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Jim Carrey becomes a granddad at 47 after daughter Jane gives birth to a baby boy

Sunday, February 28, 2010
By Emily Sheridan

Third generation: Jim Carrey's daughter Jane has given birth to her first child

Hollywood funnyman Jim Carrey has become a grandfather at the relatively young age of 47.

The actor's 22-year-old daughter Jane gave birth to son Jackson Riley Santana in a Los Angeles hospital yesterday.

The proud granddad posted a photo of the newborn on his Twitter micro-blogging page.
The baby weighed in at a healthy 7lbs, 11ozs and mother and baby are said to be doing well.

Excited granddad Jim wrote: 'Jackson Riley Santana, My Grandson, Born today! This is what 7lbs.11oz. of California dynamite looks like!'

Jim's girlfriend Jenny McCarthy has dubbed herself an honorary grandmother.

She wrote on her Twitter: 'Yes, I'm a grandma! Beautiful healthy baby boy. Dr jay Gordon is the paediatrician. Thank god! Jackson is in great hands.'

Baby Jackson is the first child for Jane and her husband Alex Santana, who married last November.

Ahead of the birth, Jane said she was relieved she was having a boy because she has always felt more comfortable around males.

She told People magazine: 'I’m excited about it because I never really got along with girls growing up.

'I was a little afraid that if it was a girl that she would not like me, you know? So I’m very happy about the boy.'

Jane's mother is Jim's ex-wife Melissa Womer, who he divorced in 1995.

Introducing baby Jackson: Jim Carrey posts a photo of his hours old grandson Jackson on his Twitter page

After Jane announced her pregnancy last year, Jim said: 'I am very excited. Jane is going to be a great mom.'

Jane is a singer/songwriter, while her husband goes by the stage name Nitro with his rock band Blood Money.

She said in a recent interview she hoped to be able to balance motherhood with her musical career.

She said: 'I’ve always wanted to be a mother and I’ve always wanted to do music, so to have the two together, it’s just awesome. It’s a dream come true

source: dailymail

Take your children to work day: Angelina Jolie and Courteney Cox take Pax and Coco on set

Saturday, February 27, 2010
He ain't heavy: Angelina Jolie picks up son Pax to join her at work for a day on the set of film The Tourist in Paris

Two Hollywood mothers appear to be bucking the trend for hiring help.

Rather than pack their children off with a nanny, actresses Angelina Jolie, 34, and Courteney Cox, 45, simply took them into work.

Angelina was seen with son Pax, six, as she filmed controversial thriller The Tourist in Paris.

While Courteney, 45, currently enjoying success in TV show Cougar Town, brought daughter Coco, five, to her office for the day

It was like a Hollywood version of 'The Take Our Daughters To Work' programme founded by feminist activist Gloria Steinem to address self-esteem issues unique to girls.

On one day of the year, employees take their children or relatives to join them at work. It was later expanded to include boys after pressure from schools.

Courteney clearly dotes on her little-seen only child Coco, and she and husband David Arquette are said to be considering adoption.

Mummy's girl: Courteney Cox carries daughter Coco on the Los Angeles set of her TV comedy Cougar Town

David revealed to a TV chat show: ''I don’t know. I mean, it takes a lot for us to do it, so maybe adoption. Listen, I like practising as much as possible! But it’s hard… I’m exhausted!'

He has described daughter Coco is ' a little messy so that’s sort of on my side, but she’s very strong-willed which is very Courteney-like'.

Cox, 45, is said to have undergone in-vitro fertilisation for her first pregnancy at the age of 39.

Meanwhile, Angelina didn't take all six of her children to the set Paris which may have proved rather too distracting. She was seen earlier in the week with partner Brad who paid an impromptu visit.

Over it: Coco, five, already looks a little bored as she joined her mother at work

Jolie recently enjoyed a reunion with her father, actor Jon Voight.

'It was just wonderful to spend time with Angelina and Brad and the children,' Voight, 71, he told RadarOnline.com.

The father and daughter were seen enjoying a ride down the Grand Canal in Venice on Sunday, along with Pitt and their children.

The reunion came after years of estrangement that began in 2002 when Voight publicly criticised his daughter for having 'serious mental problems'.

"I've been waiting so long to hug my grandchildren and it was amazing," he gushed.

Big hug: Angelina gets a loving hug from son Pax, partner Brad is also in the capital with the other five Jolie Pitt children

'They are the most beautiful, loving kids you could imagine and I'm not just saying that because I'm their grandfather, they really are something special.'

The veteran actor also squashed rumours of trouble between Jolie, 34, and partner Brad Pitt, 46.

'Angelina and Brad are so happy together and they are the most amazing, loving parents I've ever seen.

'It truly moved me to see how Angie is as a mom, I am so proud of her - she has so much love to give and to share with the children and with Brad.'

C'est chic: The actress looked stunning while filming author Patricia Cornwell's thriller The Tourist in the French capital

source: dailymail

Queen of the WAGs Victoria Beckham set to snub the rest of the England squad's spouses at this year's World Cup

By Sara Nathan

Distance: Victoria Beckham will stay away from the other WAGs this year

She proudly stepped out with her fellow WAGs during the last World Cup.
But it seems Victoria Beckham has rather loftier intentions during this summer's tournament.

Instead of shopping and sunning herself by the poolside, the 35-year-old and her three sons will be visiting underprivileged children in South Africa.

Mrs Beckham is also refusing to stay in the six-star Palace Hotel with the rest of the England team's wives and girlfriends, and has instead rented a luxury flat in Cape Town's Camps Bay.

It is understood she made the decision after becoming 'appalled' by the affair allegations surrounding players Ashley Cole and John Terry.

Friends say Mrs Beckham will take sons Brooklyn, ten, Romeo, seven, and five-year-old Cruz, to visit children around Cape Town as part of her work for charity Save The Children.

She has previously taken the boys to visit schools in Kentucky, one of the poorest states in America.

A source close to Mrs Beckham said: 'Victoria is, of course, 100 per cent supportive of David, and will be there to cheer him and the England squad on.

'But she does not consider herself a WAG in the traditional sense - that is not her at all. She has her own successful career.

'There was no way she was going to be staying anywhere near the WAGs this World Cup, so she has rented a beautiful flat for herself and the boys.'

The source added: 'Victoria was appalled by Ashley Cole and John Terry's behaviour and does not want to be associated with anything like that at all.

'She is friendly with Cheryl, she thinks she is a very sweet girl. They have not seen each other for some time, but she is there for her.'

Shortly after becoming England manager, Fabio Capello revealed his intention to allow the WAGs to see his players only once a week following their drunken antics in Baden-Baden at the last World Cup in 2006.

Girls out on the town: Victoria Beckham in Baden-Baden with Coleen Mcloughlin's sister, Coleen McLoughlin (then girlfriend of Wayne Rooney), Louise Owen (wife of Michael Owen) and Elen Rives (ex-fiance of Frank Lampard)

He said at the time: 'That's it. We're going to South Africa to play, not for a holiday. If they don't want to come for the day only, they should stay home.'

However, most plan to defy him by moving into the Sun City resort, just 14 miles from the players, when the monthlong tournament begins on June 11. Mr Capello deliberately chose England's training camp near Rustenburg in part because of its remote location.

Players were urged to tell their families not to book into Sun City, but many WAGs have made VIP bookings through BAC Sport, a London - based travel company.

Gert Venter, resort manager at Sun City, said this week: 'With the England team based just 20km away from here, we anticipate a lot of people from the UK to use this as their base.

'If they want opulence, the Palace is where they come to stay. We are hoping we can get footballers out here for half a day just to relax up here.'

source: dailymail

EU tells Google to warn cities before sending in Street View cameras

Friday, February 26, 2010
Concerns: Google was told bu EU privacy regulators to warn cities where its Street View cameras would be taking pictures

Privacy regulators have told Google to warn people before it sends cameras out into cities to take images for its Street View maps.

And the internet search giant should shorten the time it keeps the original photos from one year to six months, the regulators said in a letter to the company.

In a statement, Google said its need to retain Street View images for one year was 'legitimate and justified'.

The company, based in Mountain View, U.S., said it already posts notifications on its website about where Street View cameras will be taking images.

The alert system today indicated its vehicles would be in Nantes, France, as well as other nearby cities.

Street View launched in the U.S. in 2007 and now adds photos of real-life street scenes to Google's maps of around 100 cities worldwide.

To placate privacy concerns, it uses special software to blur pictures of faces and car licence plates.

Google has been slow to expand the service in Europe after governments raised concerns that taking pictures of people in public places could break EU rules on personal privacy.

In May last year Greece told the company to stop plans to photograph its streets last year until more privacy safeguards are provided and in April residents of Broughton, Cambridgeshire, blocked the camera van by forming a human chain.

Earlier this month, two enrage Norwegians in scuba gear chased after the Google Street View vehicle as it took pictures in Bergen.

It has had to bow to German demands to erase raw footage of faces, house numbers, licence plates and individuals who have told authorities they do not want their information used in the service.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that Europe had 'high standards for data protection' and that she expected that 'all companies play according to the rules of the game'.

Protest: Two men can be seen sitting quietly wearing scuba gear before spotting the Street View car and chasing after it in Bergen, Norway

The head of EU data protection agencies, Alex Turk, told Google's data privacy chief Peter Fleischer in a letter that the company should always give advance notice on its website and in the local or national press before it takes pictures.

It should take care to avoid taking pictures 'of a sensitive nature and those containing intimate details not normally observable by a passer-by,' Mr Turk said.

He also said that the company should revise its 'disproportionate' policy of keeping the original unblurred images for up to a year, saying improvements in Google's blurring technology and better public awareness would lead to fewer complaints - and a shorter delay for people to react to the photos they see on the site.

Complaints about the images put online would usually be checked against the original photos.

The data privacy warning comes a day after an Italian court convicted three Google executives - including privacy director Peter Fleischer - of privacy violations because they did not act quickly enough to remove an online video that showed sadistic teen bullies mocking and hitting an autistic boy.

Google said it would appeal the case, claiming it attacked freedom of speech on the internet.

It also faces an EU probe into allegations that it demotes rival sites in its search rankings..

source: dailymail

It's a taboo more mothers are shattering - daring to admit they're unhappy with a healthy baby because it's not the sex they wanted

By Natasha Courtenay-Smith

Longed-for daughter: After having two boys, Lisa Moore was desperate for a little girl. After using an ovulation chart to try and increase her chances, she fell pregnant with twins, a boy - and a girl (pictured)

What must the expectant mothers in the hospital waiting room have thought as Lisa Moore emerged from her ultrasound scan in floods of tears? Surely there was something terribly wrong with the child she was carrying?

From Lisa's point of view at least, there was indeed something wrong. But rather than having been told that her unborn baby had a life-threatening congenital abnormality or some other defect, she had, in fact, been informed that she was having twin boys.

'I never saw myself with boys, and I was devastated,' says Lisa, 29, who at the time already had two sons. 'The problem was that, since I was a little girl, I'd longed for a daughter.'

There will be many who will find it hard to understand how any woman blessed with a healthy baby could grumble about its sex, let alone feel the level of despair that Lisa did, especially since there are some women who can't have children, at all.

But Lisa is far from alone in feeling unhappy with the sex of her children. Indeed, so common are such feelings of disappointment that it's now a recognised psychological condition, known as Gender Disappointment.

The internet is home to hundreds of forums on the subject, where women gather to share their experiences and heartache of not having a child of the sex they desire.

They post their messages anonymously and they are utterly frank about their feelings.

While some accuse women who admit to these feelings of being 'shallow' and 'selfish', it's clear the pain is very real for those experiencing it.

'I cried in bed for two days,' writes one woman, a mother of two boys, upon discovering her third child was also a boy. Another mother of three boys writes: 'I honestly don't think I'll ever get over not having a girl. I think about it every day, and the disappointment never goes away. I will carry this agony with me for the rest of my life.'

If at first you don't succeed... Michaela and Andrew Whittle had six daughters before a son arrived

Yet the yearning for a child of a specific sex is often so strong that women will resort to any measure possible to get the baby they want. Many websites are devoted to what parents can try to do to maximise their chances of conceiving the gender they want.

Low-tech methods range from creating specific ovulation charts, taking herbal supplements and certain vitamins, to eating diets rich in potassium and sodium for a boy, or calcium and magnesium for a girl.

Theories abound about the sex selection effects of diet, but there is little hard evidence to prove that they work.

The only way to ensure the sex of a baby is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which involves creating embryos via traditional IVF and then implanting only embryos of a certain sex.

Currently, UK law only allows sex selection for medical reasons, such as the avoidance of certain inherited diseases, but a number of desperate British women are known to have travelled abroad for the treatment, which is widely available in the U.S. and across Europe.

Lisa Moore's longing for a little girl led to her drawing up complicated ovulation charts that told her when the optimal time was to have intercourse if she wanted a girl.

'It is hard to describe why I wanted a girl so much - it wasn't just about dressing her in cute pink clothes, although that was part of my longing,' says Lisa, who lives in Southampton.

'But, ultimately, I felt I would have more in common with a daughter than a son. A daughter would be a friend, someone to be close to.

'I wanted to see my daughter excited on her wedding day, be there for her when she had her first child. I felt the experience wouldn't be the same with a son.

'I had my first son, Lee, who's now 12, and then when I found out during my second pregnancy that I was having another boy, I felt a real twinge of disappointment.

'I remember bringing John, now ten, home from hospital and having a few tears that I'd had another boy and not this longed-for little girl. My husband was sympathetic, but he was happy with a second son and couldn't really understand.

'I felt so guilty - and still do - because my sons are gorgeous. But it was nothing to do with them. I still loved them as much, I just wanted to experience a daughter.'

After splitting up with the father of her sons, Lisa met her current partner, a 31-year-old education consultant, and decided this time she would not leave the sex of her baby to chance.

Through books and the internet, she conducted her own research into how to tip the balance towards having a girl.

'Some suggested change in our diets but I decided the most important factor, from all my research, was timing,' she says. 'The theory was that having sex on the day the woman ovulates would produce a boy, because the faster swimming sperm (more likely to be Ychromosome "male" sperm) would reach the egg first.

'However, for a girl, sex should take place before ovulation. The Y sperm wouldn't last as long and would die off. But the X chromosome-bearing female sperm would still be waiting to fertilise the egg.

Gender disappointment: Some women are upset, even if the ultra sound reveals a healthy baby, if it isn't the sex they wanted (posed by model)

'Fortunately, I have a very regular cycle so was able to pinpoint when ovulation would occur. From then, I counted back five days. It was quite complicated.'

The idea that timing could influence the sex of the baby was first proposed more than 20 years ago by American doctor Landrum Shettles.

While it is a hugely popular method, numerous medical articles say that it is flawed, and a number of subsequent stories have not been able to replicate the results that Shettles himself claimed he got.

Nonetheless, Lisa fell pregnant with twins on her first attempt. But her hopes that she would now be having two girls were crushed, her scan revealed she was carrying twin boys, and she thought her efforts had failed.

'I came out of the scan sobbing,' she says. 'I felt as if I were grieving for the daughter I was never going to have. It sounds awful. I should have been happy, because I had two healthy babies.

'Instead, I spent the rest of the pregnancy feeling low. Four children would be stretching our finances and it really felt as if this was it. I would never have the daughter I wanted.'

Lisa's twins were born at 35 weeks, by Caesarean, and to her surprise, while she did have one boy the other twin was a girl.

'As the babies came out, I heard them cry, then they were whisked away,' she recalls.

'It was then I saw my partner's face and could see he was trying to tell me something. I actually felt panicky for a moment that there was something wrong, until he said: "There's a girl." I was so overwhelmed I began to cry.'

Lisa's twins are now three years old. She maintains that she does not love her daughter any more than her sons, but that having a daughter has completed their family.

'She has made it more balanced and given it a dimension that would have been missing had she been another boy,' says Lisa.

'I believe it's been as lovely for our sons to have a sister as it is for us to have a daughter. I still do feel guilty that I so longed so much to have a girl. But I have to admit that having her has made me so happy.'

They are sentiments shared by decorator Andrew Whittle and his wife Michaela, who after having six daughters finally had a much longed for son.

Ironically, the couple, had only ever intended to have two children, especially since they needed IVF to conceive their second child.

'Given the difficulties we'd had having a second child, we both agreed that was it,' says Michaela, 41, a housewife, from Wigan. 'I knew Andrew had wanted a son, but I just felt that you don't always get what you want in life and that we were blessed with two girls and should count ourselves lucky.'

But when Michaela, whose eldest daughters Amy and Georgie are now 23 and 14, fell pregnant accidentally with Amelia, now 11, her husband's hopes that he could one day have a son were reignited.

She agreed to try for a baby one more time, and this time Jessie, now eight, was born.

Daughters Casey, seven, and Bridie, five, followed.

'It wasn't so much that I was desperate to have a son, but each time I gave birth to another girl, I felt guilty for not giving Andrew a son and so tried again,' says Michaela.

'It was difficult for him living in a house full of girls, and he wanted a son to take on the family name, go to watch football with him and share his love of fishing. Of course Andrew loved each of the girls, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. I felt I'd let him down.'

Three years ago, Michaela and Andrew decided to try for what they agreed would be their final baby.

She recalls: 'I had given up hope of having a boy. But at the scan, the nurse, on hearing we had six girls, said: "Do you want to know what this one is?" and Andrew replied: "Yes."

'Then I heard her saying: "It's a boy." We both had tears in our eyes. Throughout the pregnancy we still couldn't believe it until we held him.

'We didn't do anything specific to get a boy, we just kept trying. I believe that you shouldn't tamper with nature. But it goes to show, if you keep trying, there's a chance eventually you'll get what you want.'

The couple's son Tyler, is now two, and Michaela says without doubt his arrival has completed their family.

'Tyler is such a daddy's boy, and seeing him and Andrew together makes me feel so happy. His sisters are devoted to him. He's made the family feel rounded and balanced.'

But what if you can't have the baby you want? Wendy Bowen, 43, is a mother of eight boys, and has been desperate to have a girl for more than 20 years.

Tragically, she lost her first baby, a girl, eight months into her pregnancy and has been dreaming of a daughter ever since. She knows that time is against her, and fears she is beginning to enter the menopause.

Her husband, believes it's time they gave up trying, and Wendy knows that unless a miracle happens, she will never have the daughter she craves. Wendy tries to put on a brave face, but her ongoing pain is clear.

'I'll keep trying for the foreseeable future, but once things pack up, there's nothing you can do about it,' she says. 'I've got all these boys, and surely one of them will have daughters.

'There are times in my life when I've found it all very upsetting, but I am coming to terms with things. The most important thing is that all my children are happy and healthy.'

Many women experiencing gender disappointment, though, say their profound sense of longing cannot be glossed over.

Instead, they live in fear that they'll never have the child they dream of, and that the subsequent disappointment will haunt them for the rest of their lives

source: dailymail

Fancy a cheap holiday in France? Branch out with a break in a tree or go for a gite

Thursday, February 25, 2010
By Simon Heptinstall

Living the high life: You can go up in the world at Key Camp

Traditional good-value camping and cottage holidays in France may be the best bet for many money-savvy travellers this summer.

Last year's credit crunch prompted many British families to take their holidays at home but this year we are prepared to travel a little further --although not too far.

The good news is that we don't have to go beyond France. Tour operators have plenty of special offers to lure us across the Channel.

A campsite or gite in rural France is still a great bargain, whatever the pound does against the euro.

The French Government Tourist Office in London is a sensible starting point for research. It has a special 'Affordable France' section on the website (www.uk.franceguide.com) to make it easier to find cut-price offers this year.

Bargain holidays are also advertised on the site of the Association of British Travel Organisers to France (www.holidayfrance.org.uk).

Camping Sleeping under canvas is the easiest way to reduce holiday costs. But in France camping isn't just for those who cannot afford anything else. Many wealthy French families go camping-crazy each summer - which is why the country has more than 10,000 campsites.

What is more, many of them are among the best located and equipped to be found anywhere in the world.

Eurocamp Eurocamp is one of the biggest camping tour operators in Europe and offers a huge range of reasonably priced holidays. You can choose between tents, mobile homes, chalets and holiday villages at sites from Picardy to Provence.

Good news for young families is that this year Eurocamp has introduced a collection of toddler-friendly campsites in Brittany, Vendée, Loire, Dordogne and Languedoc.

These 'Petit Paradis' parcs have pitches that are safe for babies and toddlers, with free baby equipment, plus essential extras such as bedrails and decking gates.

These sites also have a toddler pool, on-site laundry and all-terrain buggies for hire. Supervised play sessions are provided for those between six months and four years old. Free swimming lessons are available at some sites.

• Seven nights from June 4 at L'Atlantique Parc in Brittany, in a three-bedroom Superior tent sleeping up to eight, costs £396. Ferry crossings, fly-drive packages, rail travel and overnight stops cost extra (0844 406 0402, www.eurocamp.co.uk).
Keycamp Keycamp is one of Europe's biggest providers of mobile home holidays but it also has well-priced campsites and holiday parks.

Most intriguing of all, Keycamp operates tree houses in selected French sites. They have been so popular with British families that many more are being made available this year. It is an easy way of making your holiday feel special on a limited budget.

These unusual holiday homes perch in the tree canopy, about 15ft from the ground. At some sites, pre-bookable breakfasts at £8 a head can be delivered to the tree houses and hoisted up to the decked dining area with the aid of a pulley system.

• Seven nights in a tree house at La Forêt in St Julien-de-Landes, for a family of two adults and up to four children from 15 May, will cost £290 including return ferry crossings (0844 4060200, www.keycamp.co.uk).

Canvas Canvas was the first company to offer camping package holidays in Europe, and more than 40 years later it still has some good bargains.

New sites for 2010 include an exciting beachside park in the pine forests along France's Atlantic coast. Camping le Vieux Port, Messanges, stands between a sandy surfing beach and a huge water park.

And the new family-friendly site at Camping Parc de Fierbois in the Loire Valley will prove popular. It runs Canvas's FamilyExtra activity programme.

This involves activities such as yoga for toddlers, circus workshops, family Olympics and raft-building.

• Seven nights at Camping Parc de Fierbois costs from £537 for two adults and up to four children, arriving on May 31, staying in a two-bedroom mobile home and including return ferry crossing for a car and passengers (0870 192 1159, www.canvasholidays.co.uk).

The Caravan Club The Caravan Club was founded in 1907, 'to bring together those interested in van life as a pastime'. More than 100 years later, this British institution is Europe's premier touring organisation, representing the interests of a million caravanners and trailer tent owners.

The Club provides members with a wide choice of recommended locations, including 137 in France. Caravanning is another cost-effective way of holidaying, which is why last year's national belt-tightening saw membership rise by a quarter.

The Club has responded by overhauling its website to give a free searchable guide to hundreds of European sites including caravan-friendly routes to each one, a pitch availability search and notes of which Michelin map covers the local area (01342 326 944, www.caravanclub.co.uk).

French gites

Rural bliss: Gite d'etape accommodation can be the perfect escape for families planning a quiet break

A French gite or holiday cottage is another cost-effective way of enjoying the French lifestyle and exploring a region from your own base. They can range from self-catering studios for two people to a rambling chateau with a pool that will sleep several families.

Holiday home agencies have thousands of properties to rent this year so are offering plenty of special deals.

Brittany Ferries holidays Holidays offered include ferry travel, which makes budgeting easy. It means the breaks are extremely affordable too. For example, a week's getaway to a cottage in Brittany during Easter, including ferry crossings with a car and cabin each way, costs only £138 per person for a family of four.

Brittany Ferries also has a selection of apartments, chalets and holiday resorts in France, again including ferry travel.

• A week at the Grand Large chalet campsite near Benodet in southern Brittany during the Easter break costs £437 for a family of five travelling with their car (0871 244 1444, www.brittanyferries.com/holidays).

French specialist VFB was started in 1970 by Michael Bruce-Mitford and his French wife, Françoise Julien. The couple helped to pioneer self-catering across the Channel for many British holiday-goers.

The company may have been going for 40 years but it is still highly acclaimed --so much so that it was recently voted favourite tour operator by readers of Which? magazine.

VFB's 2010 brochure includes many cottages and villas with prices lower than last year. One week's property rental starts from just £160 for a small farmhouse in Auvergne.
It has also added a wide selection of tempting new properties, including a 13th Century manor house on a remote stretch of Brittany coast, from £490 a week, and an oak-beamed stone cottage in Dordogne, from £170 a week (01452 716 840, www.vfbholidays.co.uk).

Cottages4you This Lancashire-based holiday home agency is part of the giant American owned Holiday Cottages Group that includes brands such as Blakes.

Cottages4You alone has more than 2,400 holiday cottages, gites and villas available to rent across France this year.

• Special offers include seven nights at Easter in a property in the Vendée for four to six people, from £281 rental-only (0845 268 0760, www.cottages4 you.co.uk).

source: dailymail

David Beckham in £26million bid to buy his dream home... George Clooney's lakeside Italian villa

By Nick Pisa

Up for sale: David Beckham is bidding to spend millions on buying Hollywood star George Clooney's lakeside home in Italy

It's on the market because its famous owner is disillusioned with members of the public and photographers hanging around outside.

But that's unlikely to end when it sells because the likely news owners also have star billing.

David and Victoria Beckham are said to be in negotiations to buy George Clooney's Italian villa home on the shore of Lake Como.

Dream home: An aerial view of the George Clooney's stunning villa in Laglio, on Lake Como

House guest: Victoria, seen here yesterday shopping at store James Perse in Beverly Hills, has previously spent several days at the villa as Clooney's guest

It is ideal for the footballer, who has been living in a hotel since joining AC Milan on loan in December.

The 30-room Villa Oleandra is just 39 miles from Milan - and Beckham is already well acquainted with it having stayed there with his wife as Clooney's guests last year.

Yesterday the Italian media reported that Beckham, 34, had told friends: 'I have fallen in love with the beautiful countryside. It's peaceful, quiet and near Milan. It would be great for the family.'

Counter-bid: Russian vodka billionaire Tariko Roustam is also in the running

The Beckhams' friendship with Clooney has made them favourites to get the villa, which is on the market for £20million.

Negotiations are said to be at an 'advanced stage'.

But they face competition from Russian vodka tycoon Tariko Roustam, 47. His empire is said to be worth £712million and he has apparently offered £30million.

Clooney, 48, bought the villa in the town of Laglio for £10million in 2002.

Last night, mayor Roberto Pozzi, said: 'It would be a shame if George went. He has become one of the locals.

'If George does leave I hope the Beckhams buy the place as it will keep a touch of glamour in Laglio.'

The Beckhams already own a £14million house in Beverly Hills, where Mrs Beckham, 35, and their three children have lived during his loan from LA Galaxy.

They also own 'Beckingham Palace' in Hertfordshire and a home in France.

Billionaire Tarilo Roustam, who is making a counter-bid, is among the most successful businessmen in Russia and launched the country's top selling Russian Standard vodka label in 1998.

He also expanded into selling Italian chocolates in Russia and as a result his empire sis said to be worth $1.1 billion making him the world's 647th richest man, according to Forbes.

It said that two Milan based lawyers representing him had been involved in talks with Swiss based firm Alessandro Proto Consulting who are dealing with the sale on behalf of Clooney.

Mr Proto, who is based in Chiasso, Switzerland, said:'We are not in charge of the actual sale but of finding suitable clients, the sale will be handled by an American real estate company.'

Property prices around Laglio have shot up since Clooney bought the villa at Laglio on Lake Como and which has it's own private jetty into the water, swimming pool, gym, tennis courts and beautifully manicured gardens.

Ocean's two: Clooney and Italian TV presenter girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis riding on a speed boat on the lake last summer

Sea view: Clooney bought Villa L'Oleandra, a 17th waterside mansion, in the Italian town of Laglio in 2002

Before he arrived properties around Laglio, which is also close to the homes of Donatella Versace and Jose Mourinho, were selling at 1000 Euro per square metre and now they have rocketed to 10,000 Euro.

Today Laglio's mayor Roberto Pozzi said: 'It would be a shame if George went because he has become one of the locals and we have grown fond of him. Everyone has seen him when he comes over and he is always friendly

'I know the Beckhams stayed at the villa last spring but I never saw them - if George does leave then I hope the Beckhams do but the place as it will keep a touch of glamour in Laglio.'

Beckham, who is beck at AC Milan until the summer, is living in suite at a luxury Milan hotel and today his spokesperson Simon Oliveira was unavailable to comment on the report.

Meanwhile another Italian newspaper reported that Clooney is set to buy himself an island.

The actor is said to have fallen in love with Loreto Island, Pisogne town, near Como, after he visited the area last year with girlfriend Elisabetta.

source: dailymail

Who gets the dogs and the diamonds? How Cheryl and Ashley Cole will split their £35m empire

By Alison Boshoff

It's over: Cheryl Cole, pictured here arriving at London's Heathrow airport shortly before announcing she is separating from her husband Ashley


The Coles' principal home, which is jointly owned, is a £4million property on a private estate near Oxshott, in Surrey, boasting six bedrooms and a cinema.

Ashley has been ordered to go, leaving Cheryl there with her mother, Joan, who moved in during Cheryl's stints as a judge on the X Factor - to make sure her daughter ate properly.

Cheryl wanted to move out when her marriage hit choppy waters in 2008, after Ashley was accused of sleeping with hairdresser Aimee Walton. Although she relented, she still lacks any sentimental attachment to the home or the area.

Ashley is likely to want to stay within a stone's throw as the house is next to Chelsea's £20million training ground. But Cheryl will not want to hang around an area where she is likely to bump into Ashley and assorted WAGs.

Ashley has a £450,000 flat in Friern Barnet, North London, and a property in Dubai, an apartment in Jumeirah, which he bought offplan in 2003 for £830,000.

Cheryl and Ashley's £4million palatial marital home in Surrey

They weren't staying in it in 2005 when he proposed to Cheryl - they were at the Al Mahra resort - and it seems to be an investment rather than a holiday home. The property market in Dubai recently collapsed, so it may be worth nearer £500,000 now.

Before they moved in together, Cheryl was renting and on an £800-a-week allowance from her record company. There was talk of Ashley buying her a £5 million villa near Puerto Banus on Spain's Costa Del Sol in 2008, but that's all it was.

OUR PREDICTION: Ashley gets £2.95m; Cheryl gets £2m

Happier times: The former couple attending Gary Barlow's wedding anniversary last month in London

Cheryl's wedding ring set Ashley back £150,000

Ashley has a Stephen Webster diamond earring, a wedding gift from Cheryl, which cost £85,000. He also has a diamond-studded Cartier Santos 100 watch worth £25,000. He owns a Franck Muller gold watch, worth £85,000, and has had a Rolex, worth £25,000.
OUR PREDICTION: £195,000 for Ashley

Cheryl has two diamond rings which she will doubtless hang on to. Her heart-shaped diamond wedding ring is worth £150,000 and the square-cut yellow diamond ring, which he gave her after the Aimee Walton disaster, is worth around £160,000.

Cheryl also has a Cartier Santos 100 watch, again studded with diamonds, which is worth £20,000, plus a fancy Hublot Big Bang Cappuccino watch, which Ashley gave her for her birthday in summer 2008 and is worth £35,000.

She has many other gifts, such as the £36,000 Hypoxi exercise bike given to her by Harrods and which she has not used for a couple of years.

She has a close relationship with the jewellers de Grisogono, who gave her a pair of stunning £70,000 diamond drop earrings which she wore to the X Factor finals.

OUR PREDICTION: At least £600,000 for Cheryl

CARSAshley is serving a driving ban, but has a mind-boggling collection of cars, all of which he will keep. His favourite is a Lamborghini Gallardo: that's the one in which he was caught speeding in November 2008. It's worth around £115,000. He also has a Bentley, worth around £200,000.

Ashley driving his £200,000 Bentley last year

Ashley also owns a £115,000 Lamborghini Gallardo

In addition, there are two Range Rovers worth £80,000 apiece. Ashley also used to have a £270,000 Lamborghini Murcielago, but sold it, along with his Aston Martin, worth £200,000.

Ashley bought Cheryl a Bentley for their first wedding anniversary, but she said the £150,000 car was 'too much' so he got her some Cartier jewellery instead.
OUR PREDICTION: £75,000 for Ashley; £80,000 for Cheryl

HIS EARNINGS Cole is on £120,000 a week at Chelsea, giving him an annual salary of £6.24 million a year. His career earnings are estimated at more than £30 million, and Cheryl was advised during their first marital blip that she could get up to £4 million from him.

Ashley earns £120,000 a week as defender for Chelsea

This she rejected, because at the time she wanted to stay married, and also she felt it would be wrong to take his money. As she said: 'I work hard for my money. I don't ask Ashley for a penny.'

His wealth has been estimated at £14 million, but it's probably closer to £20 million. He received a £250,000 advance for his book, My Defence, which sold less than 10,000 copies.

OUR PREDICTION: £19m - his earnings so far - for Ashley

HER EARNINGSCheryl is under contract to do the X Factor for £1.75 million over two years and earns £1.5 million a year with Girls Aloud.

Cheryl will receive £1.75 million for being a judge on The X Factor over the next two years

Then there is the £500,000 for promoting L'Oreal. And she may earn as much as £1 million more from her recently launched solo career. It's likely Ashley will not see a penny of this.

OUR PREDICTION: £9m - her earnings so far - for Cheryl

Dumped: Cole's three-and-a-half-year marriage is now over

JOINT EARNINGSOK! magazine paid £1.5 million for the wedding pictures and the story of their engagement. Soon after the wedding, Cheryl persuaded Ashley they could make an easy £200,000 for posing in matching white outfits to promote the Lottery.

The disastrous press this attracted seems to have scared them off any further joint commercial deals.

OUR PREDICTION: It's probably all spent
THE 'PIMPED' TRUCK Cheryl gave Ashley a mini Hummer truck worth £14,000 to potter around the garden in - after hearing his teammate John Terry raving about his.

The £14,000 mini Hummer Cheryl bought for Ashley and had customised

Cheryl with one of her beloved chihuahuas

Cheryl had it 'pimped' with gold hubcaps and black leather upholstery and decorated with CC and AC initials - picked out in Swarovski crystals on the headrests, for a further £5,000. You can't see either of them being keen to hang onto this, can you?
OUR PREDICTION: Look out for it on eBay

FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS Coco and Buster the Chihuahuas are Cheryl's great loves - she is a sentimental 'mummy' to them and used to call home so that she could chat to them on the phone. But Ashley never liked the way she would allow them to sleep in the bedroom, and once complained that they got in the way of marital intimacy.
OUR PREDICTION: Two dogs for Cheryl

source: dailymail

Small dogs are descended from grey wolves living in the Middle East

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Socialite Paris Hilton loves small dogs and is frequently seen out and about with her female Chihuahua named Tinkerbell

All small dogs could originate from packs of wolves who roamed the plains in the Middle East, more than 12,000 years ago.

A new genetic study, traced a gene called IGF1, that determines small size in dogs, back to the first domesticated grey wolves, which lived in this area.

Melissa Gray and Robert Wayne, from the University of California, led a team of researchers who surveyed a large sample of gray wolf populations.

She said, 'The mutation for small body size post-dates the domestication of dogs.

'However, because all small dogs possess this variant of IGF1, it probably arose early in their history.

'Our results show that the version of the IGF1 gene found in small dogs is closely related to that found in Middle Eastern wolves and is consistent with an ancient origin in this region of small domestic dogs'.

Their results were published in the open-source journal BMC Biology.

Previous archeological work in the Middle East has unearthed the remains of small domestic dogs dating to 12,000 years ago.

Sites in Belgium, Germany and Western Russia contain older remains, 13,000 to 31,000 years ago, but these are of larger dogs.

These findings support the hypothesis put forward by Miss Gray and her colleagues that small body size evolved in the Middle East.

Reduction in body size is a common feature of domestication and has been seen in other domesticated animals including cattle, pigs and goats.

According to Miss Gray, 'Small size could have been more desirable in more densely packed agricultural societies, in which dogs may have lived partly indoors or in confined outdoor spaces'.

source: dailymail

Daisy Lowe crosses her heart and hopes everything stays in place with daring bandage top

Risking disaster: Daisy Lowe at the Elle Style Awards 2010 at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London

Being a trendsetter can be a risky business.

But the youthful model Daisy Lowe managed to pull off a daring bandage-style dress with great aplomb at last night's Elle Style Awards.

Luckily for Daisy she managed to keep her dignity in the white bra top, which she wore with a blue sparrow print skirt and cat print shrug.

But while the outfit might have been daring, it was positively demure for underwear model Daisy, who was accompanied by her mother Pearl Lowe at the event.

The 21-year-old, who has a reputation for being a hellraiser, often shows off her figure in barely there outfits.

Daring: Daisy's wrap around top could have caused problems for the model

She posed nude for a magazine last year, causing her mother to express her disapproval, and other shoots have included the Pirelli calendar - for which she simply wore a tire.

Daisy recently returned to live in London from the U.S., after admitting living there had left her homesick.

She moved to New York to further her career, but said she failed to make new friends and was 'lonely'.

Daisy Lowe

source: dailymail

The Kiss: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enjoy passionate Parisian embrace

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie share a tender kiss on the set of Angelina's new film The Tourist in Paris, France

It's not unusual to see a couple sharing a passionate kiss on the streets of Paris - one of the most romantic cities in the world.

But passers-by must have had a shock yesterday when they realised the embracing couple was none other than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The pair were keen to show their relationship is stronger than ever as they puckered up on the set of Jolie's new movie The Tourist in France.

Jolie looks thrilled after pulling away from the passionate kiss

Jolie, wearing a chic cream dress for the scenes in the film, in which she stars alongside Johnny Depp, looked coy as she pulled away from the tender embrace, but couldn't keep the smile off her famous lips.

Pitt took on the role of house husband as Jolie shot the scenes in a Parisian cafe, and took care of some of the couple's children, Shiloh, three and five-year-old Zahara, who were clearly keen to see their mother in action.

Pitt holds tightly to Zahara's hand as she watches her mother at work

These latest photographs are further evidence that there is no trouble in paradise for the Hollywood pair, following split rumours earlier this year over which they threatened legal action.

The trip to Paris is the latest in a string of European adventures for Brangelina's continental brood.

After a holiday in Venice last week, the couple and their six children boarded a water taxi to the airport to head to Paris on Monday

Family trip: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt leaving Venice to go to Paris with twins Vivienne and Knox Jolie-Pitt

Daddy's in charge: Brad with his son Knox and daughter Shiloh

It was a rare trip for 19-month-old twins Vivienne and Knox, who as the youngest of the brood often remain at home with nannies when their parents head out.

The twins looked almost identical under their woolly winter hats, both wrapped in blankets against the cold.

Their parents chatted happily to one another as they set out on the journey.

But despite their foray into France, it seems likely that the family will soon return to Venice.

Jolie, 34, visited Paris to film scenes for The Tourist, but the majority of the film is set in Venice.

Off to the airport: Brad and Angelina loaded their children one by one into the back of their private taxi boat

She and Pitt have rented a grand 15th-century palazzo where they will stay with their six children.

And to the surprise of many, Jolie's 71-year-old father Jon Voight was with them when they arrived last Sunday.

The star, still best known for his appearance in the 1969 movie Midnight Cowboy, left Jolie's mother Marcheline Bertrand when their daughter was only four years old.

In early film appearances as a child star, Jolie used her full name of Angelina Jolie Voight.

Working mother: Angelina was filming scenes for her film The Tourist in Paris

But, perhaps because she did not want to be seen as trading on her father's fame, she had dropped the Voight by the time she appeared as Lara Croft, a female version of Indiana Jones.

It is not known what caused her to fall out with Voight, who played her father Lord Croft in the movie.

By July 2002, however, she was applying to have her non-acting name legally changed to Angelina Jolie, losing the Voight.

In great shape: Angelina posed with a newspaper as she filmed her scenes

Hard at work: Angelina filmed her scenes in a French cafe

The following month, Voight gave an interview on U.S. television in which he claimed his daughter, who had just adopted a Cambodian boy named Maddox, had 'serious mental problems'.

'I'm broken-hearted... because I've been trying to reach my daughter and get her help, and I have failed and I'm sorry,' he said

Brad took daughters Shiloh and Zahara on a Parisian shopping trip while Angelina was on set

Brad pays for his daughters' purchases after their visit to a toy shop

'Really I haven't come forward and addressed the serious mental problems she has spoken about so candidly to the press over the years, but I've tried behind the scenes in every way.'

Jolie responded by cutting off her father completely, saying that, as a new mother, she did not think it was healthy to associate with him.

Voight repeatedly tried to regain contact with his daughter, particularly after her mother's death in 2007.

Shiloh wears a hat to conceal her new haircut...

But takes it off to reveal her new tomboy-style shag cut in the toy shop

And finally, with Pitt's blessing, she responded late last year.

A friend of the actress, who last month dismissed rumours that her relationship with Pitt was close to collapsing, revealed: 'Angie made the initial contact. Brad has been supportive - a key factor in her reaching out.'

Getting to know you: Voight is getting acquainted with his daughter's partner and his oldest granddaughter

source: dailymail