with the city's main sights within walking distance.

The New York-style space has exposed brick walls, high ceilings of rustic Catalan wood and bold modern art.

Catch some rays on the balcony and make use of the space's incredible amenities.

Spacious loft
€70 per night

6. Rome, Italy

This 'superhost' certified apartment in the centre of one of Europe's most renowned cities is GOALS.

The apartment can house up to four guests, and is located on the first floor of a beautiful palatial residence just minutes from the Piazza Della Repubblica.

The studio home is freshly renovated, filled with light and more luxurious than our future. We LOVE.

7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This stunning Georgian apartment in Edinburgh's New Town is one of the best Airbnb's on the market.

The loft is a ground floor flat in the famous area, with absolutely every part of the city within walking distance. The apartment is spacious, has fantastic amenities such as a bath, and even an indoor fireplace for those cold January months.

The beautiful home as Wi-Fi, free parking down the road and houses two guests easily, with comfort being the essential promise. 

New Town apartment 
€54 per night

8. Vienna, Austria

This sunny apartment is extremely sought after, for it's dedication to space and light.

It can house four guests, and they can each experience the unique, warm decor of the apartment while being close to the most famous parts of Vienna.

The metro station at Ober-St. Veit is only a seven minute walk away, with the home featuring a spacious living room with a kitchen, one bedroom and a bathroom.

The terrace can be used in summer to soak in that European sun that we Irish can never seem to get.

Sunny apartment in Vienna
Price: €69 per night

9. Krakow, Poland

Poland is a great country to escape to, especially because of how affordable it is.

This chic loft apartment in central Krakow is only €18 PER NIGHT, we cannot believe how great it is.

Beautiful, modern studio for one or two people has air conditioning for the hot summer months, and is located on Bonerowska Street in Krakow city centre. 

The space is less than five minutes walking distance away from Krakow's main historical sights including main square, Wawel Castle, the Jewish Quarter and more.

Loft apartment
Price: €18 per night

10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The hosts don't call it the 'stairway to heaven' for no reason. Amsterdam is one of Europe's most interesting cities, with a huge amount to do and some immensely picturesque locations to visit.

Little loft apartments near the canals and boats are such a dream come true, and this luxury apartment with warm, modern décor is perfect for a weekend away with someone special.

The private trendy studio is built in the attic of an authentic 1880 Amsterdam house, and is located in the cool neighbourhood near the food hall and outdoor markets. I wouldn't book this if stairs aren't suitable for you, however, it's a steep climb up.

Stairway to Heaven
Price: €80

You all deserve a holiday, and January is the perfect time to escape the winter blues and catch the travel bug.

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It’s an incredibly frustrating aspect of reality that women and girls face constant public sexual harassment daily.

In Tuesday’s report written by MPs on the women and qualities committee in Britain, the issue has now been labelled “urgent” following a nine-month enquiry on the matter.

The report is insisting that the UK government take immediate and effective action to attempt to create a safer public environment for women.

From exercising in public parks and frequenting nightclubs or bars to simply utilising our city’s public transport, women can almost almost claim to have felt the burden of danger in communal spaces of our communities.

Experiences have more recently been shared of extensive experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and there are more accounts than ever of crimes being committed against women in public.

France has recently introduced a law against street harassment which results in on-the-spot fines for predatory comments and harassment such as sexualised remarks and wolf-whistling, after a woman was viciously attacked by a man for confronting him about his offensive behaviour towards her.

The committee has “heard evidence of widespread problems” of both men and boys “sexually harassing women and even girls on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces and at university, in parks and on the street.”

The subject of school uniforms was also mentioned in the report, written by cross-party MPs, testifying that girls in their school attires are pressurised to avoid risky situations which "keeps women and girls unequal".

Street harassment has been described in the document as “relentless and becomes ‘normalised’ as girls grow up, contributing to a wider negative cultural effect on society.”

The committee also sets out seven steps which they aim to take in the report, among them is the proposal to force train and bus operators and publican landlords to take tougher measures towards fighting sexual harassment on their premises.

It also requests a public information campaign which is specifically designed to change attitudes, akin to road safety campaigns and first aid programmes.

The British Home Office also states that they view the epidemic problem as a “key priority,” and are devising an updated “Violence against Women and Girls” strategy and scheme.

Writing on public pavements in chalk has become a new pacifistic method for women to fight back, to feel safe in their own cities.

Regardless of government promises to eliminate such prevalent behaviour entirely by 2030, the Women and Equalities Committee concludes negatively that there is currently "no evidence of any programme to achieve this".

Twitter users especially are expressing anger at how ‘obvious’ the headline is, and that there is not a single mention of men in the article, who are by-in-large the major perpetrators of sexual harassment. 

It remains to be seen whether improvements will take place which will finally allow women and girls to feel safe, but the reaction online to the BBC’s headline has been scathing.

Let's hope governments worldwide bring in sharp ways to tackle this highly concerning problem which is so engrained in our culture that many of us have become completely desensitised to it. Safety is a right, not a privilege.

Have a look at BBC’s 100 Women I know video on Street Harassment here:

The Bristol Zero Tolerance group has also written an informative guide on how to respond to street harassment, which you can read here.

Stay safe, gals.

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The results are in for the most Instagrammed food in the UK, and it’s not what you think.

Our Insta feeds are usually full of delectable burgers, homemade pasta, and gluten-free treats, but surprisingly, none of these made the cut.

 

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And even though basic bitches are constantly snapping the perfect angles of their overpriced eggs benedict smothered in hollandaise sauce beside their bottomless mimosas, brunch food did not make the top slot either.

 

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So what did?

Curry dishes were reported as the number one food to flood Instagram’s feed, according to data analysis done by Stay in Cornwall.

The delicious, Asian dish was followed by avocado, fish and chips, and Yorkshire pudding.

We were shocked that curry overtook avocado in the ranking, since the green fruit has been all the rage recently.

Avocado BLTs, avocado salads, avocado toast – even avocado ice cream has taken over the Internet, dominating millennials diets all over social media.

 

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Nevertheless, bowls of spicy Jalfrezi and Madras soaking over rice have won the popular Insta vote, with over double the amount of avocado pics posted this past year.

The rest of the photogenic foods ranked as followed:

  1. Curry – 551,701

  2. Avocado – 271,789

  3. Fish and chips – 63,856

  4. Yorkshire pudding – 51,556

  5. Cream tea – 45,189

  6. Sausage roll – 29,113

  7. Trifle – 11,359

  8. Chip butty – 9,121

  9. Cornish pasty – 6,393

  10. Beef Wellington – 2,432

There is undoubtedly some bang-on hangover foods here like fish and chips, sausage rolls, and chip butties.

 

When chip butties are life 

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For real though, if you come home locked after a sesh and don’t eat crisps or chips on buttered bread, then you’re not living your best life.

 

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It seems the UK’s current guilty pleasure is late-night, curry takeaways, and we wonder what it will be next year.

Perhaps avocado will take the lead, but until then keep calm and curry on.

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In a progressive and necessary step, the UK Government is pledging to support the criminalization of upskirting.

The act of taking a picture or video footage up a woman’s skirt without her consent or knowledge has been a grey area until recently. 

Gina Martin, who launched the campaign to make upskirting illegal after she was the victim of the heinous act, shared her delight on Twitter at the move: 

Gina previously shared her story on being a victim of upskirting earlier this year – telling This Morning how poorly the incident was dealt with by police. 

Gina was at a music event when a man stuck his phone under her skirt and snapped a picture. After grabbing his phone and reporting it, nothing was done. 

The image was deleted, and the police could not take action as it was not technically a graphic image as Gina was wearing underwear. 

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women's Aid, told The Independent: 'We welcome the Government taking decisive action to make upskirting a criminal offence.'

'This form of abuse is painful and humiliating for victims and often has a devastating impact on all aspects of their lives.'

Last year, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, informed her party that she is making it a criminal offence to photograph or film up a woman’s skirt without her express consent in Ireland.

The move coincided with the expansion of the definition of ‘revenge porn’ and seeks to deal more effectively with an act known as ‘upskirting’ in addition to the publication of voyeuristic material.

Commenting on the legislative change, an Tánaiste said: “It is important that we ensure our laws can deal effectively with phenomena such as so-called revenge pornography and the publication of voyeuristic material without consent, as recommended by the Law Reform Commission’s report.”

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An Irish man is due to appear in a UK court this morning charged with attempting to engage in sexual activity with a minor.

The man, who is an employee of RTÉ, was filmed by a vigilante group who say the lured him to Britain under the guise of a fake Facebook profile of a 13-year-old girl.

It's understood that the accused had planned to take the girl to a hotel on Saturday night before bringing her to a football match on Sunday.

According to reports, he was arrested by West Yorkshire Police in Leeds on Saturday after he was confronted by a group of people on the street.

He was detained and questioned throughout the night and all day yesterday.

RTÉ said in a statement it was aware of the matter, which is being dealt with by the police in Leeds.

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Two tourists, who were visiting the Irish capital from the UK over the weekend, were hospitalised after falling victim to an unprovoked attack in the city centre.

According to reports, the two individuals, who are aged 36 and 38, were walking on Blessington Street in Dublin 7 at approximately 1am yesterday when the incident occurred.

The men, who were visiting Dublin on a stag weekend, fell into conversation with a man in his 30s who then carried out the unprovoked attack.

Both men suffered stab wounds to their stomachs and were transferred to  the nearby Mater Hospital where their injuries are said to be not life-threatening.

A motive for the attack has yet to be established as neither victim was robbed by their assailant.

Commenting on the attack, Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha, said "It was an appalling attack and of grave concern that something like this could happen."

A Garda investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

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An investigation had been launched after an 18-month-old baby fell to his death from the sixth-floor of an apartment block in the UK yesterday evening.

The mother of the baby boy, 23, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Officers and emergency services were called to the scene on Barkenend Road, Bradford at around 5.10pm yesterday following reports that a child has suffered life-threatening injuries.

However, shortly arrived they arrived it became apparent that the 18-month-old had died as a result of the fall.

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is clearly an extremely traumatic incident and specially trained officers are working to support the child's family members and those who witnessed what took place.”

He went on to say how those who witnessed the incident had been “deeply traumatised by what they saw.”

“A 23-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the baby's fall and she is currently receiving medical assessment in custody,” he added.

Officers have said they are not pursuing any other suspects at this time, though they have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

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If you're a theme park addict and regularly lament the fact that Ireland is somewhat lacking in that department, then you'll be pleased to hear that a theme park set to rival Disneyland will soon be only a short flight away.

That's right ladies, the UK is preparing for the arrival a giant theme park which is reported to feature rides, rollercoasters, a theatre, retail and food outlets as well as hotels and a nightclub.

Dartford in Kent is set to home the £3.5 billion Paramount Entertainment Resort, and despite the fact that Paramount is no longer working with London Resort Company Holdings, LRCH has confirmed they will be pushing on with the project.

"We want to express our sincere thanks to the many members of the Paramount team who have worked with us since we took over the Project in August 2013," said Humphrey Percy, CEO of LRCH.

After confirming they will be liasing with local authorities and stakeholders, Percy said they will be providing the public with an insight into their plan at the final stage of the consultation later this year.

"We are creating a unique entertainment destination offering a scale and quality unprecedented in the UK where much loved characters and stories will be brought to life from iconic movies, television, books, electronic gaming and toys," he explained.

According to The Independent, work on the park is set to begin in 2019 following government approval, and is expected to pull in 40,000 visitors a day.

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Freedom of movement of labour between the United Kingdom and the European Union will end in the spring of 2019, UK immigration minister, Brandon Lewis said this morning.

A new immigration system will be put in place by March 2019, though the details of this are not yet known.

The news comes as the government commissioned a “detailed assessment” of the costs and benefits of EU migrants.

The report is due to be completed in September 2018, six months before the UK's proposed exit date.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary, Amber Rudd insisted Britain would remain open to skilled workers from the EU after Brexit, insisting she wanted the “brightest and best” to know they could still choose to live and work in Britain after the new immigration laws are put in place.

She told The Financial Times: "Once we have left the EU, this government will apply its own immigration rules and requirements that will meet the needs of UK businesses, but also of wider society.”

"I also want to reassure businesses and EU nationals that we will ensure there is no 'cliff edge' once we leave the bloc."

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Gin lovers, listen up, because one very delightful-sounding gin has just been crowned the Best Gin in the UK.

Brighton Gin, handmade in (you guessed it) Brighton, has been given the esteemed accolade, and now we're gasping to get our hands on a bottle. 

The gin received the grand title at The People's Drinks Awards, where the public blind tasted numerous gins and chose the most delicious.

'Brighton is such a creative, pioneering, free-thinking place, with a long-standing heritage of invention and pleasure seeking and a cast of notorious, mould-breaking characters throughout its history,' founder of Brighton Gin, Kathy Caton told Cosmo.

'With Brighton Gin, we wanted to create the absolute top quality spirit this city deserves and we’re ecstatic that people across the UK have voted us as the country’s best gin.'

 

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Brighton Gin is made with 100% British organic wheat spirit, which we re-distill with juniper, fresh orange and lime peel, locally-grown coriander seed and milk thistle. Yum.

The gin is hand crafted in Brighton (duh) but there are more than a few online stockists who can deliver the smooth beverage straight to your door if you don't happen to be visiting the UK anytime soon.

Harvey Nichols, The Gin Box Shop, Vineyards Direct, Gin Festival, the Gin Kiosk, Craft Gins and Gin Parlour all stock the strong stuff, and you can even get it on Amazon.

We'll be waiting for our package in the mail like…

Image result for waiting

Feature image: Instagram 

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An investigation by the BBC has uncovered how vulnerable people are resorting to paying for a place to stay with sex.

The publication found numerous adverts online offering free rent in exchange for "services" and "company."

Sites such as Craigslist and Gumtree were found to have such deals, stating that "money is not an issue," but it will be a "mutual benefits arrangement" instead.

An ad for a room in Hull in the UK said: “Money is not an issue, I would prefer some company. There are some stipulations to the living arrangements which we would need to discuss directly.

“This would be a mutual benefits arrangement. Free rent, paid in other methods. Please contact me for more details."

However, other adverts come across more sinister, with one offering: "You agree [to] a couple of times a week, pop into my room sort of thing, " while another says, "I was thinking once a week, something like that, I'm happy as long as there's sex involved."

The investigation was launched after Centrepoint conducted a survey with 403 homeless people. The charity found that 25 per cent of those asked admitted to staying with a stranger.

One student told the BBC that she felt a "sex-for-rent" arrangement was her only option.

Full Frame Shot of Residential Building

"He took me into his living room, got me drinks, and then after that it was just straight upstairs and go for it.

"He would do what he wanted to do, forcefully, and I just sort of went along with it – after the third time, I started feeling physically unwell."

However, as awful as this is, it falls into a loophole where it's completely legal in the UK.

Andrew Wallis, of anti-slavery charity Unseen, said: "I think these adverts go as close to the edge of the law that they possibly can without breaking the law.

"They would argue that they have chosen voluntarily to enter that situation."

Have you ever come across this in Ireland? The Centrepoint charity warned that the issued is widespread in the UK.

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There has been considerable backlash in the UK this week following the introduction of tax regulations which require women to prove they were raped in order to receive child benefits.

The new regulation limits tax credits to the first two children unless the child was the result of a rape.

The policy has been widely condemned, with UK MP Alison Thewliss saying: "From today women will need to prove that their child was conceived as a result of rape – just in order to claim tax credits."

"It is one of the most appalling, disgraceful and demeaning policies ever to emanate from Whitehall and should never have seen the light of day, let alone the statute books."

Women who wish to seek tax relief are obliged to complete a form which explains that 'eligible women' must 'provide evidence of a conviction for rape or controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship, where this relates to the conception of your child.'

Unsurprisingly, social media has been awash with posts protesting the move, with members of the public highlighting the devastating impact the requirement is likely to have on a mother and rape survivor.

 

 

 

 

 

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