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

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    (Picture: Sheila Nortley)

    This week it was announced that the first drug for morning sickness since Thalidomide has been licensed in Britain. As someone who suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarium (HG) – otherwise known as extreme morning sickness – during my two pregnancies, I am glad to hear that doctors are taking this condition seriously.

    For me, however, I still can’t see myself having any more children.

    Discovering I was pregnant again petrified me to the very core of my being.

    I know what you’re thinking: it’s normal to feel afraid or nervous bringing a new person into the world; I wish it had been the normal (and acceptable) pregnancy nerves, but this was a paralysing and consuming fear.

    Imagine the kind of fear you’d feel if you were told that within seven days you would be unable to work, unable to walk, unable to wash yourself, unable to speak, unable to eat, hardly be able to sleep and unable to move – basically that you would barely able to live – and that you’d be this way for nine months, of course.

    On falling pregnant again, I knew I’d suffer with HG again.

    While understanding about it has increased in the past few years – ‘Oh yeah, it’s that thing that Kate has’ – people who suffer from HG often feel embarrassed to discuss it and frustrated because it sounds like just a bit of throwing up.

    I vowed throughout my most recent pregnancy to share some of my story as soon as I recovered. I wanted to create some awareness and empathy for those who suffer from it; all too often women’s issues and things that only affect females are dismissed and ridiculed.

    I flaked, though. I felt traumatised and spent a year trying to forget it.

    Today my daughter turns one and this is the first time I’m sharing any detail about how it felt and what HG is.

    I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant. Following a miscarriage, my husband and I were delighted and felt very blessed.

    Within five weeks I began vomiting.

    I was advised that this was normal, of course; I was told it was morning sickness.

    Initially it was once or twice a day but quickly escalated to 20 to 30 times a day by week six. Unable to keep any water or food down at all, by seven weeks my body went into starvation mode.

    I became extremely weak due to the lack of food or water. I would watch family members eat and drink in front of me whilst I remained hungry and extremely thirsty.

    The final attempt for hydration was to place a teaspoon of water in my mouth and hold it there hoping my cheeks would absorb some of the water because, if I was to so much as swallow, the wretching would begin. I became unable to move or talk and eventually I was rushed to A&E and put on a drip.

    I was given anti-emetic medication intravenously and water and sugar. If it weren’t for that drip I believe I would’ve died.

    Charlotte Brontë is said to have died from HG.

    The vomiting was also violent. It felt like my head would explode each time, so as I vomited – due to the pressure in my head – my nose would bleed so blood was coming out of my nose and my mouth simultaneously.

    Past the 12 week mark, the vomiting continued every day, whether I’d eaten or not: potatoes, fish, bread, any form of meat – these were the most painful things to throw up. Very often they’d get stuck in my chest and I learnt to try to survive on sweet, soft things.

    I’d try milkshake or ice-cream, hoping a tiny bit might stay down to give me some energy. If it didn’t stay down, at least it would be an easier battle to emit.

    Eventually of course, my oesophagus ripped, I began vomiting not only food and bile but blood, which was incredibly alarming.

    Sometimes I would feel burning in my chest  due to the acid, and once I vomited a thick black liquid that I was later told was blood which had been sitting in my gut.

    The vomiting was also violent. It felt like my head would explode each time, so as I vomited – due to the pressure in my head – my nose would bleed so blood was coming out of my nose and my mouth simultaneously.

    All the while I was on four anti-emetics tablets, which come with side effects that include anxiety and depression.

    This went on for nine months.

    Needless to say, work stopped, my career came to a halt. I could not go anywhere because I was either too weak or too afraid I’d vomit all over myself.

    I became completely dependent on family and friends and my mother became my full-time carer. The guilt that washed over me was immense.

    I felt guilty for putting my mother and husband in that position. I felt guilty for not glowing. I felt disappointed with my body for letting me down. I felt that I was not built for motherhood.

    I felt weak. I felt lonely. I felt hungry. I felt isolated. I felt unclean.

    The blood. The vomit. The bladder. I felt like everything around me was just vile, amplified by the normal symptoms of pregnancy and hormones. It was a nightmare. And that’s why I felt afraid.

    Then a lady left the online hyperemesis forum I was part of. She explained that she had had to terminate her pregnancy and would be leaving our group. Her HG had caused her a neurological disorder, and not only was she losing her eyesight, she didn’t know if she’d ever recover or if she would be permanently disabled.

    I’ll never forget the title of her final post on the forum. It was called: Hyperemesis Wins.

    So that is why I was petrified.

    I feel as though I disappeared that year and came back better – I came back with my daughter. So, as I celebrate her birthday, I’ll also celebrate my I-gave-birth-day and my new beginning.

    It feels surreal one year on to have completed my latest film production, The Strangers. My business has taken off since I returned. I feel like a stronger person.

    I wanted to forget it but I know some women out there are in the midst of it now.

    Many feel too tired and ashamed to express how they feel because they know that there are women who can’t have children, or who have terminal and incurable sicknesses, and that they should feel more grateful because at least they can have children.

    Like I did, many women with HG know what so few people will be able to understand: their physical and mental suffering. Add the pressure that we feel for our pregnancies to be easy, natural and beautiful, and many women feel forced into silence.

    To those women, know that you will be yourself again. You will be the mum you always wanted to be. Hang in there if you are safe to.

    Unfortunately, it is not always safe. Like the lady in my forum, around 1,000 pregnancies are aborted each year in the UK because HG symptoms are so debilitating.

    The anti-emetic drugs I was on during my pregnancies included one prescribed for chemotherapy patients. This was, however, unlicensed.

    While we don’t know much about this new drug yet, I still feel that women will feel more comfortable knowing that they have licensed options.

    This is definitely a step in the right direction. I welcome anything that makes women’s lives a little bit easier.

    Personally, I’m grateful to have my three year old son and my one year old daughter but I don’t intend on having any more children.

    MORE: When does morning sickness end?

    MORE: Mums are smoking weed while pregnant to get rid of morning sickness

    MORE: I lost my parents 10 years ago. I’m now heavily pregnant and I don’t know how I’ll do it without them


    Sheila-1bb8Sheila-1bb8jessrubyaustinSheila-1bb8Sheila-1bb8jessrubyaustin

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    (Picture: Facebook)

    Starting the day with a full English breakfast is glorious.

    Having to wake up 15 minutes earlier to prepare said full English, not so glorious.

    So we rejoice at the discovery of a way to make breakfast overnight so it’s ready to eat the moment we wake up.

    As with many brilliant life hacks, this one comes to us by way of Facebook.

    A woman named Rose shared the trick on Facebook, saying she spotted it in a slow cooker group she’s part of (sounds fun).

    ‘Wow! what an amazing idea someone has shared in the slow cooker group,’ wrote Rose. ‘Make sure the meat is leant against the edge for it to brown.’

    That post has been shared more than 27,000 times.

    Rose Bowler has shared a unique approach to cooking a full English breakfast ? using a slow cooker.
    (Picture: Rose Bowler/Facebook)

    BBC reports that the slow cooker breakfast is the creation of Sonia Cheetham, who came up with the plan to save time when making breakfast for her two daughters.

    The trick is in the positioning of each breakfast component. They need to be segregated to make sure it doesn’t all turn into a big puddle of mush.

    Sonia uses mugs to separate each part of the meal. She puts a knob of butter along with mushrooms in one mug, eggs and a knob of butter into another, and pours beans or tomatoes into their own mugs, too. Sausages are stood along the edge of the slow cooker, while bacon is rolled and propped up.

    The slow cooker’s then turned on and left overnight for around nine hours.

    If you’re keen for toast, that’s the one bit of your meal you’ll need to prepare in the morning. But that’s not too tricky, right? You can stick bread in the toaster while the kettle’s boiling for your tea.

    MORE: Morning Face: Estée Lalonde shares her real morning routine

    MORE: Costa advert that encouraged people to eat bacon rolls instead of avocados is banned


    Woman's hack for cooking a full English in a slow cookerWoman's hack for cooking a full English in a slow cookerellencscottRose Bowler has shared a unique approach to cooking a full English breakfast ? using a slow cooker.Woman's hack for cooking a full English in a slow cookerWoman's hack for cooking a full English in a slow cookerellencscottRose Bowler has shared a unique approach to cooking a full English breakfast ? using a slow cooker.

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    Eight colorful characters from the computer animated film "Finding Nemo" the Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios' film are shown in this 2003 file photograph. The character toys were featured in Happy Meal's from McDonald's for children. Disney CEO Robert Iger has been authorized by the Disney board to make an offer to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc and is expected to do so by January 24, a source familiar with the matter said late January 23. NO SALES NO ARCHIVES REUTERS/PrNewsFoto/Handout/Files
    (Picture: Reuters)

    McDonald’s has been told to stop giving away plastic toys in its Happy Meals to help the environment.

    Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said the fast food giant should ‘give up their happy meal toys’ and replace them with games that kids can play on their phones instead.

    This was said during a panel discussion at the Conservative Party Conference, with her hoping they’d make the ‘symbolic’ change to fight against plastic use.

    Two McDonald's Happy Meal with toy watches fashioned after the characters Donkey and Puss in Boots from the movie "Shrek Forever After" are pictured in Los Angeles June 22, 2010. A U.S. consumer group wants McDonald's Corp to stop using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants and has threatened to sue if the world's biggest hamburger chain does not comply within 30 days. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: FOOD CRIME LAW BUSINESS) - GM1E66N0G9J01
    (Picture: Reuters)

    Lots of retailers have been attempting to reduce its use of plastic recently, including Marks & Spencer, which stopped dishing out plastic cutlery, Asda has started selling its swedes unwrapped, and Iceland selling plastic-free chewing gum.

    However, it seems McDonald’s won’t be following in their footsteps, as they say their toys are recyclable.

    A spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘We know that our Happy Meal toys provide fun for children and families playing in our restaurants, but also provide many more fun filled hours at home for a long time too.

    ‘When families are finished playing with them, they can also be recycled.

    ‘At points in the year we also offer book promotions swapping out toys for books.

    ‘Parents can also use the vouchers printed on their child’s Happy Meal box to purchase a book for £1 or download an eBook for free.’

    MORE: The McDonald’s apple pie recipe in the US has changed and people aren’t happy

    MORE: You can get an advent calendar filled with 12 bottles of gin for under £30


    Eight colorful characters from the computer animated film "FindiEight colorful characters from the computer animated film Eight colorful characters from the computer animated film "FindiEight colorful characters from the computer animated film "FindihattiegladwellmetroEight colorful characters from the computer animated film "Finding Nemo" the Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios' film are shown in this 2003 file photograph. The character toys were featured in Happy Meal's from McDonald's for children. Disney CEO Robert Iger has been authorized by the Disney board to make an offer to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc and is expected to do so by January 24, a source familiar with the matter said late January 23. NO SALES NO ARCHIVES REUTERS/PrNewsFoto/Handout/FilesTwo McDonald's Happy Meal with toy watches fashioned after the characters Donkey and Puss in Boots from the movie "Shrek Forever After" are pictured in Los Angeles June 22, 2010. A U.S. consumer group wants McDonald's Corp to stop using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants and has threatened to sue if the world's biggest hamburger chain does not comply within 30 days. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: FOOD CRIME LAW BUSINESS) - GM1E66N0G9J01

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    British pound banknotes
    (Picture: Getty Images)

    Using your contactless card isn’t just more convenient – new research shows that going cashless could also be better for your health.

    A study by London Metropolitan University and Money.co.uk found a total of 19 different types of bacteria on a sample of cash and coins.

    Dr Paul Matewele, Professor of Microbiology at London Met, and his students took 36 samples from a random selection of all denominations of coins and notes.

    The microbiologists studied the bacteria in a controlled lab environment over a period of 8 weeks.

    The MRSA superbug was found on 2p, 5p, 10p, £1 and £2 coins as well as on £10, £20 and £50 notes.

    Listeria, a bacteria usually found in unpasteurised milk and soft cheese, was also found on 20p, 50p and £1 coins and £5, £10 and £20 notes.

    (Picture: Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    Dr Paul Matewele, Professor of Microbiology at London Metropolitan University said: ‘One of the most shocking discoveries was finding so many microorganisms thriving on metal, an element you wouldn’t normally expect to see germs surviving on. The bugs have adapted to their environment, resulting in coins becoming a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

    ‘People who have compromised immune systems could be most at risk from handling dirty money –  if you’re visiting people in hospital who might be vulnerable to infection, you could unknowingly transfer bacteria off your cash which is resistant to antibiotics.’

    Hannah Maundrell, Editor-in-Chief of money.co.uk said: ‘We were really shocked when the results revealed two of the world’s most dangerous bacteria were on the money we tested.

    ‘We thought the new polymer notes would be cleaner but were stunned to find out even they were growing some life threatening bugs.

    ‘These findings could reinforce the argument for moving towards a cashless society and might be the nail in the coffin for our filthy coppers. I suspect people may think twice before choosing to pay with cash knowing they could be handed back change laced with superbugs.

    ‘We’d recommend and remind people to wash their hands thoroughly after handling money to help prevent spreading these harmful bacteria.’

    MORE: Modern Etiquette: I got period blood on someone else’s sofa, what do I do?

    MORE: Extreme morning sickness made me feel like I was dying – a pill to treat it is what women deserve


    the art of borrowing £20the art of borrowing £20lauraabernethy6British pound banknotesthe art of borrowing £20the art of borrowing £20lauraabernethy6British pound banknotes

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  • 10/03/18--22:30: Why do moths love lamps?
  • Why do moths love lamps? WEB Picture: Getty
    (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    It isn’t every day a meme bursts into viral bloom that manages to combine general hilarity with on-the-nose scientific hypothesising.

    But that’s precisely what the ‘moth meme’ has managed to accomplish, a rare old feat of online success that has swept across the badlands of the internet with the same swift persistence as one of their real life number gnawing its way through your only half-decent work jacket.

    How we got to this point and the science that underpins it, are two different questions.

    It all started with this creepy closeup moth picture getting picked up from Reddit, before quickly finding itself turned over to the demented creativity of every other media platform, and platform user, online.

    Meme upon meme, upon meme, has been the end result.

    And each with one particular punchline: the moth’s desperate attraction to light and heat. Well, where did you think the famous old cliche came from?

    Surely ‘No_Reason27’ couldn’t have known that they would attract the subsequent 33,000 upvotes. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

    In the midst of gazing at memes, it might well be time to start positing yourself a question that’s fallen by the wayside in the ensuing mania: just why exactly do moths find themselves drawn to flame with such inevitable, and terminal, regularity?

    It would be lovely to offer up a neat answer, backed up with just enough irrefutable science to keep things simple in our brains, but alas, that isn’t quite the case.

    There can’t be many folk on earth who can truthfully claim they haven’t experienced the phenomenon out in the wild. To see a gaggle of moths clustering under a street light, or weaving in and out of a lamp’s buzz, is one of those uniting, ubiquitous experiences, akin to taxes or the Monday blues.

    The cause and effect seems clear. Something in their genetic makeup dictates they  gravitate towards light and heat – or does it?

    One theory takes the radical, and rather more erotic, approach. According to 1977 work by entomologist Philip Callahan, it’s quite possible that the moths are looking to, yes, have sex with the light.

    Honestly, bear with us. According to a paper in the journal Applied Optics, it’s plausible that the infrared radiation emitted from flames and electric lights could be confused for sex pheromones.

    Callahan wrote that the pheromone acetate, released by the female cabbage looper moth, (Trichoplusia ni) holds ‘the same spectral emission pattern as the infrared radiation given off by a candle’. In short, a candle’s heat might well resemble a female moth that wants to mate.

    ‘The male moth is highly attracted to and dies attempting to mate with the candle flame,’ he concluded.

    An article on The Inverse has a slightly less racy counter-claim, running that ultraviolet light makes the buzzing nuisances mistake lamps for food.

    ‘It may not be infrared light so much as ultraviolet light that confuses moths into seeking out lamps’, the section starts.

    ‘Moths, much like bees, have been shown to use visual cues to identify the flowers they feed on, and a big part of this is ultraviolet markings on the flowers. These markings, just outside the range of colors that we can see, tell moths where to find nectar’.

    ‘It’s possible that if lamps give off light in the ultraviolet range, they’ll attract moths who are looking for a meal.’

    So, it’s hunger that leads them on their kamikaze missions? They wouldn’t be the first species to make rash decisions on an empty stomach.

    The most enduring hypothesis is plainer still: that the light is a useful source of navigation as moths make their way about the world, painstakingly devouring one cashmere jumper at a time.

    Moths often use the moon to orientate themselves, which makes sense, and is backed up by expert opinion.

    However, the widespread availability of artificial light causes a fair amount of chaos. It’s not uncommon for them to mistake a light for the moon, trying and failing to keep a fixed distance from it. In this reading, the pull is more about bafflement, not desire.

    Maybe we’re coming at it all wrong. Moths and their madcap attractions might be a mystery doomed to stay unsolved, but that doesn’t mean we can’t just sit back and enjoy all the joy and memes.

    MORE: Here’s why dogs tilt their head to the side

    MORE: Tom Hardy asks for the Ben Affleck treatment as he becomes Sound of Silence meme


    MOTH_LMAP_web-ea59MOTH_LMAP_web-ea59franciscogarcia92MOTH_LMAP_web-ea59MOTH_LMAP_web-ea59franciscogarcia92

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    Asda is selling a Jack Daniel's Advent calender and it looks amazing JackDaniels/Getty Images
    (Picture: Jack Daniel’s/Getty)

    Whiskey fans, rejoice: from 1 December, you can enjoy a bottle of whiskey a day for the run up to Christmas, as Jack Daniel’s has released an advent calendar.

    The calendar is set to be exclusive to Asda and the Jack Daniel’s store, and includes 23 miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s range of whiskeys, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack & Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel.

    There’s also an extra special gift in one window No.7: a Jack Daniel’s keyring hip flask.

    Asda is selling a Jack Daniel's Advent calender and it looks amazing Picture: JackDaniels METROGRAB http://store.jackdaniels.co.uk/advent-calendar
    (Picture: Jack Daniel’s)

    The product description reads: ‘If there’s one thing that’s true at Christmas, it’s that holiday spirit is meant to be shared. Good thing we put it in a bottle.

    ‘For over 150 years, people over the world have celebrated the festive spirit with those who matter the most, by sharing a glass or two of Jack Daniel’s.

    ‘This year, friends of Jack Daniel’s can share the holiday spirit with the Jack Daniel’s Holiday calendar – a Tennessee twist on the traditional holiday calendar. Behind each door of the holiday calendar, friends of Jack will find one of their favourite Jack Daniel’s bottles.’

    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock (1431766g) Thousands of Jack Daniel bottles are used to set a world record for the Largest Glass Bottle Mosiac during the Jack Daniel's Birthday Bash at the South Street Seaport. The mosaic created by artist Herb Williams set the record for Largest Bottle Mosaic made with 2120 bottles. Jack Daniel's Birthday Celebration, New York, America - 01 Sep 2011
    (Picture: Rex Features)

    The calendar is going to be released on 19 November, both online and in Asda stores, for £60.

    No, it’s not exactly cheap – and considering you can get teeny bottles of Jack Daniel’s for under £2.50 each, you’re not making much of a saving, either.

    But hey, it’ll make a nice gift for yourself – or someone you love – and saves running around the store in December trying to get the last of the whiskey.

    MORE: You can get an advent calendar filled with 12 bottles of gin for under £30

    MORE: Glossybox launches first-ever advent calendar – and it even contains a Yankee Candle


    JD_CAL01-691cJD_CAL01-691chattiegladwellmetroAsda is selling a Jack Daniel's Advent calender and it looks amazing Picture: JackDaniels METROGRAB http://store.jackdaniels.co.uk/advent-calendarMandatory Credit: Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock (1431766g) Thousands of Jack Daniel bottles are used to set a world record for the Largest Glass Bottle Mosiac during the Jack Daniel's Birthday Bash at the South Street Seaport. The mosaic created by artist Herb Williams set the record for Largest Bottle Mosaic made with 2120 bottles. Jack Daniel's Birthday Celebration, New York, America - 01 Sep 2011JD_CAL01-691cJD_CAL01-691chattiegladwellmetroAsda is selling a Jack Daniel's Advent calender and it looks amazing Picture: JackDaniels METROGRAB http://store.jackdaniels.co.uk/advent-calendarMandatory Credit: Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock (1431766g) Thousands of Jack Daniel bottles are used to set a world record for the Largest Glass Bottle Mosiac during the Jack Daniel's Birthday Bash at the South Street Seaport. The mosaic created by artist Herb Williams set the record for Largest Bottle Mosaic made with 2120 bottles. Jack Daniel's Birthday Celebration, New York, America - 01 Sep 2011

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    - Superdrug has slashed the price of its beauty advent calendars by up to 50 per cent… and shoppers are going wild Superdrug
    (Picture: Superdrug)

    There are just 12 weeks until Christmas, which means it’s totally acceptable to start buying your advent calendars.

    And if you’re passionate about makeup and all things beauty, you’ll be happy to know Superdrug has your back, as the store has already started slashing the prices of its beauty calendars by up to 50%.

    The calendars, which were total sellouts last years, are already proving to be a success once again – which comes as no surprise to them as the store reveals ‘Christmas’ searches on its website have already increased by 60%, and ‘advent calendars’ by 30%, compared to last year.

    Superdrug makeup cals
    (Picture: Superdrug)

    In terms of reduced prices, so far, Makeup Revolution’s calendar has gone from £50 to £30 – which had some of its most popular products including highlighters and lipsticks – and Superdrug has halved the prices of its own advent products, reducing their perfume ‘Bloom’ calendar to £12 from £24.

    Superdrug makeup cals
    (Picture: Superdrug)

    Superdrug’s commercial director Simon Comins says the store has launched a much wider range of advent calendars – which includes candle products – to keep up with what Superdrug’s customers want.

    He said: ‘Last year was the year that everyone wanted an alternative advent calendar to kick of the celebrations early, treating themselves or friends and family in the run up to the big day.

    Superdrug makeup cals
    (Picture: Superdrug)

    ‘This year we launched a wider range of advent calendars to keep up with demand and have slashed the prices so our early festive shoppers can bag a bargain.’

    MORE: You can get an advent calendar filled with 12 bottles of gin for under £30

    MORE: Glossybox launches first-ever advent calendar – and it even contains a Yankee Candle


    CALS_XMAS01-1b24CALS_XMAS01-1b24hattiegladwellmetroSuperdrug makeup calsSuperdrug makeup calsSuperdrug makeup calsCALS_XMAS01-1b24CALS_XMAS01-1b24hattiegladwellmetroSuperdrug makeup calsSuperdrug makeup calsSuperdrug makeup cals

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    Urban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a bra
    (Picture: Urban Outfitters)

    Urban Outfitters has launched an influencer Halloween costume, and it might just be the laziest costume we’ve ever seen.

    For anyone who doesn’t know, an influencer is someone with a large credibility on social media, who influences their following with their brand, be that fashion or beauty, or speaking on important topics like mental health and body positivity.

    If you follow any influencers on social media, you’ll know that their personal style varies. But Urban Outfitters seems to think it means ‘gym gear’.

    Their influencer costume features a grey sports bra and grey leggings. Yes, literally gym criteria for £45.

    Picture: Urban Outfitters Urban Outfitters is selling a ??45 ???Influencer??? Halloween costume ??? but it is just leggings and a bra
    (Picture: Urban Outfitters)

    The model pairs the look with a baseball cap, a wig, and some sunglasses for full on Kim Kardashian vibes. But if you want the same look, you’ll need to buy everything apart from the leggings and crop top separately.

    Since the costume was launched, people have been mocking it on Twitter:

    The costume costs $59 (£45).

    Yes, £45 for a costume which just looks like an everyday outfit you’d wear on a run.

    But hey, at least it’s pretty easy to recreate yourself – and a quick option if you’re too lazy to go to your Halloween party as an actual spooky character.

    MORE: Iceland is selling the Christmas tree flavoured crisps no one asked for

    MORE: 16-year-old model is the spitting image of Mean Girls’ Regina George


    Urban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a braUrban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a brahattiegladwellmetroUrban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a braPicture: Urban Outfitters Urban Outfitters is selling a ??45 ???Influencer??? Halloween costume ??? but it is just leggings and a braUrban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a braUrban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a brahattiegladwellmetroUrban Outfitters is selling a £45 ‘Influencer’ Halloween costume – but it is just leggings and a braPicture: Urban Outfitters Urban Outfitters is selling a ??45 ???Influencer??? Halloween costume ??? but it is just leggings and a bra

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    Crowds were swooning over what could be the world's cutest baby hippo at her first public appearance - but she still needs a name. See story NNhippo. The adorable pygmy calf is less than two months old and can now be seen with 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada's top zoo. The unnamed hippo made her debut at the zoo's African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago. Staff at Toronto Zoo are asking the public to help name the delightful calf by taking part in a vote. Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff and include Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi. The winning name will be announced on October 4.
    (Picture: Toronto Zoo/SWNS.COM)

    Visitors are being asked to help pick the name of a zoo’s new and adorable baby pygmy hippo.

    The pygmy baby is less than two months old and spends six hours a day playing with her 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada’s top zoo.

    The baby arrived at the Toronto Zoo’s African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago, which is also home to a gorilla troop and one of the world’s largest tortoises.

    Now, staff at the zoo are asking the public to help name the hippo by taking part in a vote, because staff just couldn’t decide on a name.

    Crowds were swooning over what could be the world's cutest baby hippo at her first public appearance - but she still needs a name. See story NNhippo. The adorable pygmy calf is less than two months old and can now be seen with 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada's top zoo. The unnamed hippo made her debut at the zoo's African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago. Staff at Toronto Zoo are asking the public to help name the delightful calf by taking part in a vote. Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff and include Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi. The winning name will be announced on October 4.
    (Picture: Toronto Zoo/SWNS.COM)

    Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff: Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi.

    The winning name will be announced on 4 October.

    A spokesperson said: ‘The Toronto Zoo is celebrating this recent birth as very important for pygmy hippopotamus conservation.

    ‘The species is currently listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.’

    The yet-unnamed pygmy hippo calf at Toronto Zoo. The birth of the calf is important due to the species ENDANGERED status. September 14 2018. See national story NNHIPPO . A newborn hippopotamus calf has shared her first solid meal of chopped vegetables with her mum. Videos taken by the care team at Toronto Zoo in Canada show the adorable pygmy calf taking a bath, climbing and snuggling on camera. Mother Kindia, 12, can be seen keeping a close eye on the yet-unnamed calf - who delights in getting her feet wet in the bath.At birth, pygmy hippos weigh up to 14 pounds - and this little calf is gaining weight steadily, weighing 25 pounds after four weeks.
    (Picture: Toronto Zoo/SWNS.COM)

    The calf was born on 10 August adding to the 2,000 to 3,000 remaining pygmy hippos in the world.

    At birth, they weigh up to 14 pounds while adults weigh 400 to 600 pounds and can be found in dwindling numbers across West Africa.

    Over the past 100 years, the pygmy hippo’s habitat has been damaged as a result of logging, farming and human settlement.

    Mother pygmy hippo Kindia, 12, and her yet-unnamed calf at Toronto Zoo. The birth of the calf is important due to the species ENDANGERED status. September 14 2018. See national story NNHIPPO . A newborn hippopotamus calf has shared her first solid meal of chopped vegetables with her mum. Videos taken by the care team at Toronto Zoo in Canada show the adorable pygmy calf taking a bath, climbing and snuggling on camera. Mother Kindia, 12, can be seen keeping a close eye on the yet-unnamed calf - who delights in getting her feet wet in the bath.At birth, pygmy hippos weigh up to 14 pounds - and this little calf is gaining weight steadily, weighing 25 pounds after four weeks.
    (Picture: Toronto Zoo/SWNS.COM)

    Maria Franke, curator of mammals at Toronto Zoo, said: ‘Conservation efforts for endangered species has no boundaries.

    ‘The more we work together internationally helps improve our chances of saving incredible animals like the pygmy hippo.

    ‘Partnering with our colleagues by bringing Kindia over from France to mate with our male hippo has allowed us to strengthen the genetics of the global population.’

    The nameless baby hippo is Kindia’s first surviving calf, marking the seventh birth of a pygmy in the zoo’s history.

    MORE: Zoo forced to use plastic penguins after nationwide shortage

    MORE: Sorry, but your dog just isn’t that clever


    SEI_33120053-5843SEI_33120053-5843hattiegladwellmetroCrowds were swooning over what could be the world's cutest baby hippo at her first public appearance - but she still needs a name. See story NNhippo. The adorable pygmy calf is less than two months old and can now be seen with 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada's top zoo. The unnamed hippo made her debut at the zoo's African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago. Staff at Toronto Zoo are asking the public to help name the delightful calf by taking part in a vote. Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff and include Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi. The winning name will be announced on October 4.Crowds were swooning over what could be the world's cutest baby hippo at her first public appearance - but she still needs a name. See story NNhippo. The adorable pygmy calf is less than two months old and can now be seen with 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada's top zoo. The unnamed hippo made her debut at the zoo's African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago. Staff at Toronto Zoo are asking the public to help name the delightful calf by taking part in a vote. Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff and include Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi. The winning name will be announced on October 4.The yet-unnamed pygmy hippo calf at Toronto Zoo. The birth of the calf is important due to the species ENDANGERED status. September 14 2018. See national story NNHIPPO . A newborn hippopotamus calf has shared her first solid meal of chopped vegetables with her mum. Videos taken by the care team at Toronto Zoo in Canada show the adorable pygmy calf taking a bath, climbing and snuggling on camera. Mother Kindia, 12, can be seen keeping a close eye on the yet-unnamed calf - who delights in getting her feet wet in the bath.At birth, pygmy hippos weigh up to 14 pounds - and this little calf is gaining weight steadily, weighing 25 pounds after four weeks.Mother pygmy hippo Kindia, 12, and her yet-unnamed calf at Toronto Zoo. The birth of the calf is important due to the species ENDANGERED status. September 14 2018. See national story NNHIPPO . A newborn hippopotamus calf has shared her first solid meal of chopped vegetables with her mum. Videos taken by the care team at Toronto Zoo in Canada show the adorable pygmy calf taking a bath, climbing and snuggling on camera. Mother Kindia, 12, can be seen keeping a close eye on the yet-unnamed calf - who delights in getting her feet wet in the bath.At birth, pygmy hippos weigh up to 14 pounds - and this little calf is gaining weight steadily, weighing 25 pounds after four weeks.SEI_33120053-5843SEI_33120053-5843hattiegladwellmetroCrowds were swooning over what could be the world's cutest baby hippo at her first public appearance - but she still needs a name. See story NNhippo. The adorable pygmy calf is less than two months old and can now be seen with 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada's top zoo. The unnamed hippo made her debut at the zoo's African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago. Staff at Toronto Zoo are asking the public to help name the delightful calf by taking part in a vote. Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff and include Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi. The winning name will be announced on October 4.Crowds were swooning over what could be the world's cutest baby hippo at her first public appearance - but she still needs a name. See story NNhippo. The adorable pygmy calf is less than two months old and can now be seen with 12-year-old mum Kindia at Canada's top zoo. The unnamed hippo made her debut at the zoo's African rainforest pavilion two weeks ago. Staff at Toronto Zoo are asking the public to help name the delightful calf by taking part in a vote. Participants must choose between four names that have been thoughtfully selected by her care keeping staff and include Alika, Penelope, Zola and Zawadi. The winning name will be announced on October 4.The yet-unnamed pygmy hippo calf at Toronto Zoo. The birth of the calf is important due to the species ENDANGERED status. September 14 2018. See national story NNHIPPO . A newborn hippopotamus calf has shared her first solid meal of chopped vegetables with her mum. Videos taken by the care team at Toronto Zoo in Canada show the adorable pygmy calf taking a bath, climbing and snuggling on camera. Mother Kindia, 12, can be seen keeping a close eye on the yet-unnamed calf - who delights in getting her feet wet in the bath.At birth, pygmy hippos weigh up to 14 pounds - and this little calf is gaining weight steadily, weighing 25 pounds after four weeks.Mother pygmy hippo Kindia, 12, and her yet-unnamed calf at Toronto Zoo. The birth of the calf is important due to the species ENDANGERED status. September 14 2018. See national story NNHIPPO . A newborn hippopotamus calf has shared her first solid meal of chopped vegetables with her mum. Videos taken by the care team at Toronto Zoo in Canada show the adorable pygmy calf taking a bath, climbing and snuggling on camera. Mother Kindia, 12, can be seen keeping a close eye on the yet-unnamed calf - who delights in getting her feet wet in the bath.At birth, pygmy hippos weigh up to 14 pounds - and this little calf is gaining weight steadily, weighing 25 pounds after four weeks.

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    Venison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native)
    Venison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native)

    Anywhere else if you served me two carrots on a plate for my main course I’d have asked where the rest of it was.

    It is testament to the skill and inventiveness of the chefs at Native that the thought didn’t cross my mind.

    Our (excellent) waiter said the carrot dish – whole carrots, braised with foraged hogseed vadouvan then chargrilled, served with tempura carrot tops, labneh, hay ash honey and dukkah (spiced Egyptian condiment) – would more than stand up to the beef.

    I didn’t believe him at all… the veggie option is almost always < the beef option.

    And it’s true that the beef – short horn beef with caramelised celeriac, pickled scottish girolles and miso cabbage was excellent.

    Braised, chargrilled carrots at Native (Picture: Bar Fox, nothing to boast about)
    Braised, chargrilled carrots at Native. Apologies for the dim and slightly blurry photo – the lights were low, the camera couldn’t handle it – but we wanted to give at least a glimpse of the joy of the carrot (Picture: Bar Fox, nothing to boast about)

    But faced with my carrots – with the spices, creamy labneh and crispy tempura tops – I had zero food envy, which was fortunate since Mr Bar Fox was in a ‘Joey Doesn’t Share Food’ mode.

    The restaurant operates a zero waste policy, so every meal starts with ‘Snacks’ – a surprise selection of whatever the chef can rustle up with the leftovers to prevent them being thrown away.

    The unassumingly named 'Compost pakora' was actually a gorgously crisp pakora of shredded leftover vegetables served with a spiced chutney (Picture: Bar Fox)
    The unassumingly named ‘Compost pakora’ was actually a gorgously crisp pakora of shredded leftover vegetables served with a spiced chutney (Picture: Bar Fox)

    For us, that meant grouse tacos, ‘compost’ pakora with chutney – flavoursome, perfectly textured – and a trout mousse on linseed crackers brought before our starters. ‘ARE THEY FREE?’ he asked. Why yes, yes they are (kind of – it’s a 2 courses + snacks for £38 situation. It’s psychology, whatever. It feels like a bonus).

    Every dish prompted curious questions. The starter was cured trout with a whey foam – how did they make that? The waiters are all from the school that makes sure they know every detail. The whey comes from the production of the labneh, which was served with my carrots. It’s whisked lightly with pectin to create this light foam.

    Chalk Stream trout with compressed cucumber, fish bone caramel, samphire and that whey foam (Picture: Bar Fox)
    Chalk Stream trout with compressed cucumber, fish bone caramel, samphire and that whey foam (Picture: Bar Fox)

    Don’t be put off Native if you’re not the ‘foam and smears on a plate’ type though – we are as over needless foam and puree smears as the next person.

    There is no overabundance of it here. No mystery smears on every plate and no reliance on decoration to lift the dish. It’s not fancy for the sake of being fancy; everything has its place. The flavours are deep and honest, the ingredients speak for themselves.

    What else did we discover?

    Pillowy homemade rosemary focaccia with garlic infused olive oil.

    A marrowbone caramel chocolate – creamy, rich, served on a slice of marrowbone.

    Carrot and buckthorn granita, with a crunchy biscuit smash, cream cheese and meringue shards. We only ended up with the dish because the sunflower seed cake with cider brandy ice cream (hello mummy) had run out. We were the first to try it; we were not at all sorry the cake had run out.

    Because we were the first, the chef requested our feedback, telling us via waitress Zoe (also excellent) that buckthorn, which has an orangey flavour, also has 10 times the vitamin C of an orange so is ‘healthy’ too.

    I mean, we were eating carrot and buckthorn for pudding; we could kid ourselves it was healthy – but it tasted far too indulgent for that.

    The exterior of Native on Southwark Street, with Casa Do Frango (and our favourite new secret bar) upstairs (Picture: Bar Fox)
    The exterior of Native on Southwark Street, with Casa Do Frango (and our favourite new secret bar) upstairs. Go and go now before everyone else discovers it (Picture: Bar Fox)

    Just sweet enough, zingy, cool, crunchy – a delightfully satisfying combination of textures and temperatures.

    The wine list is interesting: Greek, Hungarian, German along with more customary Spanish, French and Australian, but nothing predictable.

    We were tempted by the dry German Riesling but went for the Spanish Botijo Blanco (around £34). Dry, spicy with a nice level of fruit.

    This Southwark Street version of Native opened in June after the restaurant’s Covent Garden licence wasn’t extended – apparently the council decided there were already too many restaurants in the area.

    Well, CG’s loss is SE1’s gain. Despite having Borough Market on the doorstep, there is a lack of truly decent restaurant (and even bars) in this part of Southwark.

    Native (with Casa Do Frango and The Green Room above it – see below), has just massively upped the game.

    Flawless food, flawless service, but relaxed, interesting and fun.

    A culinary voyage of discovery. We will be back.

    The menu at Native (Picture: Bar Fox)
    The menu at Native, complete with Chef’s Wasting Snacks at the top. Two courses with snacks is £38. (Picture: Bar Fox)

    PS insider tip for you: on our way out we popped upstairs to check out Casa Do Frango – the no-reservation chicken place (Casa Do Frango means House of Chicken in Portuguese) upstairs getting good reviews. It was lively, even at 10.30pm. Long tables, plants everywhere, busy open kitchen (we love an open kitchen). We will be checking out the food in a future Bar Fox.

    What you DO need to know now though is about the secret bar at the back, called The Green Room.

    The Green Room, the secret cocktail bar hidden out the back of Casa Do Frango
    MUST VISIT The Green Room, the secret cocktail bar hidden out the back of Casa Do Frango (Picture: Caso Do Frango)

    There is no sign of it whatsoever on the street and no hint once inside either.

    Weave through the restaurant and hidden behind a velvet curtain is a very cool, low-lit cocktail bar tucked into a railway arch.

    Massive velvet sofas, gold trimmed everything, palms, gorgeous art deco bar as a centre piece, great cocktail menu. We had an Old Fashioned and a Tanqueray cocktail with red vermouth – but along with a pretty inventive cocktail menu you can order any of the classics.

    One of our new favourite spots on Southwark Street – if you go now, you’ll be among the first to discover it. And don’t tell too many people.

    Native, 32 Southwark Street, Bermondsey, London SE1 1TU, 07507 861 570

    The Green Room at Casa Do Frango, upstairs at the same address, 020 3972 2323.

     

    More Food & Drink news

    Free champagne…

    Never ones to turn down a glass of champagne, free or otherwise, it’s not a hard sell to get us into Galvin La Chapelle this month.

    To celebrate being awarded a Michelin star for their 9th consecutive year, Chef-Patron Jeff Galvin has decided to give all diners a free glass of champers with their meal.

    To get the bubbles, you need to quote Michelin Guide 2019 when you book. Visit galvinrestaurants.com

    Galvin La Chapelle, where champagne is free (but sadly dinner is not)
    The Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle, where champagne is free (but sadly dinner is not)

    London Cocktail Week

    Running all this week until Sunday 7 October – find more details here

    GOT YOUR OWN INSIDER TIPS?

    Why not give us your own suggestions and reviews, or just say hi.

    Hit us up at hello@barfox.co.uk. Include pics, details and your twitter/facebook/insta page and we’ll give you a link up.


    Venison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native)Venison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native)akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdVenison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native) Braised, chargrilled carrots at Native (Picture: Bar Fox, nothing to boast about)The unassumingly named 'Compost pakora' was actually a gorgously crisp pakora of shredded leftover vegetables served with a spiced chutney (Picture: Bar Fox)Chalk Stream trout with compressed cucumber, fish bone caramel, samphire and that whey foam (Picture: Bar Fox) The exterior of Native on Southwark Street, with Casa Do Frango (and our favourite new secret bar) upstairs (Picture: Bar Fox) The menu at Native (Picture: Bar Fox)The Green Room, the secret cocktail bar hidden out the back of Casa Do FrangoGalvin La Chapelle, where champagne is free (but sadly dinner is not)Venison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native)Venison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native)akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdVenison haunch, burnt cucumber and radish (Picture: Native) Braised, chargrilled carrots at Native (Picture: Bar Fox, nothing to boast about)The unassumingly named 'Compost pakora' was actually a gorgously crisp pakora of shredded leftover vegetables served with a spiced chutney (Picture: Bar Fox)Chalk Stream trout with compressed cucumber, fish bone caramel, samphire and that whey foam (Picture: Bar Fox) The exterior of Native on Southwark Street, with Casa Do Frango (and our favourite new secret bar) upstairs (Picture: Bar Fox) The menu at Native (Picture: Bar Fox)The Green Room, the secret cocktail bar hidden out the back of Casa Do FrangoGalvin La Chapelle, where champagne is free (but sadly dinner is not)

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  • 10/04/18--00:00: My Label and Me: Widow
  • I’m not a widow. Let’s get that clear straightaway.

    We all know what widows are. Widows are old ladies. They sit in church pews dabbing at their eyes with hankies. They walk to the shops with trollies and buy meals for one.

    In the evening they sit by the fire surrounded by family photos and remember the good old days while they watch quiz shows.

    If they live in Greece or Spain or some other warm, Mediterranean country, their handkerchiefs are hand-sewn with lace and they sit on street corners shrouded in black, tutting disapprovingly as young lovers walk by.

    That’s what I always thought anyway. Before I became one.

    Not that I did become one, not really. As I said, I’m not a widow.

    For a start, I’m not old. Well, not really old. I guess you might call me middle-aged but people say I look young for my years. I don’t go to church and I don’t wear black. I’ve always preferred colourful clothes.

    Beverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    Beverley sitting on the Paul’s memorial bench (Picture: David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    It was one of the things he loved about me. (He really loved me.)

    Unlike widows, I hardly ever watch television and I do most of my shopping online. I have some photos of the kids on the walls but there are none of me and him. None were ever taken.

    The kids are still at home. They’re pretty young. They were five and eight when he died.

    His body was already decomposing when I found it. He’d been lying on his bed for three days and no-one knew. I broke into his house and when I finally got home in the middle of the night, I climbed onto my daughter’s bed, needing to be next to someone whose heart was still beating.

    In the morning, I made breakfast and we walked to school as if nothing had changed.

    Nothing had really changed. Not for them. He wasn’t their dad, you see. In fact, they’d only just met him. (I wanted to be sure.)

    Proper widows are people who are married and when they lose their spouse, they often have children who are grieving too. Most widows share mutual friends with their partners. Widows have in-laws and extended families to grieve with.

    Beverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    Paul, pictured, took the photo Beverley is standing in front of of the hut where he lived (Picture: David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    Not me. I met his mum for the first time a few days after his death. She didn’t live far away but he’d never got round to introducing us.

    I guess you think it can’t have been that serious. That’s what most people think. I’m not really a widow, after all.

    We weren’t married, didn’t live together, hadn’t even met each other’s families. But there we were, his mum and I planning his funeral together.

    ‘How do you want to refer to Paul, in the paper?’ she asked. ‘Partner? Boyfriend?’

    I didn’t even know. Partner didn’t feel right. We’d only been together for eight months. And boyfriend? He was 53 and a giant of man. Boyfriend seemed ridiculous.

    ‘Soulmate?’ I said. ‘Does that sound silly?’

    She shook her head. ‘I don’t think it sounds silly at all.’

    I really liked his mum.

    Beverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    ‘There is no word to describe the person I am now’ (Picture: David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    Soulmate. And he was. A rare and special, one in a million connection. He was the man I was in love with and the man who was in love with me. He was the man I hoped I might spend my future with, a future which was torn away on March 10th 2016.

    On that day it felt like my skin had been ripped from my body. For months, I felt like a naked crab scuttling about trying to find its home. My nerves were shredded by shock. I couldn’t stop crying, suffered from panic attacks, struggled to work.

    Married widows receive benefits that help them to get back on their feet but I got nothing. Why would I? I wasn’t a widow.

    Two and half years on, I am only just beginning to recover from the loss.

    There are no words that can convey the extremity of the pain I felt and there is no label to describe the person I am now: a divorced, single parent who lost a soulmate to sudden death.

    To other people it was just a tragic episode. But, for me, everything changed.

    Still, I am not a widow, not me.

    Beverley writes a blog called Swimming through Clouds and on 22nd September is Swimming the Serpentine on behalf of Widowed and Young

    MORE: My Label and Me: Fragile

    MORE: My Label and Me: Virgin

    MORE: My Label and Me: Autistic


    jessrubyaustinBeverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukBeverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukBeverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukjessrubyaustinBeverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukBeverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukBeverley Ward Widow who lost her Soul mate Paul Harding in 2016 11 September 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk

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

    When you make the decision to start taking antidepressants, it’s unlikely you’re already thinking about how you’ll stop.

    While some of us intend to use medication to get us through a difficult period, others ask for help after years of living miserably, and are too grateful to find something that helps to ponder when you’ll give it up.

    A good GP or psychiatrist will discuss your longterm plans for antidepressants with you, questioning how long you plan to take them and making it clear that stopping suddenly is a risky move.

    But thanks to the overworked NHS and difficulty getting an appointment, not everyone has that experience. Many people feel left alone to take their pills with no further support. When they decide they no longer want to take medication, they stop abruptly. That can have dire consequences.

    A new review suggests that millions of people experience bad side effects when trying to cut down on antidepressants or come off them entirely.

    The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence says that around half of patients will experience withdrawal symptoms, and for half of these, the symptoms will be severe.

    The review warns of possible anxiety, sleep problems, and hallucinations, and shares stories from people experiencing ‘brain zaps’ and insomnia.

    Researchers are urging doctors to properly inform patients of the risks of withdrawal symptoms, noting that side-effects can last weeks, months, or longer.

    Which all sounds a bit scary – but this shouldn’t put you off coming off antidepressants if you feel that’s the right choice for you, or put you off trying antidepressants in the first place.

    If you are thinking of stopping antidepressants, just be aware of some important steps.

    1. Talk to your doctor

    Those who experience withdrawal symptoms are often those coming off antidepressants without the help of a medical professional.

    It’s crucial to talk to the person prescribing your medication to work out the best plan to stop taking it.

    A good GP will be checking in with your medication plans each time they prescribe, but if not, make sure to bring it up. If you want to stop taking antidepressants, the further in advance you can plan, the better.

    Ask your doctor for a withdrawal plan and make sure they’re available if anything goes wrong.

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

    2. Work out why you want to come off antidepressants

    This is important.

    The decision to stop taking medication is a big one, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    Have a serious think through of why you’d like to stop taking meds. Are they no longer working, and your depression has returned? Do you feel you have enough social support to no longer need medication? Has a particularly stressful time passed?

    If your depression is in remission or you feel you’ve passed out of a tricky period, these are good times to think about stopping antidepressants.

    The return or intensifying of depression may mean a change in medication or dosage is a better choice.

    If dodgy side-effects are making you question your meds, a swap to a different antidepressant could help.

    Feeling as though there’s something ‘wrong’ with taking medication, or that you’re failing because you’re still relying on meds, isn’t a reason to stop, but to chat through how you’re feeling with a medical professional.

    Make sure the decision is thought through and discussed with your doctor. If your reasons are rash and on a whim, take a pause before you do anything.

    3. Don’t stop suddenly

    A sudden stop can cause withdrawal symptoms or a quick return of depression symptoms. Stopping immediately without letting anyone know what you’re doing is a dangerous move and we’d advise against it.

    Coming off antidepressants doesn’t need to take ages, but depending on your dosage and the type of medication you’re on, your doctor may recommend reducing the dose over the course of a few months.

    Many GPs will suggest that you come off antidepressants in the summer months, when you’re less likely to get hit by SAD, and recommend planning to stop about six months in advance.

    ‘[Stopping antidepressants] is a complex clinical decision and should be discussed with your treating doctor,’ psychiatrist Dr Cosmo Hallstrom tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Most patients take the medication, get better and then feel they don’t need the medication any more and so stop taking it without medical advice. they are at risk of relapsing and then think the medication didn’t do them any good.

    ‘The advice is to continue to take the medication for six months after you feel completely well to avoid relapsing.’

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

    4. Don’t confuse the return of depression for withdrawal symptoms

    Withdrawal symptoms do happen, but thanks to developments in mental health medication, they’re increasingly less common. Antidepressants are not addictive and common types such as fluoxetine (Prozac) are designed to stay in the body for longer so that a sudden stop won’t feel like a shock.

    Often what patients experience is the return of depression, rather than withdrawal symptoms.

    The difference between these is that withdrawal symptoms will pass over the course of a few weeks or months. They tend to be ‘brain zaps’ (the feeling of electric shocks), dizziness, and insomnia.

    The return of depression will see you experiencing symptoms similar to those you experienced before taking medication.

    In either scenario, don’t suffer in silence – talk to a medical professional. If the depression has returned it’s crucial to make a treatment plan that will work in place of your antidepressants, while withdrawal symptoms may require a slower drop off in dosage.

    5. Some medication is more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms

    ‘Seroxat (Paroxetine) is supposed to be the worst,’ says Dr Hallstrom. ‘Prozac (fluoxetine) is the least likely [to cause withdrawal symptoms] as it stays in the body for longer and so leaves the body more slowly and gently.’

    Talk to your doctor about coming off a particular type of antidepressant before you start taking them. If your symptoms are severe, you may have been prescribed a more effective treatment that also requires a more detailed withdrawal plan – be aware of that early on so you have the support you need when it’s time to stop.

    6. It’s important to have other forms of support in place

    If you’ve been using antidepressants to stay mentally healthy for a long period of time, you might have been skipping out on the other stuff that’s helpful – therapy, social support, proper sleep, healthy eating and exercise. If the meds are working, you can ditch the other stuff, right?

    When you come off antidepressants it’s important to make sure you have forms of support to fill the gap left behind by medication.

    Be aware that you might feel a dip in mood as you reduce your medication. Be prepared and make sure your lifestyle is as healthy as it can be beforehand.

    7. Talk to someone

    Never, ever secretly stop taking medication.

    It’s crucial to tell someone close to you that you’re coming off antidepressants, so that they know to look out for withdrawal symptoms or the return of mental illness.

    Talk to your doctor, but give a family member a shout too to explain what they should do if they see you’re struggling.

    MORE: I was a teenager in crisis – 20 years on, mental health support for young people seems to have gone backwards

    MORE: Mental health problems are being exacerbated by the world we live in

    MORE: What is treatment-resistant depression, and does it mean you’ll never get better?


    Getting better series: A year of antidepressantsGetting better series: A year of antidepressantsellencscottmedication illustrationmetro illustrationsGetting better series: A year of antidepressantsGetting better series: A year of antidepressantsellencscottmedication illustrationmetro illustrations

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    Carol Ann Duffy is the current Poet Laureate (Picture: Getty Images)

    Today, Thursday 4 October, we celebrate National Poetry Day and everything that is special about poems and the poets behind them.

    The day has been running since 1994 and was created by William Sieghart, a poetry enthusiast and entrepreneur who has gone on to be awarded a CBE for services to public libraries.

    thumbnail for post ID 8004470Chiropractor ruined woman's surprise by telling her mum she was pregnant

    Whilst National Poetry Day was created to encourage people to read poems, it was also designed to give poets the recognition they deserve.

    The most recognised poet in the UK tends to be the Poet Laureate, but did you know who the current holder of that post is, and what the title actually means?

    Carol Anne Duffy has been Poet Laureate since 2009 (Picture: GC Images)

    Carol Ann Duffy has held the title of Poet Laureate since May 2009 when she became the first woman to be given the position.

    Duffy took over from Andrew Motion, who had followed the likes of John Betjeman and Ted Hughes earlier in the 20th Century.

    Not only was Duffy the first woman, but she was also the first Scot and first openly gay person to become Poet Laureate.

    The 62-year-old has been publishing poetry collections since 1974, and will be known to thousands for being featured in the AGA Poetry Anthology for GCSE students, which included ‘Anne Hathaway’, ‘Salome’ and ‘Havisham’ among others.

    What does the Poet Laureate do?

    The position has been around since the 17th Century when John Dryden was appointed by Charles II in 1668.

    The Poet Laureate was originally appointed by the monarch, but the Prime Minister took the job of appointing them in 1790 and now the PM chooses with the help of the Cabinet Office.

    There are no actual duties that the Laureate has to perform, but they will be called upon to write poetry on significant national occasions. For example, Duffy wrote the poem Rings for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

    The payment for the position has changed over the years, but it is mainly a ceremonial position so it is certainly not a vast salary.

    Duffy is paid a salary of £5,750 and a barrel of sherry.

    Ted Hughes was Poet Laureate from 1984-’98 (Picture: Getty Images)

    Poet Laureates have held the position for very long periods, for example John Masefield had the post from 1930 to 1967.

    However, they are now appointed on fixed 10-year terms, with Duffy’s coming to an end in 2019.

    Havisham by Carol Ann Duffy

    Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then

    I haven’t wished him dead, Prayed for it

    so hard I’ve dark green pebbles for eyes,

    ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.

    Spinster. I stink and remember. Whole days

    in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall; the dress

    yellowing, trembling if I open the wardrobe;

    the slewed mirror, full-length, her, myself, who did this

    to me? Puce curses that are sounds not words.

    Some nights better, the lost body over me,

    my fluent tongue in its mouth in its ear

    then down till I suddenly bite awake. Love’s

    hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting

    in my face. Bang. I stabbed at a wedding-cake.

    Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.

    Don’t think it’s only the heart that b-b-b-breaks.

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    Edinburgh Hosts The Annual International Book FestivalEdinburgh Hosts The Annual International Book Festivalphilhaigh26Edinburgh Hosts The Annual International Book FestivalEdinburgh Hosts The Annual International Book Festivalphilhaigh26

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    (Picture: Sarah Easton)

    Avid runner Sarah Easton works for a hospitality company based in Myanmar. She has been living there for two and a half years.

    The 30-year-old has witnessed the ongoing conflict in the country and the increasing humanitarian crisis.

    To raise as much money as possible for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people in camps in Kachin, Shan, Kayin and Rakhine states, Sarah decided to run 12 marathons in 12 months.

    And showing she’s a woman of her word, she has already run eight of them.

    Sarah spoke to Metro.co.uk about her experiences.

    (Picture: Sarah Easton)

    ‘Whilst travelling around Myanmar three and a half years ago with my partner, I got a job offer from an international restaurant group so we decided to continue our adventure and move there,’ she told Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I really wanted to raise a significant amount of money for the current conflict in Myanmar and felt that running one marathon wouldn’t be enough of an effort.

    ‘In Rakhine, the provision of aid has been severely interrupted by the violence in late 2017. Nearly 700,000 people have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh following fighting in the area with widespread violence, death and destruction having been reported in the news.

    ‘This cause is very personal to me because I am a foreigner but I have lived in Myanmar for over three years and I have been made to feel so welcome by everyone here.

    ‘I will be running a total of 312 miles.The people who have been displaced by conflict have had to walk much further. Running 12 marathons within Myanmar wasn’t possible and so running 12 marathons in 12 countries seemed like the next logical step.

    ‘It’s heartbreaking and unbelievable that these atrocities happen in the same state as the beautiful beach resorts for holidaymakers. By taking myself out of my comfort zone I hope I can highlight this issue and make it relatable for others both inside and outside of the country.’

    (Picture: Sarah Easton)

    Sarah has already completed eight marathons this year with a personal best time of 3:22. She said the highlights were finishing as the first female runner on the Great Wall of China (after navigating over 20,000 steps) and crossing the finish line minutes before twelve o’clock in the Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway.

    She is currently travelling to run her ninth marathon on a mountain trail run in the north of Vietnam. Sarah’s final marathons this year will take her to Hong Kong, Penang, and Singapore.

    Sarah came in third during the fifth Khmer Empire Marathon in Cambodia (Picture: Sarah Easton)

    Sarah is raising money for the Centre for Social Integrity and Community Partners International – a group of organisations working in both remote areas of Myanmar and the refugee camps in Bangladesh.

    Any money raised go towards improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations in conflict-affected, hard-to-reach and underserved communities.

    All marathon expenses are self-funded and both organisations have low overhead costs meaning all donors can be confident that their donation is reaching those who need it most.

    Sarah ran through all 20,000 steps of the Great Wall of China (Picture: Sarah Easton)

    Sarah is still living in Myanmar and encourages people to visit.

    ‘It’s still relatively easy and rewarding to travel to and within Myanmar. We have had friends and family visit over the last three years,’ she said.

    ‘The tourism industry is taking a financial hit due to the negative international media coverage of the country. Traditional tourist areas are separate from the areas of conflict at the borders of the country.

    ‘The best time to visit is between November and February to avoid the six month monsoon and hot season.’

    You can donate to Sarah’s campaign here.

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    50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.
    Gweneth earns thousands from her feet (Picture: Gweneth Lee / SWNS.com)

    Could your feet be your secret moneymakers?

    Gweneth Lee, 45, says she makes thousands each year thanks to her feet.

    The part-time dominatrix claims she earns around $2,500 (£1,928) a month by taking photos of her feet and sharing them on Instagram. She gets additional meeting by meeting clients who pay up to $300 (£231) an hour to lick and massage her feet.

    That all adds up to around $30,000 (£23,133) a year just from donations from clients who get off on Gweneth’s feet.

    They are in good condition, to be fair.

    ‘I never really noticed the foot fetish thing until the social media wave came along,’ says Gweneth.

    50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.
    The part-time dominatrix shares photos of her feet on Instagram (Picture: Gweneth Lee / SWNS.com)

    ‘I would always post pictures of my feet by the pool and it got a huge following. I ended up creating a new Instagram just for people who love my feet.’

    Gweneth first got into being a dominatrix when she joined a website for having affairs and hooked up with more than 100 men.

    She enjoyed the thrill of affairs, but knew there was a way to make money from all the attention. As she racked up followers on Instagram and received messages requesting pictures of her feet, Gweneth realised a feet-focused Instagram page, @gwenethsfeet, could make her some cash.

    Gweneth credits her feet’s popularity to her dedication to pampering.

    Gweneth Lee perfectly pampered feet. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.
    Men pay to massage her feet (Picture: Gweneth Lee / SWNS.com)

    ‘You have to drink two to three litres of water a day to keep the skin on your feet beautiful and your cuticles hydrated,’ she explains.

    ‘I use foot cream on my heels and my feet three times a day, and I tend to always have socks on or shoes just to protect them.

    ‘I wear toe separators when I go to the gym or I go running, which is what my acupuncturist thinks is healthier for the longevity of my feet.

    ‘I also eat a lot of fresh fish because the fish oil hydrates your cuticles.’

    Her monthly pedicures are paid for by her followers.

    Gweneth Lee perfectly pampered feet. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.
    Gweneth credits the popularity of her feet to a high arch and an hour of pampering every day (Picture: Gweneth Lee / SWNS.com)

    There’s no common theme that links Gweneth’s clients, aside from a love for feet.

    ‘I tend to get a high caliber clientele,’ she says. ‘They’re educated, and they’re good family men.

    ‘People with foot fetishes in general tend to be quite gentle people. It’s not a hardcore fetish.

    ‘I think it’s no different than men who love lingerie. They just love to see their partner dressed up in beautiful stockings, and some men love shoes.

    50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.
    Alongside money, Gweneth’s clients often send her gifts such as jewellery (Picture: Gweneth Lee / SWNS.com

    ‘It’s usually the businessman who’s sitting around all day, and he’s got a wife and three kids to care for.

    ‘He’s got a lot of pressure. If he wants to come to me on his lunch break to kiss my feet and masturbate on them and lick it off, let him do it.

    ‘This is two adults making adult decisions.

    ‘I’m amazed how many men are just really kind.

    ‘Everybody has something they love, and some people just love feet.’

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    MORE: 67-year-old dominatrix makes men dress as maids and clean her house


    SEI_33474489-20f4SEI_33474489-20f4ellencscott50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.Gweneth Lee perfectly pampered feet. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.Gweneth Lee perfectly pampered feet. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.SEI_33474489-20f4SEI_33474489-20f4ellencscott50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.Gweneth Lee perfectly pampered feet. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.Gweneth Lee perfectly pampered feet. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.50-year-old Gweneth Lee. See SWNS story SWNYfeet; Meet the glam 50-year-old woman who makes up to $50,000 a year as an Instagram foot model. Gweneth Lee rakes in around $4,000 a month snapping pictures of her perfectly pampered feet and posting them online. The part-time dominatrix also arranges meet-ups with select men who hope to massage, lick and take pleasure from her feet. Former commercial foot model Gweneth became a dog walker and part-time dominatrix after the 2008 credit crisis left her struggling to make ends meet. The widow, from San Diego, California, quickly realized that her feet had cash potential when she began posting photos of them on Instagram. Gweneth, who has been modeling since her early teens, now has 1,340 followers and spends an hour a day pampering her feet for shoots. She also receives cash and gifts from adoring fans and has been flown out to hotels around the world including in Palm Springs, New York City and London.

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    Caption: Aldi is launching gin wine – a spirit made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes (Picture: Aldi UK)

    Sometimes it’s a tough choice between drinking wine or spirits – but with Aldi’s latest product, you don’t have to choose.

    The supermarket has launched Sorgin, a gin and wine hybrid.

    Created by world-renowned winemaker François Lurton and Sauvignon Blanc specialist Sabine Jaren, the drink combines white grapes with juniper berries, traditionally used in gin.

    The drink, which costs £24.99 for a 70cl bottle, mixes the flavours of Sauvignon Blanc, juniper and botanicals including lemon, lime, grapefruit, violet, broom and blackcurrant buds.

    A gin-tonic glass in a bar
    (Picture: Getty Images)

    Earlier this year, Marks and Spencer launched Ginking, a 2-in-1 gin and sparkling wine cocktail but at 43% alc, Aldi’s product is much closer to a spirit.

    Aldi claim Sorgin has ‘an expression like no other and great freshness’.

    And even the name is promising – Sorgin comes from a Basque word meaning ‘sorcerers who are able to keep their good mood and energy through the night’.

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    MORE: Aldi is launching a gingerbread gin this autumn


    Aldi is launching gin wine - a spirit made with Sauvignon Blanc grapesAldi is launching gin wine - a spirit made with Sauvignon Blanc grapeslauraabernethy6A gin-tonic glass in a barAldi is launching gin wine - a spirit made with Sauvignon Blanc grapesAldi is launching gin wine - a spirit made with Sauvignon Blanc grapeslauraabernethy6A gin-tonic glass in a bar

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    MERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy and Glen were chased by a bull whilst trying to get nice photos walking across a paddock. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPY
    (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

    Everyone wants their wedding to be a day to remember.

    And for these newlyweds, these special snaps certainly made it unforgettable.

    Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29.

    After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple’s photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap.

    But an angry bull had other ideas as it charged, forcing them to run with their horse in tow.

    Horse breaker Glen says, ‘We were walking back down the hill and the bull really ran at us and I thought ‘oh sh**’.

    ‘Amy grabbed her dress and started to run. You can see she was running because her dress is flying in the photo.

    ‘The bull got a bit closer and then my horse tried pulling away because it got a fright and I just had to get out of the way because it chased us.

    ‘I wasn’t that worried I just thought ‘ah I’ll just step around it’ but I didn’t take it too cheap either because you never know what it’s going to do.

    ‘The bull was running in a straight line and it just ran and then ended up just pulling up and I just hoped they had all the photos they needed.’

    MERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy Mckey, 24, and Glen Mckey, 27, walking across a paddock for some nice calm photos with Amys favourite horse. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPY
    (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

    But Glen admits many of the guests missed the moment because they were enjoying the reception.

    He says, ‘It made the wedding day. Everyone thought it was good – so funny.

    ‘Although most of the people at the wedding didn’t actually know it happened because they were drinking beer.

    ‘I showed my neighbour who owns the bull and he got a good laugh out of it.

    ‘I reckon we’ll get the two photos canvas printed and put it up on the wall for a nice little sequence.’

    Their photographer Aleesha Aldis-Friedrichs, 26, had this vision of perfect image to encapsulate Glen and Amy’s big day – but never planned for the unexpected guest.

    Despite their more unusual nature, Amy and Glen are thrilled with the photos from Aleesha, who runs Boundless Imagery.

    MERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy Mckey, 24, and Glen Mckey, 27, were married at their farm in Woodenbong, New South Wales. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPY
    Photograph: Mercury Press & Media

    ‘It’s literally like probably about three frames apart because the bull sort of looked up and then he had this really like aggressive walk going,’ Aleesha says.

    ‘Then he just lifted off – all fours in the air – and just took off at them.

    ‘I was just like ‘oh my god’ I was laughing so hard behind the camera – I’m so surprised it stayed straight because I was laughing.

    ‘I was worried about their well-being after the snaps, like ‘oh my god that could have been really serious’.

    ‘I just really loved the simplicity of it too and the emotion and drama that comes from it.

    ‘It’s absolutely the best photo I’ve ever taken at a wedding – the most memorable.’

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    MORE: Couple marry as Woody and Buzz at Disney themed wedding

    MORE: We served out-of-date food at our wedding and everyone loved it


    RUNAWAY BRIDE... AND GROOM! COUPLE'S IDYLLIC HILLTOP WEDDING PHOTOS INTERRUPTED AS THEY FLEE CHARGING BULL.RUNAWAY BRIDE... AND GROOM! COUPLE'S IDYLLIC HILLTOP WEDDING PHOTOS INTERRUPTED AS THEY FLEE CHARGING BULL.lauraabernethy6MERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy and Glen were chased by a bull whilst trying to get nice photos walking across a paddock. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPYMERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy Mckey, 24, and Glen Mckey, 27, walking across a paddock for some nice calm photos with Amys favourite horse. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPYMERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy Mckey, 24, and Glen Mckey, 27, were married at their farm in Woodenbong, New South Wales. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPYRUNAWAY BRIDE... AND GROOM! COUPLE'S IDYLLIC HILLTOP WEDDING PHOTOS INTERRUPTED AS THEY FLEE CHARGING BULL.RUNAWAY BRIDE... AND GROOM! COUPLE'S IDYLLIC HILLTOP WEDDING PHOTOS INTERRUPTED AS THEY FLEE CHARGING BULL.lauraabernethy6MERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy and Glen were chased by a bull whilst trying to get nice photos walking across a paddock. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPYMERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy Mckey, 24, and Glen Mckey, 27, walking across a paddock for some nice calm photos with Amys favourite horse. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPYMERCURY PRESS. 04/10/18. Pictured: Amy Mckey, 24, and Glen Mckey, 27, were married at their farm in Woodenbong, New South Wales. A bride and groom had their idyllic hilltop wedding photos dramatically interrupted as they suddenly had to flee from a charging bull. Newlyweds Glen McKey, 27, and Amy McKey, 24, tied the knot at their ranch in Woodenbong, New South Wales, Australia, on September 29. After exchanging their vows and posing with their wedding party, the couple's photographer asked Glen and Amy to wander across the ridge of a hill with a palomino horse, thinking it would make a dreamy wedding snap. SEE MERCURY COPY

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    Rituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmare Rituals
    (Picture: Rituals)

    Holi is a Hindu festival of colour, where people come together and celebrate triumph of good over evil.

    People take to the streets; throwing coloured paint, saying thanks for a good harvest, singing and dancing, and eating and drinking.

    It’s a happy festival, and one which has been adopted across the world and united many people.

    That said, it’s often controversial when companies hijack Holi in the west with no reverence (or even so much as a hat-tip) to the religious and cultural aspects of Holi.

    Often, these are events held at different times to Holi, and they tend to be glorified raves with no input from Indians on why it exists and how to honour it and enjoy it respectfully.

    Cosmetics company Rituals recently released a Holi collection, featuring shower foams, a scrub, and a bath bomb.

    Colourful and likely delicious-smelling as the collection is, Rituals have come under fire online for the general shortsightedness of the campaign.

    The Ritual of Holi collection is promoted by white models and has no mention of Hinduism, Vishnu, or even India. It’s all very odd.

    A petition has been launched against the Dutch cosmetics company, including an open letter to Rituals’ creative director Dagmar Brusse.

    In the letter, campaign group Holi is not a House Party say: ‘Cultural appropriation happens that a symbol of a particular culture, in this case Holi as a Hindu spring festival, is taken out of its original context by, for example, transforming a spiritual spring festival into a summer dance festival, as Holi Fusion and Holi Festival of Colors have done before.

    ‘Or as Rituals is doing now by naming a whole product line after Holi, and then claiming that it has nothing to do with religion.’

    Responding to Holi is not a House Party, Rituals said, ‘It is never our intention to insult traditions that we sincerely respect. We want to inspire our customers to transform their daily care to special meaningful rituals. In response to your invitation to talk to Rituals, we regret to inform you that, according to our company policy, our colleagues are not allowed to discuss this matter in more detail.’

    The idea of intentions is central to the debate, but for those who feel their culture has been appropriated, intentions mean very little when the final result is still disrespectful.

    Rituals aren’t really known for their sensitive depiction of ancient cultures.

    Many of their products bear religious symbols without context, or talk about holy practices with no context to their actual significance.

    On the business’ ‘about us’ page is a photograph of white woman wearing various garments taken from East Asian traditional dress, including white makeup, a cheongsam-style dress, and an oil-paper umbrella.

    Similarly, their Oriental Essences campaign video showed a white European model with blue eyes in a veil and headdress alongside images of what they call ‘the mystic orient’. The shots are stunning, but it seems odd to take so much inspiration from the likes of India and the Himalayas but not be able to use a model of colour.

    Cultural appropriation is a sensitive issue, and companies need to be made aware of their whitewashing. Metro.co.uk contacted Rituals multiple times looking for a comment on this matter but received no response by phone, email, or Facebook message.

    Wellness in general has a problem with failing to acknowledge and properly respect their inspirations. Techniques like Ayurvedic massage, yoga, and healing crystals – when used by Western companies – have caused contention.

    Perhaps it’s time for all businesses to take a good look at what they’re profiting from, and hire diverse teams at every stage of creation to ensure this kind of thing stops happening.

    MORE: Kim Kardashian apologises for ‘problematic’ weight loss comment: ‘I know people with eating disorders’

    MORE: Superdrug slashes its beauty advent calendar prices by up to 50%


    Rituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmareRituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmarejessicacvlRituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmare RitualsRituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmareRituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmarejessicacvlRituals' Holi campaign is a whitewashed nightmare Rituals

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    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    You’ve matched through an app and the conversation is flowing.

    But do you have any idea what your new date is really up to while you chat?

    They might say they’re just watching TV.

    But a quarter of people are actually maximising their swipe-time by using dating apps while they are on the loo.

    The research, carried out by dating app Once in collaboration with YouGov, shows that it’s much more common among men, with 30% admitting they are trying to find a match while they sit on the toilet, compared to 18% of women.

    **ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Shadowing is the awful new dating trend you should know about – XX women share their stories (Almara)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The research also revealed we’re spending about four hours a week using dating apps, so maybe we need to make the most of every spare minute.

    People also admitted trying to find a match while in work meetings, at weddings and even while they are already on a date.

    And daters don’t waste any time when they are looking for love – over half admitted they spend 30 seconds or less studying a profile before they decide whether they should connect.

    Jean Meyer, CEO at Once says: ‘The highly-invasive swiping culture makes us extremely picky and impossibly hard to impress. We’re spending too much time on dating apps, and not enough of that time is spent carefully considering a potential match’s profile. Ten seconds is simply not enough time to make an important judgment on someone who might become the love of your life and your potential partner.’

    MORE: When did it become acceptable to not text after a date?

    MORE: Why do people think it’s OK to be so f*cking rude on dating apps?


    dating-apps-3650dating-apps-3650lauraabernethy6**ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Shadowing is the awful new dating trend you should know about – XX women share their stories (Almara)dating-apps-3650dating-apps-3650lauraabernethy6**ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Shadowing is the awful new dating trend you should know about – XX women share their stories (Almara)

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    Sunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads - there is plenty on the Broads to populate your Instagram feed (Picture: Getty)
    Sunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads – there is plenty on the Broads to populate your Instagram feed (Picture: Getty)

    There is something very nostalgic about the Norfolk Broads.

    Mere mention of the name brings back memories of childhood sailing trips, sunny days spent camping, capsizing and cooking sausages al fresco.

    It was that feeling of fuzzy nostalgia that sparked the notion that I, despite having no boating experience to my name since a Barton Turf trip age 9, should book a week-long Broads trip on a 44ft luxury cruiser.

    Never mind who would moor the thing: I was already browsing photos of windmills silhouetted against sensational sunsets and mentally populating my Instagram feed with photos of me in a captain’s hat.

    The summer sunrise landscape over Thurne Drainage Mill  (Picture: Loop Images/UIG/Getty)
    The summer sunrise landscape over Thurne Drainage Mill  (Picture: Loop Images/UIG/Getty)

    I had visions of slow-paced days cruising waterways in the sunshine, hopping off for pints in riverside pubs.

    Obviously (who factors logistics into daydreams?) I hadn’t considered that one of us land-lubbing losers would have to ‘reverse park’ (moor to stern, I was told, ahem, ‘sternly’) the boat in order to reach said waterside pub.

    Turns out the land-lubbing loser on parking duty was me.

    Fortunately, despite a serious case of nerves when I turned up to a rather in-depth coaching session with Herbert Woods’ trainer Pete, mooring (eventually) went surprisingly smoothly.

    Royal Light, our 44ft elite cruiser from Herbert Woods, a boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Royal Light, our 44ft elite cruiser from Herbert Woods (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    The Herbert Woods boat yard, where we collected and returned our boat and where it's also possible to moor for the evening (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    The Herbert Woods boat yard at Potter Heigham, where we collected and returned our boat and where it’s also possible to moor for the evening – much easier to find a spot than by riverside pubs and there are pubs and shops within easy walking distance (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Negotiating a 44ft boat into the space I would ordinarily use to park my paddle board seemed impossible – but after the training and a few slightly embarrassing early attempts where I was waved in by an enthusiastic welcome party of a dozen fellow boaters (turns out ‘don’t look at me!’ holds no water on the Broads), I had it nailed.

    It wasn’t only the nostalgic call of the Broads that lured us to East Anglia for our summer holidays.

    Just before we went, my 8-year-old son and I read that spending time in nature and woodland environments improves cognitive function by a significant percentage, while being in an urban setting decreases it.

    Nature bathing has also been proven to reduce blood pressure, stress, anxiety and improve mental wellbeing.

    Morning coffee with a view on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Morning coffee with a view on the picture perfect Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    When the sun is shining and the water is like glass there is nowhere better than the Broads. Taken at Herbert Woods Boat Yard (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    When the sun is shining and the water is like glass there is nowhere better than the Broads. Taken at Herbert Woods Boat Yard, where we hired our cruiser (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Indeed, in her book Forest Therapy, Sarah Ivens writes that a recent study of 18,500 people conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trust showed that there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health and happiness relating to a connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding birds.

    The research showed that children exposed to the natural world showed increases in self-esteem, courage and creativity and gave them a chance to exercise, play, and discover in a way that made them feel gratitude and joy.

    To be out on the Broads is to be immersed in nature and, sitting on the top deck, cruising at the maximum speed allowed – 4mph – with nothing to focus on but our surroundings and staying on course, we felt completely relaxed.

    This expanse of waterways, linking vast broads and charming villages, is a magnet for sailors and wildlife alike.

    Your carriage awaits! The trailers to take luggage from car to boat came in handy as a child transporter (Picture Deborah Arthurs)
    Your carriage awaits! The trailers to take luggage from car to boat came in handy as a child transporter (Picture Deborah Arthurs)

    Meandering down glittering waterways with tree-lined banks giving way to acres of green, we saw windmills and ancient abbey ruins, vast broads dotted with sailing boats and quaint towns entered under tiny stone bridges.

    Herons populate the reed banks, perched on half-submerged branches or swooping low across the water looking for their next meal.

    Swans with cignets in tow swim alongside the boat for miles like old friends. Ducks and geese fly by in formation, coming into land in their dozens.

    Our sundeck with a view complete with paddle board (ours, not the boat's) (Picture Deborah Arthurs)
    At Horning, our sundeck with a view complete with paddle board (ours, not the boat’s). Even cloudy weather has an appeal on the Broads (Picture Deborah Arthurs)
    Navigating the Broads means putting down your phones and just focusing - it's meditation without meaning to be (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Navigating the Broads means putting down your phones and just focusing – it’s meditation without meaning to be (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Technology is not so much non-existent (our boat had satellite TV and DVD machine and there is intermittent internet and phone service on the Broads) as unnecessary.

    We quickly got use to the pace of life – a leisurely breakfast on the sundeck, a glass of wine with some music at sunset, watching for birds, calling hello to every passing boat – and our need to be connected to the world beyond the Broads faded away.

    If you can't find a mooring near a riverside pub, there are plenty of mooring spots along the river where you can wake up immersed in nature, bobbing peacefully on pink-tinged water (Picture: Gettty)
    If you can’t find a mooring near a riverside pub, there are plenty of mooring spots along the river where you can wake up immersed in nature, bobbing peacefully on pink-tinged water (Picture: Getty)
    The traditional paddle boat, moored at Horning, that carries passengers on tours of the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    The traditional paddle boat, moored at Horning, that carries passengers on tours of the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    In fact, for those few days we were on the Broads, our wake up call was not the shrill beep of the iPhone – it was the dawn quacking of ducks.

    And, even if you cursed the ducks for the lie-in they robbed you of, emerging when the glass-like water is still tinged pink from the sunrise to have coffee on the sundeck was worth the lost minutes in bed.

    At night, when we moored our boats near enough to a pub to hop off, we walked under a pitch-black sky filled with stars: light pollution on the Broads does not exist.

    By day, we moored alongside fellow boaters and sat on the sun-soaked deck, chatting across boats and sharing biscuits and beers.

    At Ranworth Broad we inflated our paddle board and spent a sunny morning meandering down narrow waterways our boat couldn’t reach, while in the afternoon we ate sensational ginger ice cream from the souvenir shop and climbed the 89-step tower of Ranworth’s St Helen’s church for a spectacular view of 5 broads.

    Paddle boarding at Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Paddle boarding at Ranworth Broad, where we met dozens of friendly fellow boaters who not only helped us to moor, but gave us their water  (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    It wasn’t all bucolic bliss of course: one morning it rained steadily, the sky a miserable grey and the upper deck a washout.

    That’s when the cards and chocolate biscuits came out and we battened down the hatches til it passed.

    We used the time to cruise to Horning, where we were lucky enough to nab a choice corner mooring outside the New Inn pub.

    We had been warned back at the Herbert Woods boat yard that moorings in summer season are hard to come by.

    This is not an exaggeration. All the moorings right outside the two pubs at Horning were already booked up for the night – you can book spots from 4pm in advance and pay £20 with £10 redeemable against dinner.

    Moorings within walking distance to pubs tend to fill up by 4pm, and the advice was to moor up by 2.30pm to secure a place for your evening meal.

    If you are organised enough to plan your route and book mooring in advance, do it.

     

    Home for the week - at Herbert Woods boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Home for the week – at Herbert Woods boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Pals for the week (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Pals for the week – the only drawback is that they tended to get up earlier than we did (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    With rain keeping most boats put for that rainy morning, we cruised to Horning, then Wroxham, then back to Horning before we found a spot at 3.30pm, by which time the chocolate biscuits had very much run out.

    The New Inn was taking bookings for overnight moorings for the few days ahead, however – so savvy sailors would get in quick.

    Or, as we did, make sure you are stocked up with enough food that you can eat on board and use any moorings you can nab as a bonus or just for drinks.

    Green and pleasant land! The view over the Broads from the top of St Helen's church tower in Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Nature bathing in this green and pleasant land! The view over the Broads from the top of St Helen’s church tower in Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    There are plenty more activities to do off the water if it does rain: the nature reserve, Bure Valley Railway, the Museum of the Broads, Thrigby Hall animal park, National Trust properties Felbrigg Hall and Blickling Hall, for instance.

    And whatever the weather, the Broads has its own appeal – mist and moody skies can be just as interesting as cerulean blue, after all.

    The best moments for us were those when we really felt part of the Broads community.

    One of many daily sightings of Eel Guy on the Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    One of many daily sightings of Eel Guy on the Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Every boat, without exception, waves and calls a greeting.

    Familiar faces pass on a daily basis – a favourite was the eel fisherman, a cheery, shirtless man in overalls scooping eels into a net off the back of his small motorboat.

    A charming family on the adjacent mooring gave us their water hose and spare electricity, along with a gin.

    Chilling with ginger ice cream at Ranworth Broad Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Chilling with ginger ice cream at Ranworth Broads with our friendly fellow boaters in the background (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    A smaller boat we invited to moor alongside us threw cookies and beer into our boat to thank us for helping them out.

    There is a real convivial atmosphere on the Broads – it’s about relaxing and going slowly, passing the time of day with the rest of the boat community.

    I had to shed my city girl instincts to rush. With a maximum speed allowed of 6mph – and that’s only in the non-built up areas – this was the opposite of an adrenaline fix.

    There are strict penalties for speeding and, if you’re driving, even a few moments spent looking at a text message can send you off course.

    Breakfast on the sundeck (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Sausage sandwiches and serenity on the sundeck – what a way to start the day (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Your only option is to slow down, put the phone away and be present: the very premise of the meditation I swear I am too busy and my mind too hectic to do back in London.

    For me, the week was an accidental digital detox – as well as a week of enforced serenity and nature bathing that beats most therapy sessions.

    Our fellow boaters immediately welcomed us into the fold – despite the fact we were blatant newbies who didn’t know our port from our starboard, played Chas & Dave a touch too loud on our sundeck and had only a vague idea how to execute a proper knot.

    Just another cute private boat house on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Just another cute private boat house on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Little boat houses and windmills abound on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Little boat houses and windmills abound on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Each one we met talked about coming back year after year – for the peace, the nature and the community.

    And, after a week of our own on the Broads, I can genuinely see why.

     

    HOW TO BOOK YOUR OWN NORFOLK BROADS ADVENTURE

    Call 0800 144 4472 or visit herbertwoods.co.uk

    Herbert Woods offers Norfolk Broads Holidays and short breaks.

    As well as cruising they offer day boats, sailing, rowing and canoes.

    Royale Light starts from £913 for a short break and £1302 for a week.

    Follow on Twitter @HerbertWoods and on Instagram @herbertwoods  | #HerbertWoodsHols

     

    SARAH IVENS, AUTHOR OF FOREST THERAPY, ON NATURE BATHING

    ‘In my book Forest Therapy (Piatkus) I break down the endless benefits scientists and researchers have discovered from interacting with the great outdoors.

    A recent study of 18,500 people conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trust showed that there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health and happiness when a connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding birds, was sustained over a period of months.

    The research showed that children exposed to the natural world showed increases in self-esteem, courage and creativity and given them a chance to exercise, play, and discover in a way that made them feel gratitude and joy.

    In some cases, nature can significantly improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing a calming influence and helping with concentration.

    There are physical advantages for children to be in nature, too, that have long-lasting effects into adulthood, a study in the International Journal of Obesity by an Australian team of nutritionists and academics, proved.

    Years down the road, the child will still be more active and less likely to be overweight. If you think about this, it makes perfect sense; teach a child when they’re young to love moving around the outdoors and they will love it – and move – forever.

    Aware of these overwhelming – and free! benefits of Forest Therapy, the NHS has released new guidelines regarding children and activity, suggesting kids aged between five and 18 should get at least one hour of activity outside every day, giving a stern warning to parents that the sedentary, indoor lifestyle children are currently living can lead to serious problems later in life, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

    Nature really is the best medicine!


    Thurne, Norfolk, UK. May 01,2015. Sunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads.Thurne, Norfolk, UK. May 01,2015. Sunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads.akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdSunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads - there is plenty on the Broads to populate your Instagram feed (Picture: Getty)The summer sunrise landscape over Thurne Drainage Mill  (Picture: Loop Images/UIG/Getty)Royal Light, our 44ft elite cruiser from Herbert Woods, a boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)The Herbert Woods boat yard, where we collected and returned our boat and where it's also possible to moor for the evening (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Morning coffee with a view on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)When the sun is shining and the water is like glass there is nowhere better than the Broads. Taken at Herbert Woods Boat Yard (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Your carriage awaits! The trailers to take luggage from car to boat came in handy as a child transporter (Picture Deborah Arthurs)Our sundeck with a view complete with paddle board (ours, not the boat's) (Picture Deborah Arthurs)Navigating the Broads means putting down your phones and just focusing - it's meditation without meaning to be (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)If you can't find a mooring near a riverside pub, there are plenty of mooring spots along the river where you can wake up immersed in nature, bobbing peacefully on pink-tinged water (Picture: Gettty)The traditional paddle boat, moored at Horning, that carries passengers on tours of the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Paddle boarding at Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Home for the week - at Herbert Woods boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs) Pals for the week (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Green and pleasant land! The view over the Broads from the top of St Helen's church tower in Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)One of many daily sightings of Eel Guy on the Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Chilling with ginger ice cream at Ranworth Broad Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Breakfast on the sundeck (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Just another cute private boat house on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Little boat houses and windmills abound on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Thurne, Norfolk, UK. May 01,2015. Sunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads.Thurne, Norfolk, UK. May 01,2015. Sunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads.akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdSunset at Thurne Mill on the Norfolk Broads - there is plenty on the Broads to populate your Instagram feed (Picture: Getty)The summer sunrise landscape over Thurne Drainage Mill  (Picture: Loop Images/UIG/Getty)Royal Light, our 44ft elite cruiser from Herbert Woods, a boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)The Herbert Woods boat yard, where we collected and returned our boat and where it's also possible to moor for the evening (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Morning coffee with a view on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)When the sun is shining and the water is like glass there is nowhere better than the Broads. Taken at Herbert Woods Boat Yard (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Your carriage awaits! The trailers to take luggage from car to boat came in handy as a child transporter (Picture Deborah Arthurs)Our sundeck with a view complete with paddle board (ours, not the boat's) (Picture Deborah Arthurs)Navigating the Broads means putting down your phones and just focusing - it's meditation without meaning to be (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)If you can't find a mooring near a riverside pub, there are plenty of mooring spots along the river where you can wake up immersed in nature, bobbing peacefully on pink-tinged water (Picture: Gettty)The traditional paddle boat, moored at Horning, that carries passengers on tours of the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Paddle boarding at Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Home for the week - at Herbert Woods boat yard on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs) Pals for the week (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Green and pleasant land! The view over the Broads from the top of St Helen's church tower in Ranworth (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)One of many daily sightings of Eel Guy on the Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Chilling with ginger ice cream at Ranworth Broad Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Breakfast on the sundeck (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Just another cute private boat house on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)Little boat houses and windmills abound on the Norfolk Broads (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

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