Articles on this Page
- 10/04/18--05:51: _How to deal with sc...
- 10/04/18--06:04: _Student asks ex-boy...
- 10/04/18--06:10: _Tube map shows what...
- 10/04/18--06:21: _Primark’s new model...
- 10/04/18--07:49: _These are the best ...
- 10/04/18--08:56: _Primark are launchi...
- 10/04/18--22:22: _Oreo brows are defi...
- 10/04/18--22:24: _Greggs is bringing ...
- 10/04/18--22:27: _Science explains wh...
- 10/04/18--23:08: _How to take care of...
- 10/05/18--00:17: _Drinking more water...
- 10/05/18--00:54: _Campaigners urge us...
- 10/05/18--00:58: _Self-care is great ...
- 10/05/18--01:41: _Paraplegic woman wh...
- 10/05/18--02:22: _When is Halloween a...
- 10/05/18--03:48: _Winter vagina might...
- 10/05/18--05:21: _A pizzeria in Glasg...
- 10/05/18--06:18: _Half of young peopl...
- 10/05/18--07:29: _Bar Fox: A bottomle...
- 10/06/18--01:30: _Makeup brands have ...
- 10/04/18--05:51: How to deal with scracne
- 10/04/18--06:21: Primark’s new model is representing the beauty of darker skin
- 10/04/18--07:49: These are the best pictures on Instagram this year
- 10/04/18--08:56: Primark are launching a skincare collection with Alex Steinherr
- Moisturiser £5
- Facial in a Stick £5
- Plumping Lipgloss £5
- The Power Mask £3
- Overnight Lip Mask £4
- Sleeping Face Mask £5
- Every Night Eye Mask £4
- One-Step Night Cleanse £5
- Supreme Sheet Mask £3
- Moisture-Locking Everyday Moisturiser £5
- Hydration-On-The-Go £4
- Micellar Cleansing Gel £5
- Low-Ph Sulphate-Free Cleanser £4
- Super Detox Clay Mousse Face Mask £5
- Anti-Blackhead Stick £5
- City Mask £3
- Daily Skin Starter £5
- Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads £5
- Oil-Free Gel £5
- 10/04/18--23:08: How to take care of your mental health when travelling alone
- 10/05/18--00:17: Drinking more water might protect you from repeat UTIs
- 10/05/18--00:54: Campaigners urge us all to ditch calamari and salmon
- Atlantic salmon
- King prawns
- 10/05/18--00:58: Self-care is great but when does it border on selfishness?
- 10/05/18--02:22: When is Halloween and why do we celebrate it?
- 10/05/18--03:48: Winter vagina might not be a thing, but winter penis is
- 10/05/18--05:21: A pizzeria in Glasgow is serving up a deep fried Mars bar calzone
- 10/05/18--06:18: Half of young people don’t have any savings
- Wednesday 3 to Sunday 7 October: St-Germain Flower Wall at The Cocktail Village – A blossoming flower wall at The Cocktail Village, where you can get a St-Germain Spritz in return for a token.
- Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October: St-Germain Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth. Bespoke brunch menu created in collaboration with Bourne & Hollingsworth, featuring St-Germain cocktails.
Acne is a pain when it’s on your face.
When it’s in somewhere trickier to reach, it’s even more aggravating.
Take bacne (that’s back acne, FYI). How are you supposed to pop pimples when you can’t reach your arm back there? How can you smear on a face mask in the exact right area of your back?
Or vacne – acne around your vulva – which always feels especially painful.
Or, for those of the penile persuasion, there’s the horror of scracne.
Scracne is a term (one we believe we created, as Google isn’t showing us otherwise) which refers to spots and blemishes on the scrotum. You’ve got the ‘scr’ of scrotum tacked on to acne. Simple.
Scracne can feel pretty scary, because we generally tend to panic and think the worst when we spot anything out of the ordinary on our genital area. An angry red pimple right by your penis will likely prompt worries of STDs or herpes.
That is something to be aware of – STIs are a risk and spots on your ballsack can be a sign of herpes, syphilis, and venereal diseases.
But spots on the penis can also be entirely harmless, if irritating.
So your first step in dealing with scracne is to identify what sort of spots you’ve got going on down there.
First, let’s rule out STIs. Herpes will appear as small, sometimes painful, blisters on the genitals, filled with fluid. Syphillis shows up as dull red painless spots. Genital warts are pink, brown, or black, and won’t have a head. Venereal diseases can show up as small pink bumps.
If you’re concerned that the spots on your balls may be signs of any of the above, speak to your doctor before you start prodding around. Not to lecture, but you should be going for regular sexual health checkups anyway, where you’ll be given the all-clear for these issues.
Once you’re certain you’re not dealing with an STI, your options of what’s going on with your junk are narrowed.
You may have fordyce spots, which are simply teeny tiny white or yellowish spots usually found at the head of the penis. These are nothing to be worried about and are just the natural skin structure of some people’s genitals.
Pearly papules look, well, pearly. They’re teeny-tiny bumps the same colour of your skin. Don’t try to pop or squeeze them – they’re not pimples, but are just a perfectly normal part of the skin around your genitals. It’s possible to have them surgically removed if they’re causing you distress, but they’re not a problem.
Then you’ve got the spots that fall under the scracne bracket: ingrown hairs and pimples.
An ingrown hair won’t have a black or white head. It’ll be a raised red bump that can be sore to touch. You might be able to spot the hair causing your trouble, sitting under the skin.
It’s easy for ingrown hairs to happen around the genitals as these tend to be hairy places that are nestled into fairly tight clothing. When a hair section of skin is pressed up against fabric (your tight underwear) with nowhere for the hair to grow, it can push the hair inwards. That’s when you get an ingrown hair.
Ingrown hairs also tend to occur in places that are warm and where the skin isn’t often exfoliated, so balls are the perfect ground for those suckers to develop.
Pimples, meanwhile, will either be whiteheads, blackheads, or cystic acne. A blackhead will have a black head, and is caused by a pore becoming blocked by dirt and oil. Whiteheads had white heads (easy, right?). Cystic acne will be a sore raised red bump.
Both ingrown hairs and pimples on the genital area are totally normal and are nothing to be concerned about – they can just be a bit painful and irritating.
For ingrown hairs on the balls, your best way to deal is prevention. Shaving increases your likelihood of ingrown hairs, particularly if your hair is naturally curly or your skin is thick. If you’re keen to be perfectly smooth in the testicular region, waxing and tweezing will provide a far superior result… even if both options hurt like hell.
Snipping the hairs to keep them neat and tidy may be a wiser option if you’re not bothered about having some hair down there. Just make sure to proceed carefully and use a mirror when cutting. You don’t want a nick in your scrotum.
When you spot an ingrown hair, don’t dig around with your fingers or tweezers trying to remove it, as tempting as that may be. You risk irritation and infection, which will only make it worse.
Instead try to use a product containing salicylic acid. This breaks down old skin cells to allow any ingrown hairs to poke through, which can then be easily removed.
A hot compress can also help to draw out stubborn ingrown hairs. Hold a warm flannel to the area to gently pull the hair to the surface,
Proceed carefully with any cleaning products on your testicles, as they can be a sensitive area. Avoid harsh physical exfoliants and scrubs and instead choose products that buff away skin with a gentle chemical. If a product stings or burns, ditch it.
For pimples, the advice is pretty similar. No squeezing or picking – not only is it difficult to get a decent grip on a spot on your balls, but again, you’ll only make things worse by making the area infected or irritated.
Scracne can be treated in the same way as acne on your face, just with extra care as the area tends to be sweaty and stuffed into underwear.
Use a cleanser on your scrotal area every time you shower or have a bath, and pat dry with a towel before you put on pants. Warm, damp areas are where bacteria thrive.
Make sure that after a sweaty workout you wash your balls down properly and don’t let your testicles sit in a pool of dirt and grossness.
When spots appear, dot on a spot-clearing treatment or small amounts of a face mask and leave your scracne to heal.
As with acne, there isn’t one sole cause for scracne, but keeping your general health in tip-top shape can help. Stress hormones are linked to acne and a lack of sleep can make your skin struggle. Look after yourself and you’ll look after your balls, too.
To recap: Don’t just leave your balls to struggle in a sweaty cage of artificial fabric. Get regular sexual health checkups so you don’t panic the second you see a spot, then take care of your scrotum as you would the skin on your face.
Scracne is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s normal. It happens. Thankfully there are ways to treat it without spending hours squatting over a handheld mirror.
SCRACNE_01SCRACNE_01ellencscottWhat is 'sacking' and how can you deal with it during sex?
Have you ever had a relationship end and wished for a do-over? Or perhaps you realised you keep having the same relationship with different people?
If that sounds close to the goings on of your dating life then perhaps you should start asking your former partners where it all went wrong to, you know, help you out for the next one.
That’s exactly what one college student from Georgetown University did, to gauge how she can improve her romantic skills.
Katie Miller, 21, is doing that by sending out ‘exit surveys’ to her ex-boyfriends asking them to rate her and leave some feedback on their relationship.
Questions such as ‘what is wrong with Katie?’ and ‘at what point did you know it wouldn’t work out?’ are part of the questionnaire.
In one part, she asks: ‘What could Katie have done to enhance this experience for you?’ with options such as ‘no biting’, ‘come to some bars with me’, ‘visited Maine’, ‘more tater tots’, and ‘give me a shoulder massage’.
The tongue-in-cheek survey isn’t always completed, Katie told Insider, but those who replied have left some positive messages.
‘I actually made the survey after being ghosted yet again,’ she said. ‘I wanted to see if I could prevent that, and I wanted to ask why it happened without initiating a conversation.’
And she’s hoping those who fill it out might want to come back for more at a later stage. One of the questions says ‘would you like to remain on the mailing list in case Katie revisits your application or another opportunity opens up?’ and the answers include ‘yes, keep my number’, ‘no, never again,’ and a handy ‘undecided’.
Screenshots of the conversation were revealed on Twitter by Katie’s friend which soon went viral and got people thinking about their own exit surveys.
Some called her a genius on Twitter.
One person summed up all of our thoughts, saying: ‘Finally, dating has the structure and administrative bureaucracy it has always needed.’
Dating exit interviewDating exit interviewfaimabakar1A college student created a dating 'exit survey' to question her exesA college student created a dating 'exit survey' to question her exes
If you’ve been following our series What I Rent then you’ll know about the murky waters of renting in London. The set up for buying a home is even more dire.
If you want to know how much properties across London cost then this map in the style of Underground stations is pretty handy.
While some of us can only dream of being homeowners, this map – created by TotallyMoney – shows how much one-bedroom properties on each train stop cost which may be useful if you wanted to get on the ladder.
Research by credit experts TotallyMoney revealed how much Londoners must earn to afford a one-bedroom property across the Underground, Overground, and DLR stations.
It showed that if you want a tidy little house in Knightsbridge (a one-bed) you’ll need to earn a salary of £248,000 on average.
The cheapest among the ten most expensive stations is Moorgate where a home will require you to earn £158,700 a year.
Property values in these well-off areas range from £848,000 to a whopping £1,267,000.
Authors of the study said that the effects of the housing crisis still continues to be felt and called into question whether Prime Minister Theresa May and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan are doing enough to tackle it.
They suggested that the two, who earn around £153,000 and £143,000 respectively, have over 92% of all locations surveyed at their disposal.
In stark contrast, people with the average salary in London – £28,000 to £31,000 a year – which is around what nurses and firefighters get paid, would be able to afford just 2% of properties near transport hubs in the capital.
If you are on par with the average salary or earn lower then you’re probably aware you’ll need to move out of central areas to be able to pay for the less expensive homes.
Among the cheapest are Redbridge, Newbury Park, and Oakwood where you’ll need to have a pay packet between £17,500 to £17,600 to be approved for a mortgage.
The cheapest areas are connected to the central and district line mostly with several of the properties being located in East London.
Chances are, if you do manage to buy one of these, the nearest tube station may not be as easily accessible as in central parts of the city.
And property values in the area range between £135,000 to £200,000.
‘While our map can help prospective buyers find affordable areas in London, what our research shows is that, even if you can save enough for the deposit, your options are even more limited than you might suspect,’ said Mark Moloney.
‘What’s more, the research considers one-bedroom properties only, meaning those with families or those hoping to start a family will have even fewer options available to them.’
To figure out the results, TotallyMoney used median prices of one-bedroom properties within one kilometre of London stations, assumed a deposit of 10%, and worked out the monthly repayment on a 25-year mortgage.
They then calculated how much tax and national insurance would be paid across all tax bands, and arrived at the gross salary needed to afford a mortgage in each area.
Are the results pretty much what you expected, or are some parts surprising?
Why we need to talk about loneliness (Harriet Allner)Why we need to talk about loneliness (Harriet Allner)faimabakar1Buying in London? Here?s what you need to earn https://www.totallymoney.com/mortgages/how-much-salary-buy-london/Buying in London? Here?s what you need to earn https://www.totallymoney.com/mortgages/how-much-salary-buy-london/
We know the modelling world is in dire need of some diversity.
Mum Gabrielle Louise was absolutely stoked when her wee baby Jeremiah, nine months, was chosen to front Primark’s autumn and winter range.
Not only was it a proud moment for her family, it was a win for dark skin representation too, she said.
People are loving the gorgeous pics of Jeremiah.
‘I think diversity is important in modelling as I don’t think there is much representation of dark-skinned people,’ Gabrielle told Metro.co.uk
‘Jeremiah is from Nigerian and Ghanaian descent and I got him into modelling by signing him up to an agency.
‘My son is quite rare as he has dark skin and I really wanted people to know you can be dark but still so beautiful.
His picture is currently going viral on Twitter and the comments have been overwhelming and they remind me how hard it was to be dark skinned growing up but now people really appreciate it.’
‘I really want him to progress with modelling and do more things with brands to represent dark skin culture.’
Though Gabrielle, a talent manager, said she is grateful to God for being given the opportunity to let Jeremiah model for a major high street clothing line, she has bigger dreams.
‘I think it would be good to work with more high-end products like Armani, or Hugo Boss,’ she said.
‘They have no representation of dark-skinned babies. It would also be good to work with baby companies like Mothercare, Aptamil or Tommee Tippee as they mainly use white babies.’
Here are some more pictures of Jeremiah looking glorious:
New primark baby modelNew primark baby modelfaimabakar1
This has just been named the best picture on Instagram in 2018.
Darren Hall, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne snapped up the top prize of £5000 in the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards for his picture of Ted the Poodle.
In addition, nine category winners each picked up £500 for pictures including a drone shot of a speedboat doing doughnuts, a woman sporting blue face-paint and the twisted branches of a tree at a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the Madeira Islands.
A total of 180,000 people entered the inaugural awards.
Lets take a look at some of the other winners and runners-up.
Head judge, Eamonn McCabe, former Picture Editor at the Guardian says, ‘The picture of Ted the Poodle is so perfectly caught, a real split-second moment in time where the subject is off the ground, eyes to camera and ball in the mouth – it takes some beating.’
Rory Scott of Photobox, Chair of PIPAS 2018 judges, said, ‘We were blown away by the number of entries, to receive 180,000 in less than three weeks in the inaugural year was quite something. Equally, the overall quality of submissions was incredibly high across the board, presenting our judging panel with the unenviable task of selecting the winners. However, they came through with flying colours and we’re delighted for Darren and Ted the Poodle, worthy winners indeed.’
Winners of the Photobox Instagram Photography AwardsWinners of the Photobox Instagram Photography Awardslauraabernethy6Winners of the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards Overall winner of the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards 2018 was @darrenwilliamhall with this shot of his miniature poodle, TedWinners of the Photobox Instagram Photography AwardsA runner up from the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the Landscape category, capturing Storm Ophelia hitting Wales by @mccarthy.karl. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd OctoberA runner up from the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the Travel category, capturing a Punjab man in India by @jpduverge. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd October.Winner of the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the Sport category, capturing the wake of a boat in Jersey by @bam_perspectives. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd October.A runner up from the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the Sport category, capturing a boxing match in Manchester by @sullyphotograph. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd October.Winner of the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the #Love category, capturing two boys in love by @matthias_magen. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd October.Winner of the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the Festival category, capturing a colour festival in Roda de Bara by @saian_vergne. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd October.A runner up from the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards in the Art category, capturing a minimalist conceptual portrait by @ericbenierburckel. The winners and runners up were announced at a ceremony in London, on 3rd October.
The secret’s out – Primark and former Glamour beauty director Alex Steinherr have collaborated on a skincare collection.
The 20-piece range features all the hot ingredients of the moment – from hyaluronic acid, to niacinamide, to squalane – and has #shelfie-inspired packaging.
The price tag will be the main pull for some people, though, ranging from £3 to just £5. I daresay even the new, disruptive skincare brands in the industry right now can’t even match that.
It’s been in the works for a whole two years, with Steinherr saying ‘There’s 100% of me in it, and 100% of Primark in it.’
In those two years there have been factory visits, design meetings, and plenty of ingredients tweaks to get things right. Alex didn’t simply want to put her name on the bottles and be done with it.
It may come as a surprise, though, that someone with the cosmetics industry cachet Alex Steinherr has would choose someone as mainstream as Primark for a collab.
Perhaps it because they’ve just got Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification, or maybe it’s the fact that the beauty range at the budget retailer has stepped up a lot of late, and influencers are often seen with a Primarni palette on their feeds.
Those who masterminded the product launch from Primark said that they knew women had a ‘graveyard drawer’ of products they’d bought but never used, and wanted to combat this by creating a range that was easy to understand and didn’t feel like a huge loss if it wasn’t quite right for your skin type.
After all, if you’ve spent £50 on a serum and it doesn’t work, it feels much worse than when you’ve just forked out a fiver.
There are five different parts of the collection – Sleep Spa, Pore Balance, Plump & Glow, Maximum Moisture, and Pollution Solution – so you can go straight to what you need from your products rather than needing a chemistry degree to decipher the ingredients.
Primark x Alex Steinherr will be available in selected stores from 8 October.
The full Primark x Alex Steinherr collection
Plump & Glow
Primark are launching a skincare collection with Alexandra SteinherrPrimark are launching a skincare collection with Alexandra SteinherrjessicacvlPrimark are launching a skincare collection with Alexandra Steinherr PrimarkPrimark are launching a skincare collection with Alexandra Steinherr Primark
We certainly raised a few eyebrows at Metro.co.uk HQ when we tried Oreo-inspired brows, so you don’t have to (well, you could if you wanted to take part in the competition).
The folks at Oreo challenged their followers to the Oreo brows challenge which consists of drawing a black line then a white line on top of your eyebrows to resemble, you guessed it, an Oreo.
Those willing to put in the work like us have to upload their pictures and tag #Oreobrows on Instagram.
And the grand prize? A lone packet of the cookies (great marketing tactics there, PR team), which are currently on sale at Tesco for the princely sum of 54p.
While the competition isn’t the greatest deal, we were intrigued at the possibility that biscuit inspired brows might be the next big beauty trend.
We decided to try them out for ourselves.
After a quick stop to Boots, we had our eye pencils at the ready and a packet of the biscuits at hand, so we could hold them up next to our finished masterpiece.
After a tumultuous year of eyebrow trends, the Oreo ones don’t really come close to some of the other styles we’ve seen, nor do they require the same effort.
In comparison, the black and white beauty look we created was pretty straightforward.
All you need to do is draw in your eyebrows as normal. If you have lighter eyebrows, you’ll need to use a brown or black kohl as Oreos are obviously black and white.
Then use a white liner to draw a line on top, followed by a black or dark brown one above that. Simples.
If you really can’t be bothered to think of a halloween outfit and have a bit of a sweet tooth, you could even make it your costume.
As we’ve reported, the standards for costumes have really dropped lately (after all, you can wear your gym gear and go as an influencer these days) so an Oreo one doesn’t seem so bad.
But to answer the eternal question of whether Oreo brows are worth the faff, we say probably not.
We also highly doubt they’ll become a fully fledged beauty trend.
But if winning one packet of Oreos is worth taking the challenge, you go right ahead. We’ll just pop to the supermarket.
Oreo eyebrowsOreo eyebrowsfaimabakar1Oreo eyebrows Faima & JessOreo eyebrows Faima & JessOreo eyebrows Faima & JessOreo eyebrows Faima & JessOreo eyebrows Faima & JessOreo eyebrows Faima & Jess
You know Christmas is coming when brands start adding words like festive and pine tree to their products.
After Iceland started selling Christmas-tree flavoured crisps comes the news that Greggs is getting into the holiday spirit too.
Everyone’s favourite pastry shop is relaunching its yearly tradition – the Festive Bake.
And people are so excited about it, they’ve started a countdown on a Facebook page, keenly refreshing their pages to see if a release date has been set.
So, to those not well-versed in iconic pastry, what exactly is a Festive Bake?
The Greggs Festive Bake is filled with tender pieces of chicken breast, which sits on top of sage and onion stuffing and diced sweetcure bacon.
The pastry pocket is lined with a creamy sage sauce with cranberry and red onion relish and sweetened dried cranberries, so it’s got all the Christmas ingredients you could want.
A website called Is the Festive Bake Out Yet? has been counting down the days. It states the Festive Bake will be released in 35 days, which means Thursday 9 November, so put that down on your calendar.
If you find yourself refreshing the page to see the date changing then you might want to join like-minded pastry-loving individuals on the Facebook group The Greggs Festive Bake Society.Alexis Sanchez feels betrayed by Jose Mourinho and holds talks over Man Utd future
At present, there are 1,239 members of the group.
As soon as the Christmas period starts, the admins behind the group start encouraging followers to get a mouthful of the stuff and then count how many they’ve had.
Some members even admitted to freezing the bakes to preserve them for coming weeks.
Last year, Greggs offered the Festive Bake on sale from 8 November so it’s likely that it’ll follow suit this year too. Keep your eyes peeled.
Food At A Greggs Plc Store As Sales SurgeFood At A Greggs Plc Store As Sales Surgefaimabakar1
We’ve all been there; choosing what to eat for ages, scanning the whole menu, finally ordering, and then wishing we’d just got what someone else ordered.
You might be familiar with the paradox of choice – the more options there are, the harder it is to choose.
When it comes to agreeing on what to have for lunch or dinner similarly, the more choice we have the longer we spend contemplating.
A study by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has looked into what exactly goes on in our heads when we come to multi-layered crossroads.
Their research might have found the perfect number of options to aid swift decision making.
The study had volunteers look at pictures of landscapes and then asked them to choose one to have printed on a piece of merchandise such as a coffee mug.
Participants were given sets of images containing six, 12, or 24 pictures. While they processed which one to choose, the activity in their brain was recorded by way of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine.
The areas where the most activity took place were in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), where we weigh up potential costs and benefits of making a certain decision, and the striatum – a part of the brain responsible for determining the value of something.
Though the paradox of choice theory would suggest volunteers had the easiest time when picking from six pictures, researchers found that activity in these two brain regions was highest when faced with 12 options to pick from.
This would suggest that 12 is a good number of options to have when making a decision like this. So if you’re sat in a restaurant, it would be easier to make a decision with a 12-item menu (anything lower might make you question why you came to the establishment).
But that doesn’t mean 12 is the magic number. Authors of the study claimed the special number for most people is between eight and 15. So if you are prone to dithering, you might want to opt for establishments with a moderately sized menu rather than a six-page one.
Or just let someone else order for you so you can blame them if you hate it.
Woman looking at menuWoman looking at menufaimabakar1
Going travelling by yourself can be utterly life-changing.
However, despite what travel bloggers’ picture-perfect Insta feeds might tell us, travelling solo isn’t all fun and games. As well as being the time of your life, it can also be (at times) frustrating, nerve-wracking and downright exhausting.
These moments can be tough for everyone, and are (potentially) heightened when you’re travelling with mental health issues.
Of course, not having tip-top mental health isn’t a reason to not explore the world by yourself, and the experience can actually have a positive impact on your confidence, self esteem and general wellbeing – that age-old ‘finding yourself’ cliché exists for reason.
So, while your mental health issues won’t necessarily affect your travels at all, there are steps you can take to make it an easier ride if they do.
1. Research time zones before you book your flight
Feeling low and in a time zone where you only have a small window to speak to people at home can be the loneliest feeling in the world.
Even if you’ve made a tight group of friends on your travels, sometimes you still just want to have a natter with people who know you inside out.
If you know you’ll want to speak regularly to your family or friends from home, then consider going somewhere with a more convenient time difference e.g. a few hours rather than one where they’re going to bed as you’re waking up.
Obviously don’t let your mental health hold you back from visiting far flung places – just maybe work your way up to them if you’re feeling unsteady.
2. Know that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed
Going travelling by yourself is a big deal, and something some people will never do.
As rewarding as it can be, it can also be exhausting – you’ve got no one to rely on when you want to take a back seat.
From having to stay awake during long layovers so you don’t miss your connection, to making decisions when things go tits up, the responsibility is with you the entire time.
Lest we forget having to constantly meet new people – it’s fun, but again, exhausting. Sometimes you just crave familiarity and comfort.
Know that feeling overwhelmed isn’t a slight on your strength of character – it’s very, very normal, and something that’s experienced by those with mental health issues and those without.
It’s difficult but don’t compare yourself to other people – even that girl in the hostel who seems like a confident social butterfly will have times when she struggles. Some people are just good at hiding it.
As uncool as it sounds, why not write little pep talks for your future self for when you’re struggling? Hell, even less cool – make a collection of inspirational quotes in Instagram to help nudge you back on track.
(Level 10 cringe can sometimes be level 10 helpful. We don’t make the rules.)
3. Try to keep up with some form of exercise routine
We all know that exercise is a bloody good mood booster, but even the most devoted downward dogger can find their routine disrupted when travelling.
It’s all too easy to get distracted by new friends and days exploring/nights partying, meaning you totally forget to work out.
Then there’s the financial aspect – even if you’re travelling to places where you have access to gyms and classes, buying drop-in passes can get really expensive and eat into your budget.
Of course, it’s totally okay to work out less than you do at home – after all, you’ve got a lot of cool stuff to do and see – but it’s not okay if it starts affecting your mental health.
Running is a great (free!) way of exploring a city, so pack your trainers if you have room. (Wear them on the flight and while travelling between destinations if they’re too bulky for your bag.)
However, it’s not always possible to go for a run – I’ve tried running in rural places in India and Sri Lanka but there were no paths and I kept getting chased by street dogs, so it was just too dangerous (The dogs themselves weren’t dangerous FYI – they just wanted to play – but the fact they kept tripping me up? Yeah, not ideal).
If you’ve got the luxury of a private room, do online workouts. If you’re travelling to places where internet is patchy, download them before you leave, or go old school and write the routine out by hand.
If you don’t mind working out in public, then go do that HIIT workout in the park, or get sweaty at an outdoor gym. The vitamin D from being outside will also do you good.
Whatever you do, if you’re used to doing exercise at home, just keep moving, whether that’s just walking around a city, treating yourself to the odd yoga class, or swimming in the sea.
Travelling is also a great chance to try activities you don’t normally do at home, whether that’s surfing, hiking or beach running.
4. Don’t feel peer pressured into drinking more than you want to
You’d think alcohol peer pressure would wane as you pass the mid-20s mark, but I’m still encountering people in their late 30s who call people ‘boring’ when they refuse to drink to oblivion.
We’re all made differently, and some of us are more sensitive to alcohol than others. I love a drink, but can feel suicidal after just a couple of rum and cokes, so I try not to get too drunk when I’m in an unsettling situation, like travelling solo.
It’s totally understandable to be nervous when hanging out with new people, and it’s easy to rely on a drink or two, but here’s a guide on how to socialise sober, to help you out if you’d rather avoid alcohol as a crutch.
Also, steer clear of recreational drugs, especially if you’re not having a good mental health patch.
Dealing with a hangover or comedown in the comfort of your own home is one thing, having to deal with it when you’re surrounded by strangers in a dorm room is another.
5. Make sure your travel insurance policy covers your condition
Annoyingly, even if you’re ticking along just fine on meds and know there is no way you’ll need to see a doctor about your mental health condition while you’re away, you have to declare it on your travel insurance policy.
Even more annoyingly, this will up your premium.
Every travel insurance policy I’ve looked at has asked if I’ve seen a doctor about my mental health in the last two years.
Of course, you could lie and not declare it, but you run the risk of invalidating your entire policy should you need to claim, even for a totally unrelated incident. It’s safer to suck it up and pay it.
6. Take your meds
On medication? Make sure you take enough meds to last you, plus extra for emergencies.
Pack medication in your hand luggage just in case your bag goes missing, and take your prescription with you. I’ve carried large quantities of tablets before and never been asked for the prescription, but legally, you’re supposed to carry it.
7. Recognise when you need alone time
If you’re a budget backpacker staying in hostel dorms, try to save up enough so you can keep money aside to book a private room for when you feel overwhelmed.
It’s not normal to be with people 24/7 and even the most sociable person needs their alone time.
Getting a private room in a hostel is a happy medium – you can socialise in communal areas, and retreat for some peace.
8. Plan ahead if you have anxiety
Rocking up to a destination with no idea of where you’re staying sounds like a lovely, bohemian way to travel, but in reality it can be really stressful.
Psychotherapist and counsellor Olivia Djouadi knows this feeling all too well. Years ago, she was travelling alone on a business trip to Tunisia when feeling underprepared triggered her anxiety and PTSD.
‘I usually research everything before traveling yet I didn’t that time, and I forgot to get health insurance (I’m a type1 diabetic),’ Olivia tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Plus, someone on the plane told me it was dangerous to travel alone, so once there, not only did I feel unsafe but also thought I might die.
‘My anxiety was in overdrive, which stopped my common sense from working, and I stayed in the hotel the entire time, only leaving to go to one meeting.’
Knowing what she knows now, Olivia suggests always carrying a plan with you that you can follow if you’re feeling stressed or confused.
Planning a rough route of where you want to go, including places to stay, where to eat and things to do means one less thing to worry about. Of course, you don’t have to stick to it, but it’s something to fall back on.
It’s useful to prepare the worst – but not to expect it. Don’t rely on wifi or internet to retrieve hotel info or maps – you can download sections of Google maps to use offline, or download entire maps on Maps.me.
Write down – yup, on paper – all your passport info, insurance details, and important contact info, and keep it somewhere safe.
9. Eat well
One of the best things about travelling is eating your way through a country’s food – dhal and roti for breakfast? Tacos? Poutine? Yes please!
However, in doing so, you could potentially be screwing yourself over nutrition-wise. It’s easy to forget about your five-a-day when sampling lots of rich, delicious grub, but this can have a real impact on your physical health, and in turn, your mental health.
‘When I was a few years younger and used to travel a lot more, eating healthy food was tough,’ says Mark Sleight, nutritionist and over 40s health coach.
‘It can be difficult to eat well when living on airport food, service station food and the only restaurant you see regularly has two golden arches.
‘What I failed to see was the connection between these food choices and my mental state. I felt tired, groggy, mentally slow – and I was always losing and forgetting things. At the time, I put this down to travelling, not my food and exercise intake.
‘Fast forward 20 years and I now travel with a backpack of healthy foods. Nuts, seeds, fruit, prepped lunches and fresh water. These all help me have a clear mind and an energetic body.
‘Yes, I still have to eat in airports and fast food outlets but when I see I healthy food outlet, I stock up my body and my backpack with nutrients.
‘I now have more energy travelling in my late thirties than I did in my late teens, which is all to do with my improved gut health and mental clarity.’
Multiple studies have shown the connection between gut health and mental health, so eating well can give you a mental advantage.
You don’t have to be super precious about it, but if you know that eating an abundance of fatty foods/existing on boxes of crackers makes you sluggish, just be sure to slip some veggies in – whether that’s whipping up some porridge oats and banana in a hostel kitchen, or ordering a side salad at a restaurant.
Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated.
10. Don’t beat yourself up when you feel like the odd one out
There are times where you’ll find your crew and live your best life, and times where you’ll feel like the loneliest person in the world because you haven’t clicked with a single soul at your hostel.
When it’s the latter, don’t let intrusive thoughts take over.
‘When feeling left out or isolated in a group situation, it’s easy to be triggered by negative memories of starting school or other times when you wanted to fit in but wasn’t sure you could,’ explains Sally Baker senior therapist at Working On The Body.
‘It’s catastrophic thinking which is an unhelpful thinking style, and when these type of thoughts are given free rein, they make you feel worse and worse about yourself.
‘Learn to recognise your negative self-talk for the BS it is, and interrupt it. It can be useful to track back the origin of the negative voice in your mind – does it remind you of a parent or someone else in your family?
‘Start to acknowledge the negative thoughts as old judgements from an earlier part of your life and nothing of relevance for you today.
‘If they are hard to shift just tap with a soft fist around your collarbone. This is an energy therapy point and helps to keep you grounded and feel safe.’
If you know you’re naturally prone to negative thought patterns or low self esteem, then prepare for it. Bring CBT thought records with you and fill them out when you’re feeling crap about yourself.
To help you put a positive spin on things, right before bed, write down in a diary/notebook the best things that have happened to you that day.
Plus, always remember that you can’t get on with everyone, and that friendship circles aren’t forged overnight.
You can’t compare your new life to your one back home that you’ve built up over years. Have patience.
11. Remember that travelling won’t solve all your problems
This is probably the biggest one of all.
If you’re going travelling to avoid facing your problems, then close that Skyscanner tab right now. Problems don’t disappear just because you’re on a tropical beach.
In fact, when you suddenly cut yourself from your usual support networks, they can seem much, much worse.
In 2014 when my depression was at its peak, I quit my job and booked a one way ticket to Australia on a working holiday visa. However, instead of finding a brand new life waiting for me, I found myself isolated, unemployed and feeling suicidal.
I’ve met so many backpackers who were running away from their problems. I did it myself for years. I can tell you now that going on big solo adventures won’t rid you of your demons – they’ll just rear their heads at the most inconvenient time.
Last summer, I finally faced my fears and tried CBT one last time (after many previous failed attempts).
I told myself I wasn’t allowed to leave the country again until I felt better about myself, and guess what? It was incredibly tough, but it helped. I’m not 100% (don’t ever expect to be – that’s life), but I’m in a much better place now than I was when I last went travelling.
I’m now living overseas feeling so much stronger than I ever did.
Never let your mental health issues stop you from going on adventures, but be realistic about it – while taking yourself out of your comfort zone can have a lasting positive impact on your life, jumping on a plane and expecting some sunshine to cure you of your ills is only going to end in tears.
‘People often use geography as a way to resolve their emotional problems, and it rarely works,’ says Sally.
‘Use travel to explore new situations and praise yourself for coming out of your comfort zone. Try hard to interrupt harsh criticism you make about how well you are doing and be supportive of yourself.
‘It’s essential that you become your cheerleader instead of a critic.
‘Remember, you’re always doing the best you can do and even when your best is pretty rubbish just give yourself a break.’
12. Never be afraid to cut your trip short if you’re not feeling it
There’s a difference between giving up and being strong enough to walk away from something that’s not making you happy.
If you’re miserable because you did point 11, there’s no shame in flying home and working on your mental health before you go travelling again.
However, always make sure you give yourself enough time to try a new experience – sometimes it takes a while to settle into things.
When I was feeling low in Australia, I would remind myself, ‘You’re only ever 24 hours from home’, which helped me stick it out a bit longer (it took a good six months before I felt properly settled in my life there, and then by the time my 12 month visa was up, I didn’t want to leave).
It’s just knowing how long to give it, and when to call it – but you are the best judge of this.
If you do end up leaving your trip early, think about all the positive things you’ve achieved that you wouldn’t have had you not booked that ticket.
Need support? Contact the Samaritans
SEI_33525375-b770SEI_33525375-b770lisambowmanIllustration request: How to look after your mental health when backpacking alone Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk*illustration request* People who don't use their car's indicators drive me crazy
If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’ll know they are truly hellish.
New research suggests that the trick to avoiding this pain might be easier than we thought.
Drinking plenty of water can reduce the risk of repeat UTIs, says a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
This isn’t a new idea – doctors have recommended staying super hydrated to prevent UTIs for ages – but it now has some proper scientific backing.
Researchers recruited 140 women who drank less than one and a half litres of water a day and had experienced an average of three UTIs in the last year. These women were split into two groups, one that continued drinking the same amount of water they always did, the other drinking an additional one and a half litres of water a day.
Over the course of the year, the women were tracked for UTI symptoms.
Lo and behold, the women who continued their less than brilliant water consumption habits averaged 3.2 UTIs each over the course of the year. The women who drank additional water, however, halved their UTIs, with an average of 1.7 UTIs over the course of the year.
You’ll notice that the women’s number of UTIs didn’t drop to zero, so there’s no evidence to suggest drinking more water will entirely cut your risk of urinary tract infections.
It’s also worth noting that this study looked at women who have fairly frequent UTIs, so it’s not clear whether drinking water will have the same benefits for those who experience UTIs less frequently.
The study used Evian bottled water, as it was funded by Danone, but there’s no reason the same benefits wouldn’t apply with plain tap water.
AD_215459525.jpgAD_215459525.jpgellencscottRe filling your water bottle is as bad as licking a toilet seat credit alamy/metro bottle-water-germs-alamy.jpgDead vagina syndrome
Sorry, fish fans, but you may need to forgo the calamari starter for your supper.
The Good Fish Guide, which is updated annually to let us know which fish are in decent supply and which we should stop chomping on, has declared that squid is not a sustainable seafood choice.
The Guide lists each type of fish on a scale of one to five in terms of sustainability. If a fish scores a one or a two, it’s a solid choice. If it’s a five, you should avoid it. A three or four means you shouldn’t eat it too often.
The majority of squid types fall into a four or five. This means that the method used to fish for squid is not very good for sealife and could have negative longterm consequences.
Atlantic salmon (rated as a five) also falls into this category, so is best avoided. That puts a spanner in our Sunday lunch plans.
But as we know, a diet rich in fish and vegetables has all kinds of benefits, so we’re reluctant to ditch fish entirely.
Fish to avoid:
All of these fish are rated at five, meaning they’re best avoided.
Thankfully the Good Fish Guide has some recommendations for fish you can load up on.
Campaigners are encouraging us all to opt for haddock and pollock, both of which are rated as ones.
FYI, pollock is the fish used in a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich. Good to know.
‘Choosing sustainable seafood is a complex issue not helped by a lack of clear labelling on most seafood products,’ said Bernadette Clarke, programme manager for the Good Fish Guide. ‘That lack of information means that consumers need all the help they can get.’
If you’re keen to assess your fish consumption in terms of sustainability, you can search different types of fish on the Good Fish Guide. They also have an app so you can check while you’re in the queue for fish and chips.
Each fish listed as alternatives offered up, so you don’t have to go fishless.
H/T Huffington Post.
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Self-care is often considered the yellow brick road to mental health recovery.
This advice might take the form of being told to wear a face mask and take a bath, or that you should cut people out of your life who don’t make you happy.
‘Me time’ is nothing new; it’s been used to sell us things for years.
However, as we become more vocal about our various mental health struggles, self-care has emerged not just as a treat but a necessity.
Self-care first came to my attention in a bout of severe depression, when it was a real struggle even to get in the shower or cook myself a meal. I found out about the ‘concept’ on Twitter, where activists were discussing the importance of eating healthily and actually getting dressed in the morning.
Although simple, when you’re sick these things are often unfathomably hard, and having a reminder that you’re allowed to be a ‘normal’ person and not just wallow is useful.
It seems that recently, though, during a collective time of introspection where we try to work out how to just survive, self-care has become muddled with a certain level of narcissism.
We have to think about ourselves first – both when it comes to our mental health or putting on an aeroplane oxygen mask. That doesn’t mean we only need to think of ourselves though.
When self-care comes to the detriment of everything else in your life – jobs, friendships, romantic and familial relationships – then it’s a short-term fix more than a lifestyle change that’ll help you feel better in the long run.
What I’m talking about isn’t the day-to-day activities that help your life get back on track when you’re low. I’m not even referring to the treats and pampering that can be associated with self-care (even though these aren’t always accessible and can be considered problematic).
I mean the idea that you have the unalienable right to do anything you want all the time because you deserve it.
Cutting off toxic people is necessary, but deciding to leave friendships every time you have a negative interaction based on the feeling that all your desires need to be met immediately is not.
Taking time out of your day to relax – perhaps with a meditation tape – is necessary, but constantly neglecting commitments from work or friends so you can find this time is not.
Buying yourself something nice as a reward for doing well is necessary. Skinting yourself because ‘you’re worth it’ is not.
Instagram is full of quotes about how you should ‘do you’, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with prioritising yourself
But you can easily fall into a trap of forgetting that it’s necessary to step out of your comfort zone sometimes.
Particularly if you’re prone to depression or anxiety, what’s comfortable isn’t always what’s going to aid your recovery. Maintaining good relationships and keeping a work and social routine will benefit you, despite not having the cosy and relaxing facade of self-care.
Entrepreneur and life coach Geeta Sidhu-Robb knows only too well that there needs to be a balance, particularly as a single mother of five.
She told Metro.co.uk that we should change the way we look at self-care: ‘Self-care is particularly important when you see it as a process of refuelling. When you care about yourself, eat well, take time to exercise and even more importantly focus solely on some ‘you time’ you will feel rejuvenated…
‘For so many women, self-care is so rare that ‘too much’ simply isn’t even a consideration. This is particularly true when we become mothers and we are hard wired to nurture and look after the people around. This means that any time we take for ourselves – we feel guilty for.’
Geeta mentions that guilt isn’t a good indicator of when self-care becomes selfishness (particularly if you’re a parent and tend to feel guilt most of the time anyway). What she does say is that you should look at how your actions are affecting you as well as those around you.
She says, ‘Self-care stands to benefit everyone seeing as it rejuvenates your mind and leaves you feeling able to communicate with those around you, being a better version of you. Selfishness will negatively impact the people around you and the dynamics of your relationships.
‘Selfishness is neglecting responsibilities to the point where others suffer from your actions. We can exercise self-care better in the knowledge that the people around us can cope in our absence.
‘Exercising self-care shouldn’t be a decision made through anger – a ‘you’ll have to cope without me, I’m off’ being one version. It should instead be something you plan with the people around you if they are supportive, if they aren’t by all means plan it yourself.’
The crux of it is that, we all make up one big tapestry in this often terrifying world. Put yourself in others’ shoes when you can – especially if they’re relying on you – and set boundaries when they’re needed too.
It’s all about having that nice, hot bath, but not staying in there for so long that you’re wrinkled up, the dog is crying for its dinner, your rent hasn’t been paid in months, and your friends think you’ve run off to Peru.
***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How my faith has helped me with my mental health recovery (Frances)***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How my faith has helped me with my mental health recovery (Frances)jessicacvlCan what you eat affect your mental health? (Fiona Thomas)
Steph Weller wants to show everyone that achieving their goals is possible.
Despite having paralysis of her legs and needing to use a wheelchair, she managed to lose five stone over the course of ten months through a specially devised exercise routine.
Steph uses the muscles in her body that still function to swim twice a week and go to the gym three times a week.
She says that if she can lose weight while in a wheelchair, anyone can improve their health.
‘It’s all down to mindset and if you haven’t got the right mindset to follow through with what you say you’re going to do, then it won’t happen,’ says Steph.
The 21-year-old from Fleet had loved keeping fit during her childhood, but had to stop doing gymnastics and ice dancing when she started experiencing severe pain at age 11.
In December 2014, the family realised something was wrong, after Steph’s nan had knitted her a cardigan.
‘My nan had been trying to knit me a cardigan for about two weeks but the back just wasn’t sitting correctly,’ explains Steph.
‘She pulled my top up to see what the problem was and discovered an issue with my spine.’
Steph was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, which means the front part of her vertebrae was falling forward, crushing her nerves and spinal cord.
She was told to stop doing any sport or exercise and to remain in bed for 16 hours a day, and discovered she would need surgery or she would be entirely paralysed.
In the space of just seven days, Steph began to lose feeling in her legs.
In January 2015, she became paraplegic, needing to use a wheelchair to get around.
Being unable to do her usual activities meant Steph gained weight. After three years of feeling unhappy in her body, Steph decided she had to change things.
Finding it difficult to source any information on diet and exercise for wheelchair users, Steph worked on creating her own specialised exercise plan that didn’t involve the lower part of her body.
‘Three times a week I visit the gym to do the weight work with the muscle groups that I can use: my arms and my upper back muscles,’ says Steph.
‘I also do cardio with the hand bike and spend a lot of time pushing myself around in the wheelchair daily. Then I also go swimming twice a week.
‘Exercise really helps me as it enables me to focus on something besides the nerve pain that I still have to deal with 24/7.’
A combination of exercise and the ketogenic diet helped Steph lose the weight and regain her health. Over the space of ten months, she lost five stone.
‘I remember the moment I got on the scale and realised how much weight I had lost,’ said Steph.
‘I actually burst into tears. I was completely shocked. Even the nurse couldn’t believe it and said that I didn’t even look like the same person she had seen the year before.
‘The biggest challenge was persevering despite so many people telling me that I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it.’
Steph hopes that by sharing her story, she’ll show others that their goals are in their reach.
‘I would tell others looking to start the journey, to just do it,’ she said.
‘Don’t believe people when they say you can’t.
‘It is hard enough to lose weight as an able-bodied person that it does make it harder when you are paraplegic, but if I can do it anyone can.’
Paraplegic weight lossParaplegic weight lossellencscott- Picture of Steph Weller before she lost five stone while in a wheelchair TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 0089 // email@example.com By Kaisha Langton A paraplegic who shed an incredible five stone in just ten months has blasted the ?excuse culture? of able-bodied people who claim they cannot lose weight. Steph Weller managed to fight the flab despite being confined to a wheelchair and not having the use of her legs. She devised a special exercise regime using her upper body after becoming horrified when her weight ballooned to 15 stone. Despite struggling with her mobility she now swims twice a week and goes to the gym three times a week, where she uses the muscles in her body that do work. *Full news copy filed via the wires*- Picture of Steph Weller before she lost five stone while in a wheelchair TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 0089 // firstname.lastname@example.org By Kaisha Langton A paraplegic who shed an incredible five stone in just ten months has blasted the ?excuse culture? of able-bodied people who claim they cannot lose weight. Steph Weller managed to fight the flab despite being confined to a wheelchair and not having the use of her legs. She devised a special exercise regime using her upper body after becoming horrified when her weight ballooned to 15 stone. Despite struggling with her mobility she now swims twice a week and goes to the gym three times a week, where she uses the muscles in her body that do work. *Full news copy filed via the wires*- Picture of Steph Weller before she lost five stone while in a wheelchair TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 0089 // email@example.com By Kaisha Langton A paraplegic who shed an incredible five stone in just ten months has blasted the ?excuse culture? of able-bodied people who claim they cannot lose weight. Steph Weller managed to fight the flab despite being confined to a wheelchair and not having the use of her legs. She devised a special exercise regime using her upper body after becoming horrified when her weight ballooned to 15 stone. Despite struggling with her mobility she now swims twice a week and goes to the gym three times a week, where she uses the muscles in her body that do work. *Full news copy filed via the wires*- Picture of Steph Weller before she lost five stone while in a wheelchair. Boxing was one of the exercises she did to lose weight TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 0089 // firstname.lastname@example.org By Kaisha Langton A paraplegic who shed an incredible five stone in just ten months has blasted the ?excuse culture? of able-bodied people who claim they cannot lose weight. Steph Weller managed to fight the flab despite being confined to a wheelchair and not having the use of her legs. She devised a special exercise regime using her upper body after becoming horrified when her weight ballooned to 15 stone. Despite struggling with her mobility she now swims twice a week and goes to the gym three times a week, where she uses the muscles in her body that do work. *Full news copy filed via the wires*- Picture of Steph Weller after she lost five stone while in a wheelchair TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 0089 // email@example.com By Kaisha Langton A paraplegic who shed an incredible five stone in just ten months has blasted the ?excuse culture? of able-bodied people who claim they cannot lose weight. Steph Weller managed to fight the flab despite being confined to a wheelchair and not having the use of her legs. She devised a special exercise regime using her upper body after becoming horrified when her weight ballooned to 15 stone. Despite struggling with her mobility she now swims twice a week and goes to the gym three times a week, where she uses the muscles in her body that do work. *Full news copy filed via the wires*
It is the time of the year to be thinking about pumpkins, spooky outfits and stocking up on cheap sweets as Halloween is right around the corner.
Halloween has become such a tradition in the UK and North America that doing all sorts of bizarre things now seems normal.Woman who killed girl, 8, moved from prison to 'healing lodge' with no walls
But why do we celebrate all things ghoulish at the end of October? Why are pumpkins involved? What is trick or treating all about?
So many question, and luckily there are some answers…
When is Halloween?
As ever, Halloween falls on 31 October. In 2018, this is a Wednesday.
Where did Halloween come from?
Halloween is also known as: All Hallows’ Evening, Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve.
Halloween is celebrated on 31 October, which is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day.
The origins of Halloween came from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
Samhain is a Celtic pagan festival meaning ‘Summer’s End’ which celebrated the end of harvest season.
This was a period when people would light bonfires and wear costumes and animal heads to ward off roaming ghosts.
When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined the Celtic festival of Samhain with the Roman festival Feralia which was a day in October when the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III said the 1 November would be the time to honour all saints and martyrs.
This is where All Saints’ Day originates from; and the evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later became known as Halloween.
Halloween became commercialised over time and is celebrated by children and adults dressing up, trick-or-treating and going to Halloween parties.
Why do we say ‘trick or treat’?
Trick or Treating started on this side of the pond in Ireland, Scotland and Wales and involved people dressing up and going door to door asking for food.
People would say poems or sing songs in exchange for food, this tradition evolved into children saying prayers in return for ‘soul cakes’ in the 11th century.
The soul cakes were sweet with a cross tops, similar to hot cross buns, and were intended to represent a spirit being freed from purgatory when eaten.
By the 19th century, this had evolved into a tradition where children would sing songs, tell jokes and read poems instead of prayers for pieces of fruit and money.
Later, the children would play threatening pranks on people to get them to hand over sweets.
The phrase came to America from immigrants who travelled to the country.
Where does the pumpkin tradition come from?
During Samhain, children carried lanterns made out of hollow turnips and went to homes asked for treats.
During the festival, Gaels would carve turnips to ward off spirits from getting into their houses.
When Irish immigrants came over to America in the 1840s, they could not find turnips to carve and instead they used pumpkins.
Beware, men, for the dropping temperature does not just signal the start of cuffing season, but the arrival of winter penis.
While winter vagina may be a myth, winter penis is very much real, and you and your little pal (sorry, very large pal) must prepare yourselves.
As the weather gets colder, those of you with a penis may notice shrinkage, decreased erections, and difficulty reaching orgasm.
This isn’t due to your dick going into hibernation, but a physical reaction to the cold.
‘The blood vessels in the penis shut down because of the cold temperature,’ Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert for Lovehoney, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Men can expect their penis to shrivel by up to 50% in length and 20% to 30% in girth when the weather gets chilly.
‘The body is programmed to preserve heat and energy. So in the cold, it funnels its resources into maintaining blood flow to the middle of your body, where your vital organs are.
‘But in order to do that, your body has to reduce blood flow to your appendages – your fingers, toes, and your penis. The testicles also retract and rise closer to the rest of the body so they can also stay warm.’
So as the chill hits, your balls and penis will look smaller than usual. Not a big deal, but worth being aware of.
It’s all the opposite of the phenomenon of summer penis, basically.
Colder weather can also prompt struggles with arousal.
Being warm and cosy has been shown to help people reach orgasm, as warmth relaxes the body. That’s why you’re more likely to reach orgasm if you wear socks in bed.
This means that when it’s colder, your body tenses and constricts, making arousal and maintaining an erection challenging.
‘The cold desensitises the penis,’ explains Annabelle. ‘It makes it slightly less responsive to stimulation.
‘There is some truth in that old adage about killing an erection by having a cold shower. Cooling induces increased smooth muscle activity in the penis. The smooth muscle surrounds the blood vessels in the penis that direct an erection. During increased activity, it squeezes the blood vessels closed, stopping blood from entering.
‘This leads to men’s little soldier quickly going from attention to at ease.’
Once you’ve got in the mood and are actually having sex, the cold can still have an effect, making it harder to reach orgasm.
‘Men can take longer to orgasm when they are cold,’ says Anabelle. ‘These aren’t just due to physiological reasons. Cold is a distraction when you are trying to have sex. Your mind will instinctively be thinking about how you can get warm rather than concentrating on the sex.’
Thankfully, none of these winter-induced issues are permanent, and are all incredibly easy to treat: You just need to get warmer and plan out some extra time for arousal.
‘You might need to factor in an extra bit of warm up time to get things going,’ advises Julia Margo, sex expert and co-founder of sex toy brand Hot Octopuss.
‘If you are finding it harder to get a strong erection, theres no harm in experimenting with toys like the ATOM cock ring, which can help to increase blood flow and produce strong erections. Or PULSE III Solo which is based on power to medical tech to stimulate the penis will certainly help to heat things up.’
As the temperature of your nether region increases, blood will flow freely, shrinkage will stop, and the penis will be back to normal.
The easiest way to sort yourself out is to turn on the central heating or get sexy underneath some cosy blankets.
Sex outdoors in the winter isn’t a good idea (think of the frostbite), and if you’re conscious of your penis size, it’s probably wise to hold off on stripping off until you’re in the warmth of indoors.
The remedy for winter penis is getting hot. Snuggle up, layer up in blankets, and have no shame in keeping on those wooly socks your nan knitted for you.
Winter penisWinter penisellencscottWinter penis
Yes, you read that right. A Mars Bar calzone. If you ever feel in need of a boost of national pride, just remind yourself that no one does awe inspiring edible monstrosities quite like us Scots.
Naturally, it’s in Glasgow. The west coast of Scotland has something of a reputation when it comes to these matters – being home to the recently goggled over ‘munchy box’, as well as a litany of other casually brilliant horrors.
But we’re not sure that any individual constituent part quite compares to the deep fried Mars bar calzone. A 2,000 calorie monster, happily self-prescribed as ‘one of the world’s unhealthiest pizzas’.
A few squeamish spectators have euphemistically dubbed it a ‘Glaswegian twist’ on the Italian classic. That’s grated almonds on top of pizza dough, caramel sauce and a scoop of chocolate ice cream.
The whole mix is then stuffed with Mars Bar chunks and fried in batter. Locals have since taken the liberty of christening the result, ‘the Mars-gherita Pizza’.
The 1,973 calorie ‘snack’ has proved a smash hit with punters, since being dreamed up at Roman’s Pizzeria in Merchant City, Glasgow, with Glaswegians flocking to try the new behemoth.
Inspiration was gleaned from the notorious deep-fried Mars Bar treat invented in 1992 at a Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, chippy – Haven Chip Bar (since renamed The Carron).
The general manager of the Glaswegian venue responsible, Fraser Walker, said the idea behind the deep fried Mars Bar calzone came from a brief chat with the head chef.
The 36-year-old, from Kelvindale, Glasgow, said: ‘Well the shop has been open here for about five and a half months and we wanted to bring out something different’.
‘This is because we are known for our Roman-style pizza, and after speaking to the chef about different ideas we came up with that’.
‘We’ve seen restaurants adding Nutella in a calzone so we just thought the deep fried mars bar is a Scottish thing. So why not put it in a calzone?’
‘It’s definitely not a dessert for someone who is on a diet’.
‘I would say people should share it because it’s very sweet unless you have a sweet tooth or are really hungry’.
The £4.50 calzone has already achieved a level of cult fame that transcends the city, with requests popping up from far afield as Germany.
Head chef, Dawid Radzinski, said: ‘I’ve been a chef for 20 years and what we’ve done is completely original’.
‘When I first made it, we all tried it together and we all loved it. The dessert has been here since Monday and people think it’s really tasty’.
It doesn’t really matter if you find the whole thing deeply immoral, or the most logical gastronomic creation known to man: there’s no denying the sheer spectacle.
If you have zero savings tucked away in a bank account, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re part of a majority.
New ONS data shows that 53% of young people – meaning those between the ages of 22 and 29 – have no savings at all. That’s a little more than half.
The majority of young people struggle to tuck away money thanks to insecure work and high rent, but there also seems to have been a cultural shift when it comes to the pressure to save rather than spend.
Ten years ago, 41% of the same age group had no savings.
Perhaps this is down in part to the less-than-great housing market. With so many of us thinking of owning a home as a nearly-impossible dream, saving up no longer feels like a priority.
Of the young people who do have savings, four in ten have less than £1,000 saved, so we’re not talking about big bucks.
The average amount of savings for young people who save is £1,600.
Rachel*, 24, is a freelance journalist who makes £120 a day, meaning she earns over £31,000 as long as she doesn’t catch the office bug or break her leg. She has just £300 in a savings account.
‘I currently have a grand total of £300 saved, which is going to be for a deposit on a rented flat,’ Rachel tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It’s the first time I’ve ever saved literally anything, and I’ll need just over a grand before I can move out.
‘I’ve been staying with my grandparents for the last couple of weeks, as previously a large chunk of my salary went on rent. Now, I’ve been putting £100 from every weekly paycheck into a Chip savings account.
‘Also, if I have any extra money coming in over the next few months from extra freelance gigs, that’ll go straight in there too.’
Rachel is one of many young people who feel they’re rubbish with money, but can also point to some pretty bad luck for her current financial state.
‘It’s probably a mixture of factors, from not having much of it when I was younger to racking up huge debts which now need to be paid off (with the high interest that came with it),’ she explains. ‘I’ve had to really get my arse in gear over the last few months and feel much more in control, but it’s frustrating given that I don’t earn a bad salary and always seem to be chasing my own tail.
‘After my flat burned down this year and last year I had to move out after a toxic relationship, I was once again set back and had to borrow without a financial safety net.
‘One day I’ll get there once debts are paid off, I just need to pray nothing bad happens to me in the next wee while and I can save.’
For Beth, the manic spending she experiences as part of her bipolar disorder has pushed her into debt and made it harder to save.
‘I earn 35k a year but always feel shamed when it comes to savings and people automatically assume because of what I earn, that I must be fine money wise when that’s not the case,’ she tells us.
‘I’m starting to save thankfully but again, that could be taken away at any point.
‘I feel a pressure to save money more than ever now because I feel like it has become the new normal to brag about buying houses and deposits etc.’
There’s definitely a sense of shame around struggling with money.
Having a cushion of cash is seen as a marker of adulthood and responsibility. If you don’t have as large an amount of savings as you think you should, you can feel like a failure – and the lack of open conversation around money means we compare ourselves to an often unrealistic ideal.
Samantha, 25, tells us she can’t seem to get into a stable routine of spending and saving. She feels mounting stress as a result.
‘I know I earn a decent amount for my age, which is why I feel so ashamed that I only have around £600 in my savings account right now,’ Samantha tells us.
‘It’s frustrating. I’ll go through periods of time when I have thousands of savings and I feel like I’m on the right track, then I’ll end up overdrawn on my current account and have to keep borrowing money from my savings to get through the month.
‘Over the last few months I’ve been spending too much and have depleted my savings entirely. It’s scary. If I were to lose my job I wouldn’t be able to pay rent. If there’s a surprise expense I’m f***ed.
‘Each month I’m ambitious with my saving and transfer £500 to my account the second I’m paid, but a few weeks in I’m overdrawn again. I don’t know how to stop.’
A lack of comfort around money holds young people back from saving, causing rash decisions and panic spending because they were never taught how to manage their money.
The emotional side of spending and saving is overlooked when we recommend simple money-saving tricks or budgeting rules.
Amy, 29, got herself into debt when her dad died. She was in a ‘really bad place’ and thought that buying things would help.
‘It didn’t – not surprisingly,’ she tells us. ”I’d bought lots of lovely things, not just for myself but because if I bought nice things for my family it’d take their sadness away a bit too – but obviously none of it helped.
‘I’m currently not saving money because I am working my way to the end of the debt. If I didn’t have the debt, I’d be about £600 up a month in savings.’
Getting into a debt pit can be an intensely stressful experience. The silence around money issues can prevent people from asking for help.
Amy says she doesn’t feel at all comfortable with money, and wishes people would talk more openly about saving.
‘Yes, there are plenty of things we should just know and of course we are all responsible ourselves for these situations, but I feel budgeting should be something we talk about with our kids, as well as the realistic costs of living and making a life for ourselves,’ she says. ‘I feel embarrassed about money and yes it does cause anxiety.
‘I cannot wait to be debt free now that I have a much healthier and responsible relationship with it.’
It isn’t all doom and gloom, of course.
While money can feel intimidating, it’s entirely possible to learn tools to improve your relationship with spending and saving.
More open conversation and education could make a huge difference, whether it’s people being honest about the financial help they receive, sharing tips that work for them, or asking for help when they need it.
Emma, 24, is a senior account executive and owns £27,000 a year. She’s struggled with money previously, but is now starting to feel confident in her ability to save.
‘I bought a flat last year,’ Emma tells us. ‘I plan to save £350 a month once I’ve paid off an outstanding credit card.
‘Normally I set up a direct debit to come out the day after pay day and try and forget about it after that. I’m usually pretty good at saving
‘[Money] used to be all I thought/worried about but I’ve trained myself to check my balance regularly, plan my spending, budget, learn about “scary” financial products like pensions and investments and I feel a lot more confident now.
‘I still worry about not earning enough and about not contributing enough to my pension though.’
*All names have been changed.
Half of twenty somethings have no savingsHalf of twenty somethings have no savingsellencscottHow to save money on a date night picture: Getty / Metro.co.uk
Picture the scene: It’s 10am on Saturday, you’ve woken up a tiny bit hanging from Friday night and your stomach is sending out hunger signals you can no longer ignore.
If you’re anything like us, your fridge has nothing in it except champagne and tonic and your food offering is lemon and limes in the fruit bowl.
We can sympathise. But step away from Deliveroo for a moment.
When the inevitable happens tomorrow, let us help you out with a much classier plan.
St Germain has teamed up with Bourne & Hollingsworth for London Cocktail Week to host a bottomless brunch in the B&H buildings in EC1.
It’s a 15-minute Uber from Brick Lane and the Truman Brewery – the heart of LCW – so if you’re ready for more , it of course has plenty of cocktails on offer, as well as some pretty sensational food.
The welcome drink is a St-Germain-des-pres – elderflower liqueur with fresh pressed lemon juice – which is just on the right side of detox-retox to make you feel fine about diving into the bottomless St Germain cocktails that follow.
Food comes courtesy of B&H head chef Anthony Horn and will include classics like avocado on toast, poached eggs with salmon chia pots, overnight oats and smoothies.
There are two sittings per day this weekend – 10am – 12pm and 12.30pm – 2.30pm Saturday; 10am – 12pm and 3pm – 5pm Sunday.
Tickets are limited and cost £25 each – you can snap the remaining ones up here.
See you there.
St Germain x B&H Brunch, B&H Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HU
Elsewhere at London Cocktail Week:
Jaegermeister’s Big Chill takeover – the official sponsors of LCW – are hosting a Der Wald pop-up bar – set in a stylised German forest – with ice cold shots, events, workshops and surprising cocktails (the most surprising bit is that they are only £6). Make ours a Jaegermeister Sour. Big Chill Bar, Brick Lane (3 min walk from the LCW village)
The Botanist Gin foraging dinner – a wild supper at cosy loft space Shoreditch Treehouse – October 3 – 6. An innovative three-course dining experience – The Foragers Table – by some of London’s best chefs.
The Botanist Gin’s in-house chef Craig Grozier – founder of Scottish dining experience Fallachan – has curated the menu, inspired by urban foraging.
Plan your experience for 7-10pm this week. Tickets still available Wednesday 3 and Friday 5 October. From £45 per person. Book here.
St Germain’s flower wall and LCW events –
Grey Goose Café La Vanille at Barber & Parlour with free espresso martinis: 1 to 7 October (from 3pm each day)
Instagrammer and foodie James (Food Feels) presents his masterclass How to create an Instagrammable cocktail at Grey Goose Café La Vanille: Friday 5 17:30 – 18:30
How to create the ultimate dinner party with Anna Barnett at Grey Goose Café La Vanille: Saturday 6 October 14:00 – 15:00
6. St-Germain Brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth: 6th and 7th October
Tequila & Mezcal Fest – a 3-day celebration of the ‘true spirit of Mexico’ at the Bargehouse behind the OXO Tower on the Southbank. Not just a booze-fest, there’s a whole load of cultural elements to the show – 3 Mexican restaurants, 6 cocktail bars, a Raindance cinema room, Mexican craft beer/wine area, contemporary artwork and loads of Mariachis, folkloric dancers…also mini-masterclasses about how to make the perfect Margarita and guacamole. Find more details here.
Galvin HOP (next door to Galvin La Chapelle in Spital Square) is taking part in London Cocktail week and has two new cocktails available for £6 for all festival pass holders throughout this week.
The cocktails are:
• ABC Negroni – Lillet Rouge, Monkey 47 Sloe Gin and Suze
• Fleur de Lillet – Lillet Rosé and Elderflower cordial topped with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water
Galvin HOP also has a brand new brunch menu, available Saturday and Sunday from 11.30am – 4pm, which includes brunch classics such as eggs Benedict, but also has an array of new items including Flat Iron Steak with Béarnaise sauce and French fries, and Sunday roasts.
Full details on London Cocktail Week available at drinkup.london/cocktailweek.
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As a makeup artist, it is my job to see, in each person, what is beautiful and what to enhance, yet it seems that more and more it is women’s job to look in the mirror and see what they don’t like – or worse, what is ‘wrong’ with them.
I can’t speak for all women, but this has always been a theme in my consultations. For the past few years however, the level of self-hatred I’ve witnessed has escalated. At first, it was mainly the younger women being easily led by a style of makeup popular with influencers, and the increasing use of filters on selfies.
Lately, though, I see this level of insecurity increasing in women of all ages.
It starts with the constant apologies for their faces, pointing out all the flaws. The thing is that these ‘flaws’ aren’t flaws. They are part of what it means to have skin. Skin is textured. It is supposed to have varying tones throughout. Pores are there because, well, humans are porous.
Since when did we have to pretend that we aren’t made out of skin?
Far too often I hear women say things like: ‘I can’t find a foundation that is heavy enough to fill my pores. I can still see my skin through it,’ or referring to their uncontoured faces as ‘flat’ or ‘round’, because the heavily carved out cheekbones to them are the norm. Without incredibly full coverage makeup, they feel abnormal.
There have always been trends in makeup – think of the powerful blusher of the 1980s, or the pin-thin eyebrows of the late 1990s. But I’m not sure any other long-standing trend has been as damaging as what we are currently seeing – the intense layers of makeup intended to hide and alter your face, as opposed to enhancing it, almost seeking to look inhuman.
Products and techniques that were, for a long time, only in the kits of professional makeup artists are now on the high street and in department stores. They are touted by the influencers as ‘must haves’ when in fact they were historically used for extreme stage makeup only.
I’ve seen high end brands that offer three ‘colour correcting blur primers’ in shades that, as a makeup artist, I would pretty much never need.
Foundations are becoming fuller and fuller coverage, every brand now has a contour palette – although perhaps once we’ve obliterated all tone and texture from our skin with the full coverage matte foundation, we do indeed need to contour because we look like a strange, two-dimensional version of ourselves.
We need to address the issues that makeup trends are creating. The language and the marketing that the cosmetic companies are using is hugely problematic, as are the overly edited images they blow up and place in the eye-line of impressionable young women.
I’ve seen high end brands that offer three ‘colour correcting blur primers’ in shades that, as a makeup artist, I would pretty much never need.
Products are made for ‘fighting dullness and sallowness’. These are sent out to bloggers who do videos and tutorials using all the shades at once on their faces, which is not only unnecessary but a pointless endeavour, as five minutes after, no one can see because the foundation they cover it with it so opaque.
The influencers all seem to have pretty flawless skin to begin with, but are still caking on products to look even more ‘perfect’.
Just across the cosmetic aisle I noticed another brand’s product that claims it ‘blurs flaws’ so that women can ‘correct your worst transgressions’.
Having a face that looks like it’s made of skin is not a flaw, and it’s certainly not a transgression. But this language has a clear motive: to make young women think that it’s imperative they spend their time, money and mental energy on more and more products to make them look unrealistically airbrushed.
We are only now beginning to question many of the unfair, unrealistic beauty standards that have been put upon women for decades. These norms are being torn down by many high profile women such Jameela Jamil, who spoke out against magazines airbrushing her earlier this year.
Making women feel like their face should resemble a smooth piece of symmetrical plastic is just as problematic as making us feel like our bodies should resemble the mannequins we see on the high street. It’s unrealistic, unattainable and dangerous.
There is nothing wrong with makeup – I’m all for teaching people how to even out their skin while keeping it looking natural, but we need to end this rhetoric that the ideal is unrealistic perfection.
Pores are not flaws. Not all noses need to be slimmed down. Not all eyeliner needs to be winged. Not all skin tones need to be neutralised. We are human beings, not life-sized Instagram filters, and we need to teach young women how to tell the difference – for all our sakes.
teenage girl in her bedroom, trying out make-upteenage girl in her bedroom, trying out make-upsirenabergmanuk