March 24, 2018 07:04:30by

This simple trick will make your garden look twice the size

This simple trick will make your garden look twice the size

Sometimes the simplest tricks are the best. At a house in Hammersmith with a courtyard just 16ft long, the impression when you look through the back doors is of a far bigger garden.

It’s all down to a mirrored panel covering the back wall, seeming to double the space and its colourful planting.

“When I first saw the garden it was a very gloomy, derelict space,” says the designer Joanna Archer.

The before picture shows a cramped yard with an uninspiring wooden fence and a neighbour’s roof dominating the view. 

Archer put up a freestanding MDF panel in front of the original fence and attached the mirror panel.

The canopy of a pleached evergreen magnolia grandiflora hedge planted just in front of it not only hides the offending roof but adds depth to the garden as the glossy foliage is reflected. 


Archer used Venetian reproduction antique mirror panels from Preedy Glass. Their slightly dull, speckled finish gives a warmer, softer reflection than a completely shiny mirror which can seem harsh in a garden setting.

The glass came in three panels and was installed on-site. Off-the-peg horizontal slatted fencing from Garden Trellis Company down the sides of the garden, reflected, appears to go on and on. 

Bright planting around the sawn sandstone seating area is similarly supersized, with repeating groups of orange achillea Terracotta, geranium Wargrave Pink, astrantia major Alba and purple clematis Warszawska Nike. 

The overall effect is like being in a beautiful, mirrored jewel box and the client loves it.

“It has become a whole new room for the house,” says Archer. “It’s a great relaxing and entertaining space and we also put in lots of festoon lighting and uplighters near the stems of the trees, wafting up a soft glow.”

Anyone can use mirrors to make a garden appear larger, but think about what you are reflecting. There is little point positioning a mirror to showcase bins or a rusty barbecue. Place them to reflect a view, beautifully planted pots or garden greenery.

You want to create the illusion your space extends beyond its actual boundaries, or to introduce interesting and surprising angles. 


Finding the perfect position may involve a bit of jiggling around, so don’t be too hasty to bang nails into the fence until you have seen the mirror from all angles, including from inside the house.

You can always lean large, heavy mirrors up against a wall if you want to keep your options open. Even slight angle changes can make a huge difference.

A central path leading to a back fence, for example, can be made to appear double the length if a mirror is hung at the end, tilted slightly downwards.

In his book Garden Design Solutions, designer Stephen Woodhams has plenty of garden mirror tips.

Use a large mirror behind a day bed and it will look twice as deep and luxurious. Break up a monotonous fence by placing a mirror — or even a series of three — along its length, reflecting a skyline or collection of pots.

Big country gardens often feature round openings in internal walls to provide a vista beyond. Create the same effect in a small urban garden by placing small round mirrors on a fence so they reflect an interesting feature. 

You could use any old mirror but be aware that, unless they are designed for the outdoors, they may not look pristine for long.

If rain gets in, the silvering can come away from the backing, making dark areas on the glass. On the other hand, this weathered effect may be just what you’re looking for.

If budget allows, it’s always best to go for real glass. Acrylic panels can look cheap and give a wobbly “hall of mirrors” effect.

Cox and Cox’s outdoor mirrors are smart, shiny and start at about £80.

For a softer reflection you’ll need glass with an aged patina. Petersham Nurseries in Richmond and Aldgate Home source old window frames, restore them and fit them with hand-antiqued glass. They can paint the frames any colour.

Expect to pay from £300 for a small outdoor mirror and about £1,500 for a large piece to make a focal point. 

Where to buy a garden mirror

Garden Design Solutions — Ideas for Outdoor Spaces: by Stephen Woodhams (Jacqui Small, £25) 

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March 24, 2018 09:33:09by

Milan give Li until April 4 | Football Italia

Milan give Li until April 4 | Football Italia

Milan give Li until April 4

By Football Italia staff

Milan are reportedly ready to wait until April 4 for Yonghong Li to provide the missing €10m before Elliott Management steps in.

The deadline was yesterday for the Chinese patron to pay the remaining €10m and increase the capital, but there was no sign of the money.

According to the Corriere della Sera, the club’s Board of Directors has decided to wait until April 4 to see if Yonghong Li is able to put together the cash or find a new bank bond.

If that doesn’t happen, then hedge fund Elliott Management are prepared to step in and effectively take over the club.

The Rossoneri need around €35m of capital by June 30 in order to keep the side afloat and register for the next Serie A season.

Financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported that liquidity at his disposal in China and Hong Kong is running low, as Chinese lenders are cautious about granting further loans.

Yonghong Li was only able to buy Milan with the aid of €180m in loans from Elliott Management, a loan that has to be repaid in full by October.

It is simply not in Elliott’s interests to see the Serie A side go under, as the U.S. hedge fund needs their asset to retain value.

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with
March 24, 2018 09:33:11by

Biglia: 'Not the same without Italy' | Football Italia

Biglia: \'Not the same without Italy\' | Football Italia

Biglia: 'Not the same without Italy'

By Football Italia staff

Argentina and Milan midfielder Lucas Biglia said “it won’t be the same without Italy” at the World Cup and trusts they will rebuild quickly.

The Azzurri made their debut under interim Coach Gigi Di Biagio in last night’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Argentina.

“Italy are under construction and have many quality young players, so the next few years will be important to prepare for the Euros and World Cup,” Biglia told RMC Sport.

“Friendly results don’t count for anything. I hope Italy can get back to playing in competitive games soon, because it won’t be the same without Italy at the World Cup.

“We won 2-0, but at the start of the second half we had real problems and that proves the Nazionale has quality. It’ll take a lot of work, of course, because Di Biagio has just arrived and the average age is very low.”

Biglia’s Milan teammate Patrick Cutrone made his senior Italy debut in the game, aged just 20.

“I am really happy for him and he deserves it for all he is doing at Milan.”

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March 24, 2018 09:33:13by

Jorginho meets Manchester clubs? | Football Italia

Jorginho meets Manchester clubs? | Football Italia

Jorginho meets Manchester clubs?

By Football Italia staff

It’s claimed Napoli midfielder Jorginho’s agent was at the Etihad for Italy’s friendly with Argentina, holding meetings with Manchester City and United.

According to Rai Sport, representative Joao Santos was in the stands for last night’s 2-0 Azzurri defeat.

It reportedly wasn’t just so he could cheer on his client in a new 4-3-3 formation, but also to discuss terms with both Manchester clubs.

Jorginho’s future remains in doubt and could well depend on whether Napoli win the Scudetto.

Several other Premier League clubs are also believed to be interested in the Brazil-born Italy international, including Liverpool and Chelsea.

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March 24, 2018 09:33:16by

De Vrij considers Barcelona | Football Italia

De Vrij considers Barcelona | Football Italia

De Vrij considers Barcelona

By Football Italia staff

Stefan de Vrij is reportedly hesitating on his deal with Inter, as the Lazio defender awaits a new approach from Barcelona.

He will be a free agent in June and is therefore open to negotiate with any club.

Inter have been in talks for some time and it’s widely believed he will move to San Siro at the end of this season.

However, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Barcelona have pushed forward a new proposal and De Vrij is giving it some serious thought.

Much could depend on whether Inter make it into the Champions League, something that at this stage is far from certain.

While De Vrij would be guaranteed a starting spot in the Nerazzurri defence, the same might not necessarily be true at Camp Nou.

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with
March 24, 2018 07:29:35by

Netherlands 0-1 England: Jesse Lingard could be Gareth Southgate's World Cup wildcard

Netherlands 0-1 England: Jesse Lingard could be Gareth Southgate\'s World Cup wildcard

England's World Cup build-up continued with their first away win against the Netherlands since November 1969 on a night of satisfaction for manager Gareth Southgate.

It was a game when Southgate's tactical tweaks - specifically a three-man defence with Manchester City's Kyle Walker on the right - reaped rewards as Jesse Lingard's goal on the hour gave England a deserved victory.

So what did England and Southgate take away from Amsterdam as they turn their attentions to Tuesday night's friendly against Italy at Wembley?

Lingard emerging as World Cup wildcard

Lingard Tweeted that it was "an honour" to score his first England goal on his ninth international appearance to settle this friendly in favour of Gareth Southgate's side.

It was certainly a pleasure for England manager Southgate to see Manchester United's talented 25-year-old transfer the form that has illuminated parts of the season at Old Trafford on to the international stage.

The finish, just before the hour, had all the Lingard trademarks that have brought him 13 goals for United this season.

He was involved in the build-up, made a positive run to the edge of the area and took full advantage of a favourable deflection that sent the ball spinning towards him to beat Netherlands goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet with an opportunist finish.

Zoet should have done better but that will not impact on Southgate's pleasure at what Lingard could offer in Russia.

This was a display, and goal, that put Lingard on the steps of the plane for Russia because, for all the attacking talent England has at their disposal in players such as Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy, the team still relies far too heavily on the currently injured Harry Kane.

Kane, before this fixture, has scored seven of England's previous 14 goals and their results coming into this game had been two goalless draws against Germany and Brazil.

The games before that had been a colourless 1-0 win in Lithuania courtesy of a Kane penalty and another one-goal win at Wembley against Slovenia with an injury-time strike from the Spurs forward.

And even here in Amsterdam, there was still a lack of end product to much excellent work until Lingard stepped up with that right-foot finish.

If there are still question marks about Lingard's place in Russia, that goal and his natural gifts in that department, plus an ability to play in a variety of attacking positions or just behind the forwards, have gone a long way to erasing them.

Southgate will happily pounce on added goalscoring options and attacking versatility as he looks for players of all purposes to name in his squad for Russia.

Lingard, something of a late developer at this level, looks like he fits the bill for England.

Henderson shows England captaincy credentials

Kane is still firm favourite to captain England at the World Cup as Gareth Southgate's main marksman and also with his calm diplomat's air off the pitch - something not to be under-estimated given the tense relationship with hosts Russia ahead of the summer showpiece.

Liverpool's Henderson is the other alternative and he put a series of below-par England displays behind him to excel in Amsterdam.

He showed good tactical awareness and leadership to give England a firm foundation in midfield in a win they fully merited.

And it has been an impressive week for Henderson on and off the field, something clearly appreciated by his manager.

Southgate said after England's win: "We know about all the leaders in the group and Jordan is one of the few guys who is a captain at club level. He's comfortable in that role. He's comfortable in speaking up for the group.

"He has a mind-set for the collective not just self and that is a hugely important attribute for a captain to have and I thought he worked the game out very well too.

"He was the one talking the others through on where they needed to press. He has got some tremendous human qualities and he's certainly a leader of men."

Henderson demonstrated that mindset sitting next to Southgate before the game when asked if he would be disappointed if he was overlooked for the captaincy in favour of Kane.

He said: "Definitely not. Whether I'm captain or not I like to think I lead by example anyway. I do the same things I always do and try to help the group out. I'll always give 100% for the team."

Henderson may still face questions about whether he offers enough creatively in England's midfield but his manager clearly has no doubts about his credentials as a leader and influence.

Kane may still be on course to claim the armband - but Southgate clearly has no worries about Henderson's ability to deal with the job of leading England.

Southgate springing surprises

The England manager offered a smile of satisfaction when told that his team selection of a three-man defence with Kyle Walker on its right-flank had surprised most observers.

There is no doubt Southgate still has many areas to address in his squad before he names the players he will take on the plane to Russia - but this was a pleasing night for his plans.

Not only did Manchester City's Walker adjust well to his unaccustomed role, although it needs to be kept in perspective because the Dutch opposition was so lame, it also opened up new possibilities for the make-up of Southgate's squad.

Walker offers pace and adventure allied to natural defensive instincts but he may also increase Southgate's attacking options.

Southgate said: "In a back three, we knew the position would suit Joe Gomez after he played there in November and it is the same for Kyle. You need to comfortable defending in wide areas.

"Kyle's use of the ball was really composed, as well as his pace being a tremendous asset. It is a position where he kind of ends up with Manchester City and of course he has a club understanding with John Stones.

"It was not a difficult decision and another reason for doing it is sometimes when you go to a World Cup you take two players for each position. We don't necessarily want to take six centre backs so if you have people like Kyle and Eric Dier who can fill other positions it may allow us it may allow us to take more attacking players in different positions."

Those tougher tests will lie ahead but it is always satisfying when a tactical twist pays off and on this night it did for Southgate.

Walker may not occupy this position when the World Cup starts but he has shown he has some of the qualities needed and given Southgate food for thought.

Who did Phil pick as his man of the match? Check out the player ratings

England fans mar satisfying victory

It was a sad sideline that Gareth Southgate was forced to discuss the behaviour of England's fans on a night when he had every right to be able to focus solely on the excellent performance of his team.

Ninety England fans were arrested in Amsterdam on Friday, taking the total to over 100 after 25 were arrested on Thursday.

The Dutch national anthem was greeted by disrespectful jeering from England fans, which Southgate described as "unacceptable."

He added: "Without knowing the details, obviously it's not something I want to hear because I think our players have represented their country really well with pride and some style.

"Anything else that takes away from that performance will be a great shame."

Sadly, some of England's supporters did exactly that.
March 24, 2018 08:00:18by

'He has fallen a hero': French siege gendarme who replaced hostage dies

\'He has fallen a hero\': French siege gendarme who replaced hostage dies

The French gendarme who was shot after heswapped places with a hostagebeing held by a terrorist gunman has died.

Interior minister Gérard Collomb announced the death of Lt-ColArnaud Beltrame shortly before 6am French time on Saturday.

“We will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice. With a heavy heart, I send the support of the entire country to his family, friends and colleagues of the Gendarmerie of the Aude,” Collomb tweeted.

Shortly afterwards, President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement saying he was “deeply moved” to learn of the officer’s death from his injuries.

Beltrame was left fighting for his life after he was shot in the throat at the end of a four-hour supermarket siege in the sleepy town of Trèbes near Carcassonne in southern France on Friday.

The gendarme had volunteered to take the place of a female hostage being held by gunman Radouane Lakdim, who had gunned down a member of staff and a customer at the store, after shouting his allegiance to Islamic State. Earlier, the 25-year-old had hijacked a car, shooting and seriously injuring the driver and killing the passenger, and had shot at a group of CRS playing football.

Beltrame’s death bring the total number of those killed to four; fifteen others were injured, at least one critically.

“In offering himself as a hostage to the terrorist hiding in the supermarket in Trèbes, Lieutenant-Colonel Beltrame saved the life of a civilian hostage, and showed exceptional courage and self-sacrifice,” Macron wrote.

He said the hero officer had shown “exceptional sang froid” and demonstrated the finest “military virtues” that merited the “respect and admiration of the entire nation”.

Beltrame, 44, of the Aude Gendarmerie, originated from Brittany, in western France, and had a distinguished career earning distinctions, commendations and military honours at every step.

He graduated from France’s elite military college Saint-Cyr in 1999 with special praise for his “resolutely offensive spirit when faced with adversity”. His superior officers noted that he was prepared to “fight to the end and never give up”.

From Saint-Cyr, Beltrame underwent training for the gendarmerie, including for the special intervention unit the elite GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), whose missions include counter-terrorism and hostage rescue.

He earned the military cross in 2007 following a two year posting to Iraq, and later spent four years as part of the Garde Républicaine protecting the Elysée Palace before becoming a special advisor to the secretary general of France’s ecology ministry. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 2016.

“Lieutenant-colonel Arnaud Beltrame died serving the country to which he had already given so much. In giving his life to bring to an end the murderous actions of a jihadist terrorist, he has fallen a hero,” Macron added.

After offering himself for the hostage swap on Friday, Beltrame left his mobile telephone line open, enabling police and special forces outside the supermarket to hear what was going on. When they heard shots, they stormed the store, killing Lakdim, and finding the Lt-Col gravely injured.

Beltrame was flown to hospital by helicopter where he died of his injuries early on Saturday morning.
March 24, 2018 07:29:37by

Winx: Australian champion sets world record of 17 Group One wins

Winx: Australian champion sets world record of 17 Group One wins

Australian champion mare Winx has set a world record of 17 wins at flat racing's Group One level with victory in the George Ryder Stakes in Sydney.

The Chris Waller-trained six-year-old, who was ridden by Hugh Bowman, is now unbeaten in 24 races over the past three years.

Victory at Rosehill saw Winx eclipse the previous record of 16 wins set by American horse John Henry in 1984.

It is hoped she may race in Europe, possibly at Royal Ascot, this summer.
March 24, 2018 08:00:20by

Elena Ferrante: ‘Dreaming of a return to the past is a denial of youth’

Elena Ferrante: ‘Dreaming of a return to the past is a denial of youth’

I very much like recognising myself in my daughters and, at the same time, feeling that they do their utmost to be different from me. Even when this attitude makes me angry, it seems positive. Not a day goes by when they don’t tell me, more or less subtly, that I belong to the past. Not a day goes by when they don’t point out that what I say is banal and out of touch with the present, which is their area of expertise. Not a day goes by when they don’t find a way to pit their intelligence against mine, and the aim is always the same: to let me know that I should keep quiet. Not to mention that whenever I have trouble with the computer or some other electronic device, they intervene to remind me that I am of the era of the fountain pen and the pay phone.

I look at them and, sometimes with satisfaction, sometimes with alarm, see myself in their bodies, in their tone of voice. Bits of me appear for a few seconds, and I barely have time to recognise them, as when, in a page you’ve just written, you see flashes of the literary tradition behind you. They naturally don’t notice, and that’s good. I hope they have as much time as possible to declare themselves miraculously new and set about teaching me a thing or two. I, too, felt different from my mother and pushed out her generation to make room for mine. The cruelty of the latest arrivals, when they feel they’re the first to come into the world, is necessary.

I greatly fear the generations who don’t proudly leave their parents behind. But I’m also frightened by those who, at 20, leave their parents behind to embrace the mores of grandparents and great-grandparents. I don’t understand the young people who would replace the world of today with a golden age when everyone knew their place, that is, in an order based on sexist and racist hierarchies. Sometimes, especially when they declare themselves fascists, they don’t even seem like young people, and I tend to treat them even more harshly than the old people who inspired them. Dreaming of a return to the past is a denial of youth, and it grieves me to discover that young women, too, dream those dreams.

I love young people who fight to give their time a new form and demand a better life for the entire human race. I hope my daughters stay that way for a long time. Then – it’s in the natural order of things – as they get older they’ll find me within themselves, discovering physical details, flashes of personality, thoughts, and will learn to welcome me, make room for me. As happened with my mother and me, they’ll discover that, even admitting they’re partly me, they’ll continue to be themselves. In fact they’ll be themselves more fully, with greater autonomy.

• Translated by Ann Goldstein
March 24, 2018 07:29:40by

Lewis Hamilton on pole in Australian Grand Prix as Valtteri Bottas crashes

Lewis Hamilton on pole in Australian Grand Prix as Valtteri Bottas crashes

Lewis Hamilton pulled out a spectacular last-ditch lap to take a stunning pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The world champion was nip and tuck with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen until the final runs of the session only for Hamilton re-set perceptions of the possible to take pole by a massive 0.664 seconds.

Vettel was pipped to second by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by just 0.01secs, with the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo fourth and fifth.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas crashed at the start of final qualifying and will start 10th at best.

Hamilton said: "You would think that with the results we had these years it would feel the norm but it doesn't. It's so intense. I am so happy with that lap. I am always striving for perfection and that was as close as I can get."

So does anyone else have a chance?

Vettel, expected to be Hamilton's closest rival for the title again this year, said he was "happy" with his performance after struggling in Friday practice.

"It was really close," he said. "Shame Lewis had quite a big gap at the end but I guess he did another pretty good lap."

Ricciardo has a three-place grid penalty for a driving infringement in practice, which will promote the Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean to fifth and sixth places, and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg to seventh.

Disappointment for McLaren

There was disappointment for McLaren, who failed to get into final qualifying after looking like they might end up as best of the rest after the big three.

Fernando Alonso was seventh after the first runs in second qualifying and looked on course to compete with Renault's Carlos Sainz for seventh. But he made a mistake on his final lap and ended up 11th, leapfrogged as others improved.

More to follow