Articles on this Page
- 07/12/18--23:32: _Elizabeth Taylor’s ...
- 07/13/18--00:40: _Can you still take ...
- 07/13/18--01:22: _Oh, now there might...
- 07/13/18--01:50: _Five signs you’re d...
- 07/13/18--01:59: _Being conceived in ...
- 07/13/18--02:23: _Juno Calypso stayed...
- 07/13/18--03:00: _Dissociation disord...
- 07/13/18--03:34: _Why do you get horn...
- 07/13/18--03:37: _Is it possible to m...
- 07/13/18--05:32: _Nando’s is offering...
- 07/13/18--05:39: _A mum wants to chan...
- 07/13/18--05:50: _Women with learning...
- 07/13/18--07:41: _John Lewis is going...
- 07/13/18--08:31: _Anna Wintour is the...
- 07/13/18--08:39: _Woman’s father-in-l...
- 07/13/18--15:34: _Here’s how to keep ...
- 07/13/18--16:01: _The most unbelievab...
- 07/13/18--23:00: _Without sharks the ...
- 07/14/18--00:10: _Guys, stop trying t...
- 07/14/18--00:16: _A mum has transform...
- 07/12/18--23:32: Elizabeth Taylor’s mansion has gone on sale for a cool £12 million
- 07/13/18--00:40: Can you still take part in BDSM when you’re pregnant?
- 07/13/18--01:22: Oh, now there might be a pea shortage
- 07/13/18--01:50: Five signs you’re dating a ‘woke f***boy’
- 07/13/18--03:34: Why do you get hornier in the summer?
- 07/13/18--03:37: Is it possible to masturbate too much?
- 07/13/18--08:31: Anna Wintour is the inspiration behind the Nike x Vogue collection
- 07/13/18--08:39: Woman’s father-in-law walks in while she’s masturbating
- 07/13/18--15:34: Here’s how to keep your garden looking great with minimum effort
- 07/13/18--16:01: The most unbelievable music festival stages
- 07/13/18--23:00: Without sharks the world’s oceans are ruined
- 07/14/18--00:10: Guys, stop trying to sell Frida Kahlo
- 07/14/18--00:16: A mum has transformed her bathroom into an abandoned asylum
Living like a rock star is hugely overrated (some of them look like they need a good shower, let’s be honest). Nah, it’s all about living like a movie star.
Given that Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most iconic in Hollywood, it’d only be natural to want to emulate her.
Now a select few will be able to live that dream, as the home that Elizabeth lived in during the 1950s has gone on sale for $15.9 million (£12 million).
The Beverly Hills property has six bedrooms, four fireplaces, a library, a sauna, an art studio, and an internal atrium.
It was bought by Taylor’s second husband Michael Wilding in 1952, then transferred to her in 1956, eventually being sold in 1957.
It’s the first time it’s been on the market in 21 years, and the current owners purchased it for just $2 million (£1.5 million) – although they have since done it up.
While the starlet lived in the house, she was in her heyday, and loved to arrive fashionably late, even to her own parties.
After guests had been there an hour, a moving wall would reveal Taylor to the party. If that isn’t the most diva thing you’ve ever heard…
The 7,761 is very Cali with its own pool, and certainly has a Hollywood glamour feel when it comes to decoration.
The 90-year-old owner is selling to downsize, and agent Joyce Rey hopes that the Taylor effect will help sell the property, telling Mansion Global, ‘People love to have a house with Hollywood history.’
Elizabeth Taylor's mansion has gone on sale for a cool $15 millionElizabeth Taylor's mansion has gone on sale for a cool $15 millionjessicacvlFor the first time in 21 years, a Beverly Hills estate formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor hit the market Tuesday with a price tag worthy of the glamour-loving actress: $15.9 millionFor the first time in 21 years, a Beverly Hills estate formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor hit the market Tuesday with a price tag worthy of the glamour-loving actress: $15.9 millionFor the first time in 21 years, a Beverly Hills estate formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor hit the market Tuesday with a price tag worthy of the glamour-loving actress: $15.9 millionFor the first time in 21 years, a Beverly Hills estate formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor hit the market Tuesday with a price tag worthy of the glamour-loving actress: $15.9 millionFor the first time in 21 years, a Beverly Hills estate formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor hit the market Tuesday with a price tag worthy of the glamour-loving actress: $15.9 million
Some people feel uneasy at the thought of having intercourse while pregnant – but experts say that no, you won’t hurt your foetus or baby during coitus. Sex is possible, and even encouraged, during term.
Easing pain, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, and bettering your baby (by exposing it to fewer stress hormones) are all benefits of having sex while pregnant.
But what about certain fetishes? Will your sexual preferences have to take a break for nine months? Will whips and handcuffs have to be packed away and placed on the back burner during a pregnancy?
In the frivolous but well known film Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia Steele is pictured wearing a tight corset. She’s also pregnant. For many, the scene was a shock. And while there are a string of issues and misconceptions about BDSM illustrated in the film franchise, this scene did bring up important questions surrounding the health and safety precautions during BDSM scenes.
Because, after all, kinksters do get pregnant.
Pregnancy, whether you’re kinky or not, shouldn’t get rid of your sex life and it definitely doesn’t have to pause your participation in scenes.
Like the basic foundations of any type of scene – heavy or light activities – communication, trust, and understanding are all essential foundational guidelines of BDSM 101.
Metro.co.uk asked Raquel Botelho, or The Millionaire Sexpert (whose podcast launches soon), for her advice on BDSM and pregnancy. She tells us that a pregnant woman can slowly continue what she was practicing before she was pregnant into her term.
Of course, light BDSM is recommended over the heavy stuff for a pregnant person (if they are the sub). It’s important to note that absolutely no rope or tight constraints should be around the abdominal area.
‘If she can endure anything else that’s not causing her stress than go for it,’ advises Raquel. ‘For instance spanking, humiliation, novelty play etc.’
Worship, foot fetish, safe sex play, nipple clamps, spanking on the face or buttocks, and flogging are all great types of BDSM. If the pregnant person is the dom, then any activity that isn’t too strenuous on the body can be easily practised.
Intense BDSM would include restrictions around the neck, or stomach, which can affect breathing or confine the stomach too tightly. Pain can be pleasure, but when a foetus is involved, all passageways should be open and breathable and the stomach should be free of any rope or bondage.
To accommodate the baby belly, the dom should realize that there may be a difference in pain threshold. Some sex positions may be more uncomfortable – for example, staying in a position for too long, especially if one is tied up, can become painful.
This is why establishing guidelines is pertinent, as things may change from when a couple originally participated in scenes pre-baby bump.
Swelling of the ankles or wrists happens during pregnancy, so bondage around these areas should be monitored. The most important aspects of establishing guidelines between you and your partner are boundaries, safe words, and the importance of reinforcing empowerment. If the pregnant person is the sub, then their partner should support their decision in whatever environment they find comfortable.
Pregnancy will vary what a couple can do as the body changes.
For example, nipple clamps seem harmless enough, but for a pregnant person this type of play can be incredibly painful. The breasts become very sensitive, especially during the third trimester, which can make clamps unneccessary.
Nipple stimulation is also known to induce labor which is why it is discouraged for pregnant people who are between 34 to 39 weeks pregnant. Dr. Corey Babb, an OBGYN and Professor at Oklahoma State University tells us: ‘Aggressive nipple play should be avoided, as nipple stimulation can cause the release of oxytocin, a contraction-causing hormone, from the brain.’
But this isn’t an umbrella rule for everyone. For other people with breasts, nipple clamps are even more pleasurable than before.
Being cautious with breast play is important and it’s recommended to test out one clamp at a time. If you’re 39 weeks pregnant and looking for that induction, clamp on those nipple accessories and pack your hospital bag.
‘We always establish a safe word,’ says Amber* a pregnant woman who practises light BDSM. ‘That’s always been something that we have incorporated into sexual relationship though, pregnant or not.’
Amber and her partner have been together five years and are four months into their pregnancy. She tells us that she made sure to discuss her preferences with a physician when she found out she was pregnant.
‘We have never been into extreme impact play, but I was worried about light asphyxiation or tight corsets being a problem,’ she tells us. ‘Before [my pregnancy] we never worried about it – anything was game.
‘But now, we have to have conversations about what is introduced into the bedroom and honestly, it’s made us much closer sexually. ‘
Dr. Babb tells us: ‘Consent and discussion about planned activities are honestly the most important things a partner can do during a scene. Taking breaks, and being flexible with activities if they’re too painful or restraining goes a long way in ensuring safety for the pregnant partner.’
When asked if a person should let their doctor know about their BDSM practises, Raquel Botelho says: ‘Absolutely. A pregnant woman should be honest with her health care provider with the kind of play she is consensually engaging in.’
She explains, ‘It’s important to have a connection with a health care provider who is aware of what BDSM is and how fun, safe, exciting, healthy, and fulfilling it can be for a pregnant woman to engage in with the right partner.’
‘The vast majority of providers out there won’t have a clue about BDSM practices during pregnancy, as there are currently no official guidelines from speciality societies (such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists),’ adds Dr Babb. ‘The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom website does have a listing of Kink Aware and Kink Friendly providers, so that can be a good source of information for pregnant women wanting to learn more.’
Botelho also advises that the couple should be educated in BDSM protocol. As pregnancy ‘alters a woman’s body temperature, scent can become very sensitive, as well as emotions’.
‘I’d suggest she only play with a long term partner who has earned her trust as a sub/bottom so she knows she and her unborn child will be safe no matter how deep they get into the scene,’ explains Botelho. ‘Her partner should be well educated in the intricacies of BDSM play and practise safe, sane, and consensual power exchange.’
Dr. Babb adds: ‘Pregnant women, especially ones close to delivery, have a different center of gravity, so keeping the floor free of anything that might cause tripping or stumbling is a good idea.’ He also says that lying face down, the insertion of objects not intended for sexual activity, and erotic asphyxiation should all be avoided during pregnancy.
Both partners in the scene should also be knowledgeable of CPR, First Aid, as well as understanding room temperature, hydration, and understanding body language.
If you and your partner have been uusing BDSM into your sex lives before your pregnancy, these should be the foundation of each scene. Safety precautions are a top priority. Setting limits for one another, which include a hard limit (absolutely ‘no’) or soft limit (flexible), should be decided and discussed before any scene.
This is especially important for pregnant couples, and ‘hard limits’ should be understood fully by everyone involved.
Botelho explains that when a sub gets in their sub space, it can be ‘difficult for the sub/slave to communicate discomfort.’ Sub space is when a bottom or sub experiences an emotional and psychological response due to adrenaline and endorphins. Extreme euphoria, loss of speech and control, are all signs of sub space.
This is why safe words are so crucial. For some people in BDSM, the traffic light system is the basic form of communication. ‘Yellow’ means slow down, ‘Red’ means stop, and ‘green’ means keep going. Since ‘no’ or ‘stop’ may be used in a role-play scenario, the traffic light lingo can be a strong option. The dom should always check in with the sub to ensure that everything is going well.
After a scene, aftercare for both the dom and the sub are important and can be utilized physically by taking a bath or shower together, wrapping a blanket around the sub, refueling with food and water, and giving a massage. Emotional aftercare includes expressing emotions, talking about what you liked or didn’t like, cuddling, and talking intimately.
If a pregnant person is very experienced with impact play, light sensual play will have to be a substitute for the time being. But this doesn’t mean a scene has to be limited.
‘Light sensual play can consist of a wide array of experience ranging from and not limited to physical sensory play, tactile sensation play, olfactory play, light bondage (being aware of acupressure points and health issues prior to engaging in play), psycho dramatic/mental play, role playing, teasing and denial, and the list goes on,’ says Botelho.
In short, bondage and BDSM are acceptable during pregnancy, as long as it’s a subdued version of your previous activities.
More attention, more communication, and more silk, less rope, are advised when practicing kink while pregnant. Being pregnant means you’re going to have to adapt — in all parts of your life — and your sex life may be one of those things. Incorporating softer materials, avoiding hard smacking or flogging on the stomach, and eliminating any intense BDSM (fire, electro, air restriction) are all recommended during your nine months.
If you’re the sub, focus on your body and listen to what feels comfortable. Make sure that the dom understands what is completely off limits, and never confines the face, neck, or stomach.
Don’t ignore warning signs where you may feel light headed, intense discomfort or sensations that are bothersome. And remember to communicate, check in with one another, and create a safe word — whether you’re practicing BDSM or not.
For all my kinksters, don’t let your whips collect dust. Because being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t keep having fun.
*names have been changed.
Metro IllusrationMetro Illusrationellencscott**ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Reasons why I don’t like receiving oral sex (Almara Abgarian)The effect of breast cancer on sex life Bed couple sex relationships girl boy man woman Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk
We’re having a tough time when it comes to food.
First there were reports of halloumi shortage (but don’t panic, halloumi still appears to be in good supply). Then there was the crumpet crisis (since resolved). We’ve struggled with fizzy drinks, beer, and crisps.
Now, it’s time to give peas a chance at the shortage hype.
The heatwave we’re experiencing may limit the amount of peas we can produce, thanks to a lack of water and ideal conditions for bugs that attack pea pods, such as peat moths and bruchid beetles.
That’s according to Franek Smith, president of the British Edible Pulses Association (yep, that’s a thing), who said: ‘Peas have only just formed so stopping growth means fewer and smaller peas.
‘The number of pods is also reduced as top flowers have aborted production due to weather.
Stephen Francis, Managing Director of Fen Peas, told The Grocer: ‘It’s too late to rescue a lot of our peas, they overexerted themselves searching for water.
‘All our locations are harvesting below average.’
Most pulse growers have had little rain for the last six weeks, and BEPA reports that soil in many places has gone from holding 98% of its water capacity to significantly less than 10%
That means smaller peas and fewer peas. Devastating.
Shockingly, we’re not as bummed about this as we were about the beer and crumpets.
Pulse-lovers shouldn’t panic too much, though. The arrival of Storm Chris should give fields of peas a good load of water, which will help, and smaller garden peas and petit pois are still doing fine, as they thrive in the heat.
A quick check around the supermarkets shows no shortage of fresh or frozen peas just yet, but if you do notice stocks dropping, you can continue to rely on the far superior petit pois.
The British Edible Pulses Association isn’t stressing out yet, as they still have high hopes for new crops of peas. Everyone remain calm and peas-ful.
Sex positivity is a glorious thing.
As long as it’s consensual, the number of partners you have or the kinks you choose to engage in are your prerogative and you shouldn’t be shamed for them.
But not everyone who appears to embrace the movement is truly respectful and free-thinking.
Beware of the woke f***boy: A particular type of man who espouses sex positivity to take advantage of women.
A woke f***boy is the one who encourages women to take charge of their sexuality… but will still refuse to date a woman based on her body count.
He’ll try to weasel his way into bed with you by reminding you that sex is no big deal and there’s no shame in it… despite neither of those things being the reason you’re not keen on having sex with him.
He’ll loudly proclaim that he loves going down on women, but expects all the applause for going down and slobbering around for thirty seconds.
He’ll be keen to try out everything he sees in porn, and make you feel like an old fuddy-duddy for not being up for it.
Woke f***boys know what they’re supposed to think and say, and they’ll use that knowledge to their advantage.
Here are five signs you’re dating a woke f**boy.
He sends you unsolicited dick picks
Sex positivity is often about celebrating your body and many advocates choose to do this through photography, taking sexy snaps and sharing them on blogs, Tumblr or with the #NSFW hashtag on Twitter.
While this is all well and good, watch out for ‘woke’ f**boys who send you unsolicited dick pics.
They’re not celebrating their bodies, they’re simply violating your consent. If someone doesn’t ask for your permission before sending photos of their genitalia, they’re not sex positive, they’re a f***boy.
He pressures you to be kinky
Off the back of Fifty Shades of Grey, it feels like everyone’s kinky these days and if you’re not, you’re ‘vanilla’ – an insult on par with being unadventurous or boring.
But if being cuffed, whipped or spanked isn’t your thing, tell your partner.
Not every fantasy needs to be lived out and if your partner keeps pressuring you, he’s not being kinky or sex positive, he’s just being disrespectful.
He says he’s poly and makes you feel stuffy for not going along with it
Many people have happy healthy polyamorous relationships. However, polyamory only works if both parties are equally on board.
If your partner suddenly announces that he’s polyamorous and simply expects you to accept it, he’s not being woke or sex positive, he’s simply imposing his will onto you.
He’s probably thinking along the lines of, ‘Why cheat when I can just be poly?’, but unlike cheating, polyamory is a two-way street.
Don’t go along with it to try to please him or be progressive. There is nothing progressive about letting a man set the terms of your relationship.
He invades your personal space
Even the horniest most sex positive people still have personal space boundaries, but a ‘woke’ f**boy is unlikely to respect these.
He will invade your personal space and probably try to touch or grope you, while expecting you to be cool with it because you’re both sex positive.
If your partner is truly sex positive, he will ensure you’re open and receptive before he makes any kind of move.
His dirty talk makes you uncomfortable
Dirty talk can make sex more exciting, but it can also take different forms. If your ‘woke’ partner starts talking to you in what you feel is a degrading or insulting way in the bedroom, don’t try to go along with it because you feel you should be ‘sex positive’ and embrace his kinks.
Draw the line between what you find acceptable and what isn’t.
***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Why do we go for f*ckboys?***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Why do we go for f*ckboys?zoemaywriter
Babies who are conceived during winter are less likely to become obese in adulthood, according to a recent study.
The study, which was published in Nature Medicine, scientists from ETH university in Zurich claims that men who spend time in low temperatures before they have sex have more brown adipose tissue in their sperm (Mmm brown adipose tissue – so hot).
The brown adipose tissue (try saying that three times fast) can then be passed on to what eventually becomes a baby. And when that baby grows up, because of the brown adipose tissue (why can’t I stop saying brown adipose tissue?) it is less likely to become obese.
During the study the researches analysed 8,400 adult patients. They found that people born between July and November in the therefore conceived during the chilly period had a lot more brown fat than people born between January and June – and thus conceived in the warmer part of the year.
They then did a similar study but with mice instead of people. They made some mice quite cold (sorry micey) and left the others at an ambient temperature, then encouraged them to bone. The temperature of the lady rats did not affect brown fat levels, the males kept in a cool environment (again, sorry about that) for several days produced rat babies with more brown fat than the others.
Tl;dr if you want your child to be able to eat several big Macs a day and still shop at Topshop, your best best is to get knocked up in mid-January, and maybe make your Baby Daddy teabag the freezer beforehand*.
*Do not actually do this. Remember the time you got your tongue stuck to a frozen stop sign?
ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Things to keep first time mums occupied during labour (Alice Wright)ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Things to keep first time mums occupied during labour (Alice Wright)rebeccacnreidpregnant, pregnancy, labour, hospital, delivery room, birthTummies bloat and change size - get used to it
There are moments in life when the world can seem unreal.
Standing alone in an empty supermarket, walking in deserted city streets, lying in bed and listening to rainfall tap on your window. Those moments when you feel like there’s something lurking behind the thin translucent silk of reality, something that you can’t quite grasp. Those moments where you feel as if something important, or insidious, is swimming somewhere just behind your eyes.
It’s a similar feeling that you get when looking at the work of Juno Calypso, the 29 year old East London artist causing a trembling in the photography world with her uniquely dark, overtly sexual self portraits.
If you’ve never seen them before, imagine Stanley Kubrick at his most insidious and hallucinogenic deciding to create a life sized Polly Pocket installation.
‘For the last six years I’ve been photographing myself as this character, some people call her Joyce,’ Juno tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I always work alone.
‘I like travelling to strange locations with unusual interiors to take pictures and make films of myself as this funny character – it’s like a private performance for the camera, which becomes very public when I put it online or in a gallery.’
And her latest collection, What To Do With A Million Years, takes working alone in strange locations to new heights (or depths), as Juno had to travel by herself to stay in a Cold War era bunker, 26 feet underneath Las Vegas, built by the retired CEO of cosmetics giant Avon.
‘This wasn’t an ordinary bunker though, they lived down there full time,’ explains Juno. ‘So it has a swimming pool, guest house, dance-floor, barbecue, plus an artificial garden surrounding the house with lights that can switch from dawn to daylight to dusk.
‘The original owners both passed away from natural causes, but the house has been kept intact in its original form ever since. It’s now owned by a mystery group with an interest in cryonics and immortality.’
The intimate, haunting photos do justice to the time spent in isolation. Looking at the collection feels like a glimpse behind the curtain of someone having a beautiful breakdown.
‘Visually, I want to make stunning, surreal imagery,’ Juno tells us. ‘I don’t want reality – I want fantasy. But the mood is very common, very relatable.
‘Disappointment is such an intense, lonely, sinking feeling. It can expand inside your body like a sad balloon. I guess I’m using my sense of humour to burst those balloons.’
Looking at What To Do With A Million Years evokes similar feelings to Juno’s previous exhibition, The Honeymoon, in that it deftly mixes striking visual imagery with a droll undertone all while incorporating a metric tonne of millennial pink. I wonder how she feels she as a person, and her art, has progressed over the years?
‘The Honeymoon was a couple years after uni – I was lost, depressed and uninspired, like most art graduates are,’ explains Juno. ‘Going off and doing that honeymoon project was my antidepressant, as well as taking actual antidepressants.
‘That was when I really found my style. The honeymoon was still a bit kitsch but people also found it very creepy, I think it was when I found my holy trinity of moods: funny, erotic, terrifying, all at the same time.’
A lot of modern artists can quickly become stereotyped or passe within the space of a few months because of the relentless rinse and repeat cycle of trend spotting and incessant desire to find something fresh.
That, coupled with ever dwindling attention spans and wafer-thin loyalty mean that many artists feel pressured to reinvent themselves continuously to stay alive.
‘I don’t feel that pressure because I’m just fulfilling my own aesthetic desires at the moment,’ counters Juno. ‘Certain colour palettes and symmetrical compositions just hit the spot for me, so I’m chasing that style for my own satisfaction.
‘It’s also quite a common taste at the moment, that Wes Anderson, dusty pink, David Lynch look. But I’m still so early in my career in art years so I want to experiment.’
One key element of Juno’s work is her focus on the feminine form, and how that wrestles with its own mortality. There’s a repeated use of objects classically associated with feminine beauty, such as mirrors, lingerie and wigs, mixed with cold, featureless face masks that juxtaposes a traditional, almost 1950s-esque form of femininity with a dystopian future vision.
‘At the start I concentrated specifically on the feminist critique of beauty culture – it’s something that I had a lot of experience in, something that caused me a lot of angst growing up,’ Juno elaborates.
‘I read every feminist text on beauty and the body, and the self-portraits I made after that were like a silent montage of that research and personal experience.
‘It’s a very relatable topic for both men and women: that disappointment in yourself, that desire for the perfect self.
She adds: ‘I don’t like it when people look at it and feel the need to tell me there are worse issues for women. It’s as if artists have to reveal their deepest trauma in order to be taken seriously.’
In a modern art world that can seem stale and repetitive, even in its attempts to shock and surprise, it’s refreshing to see an artist that’s still innovative and daring, while remaining accessible enough for the Instagram generation.
And like her work, she still remains unpretentious about it all: ‘I’d like to be remembered as a depressed person who did their best.’
Rosemary's-Room-2018-72dpiRosemary's-Room-2018-72dpitomusher87juno calypsojuno calypso
When talking about mental illnesses, it’s not often the words ‘dissociation disorder’ come up.
Earlier this week, Louise Thompson of Made In Chelsea fame told The Times that she would ‘dissociate from the world’ after developing chronic anxiety following a break-up.Scary and unpredictable: what is dissociation and what does it feel like?
Dissociation disorders can take all different shapes and sizes. You could be repeatedly having feelings that you’re watching yourself – like in a movie – or sense that things around you aren’t real.
Imagine you’ve set off for work on your morning commute. You’d expect to remember most of your journey, right? However, people with dissociative amnesia cannot recall events taking place or remember information about themselves or the things that have happened in their life.
This was my first understanding of my disorder. I was 26 and was going through severe depression following the breakdown of my marriage. There would be days where I wouldn’t be able to tell you what I had done at work the day before.
I couldn’t recall memories from commuting; I know which route I took because I did it every day, but recalling the journey itself, not so much. I could only tell you what I had eaten for lunch the day before because I ate nearly the same thing every day – Coco di Mama mushroom pasta with chilli oil, if you’re interested.
I thought it was normal. I used to tell myself: ‘Well everyone has days where they can’t remember stuff’.
But it started happening every time I suffered from stress at work or in my personal life. I would become more anxious and would drink alcohol to relieve the stress, especially during social events.
It wasn’t until a year later that I realised I had such a disorder.
I had received a pretty hurtful text and was on the phone with my close friend. I felt incredibly numb after reading it, I couldn’t connect with my emotions; nothing felt real.
It was only then he said to me: ‘Oh you’re dissociating.’
He had experienced it himself.
It then got worse very quickly. I was undergoing crisis treatment for severe anxiety and depression, and started having disturbing dissociative episodes.
I would be unable to cross the road or walk downstairs without suffering from amnesia, and developed agoraphobia.
I would disconnect from my body, feel like I was floating away, and then suddenly be faced with over-sensitive limbs.
I couldn’t remember the processes behind making myself food, or even a cup of tea.
Community workers couldn’t advise me so I had to research online myself, using the NHS website and Mind.
Dissociation disorders are something that could affect anyone but there isn’t much solid data on them. One article says that they could affect between 2 to 40% of the UK population, but there’s not a lot to support or justify it.
Many professionals don’t know how to treat dissociation or don’t know how to recognise it, so it goes unchecked. It can also be a symptom of other mental illnesses such as bipolar, schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, so treatment focuses on those first, and that’s what happened to me.
The silver lining that came out of this was it inspired me to start my own invisible disabilities social change company, The Calm Room.
Connecting with peers who suffer from issues such as mine, and others who suffer from conditions I’ve never heard of, helped me regain my confidence, as well as feel like I was giving back to the community.
It might take time for dissociation disorders to become as talked about as other mental illnesses, but I’m hoping that with more people sharing their stories in the media, the condition will become more commonly understood.
Mental health series: How to look after your mental health when you get physically sickMental health series: How to look after your mental health when you get physically sickandrewbrsslyGrowing up with Depersonalisation Disorder (Vanessa via Patrick Obrien) Picture: Ph?be Lou Morson Phebe
There are few things that make me feel less sexy than feeling my sweat-drenched thighs peeling off a chair.
Apart from, perhaps, the film of sweat on my upper lip and chin. Or my swollen feet. Or the sun burn on my shoulders.
And yet, despite all the undeniably unsexy realities of summer, loads of us find ourselves feeling more frisky the second the temperature rises.
Let’s clarify this first: It’s tricky to say for certain whether people actually do have more sex in the summer than they do in the winter.
Research suggests that in southern and tropical climates, fewer babies are conceived in the hotter months, but it’s not clear whether this is because people don’t try for a baby as often when it’s hot, or if the decrease is down to a dip in the quality of sperm thanks to the heat.
In cooler climates, however, peak birth rates tend to hit in the spring, nine months after summertime… so perhaps it’s not necessarily the heat itself that makes us fancy sex, but the shake up of our usual routine: If you live in a place where the heat is oppressive and overwhelming in the summer, you might not feel particularly sexy, while Brits will get excited over even a hint of a heatwave.
There hasn’t yet been any research asking people to track the frequency of their sex depending on the temperature, sadly, so we don’t have any data to go off that isn’t to do with baby-making – which rules out all the potential summer sex that’s happening with contraception.
What we do know, though, is that our interest in sex increases in the summer.
Research has revealed that sex-related Google searches – such as searches for porn or access to sex workers – occur most frequently in the summer.
And Adam Lewis, Hot Octopuss Co-Founder, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We notice an increase in sales of our toys every summer – both those intended for solo use and those aimed at couples. Maybe it’s all the flesh on display, maybe it’s a seasonal effect on libido, but it certainly seems that when the sun shines, people feel sexier.
The reasons behind us all becoming hornier in the summer months are a mixture of socialisation, psychological factors, and the physical stuff.
Let’s start with the social side of things.
Thanks to summer breaks from school and sunny holidays, we’re conditioned to think of summer as a time to cut loose, ditch work and responsibility, and embrace our hedonistic desires. We eat mounds of ice cream, we down cocktails, and we spend our days lazing in the pub or sunning in our gardens rather than getting our hustle on.
It’s reasonable that being in that frame of mind makes us want to get more sexual, too, especially as we’re likely to be more relaxed and free of the niggling stresses that throw a bucket of cold water over our sexual desire.
Then there’s the increase in visual stimulation: When it’s hot, there’s more skin on show. Seeing potential mates stroll around in bikinis, sundresses, or jorts (sexy, sexy jorts) is bound to get us going.
Thanks to the conversation around cuffing season and summer romances, we’re also encouraged to have all the casual sex we fancy in the summer, while in colder months there’s a looming sense that any snuggly boning means you’re going to get locked into a relationship.
But there’s more going on than the joy of ice cream and skimpy clothing.
‘Summer sunshine promotes extra release of serotonin and dopamine,’ psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall tells Metro.co.uk. ‘These are two of the most energising and positive neurochemicals in the human brain.
‘For a healthy sex drive both of these chemicals need to be present in decent amounts, together with some giggles and being relaxed.’
The additional vitamin D production we experience thanks to exposing ourselves to the sun can help things along, too, as some people will experience an increase in production of oestrogen and tesosterone as a result, upping their sex drive.
Exposure to the sun can also drop melatonin levels – handy, as melatonin can block sex hormones.
Your sweat might play a role, also, as it helps us to spread our unique, seductive scent, getting potential mates aroused and attracted.
The only tricky thing is that while your sex drive may increase on a hormonal and subconscious level, the idea of having sex when it’s 30 degrees can feel nausea-inducing, meaning you’re all fired up with nowhere to go (or nowhere to come, rather). That can lead to frustration, which only gets worse when the summer’s hot and we’re all more irritable.
Our advice: Embrace your newfound horniness, do away with any insecurities about your sweat or chub rub or your salt water soaked hair (your partner’s just as susceptible to the summer sex drive boost, so they really won’t be bothered), and keep things chilled.
Don’t overexert yourself, – not even an orgasm is worth heat stroke and dehydration – make the adjustments you need to keep things cool, and don’t let your horny summer brain make you do stupid things like attempting sex in a field (think of the bug bites) or in someone’s pool.
Why does your sex drive increase in the summer?Why does your sex drive increase in the summer?ellencscottfriends
The thing about masturbation is that it’s one of the few things in life which costs no money and feels great.
So it’s not surprise that the 81% of women masturbate regularly, and 95% of men do the same.
But is there a limit to how much masturbation we should be doing? And if you wank too much, what actually happens?
In order to put our minds at rest and discover whether our favourite activity could be harmful, we spoke to Annabelle Knight, sexpert and LoveHoney brand ambassador. She told us: ‘Physically speaking the answer is pretty much no. You may feel some loss of sensation from an elongated session of self love but our bodies are miraculously equipped to recover from this rather quickly. However overly enthusiastic masturbation may result in small injuries such as a tear, if you’ve found this happening to you use lube to reduce friction, keep your fingernails filed and experiment with varying levels of pressure.’
For men there’s a small chance of developing a condition called oedema if you’re wanking a lot.
According to the NHS: ‘Masturbation is harmless, but if you do it a lot your genitals may feel sore. If men do it a lot in a short space of time, they can get a slightly alarming looking swelling of the penis, called oedema, caused by fluid in the tissues. The swelling does disappear within a day or two.’
So the likelihood of damaging your bits is quite slim, and if you do then you’re looking at a couple of days of recovery time. But what about other kinds of harm – the harm that masturbating can do to your mental health?
We all know that regardless of what they tell you at Catholic school, having a wank is not bad for your soul. But like anything else, obsessive habits can be damaging to your quality of life.
Annabelle explains: ‘Psychologically speaking you can masturbate too frequently. If masturbation starts to take over, for example If you find you’re becoming obsessed with it, it’s having a negative effect on your work or social life or if your personal relationships are becoming strained because of it. If you think you may have an addiction to masturbation visit your GP or sexual health practitioner.’
Signs you're masturbating too much
You’re causing yourself pain or discomfort
You’re skipping out on work or plans to be able to masturbate
Masturbation has started to feel like a chore
You’re scared something bad will happen if you don’t masturbate
It’s having an adverse affect on your life
It’s having an adverse affect on your relationship
Masturbation routinesMasturbation routinesrebeccacnreid****ILLUSTRATION REQUEST***** A definitive ranking of masturbation clean-up techniques(backgrounds have been changed) Credit: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk
Just recently we shared the news that Nando’s has added four new alcoholic drinks to its menu.
And now, for this weekend only, the restaurant is launching a brand new burger.
The Chakalaka Burger is available exclusively at the Nando’s Feast Your Eyes popup gallery in Notting Hill between 13 July to 15 July.
The popup gallery has been created to shine a light on original South African art, including work by Asanda Kupa, Audrey Anderson, Diana Hyslop, Emma Williams and Sebastian Borckhenhagen.
Each artist currently has works on show throughout Nando’s restaurants in the UK.
The new limited edition burger pays homage to them all.
The burger has a ‘Nando’s twist’ on a South African relish – a spicy sauce bursting with carrots, mixed peppers and onions – and is packed with Nando’s PERi-PERi chicken fillet, cheddar cheese and smokey Churrasco PERinaise, all served together in a Portuguese roll.
You’ll be able to enjoy this burger with a selection of new alcoholic beverages.
The chicken restaurant now serves a selection of new beers, cider and sparkling wine, with the new beer menu having been mapped against the PERi-ometer to match your personal spice level.
On the menu includes London’s Five Points XPA and Staffordshire’s Freedom Pils, which have been specially selected to join Nando’s choice of classic beers.
There’s also Bensons the Juicers Apple Cider, a British cider made from real apples in Gloucestershire.
According to Nando’s, it’s ‘matured for at least six months the cider is made using over 20 single varieties of cider apples all grown in the British countryside’.
Finally, if you fancy something a little bit posher, Nando’s customers can now order Portugal’s Portada Sparkling White Wine, a medium dry sparkling white wine with ‘apple and citrus notes in the aroma and taste’.
Nando?s are doing a limited edition burger available this weekend onlyNando?s are doing a limited edition burger available this weekend onlyhattiegladwellmetroNando???s are doing a limited edition burger available this weekend only Credit: NandosNando's are adding four new drinks to their menu picture: supplied
An upset mother has taken to Mumsnet to ask other users whether it’d unreasonable to change her daughter’s name in time for September.
Her daughter is four years old and is named Esmée.
The mum named her daughter at a time when she thought the name was very original – but she’s been left distraught after finding out that at the nursery her little girl is due to start at, there are two other girls with the same name.
The mother wrote: ‘DD is due to start full time education in September and there will be 2 other girls with the same name so 3 in the class including DD. Now there’s another in other DC’s class.
‘Totally hacked off and really upset by this.
‘Maybe an over reaction but in the 1970’s I was one of 5 named the same in my class and vowed never to have my DC’s live with the same. Now history is being repeated.
‘AIBU to change my DD’s name before September? I love her name but HATE it’s so common now.’
The mum added that she wants to change her daughter’s name because of her own experience at school.
She said: ‘I can remember my whole junior/secondary school time being coloured by the fact that so many of us had the same name.
‘I changed it as soon as I could because of that reason. Every time I hear my real name I shudder.’
Obviously, it’s a little bit extreme to change a child’s name simply because another person has it. If that were the case, half of the nation would be changing their names on the regular.
There’s no guarantee that her daughter would have the same experience that she did at school.
Most of the comments came from people who didn’t think the name change would be a good move – with many saying that although they can understand the mum’s upset, it would be totally ridiculous to change her daughter’s name at four years old.
One person wrote: ‘She is 4 it’s her name, who cares that other kids have it as well. What will you do when she loses touch with these other kids? Change it back?’
Another said: ‘Are you crazy! She’s 4! You can’t change her name. Your DD won’t mind being one of 3. She is her name now, it belongs to her.’
Others mentioned that not only would changing her daughter’s name be unfair, but it would also be a ‘massive pain’ for the future, constantly having to put up with extra paperwork for the rest of her life – whereas school is temporary.
What do you think? Let us know in the poll below.
Outdated perceptions about people with disabilities are affecting women’s access to cervical screenings.
Dimensions, an organisation that supports people with autism and learning disabilities, has published a new report highlighting the abysmal rates of cervical screenings for women with learning difficulties.
The #MyGPandMe report found that only 19% of women with learning disabilities have had a recent cervical screening, compared to 73% of the general population.
A cervical screening test – also known as a smear test – is used to detect abnormal cells on the cervix. Checking the health of the cervix and removing abnormal cells helps to prevent cervical cancer.
Around 3,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. Cervical cancer can affect women of all ages, but it’s most likely to develop in sexually active women between the ages of 30 and 45.
Cervical screenings are a legal right, and must be accessible for all patients who need them. Reduced access for women with learning disabilities puts their lives at risk.
Health inequality is still present in Britain. Women with learning disabilities live on average 29 years fewer than their counterparts in the general population. Men with learning disabilities are likely live 23 years fewer.
This mortality gap is a clear indicator that people with learning difficulties are not able to access the same level of healthcare as the rest of the population. Learning disabilities mean that you are more likely to experience poor health and a reduced quality of life.
Illnesses may be going untreated in people with learning disabilities due to multiple factors including difficulties in communication, a lack of appropriate training for GPs and ignorance around or an unwillingness to offer reasonable adjustments for patients who need them.
Reasonable adjustments are small changes that health professionals can make in order to give patients with different needs a better chance of being able to engage with services. They are often simple and cost-free, but make a huge difference to the people who need them.
People with autism or learning disabilities also feel 30% less likely to be listened to by their GP.
With two thirds of GPs receiving less than a single day’s training on how to meet the needs of patients with autism and learning disabilities, it’s clear that medical professionals are not adequately prepared to support and treat people with different requirements.
Amy Dissanayake, a GP in West Sussex, told Metro.co.uk: ‘These figures are really disappointing but not a great surprise. Sadly, we know there is a huge health inequality for people with learning disabilities so diseases are being diagnosed later and people are dying earlier.
‘One area which is likely to be a cause of this is that fewer people with a learning disability have their health screening, such as cervical screening.
‘There are many reasons why there is reduced uptake of tests generally – such as communication difficulties, lack of time, difficulty in organisation with carers to attend appointments, thinking they don’t apply to people with learning disabilities or it’s too complicated to arrange tests, especially for those people with challenging behaviour.
‘Cervical screening or smear tests are quite an invasive procedure. Historically, medical professionals, family and carers may have wrongly assumed that people with learning disabilities weren’t sexually active and so wouldn’t need a smear.
‘However, we advise that all women should have their screening tests.’
Amy believes that as a GP, she should make reasonable adjustments for her patients with learning disabilities so they can access healthcare in the same way as everyone else.
‘These reasonable adjustments can be allowing flexible appointment times or longer appointments, using easy read (mainly pictorial) information and ensuring all staff know how best to communicate with each patient by adding this to their notes.
‘We need to help all staff in general practice become familiar with reasonable adjustments and more training is an excellent way of doing this. It’s also vital that we support families and carers to make sure that patients can attend their appointments and that somebody who knows them well joins them.’
Dimensions currently supports 53 year old Louise, who has a mild learning disability. She had never previously had a smear test.
Louise grew up in an institution where she suffered sexual abuse, and because of her experiences, it takes a long time for her to trust people or have conversations about more intimate matters.
Dimensions spent months preparing Louise for her very first cervical screening test. She needed to understand the process and the instruments that would be used, and she also needed to choose the nurse who would perform it in order for her to feel safe.
When the day of Louise’s smear test came, it took three tries to complete the procedure. The first two attempts saw her withdraw in panic. Those around Louise didn’t put any pressure on her to try again, but simply waited until she said she was ready to have another go.
In the end, Louise’s support team pinned a picture of David Beckham to the ceiling so she could focus on her favourite celeb as a distraction tool.
Kerry, a member of Louise’s support team, said: ‘Louise had full choice and control over the process, and the timescale. We worked with the excellent surgery staff at a pace and in a way that was comfortable for her. I’m really proud, both of Louise for her courage and of her support team for the quality support we delivered.’
Dave Robinson, the Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager at Dimensions, says that he is not surprised that rates of cervical screenings are so low among women with learning disabilities.
‘Outdated cultural perceptions and expectations for people with learning disabilities are still evident within the general population. These permeate into GP practices and can drastically reduce access to screenings.
‘For example, there is an assumption within our society that women with learning disabilities aren’t sexually active. Whilst this is absolutely not the case, it is also recommended that women should have the screening if they are sexually active or not.
‘Sometimes, often out of a well-meaning sense of over protection, it can be presumed that women with learning disabilities shouldn’t or can’t have procedures that are deemed “intimate” or “invasive”.
‘Whilst it is true that some women may need help and support in deciding what is in their own best interest, it is also the case that women with learning disabilities are at exposed to the same kind of risks as other women and have a right to be kept as safe as possible.’
When asked how he would tackle the current inequality in service access that affects people with learning disabilities, Dave said that medical professionals need more training and more awareness of their responsibilities as set out by the Equality Act.
He said: ‘Part of the answer lies in engaging with GPs and other primary healthcare staff so they know that everyone with a learning disability has the right to screening services, and that they have a legal responsibility under the Equality Act to make the necessary reasonable adjustments that will make healthcare services more accessible to people with learning disabilities.
‘The process can be complicated, but we need to give GPs and their teams enough time and training to enable them to confidently communicate with women with learning disabilities, their families and supporters about how best to ensure that they have fair access to services that are right for them.
‘There are some excellent resources available to inform and support women with learning disabilities to understand procedures such as cervical screening and to help them make decisions about their care.
‘Where a woman is not able to make this choice for herself, then there is a clear process laid out within the Mental Capacity Act that will help those around her to arrive at the decision that is right for her and is in her absolute best interest.’
Dimensons also works with Betty, another women with a mild learning disability who needs support for a couple of hours each week. Betty wants to have a cervical screening, but sadly hasn’t been able to complete the procedure.
Each attempt results in her freezing in terror. An unsympathetic nurse in the past is believed to be at the root of her fear.
Betty’s support team has tried to normalise the procedure for Betty by introducing the instruments that will be used, providing easy to read documents so Betty can understand what will happen, allowing extra time for the appointment, having a trusted support team member holding Betty’s hand and instructing medical staff to take a calm, gentle approach.
Dimensions will keep trying so that Betty can have her cervical screening test.
A lack of access to cervical screenings is threatening the quality of life and longevity of patients with learning disabilities in Britain. This must change.
You can find more information about Dimensions and the work they do here.
Women with learning disabilities are missing out on vital cervical screeningsWomen with learning disabilities are missing out on vital cervical screeningshpwilliamson4.1.1How do NHS staff protect their physical and mental health picture: Getty ImagesHow do NHS staff protect their physical and mental health picture: Getty Images
It is a truth universally acknowledged that whoever you’re sharing it with, a tin of Quality street will always have one type of chocolate left over that nobody wants.
There’ll also be one super popular option that gets snatched up too quickly.
That reality is responsible for our dreams of being able to customise a tin to only include mass numbers of the chocolate we want.
Those dreams are now coming true.
From September until Christms John Lewis will partner with Quality Street to offer people the option to customise their tins with their own selection of Quality Street pick ‘n’ mix.
That means you can fill a tin up with the perfect ratio of toffee pennies and strawberry creams, and leave out the coconut eclair entirely.
The pick ‘n’ mix will be arriving in selected John Lewis stores across the country (sadly, we don’t know which ones yet, but we’ll update this article when we do), along with an exclusive collector’s edition tin. Fancy.
A 1.2kg personalised tin will cost £12.
If you want to get really personal, you’ll be able to head along to the John Lewis on Oxford Street to personalise the street name on your tin, so you can change it to your own name, the street you live on, or a rude combo of letters that you can slip past store staff.
It’s all very exciting, and will mean we’ll no longer leave one sad Quality Street chocolate in the tin, to be eaten only in the saddest depths of hunger and chocolate cravings.
quality street john lewisquality street john lewisellencscott
The queen of high fashion has given trainers the seal of approval.
The classic Nike Air Jordan silhouette, beloved by sneaker-heads worldwide, will now be inextricably linked to the world of high fashion through a new collaboration with Vogue and Anna Wintour.
Wintour, the long-term editor-in-chief of American Vogue, is the influence behind Nike’s first ever Air Jordan collection for women.
The capsule collection features four designs, all with the recognisable high-top shape, and all inspired by the style and aesthetic of the formidable Vogue editor.
The two ‘AJI Zip AWOK’ styles come in leather and are available in flamboyant ‘University Red’ or white ‘Sail’.
They are accompanied by the ‘AJ3 AWOK’ designs, which are a little bit more extra.
They come in black and red plaid, as a nod to Anna Wintour’s distinctive personal style. Her penchant for sunglasses and tweed suits (Chanel obviously, darling) is celebrated in these sneakers, allowing every fashion forward sneaker-lover to channel a little bit of the Vogue editor’s magic.
Each pair of shoe also bears the slogan ‘AWOK’ or Anna Wintour Okay’ on the sole or heel and comes with an ‘Edited by Vogue’ label.
On Instagram, Vogue said: ‘ Every Vogue editor remembers their first AWOK, the little acronym (short for Anna Wintour Okay) scrawled on each print page by our inimitable editor in chief. It is the ultimate sign of approval in this office and the wider fashion world’.
Since the Air Jordans bear Anna Wintour’s seal of approval, their fashion credentials must be solid.
The Nike x Vogue collection will be available on 21st July.
Anna Wintour Air JordansAnna Wintour Air JordanshpwilliamsonAnna Wintour Air Jordans Credit: Nike/AWOKAnna Wintour Air Jordans Credit: Nike/AWOKAnna Wintour Air Jordans Credit: Nike/AWOK
If you think you’re having a bad day, you’re about to get a reality check. Because a dull day at work has nothing on this woman’s trauma.
A Mumsnet user took to the parenting website to share the embarrassing anecdote in a now deleted thread.
She writes that she was lying on the sofa watching porn on her phone with headphones on – because her home’s walls are ‘paper thin’ (her kids were all out) – when her father in law let himself in (something he hadn’t been encouraged to do).
He of course saw everything.
The woman went on to explain that she had been in tears for much of the day and was utterly mortified.
One user commented ‘serves him right for letting himself in.’ Others questioned why she was masturbating downstairs but agreed that it would teach her father-in-law to respect boundaries.
Unsurprisingly there’s not a lot of guidance out there for what to do if your parent-in-law catches you in the middle of a self-love session on the sofa.
However, when we spoke to parenting expert Siobhan Freegard about how to handle your kids walking in on you having sex (bit different but still deeply embarrassing) she told us: ‘Remember no matter how embarrassed you feel when you get caught out, it’s great you’re still in a loving relationship and having sex together.’
If you employ the same logic, hopefully the woman in question’s father-in-law is the kind of reasonable adult who understands that masturbation is a normal and healthy part of life, and that she was just making the most of having a child-free house.
Our advice? A brief text to the father-in-law saying ‘Sorry about the mix up earlier, probably best to use the doorbell in future! See you soon.’ And then never, ever speaking of it again.
Masturbation routinesMasturbation routinesrebeccacnreid(backgrounds have been changed) Credit: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk
Summer’s in full swing
That means it’s the time for BBQs, garden parties, digging ice cream out of the freezer and enjoying it out in the sun.
That can take its toll on your outdoor space. But it doesn’t have to.
B&Q is here to help you make sure your garden stays looking great with minimal time and effort, meaning your outdoor space will stay looking fresh all year long.
Here’s how to make a big impact with no fuss.
Keep your fences and furniture looking fresh
A lick of paint on your fences and furniture will help keep your garden looking bright and inviting all summer long. Pick coordinating shades, stick to one colour, or choose an accent piece – a portion of your fence, or one piece of outdoor seating – to make your garden shine.
Just make sure you choose a paint that’ll keep your garden looking fresh all year round.
Cuprinol Garden Shades in seagrass will instantly brighten up an outdoor space with a pop of teal, and stay vibrant through any weather.
Or, if you’ve got your heart set on one colour you’ve found, try Valspar Exterior Wood and Metal Paint (from £29 at B&Q) – which can be matched to any colour you fancy.
From masonry to wood and metal, B&Q’s paint range is durable, long-lasting and easy to clean. They’re a great way to give surfaces additional protection.
Protect your decking
You’d be surprised what a difference a well-preserved deck makes, and how dreary wood can look when it’s not properly taken care of.
Give your wood a total refresh of colour and guard it from the elements throughout the summer with a coat of Ronseal Ultimate Decking Stain in Stone Grey.
Once your decking is all primed and painted, keep it clear of dirt and dust by picking out the ideal pressure washer.
Check in on your foliage
You’ve spent time planting all manner of flowers and plants, so don’t let them go to waste.
Keep an eye out for any need to prune, weed, or water.
Pick up a new Hozelock 2 in 1 Freestanding Reel and Hose (£32) or an old school watering can like the Ward Green Plastic Watering Can ( £5.18 at B&Q) to remind you to pop outside and give your plants a sprinkle. Or grab a water butt that collects rainwater (£25) – the perfect way to make the most of the UK’s temperamental weather.
Remember that different plants need different care, so it’s a wise idea to have a read of the best watering system for each part of your garden.
Keep your lawn neat
The quickest way to make your garden look a little sharper: A quick once-over with the lawnmower every few weeks.
Nothing makes a garden look neglected like overgrown grass. Get outside in the sun and speed through your trimming with a Mac Allister lawnmower.
If your garden’s looking a touch unruly, it might be time to invest in a grass trimmer or brushcutter – check out our guide to finding the right one for your garden.
Lawn looking a bit patchy? Don’t stress. Westland Aftercut (£6.91) is a lawn feed that also kills moss and weeds – it will get your garden looking glorious in the space of a week.
Trim those hedges
What’s more satisfying than cutting through all those overgrown branches?
Speed through the bulk of the task with a high-power Mac Allister Easycut hedge trimmer (£38), then shape the finer details with a pair of Verve Hedge Sheers (£13.64) and an easy-to-use Fiskars Powergear Bypass Pruner (£27).
Not sure which tool to use for the look you’re after? We’ve got you covered with a beginner’s guide.
What’s the most unbelievable music festival stage you’ve ever been to?
There must be a few you’ve partied at you thought were absolutely incredible?
The sounds, sights, layout and people just came together.
Here’s a list of some of the most unique (and good) stages we’ve seen.
Quarry at Houghton Festival
We stumbled across this gem at the first ever Houghton Festival in Norfolk, last August.
It’s built in the style of a quarry, with guests having to descend steps (or a hill) to get to the dance floor.
The ground was a bit uneven, and might get a bit muddy if it rains, but the vibe was amazing.
You can see it yourself from August 9 – 12.
Main deck on The Ark Cruise
A cruise ship is a pretty unique venue for a music festival but partying on a deck while looking out on to ocean can only be described as special.
You’ll also have a different place to explore every day with the boat stopping off at Barcelona, Sète, Ibiza and Palma.
The Ark Cruise sails from September 3 – 7 and you can book tickets here.
Nova Batida will take place across 2 venues, the LX Factory, a creative hub made up of warehouses, roof terraces, fashion outlets and bars; and Village Underground Lisboa, a former tram terminus and venue made up of old shipping containers and buses.
Other highlights include the city’s iconic beaches, surf lessons, boat parties, yoga, wellness, and street art performances.
The event takes place from 14 – 15 September – book tickets here.
The golden beaches at BPM Festival in Portugal’s Algarve
Held over four days and nights at eight distinct venues, Portugal’s Algarve region will host The BPM Festival.
It has interesting venues to party at and landscapes to admire, including towering limestone cliffs, hidden caves and grottos and golden sand beaches.
If you fancy some of that you can book here.
Castle ruins at Into the Valley
Into the Valley’s 2018 venue is the 1000-year-old Castillo Sohail in Andalusia, featuring historical castle ruins by the beach, next to the small town of Fuengirola – a remote but still accessible ocean paradise nestled in the Mediterranean coast.
We haven’t actually been there yet (because it’s the first year) but the castle sounds pretty sweet.
Book tickets here for the event that takes place from 28-30 September in Spain.
Alfandega buildings at RPMM Festival
RPMM Festival takes place at the beautiful and historic Alfandega buildings for the main festival, across a 12th century UNESCO Heritage site, as well as at various other satellite venues around Porto, in Portogal, allowing you to soak up the music as well as enjoy plenty of delights the city has to offer.
Book tickets here. for the event from July 28 – 29.
BPM17PT-NoSoloAgua-FRAME 08 - 2BPM17PT-NoSoloAgua-FRAME 08 - 2jimmynsubugaukmetro
Jaws didn’t do sharks any favours.
But in reality, they’re the misunderstood good boys of the sea.
Sharks aren’t looked upon kindly in popular culture and don’t get much sympathy in public opinion. They are widely regarded as cold-blooded killers with mean, dead little eyes, who are only satisfied when they’re ripping the legs off unsuspecting swimmers and gobbling children up whole.
However, this stereotype of sharks as evil, bloodthirsty sea monsters who love to attack human isn’t accurate.
Sharks kill approximately five humans every year, compared to horses who kill 20 and cows 22. Alligators, a prehistoric predator just like sharks, cause the deaths of 1,000 humans each year.
We each have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark.
More importantly, we really need sharks. If we care at all about the health of our oceans, sharks as a species are vital.
Sharks are the apex predators of the sea. They sit at the very top of the food chain, alongside killer whales (who routinely coax baby whales away from their mums to kill them but bizarrely are looked upon far more kindly than sharks). If the shark population dwindles, then the marine ecosystem can become dangerously unbalanced.
Sharks are necessary for keeping the populations of their prey healthy. They tend to only hunt old, injured, or sick fish, grooming or streamlining many populations of sea creatures to keep them to a size where they won’t grow too big and damage the ecosystem.
This practice of hunting sick or slow prey might sound horrible, but it prevents disease from ravaging prey populations and stops potentially devastating outbreaks. It encourages the gene pool of the prey species to strengthen, so that the strongest and healthiest fish can reproduce in greater numbers.
Sharks are considered a ‘keystone’ species. This means that if they are removed from the food chain, the whole structure could collapse.
Without sharks regulating the ecosystem underwater, vital habitats would undergo serious damage. In Hawaii, sharks have been linked to the health of sea grass beds, because they control the population of the turtles that graze on the sea grass. Without sharks eating the turtles, they were able overgraze on concentrated areas of sea grass and as a consequence, destroyed their own habitat.
According to research from the University of Western Australia, sharks are also necessary for the health of coral reefs.
Researchers found that areas of reef with healthy shark populations were where small reef fish were thriving. These small fish care for the corals, and where sharks were present in optimum numbers, the corals were recovering fasting from bleaching and flooding, ad showing a greater resistance to disease.
This is particularly important because the world’s corals are increasingly under threat, and although they cover a relatively small percentage of the ocean floor, they are vital for the health of the ocean and the health of the planet.
Unfortunately, too few people understand the importance of sharks.
A national opinion poll commissioned by the UK charity Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation recently revealed that 46% of Brits would prefer an ocean without sharks.
This is sad, but not surprising when we consider what a bad rap sharks have been getting ever since Jaws premiered in 1975.
The poor public perception of sharks is also making efforts to save the sharks difficult. People are more likely to care about the evils of the ivory trade or big game hunting, because elephants, lions, tigers, cheetahs, and so on are considered cuddlier.
Underwater, dolphin and whale conservation is prioritised above sharks because they are viewed in a more positive ways and people are more willing to donate to causes that feature them.
Sharks desperately need our support.
Although people might be frightened of sharks, humans are the real monsters here. We are killing sharks in vast numbers, murdering approximately 100 million of these fascinating and supremely well-adapted creatures every years.
Sharks are killed for shark fin soup, an expensive delicacy in parts of Asia, which can be sold for up to $100 a bowl. In China, it’s seen as a mark of status and refinement to serve shark fin soup at a wedding. Increases in wealth for the Chinese middle class has enabled more people than ever to be able to afford shark fin soup, massively increasing demand for the product and devastating shark populations.
When sharks are caught, their fins are cut off and they are throw back into the water, still alive, to bleed to death. A single shark will only create a couple of bowls of soup. The whole process is wasteful and inhumane, causing great suffering to the animal involved.
Even famously hard-bitten and sweary Chef Gordon Ramsay says: ‘[Shark finning] is the worst act of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.’
The Dalhousie University in Canada analysed life data from 62 species of sharks and found that only 4.9% of sharks can be killed each year – anything more will threaten the long term survival of species including the oceanic white tip, porbeagle and several types of hammerheads. Currently, between 6.4% and 7.9% of sharks across all species are being killed annually.
To make matters worse, sharks produce few offspring and take long periods to mature, meaning that it’s very difficult to replenish shark populations.
If we don’t protect sharks, we put the health of ocean habitats, marine life populations and the planet as a whole at risk.
To assuage the doubts of anyone who’s still not sure about sharks, we spoke to Graham Buckingham, campaign director of Bite-Back.
Hi Graham! How long have you worked with or studied sharks?
I’ve been diving with sharks for 17 years and I launched Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation in 2004.
Sharks are fascinating creatures. Can you tell us why they’re so amazing?
Sharks are the lions and the leopards of the oceans.
There are over 480 species of sharks. The largest, the whale shark, can grow to the size of a single decker London bus. The smallest, the pygmy shark, is the length of a pencil.
Sharks boast three more senses than humans — electroreceptors on their snouts (called the ampullae of Lorenzini) that help detect electricity (muscle movement) in prey, lateral lines that run down both sides of the body to help sense vibrations in the water, and pit organs, a series of hair cells located in the gills and the pectoral fins that help detect changes in water temperature and currents.
Sharks have been swimming in our oceans since before dinosaurs walked the earth and survived six mass extinctions.
How dangerous are sharks to humans?
Typically, there are no more than seven fatalities from shark encounters every year worldwide.
British cows kill as many people each year as all the sharks in the world, combined. Last year more people died from bee stings, dog bites, lightning strikes, toasters, ladders and falling vending machines.
Only three sharks have been linked to multiple (double digit) human fatalities since records began — the great white, the bull and the tiger.
We did some research recently that shows that 64% of Brits think that sharks are more terrifying than snakes, spiders and rodents combined.
We believe that the public’s fear and loathing of sharks is hindering shark conservation efforts, contributing to the demise of these majestic creatures.
How do human activities threaten sharks?
The biggest threat to shark population is industrial fishing. Global fishing fleets are catching 73 million sharks a year, that’s roughly two every second. And nature can’t keep up.
Because there are no international or European catch limits for most sharks caught in the Atlantic, Spain, France, Portugal and Britain rank in the top 25 shark fishing nations in the world.
While shark meat is cheap, shark fins – the title ingredient in shark fin soup – have recently become one of the most valuable seafood items on the planet. As a result, fishing fleets are catching sharks and only keeping the valuable parts.
In a practice known as shark finning, they bring the shark to the boat and then hack off the dorsal fin, the pectoral fins and the tail fin before throwing the still-living shark overboard to die. At Bite-Back, we describe the act as ‘the marine equivalent of killing an elephant for its tusks.’
Bite-Back is campaigning to make Britain the first country in the world to ban shark fin soup. We’re proud to be responsible for an 80% fall in the number of UK restaurants serving shark fin soup including the UK’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan.
We are also working to end the 20kg personal import allowance of shark fins to the UK.
Why do we need sharks?
Life on earth depends on sharks.
The oceans are the lungs and the larder of the planet. Healthy oceans produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe and over 150 million tonnes of protein in our diet a year. But, critically, healthy oceans need sharks.
In some parts of the world, populations of iconic sharks including the great white, hammerhead, oceanic whitetip and silky sharks have seen their numbers fall by 90% in the past 40 years.
For 450 million years, sharks have maintained law and order underwater, directly or indirectly shaping the behaviour of everything in the oceans. If we continue to kill 200,000 sharks a day worldwide, we will reach a tipping point and the fragile marine food web will collapse.
With every shark we kill, we’re tightening the stranglehold on the air we breathe and the food we eat.
You can read more about Bite-Back and the work they do here.
Shark Swimming in Kelp ForestShark Swimming in Kelp ForesthpwilliamsonA shark is swimming in the kelp forest in the sea.Silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis), gather in big schools around Roca Partida Island as part of the mating rituals, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico
We should have seen it coming, really.
She’s a beautiful, talented woman who, given that she’s been dead for the better part of a century, has little to no control over how her image is used. Of course Frida Kahlo has been hijacked by capitalism.
Instagram was recently awash with snaps of women attending a Frida Kahlo themed afternoon tea. You know afternoon tea – the one where they charge you the price of a small car for some dry sandwiches and sweet prosecco.
Now, I’m about as capitalist as they come. There’s nothing wrong with the warm rush of buying things, I mostly work in order to support my ASOS habit. But even I, with my insatiable thirst for stuff, find the co-option of Frida Kahlo’s image hard to stomach.
The Kahlo afternoon tea might well have been a wonderful experience. But realistically, do we think that Frida would have been okay with her name being used to sell people an expensive non-meal?
That’s the thing about Frida. Somewhere along the line, while they were making her into a Barbie or when she became the ‘I’m not like other girls’ Halloween costume of choice, everyone seemed to forget that Frida wasn’t just the beautiful woman with the monobrow who Selma Hayek played in the movie.
She was a politically motivated artist.
Last year Theresa May wore a Frida Kahlo bracelet to the Conservative Party conference.
Without meaning to dive into party politics too much, a woman who was so socialist she literally f**ked Trotsky probably wouldn’t have been pleased that Theresa May – not exactly a Red – was wearing her art as an accessory.
Those self-portraits were painted by a woman in terrible pain, a woman who often had to lie flat on her bed for months at a time due gangrene in her foot. They’re not sweet little selfies to be reproduced by anyone who likes a flower crown and has a passing respect for Girl Power.
The V&A currently have an exhibition about Frida and are selling flower crowns by designer Phillipa Craddock in the gift shop for between £160and £245. Which is, however beautiful they are, rather a lot of money.
Phillipa is an artist, and there’s no reason that she shouldn’t be able to charge money for her work. But isn’t there something a little uncomfortable about charging that money with Frida Kahlo’s name attached, a woman who would think that spending £245 on a flower crown was deeply unimpressive.
Of course during her lifetime Frida made money from selling her art.
She was even commissioned by the Mexican government. But that’s a bit different to slapping her face on a pair of socks so that offices arFiat 500 girls will buy them for each other’s Secret Santa. She needed money to live, and when she was selling her own art she at least had control over what she was creating.
I don’t doubt that the desire to plaster Frida’s face everywhere is born of good intention. I love that we live in a world where a disabled Latina artist can be a globally recognized icon. But so much of the representation of her smacks of sanitisation. From the tidied up monobow that Frida Barbie wore, to the fact that it’s her beautiful self-portraits which are reproduced everywhere rather than the angry, agonized nudes, Frida is being shrunk down to suit mass marketing.
So if you are going to wear a flower crown and a power brow for a party, or attend a Frida Kahlo afternoon tea, please at least have a think about who FK really was and what she would want from you.
Maybe you respect her memory by donating what you can to someone who needs it more than you, or maybe you do it by putting aside time to practice whatever it is that you love doing. But don’t just cherry pick the parts of her that are pretty, adopt her aesthetic and wipe away all the ugly painful parts of her. Because whether the mass market agrees or not, those were the most important and the most exciting parts.
We have reached out to everyone referenced in this story. We had not received comment from them at time of publication.
Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&AFrida Kahlo exhibition at the V&ArebeccacnreidFrida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A
A mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with body parts.
But don’t worry, it’s not actually that scary – as Katie Hayward, 30, claims it’s actually the best place to ‘chill out after work’.
Katie loves exploring deserted buildings and was so inspired by her first trip to an abandoned asylum that she decided to use it as a theme for her bathroom.
Dubbed her ‘sanctuary’, Katie claims she finds the eerie theme ‘relaxing’ and spent years trawling car boot sales and online auctions to find memorabilia to fit her theme.
The bathroom features body parts including human retinas and optic nerves, vintage hypodermic needles, medical jars, hospital trolleys and postcards to patients from friends and family on the outside.
It even has an electroconvulsive therapy machine from the 1800s and a trike that looks like it’s rolled off the set of Saw or The Shining.
Even the floor tiling looks like it has come from a 19th century hospital.
Despite all the effort she’s put into the bathroom, Katie says she has spent less than £500 on it and credits her finds to ‘having a good eye for a discounted buy on eBay’.
But although she admits her bathroom does tend to shock strangers, the mum-of-one claims that her friends and family love it for its quirkiness.
Katie, from Derby, Derbyshire, said: ‘If I need a little sanctuary I go to the little asylum in my bathroom.
‘It’s a bit random, some might say quite eccentric. I find the bathroom fascinating because I still enjoy looking at all the different things.
‘I like it. I find it quite relaxing. It’s quite a peaceful place to go in and chill out after a very long day at work.
‘It still intrigues me, too. I still enjoy reading about people that lived there and thinking about their lives and stuff.
‘It’s a way of exploring what it might have been like to be somebody back in the 1800s to be locked away probably for no reason. It can’t have been nice.
‘It’s interesting to have those sorts of things to think about while you have a nice bath. It’s more thought-provoking than reading shampoo bottles.
‘The first thing that started it was that I found this little trike at a car boot for £20 – it was from the 1970s and I had to have it.
‘But then I was thinking what am I going to do with this trike? Where am I going to put this?
‘I’ve got quite a big bathroom and the trike reminded me of The Shining, you know with the little kids who go down the corridor.
‘So I thought I’m an urbexer, I love old things – I’ll just combine the two. So I did.’
Katie says that once someone knows about her quirky bathroom, they never have to ask what she wants for her birthday again.
‘My mum has just bought me an electroconvulsive therapy machine for my 30th birthday. It’s from the 1800s,’ she said.
‘My friends know that I’m a little bit quirky anyway and they know that I love abandoned stuff so they just accept it is part of me and that I like weird things.
‘Strangers tend to be a little shocked, but I don’t like boring things. Life is too generic, so why not mix it up a bit?’
Katie, who has a one-year-old daughter Scarlett, is very careful to make sure the bathroom is safe for her.
She said: ‘I try to make my bathroom not too scary for my daughter so there are no really creepy things in there.
‘I tend to hide [modern things] mainly because it kind of spoils the whole old fashioned feel.
‘You walk in and feel a bit like you’ve been transported back. But if you’ve got loads of modern shampoo bottles it spoils the illusion.
‘At some point I do plan to decant them into something. But obviously having a nearly two-year-old I’ve got to be a bit cautious about what that is.
‘If I come across some glass looking bottles I will probably buy them.
‘I will put my shampoo and things in those. I will still have my daughter’s toys out because she matters above everything else. They may look a bit strange but I don’t care.’
Katie is part of a community of ‘urbexers’ – people who explore abandoned buildings to take pictures of what they find.
Her fascination with asylums began eight years ago when she first explored one the Whittingham Hospital – and then again four years later when she lay on an asylum morgue plate in Wales.
Katie said: ‘The Welsh asylum was quite an eerie place and very much bigger than you could imagine.
‘I guess the people who stayed there must have felt pretty lost in such a huge place. It was much, much bigger than I would have expected with loads of little nooks and crannies.
‘I was once exploring a hospital and I found one with a hidden, vintage porn room.
‘You don’t expect to turn around when looking round an abandoned building to see a room covered from ceiling to floor with vintage 1920s porn. It was really surreal.
‘We have a saying which is “take only photos, leave only footprints”.
‘Taking something from an abandoned site is just something you don’t do because otherwise you’re taking away the beauty for somebody else to see.
‘It’s a close knit community so you have to make friends to find new locations.
‘If people trust you, they will tell you locations and if they don’t, they just won’t because it’s not worth it.’
But although she finds the properties fascinating, she admits there is a ‘morbid curiosity’ about the darker secrets of the asylums.
Inspired by her own research, Katie created a picture listing the reasons why women might have been admitted to an asylum, including ‘novel reading’, ‘political excitement’ – and ‘bad whiskey’.
Katie said: ‘That picture was created from an old frame I didn’t throw away, but basically it’s a list of all the reasons why people used to be committed to asylums back in the 1800s.
‘There are absolutely bizarre reasons like hysteria, not sound of mind, novel reading.
‘They’re quite bizarre and you think ‘that can’t be a thing’ – but they are.
‘My favourite thing in my bathroom is an old newspaper article from the London News which is in 1881-85 and it’s a picture of all the people at the asylum dressed at a fancy dress ball.
‘There are real characters in it. You just feel some connection to the people in a weird way.
‘We’ve all had problems and to be put in an asylum for them is quite terrifying really. There’s a morbid curiosity, I think.’
This mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with BODY PARTSThis mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with BODY PARTShattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE CREEPY CHILD'S TRIKE IN KATIE HAYWARD'S BATHROOM THAT SHE TRANSFORMED INTO AN ABANDONED ASYLUM THEME IN DERBY) This mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with BODY PARTS that leaves her guests in 'shock' - but claims it is the best place to 'chill out after work'. Katie Hayward, 30, loves exploring deserted buildings and was so inspired by her first trip to an abandoned asylum that she used it as a theme to redecorate her bathroom. Dubbed her ???sanctuary???, Katie claims she finds the eerie theme 'relaxing' and spent years trawling car boot sales and online auctions to find asylum memorabilia to fit her bizarre theme. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 660 8596PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: KATIE HAYWARD'S BATHROOM THAT SHE TRANSFORMED INTO AN ABANDONED ASYLUM THEME IN DERBY) This mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with BODY PARTS that leaves her guests in 'shock' - but claims it is the best place to 'chill out after work'. Katie Hayward, 30, loves exploring deserted buildings and was so inspired by her first trip to an abandoned asylum that she used it as a theme to redecorate her bathroom. Dubbed her ???sanctuary???, Katie claims she finds the eerie theme 'relaxing' and spent years trawling car boot sales and online auctions to find asylum memorabilia to fit her bizarre theme. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 660 8596PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: KATIE HAYWARD'S BATHROOM THAT SHE TRANSFORMED INTO AN ABANDONED ASYLUM THEME IN DERBY) This mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with BODY PARTS that leaves her guests in 'shock' - but claims it is the best place to 'chill out after work'. Katie Hayward, 30, loves exploring deserted buildings and was so inspired by her first trip to an abandoned asylum that she used it as a theme to redecorate her bathroom. Dubbed her ???sanctuary???, Katie claims she finds the eerie theme 'relaxing' and spent years trawling car boot sales and online auctions to find asylum memorabilia to fit her bizarre theme. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 660 8596PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY DEVICE IN KATIE HAYWARD'S BATHROOM THAT SHE TRANSFORMED INTO AN ABANDONED ASYLUM THEME IN DERBY) This mum has transformed her bathroom into a creepy abandoned asylum complete with BODY PARTS that leaves her guests in 'shock' - but claims it is the best place to 'chill out after work'. Katie Hayward, 30, loves exploring deserted buildings and was so inspired by her first trip to an abandoned asylum that she used it as a theme to redecorate her bathroom. Dubbed her ???sanctuary???, Katie claims she finds the eerie theme 'relaxing' and spent years trawling car boot sales and online auctions to find asylum memorabilia to fit her bizarre theme. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 660 8596