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- 10/11/18--06:30: Nine ways workplaces in the UK are failing women of colour
- 10/11/18--06:59: Primark’s sparkly Minnie Mouse heels are finally back in stores
- 10/11/18--07:44: Forget Jack Skellington, we’re all about dog-o-lanterns this year
- 10/11/18--08:30: You can buy a naked bride and groom as wedding cake toppers
- 10/11/18--22:15: Brewery creates beer out of leftover bread to tackle food waste
- 10/12/18--01:28: A porn star shares how she gets ready for sex
- 10/12/18--01:53: M&S under fire for selling hijab for pre-pubescent girls
The government has announced plans that may force companies to reveal their ethnicity pay gaps. As a woman of colour who has been working for more than six years, I think it’s imperative that this happens.
Gender pay gap reporting became compulsory in April this year, and the transparency on this issue has already been transformative. There was national outcry as major media organisations published shocking pay disparities for women who were doing the same jobs as men. There were protests, strikes, resignations and, ultimately, change.
If the government has already deemed gender equality important enough to force this action – why are we still having the discussion about whether racial equality deserves the same? If the goal is to make the workplace fairer, why is one form of equality seen as more valid than another?
There is still a long way to go to reach gender equality in the workplace, but in just over six months, it’s clear that forcing companies to be open on gender pay has already had a positive effect.
For people of colour in the workplace, there is a very real glass ceiling. Or actually, it’s more like a brick wall – because more often than not, we can’t even see through to the other side. Many companies work hard at getting people of colour through the door but then leave them languishing on the bottom rungs with no support, mentorship or guidance to help them reach that next level.
The figures back this up. ITN, the media company incorporating ITV News, Channel 4 News and Channel 5 News, voluntarily published their BAME pay gap figures in the summer. ITN pay their non-white staff 20.8% less than white staff members. The average bonus gap was a shocking 66%.
This huge gap in pay is, in no small part, attributed to a lack of diversity in senior positions. It’s glaringly obvious. Walk into any boardroom or meeting room and you will be greeted by a sea of pale, male, middle-aged faces. If you can’t see any element of yourself in any senior position at a company, it’s all too easy to come to the conclusion that you don’t belong there.
Being non-white in overwhelmingly white organisations can be isolating. As the only brown woman sitting at a table of white men, you feel your voice leave you – it’s hard to ‘lean in’ when your colleagues feel worlds away from your experiences.
As well as a huge dearth of diverse inspirational figures, minorities in the workplace also have to contend with unconscious bias and overt discrimination. There’s an insidious ‘boys’ club’ mentality that pervades so many organisations in this country. And when senior managers are hiring and promoting, all too often they look for qualities that they recognise in themselves. This leads to the endless perpetuation of white men hiring white men.
It’s crucial that change comes from the top down. Until we address the systemic inequalities at the uppermost levels of companies, there’s no hope for those of us at the bottom. That’s where clarity and transparency could make all the difference.
Forcing a company to face their ethnic inequalities in the public forum would put an end to tick-box diversity action. So much of the corporate response to ‘promote diversity’ is surface-level and performative – but when it comes to real equality and ensuring progression and opportunity for non-white employees, the figures will likely show a different story.
Rather than hiding behind monthly diversity panels or a token black face in a prominent position, publishing the pay gap figures will force companies to make real, actionable change. No grey-areas, no room for argument – seeing the numbers in black and white will surely be a catalyst for senior figures to redress the balance.
But a catalyst is just the start. In order to be heard, people of colour need allies in the workplace. The burden of effecting change can’t fall solely on minority employees – there aren’t enough of us and we don’t hold enough power. What is needed is the bolstering presence of white allies willing to make noise on our behalf.
Just as powerful as the figures themselves, is the response to those figures. We need the same energy and anger that surged following the release of the gender pay gap figures. If you care about one more than the other, then you should probably question whether you truly believe in equality at all.
For those of us who intersect both the gender and ethnicity pay gaps, the stakes are even higher. As a woman of colour it’s difficult to comprehend why one form of discrimination might be seen as more damaging than another – both my gender and my race have an effect on how I’m treated in the workplace.
For women like me, to see both racial and gender disparities treated as equal evils would be hugely encouraging. It would send a message that my value as a woman is not lessened because I happen to be a non-white woman.
**ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)**ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)nataliemorris88*** ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Yvette Caster: What happened when I attended my first bipolar support group meeting
Today is the 30th annual National Coming Out Day – a day to celebrate the act of coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. But why do we call it ‘coming out’? Where does the term come from?
‘Coming out’ is short for ‘coming out of the closet’, and is a metaphor that is widely used and accepted by the LGBTQ+ community. It’s considered to be a hugely important moment in someone’s life, a marker of self-acceptance and liberation.
The origins of ‘coming out’ date all the way back to 1869, when German homosexual rights advocate Karl Heinrich Ulrichs came up with the idea that disclosing your sexual orientation was a form of self-liberation. This school of thought suggests that hiding your sexuality is a form of imprisonment – being in the closet.
The actual phrase ‘coming out’ is said to have originated from a comparison to debutantes in the early 20th Century. Back then, young women from aristocratic families would have ‘coming out’ parties to celebrate their formal entrance into society. The gay subculture adopted this term and re-purposed it.
In the 1950s the term became more widely know after sexologist Evelyn Hooker introduced it to academic circles. Since then it has been used frequently by the LGBTQ+ community and by allies to describe the process of deciding to live openly.
The decision to come out is still incredibly difficult for lots of people. Many face homophobia, discrimination and risk losing the support of their family and friends.
That’s why National Coming Out Day exists. The annual celebration aims to promote a safer world for LGBTQ+ people to live truthfully and openly.
But there’s still work to do to achieve this. The organisers of National Coming Out Day say they still need support and allies to make the transition of coming out safer and simpler.
‘Coming out – whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied – STILL MATTERS,’ the organisers wrote on the website.
‘When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.’
Metro Illustration: Don?t airbrush the T out of LGBTMetro Illustration: Don?t airbrush the T out of LGBTnataliemorris88Don?t airbrush the T out of LGBT***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** GAVIN MCGREGOR: LGBT TREASURES FOUND IN LOFT
The theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl is female empowerment in the workforce.
While the day is about highlighting and addressing the needs and challenges faced by young girls, the situation for women of colour (WOC) in the work place is dire.
Despite countless firsthand account articles, blogs, videos, and podcasts detailing the experiences of women of colour at work and the microaggressions and racism faced by them, many workplaces continue to exist without any real redress.
There are nine ways in which workplaces continue to fail women of colour.
In the U.S there are more directors named John, Robert, and William than there are women holding corporate board seats.
The patriarchy has rendered many industries a ‘boys club’ whereby like-minded (usually white, cis, straight middle class) men have pushed each other to the top.
There’s a sense that women must be excellent to reach the top and when they do, they face harassment, alienation, and risk being called ‘bitchy’ and ‘aggressive’.
Kelechi Okafor, an activist and fitness instructor, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The traditional workplace set up fails WOC because it wasn’t structured to include us in the first place.
‘We know it fails women generally because we exist in a patriarchal structure. Therefore when we take into account that we exist specifically within a white supremacist patriarchal structure then we can understand that gendered racism faced by WOC in the workplace.’
Tania* tells Metro.co.uk about a prayer space in her workplace which has to be shared by men and women.
‘One time, as I waited 45 minutes for the men to finish their prayers, I looked into the next room, a conference room where two/three people were doing yoga.
‘Their room was triple the size of the prayer room. If we’re going to have spaces for people to do fitness stuff then surely we can accommodate religious needs?
‘A few times men have walked in on me mid-prayer and with it being a prayer setting, it’s made me uncomfortable.
‘Most recently, I was triggered when at the end of the day I went to pray (when it’s very quiet in the building) and a man walked in.He was behind me and I couldn’t see him but instantly I was scared of being attacked.
‘This is more to do with me unlearning trauma from child sexual abuse than it is to do with the man. But I could’ve been saved from feeling this way had there been a woman-only space for me to quietly do my prayers.’
Alcohol seems to be a big part of office cultures but not everyone drinks nor feels comfortable interacting in drinking spaces. There’s a worry that if you skip drinks and miss out on bonding with the right people you risk being passed over for promotion.
‘Social gatherings that include drinking alcohol at the end of every week may mean that some WOC choose not to participate, this lack of participation is then termed as unfriendly and standoffish,’ adds Kelechi.
Many of us have been taught to view straight, European hair as professional, tidy and beautiful.
Journalist Miranda Larbi tells Metro.co.uk how she grew up with this way of thinking.
‘I used to straighten my hair for all major events. When I discovered straight hair, people used to tell me how much prettier I was so I always felt more attractive with it. My ex-boyfriend used to tell me that he preferred my hair straight and how much sexier/prettier/smarter I looked.
‘At my first job, I was asked to either straighten my hair or tie my curls up because wearing it natural was too “scruffy”.’
Dannie Sadiq, a teacher, tells Metro.co.uk about her bad hair experiences at work: ‘I had been working at a secondary school for six months and the moment I got braids in, a member of staff made me reintroduce myself to them because apparently, I was a new person.
‘I noticed that management was nicer to me when I had my braids but when the afro came back, people would make sly digs and try to touch it.’
Muslim women are sometimes turned down if they wear headscarves to interviews.
Having to explain and answer easily googlable questions, to be on guard about our differences and at the same time try not to stand out too much all has a price: the emotional tax.
Dnika Travis, VP of Catalyst, a nonprofit helping to create workplaces that work for women, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘There is an undue burden levied on women of colour because of exclusionary behaviors, affecting their overall health and wellbeing as well as making them feel constantly on guard.
‘In the U.S, the 58% of Asian, Black and Latinx employees who are on guard report they are also more likely to have sleep problems. This loss of sleep also jeopardises employees’ productivity and ability to fully contribute at work.
‘In addition, being on guard factors into their career decision-making, with 38% reporting they are more likely to frequently consider leaving their jobs.’
Gender pay gap
Gender pay gap disproportionately affects women of colour more than it does white women, and yet the mainstream campaigns for gender parity ignores this.
While there’s more of a push to hire more women and pay them the same as men doing the same jobs, companies are actually hiring fewer women altogether.
The Harvard Business Review notes that In the UK, women made up 29% of hires to UK boards in 2017, down from 32.1% in 2014 and 31.6% in 2012.
The National Women’s Law Center reports that in the U.S, white women on average make 79 cents for every dollar made by a man, while black women make 63 cents, Native American women make 57 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents.
BAME pay gap
Men and women from black, Asian and minority backgrounds earn 37% less than white workers in the U.K
But the stats are more dire for WOC who fare worse than BAME men and are discriminated not just on gender but race too.
Black African women have seen virtually no progress since the 1990s in closing the gender pay gap revealed research by the Fawcett Society.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi women experience the largest gender pay gap at 26.2% and Indian women experience the biggest gap with men in their ethnic group.
Thankfully, now there may be mandatory requirements to publish the BAME gap.
Rez Rahman, who worked in food television production, tells Metro.co.uk she had to change how she sounded in order to fit in with her colleagues.
‘You have to sound “proper” to be taken seriously, especially when people I work with come straight out of (culinary schools) Leiths or Cordon Bleu.
‘I think most people have to, from our background, to an extent.’
‘The average workspace definitely fails WOC, in my company the only other brown women I know in TV and film are my cousins!’
Psychotherapist R Islam tells Metro.co.uk that little throwaway comments can be hurtful and offensive.
‘A friendly clinician came up to me and read my first and last name, Islam, out loud.
‘Then he asked me if Islam meant “extremist.” Still processing what just occurred, I answered politely and said, “no, it actually means peace”.’
‘I was shocked and angry at myself for not saying more, but also surprised a clinician – trained to be culturally sensitive – made a joke in a lighthearted manner.
‘We still have a long way to go.’
What you can do to be inclusive to women of colour
There are are hundreds of stories online, blog posts, books and podcasts telling you of people’s lived experiences. Believe them, understand them.
It is not on women of colour to find the solution, even though we are the ones ‘with the problem’. The fact is we don’t like the problem but we are also not the ones perpetuating it. The answer to how to solve this is on all of us.
*Names have been changed.
‘Sorry, what did you say?’ is a phrase I hear all too frequently.
As a Northern Irish person living in London, I often struggle to be understood.
Two years on from moving here, my brain has learnt to be one step ahead and flag the words that I know people won’t be able to comprehend.
The in-built warning gives me just enough time to think about the way people keep telling me it’s meant to be said and blurt it out like I’ve never even been to Belfast.
It’s not that I’m not proud of where I’m from and our unique way of saying things, I’ve just grown sick of blank looks and repeating myself.
At work, I’m embarrassed when my colleagues or people on the phone have no idea what I am saying.
It’s pretty hard to get your point across when the only thing the other person can concentrate on is how you’ve just pronounced ‘tower’.
It seems I’m not alone.
A study by business telecoms provider 4Com has revealed that 44% of people are conscious of how their accents make them appear at work.
And taking it one step further, 28% admit to actually changing the way they speak to seem more professional.
Growing up in Northern Ireland, I was never aware what I was saying wasn’t ‘proper English’.
Maths was pronounced ‘maz’ and film was ‘filum’ – I never questioned it. I don’t think it even clicked that people on television were saying things differently.
At 18, I left home and went to university in Scotland. Living among my celtic cousins, I never thought my accent would be a problem.
With a group of mainly Scottish friends, there were things on both sides we struggled with but we learnt to adapt.
I did realise the Northern Irish accent seems to suck up elements of the way other people speak.
I picked up the occasional Scottish twang and after finishing my degree, I lived in Sheffield for a year, where I picked up elements of the South Yorkshire accent.
I was pretty sure when I moved to London to start work that my accent was completely different and no one would have a problem understanding me.
My family were always telling me how I sounded ‘posh’ now.
But a few weeks into my new job, I realised that a lot of the time, people had no clue what I was saying.
Colleagues commented, never in a nasty way – just because so many of the things I say are very far removed from the ‘correct’ way.
It was something I was increasingly conscious off, especially as a journalist who was interviewing people from all over the world. I can’t count the number of times an interviewee has spent the first 10 minutes of a call telling me how much they love the way I speak.
I started actively making an effort to change words before I said them.
It’s like my brain has collated a list of trigger words; mirror, power, shower, tower, eight, towels, now, situation, hold are some of the main ones.
Now I only go home a few times a year and although my accent quickly bounces back but there is the odd ‘new accent’ word that slips through – and suddenly it’s my family who are teasing me.
Sophie Jones, 25, works as a store manager at Eteaket in Edinburgh but grew up in New Zealand.
‘In New Zealand we often miss out certain syllables or shorten words. I have found myself not doing this at work now so that I seem more professional. I now pronounce words in a more ‘English’ way, making sure to finish every word in a sentence,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.
‘There are particular words – ten, pen, table, head, bag, change – that I say in an English accent.
‘It was something I consciously changed so that I didn’t get as many questions about my accent and so that when I was on the phone for work, the other person could understand me.
‘Customers are always saying ‘pardon’ and asking me to repeat things. When this happens I slow down my speech and put on my fake English accent so that they can understand me.
‘I have had family over who have said that I sound less kiwi than I used to and that I almost sound English. However I have Kiwi friends in the UK and when we are all together we have 100% New Zealand accents and that’s how I know that I only change it for work.
‘My heritage is something I’m proud off and I do worry about losing it altogether.’
James Oliver, 31, was working in Leeds – the city he grew up in – but speaking to colleagues in other offices make him change his accent.
He says: ‘I was born and bred in Leeds and was working for an international homeware supplier with an office in the outskirts of the city. The company’s head office was based in the Netherlands with sales offices located in the UK, Australia, Germany, USA and Hong Kong.
‘I basically had to create a more refined an enunciated version of my Yorkshire accent when conversing with my international colleagues as they struggled to understand me, particularly when talking on the phone.
‘It was a conscious change due to feedback from them. The biggest difficulties seemed to be with my Dutch colleagues, but as their English was a million times better than my Dutch I didn’t feel any resentment over having to alter my speech for their benefit.
‘They also took great pleasure in trying to mimic the accent once they realised what I was actually trying to tell them!
‘It was commented on a lot at the beginning but once I had adopted the ‘refined Yorkshire’ accent it wasn’t a problem moving forward – apart from at company socials. After a few drinks, my accent would get inevitably broader as the night went on.
‘It hasn’t had an impact on my day to day life, however I have been told by friends and family that my ‘phone voice’ can now sound smarmy.’
The figures show that it switching up the way you speak is more common for young people – 37% of 18-44 year olds change the way they speak, while just 15% of over 45s admit to changing their tonation.
Perhaps the older generation, often more established in careers, feel less pressure to fit in and be accepted than those who are newer to the professional world – but for those with very strong accents, it’s still a problem.
Shadia Al Hili, 47, from Manchester admits she worries she ‘always sound like a trucker’ and she is conscious of certain regional phrases.
‘Right from the off my greetings have to be hello how are you, as y’alright doesn’t go down well. I worry my choice of words can be perceived as lazy too as even though its my natural accent to say Y’alright people pick up on it straight away,’ she says.
‘I run my own bussiness called Cuzena, selling Middle Eastern dips. I need to seem professional immediately so my business inquiry is taken seriously. I do forget myself quite quickly and instead of sticking to my professional phone manner there is usually a slip of ‘nice one’ by the end of the conversation.
‘I consciously change it until you get to know me and realise my accent does not define me nor my intelligence. Having always worked for myself, I could just be me but when you are building a brand from scratch, I knew I had to represent it. I was the mouthpiece so I really have to try and speak in a grammatically correct way and pronounce my words with a softer accent.
‘People comment on it as when you are trying to tone your accent down you tend to talk slower because you are thinking about it. My parents have Middle Eastern heritage so people expect an exotic voice. I shatter that illusion within the first two minutes!
‘I struggle a bit too as my vocabulary is filled with Manchester terminology so its never long before I get “oh your from Manchester then”.
‘People may think your trying to reinvent yourself as a person however I’m not. I’m so proud of where I’m from, I was born and bread in Salford – where I was born or my accent should not limit my accomplishments. I just want to give my brand a chance and saying “ahhh yeah the food is mint” was not going to get people interested.’
Others admit it’s not about being more professional but simply because people don’t understand what they are saying.
Claire Shiels, 47 from Northumberland is the Director of PR agency.
She says: ‘I’m from a small town in Northumberland. I moved away in 1999 and have since worked and lived in London and Manchester, but returned to my home town in 2015.
‘I slow down my speech and pronounce words more carefully so I could be understood by colleagues, clients – and my husband, who is Mancunian. Some local words may also be misunderstood so I’ve adopted new ones. For example I now say “the cinema”, instead of “the pictures”.
‘I remember being teased by a boss in London about my pronunciation of the word “film”, which I can’t help but still pronounce “filim”. I gave as good as I got and frequently adopted a mock South London accent.
‘I still do have to concentrate when speaking to clients and people who aren’t from the North East. I hate the sound of my voice and although I’m very comfortable speaking in public, I can’t for one moment imagine that a Northumbrian accent would come across well.’
Consultant Psychologist and Clinic Director Dr Elena Touroni of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic sheds some light on the phenomenon: ‘It is important to understand what connotations (conscious or subconscious) the individual thinks about their voice if they are actively changing their accent.
“Do they find it embarrassing, indicative of their class, education or race? Or perhaps they feel it makes them stick out from everyone else. It is highly likely that someone who changes their accent is trying to avoid judgement from other people. This is a form of impression management strategy, to make them sound more professional, educated or of a higher class for example.’
Mark Pearcy, Head of Marketing at 4Com adds: ‘The variety of regional and international voices is one of the things that makes our country great. It’s a shame that so many people feel like they have to change their accents in the workplace. Our accents make us who we are, so let’s be as proud of our voices at work as we are at home!
‘People should feel comfortable to be themselves when they are around colleagues, so it is important that employers make sure that they provide an environment where people can be themselves and everyone’s unique flares and quirks are celebrated.’
Metro IllustrationsMetro Illustrationslauraabernethy6metro illustrationGetting better series: I don't know what to talk about in therapymetro illustrations
Disney fans, rejoice: Primark’s Minnie Mouse heels are finally back in stock.
They were first released last year, after being seemingly inspired by some Oscar Tiye originals, which were classy and sophisticated and featured black Minnie Mouse ears at the back.
But there was a huge downside to the heels – they were super expensive, ranging between £415 and £690.
And so obviously we were very happy when Primark released its own range – especially as the heels cost just £14.
Last year, Primark’s disney themed heels only came in black and gold, but this time they’re back in a variety of colours.
They’re back in a gold sandal style:
And again in a black court shoe:
But you can now also get them with a cute red bow:
And the courts in red, too:
Each style is very pretty and we’re all for the price – but we’re betting many other people will be too.
So, if you want to get your hands on a pair, you should head down to your local Primark ASAP.
Primark's Glittery Minnie Mouse Heels Are Perfect For Party SeasonPrimark's Glittery Minnie Mouse Heels Are Perfect For Party SeasonhattiegladwellmetroPrimark's Glittery Minnie Mouse Heels Are Perfect For Party Season Credit: PrimarkPrimark's Glittery Minnie Mouse Heels Are Perfect For Party Season Credit: PrimarkPrimark's Glittery Minnie Mouse Heels Are Perfect For Party Season Credit: PrimarkPrimark's Glittery Minnie Mouse Heels Are Perfect For Party Season Credit: Primark
Thousands of women are sharing stories of the first time they were sexually harassed in an online campaign. But is it helpful or damaging for victims of trauma to relive past experiences?
The hashtag #WhenIWas was started by Everyday Sexism on Twitter, with the aim of displaying how prevalent the problem of sexual harassment is, and how early it starts.
But the online discussion has divided opinion, with some saying it’s unhelpful and even traumatising to flood the timeline with stories of sexual abuse. Others said that reliving horrific experiences does nothing to change or improve abusive behaviour.
Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism, has defended the use of the hashtag and says sharing stories of abuse is a personal choice.
‘Completely understandably, some people don’t feel able to share their experiences and we absolutely support them in that – the hashtag was never a requirement, just a choice for anyone who did want to take part,’ she explains.
‘That’s why we also tweeted this message: “And for those who don’t feel able to share right now, we believe you, we support you and help is available” with a link to a helpline.’
Laura thinks that sharing these kinds of stories can help women and encourage healing and acceptance; ‘For some women, we know that sharing their stories has been very cathartic and empowering and helps to shatter the stigma that silences others.
‘The past year has shown how hugely powerful this can be in changing attitudes and raising awareness.
‘For others it may be too painful or doesn’t feel right. No woman ‘owes’ anyone her story, and we always support that choice. That’s why the Everyday Sexism Project focuses so much on working offline with schools, universities, workplaces and police forces, to try and stop the problem happening in the first place.’
Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpnataliemorris88Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrations
Halloween is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start planning out the designs you’re going to carve into your pumpkin.
And if you’re a dog owner – or just someone who absolutely adores pups – dog-o-lanterns are for you.
Dog-o-lanterns are pumpkins with your dog’s face carved into it.
There’s lots of them on Instagram for anyone who needs a little inspiration on how to create them.
Here are a few of our favourite designs so far.
How cute are these dog-o-lanterns?
The resemblance is uncanny
Look at this very good doggo with his pumpkin
We love this one!
If you haven’t got the skills to actually create your pup’s face, why not go for a paw print instead?
This one is amazing
These dog owners even added their pup’s teeth in!
This is super cute
This one is brilliant
And finally, this is a total masterpiece
We mere mortals may not be able to afford designer garms often, but high-end label Moschino’s collaboration with H&M might let us live fancy for a while.
The budget retailler usually collaborates with a different designer label each year and after causing a frenzy by joining forces with Balmain, H&M hopes to recreate the same success.
Model Gigi Hadid has been headlining the campaign and showed off what’s available
The range includes eye masks, leather baseball caps, and plenty of bling.
The man behind the kitschy designs is, of course, Jeremy Scott and he’s bringing all the fun to the collection, which also includes a Mickey Mouse dress, denim overalls, mini leather pumps, padlock bags and more.
The self-proclaimed people’s designer wants to make the brand accessible for everyone – even dogs (that’s right, you can dress your pooch in designer labels).
‘Lots of young people love my clothes. And we make phone cases and little things like that, but in order to have a look, I love that this is now something that will be affordable,’ he said.
‘The Moschino x H&M lookbook is like a party; celebrating the fun, the pop, the creativity, and the energy of the people and the collection.’
If you can’t wait to hit the shops then remember, it’s not in stores till 8 November. For now, we can only drool over the pictures.
We know weddings are all about the special union of two people – but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate their individual personalities too.
So if you know anyone who’s into modern art, enjoys nude sculptures or just needs a cake topper for their special day, send them Kirsty Rowan’s way.
That’s because she creates mini brides and grooms as wedding cake toppers but they’re all naked.
Kirsty, from Germany, doesn’t just sell special occasion staples, the artist has sculpted many other pieces of art including a naked Frieda Kahlo (pubes and all) a breastfeeding mum, and other delightful nude creatures.
‘I made my first set for the wedding of some friends of mine, I wanted to give them something a bit more exciting than a blender or book voucher,’ Kirsty told Metro.co.uk.
‘I made the sculptures as bookends, but they loved them so much that they put them on the wedding cake. They got such a good reaction that other friends requested the same for their weddings, and after the first few I decided to list them on my Etsy store.
‘I’ve now had couples buy them from all over the world, and it’s been such a pleasure to be a part of their special day. You get to know the couples quite well during the design process, as each set is made to order based on their hobbies, tattoos and personalities.
‘I recently sent a set to Sacramento, and the feedback I had from them was absolutely gorgeous. Most people expect wedding toppers to be those quaint little brides in white, and so when they see something so totally different they react really well to it, it makes the cake that bit more exciting. I made a set of naked toppers for my wedding cake in May, it went down a treat!’
And everyone who’s ordered them off Kirsty’s Etsy page has said they loved it.
‘The toppers were such a hit at the wedding on Sunday!’ one person wrote.
‘We actually didn’t have a cake, we had a pie. The cake toppers were a little too big so I found two miniature couches and put them on our sweetheart table next to the pie. Everyone was able to come up and see them and everybody freaked out over how amazing they were!’
If you wanted to add a little uniqueness to your cake, you can order the toppers here.
Naked sculptures as wedding toppersNaked sculptures as wedding toppersfaimabakar1Naked sculptures as wedding toppers Kirsty Rowan
It is great to see Metro.co.uk covering disability as a societal issue and to read Samantha Renke’s thought provoking article on how those with disabilities should not be referred to as ‘inspirational’.
Samantha and I have much in common – we are both passionate about disability rights and extinguishing society’s stigmatisation of disability; we are both disabled people ourselves, with plain to see physical conditions (I have shortened arms caused by the drug Thalidomide); and we are both involved with Scope, the UK’s leading disability charity – Samantha as an ambassador for our work and I am one of the charity’s trustees.
With so much in common, it is perhaps surprising that we have strongly contrasting views on the issue Samantha highlighted in her article.
I too receive that accolade reasonably often, sometimes from complete strangers, sometimes from people I have worked or socialised with.
While I find it mildly embarrassing, because I too do not consider myself to be particularly exceptional, I do not feel uneasy or annoyed when it happens.
Indeed, I regard it as society recognising ‘difference’ and the fact that disabled people, as a substantial minority in society, often have tougher lives than others.
Before outlining how my views and feelings differ from Samantha’s, let me make something very clear – I respect her views enormously and applaud her thoughtful and eloquently expressed comments.
I do not want to imply that my views and position on this important subject are ‘right’ and that hers are ‘wrong’, merely to underline that disability’s relationship with society is a complex issue around which there are many points of view.
Like Samantha, I am not ashamed of my disability and it alone certainly does not define me as an individual.
I also have ‘disability pride’, but not from any love of my disability, but because I am disabled and I am able to play a full and active role in society.
Would I prefer not to have been born with my disability? Resoundingly, yes. Would I prefer to be able to play some of the sports I love watching, or to be able to wash my back myself? Would I prefer not to have to pay tens of thousands of pounds to have my car adapted for me to drive, or to not find dressing myself time consuming, tiring, and tiresome? What do you think?
Some would say that ‘problems’ like these are constructed by society and that any barriers preventing me doing what others do should be removed.
Well, even if they are constructed by society, it is the society I am part of, and love living in – and I do not think it is reasonable to expect it to be constructed specifically around me.
When people are kind enough to say that how I live my life is an inspiration to them, I interpret it as them acknowledging that full engagement with society and what it has to offer is a positive way to deal with the ‘downs’ in life that everyone, whether disabled or not, encounters at various and varying stages of their lives.
I hold the much more frequent, entirely unsolicited offers of help and assistance from complete strangers in the same light – as not in any way condescending or patronising, but as compassionate and thoughtful.
Much of the reason why Samantha and I have such different views on this issue may well be simply generational – I am in my (very) late 50s and can remember the days when any sort of positive comment about my disability or how I dealt with it was very rare indeed.
I may well be much too accepting of the improvement in society’s attitude to disability from ‘worse’ to just ‘bad’, and therefore lack the zeal of my younger peers to strive for the ‘best’.
Alternatively, my long experience of living, indeed, perhaps even thriving, with a disability may be helping me understand that a very good outcome would be for society to view disability as just another version of ‘normal’ – those of us with disabilities are not the same as those without them, but we are neither better nor worse either.
Where Samantha and I are in complete agreement is that society’s perception of disability is still flawed and that expectations of the disabled community are too low.
My call is to disabled people just as much as to society – we should ‘come out’, wear the badge of disability with pride, and if we get called inspirational for demonstrating that other people’s low expectations were unjustified, we should celebrate and take confidence that society is acknowledging that we can live life just as fully as anyone else.
Robin Hindle Fisher - Business Coach, Hay Hill PartnersRobin Hindle Fisher - Business Coach, Hay Hill Partnersaimeepm
Becoming part of the All Fifty States (of the U.S) Club is no easy feat; it takes months of meticulous planning, budgeting, and organising the time off work.
For Harper Yeates though, the latter isn’t much of a problem as she’s only five months old.
The tiny traveller is about to achieve what most of us will never manage – becoming the youngest person to visit all the American states.
She’s been pictured from Hawaii to Wyoming to Nevada. The last leg on her countrywide tour (with her parents) is Vermont.
At the entrance of each state, Harper’s parents Cindy and Tristan have been taking pictures of the tot, dressing her up for the occasion.
She can be seen sitting atop the ‘Welcome to Wyoming’ sign (with some help from mum), wearing bright yellow in front of the colourful state of Colarado sign, and matching colours to the North Carolina flag.
The Australian family started off their trip three months ago when mum Cindy was on maternity leave.
‘Best of all, notwithstanding the naysayers, I’m happy to report Harper (now five months old) is still in one piece,’ wrote Cindy on Twitter.
‘She hasn’t grown five noses, she doesn’t have a flat head, and all her limbs are intact. Despite the “trauma” we have put her through, she is just a happy little baby and hopefully on her way to becoming an avid traveller herself.’
Now that Vermont is going to be their final state, the family wants to make it special.
Cindy urged her Twitter followers for suggestions on what they could do to mark the occasion.
She added meeting Bernie Sanders, a Vermont native, would be pretty cool.
So Bernie, if you’re reading, there’s a five-month-old excited to meet you.
5-month-old baby youngest in the U.S to see all 50 states5-month-old baby youngest in the U.S to see all 50 statesfaimabakar1
An island brewery is tackling food waste by making beer from leftover loaves of bread.
Bute Brew Co, use surplus bread donated from their local Co-op shop to create their ‘Thorough Bread’ brew – a 5.1% alcohol craft beer.
The remote microbrewery, based on the Isle of Argyll and Bute, collects the bread, cuts it and then toasts it in pizza ovens as part of the brewing process.
The bread replaces some of the malt that’s usually used in the brewing process. Brewery owner Aidan Canavan was encouraged to take up the practice by Zero Waste Scotland in a bid to reduce the waste of bread on the island.
Adian, 40, said their new beer has opened up the company’s eyes to the issue of waste.
He said: ‘Our Thorough Bread beer came about through a discussion about the volume of bread that is wasted going to landfill here on the Isle of Bute.
‘Because we are a tourist destination there needs to be enough bread made for all the weekend visitors.
‘But if the weather is particularly bad and the visitors don’t come bread sales drop and that bread goes to landfill.’
The brewers were also inspired by chef Jamie Oliver who featured on a TV programme using stale bread to make beer.
Aidan said: ‘We had a pretty tight brew schedule and the bread beer is quite intensive.
‘The bread needs to be gathered and cut, then we toast it in our pizza ovens at the end of the weekend.’
‘The result was great. The beer had another depth of flavour brought by the toasted sugars in the bread.
‘So now we have a really good tasting beer and it really took off in our tap room.
‘Customers loved the circular economy story and loved the beer.
‘The first batch disappeared much quicker that’s we imagined and customers were asking for more.’
Aidan says that not only is his company making great beer, but he’s really been opened up to the issue of waste.
He explained: ‘Because we are on an Island with a defined border around us we are more aware of things that are brought on to the island need to be shipped off when no longer of use.
‘So if we can reduce the amount we need to ship back off in the form of waste, we reduce our costs.’
BREAD TO BREW - An island brewery is tackling food waste by making beer from leftover loaves of breadBREAD TO BREW - An island brewery is tackling food waste by making beer from leftover loaves of breadhattiegladwellmetroBute Brew Co beer Thorough Bread made using out of date bread from a local shop on the Isle of Bute. See SWNS story SWSCbeer; An island brewery is tackling food waste by making beer from leftover loaves of bread. Remote microbrewery, Bute Brew Co, use surplus bread donated from their local Co-op shop to create their 'Thorough Bread' beer. The microbrewery from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute used leftover bread donated the from the local Co-op store in place of some of the malt that's normally used in the brewing process.Bute Brew Co beer Thorough Bread made using out of date bread from a local shop on the Isle of Bute. See SWNS story SWSCbeer; An island brewery is tackling food waste by making beer from leftover loaves of bread. Remote microbrewery, Bute Brew Co, use surplus bread donated from their local Co-op shop to create their 'Thorough Bread' beer. The microbrewery from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute used leftover bread donated the from the local Co-op store in place of some of the malt that's normally used in the brewing process.Aidan Canavan (left) and Simon Tardivel (right) from Bute Brew Co with their beer Thorough Bread made using out of date bread from a local shop on the Isle of Bute. See SWNS story SWSCbeer; An island brewery is tackling food waste by making beer from leftover loaves of bread. Remote microbrewery, Bute Brew Co, use surplus bread donated from their local Co-op shop to create their 'Thorough Bread' beer. The microbrewery from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute used leftover bread donated the from the local Co-op store in place of some of the malt that's normally used in the brewing process.
A dog won first place in a dog costume contest by dressing up as Donald Trump.
Marshall, an 18-month-old Havanese, nailed the look with a wig that perfectly mimicked Trump’s blonde quiff.
He also wore a doggy suit and a red tie to take first place in the Wayne County Dog Shelter’s second annual Howl-o-ween Dog Walk on Saturday.
Marshall’s owner, Trump supporter Jeanette Young, 50, said her pooch was the spitting image of Trump.
The full-time mother said: ‘It really felt like we were with the president. Marshall was posing and parading around and everyone was giving him attention.
‘They were asking for pictures like he was a real celebrity. His hair waved in the air just like Donald’s does. It was a total triumph.’
Jeanette, who attended the show with fiance Matt Airwyke, 48, daughter Lorna, 19, nieces Emelia, eight, and Rayln, six, said that Marshall easily stood out among his 20 canine competitors.
She said: ‘He was the only dog with a political outfit. The other dogs were dressed as sharks and dinosaurs.
‘The pitbull who won second place was dressed as a superhero. None of them were as eye-catching as our Donald Trump.’
Jeanette said that her family are Trump supporters and Marshall’s costume was a loving tribute.
She said: ‘We are absolutely supporters of Trump and it was meant to be a loving tribute. I wouldn’t dress my dog up as just anyone.’
She added that the costume was actually Lorna’s idea.
Lorna said: ‘I was scrolling through Amazon looking for ideas and I spotted a Donald Trump wig for dogs.
‘I thought to myself: “Let’s do it, nobody else is going to dress up as Donald Trump.”‘
She bought the $11 (£8.30) wig and a $15 (£11.33) doggy suit and the costume was complete.
She said: ‘When I put it on, it was hilarious and I had to take the picture. When we got him to the dog show, he was taking it in his stride.’
Lorna doubts this is the last time Marshall will transform into Donald Trump.
She said: ‘We will probably dress him up as Donald Trump for Halloween and let the little kids see him when they trick or treat. It’s too good an outfit to just be seen once.’
Trump DogTrump DoghattiegladwellmetroLorna holding Marshall as Donald Trump. See SWNS story NYSWdog; A presidential pooch who dressed up as Donald Trump walked away with first place in a dog costume contest. Marshall, an 18-month-old Havanese, nailed the POTUS?s look with a wig that perfectly mimicked Trump?s trademark gingery flyaway hair. He paired the wig with a doggy suit and a red tie to take first place in the Wayne County Dog Shelter?s in Wooster, Ohio second annual Howl-o-ween Dog Walk on Saturday. His owner Jeanette Young, 50, said that Marshall was the spitting image of the leader of the free world. The full-time mum said: ?It really felt like we were with the president. Marshall was posing and parading around and everyone was giving him attention. ?They were asking for pictures like he was a real celebrity. His hair waved in the air just like Donald?s does. It was a total triumph.? Jeanette, who attended the show with fiance Matt Airwyke, 48, a retired army officer, daughter Lorna, 19, and niece Emelia, eight, and Rayln, six, said that Marshall easily stood out among his 20 canine competitors. She said: ?He was the only dog with a political outfit. The other dogs were dressed as sharks and dinosaurs. The pitbull who won second place was dressed as a superhero. None of them were as eye catching as our Donald Trump.? Jeanette said that her family are Trump supporters and Marshall?s costume was a loving tribute. She said: ?We are absolutely supporters of Trump and it was meant to be a loving tribute. I wouldn?t dress my dog up as just anyone.?She credited Lorna, a pizzeria manager who aims to become a vet tech, with dreaming up the costume idea.Lorna holding Marshall as Donald Trump. See SWNS story NYSWdog; A presidential pooch who dressed up as Donald Trump walked away with first place in a dog costume contest. Marshall, an 18-month-old Havanese, nailed the POTUS?s look with a wig that perfectly mimicked Trump?s trademark gingery flyaway hair. He paired the wig with a doggy suit and a red tie to take first place in the Wayne County Dog Shelter?s in Wooster, Ohio second annual Howl-o-ween Dog Walk on Saturday. His owner Jeanette Young, 50, said that Marshall was the spitting image of the leader of the free world. The full-time mum said: ?It really felt like we were with the president. Marshall was posing and parading around and everyone was giving him attention. ?They were asking for pictures like he was a real celebrity. His hair waved in the air just like Donald?s does. It was a total triumph.? Jeanette, who attended the show with fiance Matt Airwyke, 48, a retired army officer, daughter Lorna, 19, and niece Emelia, eight, and Rayln, six, said that Marshall easily stood out among his 20 canine competitors. She said: ?He was the only dog with a political outfit. The other dogs were dressed as sharks and dinosaurs. The pitbull who won second place was dressed as a superhero. None of them were as eye catching as our Donald Trump.? Jeanette said that her family are Trump supporters and Marshall?s costume was a loving tribute. She said: ?We are absolutely supporters of Trump and it was meant to be a loving tribute. I wouldn?t dress my dog up as just anyone.?She credited Lorna, a pizzeria manager who aims to become a vet tech, with dreaming up the costume idea.Lorna holding Marshall as Donald Trump. See SWNS story NYSWdog; A presidential pooch who dressed up as Donald Trump walked away with first place in a dog costume contest. Marshall, an 18-month-old Havanese, nailed the POTUS?s look with a wig that perfectly mimicked Trump?s trademark gingery flyaway hair. He paired the wig with a doggy suit and a red tie to take first place in the Wayne County Dog Shelter?s in Wooster, Ohio second annual Howl-o-ween Dog Walk on Saturday. His owner Jeanette Young, 50, said that Marshall was the spitting image of the leader of the free world. The full-time mum said: ?It really felt like we were with the president. Marshall was posing and parading around and everyone was giving him attention. ?They were asking for pictures like he was a real celebrity. His hair waved in the air just like Donald?s does. It was a total triumph.? Jeanette, who attended the show with fiance Matt Airwyke, 48, a retired army officer, daughter Lorna, 19, and niece Emelia, eight, and Rayln, six, said that Marshall easily stood out among his 20 canine competitors. She said: ?He was the only dog with a political outfit. The other dogs were dressed as sharks and dinosaurs. The pitbull who won second place was dressed as a superhero. None of them were as eye catching as our Donald Trump.? Jeanette said that her family are Trump supporters and Marshall?s costume was a loving tribute. She said: ?We are absolutely supporters of Trump and it was meant to be a loving tribute. I wouldn?t dress my dog up as just anyone.?She credited Lorna, a pizzeria manager who aims to become a vet tech, with dreaming up the costume idea.
Everyone has that friend who gets into a relationship and becomes a ‘we’.
‘Oh, we don’t like pumpkin pie.’
‘We’d love to come but we’ve already booked dinner that night.’
It’s undeniably irritating, but this little habit might actually signal a happier, healthier relationship.
New research from the University of California Riverside analysed 30 studies of nearly 5,300 participants and found that couples who often say ‘we’ and ‘us’ have more successful relationships and are healthier and happier.
Lead researcher Megan Robbins has previously suggested that ‘we-talk’ is an indicator of interdependence, meaning in a couple two people play a part in each other’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, signalling a change in thinking from self-oriented to relationship-oriented.
Interdependence has been tied to healthy relationship acts such as providing support in stressful times and making decisions together as a couple.
For the new research, the team analysed couples in five measures: relationship outcomes, relationship behaviours, mental health, physical health, and health behaviours (how people take care of themselves).
They found that there was a benefit in all five measures among couples who regularly used ‘we’ instead of ‘I’.
So there’s a link between saying ‘we’ and having a better relationship. What we don’t know is the cause and effect – are happier couples more likely to say ‘we’, or does saying ‘we’ make you happier?
That’s the area the research team wants to look into next.
‘Hearing yourself or a partner say these words could shift individuals’ ways of thinking to be more interdependent, which could lead to a healthier relationship,’ said Megan Robbins.
‘It could also be the case that because the relationship is healthy and interdependent, the partners are being supportive and use we-talk.’
Why does everyone want a goth girlfriend?Why does everyone want a goth girlfriend?ellencscottmetro illustrations
While many brides are desperate to tell anyone who’ll listen about the tiniest details of their wedding, others go in the opposite direction.
Take this anonymous bride, for example, who kindly requests that everyone just bloody well stops asking her about the big day.
Over on Mumsnet, a mum has shared a screenshot of a bride’s status, asking whether people think the woman is being reasonable or rude.
The status reads: ‘The amount of questions I have been asked about our wedding is getting ridiculous and by people who won’t even be invited… so to put the answer out there before anyone else asks I am going to wear my glasses and you know what I don’t need to tell you why…
‘Also to answer further questions… Yes I am changing my name, Yes I have picked my bridesmaids (they know who they are), Yes [groom] did pick the ring all by himself and yes it was a complete surprise.
‘No we aren’t getting married in Scotland, children will be invited but only selected ones, only Scottish people can wear kilts and yes there will be dancing.
If you have asked one of these questions and aren’t a member of our family or a close friend you can go take a hike…
‘Also [groom] and I are the last people who need advice on how to plan and deliver an event so kindly take your “helpful advice” and stick it up your ass!’
So, a lot to dissect there.
We actually get the irritation at being asked constantly about whether or not you’ll wear glasses to the wedding (are you suggesting that someone *shouldn’t* wear glasses on their wedding day), and understand that it must be annoying to answer the same questions over and over.
But how many people are asking whether they can wear kilts? We thought brides liked talking about the proposal?
Over on Mumsnet, responses are divided.
Some understand how maddening it is to be asked endless questions by people who aren’t even involved in the wedding, while others are calling the bride miserable and rude.
‘Wow, it’s called being politely interested,’ wrote one mum. ‘And anyone can wear a kilt, you don’t combust it you’re not Scottish.’
Another suggested: ‘I think that sounds like a very specific point, despite the illusion of it being aimed at several people, aimed at one person who is overstepping with their opinions on the wedding.’ Fair point.
This bride isn’t the only one whose wedding has tipped her over the angry line. We’ve previously enjoyed a bride’s threat to delete all her Facebook friends unless they pay thousands to attend her wedding, and one wedding organiser’s incredible list of demands for the big day.
Can we blame them? Weddings are stressful. You try organising a big fancy party everyone enjoys without losing your head a bit.
Bride's rantBride's rantellencscottMETRO GRAB - taken from Mumsnet Bride's rant Mumsnet
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew have been reunited to see their youngest daughter, Princess Eugenie, marry her long-term partner Jack Brooksbank.
Despite divorcing 22 years ago, Andrew and Fergie are still very close and supportive of one another.
While all eyes will undoubtedly be on Eugenie and ‘who’ she is wearing, here we take a look back at the Duchess of York’s wedding day and what she wore to marry her prince.
Sarah and Andrew married on Wednesday 23 July 1986 in Westminster Abbey.
Her dress was designed by Lindka Cierach, her gown was created from duchesse satin and featured heavy beading. 17 feet.
Wedding dress fever had swept the nation so much by this point that copies of Sarah’s dress were being sold in stores hours after her wedding.
Andrew and Sarah announced their engagement on Wednesday 19 March 1986. Andrew proposed with a stunning deep red Burmese ruby stone, which was surrounded by 10 pear cut diamonds and sits on a yellow gold band.
Also created by Garrard & Co, it was designed by Prince Andrew himself.
He is believed to have selected the ruby to complement Sarah’s red hair.
Deborah Papas of Prestige Pawnbrokers estimated: ‘Burmese rubies are considered to have the best colour and are often referred to as ‘Pigeon’s Blood’.
‘At the time, it was reported the ruby alone cost Prince Andrew £25,000. Today the whole ring could be worth between £150,000 – £200,000 and given the fineness of the ruby, possibly a lot more!’
Papas adds: ‘After Charles and Diana’s wedding, the Queen received just over an ounce further of the rare Clogau gold so that future wedding rings could be made for the Royal family.’ The Duchess of York’s wedding band was therefore made from this gold and carries the same value.
Following their wedding, the Duke and Duchess Of York headed on honeymoon in an open carriage, complete with a paper mache satellite dish and sign that read ‘Phone Home’, as well as a giant teddy bear, all placed there by Diana, Edward and Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret’s son.
They boarded a royal jet – with the back door emblazoned with the words ‘just married’ – and flew to Azores where they enjoyed a five-day cruise around the Atlantic on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Some of the islands they visited they could only enter access via a rubber dinghy.
Anwar Hussein CollectionAnwar Hussein Collectionamyduncanukmetro
We’ve all got our little routine when it comes to getting ready for sex.
If you’re in a long term relationship it might be as simple as a quick wee and brushing your teeth. If you’re having sex with someone for the first time it’s probably a bit more involved and might include a bikini wax or buying some new pants.
But how do the pros do it? We spoke to American porn star and comedienne Silvia Saige to find out how she preps for having sex on film. She told Metro.co.uk:
‘When I’m preparing for a scene I always have to shave my bikini area the night before, as to avoid any irritation. I usually find that it helps to exfoliate beforehand, while putting a little Teatree oil down below afterwards can prevent razor bumps*. I’m not a fan of people using deodorant as an alternative because it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I’m going down on them.
‘I always, without fail, make sure that I get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water, these really are the essentials! Being rested and hydrated helps me to enjoy filming, as I remain energised and upbeat which is always important. I want both me and my co-star to have a positive experience!
‘Most of the time I get a spray tan the night before to maintain a healthy, olive skin tone. It’s important to feel comfortable and if you find that this comes with having a tan then why not?! Especially with harsh lighting and cameras all around! Whether it’s wearing your favourite lingerie set or using your go-to body lotion, there’s no wrong way to prepare yourself for sex. You know what you like so go with that!’
‘On the day I’ll usually wake up at around 6am to make sure I have time for a light breakfast and shower, I need to make sure I’m heading to set with clean hair and a fresh face! If I have time, I might play with myself before I leave for a shoot, to help get me in the mood. I enjoy what I do and this only adds to my own pleasure! When I arrive, I’ll chat with my co-star about the scene ahead and what we can both expect. This is important with every sexual encounter: set your limits, understand each other’s preferences and keep an open mind.
‘If I’m filming for an anal scene, this requires more prep. I will typically stop eating around 8pm the night before and be sure to avoid alcohol. The morning of the scene I will clean with a douche approximately three times until the water in the toilet is completely clear. Then you know you’re ready to go!’
We would add that douching before anal sex is not a prerequisite. If it makes you feel more comfortable then that’s totally your choice, but equally the person you’re having anal sex with should realise that if you put your penis in the place where poo lives, there is a chance it’ll result in getting some on your dick. That’s life.
You can follow Silvia (who is also a comedian) on Instagram here.
*Using tea tree on intimate areas can irritate delicate skin. For some people it’ll be totally fine, but it’s one to be wary of.
A listing for a ‘studio’ – or a shed, as it may be better known – appeared on spotahome.com this week, offering people the chance to rent a property stuffed down a side alley for the grand price of €700 (£612) a month.
Following some anger and confusion online, the listing has been removed, but thankfully the good people managed to capture all the details before that happened.
The ‘cosy studio’ in Sutton was offered out as a one bedroom property for around £612 a month.
Despite appearing to be a shed, essentially, or just a shack on the side of someone’s home, the agent described the property as ‘a unique little room that has pretty much all you need.’
Which is true, as long as you don’t need floor space or a washing machine.
‘The flat has a fully-equipped kitchen when you walk in,’ read the listing. ‘It also has a sitting area, with table and chairs. You can get up to the bed by climbing some stairs. Below the bed is the bathroom, complete with toilet and shower.’
A note on that: The ‘fully-equipped kitchen’ only has a two ring hob and no oven. The bathroom doesn’t have its own sink, so you’d need to pop to the kitchen to wash your hands after a poo.
The listing provided a floor plan, which is just a long rectangle with the word ‘bedroom’ written on there. Handy.
Oh, and those stairs you climb up to get to your bed? Actually just a wooden ladder. At least it matches the walls, which are all wood apart from one exposed brick side.
This would all be pretty entertaining, but unfortunately the current state of the housing market means living in a shed with a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom for £612 a month doesn’t sound like *that* bad of a deal.
Clearly I’ve been living in London too long, because I’d actually consider living in someone’s side alley.
Naturally after the uproar the listing was taken down.
Spotahome released a statement about the flat, saying: ‘Spotahome is an online residential rentals platform that aims to demonstrate each property in a realistic manner through photos, detailed videos and floor plans.
‘Our job is to verify the property’s existence, features and location to facilitate rentals without in-person viewings. As a marketplace, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure they meet all legal requirements.
‘Clearly this listing didn’t meet requirements as it only has a 2-ring hob and minimum standards require a 4-ring hob with oven and grill, and a cooker hood.
‘We have taken the feedback from Twitter users on board, and have unpublished the property. In regards to the price, landlords set their own pricing, terms and conditions and the contract is signed directly between the tenant and the landlord.’
Ah. Let’s all laugh at this funny little mishap so we don’t all sob in the knowledge we’re spunking away our life savings on rent. It’s okay.
SEI_34724915-cdf1SEI_34724915-cdf1ellencscottSomeone's renting out the lane beside their houseSomeone's renting out the lane beside their houseSomeone's renting out the lane beside their houseSomeone's renting out the lane beside their houseSomeone's renting out the lane beside their houseSomeone's renting out the lane beside their house
Marks and Spencer have come under fire online for selling a hijab for young children.
The garment, which is stocked as part of the school uniform category on the website, is controversial as it reportedly would fit a child around the age of 3-4.
The sizes on the website are a vague, coming in ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ without giving a specific age range, or a size guide to explain what age each of the sizes is aimed at. However, from the reviews, the medium size would apparently fit a four year old.
One review reads: ‘This hijab is stretchy with durable stitching and a soft material. Important – Sizes are inaccurate. I ended up purchasing all 3 sizes (SML) and I’m comfortable to recommend a size M 4 year olds and size L 7-9 year olds. The older children may feel restricted with it on, due to the the size.’
However, M&S claim that the smallest hijab they make is designed to fit a child with a 55-56 centimeter circumference head. A representative for M&S told Metro.co.uk that was the head size of an average nine year old. According to the World Health Organisation, a five year old with a 52 inch head circumference would be on the 97th percentile.
According to many Muslims, covering the head is something that young women should do upon reaching puberty, hence the outrage at the expectation for a small child to do so.
Maajid Nawas who is a counter-extremist and encourages the reform of Islam commented (in response to my question about whether there was any scriptual basis for children to wear hijab): ‘I don’t even think hijab should apply to adults, but there’s a healthy debate there. There’s absolutely no scripture even alluding to this for pre-pubescent girls Rebecca, not even a passage that can be weakly misinterpreted. All that exists is fundamentalist zealotry.’
However, there were those who disagreed. A Muslim woman named Nima claimed that the desire to wear hijab was about wanting to emulate female role models, not about being forced to cover up: ‘ Let me educate you a little. hijab is obligatory once the individual has hit puberty. Little girls look up to their mothers therefore optionally choose to wear it.’
We spoke to M&S who said: ‘We provide bespoke uniforms for 250 schools across the country and they tell us which items they need as part of their school uniform list. For a number of schools this year, they requested the option of the hijab.’
2018 won’t go down in the history books for having changed very much. Brexit is still Brexit. Trump is still Trump. And Theresa may or may not know what she’s doing, but she doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
Yet, open up the ‘her-story’ books (yep I went there) and you will see a big red circle around 2018: the year that women got their period.
Menstruation has existed since the dawn of man, and yet the real struggles of our monthly cycle has only just dawned on some.
Cost and availability of sanitary items was finally being discussed on major news channels, politicians and celebrities alike showed their support for ending period poverty – not just in the world’s poorest countries, but in our own.
Periods have always happened in secret. Behind closed toilet doors.
Sanitary towels weren’t seen and weren’t heard (apart from the lady in the next cubicle opening up her pad as if it were a sweet wrapper in a theatre, fearful that anyone within earshot will know her dirty secret).
As far as televisual media is concerned, periods aren’t even bloody: they are made of blue gel, and inhabit the knickers of models rollerblading through parks in white shorts.
The #freeperiod movement – fronted by the utterly awesome Amika George – and the #periodpoverty hashtag brought much needed media attention to the plight of women and children in the UK who are unable to afford sanitary items, calling on the government to provide them for free to the homeless and those in education.
Plan International revealed that one in 10 young girls can’t afford pads or tampons, often resorting to improvised rolls of toilet tissue, socks, theft or skipping school altogether.
Highlighting the expense of periods is vital, but so is talking about them.
Embarrassment accounts for too many of us suffering in silence, and it stems from a very deep-rooted shame instilled in us since childhood.
I remember being taught about periods only a few months before I started my own.
The boys went off to play football. The girls got herded into the year six classroom.
Mrs Clayton shut the blinds. She shut the god damn blinds, like it was a Cobra meeting. It’s no wonder we grew up feeling as though it was a part of our lives that we needed to hide, like a tampon up your sleeve on the way to the loo.
The Bible has its own part to play in period-shaming.
Leviticus reckons women are ‘unclean for seven days’ during and after menstruation, and that anyone who even dares to touch her (or her bed, or anything she has sat on) during this time is equally screwed.
This might all seem like a thing of the past, but last year, 137,000 girls in the UK missed school because of their period. Not because of the period itself, but because they can’t afford sanitary towels.
We don’t talk about a natural part of female biology, so it’s easier to suffer in silence. If penises bled, we’d be talking about it.
I get it. Periods are a bodily function. Bodily functions are gross.
But loo roll is free. We’re not embarrassed about loo roll. We have puppies rolling around in it. And I commit far worse crimes on toilet paper.
Menstruation is part of the process of creating a human being. Each and every one of us on this planet started life as a late period.
They are by no means a walk in the park. Irregular, painful and problematic periods can be a warning sign of other conditions, so it’s important to eradicate shame so that we feel able to talk about changes in our bodies.
PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis can all present themselves as seemingly heavy periods.
I hear far too many stories of women suffering in silence for years because they thought that their pain was part of the female condition and didn’t want to bother their GP. Or even worse, they speak to their GP and are told it’s just ‘women’s problems’. We know our bodies, and we know when a period doesn’t feel right.
Period dramas have existed long before the BBC made them popular. They can be pretty funny too. And the more we share our stories, the more we laugh about them and normalise them. Which leads me to appeal to you to share your own, honest period stories.
They may be bloody funny, bloody painful or bloody embarrassing. Either way, they’ll be bloody.
Share them with the hashtag #honestperiod and let’s start an honest conversation about menstruation.
Here’s a couple to start you off.
When I met my ex’s family, they didn’t have a bin in their bathroom. My foolproof ‘wrap-your-pad-up-in-tissue-and-shove-it-in-your-handbag’ plan was fooled by the family cockerpoo, who used it as a chew toy later that evening in a horror version of the Andrex advert.
I remember leaking for the first time (age 11) on Hayley Armett’s fresh bedding after filling up an extra-long night time pad in less than 60 mins.
I stood up, did the obligatory ‘period check’, and upon seeing blood on the sheets, punched myself in the face so that she would think I’d had a nosebleed.
See? Periods are hilarious, and they mean different things to different women at different times in their lives.
Some are unwelcome, some are devastating, some are a relief.
They are a part of womanhood, but they do not define womanhood – you are no less woman if you don’t have periods.
To those of us who do: congratulations on bleeding for five days a month without dying.
So here’s to the strangers in toilets with a tampon to spare when you need it most. Here’s to the partners who don’t faint at the first sight of blood. And here’s to my cab driver this morning, who gave me his copy of the Evening Standard to sit on because I was nervous about his beige upholstery.
Period poverty protestPeriod poverty protestaimeepmPeople gather during a Period Poverty protest opposite Downing Street in Whitehall, led by Free Periods, a group which is asking for free sanitary products for all girls on free school meals. The protest features speeches from among others.