Articles on this Page
- 08/11/18--04:25: _Eco-friendly home w...
- 08/11/18--04:54: _Why it’s so hard to...
- 08/11/18--05:56: _Have you nailed you...
- 08/11/18--06:08: _Men don’t want to b...
- 08/11/18--06:42: _Streetwear and ugly...
- 08/11/18--07:39: _Checking your email...
- 08/11/18--08:10: _Please, Burger King...
- 08/11/18--08:32: _What it’s like to h...
- 08/11/18--08:55: _How CBT helped me r...
- 08/11/18--09:04: _The vegan, cruelty-...
- 08/11/18--09:23: _Why are more people...
- 08/12/18--00:00: _Game Of Thrones in ...
- 08/12/18--02:45: _Having cancer at 20...
- 08/12/18--02:52: _Libraries are more ...
- 08/12/18--03:01: _What is scissoring?
- 08/12/18--04:35: _Ann Summers has lau...
- 08/12/18--05:10: _Woman converts to a...
- 08/12/18--08:12: _London’s most insta...
- 08/12/18--10:12: _Instagram is floode...
- 08/13/18--01:00: _Afternoon Tea Week:...
- 08/11/18--04:54: Why it’s so hard to open up about having suicidal thoughts
- 08/11/18--05:56: Have you nailed your baby giraffe pose?
- 08/11/18--06:08: Men don’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice
- 08/11/18--07:39: Checking your emails after work is damaging your relationship
- 08/11/18--08:10: Please, Burger King, bring your fried halloumi burger to the UK
- 08/11/18--08:32: What it’s like to have postnatal depression
- 08/11/18--08:55: How CBT helped me recover from my obsessive fear of sepsis
- 08/11/18--09:04: The vegan, cruelty-free guide to skincare: Oils and serums
- 08/11/18--09:23: Why are more people using cloth nappies and where can you buy them?
- 08/12/18--03:01: What is scissoring?
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- 08/12/18--08:12: London’s most instagrammable café is opening on Oxford Circus
- 08/12/18--10:12: Instagram is flooded with pictures of cute elephants today
- 08/13/18--01:00: Afternoon Tea Week: Here are nine quirky choices to try this week
Look, if owning a house is a faraway dream, we might as well dream big.
So we interrupt your day spent gazing longingly at tiny studios to bring you a property that’s actually worth lusting over.
Tanzarra is an award-winning eco-friendly home on the Cornish coast, looking out over the stunning Mawgan Porth Beach.
Yes, that does mean there are incredible views from the windows, all sand, sea and lush National Trust land.
It’s an ideal location for surfers, not just because of the cracking waves on the beach, but because the house has its own surfboard store room and a wet room that lets you shower straight from the beach so you don’t cover the living room in sand
The house itself is pretty special, too.
It started out as a rundown bungalow, but was turned into a snazzy eco home by Dan Hatfield, who designed and built the property himself.
It’s framed with timber, has solar panels to provide energy for underfloor heating, and can harvest rainwater.
On the roof there’s a garden with plants best-suited for the salty seaside air.
Inside you’ll find an open plan kitchen, living, and dining room, a living room with a balcony, an office, five bedrooms, and five bathrooms.
Beyond the usual house stuff, there’s also a library, a games room, a sauna, a golf simulator, and an outdoor pizza oven.
If you did ever feel like leaving the house (we’re not sure why you would), you can pop to the nearby Fistral Beach or travel two miles to Watergate Bay.
Hamish Humfrey from Knight Frank, who are selling the property, said: ‘Tanzarra is a frontline waterfront property with direct access down to Mawgan Porth beach, which is an absolutely stunning beach.
‘There’s cliffs on both sides which shield the beach and in between there’s acres of white sand, rock pools and caves.
‘It’s a very popular surfing beach so it would certainly appeal to anyone who is a keen surfer, it’s literally a minute-walk to the beach.
‘The house has uninterrupted views over the beach and right across the sea.
‘You also get these incredible sunsets at Mawgan Porth. The owner went down when he was designing Tanzarra to ensure the house is positioned in the best way for those sunsets – you get them pretty much all year round.
‘The whole north of Cornwall is a very desirable area with lots of outstanding beach but there is a finite amount of space so it is rare that you get a property of this high a standard and directly onto the water.’
Oh, one thing we should mention before you seriously ponder moving to Cornwall and saving for this place, it’s on sale for £3.5million.
We’ll stick to dreaming about it, then.
Eco-friendly home with spectacular far-reaching sea views - on the market for £3.5mEco-friendly home with spectacular far-reaching sea views - on the market for £3.5mellencscottBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Surfers' paradise... An award-winning eco-friendly home with spectacular far-reaching sea views - on the market for ?3.5m - is the perfect property for surfers and beach bums. Tanzarra looks out over Mawgan Porth beach, a beautiful sandy beach that is shielded on both sides by cliffs, with access from the house over National Trust land. Mawgan Porth has excellent surfing waves but is generally quieter than the nearby internationally-renowned Fistral Beach. The house caters for keen surfers with a surfboard store room and wet room so you can shower straight from the beach without bringing sand in.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Surfers' paradise... An award-winning eco-friendly home with spectacular far-reaching sea views - on the market for ?3.5m - is the perfect property for surfers and beach bums. Tanzarra looks out over Mawgan Porth beach, a beautiful sandy beach that is shielded on both sides by cliffs, with access from the house over National Trust land. Mawgan Porth has excellent surfing waves but is generally quieter than the nearby internationally-renowned Fistral Beach. The house caters for keen surfers with a surfboard store room and wet room so you can shower straight from the beach without bringing sand in.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Surfers' paradise... An award-winning eco-friendly home with spectacular far-reaching sea views - on the market for ?3.5m - is the perfect property for surfers and beach bums. Tanzarra looks out over Mawgan Porth beach, a beautiful sandy beach that is shielded on both sides by cliffs, with access from the house over National Trust land. Mawgan Porth has excellent surfing waves but is generally quieter than the nearby internationally-renowned Fistral Beach. The house caters for keen surfers with a surfboard store room and wet room so you can shower straight from the beach without bringing sand in.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Surfers' paradise... An award-winning eco-friendly home with spectacular far-reaching sea views - on the market for ?3.5m - is the perfect property for surfers and beach bums. Tanzarra looks out over Mawgan Porth beach, a beautiful sandy beach that is shielded on both sides by cliffs, with access from the house over National Trust land. Mawgan Porth has excellent surfing waves but is generally quieter than the nearby internationally-renowned Fistral Beach. The house caters for keen surfers with a surfboard store room and wet room so you can shower straight from the beach without bringing sand in.
This article contains frank discussions of suicide and suicidal thoughts.
‘Don’t be so selfish.’
‘It’s just attention seeking to say things like that.’
‘Don’t you care about anyone’s feelings but your own?’
These are the responses I’ve come to expect when I’ve spoken – hesitantly, or in a terrible, burning rush – to others about struggling with wanting to die.
Sometimes the urge to end my life is strong enough that I make plans. Other times I use self-harm as a compromise, telling my brain: ‘You can have this much pain, but I won’t go all the way.’
Mostly it’s just a dull, painful ache in my head and chest.
A tiny hammering of the same thoughts over and over again: ‘You don’t deserve to live, you should be dead, why haven’t you done it yet?’
It would help to talk about these thoughts with a friend, but I’m so scared of a negative response that the only time I give voice to how I’m feeling is if I get to crisis point and have to ring a helpline like the Samaritans.
This is not an uncommon state of affairs.
The NHS says that there’s no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings, but it’s incredibly difficult to start the conversation.
Suicide is currently the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
People, particularly men, are ending their lives because they are unhappy, under pressure, suffering with mental heath problems and feeling unable to talk about it.
The influence of toxic masculinity, where men feel that experiencing emotional pain is shameful because of their gender, is partly to blame.
Another major obstacle to people (of any gender) having open and frank discussions about suicide is that harmful myths still persevere about what it means to have suicidal thoughts, who can experience them and what can be done to help.
If misconceptions around suicide go unchallenged, people will continue to respond to those who open up about suicidal thoughts in dangerously unhelpful ways.
Alex was 15 when he let his mum know that he was having suicidal thoughts.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I tried to tell my mum about being suicidal and she told me I was being stupid and it was typical teenage, attention-seeking behaviour.
‘After I told my mum I tried telling my brother, maybe a week later, and he threw a razor blade at me and told me to get it over with and hurry up so I haven’t spoken to anyone about it since.
‘Since then I have never been able to open up about it for fear of someone having the same reaction.
‘It’s three years on, and I still suffer badly with suicidal thoughts.’
Equating suicidal thoughts with being ‘attention-seeking’ is incredibly damaging.
It tells the person experiencing these distressing thoughts and urges that what they’re going through isn’t serious and doesn’t deserve to be considered as such.
By trivialising the issue, we make it more likely that people will go to extremes in an attempt to get others to see them as deserving of help, or they will simply shut down and close themselves off.
All of us need attention. Giving someone who’s suffering the attention they need could well save their life.
Some people are so frightened of being judged for their suicidal thoughts that they’ve never told anyone, even though these feelings are a constant part of their lives.
Austin is one of these people.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I constantly struggle with suicidal thoughts. Those feelings can cause anxiety, panic attacks, and really shut you down for a while.
‘I get it by roads and on bridges but public transport is probably when it gets really bad. Being on the edge of a busy tube platform, packed to the line with people.
‘You’re at the front. One foot ahead of the other. Is it a brace in case someone nudges you? Is it you preparing to leap?
‘I’ve never opened up about it. Not with partners, not with my family, not with counsellors.
‘It’s such a constant feeling and such a morbid curiosity that I believe it should stay in my head. I just live with it.’
It’s vitally important that we take people seriously when they talk about wanting to die.
Remember, this might be the first time they’ve spoken about it, but it doesn’t mean that those debilitating thoughts and feelings haven’t been plaguing them for weeks, months or even years.
It takes courage to open up about feeling suicidal and to do so is a step in the right direction, but a cruel or ignorant response can create more distress and shame, and indicate to the person in question that their feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness are justified.
Lucy* says that she has suicidal thoughts every other day.
‘I suffer with borderline personality disorder, severe anxiety and depression, and if you have never felt that low or that desperate then I’m afraid it’s hard to understand.
‘When you’re in that position, you just need the mental pain to stop, you don’t think of anything else.
‘People can say; “Think of….” your loved one, your children, your parents, but when you’re in that mindset (and it can happen so quickly for a person with BPD) then you think of nothing.
‘You’re in that black hole, you cannot see any light, you cannot see a way forward, it’s so black that you only think of one thing – suicide.
‘If we could snap out of it, then don’t you think we would?’
Lucy doesn’t feel able to talk to anyone about how she feels.
Although people who kill themselves are more likely to have been suffering from mental health problems, not everyone who dies by suicide is mentally ill at the time of death.
You don’t need to have a mental illness to experience suicidal thoughts. They transcend age, gender, ethnicity and class.
Oliver* is in his late 50s and thinking about ending his life is not new to him.
‘I’ve been plagued by suicidal thoughts for many years. They usually take the same form.
‘When I wake early, around 5am, I will think of hanging myself and when I’m waiting at the station I’ll think “What if?” when an express train comes through at high speed.
‘Occasionally, at the station I will hold on to a platform seat or any physical structure so I know that I cannot step in front of the train.
‘I don’t tell people about these thoughts – why would I? Everyone would think I was mad.
‘However, there was a time when I was at dinner with two friends and one said how distressed he’d been by his mother’s death and said: “Do you ever think of suicide?” Without thinking I said: “Every day”. Our companion looked completely shocked.
‘It appeared to be a judgement on me and I didn’t want that. I felt I should explain it to her, but then I just pulled back.
‘The truth is that I don’t think I am likely to act on these thoughts – I do not seek the oblivion of death, I just feel overwhelmed sometimes by all of my life.
‘I also think that suicidal thoughts are much more widespread than people imagine – if you don’t have them, you are one of the lucky ones.’
Having someone you can talk to about suicidal thoughts can make all the difference.
Tara was in hospital after a very serious suicide attempt. She says that her parents were extremely upset that she hadn’t opened up to them about how she was feeling.
‘They wished I had spoken about it but it’s something that feels so uncomfortable to discuss, especially as it comes with lots of “whys”. My parents asked me why I wanted to kill myself, but I didn’t know how to answer.’
If you make a suicide attempt, you are more likely to end your own life than someone who has not previously attempted.
Statistically, Tara was in a vulnerable position after her attempt, but the support of her friends is keeping her afloat.
‘True friends will speak to you on the topic without judgement. They will check up on you, see if you’ve been self harming and call you before bed.’
‘It’s little things that make the difference. I couldn’t do life without that support.’
The Samaritans offer support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Names have been changed
Signs of domestic abuse in university studentsSigns of domestic abuse in university studentshpwilliamsonmetro illustrationswoman with hand on shoulder
Posing for a full-length photo can be an excruciating experience.
Where do my hands go? What do I do with my face? Why do my feet look so awkward?
It helps if – rather than just getting someone to hold the camera and hope for the best – you have some go-to poses.
May we suggest looking to Instagram queen Eva Chen and using the baby giraffe pose?
Don’t worry, being a baby giraffe does not require a sudden lengthening of your neck.
Instead it’s about pretending to be a baby giraffe learning to walk, all long limbs and deliberate movement.
Eva Chen shared the pose on her Instagram stories, explaining: ‘I stick my bum out and tilt one leg forward and the other leg back. Like I’m a baby giraffe walking.’
Yes, it sounds a bit strange, but if you nail the pose it makes your legs look extra long and makes you look like someone who doesn’t find having their photo taken unbearably awkward.
In an Instagram post Eva provided some more tips, noting that the back foot should be slightly on tiptoes – ‘like you’re coming off a step’.
You can spot the pose all over Eva’s social media if you’re having some trouble visualising it, but after a few stiff attempts, you’ll soon be baby giraffe-ing all over the place.
Don’t worry if the baby giraffe pose isn’t the one for you, though. There are plenty of other poses influencers use that you can nick.
Loved by the Kardashian-Jenners, this pose just involves standing on your tiptoes as if you’re wearing heels. Look at Barbie’s feet for reference.
The stair sit
Find a step. Sit on it. Easy.
Put a hand in one pocket
If you don’t have pockets (I’m so sorry), just rest one hand on your hip.
Sling your thumbs through the belt loops of your jeans and pop a hip to the side.
Step to it
This one takes a bit of practice. You need to do an elongated step while getting someone to snap your picture.
If you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model you’ll know that a good method is doing a little jump forward.
Pretend you have a headache
Touch your fingers to your temples to frame your face and look super casj.
Adjust your hair
It gives you something to do with your hands. Crucial.
Find a rail
Lean on it or rest your hand. A fancy rail is all you need.
Hit the kerb
Watch out for traffic and parking spots.
Pop a knee
Super easy but it looks a load less awkward than having both legs straight on. Genius.
Eva Chen Baby giraffe poseEva Chen Baby giraffe poseellencscott
Forget the stereotype of women being the ones who are the most keen on shopping, while bored men trail behind, dragging their feet.
New research has found that men are actually more style-conscious than their female counterparts, and they outspend women when it comes to buying clothes and shoes.
The study from Barclaycard shows that men are very conscious of being ‘outfit repeaters’. 10% of men said they would feel embarrassed for a friend to see them in the same outfit twice, compared to 7% of women.
Men spend an average of £114 each month on clothes and shoes, meaning that they shell out £300 more than women do in a year for these items.
They’re also the main offenders when it comes to wearing clothes just to get a perfect social media snap and then returning them.
12% of men admitted to shopping exclusively for the ‘outfit of the day’ hashtag, posting their look online and afterwards, taking the garments, footwear or accessories back to the shop.
They just need the likes – not the clothes.
The phenomenon of people keeping the tags on items to wear them out once before returning them isn’t new.
However, the ever-increasing popularity of documenting our lives and outfits via social media means that people might be feeling added pressure to show off new looks that they either can’t afford or don’t want to keep.
According to the study, men and women aged between 35 and 44 were the most likely to shop for an #OOTD and then get their money back, with 17% admitting to doing so.
The popularity of online shopping means that ‘returnaholics’ can now send their unwanted purchases back without even having to deal with a sales assistant face to face, and some retailers offer the option of ‘try before you buy’, meaning that you can return an item before paying for it.
It’s fraudulent to buy clothes because you want a new Instagram picture or to wear something new on a night out, but it’s very difficult for shops to prove that customers are making dishonest returns.
If you take an item that looks unworn back and you’ve got the tags and the sales receipt, there’s not a lot that retailers can do to stop you getting either your money or a gift receipt in exchange.
Most shops do have return policies, even though they’re not required by law to do so.
The responsibility rests with the consumer to behave decently and be honest.
Men don't want to be seen in the same outfit twiceMen don't want to be seen in the same outfit twicehpwilliamson
Fashion in the last few years has gone all streetwear.
With long-time Kanye West collaborator Virgil Abloh now Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of menswear and everyone from Alexander Wang to Raf Simons partnering up with Adidas, streetwear has taken over.
But parents with cupboards full of limited edition trainers, 50-year-olds wearing Supreme jumpers and fashion’s need to be ahead of the curve means it is time to move on.
‘In the typical pendulum of fashion, fashion works in a call and response way,’ Tim Blanks, editor-at-large of The Business Of Fashion has said.
‘We’re already seeing what’s coming after that sportswear takeover and that’s a quite rarefied notion of male couture.
‘It’s inevitable when dads are wearing Triple S that the people looking for their own modes of self-expression start looking at the opposite. It’s always happened: sportswear, tailoring, sportswear, tailoring.’
The most recent men’s runway shows had front rows of influencers and key figures all wearing ugly dad trainers like the ones Balenciaga has made sell-out desirable (above).
But the quick-moving fashion world is always looking for the new.
A recently shared satirical diagram provocatively titled ‘fuccboi glass ceiling’ has a big diagram of streetwear, placing it just below the queer threshold and hovering above heterosexual soup with the captions Supreme, Y3 and Palace.
‘I feel really cynical about streetwear and what it’s doing to youth culture,’ artist and creator of the diagram Lucas Mascatello told Dazed.
‘I’m not a huge fan of the fashion industry to begin with but streetwear turning kids into yuppies by domesticating and selling off subcultural aesthetics is particularly gross.’
The discrepancy between ‘fashion’ and ‘streetwear’ should be imperceptible. Designer Nasir Mazhar has said that fashion should just be called fashion and streetwear is what the industry calls it when there are non-white models and relaxed silhouettes.
But now that gap is closing and the fashion industry is (all too slowly) fixing its whitewashing of trends and models, the people wearing the clothes are likely to already have moved on.
When it comes to shoes, the trainer is so saturated that the teenagers of today will look elsewhere.
‘The magic term thrown to me by retailers who have to know what they’re going to be selling next is dress shoes,’ says Blanks.
‘Their most adventurous customers want ye olde leather shoes.’
While they’ll be a lot less comfortable (unless there’s big innovation to follow), wearing smart shoes now will show you’re ahead of the game, just like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran did when the pendulum swung towards couture in the 80s.
It at least means you won’t wear ugly dad trainers any more. And with dads wearing streetwear anyway, the next swing of fashion will be a welcome one.
Put down your phone. Stop replying to ‘just one more’ email. It’s not just bad for your mental health, it’s damaging your relationship too.
That’s according to a study by Virginia Tech University, anyway, which found that bringing work home – even if only by responding to emails before bed or the minute you wake up – increases the levels of stress of your family and significant other.
University employees surveyed were found to seriously underestimate the impact of their work-related anxiety, despite stress levels being high enough to damage their health.
Anxiety increased when people blurred the line between work and home life.
‘The competing demands of work and nonwork lives present a dilemma for employees, which triggers feelings of anxiety and endangers work and personal lives,’ said the study’s co-author, William Becker.
Researchers found that simply the expectation to always be ‘on’ and available raises levels of anxiety and stress, not just for the individual but for their partner and children.
‘The insidious impact of “always on” organizational culture is often unaccounted for or disguised as a benefit – increased convenience, for example, or higher autonomy and control over work life boundaries,’ Dr Becker said.
‘Our research exposes the reality, [that] “flexible work boundaries” often turn into “work without boundaries,” compromising an employee’s and their family’s health and wellbeing.’
Dr Becker now hopes that offices will introduce policies that reduce expectations of what workers need to do outside of work.
That might include automatic out-of-office replies when someone’s day is over, or just a formal explanation that working at the weekend isn’t expected.
But while you wait for your workplace to introduce those measures, it’s worth taking some steps on your own.
Make certain windows of time email-free, putting away your phone and banning yourself from checking work communications. Remember that when you’re done for the week, the weekend is for relaxing, not doing even more work.
If you can’t sort out your worklife balance for yourself, do it for the people you love. You’re stressing them all out.
Pitfalls of FreelancePitfalls of Freelanceellencscottmetro illustrations
Veggies deserve delicious fast food, too.
And we deserve options. Not just one measly bean burger.
It’s why we rejoiced at McDonald’s launching a vegan burger, and why we are very excited to discover that Burger King has unveiled a halloumi burger.
But before we get too jazzed, please note that Burger King’s halloumi burger is only available in Sweden.
The halloumi burger is made up of deep-fried halloumi cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and a dash of mayo in a soft bun.
It sounds glorious – especially as halloumi is a vegetarian’s life blood – which is why we must beg Burger King to please, please bring this burger to the UK. Veggies need it.
We’ve reached out to Burger King to find out if there are any plans to launch a halloumi burger in the UK, but we haven’t heard back yet. Clearly they don’t understand how pressing an issue this truly is.
While we wait for them to answer our pleas, let us all take some joy in the increase of halloumi based treats in other high-street restaurants.
Nando’s serves halloumi fries, as does Wetherspoon, and if you fancy keeping a stash at home you can pick up halloumi fries at Aldi, too.
If you want to get really DIY you can pick up a block of halloumi from most supermarkets, slice it up yourself, sling it in a burger bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, and tuck in. Easy.
Burger King halloumi burgerBurger King halloumi burgerellencscottBurger King halloumi burger
31-year-old Hannah Clarke, from Grantham, first experienced postnatal depression back in 2014 awhen her son Toby was born.
Though she says it’s now turned into more ‘generalised depression’ Hannah says that after the birth of Toby, she was so focused on his needs that she stopped focusing on herself.
It wasn’t until the birth of her second child that she was officially diagnosed with PND.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I was diagnosed with PND in August 2016, when my daughter Martha was 3 months old.
‘My symptoms included a crippling level of overwhelm that would leave me sobbing at the most seemingly simple task – I’d be unable to work out which child’s nappy to change first, or what to cook for tea.
‘I also had awful anxiety around death and would have full blown panic attacks at things like driving over a train crossing or walking next to a river.’
Hannah, a mum to Toby, who’s now four, and Martha, two, didn’t recognise the symptoms of PND until Martha was three months old.
She said: ‘PND feels like a very heavy and dark cloud which follows me even when the rest of the sky is bright blue.
‘I could feel happiness and I always felt love, but it never made the cloud disappear.
‘It’s a huge burden and the physical side effects were as exhausting as the emotional ones.
‘I am often very tired and lethargic, I get overwhelmed, I doubt myself a lot, I struggle to shut down at night and as a result often have very little sleep. I get mouth ulcers and eye styes as a result of the stress.’
Hannah said PND affected her ability to enjoy being a parent.
She explained: ‘I cared for them, loved them, fed them, cleaned them, but I struggled to enjoy it all.’
Hannah has always been open about her PND, especially on her blog, and supports mental health charities through sales of self care products on her shop Apples & Pips.
People were aware she was suffering – but she says they didn’t know how to help.
She told us: ‘As easily as I can write about it or talk to camera, I’m awful at picking up the phone and saying “I need you”, so my friends often didn’t know what I was going through on the really bad days, until they were over and I’d written about it.’
Hannah was fortunate enough to have had private health care through her husband’s work, which meant she could have CBT sessions without a long wait.
Sadly, her recovery wasn’t easy and she had another relapse this year which she says has been ‘quite damaging’, though she is now on antidepressants.
Hannah said: ‘I am now on sertraline after a rather snotty breakdown to my poor nurse practitioner, and I did get a referral to the local NHS mental health team, however the resources they were able to offer simply weren’t sufficient so I’m still trying to figure out my best way forward.
‘I’m up and down. I run a business I adore, I’m more comfortable with who I am and in being a mum, but I do have very bad times where it all gets too much and I just cry for hours or days.
‘I’ve learnt to ask for help more during my crisis periods, but I generally reach out to my online friends because I’m still rubbish at picking up the phone!’
As advice to any other parent struggling PND, Hannah says it’s important you go to your GP.
She says: ‘It’s hard and it’s scary, but they won’t think you’re a bad parent and they won’t try to take your baby away.
‘They will help you. And don’t be afraid of counselling and medication, but do make sure you are entirely happy with what you’re being given and that you understand the side effects, long-term plan etc.
‘Knowledge is key.
‘And please don’t suffer alone, because even if you don’t have a support network nearby, there are people who want to help you.
‘I receive messages almost every single day from mums who need to talk to someone who gets it, and my inbox is always open.’
Need support? Contact the Samaritans
Postnatal depressionPostnatal depressionhattiegladwellmetro
If you’d have told me nine months ago that I’d wake up one morning no longer worried about contracting sepsis or meningitis, I wouldn’t have believed you.
I started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for health anxiety back in January.
Health anxiety is an anxiety disorder housed within the OCD spectrum of disorders. It’s when a person has an obsessive preoccupation with the idea that they are – or are going to get – seriously sick.
I had a fear of anything that could lead to septicaemia and blood poisoning.
I’m not sure why I was fixated on this specific thing. But it meant I was terrified of getting any kind of infection. Even the tiniest cut on my finger would freak me out in case it got infected and the infection got into my bloodstream.
I would panic about illnesses such as meningitis, sepsis and toxic shock syndrome.
My health anxiety was caused by PTSD, following two major surgeries that left me minutes from death.
In January I finally started treatment for my obsessive fear of developing sepsis.
I remember feeling nervous for my first session. I was worried if I said my fears out loud they might become real.
I cried as I told the therapist that I’d had a panic attack after convincing myself I could see rashes and blood clots all over my legs.
Talking about it was the first step to confronting it. The more I kept it in my head, the more hold the fears had over me.
The first step after talking was letting my counsellor take responsibility for anything bad that happened, as a way to make me feel safer.
She told me: ‘I have the responsibility. This means if anything happens it is my fault. Doesn’t this show how little I think the chances are that anything bad is going to happen?’
Over time, the trick was to ‘pass’ the responsibility to me, over the space of a few months, until my health anxiety was in my hands.
My therapist started giving me timescales. Before, if I noticed the slightest thing wrong I would go to the doctor straight away, scared that if I didn’t it’d be too late.
My therapist would say: ‘Right, you’ve got a cut. Cuts take a few days to heal. So, let’s give it a few days, shall we?’
It was all about waiting it out and only acting if I genuinely saw something wrong with the cut – if it was bright red and sore, or pulsating or hard to move.
My therapist introduced this way of thinking in various situations – from a cut to having a bad cold. Instead of going to the doctor after day two of a blocked nose I would wait it out to see if it got better.
And every single time, it did. I learned I didn’t need to rush off to the doctor. I didn’t need to be scared. I just needed to not panic, and wait things out. The truth was, she told me, I’d know if I really needed help.
Another technique that really helped was rational thinking.
What you do is you take a piece of paper out and draw a grid. You title the left column ‘symptoms’ and the right ‘rational explanations’.
So in the left column I would write: ‘I have a headache’. And in the right I would put: ‘You didn’t sleep well last night, you’ve been stressed lately and your diet hasn’t been great’.
It was all about looking further than the end of my nose. The problem with health anxiety is that when you experience symptoms they become your focus and you jump to the worst conclusions.
But with this approach you’re able to sit back and examine the things that could really be going on – and putting pen to paper helps you keep calm enough to do this.
The entire process hasn’t been easy. There was one part that was especially difficult – exposure therapy.
I had to watch a documentary about a man who contracted Strep A and developed septicaemia all over his body. I cried for the first ten minutes, feeling as though I was going to have a panic attack.
But over time it got easier and I managed to finish the documentary.
Over the past nine months, I have kept in touch with my therapist. Some times I needed her more than others.
I didn’t realise I was recovering until last week.
I checked my emails and realised I hadn’t spoken to my therapist for six weeks. I hadn’t had a phone call with her for seven.
The reason? I hadn’t needed to.
I hadn’t had anxiety over my health. In the time I’d had around five cuts and not one time did I panic that I was going to get blood poisoning. I’d had colds, tension headaches, sickness, a bad stomach – but each time I’d just waited it out instead of getting myself into a panic.
That’s incredibly freeing.
As I sat down and realised I’d gone an entire two months without having a panic attack over the thought of waking up with sepsis, I realised how far I’d come – and how much my therapist, and the CBT had really helped.
I decided to give my therapist a call two days ago. She immediately asked me: ‘Is everything okay?’, and as soon as I replied, ‘amazingly, everything has been absolutely fine!’, she gave a little shriek of delight. She was over the moon for me.
For the first time in what feels like forever I feel okay.
Being afraid of contracting a life-threatening illness every day for months is exhausting, overwhelming and debilitating.
I’m still going to stay in touch with my therapist. I’m still going to keep her in the loop and she’s still going to be there for me should I have a bad day.
But now, I feel free.
CBT for health anxietyCBT for health anxietyhattiegladwellmetrotalking therapymetro illustrationsIllustration of woman in therapy session
Vegan skincare can be a minefield, so we’ve been doing the legwork for you.
While many brands are cruelty-free these days, there are lots of companies who use animal-derived ingredients in their concoctions, and it can be a confusing time working out which ones you’re allowed to use.
We’ve rounded up 12 oils and serums on the market, making it clear which ones are fully vegan companies, and which ones also sell non-vegan products.
Each company in this feature is cruelty-free though, you can be sure of that.
1. Supercharge serum, BYBI, £32 for 30ml
‘I reckon this is a good all-rounder for anyone who’s into skincare. It feels like a hydrating oil, but also has all the active ingredients you’d want from a toner or serum.
‘It has quite a strong scent, but I quite liked it. Give it a sniff before you invest if you can.
‘I’d recommend using a teeny-tiny amount massaged into the skin before your night-time moisturiser.’
Is BYBI 100% vegan? Yes.
2. Oil-free hydrating serum, Neal’s Yard, £30 for 30ml
‘This is the perfect serum to put on underneath your SPF in this hot weather, as it doesn’t feel like you’re overloading your face with products that will just slide off.
‘It’s also good to wear under makeup, as it’s hydrating but mattifying at the same time.
‘The heatwave has also proven that it’s a good one to wear as a night serum, as I hate that feeling of sweating in bed and feeling like your night oil has turned into grease. This doesn’t do that, and you don’t wake up with a shiny face, which is brill.’
Is Neal’s Yard 100% vegan? No, beeswax is in some products. Find out more here.
3. Seahorse Plankton high definition facial oil, Beauty Kitchen, £19.99 for 30ml
‘This smells divine. It’s heavenly. So lush massaging it in right before bed, as it’s got the calming scent of frankincense, lavender and bergamot.
‘It’s plumping and moisturising without being greasy.
‘Can’t get enough of that smell.’
Is Beauty Kitchen 100% vegan? No, some products contain beeswax. Find a list here.
4. B Confident night serum, Superdrug, £9.49 for 30ml
‘I started using this in London before the heatwave – the sun is usually super nice to my skin and when I am without sun I notice that I don’t have that glow that I want.
‘Before I jetted off to the warmer climates of Nigeria I noticed the tone in my skin started to pop and it felt a lot cleaner.
”I was very surprised to see how radiant my skin looked and felt whilst I used the product out there. I usually stay away from overloading on products abroad because my skin is very sensitive to climate changes and I am prone to burning or getting heat rashes even in a Spanish winter. I suffered no rashes.
‘I expected my skin to hate me when I returned to the UK but my positive reaction to the product stayed consistent.’
Is B 100% vegan? Yes.
5. Sukin super greens chia seed oil, Holland & Barrett, £17.49 for 20ml
‘I’m conflicted by this product. One on hand, it’s very effective; after just one week’s use, my skin feels smooth and fresh, and has a dewy look.
‘Despite its success, Sukin fails on the fundamentals – the product, which contains hemp oil, smells rather funky (don’t use it on a hangover) and the bottle itself leaks slightly.
‘The oil is also a bit dry andyou need a fair amount, so it could become an expensive skincare routine, unless you focus on targeted areas of your face.’
Is Sukin 100% vegan? Yes.
6. Citrus + hemp clearing face serum, Awake Organics, £29.99 for 20ml
‘Its really great to find a facial oil that’s geared towards those of us with problem skin, as there’s a misconception that you shouldn’t use oils on acne-prone skin, when certain oils are actually fine.
‘I used to add my own tea tree oil to other facial oils, but this one contains stuff like tea tree, grapefruit and lavender oils, which combat blemishes, as well as having a lovely smell.
‘I love putting a few drops of this on before bed, and it helps to deal with dry patches I get after using retinol, as well as hopefully in the long run, smoothing scars.
‘Plus, it’s made by a small company who are ethically and environmentally aware, which is massively important to me when choosing skincare.’
Is Awake Organics 100% vegan? Yes.
7. Reviving Facial Oil, Urban Veda, £29.99 for 30ml
‘This smells absolutely delicious, and is a real joy to put on your face. I can’t really pinpoint the scent, but it smells wholesome and natural and full of essential oils.
‘This oil is for mature, dry skin, and it’s made a real difference to my face, making it softer. It’s good that you don’t need to use a lot, as it means the bottle lasts longer.
‘I love that it’s all natural so you’re not putting any nasties into your skin.’
Is Urban Veda 100% vegan? Yes.
8. Full of grace serum, Lush, £8.25 for 20g
‘The solid serum will seriously help out those with dry skin, like me. It’s very moisturising and leaves the skin feeling supple.
‘It smells really good too, like a scented candle. You have to wear a thin layer though because otherwise it can leave your face quite greasy.’
Is Lush 100% vegan? No, around 80% of Lush products are but some still contain things like milk and honey.
9. Pure hydration comforting serum, Waitrose, £7 for 30ml
‘This was unscented but smelled very waxy which was off putting, but sank into the skin quite quickly and didn’t feel too greasy after.
‘It’s fine for a budget serum, but nothing special.’
Is Waitrose 100% vegan? No, other products contain animal derivatives.
10. Oils of Life intensely revitalising facial oil, The Body Shop, £30 for 30ml
‘Felt a bit disappointed in this. Lovely looking bottle, smells nice, but I couldn’t see that it made a big difference – maybe it’s a slow burn?
‘I found the pipette a bit loose so ended up getting my than I wanted a few times and it’s quite a runny oil, so a good 20% was absorbed by my fingertips.
‘Pros: it is really lightweight. Cons: it promises anti-ageing but I still look firmly 32.’
Is The Body Shop 100% vegan? No, some of their products contain animal by-products like beeswax.
11. “B” oil, The Ordinary, £8.70 for 30ml
‘I love oils because I’ve got really dry skin and I wash my face, arms, and feet a lot every day (I just like to hydrate my body okay) so that ends up leaving me dry and ashy, so I have a lot of different oils.
‘This one is a little yellowy in colour but it’s really thin wear which feels light on the skin, not greasy as with some other oils. I love the little bottle as well because it’s a pipette style one so you can control how much oil you pour out.’
Is Utopia 100% vegan? Yes.
12. Intensive face serum, Utopia, £36 for 30ml
‘I didn’t really like the texture of this as it goes quite limp when you try to rub it in, and feels a bit clinical and not very luxurious, especially as the smell isn’t that great.
‘I like my skincare to be a bit more of a calming ritual before bed, and this doesn’t really add to that.
‘It has moisturised my face nicely though, so if you’re more into just slapping stuff on and forgetting about it, then this is perfect for you.’
Is Utopia 100% vegan? Yes.
Animal-derived ingredients to look out for
Beeswax – used as an emollient in skincare products.
Honey – from bees, obviously. Often used for its naturally antibacterial properties.
Chitin – a polysaccharide that was first discovered in the cell walls of mushrooms, but now more commonly comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans, insects and arachnids. Basically, it’s ground-up crab shells.
Collagen – a major structural protein found in animal connective tissue. It usually comes from cows, pigs or fish.
Elastin – a protein found in animal artery walls, intestines, lungs and skin.
Lanolin – animal fat extracted from sheep’s wool.
Stearin/stearic acid – derived from the fat of cows, sheep or pigs. Often a by-product of animal agriculture.
Information from The Vegan Society
The vegan, cruelty-free guide to skincare: Oils/serumsThe vegan, cruelty-free guide to skincare: Oils/serumslisambowmanVegan facial serums and oilsBYBI Supercharge serum Neal's Yard oil-free hydrating serumBeauty Kitchen seahorse plankton oilB Confident night serumSukin Super Greens chia seed oilClearing citrus and hemp facial oilUrban Veda reviving facial oilLush full of grace solid serumWaitrose Pure Hydration face serumThe Body Shop Oils of Life face oilThe Ordinary 'B' oilUtopia face serum vegan
Reusable nappies are nothing new – they were all that was available in years gone by.
However, they are rising in popularity, as people try to use less plastic and go for natural alternatives that won’t end up in landfill.
Cloth nappies, as they’re often called, are exactly that. They can be made of cotton, bamboo, or even hemp, and once you change your baby you simply pop them in the washing machine.
Since three billion disposable nappies end up in landfill each year – and they can take up to 500 years to decompose – it’s easy to understand how people get past the ick factor.
They also save people money, since they need one stash of nappies (enough for a washing rotation) and no more.
Deputy leader of The Green Party, Amelia Womack, believes switching to cloth nappies could save the country’s parents a whopping £360m a year.
Some retailers claim that their reusable products are more breathable, and therefore they create less nappy rash, although there’s likely no way to avoid this entirely.
Most people rinse the nappies before putting them on a hot wash, ensuring they’re clean for the next go.
You may have to do more washing than normal, but as plenty of mothers will tell you, babies tend to have that effect anyway.
There are so many different types to choose from.
The first are all-in-ones, which look exactly like the nappies you’re used to – except you pop them in the machine after use. These tend to be more expensive, but are a great transition product to get you started and save you time.
Flat nappies are pieces of square cloth that you fold into place. There are different iterations of this, including pre-fold and muslin. They’re a simple product and you fold them onto your baby, which means they are cheaper upfront, but need a bit more skill and time (but are quick-drying).
Mixes of both of these two are on the market, with some having a 2-part system and other requiring different levels of folding ability.
Regardless of which type you choose, you’ll need between 16 and 24 to get started.
In the UK, there are plenty of places to buy cloth nappies.
Cloth nappiesCloth nappiesjessicacvl
Winter is coming in Belfast. At least it was when I visited, as the cast of Game Of Thrones were busy filming the hotly-anticipated Season 8 in Titanic Studios and the surrounding areas.
The plot is a closely guarded secret and the final adventures of everyone’s second favourite Jon Snow won’t be revealed until next year (2019).
In the mean time, if you’re as much of a fan as me, you can have a ball visiting the areas where some of the most famous Game Of Thrones scenes were filmed and re-enact them.
Here’s how to do it – frame by frame – with my (admittedly pretty terrible) efforts.
No White Walkers were harmed in the writing of this article.
Tollymore Forest Park
This stunning 1,600-acre park played a crucial role in the first Game Of Thrones episode, then provided the backdrop for many subsequent scenes.
It looks a bit different at the moment – it was covered in (fake) snow when Wills stumbled across dismembered bodies and a girl nailed to a tree.
I found her tree (still complete with nail holes) and recreated my own version.
In hindsight, it’s far too OTT.
I guess that’s why she’s the pro and I’m not (props to actress Claire Wright).
Anyone can buy an entry ticket to the park (it’s £5 per car), but to find the exact spots, it helps if you have a guide with insider knowledge.
In our case, that was Adrian of Game Of Thrones Tours – a lovely man with a seemingly endless amount of GOT info.
He also starred in the show in several guises as an extra, and as Davos Seaworth’s photo double.
Adrian took this pic of me, also in Tollymore Forest Park, being the symbolic dead stag Ned and his lads find in the show.
I’m pretty pleased with this one.
If any casting agents are looking for dead stag impersonators, hit me up.
The original Winterfell (scenes are now filmed in Titanic Studios), in the Castle Ward estate, is a must see for GOT fans.
There are nine Game of Thrones film locations on the estate.
You can spot everything from the 16th century castle and stable yard (aka Winterfell), to a 15th century Tower House, which in the show belonged to Walder Frey.
Plus, there’s a spot where Brienne kicked ass in typical Brienne fashion while lugging Jaime Lannister about.
Entry to the castle and grounds costs £8.60.
The highlight of my trip to Ireland? Meeting not one but two Game Of Thrones A-listers.
I had cuddles with Odin and Thor, the beautiful Northern Inuit dogs that played Summer and Grey Wind.
Their human family, the Mulhall clan, were also lovely and have starred in the show.
Brothers William, Ross and Caelan were extras, and even dad William played a Dothraki.
Meeting the dogs was on our tour itinerary, but obviously these are animals and sometimes they won’t be feeling sociable, so there’s no guarantee you’ll see them.
The Dark Hedges
Although you don’t see The Dark Hedges in the show a huge amount (it appeared at the end of season two’s first episode), it’s The King’s Road, aka Arya and Gendry’s means of escape, in the show, which makes it pretty crucial.
It’s a beautiful place, even though it will inevitably be filled to the brim with fellow fans when you visit.
The hedges are beech trees planted 250 years ago by the Stuart family – they wanted to create an impressive feature leading up to their home, Gracehill House.
The house is a popular wedding venue, even though the hedges are said to be haunted by the mysterious Grey Lady.
Anyone can visit the hedges and there’s free parking at Gracehill House.
You can visit the caves where Melisandre gave birth to the dark spirit that killed Renly.
It’s near a small National Trust village.
Obviously you probably shouldn’t re-enact it exactly, since the caves are open to all.
There is no entry fee, and you can find more information on Cushendun on the National Trust site.
This is one for the Greyjoy fans this.
Ballintoy Harbour is where Theon came ashore on Pyke Island, and was later baptised in the name of the Drowned God.
I got my Yara on, thanks to the dressing up stuff provided by Game Of Thrones Tours.
Maisie Williams spent ages in freezing cold water filming the scene where Arya crawls out of the Braavos canal, after being stabbed by Waif.
So the least you can do is recreate her scene at Carnolugh.
Sorry Maisie, I tried.
How much does it cost?
Game Of Thrones Tours leads several guided trips.
The Tollymore Locations Trek costs £10 and covers scenes filmed in Tollymore Forest Park (which also features a clearing where Jon and Tyrion rested when heading North to The Wall together. Said clearing has a stump on which Kit Harrington sat, if you like that kind of thing.)
The Legenderry Iron Islands guided tour costs £40 per adult and includes the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle and areas used as the Iron Islands, plus a visit to Giant’s Causeway.
The Dublin Winterfell Locations Trek includes a visit to Dundrum Castle, Old Castle Ward and, if your lucky, some time meeting the direwolf pups. It costs £65 perf adult.
What else to do while you're there
For an aerial adventure, try Cutting Edge Helicopter’s Game Of Thrones Tour – Iron Island Adventure.
It costs £225 per helicopter flight (an hour for three people).
You should also visit Ulster Museum to see the amazing Game Of Thrones tapestry, which tells the story from the beginning until now.
I also enjoyed wandering round Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter for its street art, cafes, pubs and quirky restaurants.
St George’s Market was enjoyable, and I got chatting with artist and illustrator Danielle Morgan, aka Flax Fox, who draws local scenes in a snappy, distinct style.
She told me several of the show’s stars have browsed the market over the years.
GOT fans looking for a night out, meanwhile, should check Hodor’s website – actor Kristian Nairn is also a DJ and hosts nights called Rave Of Thrones.
I’d also highly recommend the Game Of Thrones Live, an evening of music from the show currently touring the US.
Where to stay in Ireland and how to get there
I stayed at the stunning Galgorm Hotel And Spa in Ballymena.
The spa and ‘thermal village’ is outstanding – it’s a beautiful complex of outdoor pools and jacuzzis, plus steam rooms and saunas with beautiful views of the countryside.
The hotel also has its own gin library, with an expert on hand to talk you through some of Ireland’s best gins as well as many other unusual drinks to lift your spirits.
Rooms cost from £149 per night, including a full Irish breakfast.
I flew from London Heathrow to Belfast City Airport with British Airways.
The flight took just under one and half hours.
BA flies to Belfast eight times a day and flights cost from £86 return.
(Top picture: Getty)
GOT_DARK-f932GOT_DARK-f932yvettemcasterGame Of Thrones (Picture: HBO)(Picture: HBO)
I used to go to the gym a lot and so when I started to get pains in my neck, I just assumed I had pulled something.
But when I couldn’t lift my neck or look left, right, up or down, I went to the doctor.
After a three-month delay, I was told that I had stage four nasopharyngeal carcinoma – a rare type of cancer that affects the pharynx – in my neck and nose. In a way, I felt relieved as I had been in constant pain and I didn’t know if I would die any day.
At least knowing what it was meant that I could get help, but it was a big thing and it was scary.
I had to have three cycles of chemo and then 30 sessions of radiotherapy over six weeks at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
I was only 20 at the time, so having cancer and going through treatment affected a lot of things.
I couldn’t work, and I wasn’t able to go out with my friends. What made it worse was that the people who I thought were my close friends didn’t come to visit. I felt gutted; I was sad and hurt – they deserted me when I needed them the most.
I couldn’t work out either, which was something I used to love and I struggled to eat because of the treatment.
Basically, my life had to go on hold while I dealt with the cancer.
There were times when I wanted to give up the fight, like when my friends on the unit died. They were people who I thought were stronger than me, as they were still able to walk around and eat when I couldn’t.
I remember one time, I went to visit one of my friends. When I went back the week later, he had died. It really upset me, and also made me think I couldn’t beat cancer if he didn’t.
The side effects from my radiotherapy were really bad. I was having to be fed through my nose and couldn’t talk, so I thought that if I was going to die anyway, I would rather not go through the treatment so I stopped it part way through.
The youth support coordinator encouraged me to keep going, which gave me the motivation to carry on treatment.
I also thought that if I died my mother wouldn’t survive the heartache, so I decided to keep going.
The thing about having cancer is that it helps to have support.
During my treatment, I went back in to see other patients to encourage them to stay positive.
I also made friends through Teenage Cancer Trust’s social events – they were young people who had been through cancer as well.
I found that they understood me a lot better than some of my friends did, and the conversation flowed a lot more easily as we had things in common.
My religion helped me get through as well. There were times when I felt that I might die but my religion kept me going.
When I finally heard that I was in remission, I was over the moon as there were often times when I thought cancer would kill me. I could see the relief in my mum too, as she thought she was going to lose me.
Before getting cancer, I wasn’t on the right path and I was in with the wrong crowd. Those people were nowhere to be seen when I started treatment and I learnt who my true friends were; that made me value friendship.
My relationship with my family hadn’t been great either, as I was always bringing trouble into the house because of who I hung around with. My parents had wanted me to do well at school and get a good job but I didn’t listen, and I must have upset them.
After the cancer diagnosis, my family were really there for me, even getting the bus to come and visit me in hospital, and it brought us closer together. It made me want to turn my life around and make them proud of me.
My mother loved me unconditionally, even when I was misbehaving, but it’s great to have a closer relationship with her. I spend a lot more time with my mum now, and I look after her too as she has arthritis.
Before getting cancer, I was working in a warehouse. Once I was well enough, I started to do my level three personal trainer qualification. I passed that, and I now want to do level four cancer and exercise rehabilitation so I can become a health coach.
People who go through cancer often lose or gain a lot of weight and have muscle deterioration, which in turn can affect their health and sense of identity, so I want to use my qualifications to help young people get back to fitness following cancer.
I lost a lot of weight myself and I’m trying to regain it so I want to be an inspiration for others.
In a way, I see having cancer as a positive thing. It was a test for me and I am now going down a better path.
Metro IllustrationsMetro Illustrationsrmve86Teens battling cancer Cancer hospital illness bed family son muslim friends health lifestyle sickness Dave Anderson for Metro.co.ukmetro illustrations
It’s no secret – libraries in the UK are under threat. Since 2010, more than 478 libraries have closed in England, Wales and Scotland.
That’s more than 478 community spaces where we can go to read and think and dream and learn. Books and reading are of course the primary function of libraries – but they are also sacred, still and quiet spaces where money is of no importance.
Everything that libraries offer us — the services and expertise of a librarian, reading groups, story-time and rhyme-time for little ones, internet use, a place to go when there might not be anywhere else, a chance to meet and chat to people over a cup of something warm — cost us nothing.
Libraries are a public need – of that there is no doubt; 74% of people in England believe that they are essential services to communities.
I have used libraries since I was little. I can still remember the euphoric joy of visiting the library after school and being let loose among the shelves.
Nothing felt better than being handed my very own library card and being responsible for my own reading.
It was in my local library that I fell head-over-heels with reading – a love that has continued and strengthened well into adulthood.
I’d visit during rainy afternoons, Saturday mornings, after school before tea and often during the school holidays, where the days stretched out and felt endless.
I also visited when I found things difficult at school – friendships, teachers, homework. Reading was (and still is) a heady escape and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
Nowadays, I go to the library to work and to write and, if I’m lucky to have the time, read whatever I like. I can spend as many hours there as I need to, without the pressure of having to buy a coffee or something to eat to stretch out my time.
My favourite part of being there is when I see excitable children holding onto the hands of their parents, giddily clutching books while trying to be as quiet as they can.
In Roald Dahl’s Matilda, a favourite book of mine, Matilda uses the library as a refuge from her unkind parents and unhappy home.
She quickly discovers that reading can take her to places she could never have imagined: ‘She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.’
Reading can be a kind of magic for children, and while there is no doubt that reading is vital for their learning and development, it also encourages empathy and understanding as well as sparking imagination and creativity.
Recent data from the Public Lending Right office on library-borrowing shows that four out of the top five authors borrowed in UK libraries last year were children’s authors. The authors included on this list are Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo), Daisy Meadows (Rainbow Magic), Roald Dahl and Roderick Hunt (The Magic Key).
Each author was borrowed more than one million times.
For children, libraries assert the values of reading, learning and exploring.
Through books, children can see their own identities and experiences reflected. They can also read and absorb other perspectives and experiences and see that there is a bigger world than they might have realised.
I can’t imagine my childhood without libraries – and I’d hate to imagine the prospect of children today not having access to them.
Books are wonderful and vital, but they are expensive – libraries mean that reading is not solely reserved for those who can afford to buy them.
That is the bottom line.
The influence of television, the internet and social media means that the magic and power of libraries is in danger of being forgotten.
We must do all that we can to ensure that libraries are taken seriously as centres of learning, enrichment and inclusion.
All children deserve bright and hopeful futures, and the chance to reach their full and true potential, and we will always need libraries to facilitate that.
Metro IllustrationsMetro Illustrationscharlotted92Libraries are sacred places Library reading school learning child kid learn book books education girl Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk Phebe
For those who have arrived here in search of a new trick in arts and crafts, it’s time to click the ‘go back’ key.
For gay, bisexual and bi-curious women – or anyone who just fancies trying something new in bed – scissoring is the act of interlocking legs in a scissor-like position and rubbing your genitals until you hit climax.
If you’re still with me, let’s continue.
There is more than one way to scissor
Like any sexual act, it takes practice to get it right and there’s more than one way to scissor with someone.
‘Scissoring typically involves two bodies reclining on their sides and grinding, rubbing pelvic bones until you (hopefully) orgasm. Your position will resemble two scissors interlocking, hence the name,’ says Tami Rose, a sex and relationships expert.
‘There is however limitless variation to scissoring, you can pretty much customise it in any way you like.
‘Similarly, you can rub genital to genital, or against a leg or chest. You can be in a missionary position, doggy and can include penetration if you fancy it.
‘The possibilities are endless.’
You can enhance the pleasure
There’s nothing shameful about needing some extra help to get yourself the big O.
Yes, you can use sex toys, gels and lubes to intensify your experience, just like you might do for the classic missionary position.
‘The Tracey Cox Supersex orgasm gel uses arginine and menthol to increase circulation and sensitivity to your labia and clitoris, meaning every touch and rub will be enhanced, and your orgasms could be more intense,’ says Sammi Cole, sex expert at Lovehoney, the adult toy website.
‘If you’re scissoring with another woman, you can also experiment with penetrative pleasure by sharing a flexible double-ended dildo.
‘Try slipping an end inside each of your vaginas, then pull each other close so that your vulvas are touching, and grinding on each other and the toy.’
Scissoring can be romantic
Just like doggy style isn’t always rough and tumble, scissoring can be a very romantic sexual position.
‘I was 19 when I had my first full-blown sexual experience with a woman that included scissoring and different sexual positions,’ says Cameron Long, 41, who doesn’t want to label her sexuality, but has been with both men and women.
‘It began with a kiss, which I have done before, but this was different because we were falling in love with each other and we needed to identify those feelings.
‘Having sex solidified it for us.’
It’s not a guaranteed orgasm
Cameron actually works as a sex expert for the sex toy brand Lelo, and explains that orgasms are very personal and feel differently to each person.
‘Like any sex, straight or gay person, it depends on if you are having a one-night-stand, a short-term relationship or have been partnered up like lobsters,’ she says.
‘Some women orgasm more when there is an emotional connection and some know their bodies so well the emotion isn’t required and raw sex can bring great pleasure.’
Don’t assume that all gay or bisexual women have done it (or that they like it)
No, just because a woman is dating another woman, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are scissoring.
‘I was in a relationship with another woman for two years, and never once did we seriously consider scissoring,’ says Harriet.
‘For us and other lesbian couples we knew, it was seen as a bit of a porn thing and really not necessary for having a great sex life and mind-blowing orgasms.
‘Maybe we weren’t that adventurous, but oral sex and fingering was more than enough.
‘Scissoring just seems like something people bring up to have a laugh, because they think girl-on-girl sex is like this exotic spectacle.’
It’s not just for women
Though it’s primarily a sexual position used by female couples, you can still enjoy scissoring regardless of which gender you or your partner identify with.
And, as mentioned earlier, scissoring has different shapes and forms, and doesn’t always involve rubbing.
‘I’ve tried scissoring in a kinkier and rougher way. I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu and incorporate some of the moves in my sex life,’ Ahmed, 30, explains.
‘You put the man’s head between your legs, lock your feet together at the ankle and squeeze his neck so that he struggles to breathe slightly, and so you intensify his pleasure.
‘As with any sexual act, you need be respectful of your partner and make sure they’re comfortable with what you’re doing.
‘I’ve also done it with a woman.’
What is scissoring? (Sex)What is scissoring? (Sex)allieabgarianWhy does everyone want a goth girlfriend?
In case you didn’t know, there’s a dedicated day for the female orgasm and it took place last week.
Personally I think every day should be an orgasm day – female or male.
Nevertheless, to celebrate the occasion Ann Summers launched a new range of goodies designed to give women stronger orgasms.
Please give a warm, and hopefully wet, welcome to Moregasm+.
Ann Summers claims its new, premium products incorporate a special patented climax technology that will blow your mind.
And everyone loves an improved orgasm, right?
Each toy has a prolonged, low frequency vibration that will travel through your body and target trigger points to give you a better, blended climax.
The range includes 10 products and equally as many vibration speeds, and the toys cost between £45 to £80.
And all of the vibrators are coated in dual-density sillicone.
‘We are always working to discover the latest innovation in sex toy technology and we want to continue building on our customers’ experience and pushing the boundaries,’ says Helen Zeal, who is the head buyer at Ann Summers.
‘We are incredibly excited about the launch of Moregasm+, as the premium quality of the range and intense power embedded within the climax technology will revolutionise the way our consumers orgasm.’
As a bonus, the new goodies also have smaller and quieter motors, so you can get yourself off without having to worry about what the neighbours think.
Although, if the vibrators are as good as claimed, you might be making some very loud noises of your own.
The Moregasm+ collection includes:
You can buy the new range here.
Ann Summers launch Morgasm+Ann Summers launch Morgasm+allieabgarianPicture: Ann Summers Ann Summers launch Morgasm+
When it came to dietary fads and trends, we didn’t think 2018 had much more to offer.
How naive of us.
We just hadn’t encountered Joy Nemerson, the self-confessed former picky eater who has taken things to a whole new level of weird.
The 24 year-old from Philadelphia has added bugs, critters and tiny creatures as the main protein to her meals.
She has perfected a variety of unique dishes including ant eggs, cricket pizza, mealworm stir fry and fried grasshopper.
The unusual diet came about as a solution to her long-standing intolerance of certain foods, and a personal drive to encourage greater sustainability.
Joy says that she understands that it might not be everyone’s idea of a fine dining staple, but it hasn’t stopped her from becoming a cheerleader for the insect diet.
Funnily enough, Joy could be on to something.
A new body of research has shown that eating crickets could be good for the stomach, helping to support the growth of beneficial bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Joy told Mail Online: ‘I do completely understand that staring a mealworm in the face and biting down on it can feel a little weird, but I’ve got over it very quickly.’
She has been a fussy eater since she was a teenager, which she attributes to a number of food allergies.
In 2017, a chance meeting with the CEO of Chirps Chips, a company that makes crisps with cricket protein, sparked a conversation about how to cook with bugs.
‘The more I heard about edible insects, the more interested I was.
‘I wanted to get started right away.’
But it wasn’t just the personal health improvements that attracted her to a bug-based food lifestyle.
‘You read all these stories and reports about how we’re running out of the world’s resources, so this is a far more sustainable way of eating.
‘Insects are rich in protein and iron, just like meat – but without using anywhere near as many resources.
‘When you think you can get similar health benefits from a handful of crickets as you can from raising a whole cow, eating insects seems a much better option for the future of the planet.’
Inspired by meeting with Chirps Chips, she travelled to Mexico City, where insect cuisine is by no means unusual.
This was all she needed for her enthusiasm to really bloom.
‘There were so many amazing options. I tried a fried grasshopper, which really did taste just like a barbeque crisp, as well as mealworm crackling.
‘It tastes exactly like bacon – what could be better than that?
‘I also tried ant egg tacos. They’re quite salty and sort of pop in your mouth like caviar.’
Joy explains that back home in the US, insect produce is harder to come by and other people’s attitudes are difficult to sway.
Although she can buy tubs of cricket powder online to make ‘brownies, cakes, muffins, even smoothies’, it’s still an uphill struggle.
And people aren’t always so understanding about her culinary requirements.
But that doesn’t dim her enthusiasm.
‘I’m always keen to educate people, though.
‘Last time I was at the market, I could see people looking at me buying the bugs, so I stopped to explain how healthy and sustainable they are.’
Still, maybe that’s one locally sourced cuisine we won’t rush to try.
Woman eats bugsWoman eats bugsfranciscogarcia92Worm stir fry (PA Real Life/Collect)Cricket and mealworm pizza (PA Real Life/Collect)Beetle canapes (PA Real Life/Collect)
For the discerning foodie, eating out in 2018 isn’t merely a matter of scouring TripAdvisor, picking somewhere decent and getting stuck into a couple of courses.
Because let’s face it – it has to be photogenic as well.
That’s why Élan Café does such a roaring trade.
Crowned London’s ‘most Instagrammable’ spot, its floral arrangements have been featured in thousands of posts and stories, and the cafe also has 126,000 dedicated followers on Instagram.
At the end of this month, you’ll be able to visit the new Oxford Street haunt, taking over the former Coppa Club on Market Place.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also a 70-seater venue opening at Selfridges in October.
The success of its existing Park Lane and Brompton Road venues is down to its insanely Insta-friendly interior.
You can’t swing your arms around without hitting an influencer posing against the floral backdrops, including the in-store blossom tree and the wall covered entirely with pink blooms.
What about the grub?
Well, there’s a mixture of millennial-friendly breakfasts, including a selection of acai bowls and avocado on toast among other brunching staples.
For lunch, a fairly sparse sandwich list.
But it’s the cakes where Élan café comes into its own.
Take your pick from the likes of the saffron dulce de leche, popcorn blondies and salted caramel caneles.
There are also two vegan options: the pumpkin cake or an orange brownie.
The range and quality of the coffee is another selling point, right at the heart of its appeal.
Owners have partnered up with Union Coffee for their beans, and a range of beauty products will be available to purchase in store too, made from recycled coffee by-products.
Sure, there might be more than enough twee to go around.
But what do you expect from a cafe priding itself on the number of influencer visits and the size of its Instagram following?
It might not be the most relaxing coffee and catch-up spot, but when it comes to interior, there are no rivals for this carefully curated experience in the city.
Elan Cafe is opening on Oxford Circus Picture: ?lan cafe METROGRAB ref:https://www.facebook.com/pg/elancafee/photos/?tab=album&album_id=167564433818894Elan Cafe is opening on Oxford Circus Picture: ?lan cafe METROGRAB ref:https://www.facebook.com/pg/elancafee/photos/?tab=album&album_id=167564433818894franciscogarcia92Elan Cafe is opening on Oxford Circus Picture: elan_cafeElan Cafe is opening on Oxford Circus Picture: elan_cafe
Is there anything better than showing appreciation to an entire species?
The answer is, of course, no.
Today, it’s high time to show some love and attention to one of the animal kingdom’s most beautiful creatures.
The day has been organised not just with cute shareable pics in mind, but with the ultimate goal of raising awareness for the plight of Asian and African elephants, and their struggles with extinction in an ever-more inhospitable climate.
That’s not to say there aren’t a whole heap of cute pics floating about the internet to mark the occasion.
It’s a bittersweet reminder of the magnificence we stand to lose if we don’t get our collective house in order very soon.
Such a majestic creature.
Be still our beating hearts.
Why have a picture of one baby elephant, when you can have two?
When you wander off on your own out in the African savannah.
Just chillin’ with your big bro.
Baby ElephantBaby Elephantfranciscogarcia92
Today marks the start of Afternoon Tea Week.
And what’s not to love about a week-long celebration of finger sandwiches, sweet treats and endless cups of tea?
Plus the odd glass of champagne, of course.
Whether you’re partial to the traditional scone and clotted cream or prefer something a bit more modern, London is a veritable feast of afternoon tea experiences.
From pop art-inspired delights to Asian influences, you’re spoilt for choice.
Biscuiteers Icing Boutique & Icing Cafés, Notting Hill & Clapham Junction
The clue is in the name.
Get creative at the Biscuiteers Icing Cafés, where you can upgrade the standard afternoon tea into a DIY icing session.
Diners can choose from a daily selection of biscuit designs and icing colours, as well as a plethora of decorations to sprinkle on top.
While you create your masterpieces, you can stuff your mouth with miniature sugary treats, including the brand’s own special biscuit, fruit scones with jam and clotted cream, hand-piped macaroons, salted caramel brownies, rose and strawberry Victoria cakes and a glistening violet and blackcurrant entrement.
It’s considerably cheaper than most of the afternoon teas on this list; £28.50 per person and an additional £10 if you want to ice your own cakes.
Ginza Onodera, St James’s
Colorful, creative and delightfully different.
Ginza Onodera restaurant has joined up with Tsujiri Matcha House to create an Asian fusion afternoon tea inspired by traditional Ochakai tea parties in Japan.
Savoury flavours are favoured over sweet, with sushi spider rolls, seared salmon tataki and lightly battered chicken karaage served with lemon and sundried chillies on the menu.
Though, one dessert dish is served – kinako blancmange pudding, drizzled with black sugar syrup.
There are several packages to choose from and prices start from £27.50.
And there’s matcha tea, of course.
The Ivy Café, Blackheath
If you’re after a luxurious setting but don’t want a stuffy atmosphere, the Ivy Café is a good choice.
The chefs have added new dishes to the afternoon tea menu specifically for this week, to be served from Tuesday 14 August until Monday 20 August.
One such dish is the Ivy Nursery Pot with its chocolate topping, lavender cream and edible flowers.
The quirky spin? You can eat the pot, too.
Other delights include fruit scones, freshly baked on site, truffled chicken brioche rolls, an assortment of finger sandwiches and other sweet treats.
Served the classic way – with tea or champagne.
You’ll have to fork out between £19.75 to £27.50.
45 Park Lane, Mayfair
Let’s start with something a bit different.
The afternoon tea at 45 Park Lane hotel is inspired by a contemporary, American menu.
Nicknamed ‘Cutcakes & Tea’, after CUT, the hotel restaurant, guests can gorge on cola cakes with caramel corn, black truffle grilled cheese sandwiches and Wagyu beef sliders.
To be drunk with craft beers, not a cuppa.
The experience is available Monday to Saturday and costs £55 or £72 per person, depending on if you want to add a glass of champagne.
Thomas’ Café, Regent Street
Located inside Burberry’s flagship store, the afternoon tea at Thomas’ Café is just as decadent, delicate and quintessentially British as you’d imagine.
Munch on finger sandwiches and tea cakes, Victoria sponge cake and lemon meringue tartlets, served with the café’s signature pale orange fondant fancy and walnut whip.
Wash your treats down with unlimited pots of tea, but not your average supermarket stuff – we’re talking 2016 2nd flush grand reerve Darjeeling.
Priced at £32 and it includes a glass of Nyetimber Classic Cuvée sparkling wine, too.
Lanes of London, Mayfair
A chocolate afternoon tea? Count us in.
For one week only, Lanes of London is serving up traditional treats from its botanical afternoon tea, but with a twist.
The restaurant has teamed up with Kerr Dunlop and Flo Broughton, the father / daughter duo who own the chocolate company, Choc on Choc.
Nibble on chocolate cucumber sandwiches, chocolate digestive biscuits and chocolate scones with a jam centre.
The mouth-watering delights are made using a patented production method.
Indulge yourself at a cost of £39.50 per person.
Rosewood hotel, Holborn
Art connoisseurs will go crazy over the tea served at Mirror Room.
The award-winning experience is based on pop art and cubism, with executive pastry chef, Mark Perkins at the helm.
You start off with a treat inspired by Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell soup cans; a black forest gateau designed in the shape of the can, complete with a silver can top made out of chocolate and filled with cherry jelly and chocolate mousse.
The cake is topped with vanilla crémeux and a bright red glaze.
Next up is Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke canvas, emulated in a banana cheesecake sprayed with tinted blue chocolate, topped with yellow passion fruit and caramel mousse, dipped in yellow chocolate.
And lastly, you travel to Japan for contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, as you relish in a matcha green tea sponge with strawberry and yuzu jelly, finished with a white glaze and pink decorations.
The cake rests on a pink sablé biscuit base, and is topped with white and pink chocolate decorations.
Your artistic affair will cost you £58.00.
Not everyone has a sweet tooth.
For diners who prefer a savoury snack, Chakra presents its Indian Afternoon Chai.
The venue has just been refurbished and if the weather allows, you can tuck into your tea on the outdoor terrace.
So, what’s on the menu?
Dig into vegetable samosas, cakes and pastries and a wide selection of drinks including, of course, Masala Chai.
Prices start from £15.95 per person.
Aqua in the Shard, London Bridge
How do you make an afternoon tea just that bit more special?
You add a theme.
Aqua, the restaurant situated high up in the Shard, has just launched an afternoon tea inspired by the adventures of author P.L Travers’ popular character – Mary Poppins.
Go down memory lane, as you’re presented with a custom-made tea stand (with an umbrella on the top) and a gold gilt mirror that serves as your menu.
Sweet and savoury treats are on offer, including finger sandwiches and crumpets.
The afternoon tea offering coincides with the relaunch of the five original Mary Poppins books which were released last month.
The Dorchester Collection 45 Park Lane The Cut www.jamesbedford.comThe Dorchester Collection 45 Park Lane The Cut www.jamesbedford.comallieabgarianPicture: joyliciouscakes_and_crafts Afternoon tea week round-up