Articles on this Page
- 08/13/18--01:05: _Having a baby via d...
- 08/13/18--01:09: _National Prosecco D...
- 08/13/18--01:53: _Why is your penis s...
- 08/13/18--02:54: _Women are sharing t...
- 08/13/18--03:22: _National Prosecco D...
- 08/13/18--04:04: _A chocolate afterno...
- 08/13/18--04:10: _Unsatisfied by conv...
- 08/13/18--06:10: _Looking for a sugar...
- 08/13/18--06:27: _29-year-old man dre...
- 08/13/18--06:34: _The best Summer eye...
- 08/13/18--07:05: _Having vaginismus d...
- 08/13/18--07:23: _Oh look, it’s a cou...
- 08/13/18--07:38: _Asda is holding a m...
- 08/13/18--07:39: _Crocs are no longer...
- 08/13/18--07:50: _You need to watch t...
- 08/13/18--08:18: _You’re drinking Pro...
- 08/13/18--08:19: _Harrods has reveale...
- 08/13/18--09:24: _My brother’s tragic...
- 08/13/18--13:27: _From Havana to Cayo...
- 08/13/18--22:02: _You’ll soon be able...
- 08/13/18--01:09: National Prosecco Day: Just how much Prosecco do we drink in the UK?
- 08/13/18--01:53: Why is your penis shaped like a mushroom?
- 08/13/18--02:54: Women are sharing their #SoProud birth stories
- 08/13/18--03:22: National Prosecco Day: The six best bottles you can buy for a tenner
- For it to be classed as prosecco, the fizzy drink must be produced in the north east part of Italy, between the Dolomites Mountains and Adriatic Sea.
- In the UK, men buy more prosecco than women. According to research by Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC, 56% of prosecco buyers are men.
- In 2017, 440 million bottles were produced and yes, we drank a large majority of it.
- Always look out for the official blue state seal on the bottle that guarantees it’s the real deal.
- There are three styles of prosecco: Spumante (sparkling), Frizzante (semi-sparkling) and Tranquillo (still).
- 08/13/18--06:10: Looking for a sugar daddy? Here are the ideal UK cities to find one
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Milton Keynes
- Buckhurst Hill
- 08/13/18--06:27: 29-year-old man dresses up as a giant rabbit in his spare time
- 08/13/18--06:34: The best Summer eyeshadow palettes of 2018 from Fenty Beauty to Dior
- 08/13/18--07:23: Oh look, it’s a couple of sexy nudist Mormons
- 08/13/18--08:18: You’re drinking Prosecco from the wrong glass – here’s why
‘I’m getting back with my ex,’ he said. I didn’t even know she was on the scene, but I wasn’t surprised.
At the beginning of 2016, I’d told myself that if I was single by the end of the year, I was going to have a baby by myself via donor conception.
With 2017 in spitting distance, and my relationship destined not to be, I decided to go for it with my eyes wide open, some donor sperm and a large nurse’s syringe.
It sounds like a snap decision, but I had actually been thinking a lot about donor conception before reaching this point.
In 2014, I got divorced and found myself a single parent to my first son.
I found it hugely isolating and challenging but, slowly and surely, I learnt to love the benefits of running the show alone. It wasn’t the practicalities of being a solo mum to two children instead of one that scared me.
Plus, the idea of having another child cannot be decided with a pros and cons list; the cons are never ending, but the one pro – mothering another being – outweighs them all a thousand times.
No, my fears centered around the emotional side of having a baby via donor conception.
How would a future child of mine feel? Would they resent me bringing them into the world without a father? Would my family look even more chaotic: two children, different fathers, both absent… what would the neighbours say? It didn’t bode well for parents’ evening.
I also worried that I was rushing things. Had I done all I could to find a partner? Would I regret losing my freedom just as my three year old became more independent?
I went back and forth, trying to work out whether these were understandable nerves, or a sign that I wasn’t ready for this.
But as I considered my fears, I realised I risked letting the idea of some imagined life hold me back from making the best decision for the life I was actually living.
I wanted to take back control of my life, even if I would lose it again in a deluge of baby vomit and stinky nappies.
Selecting a sperm donor was trickier. If you’ve never seen a sperm bank’s website just imagine OKCupid but with baby photos.
Still, I kept the decision close to my heart and only told a select few that I was going to have a baby with donated sperm.
My mother, whilst worried at first, quickly got on board. Like me, she knew it would be a challenge but she focused on the joy – rather than the sleepless nights – that this little person would bring.
The few friends I told were generally supportive. When their questions about how I’d cope felt loaded, I just held my head a little higher and carried on.
After all, it’s not like I’m doing something new, or unheard of. Insemination using a sperm donor has been around since the 19th century and data from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) shows that solo mums by choice are on the rise.
Between 2014 and 2016 the number of single women undertaking IVF increased by 35%, whilst the number embracing IUI (Intrauterine insemination) increased by 8%. My journey was beginning, and my son and I couldn’t wait for the ultimate prize.
My friends all had their children the traditional way so Google became my new bestie. Within a few weeks, I was speeding across London after work for an open evening at the clinic.
Not one to dawdle, I was talking IUI and IVF with the doctor just a few weeks later.
Selecting a sperm donor was trickier. If you’ve never seen a sperm bank’s website just imagine OKCupid but with baby photos.
The choice was overwhelming, but already having a child helped me to narrow down my selection as I wanted my children to share the same ethnicity.
Finally, after getting my mother to rate my shortlist (this is the only time we have seen eye to eye), I made my choice. Things were getting exciting.
A month later, I had my first cycle of natural IUI. This process involves having washed donor sperm inserted manually by a nurse while you are still awake.
Having become pregnant quickly with my first son, I assumed it would work first time. Sadly, reality wasn’t in agreement and the cycle resulted in my first negative pregnancy test.
Taking it on Mother’s day was an added blow; I was the only female at the playground that day, lacking the partner to step up and give me a lie in.
This first attempt was followed in quick succession by two cancelled rounds of IUI.
The first time the medication reduced my womb lining, the second time it had me producing enough eggs to create a small nation – an innovative way to get round the Tories’ two-child benefits cap, but not something the doctors were willing to go forward with.
Frustrations were running high by attempt number four, which sadly resulted in my second negative pregnancy test.
Then, almost a year after I made my decision to have a child solo, I was finally pregnant – courtesy of attempt number six.
Sitting here now with my eight week old baby I can laugh at how anxious I was. With my two beautiful boys beside me, I can finally say I have my family and I couldn’t be happier.
Donor conception and solo motherhood might not be everyone’s number one choice, but once I made the decision for myself it fitted perfectly – like Cinderella’s shoe, only I knew I’d be getting something much better than a prince.
Sure, I am gutted my actual Prince Charming hasn’t made his appearance, but that was never going to stop me building my family another way.
Ella Davis is a pseudonym. Follow more of her family’s journey at ellamentalmama.com
Prosecco has become the go-to drink for party hosts across the UK in recent years, with endless bottles of the fizz flying off the supermarket shelves.
The Prosecco boom has been rumbling on for the best part of a decade in the UK as drinkers everywhere still can’t get enough of the Italian bubbly.
Exactly when Britain became obsessed with Prosecco is hard to pinpoint, but Tesco and Sainsbury’s say sales started to rise rapidly in 2011-12, and the Independent reports that Prosecco consumption doubled in the UK from 2013-14.
So just how much Prosecco are we drinking over here?
According to research by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, 35.8 million gallons of Prosecco was sold in the UK in 2017.
This represented a 5% increase from 2016, which was the smallest increase in sales since 2011.
This vast amount of fizz represents around a third of Prosecco produced in total every year, making the UK the country that consumes the most on the planet.
The Drinks Business reported that in 2016, the UK drank 112.7 million bottles of DOC Prosecco.
UHY Hacker Young spokesman James Simmonds said: ‘A 5 per cent increase in sales is not at all bad but that comes after several years of double-digit growth.
‘Unless the industry can revitalise its image this year, we may now be reaching peak prosecco.’
English sparkling wine producers are doing their best to get in on the fizz obsession, but they are some way behind in terms of output.
According to The Drinks Business, in 2017 around 4 million bottles of English sparkling wine were produced and that is set to rise to around 6 million this year.
Champagne appears to be the biggest victim of the boost in Prosecco popularity, with off-trade sales down 20% in 2017.
This saw just 13.3 million bottles sold in 2017, compared to nearly 17 million the previous year.
Prosecco aperitivoProsecco aperitivophilhaigh26
Have you ever looked at a penis (either your own, or someone else’s) and wondered: why is it shaped like that?
The tube shape is pretty obvious. It fits inside another person nice and neatly, and it’s a good shape for getting sperm up to the top of a vagina (it’s also a good shape for lots of other things, but we’re talking on a biological basis here rather than sexyfuntimes).
So, you’ve got a tube shape, and that makes lots of sense. But what about the bit at the top? For anyone who isn’t familiar with penises, the top bit is commonly referred to as a ‘bellend’ and it’s sort of fluted. A bit like a mushroom. Which is a strange (though very nice) bit of design.
But actually, there’s an evolutionary reason for the shape. According to research from a team of scientists, led by one Professor Gordon Gallup (yes, really) the shape of the penis is there to allow it to scoop out other men’s semen from a woman’s vagina during sex.
So back in the olden days when women were encouraged to enjoy the occasional orgy for the sake of reproduction, when she had sex with a whole load of men, there would be a surplus of semen inside her. In order for a man to stand the best chance of being the one who fertilized her with his sperm, his penis evolved to drag other semen out as he withdrew, in theory making it more likely that he would be the baby daddy.
In order to explore this theory, the New Scientist did an experimen. They put a mock-up penis with a sizable coronal ridge(aka big bell end) into a fake vagina, and measured how much of a cornstarch mixture it could pull out, compared to a fake penis with no bell end or a smaller bell end. They found that the penis with the massive ridge was able to remove 90% of the cornstarch mixture with just one thrust.
These days we’re a bit less into the whole free love, not sure who the father is thing (though that is sort of the plot of Mamma Mia Here We Go Again) so that function possibly gets less airtime. But it’s nice to know exactly what your body is capable of.
Last week footballer Harry Kane ruffled a few feathers by sharing a picture of his new baby, saying that he was ‘so proud’ of his wife, who gave birth with minimal pain relief.
Pleased as everyone was for Harry, some people couldn’t help asking why his wife’s use (or rather, non use) of pain killers was such an important part of the story. Surely, many people pointed out on social media, what drugs she took to get the baby out was irrelevant?
There has been a sort of pride attached to a ‘natural’ birth for decades, and Harry Kane’s comment, which was probably meant in the nicest possible way, highlighted that. After all, we don’t go around telling people they’ve done brilliantly because they had a root canal without any pain relief.
In response to this discussion, birth activist Milli Hill, who runs the Positive Birth Movement, started the hashtag ‘so proud’ where women were invited to share their birth stories and to discuss why they’re proud, pain relief or not. Lots of these women did have a pain relief free birth, and others needed intervention. But all of them are proud of what they achieved.
The lovely Harry Kane later took to Twitter to explain that he hadn’t meant to imply that pain relief free was the ‘right’ way to give birth, but that he was proud of his fiancé for her incredible achievement, and celebrating the fact that the birth happened the way they had hoped.
Milli Hill, who started the hashtag, told Metro.co.uk: ‘Women are sharing their stories and why they are proud of their births, women who have had all kinds of experiences and made all different choices. We want to show solidarity to Harry Kane for his comments here, and make the point that ALL women deserve to be proud after their baby is born. The ones who did it with no drugs should be proud! And all the others too, every woman has a reason to be proud for bringing new life into the world.’
Can you take paracetamol during pregnancyCan you take paracetamol during pregnancyrebeccacnreid
Cheeky glass of prosecco, anyone?
We reckon the question is asked fairly regularly in the UK, given we consume a third of the overall production of this fizzy goodness last year – in case you’re wondering, that’s 112.7 million bottles.
That’s right, we love our bubbly.
And you know what today is, don’t you?
Since we quaff down so much of the good stuff, it’s sensible that there are so many good options to choose from in the supermarket isle.
Here’s our selection of some of the tastiest bubbly, and it’ll cost you under a tenner to get it.
I heart Prosecco
We do, we do heart prosecco.
Originally from Veneto, Italy – as all prosecco is – this bottle boasts flavour ‘bursting with classic acacia flower aromas and delicate apple and peach flavours.’
You can pick it up during your weekly shop; it’s available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and your local Nisa, and will cost you £9.
The cut-glass design will make a pretty addition to your prosecco rack, that’s for sure.
But what does it taste like?
Described as ‘clean and crisp’, you should be able to taste citrus, green apple, grapefruit and floral notes.
Goes great with seafood.
Available at Sainsbury’s for £10 or head to Morrisons to save yourself one pound.
If you like your prosecco is dry, go with this one.
With fruity notes of lemon, pear and apple, it’s a bargain bottle.
A classic choice that you can pick up for £10 at M&S, on your way to the family garden party.
Extra dry and made from organically grown grapes.
Has a faint taste of pears and is the cheapest bottle on our list.
Just £7.99 from Lidl, peeps.
Fruity stuff with white blossom and yellow apples.
Described as a ‘joyful’ prosecco, though we’re not quite sure what that means.
But hey, we’re game.
Sold at M&S for a tenner.
Borgo Molino Venti 2
Finally, there’s Borgo.
The makers of the fizz claim it’s ‘elegant’ with ‘hints of apples and pears’.
At £9.99 per bottle at the Co-op, we’re happy even if it makes us a little less graceful after we’ve drunk it.
Things you might not know about prosecco
Source: Prosecco DOC
Prosecco illustration via Dave AndersonProsecco illustration via Dave AndersonallieabgarianProsecco illustration via Dave Anderson
Calling all tea lovers out there – this is not a drill.
An afternoon tea made entirely of chocolate has arrived in London – and it’s as delicious as you’d imagine.
To celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week, which kicks off today, Lanes of London have teamed up with Choc on Choc to put on an incredible tea, complete with traditional afternoon tea treats and chocolate alternatives.
Choc on Choc invited us down to have a sneak preview and here’s what we thought…
The Choc on Choc afternoon tea is being offered at the Lanes of London restaurant at the Marriott on Park Lane.
As soon as you enter, you’re immediately transported away from busy London life and into an oasis of calm. A huge fireplace gives the restaurant a cosy living room feel (the dream living room you create on Pinterest, rather than the slightly damp one in your shared house…)
Dark and intimate isn’t the typical setting for an afternoon tea, but the velvet chairs and carpets perfectly reflect the chocolate theme.
The Afternoon Tea offers up an impressive selection of Jing tea – everything from white, black, floral and green.
To help us make our choice, our waiter brought out a large box with samples of tea for us to try. This really helped distinguish the stronger teas from the sweeter ones.
We struggled to commit to one type, so decided to leave it in the hands of our waiter to bring us some of the best sellers.
We were given the traditional English breakfast tea to start (to play it safe), and gradually got a little more adventurous with our choices.
I tried the flowering tea called Jing Flowering osmanthus, which arrived as a bundle of leaves next to our teapot. You’re encouraged to put the osmanthus and orange leaves in yourself so you can watch it expand and open up like a flower.
We also tried Jing Matcha latte – for those of you that haven’t tried matcha, it has a very grassy taste so I’d recommend using the latte option as well as adding a bit of guave syrup.
We tried the Matcha pure too, mostly just to say we’d done it.
Apparently, the traditional way of drinking it is by sharing it with a partner and taking three long sips. Cool story but let’s just say I wasn’t a fan!
Now to the best bit – the treats!
These include your usual selection of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries but what makes it different is that some of these have been swapped for Choc on Choc’s alternatives.
The task is figuring out which ones are real and which ones aren’t!
The chocolate cucumber sandwiches, chocolate biscuits, chocolate custard creams and chocolate scone, handmade from Belgian milk and white chocolate, are created using Choc on Choc’s patented production method that layers chocolate on top of chocolate.
This means they’re easier to shape in the way you want – probably why the scones and sandwiches looked so much like the real thing!
The treats arrived on a funky display, with the sandwiches at the bottom, scones and chocolate scones in the middle and pastries and cakes on the side.
It also came with two delicious elderflower, gin and lime marshmallows, one for each of us, that are blow-torched right in front of you.
We went with the sweet/salty/sweet approach so started with the marshmallows and scones, tucked into the sandwiches, then went for the chocolate and sweet treats.
Basically heaven in your mouth.
Value for money
There’s no denying that this heavenly afternoon tea experience is a little on the pricey side – £39.50 per person – but you get a lot, and I mean, a lot for your money.
With usual teas that I’ve been to in the past, you have to commit to one type of tea and then you get top ups of that choice.
But the best part about this one is that it’s unlimited so you can drown in tea until your heart’s content.
You also have the option to make it a boozy tea by adding champagne and cocktails – obviously a great idea.
Waiters are there when you need them but don’t linger around during your experience which is exactly what you want.
Our server Will was fantastic – he was really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about all the teas on offer and his recommendations were spot on too. We’ll definitely be back!
The afternoon tea is available from Monday 13th August to Sunday 19th August from midday to 5pm. If you can’t make it, you can also have the afternoon tea delivered to your house for £30.
The menu includes:
Sandwiches: Choc-on-choc cucumber sandwich, egg, oak leaf & chervil mayonnaise sandwich, fennel cured salmon, beetroot cream & pineapple sage sandwich and smoked tomato, chicken, red leaf basil and arugula pesto sandwich.
Scones: Choc-on-choc scone, homemade plain scones, orange and kaffir lime jam & clotted cream.
Pastries: Carrot, lemon, thyme and golden raisin cake, chocolate digestive biscuit & custard cream.
Sweet treats: Jasmine, apricot and nasturtium cone, lavender, lychee and bee balm macaroon and blow-torched elderflower, gin and lime marshmallows.
Palm PR X Choc On ChocPalm PR X Choc On Choctanveermann1London Marriott Picture: Interior view of Lanes of London restaurant at the London Marriott Credit: Lanes of London
Felicity Kadlec a 19 year old woman from Massachusetts, has fallen in love with a zombie doll.
The teenager has revealed that she’s in a romantic relationship with the doll and that she’s hoping they will get married.
Felicity says that she has been in a relationship with her zombie doll, Kelly, for the past three years. She’s even got her name tattooed on her arm.
The doll was gifted to Felicity when she was just 13, purchased from a ‘creepy doll collection website’.
Explaining how her relationship with Kelly the doll started, Felicity explained: ‘I found Kelly on a creepy doll collection website and I was gifted her when I was 13.But it wasn’t until I was 16-years-old that I started to get feelings for her, but it was something that I kept on trying to deny.’
She went on to say: ‘I have had boyfriends in the past, and I always thought that I was in love with them – but they never made me feel the way I do now. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t understand our relationship, but I am so confident that I’m in love with Kelly that I got her name tattooed on my arm. We have an intimate relationship which is progressing in the normal way – and we are getting married in September.’
‘Our relationship has been on and off since I was 16, because I would tell myself that it was wrong and break it off. But over the past year I have really come to terms with my feelings for her and I know that my love for her cannot be changed. I got her name tattooed on my arm in the spring because she’s always going to be a part of my heart – she is a part of me and no one can change that. I am intimate with Kelly – I caress her and feel safe with her, and I feel a genuine connection when I’m having an intimate moment with her.’
Having sexual or romantic feelings for inanimate objects is called objectophilia. You can read more about it here.
Felicity also has a book called Zombieblood which you can order here.
GIRL IN LOVE WITH ZOMBIE DOLLGIRL IN LOVE WITH ZOMBIE DOLLrebeccacnreidPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Felicity Kadlec, 19,from Massachusetts, United States claims she has romantic feelings for a zombie doll, which was gifted to her when she was 13.) - A teenager has revealed that shes in a romantic relationship with a zombie doll who she is due to MARRY next month.Felicity Kadlec, 19, claims she has been in a relationship with her zombie doll, Kelly, for the past three years after being gifted her when she was just 13. Felicity, from Massachusetts, United States, even claims that her and Kelly share an intimate relationship.And to confirm their love further, Felicity, who has her partners name tattooed on her arm, and Kelly are planned to get married in September this year.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Felicity Kadlec, 19,from Massachusetts, United States claims she has romantic feelings for a zombie doll, which was gifted to her when she was 13.) - A teenager has revealed that shes in a romantic relationship with a zombie doll who she is due to MARRY next month.Felicity Kadlec, 19, claims she has been in a relationship with her zombie doll, Kelly, for the past three years after being gifted her when she was just 13. Felicity, from Massachusetts, United States, even claims that her and Kelly share an intimate relationship.And to confirm their love further, Felicity, who has her partners name tattooed on her arm, and Kelly are planned to get married in September this year.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Felicity Kadlec, 19,from Massachusetts, United States claims she has romantic feelings for a zombie doll, which was gifted to her when she was 13.) - A teenager has revealed that shes in a romantic relationship with a zombie doll who she is due to MARRY next month.Felicity Kadlec, 19, claims she has been in a relationship with her zombie doll, Kelly, for the past three years after being gifted her when she was just 13. Felicity, from Massachusetts, United States, even claims that her and Kelly share an intimate relationship.And to confirm their love further, Felicity, who has her partners name tattooed on her arm, and Kelly are planned to get married in September this year.SEE CATERS COPY
Looking for a reason to move to the big city?
Depending on your stance on sugar daddies, this might be an addition to your pros or cons column.
The social network, RichMeetBeautiful, has revealed a list of the optimal places to go in search of your very own sugar parent – there are both daddies and mamas on the site.
And, perhaps unsurprisingly, London is at the top of the list followed by Manchester, Birmingham, Bath and Glasgow.
The news comes after an in-house count of all members on the network since the launch of the international platform in the UK late last year.
Members have been rolling in on the regular; the original objective was to attract 100,000 female and male ‘sugar daters’ to the site, a goal which has now been met.
Oh and if you sign up as the receiver, not the giver, you’re affectionately – or creepily – called a ‘sugar baby’.
‘We’re surprised at the fact that some not-so-large cities made it to this top 25 list,’ says CEO Sigurd Vedal.
‘This confirms that sugar daters are now everywhere and anyone can be interested in seeking a mutually satisfactory relationship.
‘England’s capital city heads the list, of course, but smaller cities such as Bath, Stoke-on-Trent, Hull and Reading are also in the top 25.
‘Sugar dating is definitely another form of dating and people in the UK are responding very well to the RichMeetBeautiful platform.’
Bath, once home to author Jane Austen who often preached about dating etiquette in her books, has actually had one of the highest increases in members over the last few months with 9.3%.
The opening sentence in Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice reads: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
Hundreds of years later, it seems like he (or she) wants a sugar baby instead.
Meanwhile, in Stoke-on-Trent, known for its many pottery museums, there was a 6.5% rise in members.
Scotland’s on the list too, with Edinburgh coming in at seventh place.
Liverpudlians seem most resistant to giving up their hard-earned cash, but thankfully, Manchester is just half an hour away.
Top 25 cities where you can find your very own sugar parent
sex-worker-with-clientssex-worker-with-clientsallieabgarianHow hypnotherapy helped me train for a marathon
A 29-year-old from Pembrokeshire, Wales, is so obsessed with rabbits that he’s spent the past ten years dressing as a giant bunny in his spare time.
Adrian James regularly becomes his alter ego Keel, which involves wearing a six foot rabbit bodysuit.
He has spent £10,000 on suits and rabbit merchandise.
Working full-time as a vehicle electrical engineer, Adrian, who has been obsessed with rabbits since he was a child, typically wears jeans and t-shirts at work.
But on his days off, he transforms into a furry rabbit and also spends time with his real rabbit, Pop Junior.
Despite others giving him criticism, Adrian claims that he is happiest when he’s living as a rabbit, as it allows him to ‘escape’ from everyday troubles.
‘I know typical mechanics don’t go home and dress up as a big furry bunny rabbit but it’s my favourite thing to do,’ he said.
‘When I was born I had a yellow bunny rabbit toy and I’ve loved rabbits ever since.
‘But it wasn’t until the age of 15, when I found the toy in my parents’ loft, that my obsession really began.
‘I started to buy more cuddly rabbit toys and then one day made a suit out of one of my plushies.
‘There’s no limit on how much I’ll spend on my obsession.’
From the age of 20, Adrian has attended events, gone on general outings with friends and even popped to the local shop while dressed as his alter ego, Keel.
However, he claims that, despite getting a lot of praise for his confidence, he has also been abused by strangers in the street for his appearance.
‘A lot of people love it when I dress up in my suits and take photos with me and they are genuinely excited,’ Adrian said.
‘But I get a lot of people who think my lifestyle choice is weird – I’ve had rugby boys try to tackle me and people even telling their children to punch me.
‘I try not to let them bother me and instead I just focus on the friends I have made from dressing up. When I go to events with my other friends who also dress up, I feel like we’re part of a tight-knit community and I feel really confident.’
Despite socially immersing himself in the ‘furry’ community, he claims that his obsession is in no way sexual.
‘Wearing my bunny rabbit suit isn’t a fetish – it’s just something that I love to do,’ he said.
‘I could never see myself doing something like that in my suit and I wouldn’t get any enjoyment. I love rabbits because they’re cute and funny, not in any other way.
‘Finding a community of people who dress up like I do has given me a new lifestyle that’s away from getting drunk and going clubbing – it’s completely innocent.
‘I can’t see a day where I’ll stop living as a rabbit, even if it’s not as often, as I think my obsession will just keep growing.’
This summer there’s been a whole host of brand spanking new eyeshadow palettes that have made us quiver in delight.
Not surprisingly, the majority fall within the same warm-toned colour family. But there’s also a few jewel toned eyeshadows in the mix, including purple, which is one of this season’s biggest makeup trends.
But to save you some time we’ve rounded up our favourite Summer eyeshadow palettes – whether you’re looking for something compact, or want to experiment with colour.
Meet the newest Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow palette; Norvina.
This is the first palette named after Claudia Norvina Soare, the brand’s president and daughter of Anastasia Soare, aka Anastasia Beverly Hills.
The purple packaged eyeshadow palette contains seven shimmers and seven mattes, which is a first for ABH. And includes Norvina’s go-to shades from a warm bronze to a duo chrome plum that looks especially hypnotic on green eyes.
It’s yet another highly pigmented product, similar to the brand’s best-selling Modern Renaissance. But what more would you expect from one of the best eyeshadow palette brands?
Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Norvina Eyeshadow Palette, £43.00, cultbeauty.co.uk
Urban Decay palettes never fail to leave us excited and their latest addition is no different.
It’s a far cry from their iconic ‘Naked’ range as the new Born To Run palette has 21 (yes, 21) shades opposed to 12.
The palette is seriously sturdy and has a full-sized mirror. But it’s the solid mix of shades that make this palette a good all-rounder.
The neutrals, wearable brights and range of textures, mean you can create near enough every eye look imaginable.
Urban Decay Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette, £39.50, debenhams.co.uk
Calling all neutral queens, you won’t want to pass off this cool-toned palette from DIOR.
The Dior Cool Neutrals Backstage Eye Palette includes an eyeshadow primer and eight eyeshadows ranging from a light sparkling pink to a dark matte plum.
It’s a great palette for beginners looking at getting their collection started, as the shades are soft, buildable and pair together perfectly.
DIOR Backstage Eye palette , £38.00, debenhams.co.uk
If you’re a lover of warm eyeshadows and traveling this summer, bareMinerals have released four neutral-toned palettes that are the perfect size for your carry-on.
Our favourite from the Gen Nude collection is the ‘Latte Palette’ which houses an assortment of six warm neutrals.
The shades have been created to compliment every skin tone and the step-by-step guide makes it easy to follow and create natural to dramatic eye looks.
bareMinerals Gen Nude Eyeshadow Palette, £29.00, bareminerals.co.uk
Summer is a great time to experiment with vibrant eyeshadow colours.
So if you’re partial to a pop of colour, FENTY BEAUTY’s Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow Palette is sure to spice up your summer.
The limited-edition palette from Rhianna’s sought-after makeup line, contains 16 long-wearing Moroccan-inspired shades.
It includes an aqua seafoam green and a few necessary neutrals such as a matte cocoa brown, that make the more colourful hues a little easier to wear.
FENTY BEAUTY Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow Palette, £42.00, harveynichols.com
If you’re on a budget ZOEVA’s Voyager Caramel Melange Eyeshadow Palette is awesome value for money.
The six warm toned shades are packed with pigment, are creamy and easy to blend. Plus its pocket-sized so will easily fit in your handbag.
However, there’s one caveat – it doesn’t have a mirror. So don’t forget to pack your compact.
ZOEVA Voyager Caramel Melange Eyeshadow Palette, £12.00, cultbeauty.co.uk
Huda Beauty has revamped one of her best-selling eyeshadow palettes to include a new range of ‘metal fondants’, a mirrored lid and brand-new shades.
Alongside old classics such as Coco, the new ‘metal fondants’ have a molten-like consistency that look stunning on the lid when applied with a dampened brush.
If you’re willing to splash some cash, the Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette is worth every single penny.
Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette, £56.00, cultbeauty.co.uk
The best Summer eyeshadow palettes of 2018-d361The best Summer eyeshadow palettes of 2018-d361emilyknott17The best Summer eyeshadow palettes of 2018Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Norvina Eyeshadow PaletteUrban Decay Born To Run Eyeshadow PaletteDIOR Backstage Eye PalettebareMinerals Gen Nude Eyeshadow PaletteFENTY BEAUTY Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow PaletteZOEVA Voyager Caramel Melange Eyeshadow PaletteHuda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette
I’ve had vaginismus for as long as I’ve been trying to put things inside myself.
The first attempt was a tampon when I got my first period; I fainted. A year later, my mum helped me insert one but again the pain was so bad I ended up blacking out and then convulsing like a scene from The Exorcist as I came round (her words).
Thankfully I’ve had lots of supportive boyfriends who’ve been patient and inventive and kind, but every time we’d try to have penetrative vaginal sex, the pain would be excruciating.
Despite all this, it wasn’t until my late teens that I was diagnosed with vaginismus, a label that at least helped me understand what was going on: the muscles in the walls of my vagina were spasming uncontrollably, stopping anything from moving inside and making me feel raw down there.
Yet when I Googled the condition – this was before the glorious wealth of sex-positive blogs about alternative sexual practices that are now at our fingertips – I only saw images of sad women and frustrated men (it’s truly amazing how many stock photos of that there are.)
Whenever I spoke to someone about it, they never seemed to understand.
One person thought I was asexual. Someone else asked me if I was frigid. Most women at university reassured me that it hurts for everyone the first time, and that I would get used to it.
They didn’t quite believe I couldn’t even get something inside me at all; I think they thought I was being a wimp.
So when I wrote a play, Skin A Cat, about my experiences, I thought people would connect with the story’s universality: the awful pressure to have a certain type of sex life. And they have; I wrote it because no one understood why my vagina didn’t work but it’s thrilling to know that everyone sees themselves in the play in some way.
What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of people getting in touch to let me know that they, too, suffered from the condition I was representing on stage (and conditions like it, such as vulvodynia) and how much it meant to them to see that.
Unless you want to get pregnant, having a penis in your vagina isn’t the be all and end all of a happy sex life.
I’ve since learned that it’s not so uncommon to experience it at some point in your life if you have a vagina.
Most people who get in touch have had penetrative vaginal sex before and later developed the condition, triggered by childbirth or eczema or trauma, or sometimes nothing at all.
But more surprising still is that people with penises have had a specific connection to the play. Lots of men have seen the show and made a point of telling me first off how funny the show was, and that they had a girlfriend with the condition.
All but one of them told me they had no idea what it was at the time, and only now realise, having seen the same experiences played out onstage.
One man in particular made sure I understood just how much fun he and his partner had together, despite that little impediment, and that’s what I wish people know most of all – that this problem is only a problem if you make it one.
There are so many ways to have enjoyable sex, and unless you want to get pregnant, having a penis in your vagina isn’t the be all and end all of a happy sex life.
I don’t actually blame anyone for not knowing what vaginismus is, because why would they; it’s clearly not talked about enough, either publicly or privately.
But if it was I think we’d all have a better time, and this could be treated like any other ailment: it might get in the way of business as usual, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of sex or sexual pleasure, and treatment is available if you want it.
More than anything, I wish I’d known that sooner.
Skin a Cat is playing at the Edinburgh Festival from 2-25 August and tickets are available here.
Mormons don’t have the hottest of reputations.
Probably because Mormons are traditionally conservative, believe in ‘modest’ dress and value virginity before marriage. So it’s not exactly regarded as a sexy faith (to be fair, are there any sexy religions?) But this couple, Danielle and Clayton, are demonstrating quite the opposite.
The Mormon couple are what’s known as ‘monogamish’ – when a couple don’t have formalised external relationships (polyamory) but do sometimes indulge in sexual activities outside of their marriage.
Clayton and Danielle Watson (38 and 34 respectively) from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, grew up in conservative Mormon families and met at university when they were 22 and 18.
The couple fell in love and dated for a year before they were married and the pair have only ever had sex with each other but were not virgins on their wedding day which was, apparently, a disappointment for their families.
After they were married, Danielle and Clayton realised that traditional monogamous relationship came with a standards, rules and expectations that they were not comfortable conforming to.
With this, they decided to explore being monogamish which allowed them to set rules and boundaries to suit them.
Whilst for some this might involve polyamory or swinging, it doesn’t for Clayton and Danielle, who identify as monogamish.
Their ‘monogamish’ relationship involves naturism, being sex positive, putting on shows in sex clubs, having sex in the same room as others, flirting with other couples and sharing sexy pictures.
Clayton and Danielle started their blog, Fight Boring Marriages, to inspire and educate others about their lifestyle and to encourage couples to keep the spark in their marriage. Nature lovers, the duo also share their adventures on Instagram.
Monogamish Sex Positive MormonsMonogamish Sex Positive MormonsrebeccacnreidSALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, USA: Danielle. THIS sex-positive husband and wife are in a MONOGAMISH relationship after feeling restricted by society???s rigid rules about marriage and partake in naturism, sex shows and sex in the same room as other couples but say that they are not polyamorous or swingers. Clayton and Danielle Watson (38 and 34 respectively) from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, grew up in very conservative Mormon families and met at university when they were 22 and 18. The couple fell in love and dated for a year before they were married and the pair have only ever been with each other but were not virgins on their wedding day which was a disappointment for their families. It wasn???t until after Clayton and Danielle were married that they realised that a traditional monogamous relationship came with a bunch of standards, rules and expectations that society has dictated that they were not comfortable conforming to. With this, they decided to explore being monogamish which allowed them to set their own rules and boundaries to suit them. Whilst for some this might involve polyamory or swinging, it doesn???t for Clayton and Danielle ??? instead they identify as monogamish through naturism, being sex positive, putting on shows in sex clubs, having sex in the same room as others, flirting with other couples and sharing sexy pictures. Clayton and Danielle started their blog, Fight Boring Marriages, to inspire and educate others about their lifestyle and to encourage couples to keep the spark in their marriage. Nature lovers, the duo also share their adventures on Instagram. @fight_boring_marriages / MDWfeaturesSALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, USA: Danielle and Clayton at the Colour Festival, Utah. THIS sex-positive husband and wife are in a MONOGAMISH relationship after feeling restricted by society???s rigid rules about marriage and partake in naturism, sex shows and sex in the same room as other couples but say that they are not polyamorous or swingers. Clayton and Danielle Watson (38 and 34 respectively) from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, grew up in very conservative Mormon families and met at university when they were 22 and 18. The couple fell in love and dated for a year before they were married and the pair have only ever been with each other but were not virgins on their wedding day which was a disappointment for their families. It wasn???t until after Clayton and Danielle were married that they realised that a traditional monogamous relationship came with a bunch of standards, rules and expectations that society has dictated that they were not comfortable conforming to. With this, they decided to explore being monogamish which allowed them to set their own rules and boundaries to suit them. Whilst for some this might involve polyamory or swinging, it doesn???t for Clayton and Danielle ??? instead they identify as monogamish through naturism, being sex positive, putting on shows in sex clubs, having sex in the same room as others, flirting with other couples and sharing sexy pictures. Clayton and Danielle started their blog, Fight Boring Marriages, to inspire and educate others about their lifestyle and to encourage couples to keep the spark in their marriage. Nature lovers, the duo also share their adventures on Instagram. @fight_boring_marriages / MDWfeaturesSALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, USA: Danielle. THIS sex-positive husband and wife are in a MONOGAMISH relationship after feeling restricted by society???s rigid rules about marriage and partake in naturism, sex shows and sex in the same room as other couples but say that they are not polyamorous or swingers. Clayton and Danielle Watson (38 and 34 respectively) from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, grew up in very conservative Mormon families and met at university when they were 22 and 18. The couple fell in love and dated for a year before they were married and the pair have only ever been with each other but were not virgins on their wedding day which was a disappointment for their families. It wasn???t until after Clayton and Danielle were married that they realised that a traditional monogamous relationship came with a bunch of standards, rules and expectations that society has dictated that they were not comfortable conforming to. With this, they decided to explore being monogamish which allowed them to set their own rules and boundaries to suit them. Whilst for some this might involve polyamory or swinging, it doesn???t for Clayton and Danielle ??? instead they identify as monogamish through naturism, being sex positive, putting on shows in sex clubs, having sex in the same room as others, flirting with other couples and sharing sexy pictures. Clayton and Danielle started their blog, Fight Boring Marriages, to inspire and educate others about their lifestyle and to encourage couples to keep the spark in their marriage. Nature lovers, the duo also share their adventures on Instagram. @fight_boring_marriages / MDWfeaturesSALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, USA: Danielle and Clayton. THIS sex-positive husband and wife are in a MONOGAMISH relationship after feeling restricted by society???s rigid rules about marriage and partake in naturism, sex shows and sex in the same room as other couples but say that they are not polyamorous or swingers. Clayton and Danielle Watson (38 and 34 respectively) from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, grew up in very conservative Mormon families and met at university when they were 22 and 18. The couple fell in love and dated for a year before they were married and the pair have only ever been with each other but were not virgins on their wedding day which was a disappointment for their families. It wasn???t until after Clayton and Danielle were married that they realised that a traditional monogamous relationship came with a bunch of standards, rules and expectations that society has dictated that they were not comfortable conforming to. With this, they decided to explore being monogamish which allowed them to set their own rules and boundaries to suit them. Whilst for some this might involve polyamory or swinging, it doesn???t for Clayton and Danielle ??? instead they identify as monogamish through naturism, being sex positive, putting on shows in sex clubs, having sex in the same room as others, flirting with other couples and sharing sexy pictures. Clayton and Danielle started their blog, Fight Boring Marriages, to inspire and educate others about their lifestyle and to encourage couples to keep the spark in their marriage. Nature lovers, the duo also share their adventures on Instagram. @fight_boring_marriages / MDWfeatures
Attention, savvy shoppers: Asda is holding a massive Yankee Candle sale with products being sold for as little as 10p.
The supermarket is offering an exclusive sale, with the votives cut from their usual price of £1.99 down to 10p, taking £1.89 off each candle.
Alongside the miniature candles is an eight-pack gift set, which has been marked down from £12 to £9.
The available scents include Cherry Vanilla, Simply Sweet Pea, White Jasmine and Vanilla, Spring Love, Citrus Rose and Honeysuckle.
Available in-store only, so if you want to get your hands on a bunch of candles, you’ll need to head down to your local store asap.
If you don’t manage to get your hands on any, you could always start preparing for Christmas – yes, we know it’s only August – as Yankee Candle has already revealed its three advent calendars.
There’s the £24.99 Holiday Sparkles advent calendar, which features 24 tea lights including the new Icy Blue Spruce and Glittering star fragrances, as well as a tea light holder.
Then, there’s the Fold Out calendar.
Retailing at 34.99, the box folds out to reveal a Christmas scene, and contains a mix of 12 votives, 12 tea lights, and candle accessories.
Finally, Yankee Candle is also selling its super expensive calendar, named The Christmas Tower, which costs £74.99.
This calendar contains 24 treat-filled boxes.
Inside is two small jars, 12 votives, six wax melts, a smart scent vent clip, a wicker trimmer, a snuffer and an exclusive votive holder.
FLAMING BRILLIANT Asda is selling Yankee Candles for just 10p… but you need to be quickFLAMING BRILLIANT Asda is selling Yankee Candles for just 10p… but you need to be quickhattiegladwellmetroFLAMING BRILLIANT Asda is selling Yankee Candles for just 10p… but you need to be quickThe Yankee Candle advent calendars for 2018 are here! Credit: Yankee Candle
Huge news, guys.
Prepare to lend your mum/grandma/comfortably dressed next door neighbour some emotional support. Because Crocs are no longer making Crocs.
According to FootwearNew.com (yes, really) Crocs Inc said that it’s closing all of its manufacturing facilities, and announced that its chief financial officer will resign.
In a statement, Crocs said:
…there have been multiple media reports that Crocs is winding down production in our owned manufacturing facilities. While accurate, some people have interpreted that to mean that Crocs will no longer be making and selling shoes.
Quite the contrary, Crocs will continue to innovate, design and produce the most comfortable shoes on the planet. As we streamline our business to meet growing demand for Crocs, we’re simply shifting production to third parties to increase our manufacturing capacity.’
This translates to there will be shoes called Crocs but they won’t be made by the same people and probably won’t look the same either.
Crocs signed off by saying: ‘We’re extremely grateful, but not surprised that our passionate fans are rallying around the brand today. Our future is bright, bold and colorful.’
So there will be a version of Crocs that you can buy, but it won’t be the original Crocs that you
vomited at knew and loved.
We obviously wish Crocs luck with their ‘bright and bold’ future. Maybe it’ll involve bringing some new eyes onto the design team?
In the mean time, if you’ve got a box fresh pair of Crocs, maybe hold on to them. Maybe they’ll be worth something in the post Crocs world…
crocs are no longer making crocscrocs are no longer making crocsrebeccacnreid
An adorable baby penguin has been captured on video enjoying his first swimming lesson.
The two-month-old male Humboldt penguin chick hatched on 1 June in Akron Zoo, located in Ohio, USA, and is being hand-reared by zookeepers after he was rejected by his parents.
He will be joining the other penguins in the zoo’s habitat in the coming weeks, and so is taking necessary swimming lessons ahead of his big day.
At first, the bird was unsure of the water but he soon warmed to it, even going underwater during his first session.
Akron Zoo’s senior zookeeper Vicky Croisant said: ‘Like all penguin chicks, he wasn’t sure about the water at first.
‘He quickly settled down and was even dunking his head underwater by the end of the 20 to 30 minute session, which is not something we usually see right away.
‘At this point, he’s still a little awkward and doesn’t know what to do with his feet, but his confidence will build the more time he spends in the water.’
The zookeepers are hoping the baby penguin will pick up some other skills when he is integrated into the main habitat, like moulting his feathers.
He’s currently on track to join the other penguins at the end of August, when he will finally be given a name – which is currently being decided by fans on the zoo’s Facebook page.
It’s National Prosecco Day, so the perfect excuse to open a bottle tonight and toast the powers that be that come up with these national days.
But if you instinctively go to grab a glass flute to enjoy your Italian fizz in, we’ve got news for you: you’re doing it all wrong.
Of course, it’s easy to see why Prosecco is so often served in flutes outside of Italy: Prosecco is Italy’s answer to France’s premium drink, champagne, just like Cava is Spain’s and Espumante is Portugal’s – and they are all served in flutes too.
But while it may be commonplace to drink sparkling wines in glass flutes, if you ever find yourself in Venice and decide to order a glass of Prosecco, the chances are you’ll be served it in a large wine glass, not a flute.
And given Italy is the home of Prosecco, it’s safe to say the Italians know what they’re talking about.
The reason is, the Italians believe to taste the Prosecco properly, you need to be able to smell the delicious drink. And you can’t do that if your glass is as narrow as a flute.
While many believe a flute glass keeps the bubbles in a drink as there is left surface area for them to escape, more importance is put on the fact that a flute traps the aromatics of Prosecco inside the glass, meaning you’re not getting the desired experience when you take a sip.
Instead, it’s recommended that Prosecco is served in a wine glass as it allows more room for the Prosecco to breath and to allow you to really get a good whiff of the drink before you knock it back.
Many varieties of wine glasses are tapered at the top too, meaning you get the best of both glasses: the bubbles don’t escape too quickly so you can enjoy both the taste and fizz in equal measure.
Another glass recommended for Prosecco consumption is a tulip glass, which are also described as ‘proper Prosecco glasses’ as they have a wider base than flutes yet then narrow at the top. However, given they’re harder to come by, wine glasses have proved the more popular choice for bars.
If a flute is the only glass that floats your boat, don’t fret.
‘Prosecco can be enjoyed however you want,’ Salvatore Calabrese of The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel tells Metro.co.uk.
‘In Italy, it is an everyday drink enjoyed in the sun rather than a celebratory drink in flutes,’ he adds. ‘I have even seen it drunk in tumblers in family homes.’
Therefore, whether you have a tulip glass, a wine glass or a plastic beaker and you’re keen to pop the Prosecco tonight, Saluti!
Clinking GlassesClinking GlassesamyduncanukmetroUK could be approaching "peak Prosecco" GettyUK could be approaching "peak Prosecco" Getty
We’re barely two weeks into August and companies are already announcing their advent calendars.
Last week, we wrote about Yankee Candle’s three new calendars, and now Harrods is following in their footsteps with a beauty advent calendar filled with samples from 25 luxury brands.
The entire collection is worth £680, so it’s no surprise that the calendar itself is rather expensive at £250.
The calendar features an illustration of the emporium’s famous facade and the 25 mini drawers contain products such as Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow face primer and the Nars Velvet Lip Glide.
Some favourites within include the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Beach Bronze.
All of the products featured in the Harrods calendar
111 Skin Black Diamond Cream
Sunday Riley Luna Oil
Acqua di Parma Colonia Mini Hat Box
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
Anne Semonin Precious Pearl Ice Cube
Nars Velvet Lip Glide in ‘Bond’
Dr Sebagh Serum Repair
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in ‘Beach Bronze’
Fresh Rose Face Mask
By Terry Compact Expert Dual Power in No7 ‘Sun Desire’
Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow
Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Material Girl
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (Carnival Edition)
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder
Natura Bissé The Cure Sheer Eye
Omorovicza Blue Diamond Concentrate
Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo and Moisture Balance Conditioner
Sarah Champman Skinesis Intense Hydrating Booster
Sisley Supremya Baume
Suqqu Pure Colour Blush 04
Clarins Hand Cream
Bioeffect EGF Serum
Clinique Fresh Pressed
Givenchy Rouge Interdit 13
Annalise Fard, director of beauty at Harrods told Harper’s Bazaar: ‘The product edit is carefully selected by our talented beauty buying teams who have ensured perfect synergy between the cult classics and this year’s “must have” beauty launches.’
‘Not only are we able to champion much-loved brands that they are already familiar with, but we are also able to offer them the art of discovery – introducing them to new, contemporary brands such as Tata Harper, Sunday Riley and Sol de Janeiro.’
Last year’s Harrods advent calendar was a huge success.
But this year’s calendar has been completely revamped, and is worth nearly £100 more.
Annalise says that beauty calendars are appealing to customers because they’re becoming more ‘health conscious’ and they reduce the amount of chocolate that we’re eating at Christmas time.
But come on – Christmas is for indulging, so don’t worry about your waistline. It’s tradition to eat chocolate every morning throughout December, right?
And if you want both chocolate and beauty treats, there’s no harm in buying one of each.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS Harrods unveils beauty advent calendar contaBEHIND CLOSED DOORS Harrods unveils beauty advent calendar contahattiegladwellmetroBEHIND CLOSED DOORS Harrods unveils beauty advent calendar containing 25 luxury treats (but it???ll set you back ??250 Credit: HarrodsBEHIND CLOSED DOORS Harrods unveils beauty advent calendar containing 25 luxury treats (but it???ll set you back ??250 Credit: HarrodsBEHIND CLOSED DOORS Harrods unveils beauty advent calendar containing 25 luxury treats (but it???ll set you back ??250 Credit: Harrods
‘Has anyone seen wee man Dom? He has been out kayaking and I haven’t heard from him – am starting to worry…’
This was the Facebook post that began my nightmare.
My brother Dom Jackson was an experienced and fit outdoor adventurer who loved the wilds of Scotland – and he was now reported missing in freezing conditions after setting out for a short kayaking trip.
As with many accidents it was a series of events which led to his tragic death.
A friend who changed plans at the last minute left Dom deciding to head out alone.
A poor choice to protect his phone by storing it in a difficult to access rear hatch.
And then rapidly changing weather conditions that caught him unawares.
When the worst happened and Dom found himself in trouble he didn’t stand a chance of gaining access to his phone.
Freezing cold and alone, being pushed further out to sea, Dom’s final actions would have been resourceful to the end and he would have done everything he could to resist the inevitable.
Hope is what carried my family through the five days of searching with the RNLI, police and HM coastguard along treacherous cliffs and impossible coastline.
Hope is what kept me going while coordinating a massive Facebook and media campaign from Australia, where I was living at the time, helping to organise hundreds of volunteers and relaying Dom’s story to millions of people around the country.
Hope, which gave way to a mixture of sheer relief and utter desolation when finally they found him and we could bring him home.
Dom’s one wish in life was to be part of something big and it has been bittersweet for me to help him to achieve this dream through his tragic death.
Just two weeks before he died, Dom edited a children’s book I had written called Duffy’s Lucky Escape. As keen nature lovers with backgrounds in environmental science, my true story about a turtle eating too much plastic and being rescued, rehabilitated and released was always going to have Dom as its number one fan.
We joked that he would be a turtle ambassador, travelling the world and sharing the book with schools and children.
Amazingly, Dom left me some money in his will and I am now achieving our dream as the book has reached over 250,000 children worldwide and is translated into over 15 languages.
Duffy’s Lucky Escape and Marli’s Tangled Tale tackle the problem of ocean plastic and balloon releases in a gentle and inspiring way to motivate children, their families, schools and wider business communities to make the changes our environment so desperately needs.
I am working with many environmental groups around the UK to help raise awareness and support their campaigns.
In just over a year since those terrible few days, my young family and I moved back to the UK after living in Australia for nine years.
Our children have started new schools, two books have been published with a third on the way and we have also started a charity to raise awareness of safety planning in adventure sports, called Plan B.
Plan B was set up after Dom’s death to try to ensure that this tragedy doesn’t happen to any other family.
In particular we are raising awareness of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) which, in an emergency, use satellites to pinpoint your location to within metres and then send this information directly to the emergency services.
Had Dom carried a PLB the outcome of his trip could have been very different and it may have saved his life – something we have to live with every day.
To find out more about the work Plan B does and to support us please visit planbcharity.org.
Dom 1-7395Dom 1-7395rmve86
Suspended animation, living history, frozen in time — whatever you want to call it, Havana embodies it.
From grand baroque palaces to quaint colonial casas, the Cuban capital is a mishmash of styles from all over Europe. But where cities in Spain, Italy and France have been destroyed and rebuilt, Havana — like a faded photograph — remains.
Walking around the narrow bustling streets, it’s hard to imagine anything else existing. And yet, just a few hours from Cuba’s capital are some of the nicest beaches you will ever lay eyes on.
Here’s how to see it all…
From the moment you arrive in Cuba’s capital you’re surrounded by vintage American cars. Buick Specials, Chevrolet Impalas, Cadillac Eldorados, and more — you can’t walk down the street without spotting one mixed in amongst trucks and Russian Ladas.
Landmarks in their own right, jumping into one of these pristine beasts and setting off to see everything from Parque Central and Revolution Square to the Christ of Havana (think Christ the Redeemer but smaller) is the only way to see it all in a way unlike any other city.
Complete with a guide, this whistle-stop tour shows you the beauty and history of Havana in style.
After you’ve indulged and infused your mind with some history, head over to Old Havana (Habana Vieja) to see the core of the Caribbean’s most interesting city and take in the sheer beauty of the diverse architecture.
If you start at Obispo and walk down towards the Malecón you can’t go far wrong as you pass more museums, galleries and plazas than you could ever hope to visit.
Notable stops are the Museo de la Farmacia Habanera, a stunning wood-panelled museum and working pharmacy, and Calle Mercaderes, one of the busiest parts of the old town brimming with street performers and musicians.
Just a few streets over from Obsipo is Plaza Vieja, a breathtaking square where baroque meets art nouveau. Expect to find yourself pondering how you might make one of these houses your home (as this writer did), while taking a keen interest in the micro-brewery and many eateries dotted about.
When it comes to food the most important tip is to be discerning when it comes to choosing your spots. Cuba has yet to reach the heights and standards of their neighbours, so while there are certainly good establishments it’s best to do some research rather than picking any old place.
More of a bar café than a restaurant, the aptly named El Dandy blends art and strong cocktails with a dash of Mexican food. If you need some rocket fuel to kick-start your day, the coffee is outstanding.
If you’re after a meal with a view, you’d find it hard to do better than booking a sunset dinner at Ibersotar’s Parque Central Hotel. While the international menu is too eager to please guests rather than embracing its location, it more than matches the surroundings with El Capitolio and Gran Teatro de la Habana across the road.
No trip to Havana is complete without walking in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and fortunately for us the Pulitzer prize-winning author had an eye for a good bar. El Floridita, Hotel Ambos Mundos and La Bodeguita are three of his most famous stomping grounds, with each worth seeing in their own right.
Rightly called the cradle of the daiquiri, El Floridita offers an extensive variety of rum-laden cocktails accompanied by a live band. Tip: order the Clásico and ignore the frozen impostors. After gathering the courage to stand-up again make your way over to the beautiful Hotel Ambos Mundos, which Hemingway made his home for many years — you can’t miss it, it’s the big pink building with dark Venetian doors.
Built in the 1920s the hotel rocks a working cage elevator, bellhop included, which you can take to view Hemingway’s preserved room and typewriter. There is a roof bar for those so inclined, but you are better off heading back down to the lobby and ordering another daiquiri. A short walk over to La Bodeguita to order a mojito (another of Hemingway’s favourites) and you will be ready to write your own novel.
If your appetite for famous bars has yet to be satisfied, Hotel Habana Riviera’s Bar Elegante deserves a place on your itinerary. Mob boss Meyer Lanksy built the hotel in the 50s, under the Batista regime, when the country’s lax gambling laws provided tough competition with Las Vegas as a tourist and celebrity hotspot.
Once Fidel Castro seized power the slots and card tables soon vanished, but the hotel’s original fixtures still remain and are a sight to see.
Need to know: Money & Wifi
To avoid a boring explanation Cuba’s currency is not available in any other country. This means you must take an accepted currency to exchange once you land (frustrating, we know).
To make matters more complicated Cuba operates a dual-currency system, one for tourists and one for Cuban nationals.
You will find exchanges in the airports and most hotels, and we had no issues converting the latest pound notes (avoid US dollars unless you want to pay a 10% tax) into Cuban convertible pesos (CUC), the value of which is pegged to the US dollar.
The Cuban peso (CUP), not intended for tourists, can be handy to have on your if you plan on going off-piste, but we had no problems with only holding CUC.
For the currency card holders out there, cash points are few and far between in Cuba and are mostly limited to hotels. Prepare to do everything in cash.
Unless you want to spend your weight in gold on data charges, accessing the internet in Cuba requires you to buy prepaid ETECSA Wifi cards.
Complete with login details, these cards allow you to access the internet for set periods of time and are usually sold in one, three and five hour blocks.
Most hotels sell them and they are also available from ETECSA offices (if you can find one). These cards can only be used at designated Wifi hotspots and participating hotels.
They tend to cost just a few CUC, which isn’t too bad considering free wifi is non-existent in Cuba.
Tip: Log out after using the card otherwise your allowance will continue to be used even if you’re not actively using the internet. Consider investing in a VPN to avoid any government monitoring.
While there are a good choice of beaches and resorts not far from the capital, some of Cuba’s best sit in the keys of the Jardines del Rey archipelago. One particular key, Cayo Ensenachos, is the perfect spot if you want to carve out a piece of white sand just for yourself.
As the key is only home to one resort there’s very little overcrowding which makes it the perfect antidote to the busy streets of Havana.
Should you find yourself needing to burn some energy a range of watersports from wind surfing to kayaking are on offer, but for those seeking even greater relaxation you need not leave the beach for a massage.
Where we stayed
Iberostar’s Parque Central provides a superb base to explore the city. Positioned over the road from El Capitolio and around the corner from El Floridita, Havana’s old town is a few minutes walk for those looking to get their fill of the galleries and museums on offer.
In addition to some very generously sized rooms, the hotel boasts a rooftop pool and restaurant along with a great view of the capital’s skyline.
Iberostar Ensenachos is the only hotel on Cayo Ensenachos and is accessible via transfer from Santa Clara airport.
The resort boasts a number of different room options, including an adults only section of offering privacy and peace (and often fewer people on the beach).
If your trip is more family focused, the hotel also offers day and night time entertainment in addition to separate pool areas for children.
Discover destinations in Cuba with www.iberostar.com.
Iberostar Parque Central is in the heart of Havana and offers rooms from £158 per person and day in Bed & Breakfast (May to October). All inclusive prices at Iberostar Ensenachos start from £100 per person and day (May to October, excluding 15/07/18 to 24/08/18 when prices start from £115).
brettleppard(Photo: Sunita Sharma)(Photo: Brett Leppard)(Photo: Brett Leppard)(Photo: Iberostar)(Photo: Iberostar)
31Dover.com is soon going to be selling edible straws perfect for alcoholic drinks.
The straws are designed to accompany accompany the Diageo Premix range – including a G&T, Baileys and Pimm’s.
There will be an edible strawberry straw, perfect for Pimm’s and lemonade; a lime straw for Gordon’s Gin and Schweppes Tonic and finally, a chocolate flavoured straw for Baileys and Iced Coffee Latte.
A second lime option is said to work well with cans of Smirnoff and cranberry.
The straws have been made to help reduce the millions of plastic straws that are used all over the world.
They will be available later in August.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an edible straw – just a few months ago we wrote about Shakes Iced Cream Cafe, which introduced pasta straws to help the environment.
They’re biodegradable, meaning they can be decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, and do not need to be recycled.
Also – they don’t go mushy like paper straws, and don’t affect the taste of the drink, either.
Alongside this, last December, we wrote about a startup in the process of creating edible straws.
Loliware is creating straws using seaweed-based materials, which have a shelf live of two years. However, if you leave them in liquid, they’ll dissolve in 24 hours.
They’re flavoured to add a little something extra to your drink, including caramel, mango and chocolate options.