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Metro.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Metro

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    What you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsent
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If you were feeling hopeful about the human race this morning, I’m sorry, I have bad news.

    Turns out we really are trash. Why? Because almost half of us think that it’s not possible to withdraw consent once you’re naked.

    That’s right. Nearly half of the 2,000 people asked in a survey by the Family Planning Association believed that when you’re naked, you’re obliged to have sex.

    Even worse, 9% of those asked said that it wasn’t okay to withdraw consent if you’ve been bought dinner or drinks. So basically one in ten people think that the price of a bowl of pasta and half a bottle of Merlot means you no longer have any right to decide whether you want sex or not.

    And if you were hoping that these outdated views might be confined to one generation, you’d be wrong. A very slightly less depressing 39% of people between the ages of 14 and 17 believed that you can’t withdraw consent once you’re naked.

    To clarify, the law is very clear and it is totally possible to withdraw consent when you’re naked. Legally you are entitled to withdraw consent at any point, including during sex. If you say no and the person you’re having sex with doesn’t listen to you, then they have violated your consent and could be found guilty of rape or sexual assault.

    The Family Planning Association, who commissioned the study, have announced that the theme of their sexual health week 2018 (that’s this week) is consent.

    Chief Executive of the Family Planning Association, Natika Halil made a statement saying that the findings were worrying. ‘It’s been encouraging to see the cultural shift in society over the past year, with calls for better understanding of and respect for consent. But it’s really worrying that people of all ages think that it’s not OK to withdraw consent in a range of situations. It’s always okay to say no to sexual activity that you’re not comfortable with, whatever the situation — and it is equally important to listen to and respect your partner if they want to stop.’

    You can read the full findings here.

    MORE: Mum-of-three is going to live stream the birth of her fourth child on Instagram

    MORE: How do you go sober for October?


    What you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsentWhat you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsentrebeccacnreidWhat you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsentWhat you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsentWhat you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsentrebeccacnreidWhat you need to know about fantasies of being raped/nonconsent

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    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    A waterfront house with its very own private beach has just gone on the market for £2.75 million.

    Pencalenick house, which is carved into a Cornish hillside with amazing views, sits opposite the historic harbour town of Fowey in Cornwall, in a secluded setting with its own beach and slipway.

    The property is built out of traditional Cornish stone, by Seth Stein Architects. It has a grass roof that helps it blend into its surroundings and uses locally-sourced stone and cedar wood.

    BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a living roof and fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.
    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    The house is spread out in a linear form, so that every room has a view towards the water – which you can jet out onto in seconds by a boat moored by the home.

    The light-filled home features double height ceilings and glass walls, as well as a raised barbecue terrace.

    BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Open plan interior. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.
    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    It has an open-plan kitchen, dining room, living room, a separate sitting room, an office, seven bedrooms – five of which have en suites – a family bathroom and a study.

    It also consists of 2.5 acres of grounds with woodland, and a sun terrace and roof terrace perfect for the summer.

    BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a living roof and fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.
    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    Hamish Humphrey, from Knight Frank, said: ‘This property is very private, it sits in about two and a half acres of woodland garden.

    ‘It feels very tucked away and hidden but it also has amazing views across the estuary back towards Fowey itself.

    BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.
    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    ‘It is unusual for a waterfront home to have that privacy.

    ‘Obviously having its own slipway and that little bit of private beach are two key factors.

    BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a slipway and beach along with fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.
    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    ‘You literally go out the glass doors, walk across the lawn and down the slipway and you can be straight on the water.

    ‘To have somewhere you can keep your own boat and pop into Fowey is a huge privilege.

    BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a slipway and beach along with fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.
    (Picture: KnightFrank/BNPS)

    ‘The house has completely been designed around its position and the main reception has some of the best views in the house.

    ‘It has this grass roof so approaching the property from behind it does blend in with the surroundings.

    ‘The house has the best of both worlds, you’re close to Fowey and can see it and all the pretty houses over the water but you don’t have anyone near you.’

    MORE: Harry Potter fans, his birthplace is up for sale and it’s just dropped in price

    MORE: Couple with Down’s syndrome son raffle off £1.75m house, as he can’t walk up the stairs anymore


    Stunning home in the Cornish hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75mStunning home in the Cornish hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75mhattiegladwellmetroBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a living roof and fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Open plan interior. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a living roof and fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a slipway and beach along with fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a slipway and beach along with fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.Stunning home in the Cornish hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75mStunning home in the Cornish hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75mhattiegladwellmetroBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a living roof and fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS Open plan interior. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a living roof and fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a slipway and beach along with fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: KnightFrank/BNPS The stunning home features a slipway and beach along with fabulous views down to Fowey. This stunning contemporary home a short row from the Cornish property hotspot of Fowey has just come on the market for a cool ?2.75m. Pencalenick House sits opposite the historic harbour town in southern Cornwall in a wonderfully secluded setting with its own private beach and slipway. The new owners can keep a boat at home and be on the water in seconds and the raised barbecue terrace has a fantastic panoramic view over the estuary. The house, on the market with Knight Frank, sits in 2.5 acres of woodland, offering the rare opportunity to get a waterfront home but with the privacy and seclusion of somewhere tucked away in the countryside.

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    Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrations
    Copyright: (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    Modern women split the bill on a dinner date, speak their mind and are able to find the balance of being both soft and strong, according to research by Always Platinum.

    The brand commissioned the study to try to understand what it really means to be a woman in 2018. They polled 2,000 women, asking them about topics including motherhood, career choices and confidence.

    Research revealed other common characteristics include wanting to show compassion and kindness every day, striving to be good friends and doing their best to set a good example to others.

    The survey found that the concept of ‘choice’ important to modern women, whether it’s working their way up the career ladder or being a stay-at-home mum, embracing the single life or running up the aisle.

    Other traits valuable traits for women include supporting those with less confidence, always exercising the right to vote, encouraging others to do so, and being treated as an equal.

    Interestingly, the definition of femininity has changed considerably over time.

    When asked what this would have meant five decades ago, 41% of women suggested ‘delicate and sweet’, while 53%’ said ‘being a good mother and caring’.

    New femininity is very different – with another 41 per cent of women suggesting it means ‘being independent and loyal’ and 31 per cent using the words ‘confident and graceful’.

    These days women were more likely to aspire to being ‘ambitious’ ‘independent’ and ‘loyal’.

    The top 30 traits of a modern woman

    1. Wearing what you want – that might be jeans and trainers one day, and a dress with heels on another
    2. Believing women should be paid the same as men in the same roles
    3. Believing women have the same rights as men
    4. Happy to manage your own money
    5. Not feeling like you need to get married / have a long-term relationship
    6. Feeling able to live your life as you choose and do whatever you want
    7. Giving your sons and daughters the exact same choices and opportunities
    8. Happy to express your emotions
    9. Not feeling like you need to have children
    10. Not feeling like you have to wear make-up, but you love it when you do
    11. Not necessarily wanting to work in a high powered career, but want to know it’s an option if you work hard
    12. Happy to lead a business meeting
    13. Being a good friend
    14. Sticking up for other women AND men
    15. Showing compassion and kindness to everyone
    16. Preferring ‘going Dutch’ on a dinner date, but if a man wants to pay, you’re alright with that!
    17. Happy to be a stay at home mum, safe in the knowledge this doesn’t mean you’re a lesser woman
    18. Loving yourself as a female, you love other women AND you love men
    19. Encourage daughters and sons to think beyond gendered roles
    20. Always voting and encouraging others to do so
    21. Simply being the best you can be every day
    22. Speaking your own mind, although still sometimes get nervous doing so
    23. Happy to go to work and have a ‘house husband’
    24. Willing to stand up to your boss if you have to
    25. Setting a good example for others
    26. Supporting those with less confidence
    27. Promoting women in the workplace
    28. Comfortable appreciating both men and women
    29. Comfortable expressing your femininity
    30. Being genuinely happy when your girlfriends do well

    MORE: 47% of people believe you ‘can’t withdraw consent’ once you’re naked

    MORE: Boo the dog is best friends with Mike the magpie and it’s just so pure


    friends-in-mental-health-ward-2friends-in-mental-health-ward-2rebeccacnreidWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrationsfriends-in-mental-health-ward-2friends-in-mental-health-ward-2rebeccacnreidWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrations

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    (Illustration: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk)

    Earlier this week we told you that divorce rates have been on the decline and have dropped by a half in the last 25 years.

    We theorised that a range of factors could influence this such as the dwindling numbers of people getting married in the first place (there’s been a steady decrease since 2013).

    But if you are a divorced woman, then good news for you, studies show women who have been separated after marriage are happier than their male counterparts.

    Over half of women (53%) reported that they are ‘much happier’ post-divorce while less than a third (32%) of men said the same, according to a new survey commissioned by Style magazine.

    (Picture: Getty)

    The survey asked 1,060 divorced British men and women, with an average age of 54, more than 30 personal questions about their lives and the reasons behind their splits.

    After a divorce, women were found to use more positive words like ‘glad’, ‘celebration’ and ‘excitement’ whereas men were more likely to talk about ‘failure’ and ‘disappointment’, the survey found.

    A higher proportion of women (61%) also said they were happier to be single and not looking for a relationship in comparison to 47% of men who felt the same.

    Men were also more likely to harbour feelings for a former partner (17% versus 8% for women), and yet they were quicker to start dating again, with more than 30% likely to be in a new relationship.

    (Picture: Getty)

    So, why are couples divorcing?

    The biggest cause of divorce was one person in a relationship changing, with 49% saying their partner had changed and 14% admitting it was them.

    But it’s not as simple as that as most marriages failed for multiple reasons.

    Mutual unhappiness was the second most popular response, followed by one spouse finding someone else.

    And couples were not reaching a seven-year itch as nearly a third of respondents had failed marriages after five years together.

    The decision to get a divorce was a short-term one for most, with over half taking less than six months to decide.

    But, women spent more time thinking about the whole thing before starting proceedings and not surprisingly, those who were married longer and those with children took longer.

    The study found that divorce is less controversial nowadays too as 86% agreed it’s not something to be ashamed of.

    And the most common response to getting a divorce? Celebrations.

    MORE: Sorry Sarah, people don’t like your name anymore

    MORE: You can get Bella Mackie’s wedding dress without getting hitched to Greg James

    MORE: Couple get married in a lavish double wedding with their bunnies


    instantbreakup_illustration_libertyantoniasadler_metro-232dinstantbreakup_illustration_libertyantoniasadler_metro-232dfaimabakar1instantbreakup_illustration_libertyantoniasadler_metro-232dinstantbreakup_illustration_libertyantoniasadler_metro-232dfaimabakar1

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    Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: James Ward/Caters News)

    Two blind women have become best friends and create makeup tutorials together, after both losing their sight overnight/

    26-year-old Laura Greeves started losing her sight when she was 24. She began seeing black spots, and her vision became blurred.

    Doctors had no idea what was wrong with her vision, and were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive.

    She was forced to bring forward her wedding, fearing that she wouldn’t be able to see her partner on her big day.

    Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group. Alex had also lost her sight overnight at just 23 years old, and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight.

    The pair have gone on to inspire others with makeup and cooking YouTube tutorials. They run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called ‘Suddenly Sightless.’

    Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: James Ward/Caters News)

    Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: ‘I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence.

    ‘It felt like I was grieving, I couldn’t even play games with my son, Archie.

    ‘I met Alex at a working aid forum back in April and we hit it off straight away.

    ‘We both wanted a way to connect to as many people as possible as we didn’t know many people our age in this situation.’

    Alex, a former makeup artist, from Northfield, Birmingham, said: ‘I lost my eyesight in a very similar way and I think it brought us both together.

    ‘I had been suffering from headaches but woke up one morning to find my vision was blurred, it was like there was a white mist in the room.

    ‘I was told that I had optic nerve damage but with no explanation as to why and no cure. I remember just going home and crying in the shower.’

    Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.
    Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. (Picture: James Ward/Caters News)

    Alex says that meeting Laura meant she finally had a friend she could talk to, who was going through the same thing, and who understood completely.

    They started bouncing ideas off of one another until they came up with the idea of vlogging.

    Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: James Ward/Caters News)

    Laura said: ‘We have issues setting the camera up and use my conservatory with our phone camera propped up, but we are hoping to borrow a GoPro in future.

    ‘We struggle ensuring people can see us on the camera when we have to get so close to the mirror – but we manage! We also have no editing software and what we record is what we have to share.’

    Alex added: ‘We wanted to create something aimed at our age that was a bit more lighthearted.

    ‘I was a makeup artist before I lost my sight, so I was able to teach Laura how to do her eyeshadow. It’s very much teamwork.

    ‘We hope to go on and create more videos.’

    MORE: Widower’s message to woman with an unappreciative boyfriend gets a lot of love

    MORE: #MyRealSelfSeptember is helping Instagram users ditch Photoshop


    BLIND BEAUTY VLOGGERSBLIND BEAUTY VLOGGERShattiegladwellmetroPics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.BLIND BEAUTY VLOGGERSBLIND BEAUTY VLOGGERShattiegladwellmetroPics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.Pics by James Ward/Caters News - (Pictured: Laura Greaves (Blue Dress) and Alex Lucas. Selly Oak, Birmingham. 28/08/2018) - Two blind women have become best friends and now create makeup tutorials together after both losing their sight overnight with no explanation. Laura Greeves, now 26, started losing her sight aged just 24 when in just a matter of days she began to see black spots and her vision became blurred.Doctors were unable to explain the sudden deterioration of her eyesight, which left her unable to work and drive, and she was forced to bring forward her wedding to husband, David, after fears she wouldnt be able to see him on her big day. Laura met 25-year-old Alex Lucas at a support group after learning she had also lost her sight overnight at just 23-years-old and was also left without a reason for her loss of sight. The pair have now gone on to inspire others with make-up and cooking YouTube tutorials and even run a weekly podcast to help other blind and partially sighted people, called suddenly sightless. Mum-of-one Laura, a former administrator from Selly Oak, Birmingham, said: I had to accept that I was never going to know why I had lost my sight and also my independence. SEE CATERS COPY.

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    Courtney modelling showing off her hand in confidence. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Sophie Mayanne / MDWfeatures
    (Picture: Sophie Mayanne / MDWfeatures)

    A teenager has embraced her disability in hopes of inspiring other young people to accept their insecurities.

    18-year-old Courtney Howes, from Dudley, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand. After her thumb didn’t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb.

    During primary school, Courtney’s hand didn’t bother her – she joked about it and was confident being different – but when she reached secondary school everything changed.

    People stared at her hand, asked her questions about it, and poked it, which made her feel alienated.

    Courtney hid her hand for five years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her.

    This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself.

    Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up.

    She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way.

    ‘The journey has been a long one and it’s still not finished yet, but the most important thing is that I’m happy with it and have accepted it. The hardest part is getting out of the habit of hiding it,’ said Courtney.

    ‘I realised that my hand does look odd and funny, some people may laugh or stare, but I can’t do anything about it.

    ‘That’s just the way I was born and I’m not going to spend my whole life hiding it or pursuing to get it “fixed” or changed just because some people don’t like it.

    ‘I’m very blessed to say I have little struggles with it, even though they aren’t too bad to deal with, sometimes it can be tough to cut meat or cut paper but those are small disadvantages.

    Courtney as a baby. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Courtney Howes / MDWfeatures
    Courtney as a baby (Picture: Courtney Howes / MDWfeatures)

    ‘At this point in my life I’m just trying to be more comfortable in front of a camera because I tend to unknowingly hide it and also when I see my reflection or shadow when I’m outside walking I suddenly begin to feel uncomfortable.

    ‘Hopefully one day I can help other children and teens who feel like hiding away or who have insecurities to worry less about them, to strive in school and focus on their dreams without the pressure of an insecurity weighing them down.’

    Courtney says she’s ‘sometimes baffled’ by how she overcame her insecurities.

    She explained: ‘I was seriously depressed for many years over it. This one insecurity turned it to a full hatred of myself and some other things happened at school which made my life feel worthless and pointless.

    ‘I hated school, I hated who I was and didn’t see myself amounting to anything in life. I envisioned myself being at a desk continuing to hide my hand. It was an extremely dark time for me which amazes me how I pulled through.’

    ‘I met two amazing friends who accepted me straight away and made me feel so comfortable, they asked me questions and that was that, it wasn’t a painful experience at all.

    ‘The rest of the class sort of found out by themselves, and even though they didn’t ask about it I felt less anxious than I did in sixth form, I felt happy to be myself.’

    As words of advice for anyone else struggling to overcome and accept their bodies, Courtney says to remember that the situation is never as bad as your mind tells you it is – and that mature people will not be as bothered as you may think they are.

    Courtney pictured with her friend. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Courtney Howes / MDWfeatures
    Courtney pictured with her friend (Picture: Courtney Howes / MDWfeatures)

    She said: ‘Most people may not even notice, if they do you kindly explain what happened and if they don’t respect that or say a nasty comment then try not to let it affect you,.

    ‘They aren’t someone you need around you, you say bye and leave them to it. The journey to showing it may be short or long like mine, but take little steps, like I did.

    ‘I started to hold my phone in my left hand, so I was showing it but without it being out fully. Another example was just swaying my arm when walking because it was uncomfortable and a foreign feeling due to having it in a pocket all the time.’

    Courtney adds that you should reward yourself when you realise you’re getting better.

    She added: ‘Also, start saying more positive things about your insecurity or yourself. Whenever you get that feeling that you need to hide it replace your thoughts with encouragement.

    ‘The message I want to convey is to love who you are, you were made wonderfully and fearfully, don’t allow anyone to dull your shine. Every single person has purpose, use it to better the people around you and others, firstly though you have to better yourself.

    ‘Focus on yourself first, make sure you’re okay then go on to chase your dreams and use your wisdom to help others. We all go down different paths that teach us certain lessons, mine teaches me to be more confident and kind.

    ‘It teaches me to help others. I know a lot of us have differences which we all love to hide but it doesn’t do anything but damage you.

    ‘I hope my story helps people who are held down by an insecurity that they hide to let go and find the peace that they deserve, I know its tiring so just admit to yourself you want to change and start there.’

    MORE: #MyRealSelfSeptember is helping Instagram users ditch Photoshop

    MORE: Makeup artist embraces her acne by turning spots into stars


    UK Born This Way Hand DisfigurementUK Born This Way Hand DisfigurementhattiegladwellmetroCourtney modelling showing off her hand in confidence. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Sophie Mayanne / MDWfeaturesCourtney as a baby. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Courtney Howes / MDWfeaturesCourtney pictured with her friend. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Courtney Howes / MDWfeaturesUK Born This Way Hand DisfigurementUK Born This Way Hand DisfigurementhattiegladwellmetroCourtney modelling showing off her hand in confidence. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Sophie Mayanne / MDWfeaturesCourtney as a baby. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Courtney Howes / MDWfeaturesCourtney pictured with her friend. THIS STUNNING British teenager has embraced the disfigured hand she was born with as she hopes to inspire other youngsters to accept their insecurities after it left her struggling with self-hatred and depression for years. Fashion and textiles student, Courtney Howes (18) from Dudley, UK, was born with only a thumb, index and little finger on her left hand, much to her parents??? surprise, and after her thumb didn???t grow a bone, her index finger was made into a thumb. During primary school, Courtney???s hand did not bother her, and she often joked about it herself and was confident with being different from her peers. It wasn???t until she reached secondary school that things started to change for Courtney as more and more people would stare at her, ask her about her hand, and even poke it, she started to feel alienated from everyone else. Courtney hid her hand for five-years in any way that she could; underneath long jackets and clothing or her school desk, conscious that people might have been looking at her. This insecurity grew into depression and left Courtney hating school and herself, controlling her life in every aspect. Her turning point came when she joined college and she decided to make the most of her fresh start and be open about her hand, making a conscious effort not to cover it up. She hopes to help other children and teens to focus on their dreams without letting their insecurities get in the way. Courtney Howes / MDWfeatures

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    Since summer our Instagram page has been on a road trip across the UK.

    Through your pictures we have seen the stunning sites of each county.

    As we work our way North we have travelled everywhere from the cute fishing villages of Cornwall to the chalky cliffs of North Yorkshire. We have also stepped back in time whilst visiting historic architecture dating back hundreds of years.

    Here are a few of our favourite images to help you catch up.

    Use #MetroRoadTrip to share your pictures for the next stage of our journey, which will take us across Scotland.

    Lancashire

    Instagram Photo

    Lancashire’s famous seaside town Blackpool is one of the most popular beach resorts in the UK. Shot here by @greggwolstenholme

    Merseyside

    Instagram Photo

    Liverpool is the place to twist and shout, it’s home to the Britain’s no.1 boyband the Beatles. Photographed by @michae1patrick

    Manchester

    Instagram Photo

    In Manchester we saw the post-pride decorations as Canal Street was dressed as a rainbow. Shot by @holly.white.photography

    Cumbria

    Instagram Photo

    These beautiful scenes of the Lake District in Cumbria are breath-taking. Wonderfully captured by @carlisleandy

    The next stage of our #MetroRoadTrip will be in Scotland.

    MORE: Metro Road Trip: Your pictures of Yorkshire

    MORE: Metro Road Trip: Your photos of East Anglia

    MORE: Metro Road Trip: Your summer pictures of the south west of England


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    The icebergs reflect a luminous glow in the water. The sun is so high it barely leaves shadows, and there are no stars.

    Actually, it’s midnight – and this is as dark as it gets in summer, hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle.

    All the Arctic countries call themselves ‘the land of the midnight sun’, but Greenland has a special claim as the region with the most northern point in the world on land.

    Kaffeklubben Island lies at 83°40’N, well above the latitude where the sea is already a solid ice pack.

    A ‘sunset’ view from Eqi Glacier (Picture: Jen Mills)

    In summer, when there’s no night to interrupt views of the frozen mountains and glaciers, climate change has made it possible to see the far north of this unique country as a tourist – something previously only polar explorers could do.

    As you travel up the coast, there might be the tease of a sunset, with the clouds lit up above the ocean. But it never delivers.

    Insomniacs disturbed by the lack of darkness needn’t worry, though.

    From natural ice sculptures in Disko Bay and fortress-like jagged mountains around the coast, to splashes in the water that might be whales or only a rock, they’ll find plenty to keep them occupied.

    Spot the whale! (Picture: Jen Mills)

    Even so, visiting Greenland isn’t a simple undertaking.

    There are no roads between each town, so to travel in the country, you have sail up the coast (where all the settlements are, as only the coastal areas aren’t covered in ice year round) or fly.

    The easiest – and the most beautiful – way to see the country is to join an expedition cruise.

    We travelled with Hurtigruten, sailing as far as it’s possible for ships to go without an icebreaker.

    Over two weeks, MS Fram sailed from Kangerlussuaq to Thule, then on to the sea ice.

    Greenland brightened up
    Ice arches (Picture: Jen Mills)

    You won’t find a more beautiful landscape anywhere on earth.

    The west coast of Greenland has some of the most active glaciers on the planet, pushing out millions of icebergs every year.

    More than 80% of icebergs in the Atlantic ocean come from these ice fjords.

    At first, each iceberg seen from a cabin window is so exciting that it’s commemorated in a dozen photos.

    After a few days of sailing, there are so many that most drift by unregistered.

    The one that sank Titanic is believed to be from this area, and witnessing these huge shapes – the size of cruise ships – it’s easy to imagine one drifting into the open ocean to its meeting in 1912.

    A few places to stop in Greenland:

    Ilulissat

    Greenland brightened up
    Gaze down on Ilulissat Icefjord (Picture: Jen Mills)

    This town is the closest Greenland gets to mass tourism – and with good reason.

    It’s at the mouth of the incredibly productive Jacobshavn glacier, meaning there are always icebergs hulking in the ice fjord and behind the colourful houses.

    Take the board walk from the top of town to take in the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site of a fjord so densely packed with glacier ice that it seems as if you’re looking down on a mountain range.

    The fjord is usually so packed with ice that ships can’t enter, but you can take a boat as close as possible into the bay next door, where you may see humpback whales diving next to the icebergs.

    Eqip Sermia

    Kayak next to one of the world’s most active glaciers (Picture: Jen Mills)

    Just up the coast from Ilulissat is Eqi glacier.

    It can be difficult to reach as it lies on the other side of the narrow Ata Strait, which is often so packed with ice that it becomes a bottleneck for ships.

    If the ice chart permits, the 5km-wide glacier is a spectacular monument to nature’s power – it’s constantly active with the rumbling and cracking of ice breaking away.

    The best way to take it in is by kayak through the waters at Eqi’s mouth, pushing the paddles through millions of tiny ice cubes floating in the water.

    With no noise of a ship’s engine to drown out the natural sounds of the ice, you can hear air bubbles from the glacier’s compacted snow pop and hiss – as well as the louder rumbling of an iceberg or the glacier calves.

    Disko Island

    Qeqertarsuaq: Ice in the back garden (Picture: Jen Mills)

    Halfway up Greenland’s west coast, the volcanic Disko Island is famous for its incredible ice formations.

    Some are pointed like fangs, with jagged edges that could pierce a hole through metal. Others, seen through the fog, seem softer, like solidified Mr Whippy ice-cream.

    Walking along the coast from Qeqertarsuaq, the only town on Disko Island, you can count dozens shimmering in the water, some in such an enticing blue, they almost invite you to take a dip.

    If the weather is fine, hiking from town to the Basaltic Rocks offers panoramic views of ice floating alongside the cliffs.

    Even if you only stay in the town, a short walk from the harbour grants surreal views of icebergs floating so close behind the bright houses that they look like they’re in the back garden.

    Bring your camera and make sure the battery is charged – the charge doesn’t last as long in a climate this cold.

    The far north

    Greenland brightened up
    The sea ice at 78 degrees north (Picture: Jen Mills)

    Sailing north of Disko Bay, icebergs and glaciers become a familiar sight.

    In winter, the sea ice freezes so fast around Greenland that hunters take dog sleds out for miles across the flat expanse. During the summer months, it retreats to the far north.

    We reached 78 degrees north before the sea became impassable with ice floes, which drift like flat ‘pancakes’ on the surface rather than in jagged chunks like the glacier ice.

    Taking a small boat out makes it possible to navigate between the ice floes and pick up the smaller pieces.

    You can even take a piece home to have it in your drink.

    How to get to Greenland:

    Greenland brightened up
    Hunters sail up to MS Fram after catching a seal (Picture: Jen Mills)

    I travelled on MS Fram with Hurtigruten, a Norwegian company specialising in expedition voyages to the far north and south.

    The 16-day Midnight Sun Exploration to Thule sails into such remote and icy waters that it’s only possible to run twice year in August, when the sea has has retreated enough to make the passage possible.

    Places on next year’s trips start from £7,959 per person.

    (Top picture: Jen Mills)

    MORE: The realm of the polar bear: Here’s what it’s like to explore the remote wilds of Svalbard by boat

    MORE: Hot sun, quiet beaches and good food: How a glamping trip to Croatia turned out to be the best of both worlds

    MORE: The ultimate gourmet adventure: Where to find Italy’s most traditional foods


    Sermia-1c5cSermia-1c5cjenrmillsGreenland brightened upGreenland brightened upGreenland brightened upGreenland brightened upSermia-1c5cSermia-1c5cjenrmillsGreenland brightened upGreenland brightened upGreenland brightened upGreenland brightened up

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    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX (9881505cd) Duckie Thot 4th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 2018 The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) was founded in 2012 by Robyn 'Rihanna' Fenty in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. CLF supports and funds groundbreaking and effective education, health and emergency response programs around the world.
    (Picture: Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX

    Duckie Thot is having a great year.

    She’s a key member of the Fenty Beauty squad, she’s set to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and now she’s signed a mega deal to be L’Oréal’s newest ambassador.

    Duckie will make her debut for the brand in L’Oréal’s show at Paris Fashion Week on 30 September, which will take place on a floating runway on the River Seine. Fancy.

    After that the model will front campaigns for Volume Million Lashes, Infallible Foundation, and Colourista.

    In a statement to WWD, Duckie said: ‘I’m honored to represent L’Oréal Paris, a brand that celebrates infinite ways to be beautiful and makes products for all women.

    ‘I’m looking forward to helping more girls love the beauty of their dark skin. In my mind, I’m going back in time and telling the young girl I was: “Dream big, work hard and trust in yourself girl, because one day you’re going to say yes to the number-one beauty brand”.’

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Model Duckie Thot attends the casting callbacks for the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on September 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images)
    (Picture: Timur Emek/Getty Images)

    L’Oréal said a large part of the decision to sign Duckie up as their ambassador is that she ‘knows how to use her voice’, encouraging inclusivity of all women in the fashion industry.

    Previous L’Oréal ambassadors have landed in trouble for speaking publicly about issues close to their heart. Munroe Bergdorf was fired for a Facebook post about racism.

    Here’s hoping that this time around, L’Oréal have done their research and know exactly who they’re hiring, so another woman won’t be sacked for social media posts spreading like wildfire.

    L’Oréal global president Pierre-Emmanuel Angeloglou said: ‘While emerging in a new generation of models, Duckie Thot knows how to use her voice to match the strength of her images.

    ‘Her energy and message of inclusivity make her a perfect recruit for the L’Oréal Paris family: original and confident in her self-worth.

    ‘We’re delighted to welcome Duckie and for her to continue motivating women to believe in their own beauty around the globe.’

    The 22-year-old model joins Jane Fonda, Eva Longoria, and Andie MacDowell as a L’Oréal ambassador, so she’s in good company.

    MORE: Teenager embraces her disability after years of low self-esteem and depression

    MORE: Ashley Graham slinks along the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week in leopard print

    MORE: Nine of the best leopard print skirts to buy right now


    4th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 20184th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 2018ellencscottMandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX (9881505cd) Duckie Thot 4th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 2018 The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) was founded in 2012 by Robyn 'Rihanna' Fenty in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. CLF supports and funds groundbreaking and effective education, health and emergency response programs around the world.NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Model Duckie Thot attends the casting callbacks for the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on September 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images)4th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 20184th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 2018ellencscottMandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX (9881505cd) Duckie Thot 4th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond Ball, Arrivals, New York, USA - 13 Sep 2018 The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) was founded in 2012 by Robyn 'Rihanna' Fenty in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. CLF supports and funds groundbreaking and effective education, health and emergency response programs around the world.NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Model Duckie Thot attends the casting callbacks for the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on September 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images)

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    Wrong. (Picture: Getty/Shutterstock)

    There are certain food habits that are gross in theory, but that people wholeheartedly love.

    They may make us all feel a bit weird, but we accept them, because food should not be a source of shame and what someone puts in their body is up to them.

    I enjoy eating squares of milk chocolate with salted tortilla chips, for example. Some people like dipping their fries in their milkshake. Metro.co.uk’s head of video regularly adds Fanta to a glass of Coke, and dips hash browns in mustard.

    These are things that are not everyone’s cup of tea, but that we can tolerate.

    That is not the case for peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.

    Homemade Fluffernutter Marshmallow Peanut Butter Sandwich for Kids; Shutterstock ID 1083557078; Purchase Order: -
    Shutterstock

    Yes, friends, there are people in this world who enjoy slathering up two slices of bread with peanut butter then topping with goop made of egg yolks and oil.

    These people have lived among us quietly for some time now, but over the weekend they were thrown into the light.

    The world beheld them, and we were deeply disturbed.

    The new attention on the unsettling combo is the fault of NowThis, who posted a video encouraging people to make the damned combination.

    The video explains that the dish is popular in the southern states of America, and has been a thing since back in the 40’s, when people used mayo to make their peanut butter more moist.

    The sandwich was popular during the Great Depression as it was cheap to make but relatively filling.

    You’d hope that by 2018, we would have seen the end of such a crime against bread, but alas, the PB & mayo sandwich has lived on like a hardy cockroach.

    The discovery has caused disquiet in many.

    Of course, it’s possible that this sandwich filling could be secretly delicious.

    Maybe when someone first made peanut butter and jam sandwiches, people called them demons and weirdos.

    The truth is that to understand the peanut butter and mayo hype, you must try the sandwich yourself to know for sure whether it’s for you.

    Recipes (yep, there are recipes) advise smothering one slice of bread with peanut butter, then smoothing the other slice of bread with mayonnaise. Smush the two bits of bread together, and voila.

    Some recommend adding lettuce, bananas (no, no, no), or pickles to the sandwich to add some extra excitement.

    Readers, we will not be making this sandwich because the idea is so unsettling it makes us queasy. You enjoy, though.

    MORE: Mayochup is spreading and there’s nothing we can do to stop it

    MORE: Why do dogs roll in fox poo?

    MORE: Yes, people really are wearing Christopher Kane’s £800 shoes with bits of sponge on them


    Peanut butter and mayo sandwichesPeanut butter and mayo sandwichesellencscottHomemade Fluffernutter Marshmallow Peanut Butter Sandwich for Kids; Shutterstock ID 1083557078; Purchase Order: -Peanut butter and mayo sandwichesPeanut butter and mayo sandwichesellencscottHomemade Fluffernutter Marshmallow Peanut Butter Sandwich for Kids; Shutterstock ID 1083557078; Purchase Order: -

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    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Chris and Liv share a two-bedroom flat in Brixton with their two cats (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)

    Yep, it’s What I Rent time.

    That means it’s time for us to take you on another tour around someone’s rented property in London, so we can all attempt to make sense of the hellish housing market in London.

    You know, the housing market that only has one home on sale in London for £100,000 or less.

    Renting in London is a mess of massive deposits and fees, rent prices that make your parents gasp in horror, and endless viewings of terrible flats that still somehow managed to get snapped up in the hour it takes you to decide if you want them.

    We’re hoping that by nosing around people’s rented places, we’ll have a clearer idea of what to expect, what’s normal, and at what point we’re getting ripped off.

    This time we’re with 37-year-old freelance management consultant Chris and his wife, junior doctor Liv, 33. They rent a two bedroom flat in London with their two cats, Edward and Catsy, and have a baby due in December.

    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    This is Chris and Liv’s first place together. They’ve been living there since January 2017 (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)

    Hi Chris! How much do you and Liv pay to live here?

    We pay £1,520pcm in rent. For council tax, water, electricity, gas, TV Licence, Sky TV (inc. Sports) and broadband, we pay around £440pcm. We also pay a cleaner £15 for one and a half hours each fortnight.

    And what do you get for that price?

    Our two-bedroom flat is on the ground floor of a Victorian mid-terraced house.

    We have a large-ish, open-plan kitchen/living room at the front of the flat, and an east-facing master bedroom at the back, connected by a narrow corridor. Off that, there’s a spare bedroom and a bathroom.

    We also have a cellar, which has proved to be an absolute godsend.

    How did you find the flat?

    This is our first flat together, but after years of renting in London and elsewhere, we were both sick of paying extortionate admin fees. We decided we were only going to look at places that were listed on OpenRent, and this is the first flat we viewed.

    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Spot the kitty treats (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)

    How long have you lived there?

    We’ve been here since late January 2017.

    What do you think of the area?

    We’re in Brixton or Clapham, depending on how you look at the map! From our front door, it’s a 7-8 minute walk to Clapham North and Clapham High Street stations, and a 10-12 minute walk to Brixton station.

    We’re very happy here – our local area has convenient travel links (bus and Tube), it’s affordable, and for the most part it feels safe and friendly.

    We particularly like the proximity to great bars and restaurants in Clapham and Brixton, and how close we are to green spaces like Brockwell Park.

    Do you feel like you have enough space?

    In a way, that’s a difficult question as we’re both massive hoarders.

    We definitely have enough space to live, and between the large built-in cupboards and proper cellar the flat has very generous storage capacity, but over time we’ve sort of expanded our footprint to fill it! More would always be better…

    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    They’ve got a *lot* of stuff (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)

    How have you made the flat feel like home?

    Like many people, we’ve largely chosen to decorate with books. Livvy loves photo college boards so we also have a couple of those on the walls, along with photos from our various adventures together dotted through the flat – including our wedding last year.

    Beyond that, one benefit of being hoarders is that wherever we live very quickly feels like home, because it’s full of our stuff.

    You’ve got two cats. Was it easy to find a flat that allowed that? 

    We rescued two cats from Celia Hammond Animal Trust – a ginger boy called Edward and a black and white girl called Catsy.

    We’d checked with our landlord when we moved in that pets were allowed as it was important to us, and luckily he agreed. The previous tenants had a dog so we were pretty certain it would work out.

    We haven’t had to make any adjustments yet, although we are planning to fit a cat flap before the baby comes – at the moment, the cats traipse in and out via our bedroom window.

    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    The landlord is okay with cats, which is lucky (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)

    And you mentioned your landlord lives next door… what’s that like?

    It’s actually fantastic! We knew that having him so close would be very helpful in the event of anything breaking or going wrong, but you hear so many stories about nightmare landlords that it did feel like a risk when we first moved in.

    He isn’t at all intrusive though, he’s always super-friendly when we do see him in the street or over the fence, and in fact his family occasionally feed our cats when we’re away.

    The way that he’s managed the gardens also works in our favour as he has taken the bulk of this flat’s garden for himself, leaving us with an enclosed space that’s a great size for two, and requires very little maintenance.

    Let’s talk kids. You’ve got a baby due in December – what’s the plan, housing-wise? Will you need to move?

    I expect we’ll need to move eventually – when she’s bigger and needs more space to run around – but for now and the baby/toddler stage, it’s perfect.

    The layout of our spare room with the bed on a mezzanine level means that we can use the floor space for baby stuff and still have somewhere for guests to stay.

    We will have to reorganise book shelves etc to create enough space for the mountain of equipment that babies seem to need, but that should be all…we hope.

    And have you thought about buying a place?

    We have certainly spoken about it – for the financial investment and the opportunity to make somewhere completely our own – but the timing is difficult.

    As a junior doctor, Liv has had to change hospital each October for the last five years. That’s meant a choice between moving house every 12 months or basing herself somewhere within viable commuting distance of most London and Surrey hospitals.

    By opting for the latter, we’ve ended up in a really expensive part of London – one where we certainly can’t afford to buy any time soon.

    However, with the baby coming, we now have a chance to think more long-term, and hopefully to build up enough of a deposit to make buying somewhere a bit further out in the next two to three years a viable prospect.

    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    The living room has plenty of space for a table, sofa, and beds for the cats (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    As we said, there’s a lot of stuff (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    The couple have made the flat their own with plenty of artwork (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    The spare bedroom has a mezzanine bed for guests, and can serve as the baby’s room (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    If you’re curious about the corkboard, it’s a record of the couple’s wine challenge (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Here’s that spare bedroom from another angle (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Now the kitchen (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Everything you need, right? (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    A table and a laptop creates a makeshift office (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    With easy access to the kettle and snacks (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    The main bedroom is pretty lovely (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    The room leads out to the garden (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Behold the bathroom (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    A good supply of medicines and dental care (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    And many toothbrushes (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk
    Oh, and here’s Chris in that garden area he mentioned (Picture: Sofia Bouzidi / metro.co.uk)

    What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London. 

    How to get involved in What I Rent

    What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.

    If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

    You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

    You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.

    MORE: What I Rent: Alex and Andy, £1,400 a month for a maisonette in Hither Green

    MORE: What I Rent: Jack, £700 a month for a room in a two-bedroom flat in Wimbledon

    MORE: What I Rent: Emmie and Jethro, £1,450 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Dalston


    Sofia BouzidiSofia BouzidiellencscottWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukSofia BouzidiSofia BouzidiellencscottWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.ukWhat I Rent , Solon Road, Brixton Sofia Bouzidi/ Metro.co.uk

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    Weight watchers has a new name WW
    (Picture: WW)

    Weight Watchers is dropping the word ‘weight’ from their name.

    The American brand is shifting its focus to wellness and has rebranded as WW.

    The move comes after the weight loss company was criticised for ‘body-shaming’.

    Weight Watchers was said to promote diet culture and pander to a destructive dieting industry.

    U.S TV personality Oprah Winfrey became an ambassador for Weight Watchers in 2015 and has helped the firm’s share price surge.

    Oprah Winfrey became a brand ambassador in 2015 (Picture: JB Lacroix/WireImage)

    Chief Executive of the company Mindy Grossman said the acronym does not stand for the old name nor the slogan they follow; ‘wellness that works’

    The company – which has run for 55 years – has seen a fluctuation in share prices which has eventually come to a drop in 2018.

    It was also said to be out of touch with modern lifestyle values. So earlier in the year, they went through a revamp and dropped before and after pictures to promote long-term change rather than short-term quick fixes.

    The backlash intensified when the brand offered free summer membership to teenagers.

    An open letter published in health magazine the Lively Table called the offer ‘irresponsible and disgusting’.

    ‘Anything that tells people to ignore their bodies’ physiological and psychological needs and their hunger cues, relying instead on external rules and limits on food is a diet,’ it said.

    ‘Anything that celebrates people for taking up less space is a diet.  And I get that you want to make money. We all need to make money. But you’ve stooped to a new low.’

    ‘By offering these vulnerable young girls a membership to your programme, knowing very well that it will cause a life-long poor relationship with food and struggle with their bodies, you are making the problem worse.

    ‘You are telling them that they should manipulate their bodies in order to be liked and worthy. That they need to diet to be valuable. All to trap them in this cycle to ensure a life-long customer base so that you can make a profit.’

    The rebranding aims to increase the label’s appeal to potential new users and hopes to start afresh with a focus on health and wellness.

    Whether or not people are on board with the new and improved WW, only time will tell.

    MORE: We could have used a trans survival guide growing up: By writing one we hope to make today’s teens feel proud of who they are

    MORE: L’Oréal signs Duckie Thot as its new ambassador

    MORE: More than half of people believe it’s not okay to withdraw consent once you’re naked


    Weight watchers has a new nameWeight watchers has a new namefaimabakar1Weight watchers has a new name WWWeight watchers has a new nameWeight watchers has a new namefaimabakar1Weight watchers has a new name WW

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    Just drop whatever you’re doing. This is far more important, promise.

    Benny is a very good dog who can ice-skate. Yes, ice-skate.

    The five-year-old Labrador has been learning and practicing for a year, after his owner, former skate coach Cheryl Del Sangro took him out on the ice one day and saw he was a natural skater.

    Since that fateful day, Cheryl has kitted out Benny with a special pair of skates to wear in his front paws, and has taken him for training every two weeks at the Las Vegas Ice Center.

    Benny on ice. See SWNS story NYICE; Meet the world???s first ice-skating DOG - a lovable Labrador which spends its days at the rink after being saved from euthanasia. Benny, five, has been learning to skate for a year after his owner, former coach Cheryl Del Sangro, 56, took him along to a practice on a whim. During that first foray on the ice last winter, adorable Benny scooted around on the ice after his owner, gleefully - and skillfully - picking up pucks. It inspired Cheryl - who had rescued the pup from death row at a shelter when he was just a few months old - to take him under her wing as her newest student. The animal lover has since taken Benny training once every two weeks at the Las Vegas Ice Center, teaching him an array of tricks including turns, crossovers and bunny hops.
    Benny has only been skating for a year, and he’s already nailing it (Picture: Rick Vierkandt / SWNS.com)

    So far he can do turns, crossovwers, and bunnyhops.

    Benny’s also a whiz at ice hockey, even if he does cheat by picking up the puck in his mouth.

    Cheryl, who rescued Benny as a puppy, says she took Benny out on the ice on recommendation from her friend, and quickly saw how much he loved it.

    ‘He followed me around and was running after me on the ice,’ she said. ‘Maybe because it’s so hot here in Nevada, he enjoyed being out there in the cold.

    ‘He was rolling around on his back and everything. He enjoyed it so much.

    ‘Our daughter, Brittany, I taught her to skate when she was 17 months old. I thought, well, if I could get little 17 month old to skate, why couldn’t I get him to skate?

    Benny the dog at home. See SWNS story NYICE; Meet the world?s first ice-skating DOG - a lovable Labrador which spends its days at the rink after being saved from euthanasia. Benny, five, has been learning to skate for a year after his owner, former coach Cheryl Del Sangro, 56, took him along to a practice on a whim. During that first foray on the ice last winter, adorable Benny scooted around on the ice after his owner, gleefully - and skillfully - picking up pucks. It inspired Cheryl - who had rescued the pup from death row at a shelter when he was just a few months old - to take him under her wing as her newest student. The animal lover has since taken Benny training once every two weeks at the Las Vegas Ice Center, teaching him an array of tricks including turns, crossovers and bunny hops.
    He’s been trained by Cheryl, a retired ice-skating coach (Picture: Cheryl Del Sangro / SWNS.com)

    ‘We took some dog boots and old blades and we glued them together.

    ‘I had him on a leash first in the rink and I helped him along with his feet.

    ‘He knows how to turn now, and do crossovers, and he can do little bunny hops with his front feet.

    ‘He’s getting more powerful and soon we’re going to have to get the skates professionally put together.

    ‘He’s the happiest dog, and he loves learning new tricks.

    ‘Now, you can’t keep him off the ice. He just keeps getting better and better.’

    Cheryl and Benny have big plans. Cheryl hopes to teach Benny a full-on routine to music so he can get a part performing as the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team’s on-ice entertainment.

    ‘Every time anybody sees him skate, they just laugh. It’s so unbelievable,’ says Cheryl.

    ‘I had somebody offer me money to buy him a couple times since, but I would never, ever sell him.

    ‘I don’t care how much they offered me, there’s no way would I ever give him up!

    ‘I love all of my dogs, but I have a special connection with Benny.’

    MORE: Police pups at Chile’s annual military parade have stolen our hearts

    MORE: Very good dog fetches owner an energy drink from the fridge when her blood sugar drops

    MORE: All the hours you spend staring at your phone are making your dog sad, warns expert


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    Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.
    (Picture: Fenty)

    Can Rihanna do any wrong?

    The singer turned entrepreneur recently celebrated her one year Fenty Beauty anniversary in style and she’s going from strength to strength as her latest line has received a lot of love.

    Debuting two new colours in the Stunna lip colour range, Unveil and Uncuffed, the brand has been widely praised for being inclusive to black women (and men) as it caters to darker skin.

    While most nude lipsticks are designed for paler tones, Rihanna’s line sets black skin as the default – a refreshing change from mainstream beauty options.

    Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.
    One of the two new lipsticks, Unveil (Picture: Fenty)

    Unveil is the new shade of the brand’s liquid lipstick, Stunna. Rihanna dropped news of the second shade Uncuffed on Instagram, saying it was the ‘new boss nude lip’ in a ‘rosy mauve ‘just-kissed colour’.

    Describing it as a ‘rich chocolate brown that looks good on everybody;’ Rihanna showcased the darker hues of Unveil during New York Fashion Week.

    Models Slick Woods and Duckie Thot showed off the versatility of the shades as they modelled for the new range.

    According to Fenty, Rihanna tested a bunch of colours before deciding on the final two. And fans have expressed their appreciation for it.

    Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.
    (Picture: Fenty)
    Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.
    (Picture: Fenty)

    ‘Rihanna dropped a “universal nude” in a shade called “chocolate”. We are the Fenty default,’ one user gushed on Twitter.

    Another echoed her thoughts, adding: ‘Never in my life have I become part of the standard or default. Rihanna really did that’, while another said: ‘I love how Fenty Beauty’s nudes are actual nude colors’.

    And the colours aren’t just exclusive for those with dark skin.

    Posting an image of a white model with Unveil on, the Fenty Beauty Instagram account showed that the new lipsticks suit fair, medium, and deep complexions.

    If you wanted to get your hands on the nude mattes, you can visit the Harvey Nichols website, or Sephora.

    MORE: L’Oréal signs Duckie Thot as its new ambassador

    MORE: Black women can be happy and loved – Serena Williams isn’t ‘performing’ anything in her relationship

    MORE: Balmain has a new army of models but none of them are human


    Rihanna Fenty lipstickRihanna Fenty lipstickfaimabakar1Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna Fenty lipstickRihanna Fenty lipstickfaimabakar1Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.Rihanna's cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty has earned praise for launching a brown nude lipstick ? Unveil.

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    Lapland has traditionally been seen as a winter destination; the magic of the darkness in the daytime, the opportunity to see the northern lights, the snow-covered trees and of course Father Christmas and his reindeer.

    But with 24 hours of daylight around midsummer, a plethora of outdoorsy activities and the stunning Scandinavian scenery, it’s actually the perfect destination for a summer getaway.

    Having never visited in the winter, I didn’t have too many expectations as I boarded my flight to Ruka-Kuusamo from Helsinki.

    I’ve visited the other Scandinavian countries in the summer and always had amazing experiences, but I knew this would be different. It was further north than I had ever been, and the local wild (and not so wild)-life included bears and reindeers.

    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Landing was an experience in itself; all I could see for miles were lakes and trees, and more lakes and more trees, and nothing else. No big cities and very little sign of civilisation.

    First stop was our accommodation, which was everything I had hoped for; a traditional wood cabin, made of whole pine trunks, in beautiful woodland, surrounded by wild blueberries.

    As you’d expect, there was a fire, and though we didn’t really need to, as it wasn’t especially cold, we took great pleasure in lighting it each night.

    Instagram Photo

    Something I learned while travelling in Finland is that saunas are as much a part of Finnish culture as say tea and biscuits, or Sunday roasts, are for us Brits. It’s more common than not to have a sauna in your house, and many businesses have a sauna.

    So, of course, our cabin had its own sauna.

    You may not think you would want to use a sauna in summer, but it’s actually lovely when it’s warm outside, so when you come out, the air feels cool and refreshing.

    After picking a few wild berries, it was off for another nature experience: bear watching.

    If you need only one reason to visit Ruka-Kuusamo in the summer instead of winter, this should be it.

    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Bears hibernate in the winter, but in the summer, they roam through the woods both close to and across the border with Russia.

    Brown bears can run at a speed of 60km per hour and they can climb trees, which I found slightly alarming to hear from our guide Yuri as we walked into the forest.

    However, he told us, they are frightened of people and will generally stay away if they can sense a human presence.

    This is why we were spending our evening inside another wooden cabin, so the bears wouldn’t be aware that we were there.

    The cabin had a one-way glass ‘window’ with sections cut out for our cameras (discreetly hidden in dark bags). Then it was time to wait with a cup of tea for the bears to arrive.

    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    When they did, I was completely in awe of such huge and handsome creatures making their way through the forest.

    One came so close to the hut, I could hear his breathing, and I could have sworn that at one point, he looked right at me.

    It was exhilarating to be so close to the bears in their natural habitat.

    Shortly after the bears had departed, we returned to the car, although not without me constantly looking around for bears about to attack.

    They didn’t. In fact, Yuri told us there has only been a bear attack in Finland once in the last 100 years, when a man found himself stuck in-between a protective mother and her cubs.

    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Another summer only activity in Ruka-Kuusamo is white water rafting.

    It turns out, Oulanka National Park is the place to do it – it’s home to category three, four and five rapids. (Category five is the highest level at which guides are legally allowed to take guests).

    It started off very relaxed; after getting kitted out in our waterproof gear, helmets and life-jackets, we had a very leisurely trip across a lake in our boat.

    Then we reached the rapids of the Kitkajoki river canyon. Our guide told us to jump out for a photo and mentioned that around the corner was the section we would soon be rafting down.

    It would be a lie to say I wasn’t slightly concerned when I saw what appeared to be a small waterfall. But I’m a tough traveller after all, so I couldn’t let that show. (Or at least not to the guide anyway!)

    Off we went and, as it turned out, the small waterfall was just the first section of the rapids. I needn’t have worried as it was over in a second and gave me such a rush. Although I was thinking to myself, this is only category three!

    (Picture: Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism – Rafting Kitka River)

    There was a small reprieve before we hit the stronger category four rapids, and then again time for a breather before we moved onto category five.

    When we reached the end of the category five rapids, I was actually sad it was over. Although there was a very large waterfall in the next part of the river, so it definitely was a good decision to finish there.

    For keen hikers, there are endless trails in the area to explore, with information centres full of maps and lots of signage so you needn’t worry about getting lost in the wilderness.

    In late summer, the woods are full of wild berries, in particular blueberries and loganberries, which we loved picking to eat every few minutes.

    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Another great way to explore the forest is on horseback.

    We headed to Wanha Raatesalmi farm for a 2-hour ride on Icelandic horses.

    It was my first time riding them, and I learnt that as well as the usual trot, canter and gallop of other horses, they have an additional gait called a tolt.

    This is a bit like power walking, but can be pretty fast.

    The ride took us through the spectacular wilderness of Kuusamo, which has some of the purest air in the world. In fact, the air is so pure that a rare plant – usnea, also known as ‘old man’s beard’ – which cannot grow in polluted air, grows here.

    Instagram Photo

    We ended our stay in Ruka-Kuusamo at Pyhäpiilo Sauna.

    Located on the shores of Lake Pyhäjärvi and secluded by trees, this has to be one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been to.

    The sauna is available for private hire and we had the whole place to ourselves.

    In Finland, it’s traditional to take a sauna and then immerse yourself in cold water or snow. As it was summer, there was no snow, but there was the stunning lake, which was the perfect way to cool off after the heat of the sauna.

    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Other things to do in Ruka-Kuusamo:

    In winter, husky sledging is a popular activity, and although there is no snow in summer, you can still head out for a hike with these adorable dogs.

    A 1-hour husky hike is £36 (40€) per person.

    Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet – Making friends with the Huskies

    Though you’re bound to see plenty of reindeer wandering along the roads in Ruka-Kuusamo, if you want to get a close-up view then head to the Kujalan Porotila Reindeer Farm, where you can help with feeding, and learn more about these magical animals.

    A visit to see the reindeer costs £18 (20€) per person for a 1-hour experience.

    Where to stay in Finnish Lapland and how to get there:

    Staying in a cosy cabin at Ruka Salonki costs from £267 (300€) per night in the summer season and sleeps up to six people.

    Fly to Kuusamo via Helsinki from London Heathrow with Finn Air from £196 return.

    Hayley Lewis is a travel writer, blogger and producer. You can follow Hayley’s travels at alovelyplanet.com or on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook.

    (Top picture: Hayley Lewis)

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    Picture Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet - Bear 2-4f50Picture Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet - Bear 2-4f50hayleyalovelyplanetcomPicture Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet - Bear 2-4f50Picture Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet - Bear 2-4f50hayleyalovelyplanetcom

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    When I was 20, I had a mental breakdown.

    I was coming to terms with being abused in a relationship, I’d lost my close friends, I was in treatment for an eating disorder and struggling to cope with the academic pressures of university.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was depressed, anxious and behaving erratically.

    Enter my parents’ friend, the lay minister.

    Lay ministers don’t need to be ordained, paid or full-time. Basically, they can be anyone.

    My mum and dad had spent much of their teens and twenties exploring their faith in ‘free church’ house groups where they would pray, read the Bible and talk theology.

    This is where they met their friend, who for the purposes of this story, we’ll call Simon.

    When I was going through my mental health crisis, Simon became involved. I don’t exactly remember how this came about, but suddenly he was around a lot.

    Simon, neither an ordained minister nor a medical professional, decided that my mental health problems were the result of a ‘demon’ infesting me.

    He told me that my soul was a house with many rooms, and a ‘demon of death’ was taking up residence in one of them. He prayed over me, shouted in my face and commanded, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that the vile demon leave me.

    Unfortunately for Simon, mental illness is not a supernatural demon.

    It’s a health condition that impairs functioning and can be caused by genetic or environmental factors, or a mixture of the two.

    It took me another two years to break away from the toxic environment of the ‘free church’ our family attended, with people ‘speaking in tongues’, a barely-veiled anti-LGBT and sex-negative agenda, and an approach to titheing (giving the church a certain percentage of your earnings every month) taken straight from the megachurches in America.

    The Bible explicitly says that parents are expected to bring their children up in faith.

    Ephesians 6:4 reads: ‘Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord’.

    It also has some choice words for how kids should defer to their parents.

    The gospel of Matthew reminds us: ‘For God said, “Honor your father and mother” and “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death”‘.

    In Colossians 3:20, we are taught: ‘Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord’.

    For Christians, it’s pretty clear. You get raised in faith, you obey your parents and you don’t do anything that brings them dishonour.

    However, lifelong faith and obedience is not possible for everyone.

    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How some Faith communities battle mental health stigma (Eleanor)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    What happens if you don’t believe the same things as your parents? Are you dishonouring them by breaking away from the faith you were raised in?

    Tom* was brought up by a baptist pastor and former missionary. He was told from a very young age that he needed to accept Jesus into his life.

    He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I prayed the sinner’s prayer at the age of eight, and was baptised at 12.

    ‘Things basically went awry at 15 when I learned about the unforgiveable sin (blasphemy against the holy spirit) and started having really intrusive thoughts about it.

    ‘Largely as a reaction to this, I started talking to everyone about Jesus and trying to “share the gospel”.

    ‘By talking to lots of people, I got exposed to more ideas and the one that really stood out was a friendship I had with a Muslim guy.

    ‘He was very serious about his faith and I realised the feelings he described of being close to Allah while bowing down in prayer were very similar to my own feelings when I prayed and I started to question how unique my Christian experience actually was.

    ‘Alongside this, I was interested in science. I’d been raised a creationist, but it didn’t fit with the science. I reached the point by my second year of university where I realised that I didn’t take the Bible as a prime source of authority anymore.

    ‘I stopped going to church until something changed; which it didn’t.’

    Once Tom began questioning his faith, he realised that there was a lot of ‘toxicity’ within it.

    ‘I was obsessed with my friends going to hell, scared of science in case I lost my faith, scared of LGBT people in case they turned out to be fine, and scared of other people in general because they were part of “the world” rather than following Christ.

    ‘My parents’ reaction to my atheism was mixed. A few of my family admitted I actually seemed a lot healthier as a person since not being a Christian, although they hoped I’d return.

    ‘A lot of the time they’ll treat me as if I’m still a Christian (talking about how great it is that someone’s started to go to church, sharing how they feel God’s been blessing them etc.)

    ‘This can also sort of border on kind of passive aggression, like they’ll just get someone to share the story of how they became a Christian and how their lives have been changed by God in front of me in case it awakens something.

    ‘They also appeal to emotional side of faith and if I’m questioning something about the Bible or their worldview, they’ll talk about how good God is and he’s saved us from sin, and tell me to focus on this.

    ‘On a wider level, this is a lot of how I’ve found Christians keep people at the edges in.

    ‘People have valid questions and they’ll say to focus on Jesus, avoiding the conversation; which means you’ll end up with the frequent stuff like people being anti-LGBT rights because the Bible says it’s bad and Jesus is all knowing and saved us and who are we to question, sinful beings that we are.

    ‘They also have occasional outbursts because I’ve really disagreed with something they’re doing or one of their friends and they’ll say: “Well at least x knows where they came from” and talk about how lost I am and how they’ve been praying for me.

    ‘I particularly feel that with my dad has felt on some level like my leaving Christianity was a rebellion against him.

    ‘He was also my pastor so I can see why, but it hasn’t been my intention.’

    Despite the difficulties of being openly atheist in a devout baptist family, Tom manages to have a mutually supportive adult relationship with his parents.

    ‘There are a lot of positives. I stopped being a Christian 8 years ago and since then I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents and we’ve found neutral topics.

    ‘We still very strongly disagree on things, but look after each other as people.

    ‘In the end I think being absolutely clear that I have different beliefs and basically just not trying to pander to them has paid off in that we have a reasonable adult relationship now.’

    While some people can reach a place of acceptance after breaking away from their parents’ religion, others are angry.

    Children don't always grow up to share the beliefs of their religious parents. (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk
    Children don’t always grow up to share the beliefs of their religious parents. (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk)

    Widespread abuse in the Catholic church has been reported since the late 1980s, revealing a disturbing pattern of exploitation in the USA, Europe Canada, Australia and Chile that was covered up by the church hierarchy.

    Last week a fugitive priest was arrested in Morocco after evading justice for 26 years. He stands accused of abusing seven children.

    Sexual abuse by religious leaders isn’t confined to the Catholic church. It occurs in Hassidic Jewish communities, in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Islamic faith schools – the list goes on.

    This abuse of power and trust robs people of their faith and shatters their confidence in the church.

    Lainie* grew up with a devout Catholic mother.

    She told Metro.co.uk: ‘My brother and I both went to Catholic school. I found out recently that our priest is being charged with child rape.

    ‘Me and my brother are so angry. And sad! I feel like my f***ing childhood was a lie because we were taught to see the priests as akin to God.

    ‘They’re seen as such idols that adults put their children in vulnerable positions and they get away with it.

    ‘And you’re made to feel like sh*t when you start questioning the church and when you eventually turn your back on it.’

    It can be something awful and devastating like abuse that turns people away from their parents’ religion, but it can also be something joyful that sparks a change.

    Comedian Phil Nichol was brought up as a born again Christian in the Brethren Assembly.

    He wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music or watch TV.

    He told Metro.co.uk: ‘My parents were so devout that they didn’t celebrate Christmas in the same way as other families – it was about spirituality and worshipping Christ instead of giving presents.

    ‘My father is a cabinetmaker by trade and we had very little money. We’d put our presents under a pine coffee table. Christmas trees were seen as a terrible waste of money.

    ‘When I was 14 I really discovered rock music. I’d take a Christian band’s record out of the sleeve and I’d replace it with The Clash’s Sandinista. I’d leave the album cover out, put my headphones and crank it up so when my mum asked how I was I’d say: “Praise the lord, mother!” while listening to Somebody Got Murdered.

    ‘The Clash was one of the things that made me realise there was life outside the church.

    ‘I ran away from home at 17, studied acting and just started realising that there were things beyond this sort of belief system.

    ‘The thing about this particular sect is that they’re quietly devout, and there’s a lot of outreach programmes – they do a lot with the homeless, they believe in feeding the poor and helping the aged.

    ‘I’ll maintain some of those principles but I just don’t subscribe to that dogma.’

    Phil doesn’t blame his parents for the way he was brought up.

    He says: ‘There’s a little bit frustration when you realise you haven’t been told everything, but I don’t necessarily think that’s my parents’ fault – that’s all they knew.’

    There are questions to be asked about the ethics of bringing up a child within a particular belief system – especially one with problematic teachings around LGBT rights, women’s reproductive rights, priests as the ultimate community authority, creationism and access to pop culture, among others.

    Religious parents often see raising their offspring in the same faith as a moral necessity and a way to introduce their kids to an ethical code of behaviour.

    A wealth of resources can be found online that are specifically about helping parents to keep their children ‘in the faith’.

    The data on whether being raised religious is actually good for kids is divisive.

    A Duke University study from 2010 found that children brought up in secular households were: ‘less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian, and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults’.

    They were also less likely to display racist tendencies or give in to peer pressure.

    Other research has found that children with religious parents were better behaved and adjusted, although this also raises questions of whether this is because there’s more at stake for religious kids.

    With the ultimate punishment of hell waiting, it might seem more imperative to children that they are well-behaved.

    Whether it’s ultimately helpful or damaging to raise children as devout, there’s no question that as adults, we can and do choose different beliefs to those of our parents.

    It’s a myth that faith is needed for someone to be a ‘good person’, despite lingering unconscious bias that religious people are more moral.

    After a lifetime of trying to please my parents and ‘feel’ something by willing myself to believe in God and have faith, it’s incredibly freeing just to let go.

    I believe that when we die, there is nothing else.

    I believe that this life, whatever we make of it, has to be enough.

    And my family has to respect that.

    MORE: How to make friends in a new city

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    ***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How my faith has helped me with my mental health recovery (Frances)***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How my faith has helped me with my mental health recovery (Frances)hpwilliamsonILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How some Faith communities battle mental health stigma (Eleanor)Children don't always grow up to share the beliefs of their religious parents. (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How my faith has helped me with my mental health recovery (Frances)***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How my faith has helped me with my mental health recovery (Frances)hpwilliamsonILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How some Faith communities battle mental health stigma (Eleanor)Children don't always grow up to share the beliefs of their religious parents. (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk

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    (Picture M&S)

    Marks & Spencer has achieved what is said to be a high street first by introducing a new line of clothing catered to disabled children.

    The supermarket and fashion retailler has designed easy dressing, a range of clothing designed to be easier to those with disabilities to put on and take off.

    Children using wheelchairs, crutches, or who have different needs can now have all the same clothes as their able counterparts, but specifically designed for their bodies.

    M&S got one mum, Emma, to try out some of the outfits on her five-year-old twins Edward and Celia.

    ‘There are around 1.5 million children in the UK who have a sensory or physical disability,’ explained M&S online.

    METRO GRAb - M&S website M&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kids Credit: M&S
    M&S showed off the range on various disabled children (Picture: M&S)

    ‘So after talking to parents and experts, we’ve developed an easy-dressing range for kids that’s fun to wear, plus the designs are the same as our standard range, so kids have the choice to wear the same cool clothes as their friends or siblings.

    ‘From all-in-ones that allow for a cast (for hip dysplasia) to tees and dresses with discreet pockets for feeding tubes, the range uses the softest materials, the fewest seams possible and hidden care labels that won’t irritate sensitive skin.’

    To show off the range, the company used youngsters with Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and hip dysplasia, to show off bodysuits, detachable jackets, coats, and trousers with spaces for nappies and leg openings to ensure a quick change.

    Emma, who got a sneak peak of the line for her children, explained how it worked for her twins, Edward and Celia.

    ‘Edward has hemiplegia, which is cerebral palsy that affects his right side. He has limited control and movement in his arm and leg and epilepsy. We use a wheelchair a lot of the time, particularly when Edward’s tired,’ she said

    ‘That’s why this range is great. The velcro fastening down the back of the sweater and bodywarmer means I can easily get Edward ready to go out when he’s in his wheelchair.

    ‘I haven’t seen anything else like this before – Edward loved how cool they looked. The dress Celia wore is in the standard and adapted range too, meaning it can also be removed easily with the velcro strip. I’m sure loads of girls out there will love to wear it – Celia did!’

    It’s all affordable too, ranging from £2.50 to £26. You can purchase the line here.

    MORE: Autistic boy banned from school photo shoot is now a model for H&M

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    M&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kidsM&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kidsfaimabakar1METRO GRAb - M&S website M&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kids Credit: M&SM&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kidsM&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kidsfaimabakar1METRO GRAb - M&S website M&S launches easy dress clothing for disabled kids Credit: M&S

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    Dog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle Oblak
    (Picture: Dr. Michelle Oblak)

    Patches, a 9-year-old Daschund, had an unusually large tumour in her brain which would’ve been fatal if left untreated.

    After the aggressive cancer grew to the size of an orange, her owners took her to see a surgical oncologist from the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada.

    Researchers came together to 3D print a titanium skull and inserted it into Patches’ head.

    Normally a titanium mesh is fitted in place but the experts used 3D-printing technology to specifically fit the canine patient.

    Doing so meant removing 70% of Patches’ real skull.

    Dog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle Oblak
    The titanium skull that was fitted into Patches (Picture: Dr. Michelle Oblak)

    After looking at CT scans of Patches’ head, Dr. Michelle Oblak, the surgical oncologist, used technology to simulate the surgery and cut out the tumour virtually.

    Dr Oblak and her team then mapped out the dimensions of the new skull, including where holes for screws would be.

    The measurements had to be precise and the operation had ‘very little room for error’, she said.

    Final images were sent to a medical-grade 3D printing company who created the custom-fit titanium skull cap.

    Dog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle Oblak
    (Picture: Dr. Michelle Oblak)

    After a four-hour surgery where the tumour and most of her skull was replaced, Patches was up and about.

    A mere 30 minutes after waking up, she started walking and was soon looking for her outside pee break.

    She is now cancer-free and her head shape has returned to normal, though she was left with a crooked ear.

    Danielle Dymeck, her owner, told Canadian press she was delighted with the process.

    But she revealed Patches has had some more bad news. After slipping a disc in her lower back, Patches is now paralysed in her hind legs.

    Patches refuses to use a wheelchair and instead pulls herself forward with her two front legs.

    If anyone can handle it, it’s Patches.

    MORE: We interrupt your day to bring you Benny the ice-skating Labrador

    MORE: Dog with no hind legs is very happy without a wheelchair

    MORE: Why do dogs roll in fox poo?


    Dog with cancer has 3D skull fittedDog with cancer has 3D skull fittedfaimabakar1Dog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle OblakDog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle OblakDog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle OblakDog with cancer has 3D skull fittedDog with cancer has 3D skull fittedfaimabakar1Dog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle OblakDog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle OblakDog with cancer has 3D skull fitted Credit: Dr Michelle Oblak

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    Inventor designs self-engorging condom to beat erectile dysfunction and make micro-penises 'more satisfying' picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘My erection was harder than normal, and twitching rhythmically of its own accord.

    ‘The twitching became more intense until it merged into an amazing continuous tingling sensation. I thought I was going to ejaculate, but instead, the tingling spread from my genitals to my stomach and legs, then all over my body.

    ‘I wondered what was going on, but it felt so good, I just relaxed and let it continue.

    ‘After a few minutes, my breathing became shallower and more rapid, then my whole body went rigid, and a wonderful warm feeling swept over me, radiating out from my genitals.

    ‘My whole body spasmed – in a really nice way – and I went rigid all over.

    ‘Then the sensation peaked. My eyes rolled back in my head, my groin pushed upwards, and I felt flushed all over. I was expecting to ejaculate but I didn’t, yet I’d just had the most amazing whole body orgasm. It was mind blowing!’

    Ken* is describing the morning he woke up to his first full body orgasm. At the age of 35, lying in bed by himself, he experienced the best orgasm of his life – without once touching his penis.

    Shekina Ray, a tantric educator, says we all have the ability to experience full body orgasms – all we need to do is relax and allow the sexual energy to flow through our bodies.

    Originally trained as a nurse, Shekina found herself drawn to alternative healing, and started teaching people how to have full body orgasms after experiencing her own during a tantric massage. Looking back she says: ‘He was just moving his hands over my body, and I was nearly levitating on the massage table. He was just very good at moving energy. I’d had similar experiences with energy before, but nothing that intense.’

    Over the last three years, in a mixture of one-to-one sessions and group workshops, Shekina has coached over 100 people to achieve a full body orgasm.

    She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I help them to relax, and release their blocks, and I teach exercises involving breath, movement and sound, all of which help to move their energy.

    ‘If the energy is really blocked, I can help release it by pushing certain pressure points. These can be anywhere in the body, depending on where the person is blocked.’

    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: XX women talk about what they like best about penises and why (Almara)
    (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)

    Shekina has written a 10 step guide to achieving a full body orgasm. Tips include stroking the perineum (the bit between your genitals and your bum), however, Shekina says her classes are not necessarily a hotbed of masturbation.

    She explains: ‘Genital touch isn’t necessary if they can feel their sexual energy without it, but they can touch their genitals to turn themselves on if needed – it works even through clothes.”

    Shekina emphasises that it’s, ‘more about learning to feel their sexual energy, and moving it all over the body.’

    This reflects Ken’s experience. Although his full body orgasms are spontaneous rather than something he sets out to achieve, he echoes Shekina when he says, ‘I can nurture it by altering my breathing and trying to meditate while it happens. I know I need to relax and concentrate on moving the energy round my body, and keeping the feeling going.’

    Ken’s full body orgasms don’t stem from any genital stimulation – quite the opposite. He tells us: ‘if I touch my penis, the sensation stops, and it’s never happened in a sexual situation with a partner, because that tends to be focused on genitals.’

    Instead, Ken’s full body orgasms usually happen when he’s on his own with no distractions. He sometimes has them when he’s in bed with his wife, ‘but usually at around 5am when she’s fast asleep.’

    Now 56, Ken says that since his first full body orgasm, he’s had them on average every few weeks, and they tend to come in clusters, whether it’s several nights in a row or multiple times in a night.

    He says: ‘They happen when I’m happy, relaxed, sleepy and aroused all at the same time. They won’t happen if I’m intoxicated or stressed.

    ‘I think one of the reasons they may happen is that when I get very hard, the root of my erection presses on my prostate or g-spot area, which in turn makes my erection harder and more likely to pulse of its own accord. Then the whole thing takes on a life of its own.’

    sleep well
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    According to Shekina, men rarely ejaculate when they experience full body orgasms, and Ken is no exception.

    ‘I never ejaculate when I have them, which seems to make them even more intense,’ he says. ‘It’s a different sensation, more like circulating orgasmic energy rather than using it up.

    ‘One night recently, I was awake most of the night having whole body orgasms, and eventually I had to play with myself to ejaculate, just to put an end to it and get some sleep.’

    Ken had been single for a while when he had his first full body orgasm, and he believes this may be what triggered it.

    ‘I was getting frequent, persistent erections, especially in the night, that I think were due to my decreased sexual activity because I wasn’t in a relationship,’ he explains. ‘I’m very sensitive to feelings in my body. Someone else might have played with themselves that morning, but I’m glad I went with the sensation instead, because it’s an incredible feeling.’

    Shekina’s clients are predominantly men aged between 30 and 45, but her youngest client was 24, and the oldest 73.

    According to Shekina, men and women are equally capable of achieving full body orgasms, but women tend to have more difficulty. In Shekina’s experience, ‘most women still struggle just to achieve a “normal” orgasm, due to negative sexual experiences, and guilt and shame from the past. Women have more mental blocks.’

    One woman who’s block-free and enjoying full body orgasms is 36-year-old Kasia. She tells us: ‘I never used to feel fulfilled in sex situations. It was like, after ten minutes you cum, and then you want me to cum. That’s not making love. I was bored!’

    So Kasia started looking into tantric sex.

    ‘One day I was playing in the tantric community and I saw my friends f***ing to full body orgasm,’ she remembers. It was this that prompted Kasia to follow a tantric guide to achieve her own full body orgasm.

    Since experiencing it for the first time, Kasia’s continued to have full body orgasms for the last three years, and describes them as: ‘contractions in my vagina spreading through my body. I feel at one with the universe. My whole body feels divine and complete, with surfing waves of pleasure and energy running through me.’

    Sounds nice.

    Kasia is undoubtedly a convert, explaining, ‘I don’t like clitorial or peak orgasms where you contract with pleasure, then retreat. They’re draining and I don’t see the point of them after experiencing full body orgasms.’

    However, there are drawbacks to the full body experience. Kasia says: ‘There are some circumstances when I feel like I could have one, but I don’t allow myself because it requires a certain amount of focus and time. It has to be the right place and the right moment.’

    Explaining that it can make her feel vulnerable, Kasia adds, ‘I also know that for the next few hours, I’ll be unproductive and unable to concentrate. I might go to the shop and forget to take my change.’

    Kasia doesn’t necessarily need genital stimulation to have a full body orgasm, ‘but it is the most guaranteed route.’ She says that in the right circumstances, they can be triggered by bodywork and even nature.

    She explains: ‘When I was in Hawaii, I was in such a relaxed space and the nature was so overwhelming, I had a full body orgasm when I was walking along the street.

    ‘I think this can only be achieved if you’ve worked on your body, as I had – I’d had bodywork sessions, which removed the blocks from my body, so the energy could flow.’

    While this sounds pretty incredible, Shekina confirms that it’s not unusual for full body orgasms to be triggered in this way. She explains: ‘tantra is all about connection, and being present. It makes your whole life more joyful and blissful and the more you experience it, the easier you’ll find it to achieve that state without even thinking about sex.’

    However we get there, Shekina thinks we should all be getting blissed out on full body orgasms. She declares: ‘Everyone needs to learn it, it would make the world more happy and peaceful!’

    *Name has been changed.

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    sex toys compsex toys compellencscottInventor designs self-engorging condom to beat erectile dysfunction and make micro-penises 'more satisfying' picture: Getty/Metro.co.ukILLUSTRATION REQUEST: XX women talk about what they like best about penises and why (Almara)sleep wellsex toys compsex toys compellencscottInventor designs self-engorging condom to beat erectile dysfunction and make micro-penises 'more satisfying' picture: Getty/Metro.co.ukILLUSTRATION REQUEST: XX women talk about what they like best about penises and why (Almara)sleep well

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    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Watching last night’s Panorama on BBC1 – Kids In Crisis – transported me back in time to the mid-1990s, when I was a kid in crisis myself.

    I was still a teenager when I was diagnosed with depression. I was always an anxious child, and found it hard to settle in at primary school. I struggled with insomnia, and, as I got older, started to self-harm.

    I was afraid to tell my parents how I was feeling, but unsurprisingly, I was unable to keep my mental health issues under wraps.

    My mum eventually discovered the antidepressants that my GP had prescribed in my bedroom. This initiated a process that led to me being referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, or CAMHS.

    Monday’s Panorama painted a bleak picture of the current state of CAMHS: an overstretched service staffed by frustrated healthcare professionals who long to help, but are crippled by a lack of funding.

    In some areas, children are only being accepted as CAMHS patients if they’re actively suicidal, or – in the worst cases – have made multiple suicide attempts.

    As one young person said in the documentary, ‘You have to be the illest you could possibly be without dying, just to receive help’.

    This all resonated with me.

    CAMHS as an NHS service was in its early infancy when I was a teenager. I was self-harming regularly and battling suicidal thoughts, yet I felt as though no one knew what to do with me.

    I was referred first to see a psychiatrist, whose bedside manner couldn’t have been worse. I remember trembling with nerves as I sat in his office, and him asking disdainfully, ‘What are you shaking for?’

    Following that appointment, it was deemed that I needed psychotherapy rather than psychiatry, and the referral was duly made.

    I’ll never forget that first (and only) meeting in which the psychologist told me that psychotherapy was ‘for people with problems of their own making.’

    Being told that I was the cause of my own issues, and therefore undeserving of help, came close to pushing me over the edge, and those words still haunt me today.

    I felt like I was making a fuss about nothing, that I was an attention seeker who should just pipe down and be a good girl.

    That was the end of my journey with CAMHS.

    The experience left me with lifelong scars.

    I still struggle to believe I deserve help. This has, on many occasions, led to me withdrawing from mental health services when I’ve been unwell, and resulted in life-or-death situations where I’ve been hospitalised for my own safety.

    Watching Kids In Crisis left me feeling upset and angry. Twenty years on from my own encounter with CAMHS, how is it possible that things have not only not improved but, in many respects, gone backwards?

    I’m now a parent of a teenager myself, as well as a younger child, and the thought of either of them being desperate for help and unable to access it fills me with dread – after all, our every instinct as parents is to protect our children.

    It’s easy to understand why CAMHS is having to ration care. It’s not the fault of the professionals involved, but of inadequate budgets that can’t cope with increasing demand. One in 10 young people are now living with mental illness, according to the documentary.

    In the programme, we heard that the government is investing an extra £1.4bn into children’s mental health services, so that ‘700,000 more children a year have access to specialist mental health care by 2020-21.’

    But Labour MP Luciana Berger has called for the money to be ring-fenced, claiming that it’s being spent elsewhere.

    The NHS is, without a doubt, a service under immense pressure. But for our children’s sake, it’s vital that that investment is made in CAMHS.

    It’s simply not good enough that 1.5m under 18s are living in areas without 24/7 child mental health crisis care, or that kids are waiting months for the support they need, and being turned away unless they’re suicidal.

    Waiting lists need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, and the criteria for referral need to be more flexible, so that young people are seen before they reach crisis point.

    As Panorama reporter Sean Fletcher said of his own son, who has OCD, ‘Had he broken a leg, he would have got care immediately.’

    Broken minds may be less visible, but they are every bit as worthy of treatment. CAMHS needs to step up and step in before more young lives are lost.

    MORE: How I was helped by CAMHS, the child and adolescent mental health service

    MORE: What it’s like to be a parent of a child with mental health issues

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