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

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    If you love visiting Barcelona and the Costa Brava, but have started to develop a been-there-done-that attitude toward the big city and coastal pleasures of Catalunya, you might want to consider delving deeper into the region.

    The interior of Catalunya offers a distinctively exotic edge that’s anything but a watered down version of Spanish and French cultures.

    Plus, the food is exceptionally tasty, and the activities are super fun, and there’s a range of comfy accommodation too.

    I fell hard for the dynamic scenery, the vast forests and the wide-open spaces.

    My route by car yielded so many unexpected vistas, with some of the most striking sights reminding me of a mix of tours in the American southwest, the Swiss Alps, and the Scottish Highlands.

    Winding up and down mountains, in and out of clouds, zipping through valleys and gorges with rushing rivers and snow-capped peaks in view were memorable pleasures in their own right.

    My adventures began in the city of Lleida, where I arrived via a two-hour train ride from Sants Station in the Catalan capital.

    The capital of its province (also called Lleida) with a population of around 140,000, Lleida is by far the biggest city around.

    (Picture: Chris Osburn)

    During the last weekend of May – when I happened to be there – the population swells by several thousand more, with people attending the annual Aplec de Caragol, a weekend celebration centred round eating lots and lots of snails.

    In addition to what was cooking at the festival grounds, I found snails to be a prominent feature on restaurant menus around town and across the province.

    I had lovely meals at Celler del Roser in Lleida’s Old Town and the cosy Restaurant TK near the train station. I especially enjoyed my plate of sausage, artichoke, potato, peppers and aubergine at the latter. Located across from my hotel (Hotel Rambla Lleida), it was conveniently placed for a quick breakfast with coffee too.

    La Seu Vella cathedral (Picture: Chris Osburn)

    Of course, there were loads of non-snail related things to do in Lleida, including the Knights Templar Castle of Gardeny and the huge hilltop Seu Vella cathedral, featuring sweeping views across the plains to the Pyrenees.

    After three nights in Lleida, I picked up a hire car and headed to the mountains for an overnight in the tiny village and ski resort of Espot.

    The gateway to the glorious Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park – Catalunya’s only national park – Espot was the very definition of quietude during my off-season stay at the quaint two-star Hotel Roya. I slept like a log in silence and fresh mountain air.

    I set out in the morning on a pre-arranged 4X4 excursion into the park. There was still snow on the ground at the highest accessible levels of the national park. Trekking through the snow (in shorts) was certainly interesting – and well worth it.

    The mountains of Espot (Picture: Chris Osburn)

    A post-hike lunch of cold roast venison leg salad and locally caught trout with vegetables back in the village, at Restaurant Juquim, was a fortifying end to my Espot stopover.

    Next up was a drive through the town of Gerri de la Sal en route to Sort.

    In Gerri de la Sal, I pulled in for two sights, at the Museum of Gerri de la Sal and the Monastery of Santa Maria.

    Housed in a disused though impeccably restored salt warehouse, Gerri de la Sal’s museum imparts the unusual tale of how this small mountain community prospered by producing edible salt from the mineral rich waters of the nearby Noguera Pallaresa River.

    Across the river from the village is the Monastery of Santa Maria.

    Much of the ancient site is in ruins, but the relatively new addition of a 12th century Romanesque-style church with its three-storey belfry and the remains of baroque paintings was a treasure to admire.

    Inside the monastery (Picture: Chris Osburn)

    A few miles upriver from Gerri de la Sal was Sort.

    It was pouring rain when I arrived, but the weather seemed to suit the snug feel of the town. I was there for mostly indoor pursuits anyway – among them was a peek inside the Camí de la Llibertat (‘Path to Freedom’) Prison Museum.

    During World War II, Sort was a safe outlet for tens of thousands of refugees escaping Nazi Germany and occupied France via the Path to Freedom trail through the Pyrenees.

    This museum, set in a former prison, shares the story of many of those fleeing persecution and the surprising role it played during WWII and even earlier.

    Gaining perspective on the historical significance of Sort – a name that means ‘luck’ in Catalan – came with gaining my appetite. And luckily I was a short stroll away from the best meal I had while in Catalunya.

    Instagram Photo

    On the ground floor of a 150 year-old former hotel, Café Pessets was a welcoming eatery with a ‘km 0’ approach to tapas made with locally produced, seasonal ingredients, paired with regional wines.

    The tastiest of several dishes I had was a soft baked egg with mushrooms, cream and truffles. A plate of patatas bravas with quince aioli was a winner too.

    I called it a night at rustic little Hotel l’Alcova in Montardit de Baix. As in Espot, total stillness and no light or sound pollution added up to a most restorative sleep.

    My last night was spent in La Seu d’Urgell.

    About 30 miles from Andorra, this compact medieval city features one of Europe’s most ornate and best preserved Romanesque cathedrals, with amazing artefacts in its museum.

    The cathedral serves as the seat of the Bishop of Urgell, who is one of Andorra’s co-princes (the other, in this odd anomalous arrangement, is the President of France).

    (Picture: Chris Osburn)

    A roam around town during its weekly – and very food focused – street market had me hankering to eat. I decided to head to artisan cheesemakers, Formatgeria Mas d’Eroles, for a dreamy cheeseboard and salad lunch comprised of cheeses produced on site (and mostly with milk from Mas d’Eroles’s own dairy), paired with locally brewed craft beer.

    Working off my hearty lunch, I made my way back to town for an afternoon of white water rafting at the ‘safe adventure’ activity centre, Rafting Parc.

    When Barcelona was named the host of the 1992 Summer Olympics, this park was developed specifically for a number of water sports.

    I had a blast rafting along the same purpose-built white water channel where Olympic athletes competed and continue to train today.

    Rafting in spectacular conditions (Picture: Chris Osburn)

    For my final night, I checked in at Castell de Ciutat.

    A Relais & Chateau property on a hilltop, with sweeping views across La Seu d’Urgell and its snowy peak backdrop, this luxury hotel had fabulous spa facilities, including a jacuzzi that’s perfect for taking in the view while soaking aching muscles.

    Dinner there later was an elegant affair, followed by another night of profoundly sound sleep.

    Who knew a roadtrip through Catalunya could be so relaxing?

    Where to stay in Catalunya and how to get there:

    I stayed at a few places along the the way: Hotel Rambla Lleida has rooms starting at £43, Hotel Roya in Espot’s rooms start at £64, Hotel l’Alcova in Montardit de Baix’s rooms start at £80 and Castell de Ciutat in La Seu d’Urgell has rooms starting at £107.

    I hired my car in Lleida from Avis, which offers day rates from £6, and dropped it off without trouble at the airport in Barcelona.

    Flights from London to Barcelona are plentiful and take about two hours. I flew with Vueling, which offers one-way fares from Gatwick for as little as £19.99.

    For more ideas for activities and itineraries in the Province of Lleida, go to aralleida.cat.

    MORE: Anguilla is the perfect Caribbean destination for a soft adventure holiday

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

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


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    After an hour of flying above snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear glaciers, I realised I haven’t seen a trace of human life since a few minutes after take off.

    We were in a six seater propeller plane, which our pilot Daniel called ‘a flying piece of tin’ above one of earth’s last true wildernesses – Kluane National Park.

    The mountain range is the natural border between Canada’s Yukon Territory and America’s Alaska and few people have stepped foot on these ranges according to Daniel.

    @stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece
    View from the window as we flew above Kluane National Park (Picture: Adam Smith)

    The peaks we saw included Canada’s tallest – Logan, at 19,000 feet – plus King George, Mary, Hubbard, and Lowell. But there are so many that haven’t even been named.

    Seeing a place that hasn’t been defaced by humans was wonderful.

    We flew a 300km loop into American airspace and then back again with Rocking Star Adventures. Seeing mountain tops so close was mind-blowing, but it was not for the faint-hearted – a few of my fellow passengers were a visible shade of green but I loved it.

    We plummeted 10,000km down to what seemed like touching distance from the glaciers, which stretched out before us like frozen super highways.

    Seeing the genesis of these majestic natural phenomenons brought those junior school geography lessons vividly to life.

    Picture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece
    Glaciers in Kluane National Park (Picture: Adam Smith)

    Rocking Star Adventures fly out of Haines Junction, a glorified crossroads with a hotel and a couple of shops. But it’s an important staging post to Dawson City, an abandoned gold rush town.

    The Yukon is only two hours away by plane from one of North America’s most modern metropolises, Vancouver, but is a world away.

    The giant wedge of northern Canada is bigger than Germany and breeds or attracts the type of people who wants to pit their wits against nature.

    Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon. Its tiny airport and old-fashioned main street give it the feel of a frontier town. Fly posters across town boasted hip-hop challenges, battle of the bands and the most remote Pride in the world.

    Picture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece
    Picturesque Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon (Picture: Adam Smith)

    There are more breweries (Winterlong Brewing Co and Yukon Brewery were outstanding) per person than most Canadian cities and the bars and pubs were lively.

    My favourite was the rough and ready Dirty Northern Bastard, which has a dead, petrified cat encased in the wall and the kind of patrons who had tales to tell from a life lived.

    The people living in Whitehorse do so knowing temperatures will regularly dip below -30C, but the upside is the Northern Lights, though they are so regular that locals are blasé about them.

    Laying on my back in the snow at 1am, looking at one of the natural wonders of world, I have never felt further away from civilisation.

    The black sky suddenly had green and pink shapes, which could morph into anything the imagination could create.

    A giant astronaut playing cricket, a bear waving at bigger bear with huge ears and an old school car stereo’s graphic equaliser hypnotically flashing – it was all there if I stared hard enough.

    Picture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece
    The Northern Lights are a regular occurrence above the Yukon (Picture: Adam Smith)

    The wildlife is a big draw for tourists, and every Canadian has a bear encounter story, though unfortunately I didn’t glimpse one.

    The majority of north Canada’s animals can be seen in one place, at Yukon Wildlife Reserve, where caribou roam across fields, vultures spy on you from trees, mountain goats stare into the distance as wolves watch in packs and arctic foxes play.

    But the animal that encapsulates the Yukon is the huskie, they really are man’s best friend in this most unforgivable of environments.

    It was wonderful seeing the dogs where they belong.

    Instagram Photo

    As we walked on the frozen lake, we could hear their yelps of delight and excitement at the prospect of a four-hour mush across ice and through forest.

    We were staying at the Southern Lakes Resort, which was so remote, the hotel’s entrance was a 30 minute drive.

    We stayed in log cabins on the edge of a giant frozen lake, where our dog sledders met us.

    Our sledders were part of Winter Olympic star Michelle Phillips’s team, who every year competes in the Iditarod endurance race.

    Two of us stood and one laid down while being pulled by Takoma, Twix, Floyd, Reiss, Stevie and Renee. It was not just a fun mush for our benefit, Vincent needed to know which dogs were good enough to be in the cross-country Iditarod.

    Instagram Photo

    I was lying down for the ride out, just inches above the ice, as we reached 10mph on the lake.

    Our hotel, which nestled on the shore, was quickly enveloped in vast whiteness.

    After an hour of racing across the lake, one right turn and a 45 incline and we were in the forest and whizzing past trees with millimetres to spare.

    Before stopping at a clearing for lunch, we experienced traffic – Yukon style. Another sled from the same kennels passed us and the dogs went crazy with excitement at seeing their friends.

    When it was my time standing up, the exhilaration of being in control of the sled was breath-taking.

    @stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece
    It was wonderfiul dog mushing in the Yukon (Picture: Adam Smith)

    However, when the dogs took a sharp turn, I went flying through the air and landed in the soft snow to the laughter of the sled team behind me. But that is the fun of snow, before I landed, I knew it would not hurt.

    Two hours later, we said goodbye to our dogs and played a quick game of ice hockey on the lake before heading to our cabins, which had no wifi to ensure our digital detox held firm.

    Our evening meals were a choice of two dishes, including caribou and salmon, which added to feeling of being away from the modern world and all its choices.

    A few days later, we got the chance to try our hand at driving snowmobiles.

    Picture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece
    It was great fun snowmobiling through the wilderness (Picture: Adam Smith)

    From the Inn On The Lake in Whitehorse, we snowmobiled for 40 minutes to another frozen lake, Lake Caribou, to go ice-fishing.

    Char can live for 60 years and swim underneath the various frozen, interconnected lakes for up to 120km, but we left without troubling any of them.

    The Whitehorse outdoor lido has been doing a roaring trade since it opened in the 1960s.

    An outdoor pool in one of the coldest places on the planet might sound strange, but the water is warm and atmosphere is great.

    Pictures displayed entrants to the annual frozen hair contest. Smiling faces stared at the camera surrounded by incredible bright white creations of frozen follicles.

    @stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece
    The frozen hair competitions are serious business (Picture: Adam Smith)

    Canada’s first nation community are now finally getting a piece of the tourism pie, and seeing how tribes coped with the cold and lived off the land was captivating.

    At the Long Ago People’s Place, our guide Bob vividly brought to life how his predecessors trapped, fished and hunted while ensuring they could do the same the next year.

    Describing the cultural traditions of the local wolf and raven tribes, he demonstrated how various ingenious contraptions and traps would catch prey.

    We were all treated to a traditional Indian dinner of stew, bread and rare roes on toast, which the elder women had spent the day preparing.

    @stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece
    Bob offered fascinating insights into First Nation life (Picture: Adam Smith)

    At Carcross, we visited world famous totem pole artist Keith Wolf Smarch, who waxed lyrical about his people’s love for their environment while chiselling away at another ornate wood creation.

    The town is also a tourist draw because of its frontier feel, and the world’s smallest desert is on its outskirts.

    Technically, it might not actually be a desert, but either way it was cool to roll down the sand-like dunes and shout across a deserted desert.

    And that will be my abiding memory of the Yukon – seeing incredible wilderness without humans cluttering up nature’s brilliance.

    Where to stay in Yukon and how to get there:

    Magnetic North Travel offers seven-night winter holidays from £1,625 per person, including flights from Heathrow

    Included in the package is an eight-day, mid-size car hire from Whitehorse, three nights at Edgewater Hotel Whitehorse, two nights at Southern Lakes Resort and two nights at Inn On The Lake

    For more travel ideas, see Travel Yukon and Explore Canada.

    MORE: Beyond the holy sites: Where to go in Jerusalem if you love food and culture

    MORE: An Italian spa break: Why Bagno Vignoni in Tuscany is the perfect place to destress

    MORE: What to expect when you sign up for Bear Grylls’ 24-hour survival course


    Yukon travel pieceYukon travel pieceadamsmithmetrocouk@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece@stevezacharanda Yukon travel pieceYukon travel pieceYukon travel pieceadamsmithmetrocouk@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piecePicture: Yukon Travel Board Yukon travel piece@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece@stevezacharanda Yukon travel piece

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    Older people with tattoos Jan N Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    Jan (Picture: getoud)

    ‘You’ll regret those when you’re older.’

    That’s a common refrain said to people who choose to get tattoos.

    We warned that our inkings will look terrible as we age, sagging with wrinkles and losing their trendy status.

    Ingrid Meijering and Marion Duimel, who run GetOud (Get Old) have created a new photo series, called TattooAge, that debunks that concept, proving that people’s tattoos can look just as cool as they age.

    The Netherlands-based photographers have spent three years capturing photos of people over the age of 65 and sharing the stories behind their tattoos.

    ‘We had so much fun making the project,’ Marion tells Metro.co.uk. ‘The elderly are all so nice and friendly, almost the more tattoos, the sweeter!

    ‘Almost everyone assumes the [people have] had the tattoo since they were young but most people in the book got theirs in the last 10 years. We had several people getting their tattoos when they were 80+.’

    Older people with tattoos Toos Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    Toos (Picture: GetOud)

    Marion says that one woman photographed for the project, Toos, tattooed her arms and shaved her hair at age 79, to fight back against the feeling that she was an ‘old lady’.

    The idea behind the series is not only to show that tattoos can age gracefully, but that people with tattoos aren’t scary or aggressive.

    ‘We hope people understand you are never too old for a tattoo and we want to share the lovely stories behind them,’ says Marion. ‘All the tattoos have a life experience or life lesson behind them worth discussing.’

    Riek

    Older people with tattoos Riek Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

     

    Jan G

    Older people with tattoos Jan G Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

     

    Thomas

    Older people with tattoos Thomas Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

    Thomas got his first tattoo in 1978, and his most recent tattoo in 2015.

    He says covering his body in ink makes him feel free.

     

    Cor-G

    Older people with tattoos Cor-G Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

     

    Hans

    Older people with tattoos Hans Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

    Hans isn’t done getting tattoos. He was inked again this year.

    He had his first tattoo back in 1992 when he was desperate for a change. He uses tattoos as a way to fight his arthritis, taking control over his pain.

     

    Rebha

    Older people with tattoos Rebha Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

     

    Chris

    Older people with tattoos Chris Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

    Wim

    Wim Older people with tattoos Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

     

    Albertina

    Older people with tattoos Albertina Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/
    (Picture: GetOud)

    Albertina has only one tattoo, which she got last year: A swan on her wrist.

    The tattoo was a gift from Albertina’s grandchildren, who took her to Amsterdam to get inked.

    She chose a swan to symbolise her enduring love for her late husband, as when one half of a swan couple dies, the other remains alone forever.

    The TattooAge series is being exhibited in galleries around Europe, and has been turned into a book that you can now purchase.

    MORE: Chunky cat Doughnut finds loving home after landlord forces owner to give him away

    MORE: Modern Etiquette: Can I say no to being a bridesmaid?


    HansHansellencscottOlder people with tattoos Jan N Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Toos Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Riek Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Jan G Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Thomas Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Cor-G Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Hans Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Rebha Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Chris Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Wim Older people with tattoos Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Albertina Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/HansHansellencscottOlder people with tattoos Jan N Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Toos Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Riek Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Jan G Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Thomas Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Cor-G Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Hans Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Rebha Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Chris Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Wim Older people with tattoos Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/Older people with tattoos Albertina Picture: getoud REF: https://getoud.nl/portfolio/tattooage/

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

    We can all agree that summer was a blast. Beaches, barbecues, festivals, all-nighters – we partied our way through the heatwave yet still managed to wake up with a spring in our step.

    But now that summer is over, it’s harder to harness that spring.

    Here are some speedy ways to reboot your life and get that early-summer energy back.

    They are quick and easy but super effective – and they could just make winter a breeze, rather than a tempest.

    Make a new (good!) habit

    The theory goes it takes 21 days to make a new habit. Some studies suggest it’s longer – up to 90 – but whichever it is, all agree that doing something regularly is the best way to make it stick. Whatever it might be – getting up early, exercising daily, a cup of hot water and lemon in the morning, a minute of plank every day, reading or writing a poem, telling someone you love them and why – pick something that will make you feel good, set a reminder and do it every day.

    Get an express brain upgrade

    It’s been long proven that people who read fiction have more empathy, while reading well-written non-fiction is frequently cited by CEOs as one of the secrets to their success.

    Mark Zuckerberg once set himself A Year Of Books challenge to read a book every two weeks – choosing books he said would ’emphasise learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies’. Set yourself your own challenge – either using Zuck’s list or your own – but to hack it, do things differently.

    Learn to speed read – watch a tutorial on YouTube – or try one of the speed reading apps like Spitz or Spreeder, that claim to get you reading 10 times faster than usual.

    Or get the Blinkist app, which delivers the key takeaway from the world’s most important non-fiction books in 15 minutes.

    Keep a log of the books you read so you can be the fountain of literary inspiration you deep down always knew you were.

    Focus on the positive

    When the glow of summer fades and the winter stretches out, it can be harder to keep negative thoughts out.

    The gratitude journal is an age-old trick used by therapists and psychologists alike: every morning or evening, take a notepad by your bed and write three things you’re thankful for.

    Learn a language quicker – while getting fit at the same time

    A recent study in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) journal found a link between language learning and exercise.

    Two groups studied the same foreign language vocabulary either while on an exercise bike, or standing still.

    When tested, the participants who were riding the bike performed with more accuracy than those who weren’t moving. The participants were tested again a month later with similar results, which suggests physical activity not only helps in learning a language, but also improves retention of the language.

    Plus you get a workout at the same time. ¡Qué bueno!

    Learn to speak a new language quicker while you work out (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

     

    Hack your holiday

    You don’t need to take a whole week, long weekend or to go away to feel like you’ve had a break. A ‘surprise’ day off mid week can feel more indulgent than a normal holiday: you look forward to it before it comes and it makes the week feel a lot shorter too.

    A cheeky mid-week vacay not only feels like a luxury, it could mean you have the energy to tidy up, declutter, pay bills that have been lying around, etc etc, in a way you can’t stomach after a day at work. Alternatively, just use the time to read a book!

    Another idea to make a small amount of leave feel much longer is to take three holiday days on consecutive Mondays. You’ll get three blissful long weekends and four-day weeks in a row, with no ‘Sunday night dreads’ for almost a month. It’s shocking what a difference that one extra day makes for work-life balance.

    Fake it til you make it

    Post summer, work can feel like a grind. It can also begin to overwhelm – the desire to take a duvet day intensifies and you might find yourself dreading the journey or having to muster up mental energy just to get up every day and keep going – no matter how much you enjoy your job.

    A very successful doctor I once interviewed who runs her own practice said, when I asked her how she managed to run such a big company so well, that every day, she had to psyche herself up to it.

    It isn’t a breeze for her – she just makes it look that way. When she arrives at the door to her company, she holds the door handle for a moment and before she goes in, tells herself “you can do this”.

    She takes a deep breath, opens the door and walks in with a smile on her face. Even ultra successful people are doing this – they feel like frauds too. They have wobbles. It’s about finding devices to get beyond them.

    how should we talk about mental health in schools? Experts weigh in (Lucy Nichol)
    (Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

    Work on work

    Summer can act as a bit of a sticking plaster for cracks in our lives.

    On sunny mornings and long evenings, fun is the focus, not work.

    Suddenly, your pals are in hibernation and you’re getting up in the dark to haul your freezing ass into a job you’re not keen on.

    Is it a new job you want? If so, set out some real structure to achieve it. Rewrite your CV. Update your LinkedIn and social media. Go to networking events.

    Can your existing job get a reboot? If so, make some changes. Ask for more responsibility. Look for areas your company could expand into and see if you can take them on.

    Don’t settle for mediocrity – be pro-active. It will make you feel better about yourself and you’ll learn something new in the process. You might even start loving your job.

    Reboot your routine

    Monotony can lead to apathy – but it can also breed creativity. Use boredom as a catalyst for change. If your days have become mundane, switch things up.

    How many times have you driven to work yet have no recollection of a part of the journey? When we repeat the same things day after day, we do them on auto-pilot.

    Disrupting your routine is enough to get your mind working again, doing things mindfully, not mindlessly.

    Vary your route to work. Take your lunch-hour at a different time and fill it with something new – a walk to somewhere you have never been, a crossword. These little changes hack into parts of your brain that have learned to switch off during these acts.

    Boost your brain power just by brushing your teeth

    Using your non-dominant hand to do simple tasks – operate the TV remote, computer mouse, or brush your teeth – can strengthen neural connections in your brain and even create new ones, studies show.

    While some are sceptical about how much this really does help, science backs up the fact that neural activity increases when you use your non-dominant hand.

    Studies have shown doing routine things differently can even help keep the brain young too, slowing onset of dementia.

    Writing with your non-dominant hand – or even just squeezing a ball with it – is also thought to unlock creativity in your brain. The theory is that if you use your dominant hand, only the dominant hemisphere is unlocked. When you use your non-dominant hand or hack it by squeezing a ball, you can get both sides of your brain working at once – basically making you twice as clever (well, we’d like to think so).

    The only caveat to that is that when children are developing the use of their motor skills, it can be harmful to train them out of using their dominant hand (in Victorian times, left-handers were forced to write with their right and some developed stutters or anxiety) – so keep this one for the grown-ups.

     

    Get on the meal prep bandwagon

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

    So you’re not the type to bulk cook on the weekend and pack it in Tupperware? Neither were we – until we ate a home-cooked meal at work every day for a fortnight after just one Sunday afternoon in the kitchen.

    Meal prep needn’t mean mung beans and brown rice – think a pulled pork shoulder in the slow cooker (do nothing, just bung it in with some liquid and turn it on!) that you portion up with uncooked spinach – easy.

    Add in a curry and a pasta sauce and you have two weeks worth of comfort food ready to go.

    It’s such a nice way to pay it forward too – if you know one of your workmates is skint at the end of the month, bring one in for them.

    Or give one to your partner to spread the love.

     

    SPEED NEEDN'T MEAN COMPROMISING ON QUALITY - Costa Express means real beans, real milk, real quick.

    As a nation we are completely accustomed to expecting convenience. Express food, express trains, express manicures – and express coffee.

    But just because we get something fast, it doesn’t mean we expect it to be lesser quality.

    Costa Express can guarantee that your, morning cup will be made with fresh milk and beans of the highest quality and ready in seconds

    In fact no fewer than 112 variations of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans were blind tested to create their ‘Mocha Italia’, the signature blend you’ll find in Costa Express machines.

    The beans that make their way into the coffee are truly the very best; only 1% of the world’s beans make the grade.


    friendhip-e73efriendhip-e73eakismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdfriendshow should we talk about mental health in schools? Experts weigh in (Lucy Nichol)vegan illustrationsfriendhip-e73efriendhip-e73eakismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdfriendshow should we talk about mental health in schools? Experts weigh in (Lucy Nichol)vegan illustrations

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    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renters Jennifer White, 26, (right) and Celine Brown, 24, (left) are pictured in Jennifer's bedroom at their rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, Celine pays ?813, Jennifer pays ?835 and their third housemate pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Jennifer and Celine have known each other for five years. They share a three-bedroom flat with Alex (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    Renting in London: It’s a bit of a nightmare.

    Box rooms in cramped houses get snapped up off SpareRoom before you have an hour to ponder if they’re worth £600 a month.

    You find your dream flat, but it’s well out of budget and an hour and a half away from work.

    If you manage to find a decent, affordable place, you’re winning – but with the heart-destroying knowledge that you’re funneling cash straight into landlords’ pockets instead of investing in a property to call your own.

    Fun, right?

    To get a better insight into the true situation of renting in London – from dire digs to surprisingly lovely flats in the city – our series, What I Rent, takes you inside someone’s rented property each week.

    This time we’re chatting to Jennifer, who shares a three-bedroom flat in Clapham with two housemates, Celine and Alex.

    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renter Jennifer White is pictured in her bedroom in her flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Jennifer pays £835, Celine pays £813, and Alex pays £760 (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    Hey, Jennifer! How much do you pay to live here?

    I pay £835 per month, Celine pays £813, and Alex pays £760.

    We don’t actually know how much our bill breakdown is because our agency includes it in our rent. I’ve never lived somewhere that does this for you but it’s been great so far as normally in house-shares dividing the bills up can be a bit of a pain when you first move in.

    And what do you get for that price? 

    It’s a three bed flat, plus a kitchen and bathroom.

    We don’t have a living room which was almost a deal breaker for us and we initially declined the properly but the agency then got back to us and offered to put a sofa in each of the larger rooms – and because the rooms were so nice we were sold (and it’s also only a six-month contract).

    Our monthly fee also includes a weekly cleaner who provides us with hand soap and toilet roll. Super millennial.

    How long have you lived there? 

    We spotted the flat on SpareRoom.

    We moved in at the end of July so we’ve now been here a few months. I’d say each of our rooms now feel very homely but not so much the rest of the flat.

    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    They’ve managed to make the place their own (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    Are you happy where you live?

    I’m super happy with my room, the location, and who I live with but the standard of the rest of the house could be improved.

    The Clapham/Balham area was a huge selling point for us though and the price seemed very reasonable for what was included.

    It’s in Clapham South and a 5-minute walk max to Clapham South tube station. We’re also a 15-minute walk from Balham and a 15 minute walk to Clapham High Street so it’s pretty ideal. Brixton and Battersea are also really nearby and great areas to explore over the weekend.

    With regards to my commute, I work at the PETA UK office by Kings Cross, so it’s a pretty straight forward journey. If you get on the Northern line before 8am it’s the dream, and then I can swap over on the Victoria Line at Stockwell.

    It’s great to be near so many vegan-friendly restaurants, brunch places and markets too. There are also great bars, clubs (the legendary Infernos) and the Common has been great to live near all summer.

    Do you feel like you have enough space?

    Almost. Each of our rooms have turned into mini living rooms and we’re all close so it doesn’t feel anti-social but our kitchen is very small and means we can’t really have dinner parties (or more than four people at a time in the kitchen).

    However, we enjoy having dinner together as a flat and have movie nights in our rooms so it’s not really an issue. Luckily we all have friends who invite us round to theirs for dinner.

    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renters Jennifer White, 26, (left) and Celine Brown, 24, (right) are pictured in Celine's bedroom which also doubles for their living room at their rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, Celine pays ?813, Jennifer pays ?835 and their third housemate pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    There’s no living room, so the housemates hang out in each other’s bedrooms (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    What’s it like living with Celine and Alex?

    Celine and I used to work at Jack Wills together in Edinburgh and have been friends for around five years. I then moved down to London and she followed a year later.

    We always wanted to live together but a suitable time didn’t arise until this summer, and we jumped at the chance.

    The agency actually found us Alex and we then got in touch with him directly and organised to go for a drink. We all wanted to make sure he would be a good fit before committing to the move – and it’s been great.

    Are there any issues with the flat?

    Unfortunately, there have been a lot of issues with the property since we moved in but our agency has done their best to resolve them.

    The worst problem we had was during the two month long heatwave when none of the kitchen or bathroom windows would open. They weren’t actually fixed until few weeks ago, so that was pretty rubbish.

    We were also given the impression that the property would be re-carpeted but that hasn’t materialised so the staircases are very squeaky, especially whenever anyone is walking in trainers.

    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Each bedroom serves as a mini living room (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    How have you made the flat feel like home?

    The agency was great at furnishing our rooms so when we first moved in we had brand new beds (+ mattresses), sofas, bedside tables, coffee tables, wardrobes, chest of drawers and even a blanket provided for us.

    Since then we’ve all got TV’s in our rooms and added our own décor. We’ve tried our best with the kitchen and bathroom but it’s still a bit of a lost cause. I think our duck egg blue clock in the kitchen really adds a homely vibe and adds a bit of colour to the room.

    Any plans to move again?

    I’ve lived in seven different places since I moved to London three years ago and they’ve all had gardens, dining rooms, multiple bathrooms and large kitchens, but to be honest I’m actually really loving living in our little flat – even with all its character flaws.

    I think in my next move I’d definitely want a living room and outdoor space.

    And what about buying a place?

    I will start saving for a deposit soon but at the moment I’m happy renting.

    Shall we have a look around the place, then?

    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Jennifer’s room is the largest (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    The addition of a sofa makes it feel like its own cosy space (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    The TV helps, too (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Celine Brown in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Celine’s bedroom has a sofa, too (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Plus plenty of personal touches (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renter Celine Brown is pictured in her bedroom at her rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Alex’s room is the smallest, so he pays the least rent (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    He still has enough room to get by (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Jennifer wishes the kitchen were a bit more spacious (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    She can’t have many friends over for dinner (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bathroom at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    There’s just the one bathroom (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of details in the bathroom at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    But it works for the three housemates (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

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

    How to get involved in What I Rent

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

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

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

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

    MORE: What I Rent: Lee, £825 per month for a room in a two-bedroom flat in Holloway

    MORE: What I Rent: Max, £900 a month for a room in a four-bedroom house in Tooting

    MORE: What I Rent: Chris and Liv, £1,520 per month for a two-bedroom flat in Brixton


    What I Rent ClaphamWhat I Rent ClaphamellencscottWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renters Jennifer White, 26, (right) and Celine Brown, 24, (left) are pictured in Jennifer's bedroom at their rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, Celine pays ?813, Jennifer pays ?835 and their third housemate pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renter Jennifer White is pictured in her bedroom in her flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renters Jennifer White, 26, (left) and Celine Brown, 24, (right) are pictured in Celine's bedroom which also doubles for their living room at their rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, Celine pays ?813, Jennifer pays ?835 and their third housemate pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Celine Brown in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renter Celine Brown is pictured in her bedroom at her rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bathroom at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of details in the bathroom at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWhat I Rent ClaphamWhat I Rent ClaphamellencscottWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renters Jennifer White, 26, (right) and Celine Brown, 24, (left) are pictured in Jennifer's bedroom at their rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, Celine pays ?813, Jennifer pays ?835 and their third housemate pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renter Jennifer White is pictured in her bedroom in her flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renters Jennifer White, 26, (left) and Celine Brown, 24, (right) are pictured in Celine's bedroom which also doubles for their living room at their rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, Celine pays ?813, Jennifer pays ?835 and their third housemate pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Celine Brown in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Details in the bedroom of renter Jennifer White's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. Renter Celine Brown is pictured in her bedroom at her rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bedroom of renter Alex Bohn's flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the kitchen at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of the bathroom at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandWHAT I RENT: CLAPHAM LONDON, OCTOBER 9TH 2018. General view of details in the bathroom at Jennifer White's rented flat in Clapham, London, 8th October 2018. The three bedroom flat in Clapham is rented individually by the bedroom, housemate Celine Brown pays ?813, Jennifer White pays ?835 and their third housemate Alex Bohn pays ?760 a month. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland

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    Christmas beauty gifts 2018: gorgeous gifts under £50
    Christmas beauty gifts 2018: gorgeous gifts under £50

    While it may still seem early, Christmas is less than 60 days away, so naturally it’s time to get present planning.

    From make-up gift sets, beauty gifts, travel kits, miniatures and limited edition palettes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year for any beauty lover.

    FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump pauses while speaking at a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, Ill. Trump says he wants to order the end of the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States. The president's comments to "Axios on HBO" come amid a renewed push for hardline immigration policies in the lead-up to the midterm elections. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)Donald Trump vows to ban babies born to illegal immigrants from becoming US citizens

    And we’ve narrowed down the best beauty gifts from beauty brands including Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown and Benefit Cosmetics, all of which are gorgeous and under £50. So you can feel free to snap up something new for you too.

     

    Beauty Blender Blender's Delight
    Beauty Blender Blender’s Delight (Space NK)

    Beauty Blender Blender’s Delight, £34, spacenk.com

    Because the only thing better than one Beauty Blender is two, right?

    Whether you’re giving the gift of a flawless complexion, or looking to update or replace your own. Beauty Blender Blender’s Delight gift set includes two Beauty Blenders, two solid soaps and one blender defender to protect your Beauty Blender from dirt and germs.

     

    Sunday Riley Face to Face Kit
    Sunday Riley Face to Face Kit (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Sunday Riley Face to Face Kit, £35, cultbeauty.co.uk

    The skincare junkies in your life will thank you for this collection of Sunday Riley best-sellers.

    The Face to Face Kit includes Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser, Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment, C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum and Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream in generous deluxe sizes.

    Lime Crime 10th Birthday Brush Set
    Lime Crime 10th Birthday Brush Set (Picture: Feelunique)

    Lime Crime 10th Birthday Brush Set, £35, feelunique.com

    Every makeup maven needs good brushes.

    And thankfully Lime Crime has released a collection of four, festively decorated brushes in celebration of their 10th birthday, just in time for Christmas.

    The pretty set includes a highlighter, brow and two eyeshadow brushes that are vegan and cruelty-free.

     

    Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Carnaval Magic
    Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Carnaval Magic (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Carnaval Magic, £35, cultbeauty.co.uk

    Give someone special the gift of great (smelling) skin with this set from Sol de Janeiro.

    Worth over £90, the set includes the brand’s Brazilian Kiss Cupuaçu Lip Butter, Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist, as well as arguably Sol de Janeiro’s best product –  Brazilian Bum Bum Cream in both sizes.

     

    Laura Mercier Pret-A-Powder
    Laura Mercier Pret-A-Powder (Picture: Feelunique)

    Laura Mercier Pret-A-Powder, £36, feelunique.com

    Laura Mercier has boxed their best-selling translucent powder complete with a Velour Puff for Christmas 2018.

    Available in Original and Medium Deep, the silky powder is guaranteed to set your party makeup and ensure it lasts that bit longer.

     

    HERBIVORE Hydrate & Glow Natural Skincare Mini Collection
    HERBIVORE Hydrate & Glow Natural Skincare Mini Collection (Space NK)

    HERBIVORE Hydrate & Glow Natural Skincare Mini Collection, £36, spacenk.com

    We’re obsessed with Herbivore. From the Instagram worthy packing, to the non-toxic formula, they’ve nailed natural skincare.

    And for Christmas they’ve downsized their products and created two collections.

    Including the Hydrate & Glow collection which contains, the Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist, Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask, Phoenix Regenerating Facial Oil and Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Cream.

    Wave goodbye to dull winter skin.

    Pure Silk Hair Scrunchie
    Pure Silk Hair Scrunchie (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Pure Silk Hair Scrunchie, £39, cultbeauty.co.uk

    Spoil your loved ones with 100% pure mulberry silk scrunchies this Christmas.

    Not only are the ’80s and ’90s throwback pretty darn cool, they prevent creases in the hair and minimise damage.

    Bougie, but totally worth it.

    Aromatherapy Associates Miniature De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower Oil
    Aromatherapy Associates Miniature De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower Oil (Picture: Lookfantastic)

    Aromatherapy Associates Miniature De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower Oil, £39, lookfantastic.com

    What’s not to love about Aromatherapy Associates miniature bath and shower oils?

    Dreamy inside and out, this stuff really works to de-stress and includes 10 heroes – enough oil for approximately 20 experiences.

    It’s the perfect present for someone who likes to treat themselves to a relaxing bath after a hard day’s work.

    Benefit Gimme Some Sugar Holiday Gift Set
    Benefit Gimme Some Sugar Holiday Gift Set (Picture: Feelunique)

    Benefit Gimme Some Sugar Holiday Gift Set, £39.50, feelunique.com

    Benefit Cosmetics do gift sets like no other and this year’s offering is no exception.

    One of our favouties, the Gimme Some Sugar set, contains some of the brand’s classics that every gal will love, including Hoola Bronzer and The Porefessional – combined with a highlighter and mascara.

    Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Sultry Eye Shadow Palette
    Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Sultry Eye Shadow Palette (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Sultry Eye Shadow Palette, £46, cultbeauty.co.uk

    Anastasia addicts will love the brands latest eyeshadow palette.

    The Sultry eyeshadow palette has everything you need for the perfect party eye look, from shimmering metallics and subtly glamorous mattes.

    NARS Ransom Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Set
    NARS Ransom Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Set (Space NK)

    NARS Ransom Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Set, £48, spacenk.com

    NARS have plenty of great gift options for 2018, from palettes, to mini’s of their fan-favourite powders.

    But it’s the Ransom Velvet Matte Lip Pencil set we’ve got our eye on, that includes four Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in a special cosmetics case inspired by the rebellious fashion of the ’70s.

    By Terry Beauty Favourites Set
    By Terry Beauty Favourites Set (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    By Terry Beauty Favourites Set, £49, cultbeauty.co.uk

    You can do no wrong with this beauty gift set from By Terry.

    Inside you’ll find four of the brand’s most beloved bestsellers in super-cute portable sizes. From a mini Ombre Blackstar in ‘Bronze Moon’, to a a mini Baume de Rose, it’s a gorgeous gift for any beauty maven.

    Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder Duo
    Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder Duo (Picture: Lookfantastic)

    Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder Duo, £49.50, lookfantastic.com

    We love highlighter and this Bobbi Brown compact is beaut.

    Bobbi Brown’s limited-edition festive palette combines two deluxe-sized shades of the brand’s cult-favourite highlighting powder in Bare and Opal Glow.

    Plus it’s wrapped up in fabulously festive packaging, that glitters when shaken just like a snow globe.

    Christmas beauty gifts 2018 gorgeous gifts under £50 final-c958Christmas beauty gifts 2018 gorgeous gifts under £50 final-c958emilyknott17Christmas beauty gifts 2018: gorgeous gifts under £50Beauty Blender Blender's DelightSunday Riley Face to Face KitLime Crime 10th Birthday Brush SetSol de Janeiro Bum Bum Carnaval MagicLaura Mercier Pret-A-PowderHERBIVORE Hydrate & Glow Natural Skincare Mini CollectionPure Silk Hair ScrunchieAromatherapy Associates Miniature De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower OilBenefit Gimme Some Sugar Holiday Gift SetAnastasia Beverly Hills’ Sultry Eye Shadow PaletteNARS Ransom Velvet Matte Lip Pencil SetBy Terry Beauty Favourites SetBobbi Brown Highlighting Powder DuoChristmas beauty gifts 2018 gorgeous gifts under £50 final-c958Christmas beauty gifts 2018 gorgeous gifts under £50 final-c958emilyknott17Christmas beauty gifts 2018: gorgeous gifts under £50Beauty Blender Blender's DelightSunday Riley Face to Face KitLime Crime 10th Birthday Brush SetSol de Janeiro Bum Bum Carnaval MagicLaura Mercier Pret-A-PowderHERBIVORE Hydrate & Glow Natural Skincare Mini CollectionPure Silk Hair ScrunchieAromatherapy Associates Miniature De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower OilBenefit Gimme Some Sugar Holiday Gift SetAnastasia Beverly Hills’ Sultry Eye Shadow PaletteNARS Ransom Velvet Matte Lip Pencil SetBy Terry Beauty Favourites SetBobbi Brown Highlighting Powder Duo

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

    Pain can be difficult to express.

    It’s tough to understand how much pain another person is in unless you’ve been through the exact same experience, whether it’s giving birth or being kicked in the balls.

    The pain scale helps to get the message across, but it’s also handy to know what medical experts reckon are the most painful illnesses, so we can get an objective view rather than looking at people’s facial expressions and rating them out of ten.

    It’s helpful, then, that the NHS has published a list of what they say are the 20 most painful health conditions.

    Each illness on the list causes pain so debilitating that it can prevent sufferers from performing their usual daily activities.

    Here are those 20 excruciating illnesses – they’re not in order, so don’t go claiming that your trip to hospital was much worse than someone else’s.

    The 20 most painful illnesses, according to the NHS:

    1. Appendicitis
    2. Shingles
    3. Frozen shoulder
    4. Cluster headaches
    5. Broken bones
    6. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
    7. Heart attack
    8. Slipped disc
    9. Arthritis
    10. Sickle cell disease
    11. Migraine
    12. Sciatica
    13. Kidney stones
    14. Trigeminal neuralgia
    15. Acute pancreatitis
    16. Endometriosis
    17. Gout
    18. Stomach ulcer
    19. Fibromyalgia
    20. Pain after surgery

    Now, it’s worth noting that while some of the illnesses on the list are things you may have experienced then used as an injury anecdote – appendicitis, broken bones, pain after surgery – other conditions listed as the most painful are chronic, and people have to deal with symptoms every day.

    Endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and migraines are all longterm illnesses that are often dismissed or overlooked.

    Here’s hoping that the NHS’s inclusion of these little-discussed conditions on a list of the most painful illnesses around will get people taking them more seriously.

    MORE: Women take to Twitter to vent over how they are treated by doctors

    MORE: It’s time we were honest about our time of the month. We must end the stigma, period

    MORE: Morning Face: Disability and lifestyle blogger Sarah Alexander shares her morning routine


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    Canadian fashion label Matieres Fecales is known for its edgy, alien-inspired looks.

    The brand has given the world alien sex dolls, a very realistic cat woman,and a naked man suit (including a blurred out penis), among a bunch of other daring and otherworldly creations.

    The two-person group, made up of Hannah Rose Dalton and her partner Steven Raj Bhaskaran, has been working on a pair of boots that look like feet (with toes and all) which seem to be made out of human skin (thankfully, they are not).

    Instagram Photo

    In their signature body modification style, the creators have added in a protruding heel out of the sole of the shoe as well as devilish horns on the back of the legs.

    The thigh-high boots blend into the wearer’s skin making them look like their actual feet. The front of the feet are supported by a small clear plastic.

    So walking in these shoes will be no easy feat, as proved by the model showing them off on the Matieres Fecales Instagram page.

    After releasing a photoshopped version of the shoes earlier in the year, Matieres Fecales (French for fecal matter) decided to turn the shoes into the real thing.

    The creators are putting a hefty price tag on the skin-style shoes – the boots are set to sell for £5,931.

    Instagram Photo

    ‘We can get this alien look and present it and tweak it with Photoshop and make it look really realistic,’ the creators told Vogue.

    ‘But at the same time, there is always this dysphoria in us. There is this urge inside of us to take what we do on the Internet and try to create that via real life. That is what we are doing with the shoes.’

    They did four trials before choosing on a version made out of silicone that was shaped and moulded to match Hannah’s leg, complete with little hairs.

    ‘It is like creating a custom art piece that is wearable,’ said Hannah.

    Instagram Photo

    Matieres Fecales isn’t the first brand to venture into futuristic fashion via body modification.

    Simon Huck, a long time friend of the fashion-forward Kardashians, unveiled his creations earlier in the year which featured neck and foot implants.

    While his looks were part of his A.Human exhibition, Matieres Fecales will be putting up their products on sale at some point in the future.

    So, would you rock these?

    MORE: Rainbow teeth is a strong contender for strangest Instagram trend in 2018

    MORE: Birchbox is making a special Disney box

    MORE: Cat walks on catwalk during Turkish fashion show – no one knows why or how


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    The sex resort diaries
    FYI, Chris has more chest hair than is shown in this illustration (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We’re Ellen and Chris, two classic Brits uncomfortable being naked and talking openly about sex stuff.

    So when we were offered a holiday to Hedonism II, ‘the sexiest place on earth’, ‘an all-inclusive paradise’, and an ‘iconic adult playground’, we had to say yes.

    Hedonism II is, essentially, a sex resort. There are nude beaches, classes on fetishes, and necklaces that declare your sexual interests to other guests.

    While we’re here, we’ll be writing daily diary posts about what it’s like at Hedonism II’s Young Swingers Week, culminating in a final article about what we discovered at the end of the week.

    Do enjoy our awkwardness. Here’s our recap of day one.

    Oh hello, this is us, Chris and Ellen. Chris is the one with the beard, Ellen is the one with purple hair. We are bad at taking selfies but were asked to do one to show everyone what we look like. So here you go. This is us in our hotel room. (Picture: Ellen Scott/Metro.co.uk)

    Ellen

    Let me be entirely upfront: This is a joke that might have gone too far.

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious for us, a classic British couple entirely awkward in the art of interacting with people and terrified at the prospect of getting naked with the lights on, to go to a clothing optional Jamaican resort famed for its fetish nights and couples’ playroom?

    It only gets funnier when we find out the week we’re going happens to be Young Swingers Week. We are not swingers. What a laugh.

    Then it comes to actually going, and I remember that while something may be very funny in concept, that doesn’t mean I should actually do it.

    It’s too late for that realisation, though. We’re on a 10-hour flight to a place with the tagline ‘pursue pleasure’ and an onsite sex toy shop.

    Just arriving at the airport is an… interesting experience. There are more fake breasts in the customs line that I can count. It’s easy to spot who’s heading to Hedonism II – the decorated tote bags and nipples poking through sheer tops give it away.

    I’m no prude. I’m a body positive, free the nipple, loudly talk about vaginas kind of girl. But there’s something very different about making small talk with people who’ve all come to Jamaica for one reason: to get naked and sexual – likely with people they’re not currently linking arms with.

    The bus ride is long and warm, with the vibe of a school trip – excitable guests share whether they’re first timers or regulars, discussing their pole dancing routine and themed costumes.

    Chris and I play ‘spot the goat’ (first one to see a goat wins a prize that hasn’t yet been determined) and I have a snooze on his shoulder.

    Then we arrive in reception and the game changes to ‘spot the penis’. Chris wins in the first few minutes.

    Hedonism II is a ‘clothing optional’ resort, with a ‘prude’ beach and a nude beach. This is the sign you spot on your way to the nude beach (Picture: Ellen Scott/Metro.co.uk)

    We’re handed rum punch while we gaze at a painting of Mona Lisa with her tits out. The chairs are designed to look like the smooth outlines of toned bums.

    We may have been told repeatedly that this is a place for ‘party people’ but honestly I’m just keen for a nap (both from jetlag and being overwhelmed).

    Dinner is a spectacle. Normally I’d be entranced by the rows of macarons and freshly grilled lobster tail, but couples take up my attention. There are women in tops made of sparkling chainmail, men wearing short shorts (there’s a rock and roll costume competition, which explains some of the outfit choices).

    I’m hypnotised by the guests’ grooming choices. One woman walks by in heels and nothing else, and I marvel at how smooth her pubic area is. There’s not a single hair. Not a hint of stubble. No ingrowns or redness or darker patches. They’re Barbie bits, and suddenly I feel like a failure of a woman for having no clue how she’s achieved them.

    Laser hair removal, surely. An excellent wax?

    It’d be easy to get into a terrible cycle of comparison here. When you’re presented to a string of bodies with everything on show, you notice the tiniest differences between their details and yours.

    Look at how that girl’s breasts sit. That’s not how mine do it. Look at that woman’s bum. I need to up my squats.

    But then I spot older women gleefully pulling down their tops and lifting up their skirts in attempts to win cheers for the costume contest. I see women with rolls sitting by the pool. They’re not bothered at all and it’s really lovely to see.

    Goals for the week: Get as comfortable being naked as all the non-models here. No more comparing. Feel sexy.

    Chris

    A seemingly-meek American man on the shuttle bus tells us that he’s been coming to Hedo four times a year since ’92, which is before half of us were even born. The things he must’ve seen. I look at him with empathy normally reserved for war veterans.

    In my head I’d imagined it all like a parody porn version of Ibiza, since every encounter thus far was incessantly asking if I was ready to party – ‘no, but are you really ready to party?’ – but at first glance its ‘vibes’ lend itself closer to your ma on a cruise ship.

    A covers band play Bon Jovi, there’s a whiff of crème de menthe liqueur. A gentleman is chancing his third round of seafood.

    For a nudist resort, couples have clearly spent considered time in choosing their costumes for tonight’s ‘Rock Night’.

    I watch Jimi Hendrix extend a hand to Lemonade-era Beyoncé and lead her closer to the stage. In the distance, Janet Jackson’s boob falls out.

    Then the magic happens. There’s something so heart-affirming to see older couples so in love with each other on the dance floor. A look. A glance. A soft hand comforting the waist.

    Hang on, she didn’t come in with him. No, I’m absolutely bloody certain of it. Jesus effing Christ they’ve all swapped partners.

    Horniness fogs the room like mist on the sea. I go outside for fresh air. I don’t find it. People I can’t see are having orgasms it’s impossible to avoid hearing.

    Where am I? Where have I come?

    Young Swingers Week doesn’t even officially begin until tomorrow.

    People considerably less wrinkled will smash their dangly bits together, drunkenly hooking up in the hot tub and picking which couples they’d like to f**k.

    We expect public sex acts. Live, interactive demonstrations of spanking and orgasms. Buffet dinners followed by orgies.

    We must brace ourselves. The swingers are coming.

    The Sex Resort Diaries will be running all week. Do check back tomorrow for tales of getting sand in some uncomfortable places. 

    MORE: Louis Theroux has new three-part series coming out in November

    MORE: Bisexuality is a building block of my identity but it’s too often fetishised


    The sex resort diariesThe sex resort diariesellencscottThe sex resort diariesThe sex resort diariesThe sex resort diariesellencscottThe sex resort diaries

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    (Picture: Zara)

    If you’re pregnant then you’ll know the struggle of finding clothes that fit your growing body.

    You might need to make special orders online or ask the sales assistant of every shop you go to where the maternity section is, if there even is one.

    Thankfully, Zara has surprised us all with a complete new section on their website called Mum.

    And they all look like things taken straight out of pregnant royal Meghan Markle’s wardrobe.

    Mum, the new maternity section, comes as part of Zara’s new Corner Shops feature which also includes Dress Time, Timeless, TRF and Join Life.

    ‘Shopping for maternity clothes doesn’t need to be hard,’ the brand explains online, ‘from workwear essentials to comfortable stretch pieces, to the latest trend hits, our new online collection of maternity wear has options to offer for all women’.

    It’s been a while since the Spanish retailer offered clothes for expectant and new mums as they last launched a maternity range eight years ago.

    The widely loved store had a handful of clothes in a few stores around the country but now the Mum collection is exclusively available to all online.

    It’s just in time for winter, with specially designed knitted dresses, jeans, overalls, and Meghan’s signature style long coats. You can get turtlenecks and jumpers with slogans such as ‘naps are the new parties’ and ‘baby in progress’.

    The cute new styles start from £29.99. Take a look at the gallery to see what you can expect.

    MORE: Anyone want these ‘human skin’ style boots for £5,000?

    MORE: Christmas beauty gifts 2018: gorgeous gifts under £50

    MORE: Rainbow teeth is a strong contender for strangest Instagram trend in 2018


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    In 2017, black African women accounted for 39% of all women diagnosed (Picture: Terrence Higgins Trust)

    When I tell people who have little knowledge of HIV that I have the virus, often the responses I get are sentiments of sympathy, and eventually the word ‘suffering’ pops up.

    As a black cis (someone who identifies as the gender they were born as) woman living with HIV (and doing so openly), I relish the opportunity to shake up the ‘suffering’ stereotype.

    I had known for some time that I would tell others about my status one day, and in 2016 I finally did it.

    For me, it was important to openly challenge the stereotypes and simple stories that limit what it means to be a person living with HIV. Especially as conversations around HIV often centre on men who have sex with men.

    When cis-women are mentioned, the conversation is often limited to pregnancy and whether we are passing on the virus to our unborn children. As someone who is not planning on having kids anytime soon, my voice is left out of many conversations.

    The consequences of this can be devastating, such as HIV prevention interventions not being tailored to us.

    This is reflected in the stats too with 58% of black Africans receiving a late diagnosis when diagnosed, meaning that a person has tested positive for HIV after the virus has already started to damage their immune system, which is sadly not common knowledge to those outside of HIV campaign spaces.

    When talking about the reason for the late diagnosis, conversations inevitably lead towards stigma within black communities. In the UK, for me and many others, the toughest part of living with HIV is the emotional and mental impact from stigma. It’s not actually the medical side of things.

    Stigma creates many negative assumptions about the type of person who has HIV (based on moral judgements). With this many of us fear of being rejected within our communities, which can have a massive impact on our self-esteem, whether we test and who we talk to.

    One of the things that has helped me move past this is not defining myself by three letters – having a better understanding of the truths and dispelling the myths around HIV.

    There is a real gap between the realties and perception of HIV, public perception just hasn’t caught up with medical advancements. Although the PARTNER 2 study confirmed that people on effective HIV treatment cannot pass on HIV, this is not widely known.

    It’s important to remember that stigma is not just confined within black communities; it can also be present within professional spaces.

    Over the years, I have experienced stigma and discrimination from non-black professionals – from an educator giving incorrect information about HIV transmission, to a GP questioning if I could legally work behind a student bar (which I can by the way), to the nurses who have asked how I got HIV, whilst giving me flu jabs (which is inappropriate).

    It all contributes to the negative assumptions and makes it harder to speak up.

    In 2017, black African women accounted for 39% of all women diagnosed, followed by white women accounting for 26%. The stats show that we are disproportionately affected by HIV, however you wouldn’t know that from the narrative surrounding HIV.

    It’s hard for us to share our voices. Only 26% of black participants reporting feeling well supported after sharing their HIV status, compared to 55% of white British/Irish participants.

    This is why I decided to get involved in the Terrence Higgins Trust #TheirStoryYourChoice project, which is a series of interactive films that attempt to debunk HIV stigma within black communities.

    It highlights different experiences such as how a person manages when they have received a late HIV diagnosis or what it is like negotiating love and life as a person born with HIV.

    My friend and fellow HIV campaigner Mercy Ngulube often says that the ‘H’ in HIV stands for human.’ My challenges are very human, but they are often exacerbated because I’m living at the cross-roads of three marginalised identities, being a black woman living with HIV.

    Ending stigma is key to living well with HIV and reducing transmission rates within our communities. In part, this can be achieved through increasing our understanding of the HIV, so that we can prioritise our health and live well.

    MORE: NHS England is still withholding a drug that prevents HIV. This scandal must end

    MORE: Taking a daily pill to stop HIV has removed a shadow over my sex life – no one should be denied that

    MORE: The BAME organ shortage can’t be solved by MPs. As someone waiting for a kidney, I know


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    What’s the truth? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    Avocados are hyped and demonised in almost equal measure.

    They’re blamed for our inability to afford homes.

    They’re held up as god tier brunch food.

    Are they brilliant or evil? It’s unclear.

    When it comes to sleep and avocados, the green fruit’s rep becomes murkier.

    The Express recently claimed that avocado could be keeping you up at night as it contains amino acids, which stimulate the brain.

    ‘Aubergines, avocado, nuts and soy sauce all contain an amino acid called tyramine,’ said Ryvita nutritionist Rob Hobson

    ‘This amino acid may inhibit sleep as it causes the release of a hormone called norepinephrine that stimulates the brain.’

    But a quick Google of avocado and sleep brings up a bunch of contradictory articles, noting that consuming avocado may actually help you drift off thanks to the presence of magnesium, tryptophan, and vitamin B6, all of which help the brain produce melatonin, which induces sleep.

    So, in the immortal words of Oprah interviewing Lindsay Lohan, what is the truth? Are avocados helping or hindering our sleep?

    (Picture: Getty)

    Brace yourselves, friends: There’s no real evidence to suggest that avocados will ruin your sleep routine. In fact, experts suggest avocado will more likely help you get to sleep.

    What might make it trickier to sleep, however, is eating anything before bed.

    Ali Orr, a nutritional therapist at YorkTest Laboratories, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

    ‘They are very unlikely to cause problems with sleeping as protein-rich foods can provide the amino acid tryptophan, which can actually promote sleep and make it easier to drift off.

    ‘Avocados are predominately fat (the beneficial kind) with only around 2g of protein per 100g.

    ‘Neither protein nor avocado consumption before bed is likely to cause sleep problems.’

    So you can go ahead and munch avocado to your heart’s desire, safe in the knowledge that it’s not causing insomnia.

    You may want to stick to avo on toast for breakfast, though, rather than treating yourself to a pre-bed snack.

    ‘Eating any food close to bed time can make it difficult to sleep as the digestive system will still be working,’ explains Ali.

    ‘For sound sleep have your last meal at least two hours before you head to bed.’

    MORE: Where to eat in November: London’s best new restaurants and recent openings to check out this month

    MORE: Your salt probably has plastic in it

    MORE: Everything you need to know about medicinal cannabis and its benefits


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    As soon as the leaves start falling and the winds start getting more cool you know autumn is here.

    And with the seasonal change comes everyone’s favourite holiday; Halloween. It’s the one night you can dress up as anything you like, and bonus points if you can make it sexy.

    Some people go all out. Take this family in Florida, who have decorated their patio with skeletons in fun different scenarios that change every day.

    Sami Campagnano, who lives next door to the set up, filmed the house every day and commended the family for changing it up.

    She revealed her favourite was a Wizards of Oz themed decoration which featured one skeleton wearing Dorothy’s dress and famed red shoes.

    The skeletons – a family of four – told a different story each day, corresponding with Floridian weather. One day they were spotted sunbathing, the next huddled under an umbrella to shelter themselves from the rain.

    They were also caught having a pool party, a garage sale, camping, partying, getting a haircut, among a bunch other things.

    Here they are living their best skeletal lives:

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    MORE: Don’t forget your dog costumes this Halloween

    MORE: How does Halloween affect our mental health?

    MORE: Dear white people: This is why Halloween blackface is racist and offensive


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    If women wear ‘too much’ makeup or too often, they’re asked to tone it down.

    If they hardly put it on, they’re advised to make more of an effort.

    For a lot of women, it feels like there’s no winning.

    South Korean women have felt the brunt of stringent beauty norms, made all the more explicit after the first female anchor on Korean TV to wear glasses received backlash for doing so.

    Now, Korean people have ushered in a new social movement, called escape the corset, which has seen people smash up their makeup products, to fight the pressures on women to look a certain way.

    The pressure to meet strict beauty ideals has been likened to the corset, which forced women’s bodies into a shape seen as desirable.

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    The women pulverising expensive eyeshadows into dust and turning lipsticks into mush are fighting a strong and rigid industry that’s been commonplace for centuries.

    As with other societies, women have been conditioned to smother themselves in creams and foundations in an attempt to achieve flawless, dewy skin and are encouraged to invest in rigorous skincare regimes to keep their skin supple and young.

    Now the tide is turning.

    Women have been filming themselves tearing apart their beauty items, creating art with it, and then throwing it all away.

    More and more are joining in with the movement, opting for simple, uncoloured and unscented balms and moisturisers and quick wash-and-go hairstyles.

    South Korea-based Cha Ji-won, a woman taking part in the change, said she used to spend 100,000 won/£68 a month on makeup alone.

    ‘There’s only so much mental energy a person has each day, and I used to spend so much of it worrying about being “pretty”‘, she told The Guardian.

    ‘I liked pretty things. I wanted to be pretty. I hated my ugly face. I didn’t go to school on days when my make-up didn’t look good.

    ‘Now, I took off the mask that was ruining my life.’

    Beauty YouTuber Lina Bae has also embraced ‘escape your corset’ and made her own video entitled I Am Not Pretty which has amassed more than 5 million views. In it she can be seen putting on fake eyelashes and heavy makeup alongside comments she has received about her appearance.

    She then wiped it all off, saying: ‘I am not pretty, but it is fine. You’re special the way you are.’

    There’s no data to show whether the trend has had an impact on the Korean beauty market but it’s hoped it’ll grab their attention and cause them to rethink the message they put out.

    MORE: Zara releases maternity line and it looks perfect for Meghan Markle

    MORE: How we learned to love our afro hair

    MORE: Makeup brands have created an unattainable standard of beauty and it’s time they were held to account


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    We all know that plastic pollution is a very real problem, so much so that it’s estimated by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

    The fashion industry is particularly polluting, showed research last year; clothes release half a million tonne of microfibres into the ocean every year, which is the same as 50 billion plastic bottles.

    The research showed that this industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.

    In an attempt to bring that figure down, over 250 brands are addressing the plastic crisis by signing the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

    Designer labels and high street retailers including H&M, Zara, L’Oreal, Burberry, Stella McCartney, and Unilever have attached themselves to the clean cause.

    Launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment aims to help brands cut down the amount of plastic waste they contribute to the environment.

    Part of the initiative is to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models. It also aims to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled, or composted by 2025.

    The last part of its three-step scheme is to turn recycled plastic into new packaging or products.

    One brand doing that is Everlane, which launched men’s and women’s puffer coats, fleece sweaters, and parkas made from three million recycled plastic bottles.

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    ‘We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year. We need to move upstream to the source of the flow,’ said Ellen MacArthur, the record-breaking British sailor who is behind the scheme.

    ‘Most efforts until now have been focused on cleaning up plastic pollution. This commitment is about eliminating pollution at its source,’ added Rob Opsomer, who leads the New Plastics Economy initiative.

    Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle, named some of the world’s worst plastic polluters, also joined the scheme.

    MORE: We’d fight for our children to have clean water – so where is the fight for clean air?

    MORE: Man collected all the the plastic he used for a year – and this is what it looks like

    MORE: Burberry has finally ditched fur – but faux fur has its own problems too


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    Is there anything money can’t do?

    Things you might consider impossible, like going into the past, might just be available if you’re willing to pay a hefty sum for it.

    You can now pay to celebrate New Year’s Eve twice, once in Tokyo, Japan, and then again after heading to Las Vegas, USA, where you will have gained 24 hours.

    All you have to do is pay £20,000. But worry not, the deal comes with a whole host of other luxuries that might just make the price tag worth it.

    The company, Crystal Skye, which operates a private charter jet, has organised an itinerary allowing people to celebrate the start of 2019 in Tokyo before jetting off to Nevada.

    The package, called the New Year Double Countdown Celebration, will throw two New Year’s parties flying guests through the International Date Line, meaning they gain 24 hours, in time to do it all over again.

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    Though it’s significantly more expensive than a standard holiday package, you will get some high-end perks. You’ll be staying at the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba, watch a fireworks display over Tokyo Disneyland, and get to enjoy some sumo wrestling as part of the entertainment.

    Once you’re done living it up in Tokyo, you will climb aboard the private jet which has 88 first-class flat-bed seats. There should be plenty to do as well during the 12+ hour flight, you can peruse the lounge which seats 24 or the stand-up bar.

    Or just wait for the inflight executive chef to whip up something decent for you.

    Once you touch down Sin City, you’ll get to enjoy a Celine Dion concert at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace before counting down to the new year.

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    Crystal Skye had a similar double New Year’s Eve package last year too, offering a trip from Sydney to Honolulu at a cost of $19,999pp (£15,700).

    ‘With the success of our sold-out inaugural New Year AirCruise to Sydney and Hawaii last year, we were encouraged by the response of our guests to create a brand new journey taking in the diverse splendours of Tokyo and Las Vegas while ensconced in our luxurious private jet and cared for by our staff,’ said Thatcher Brown, managing director of Crystal Cruises Asia.

    The package runs from 29 December to 4 January.

    MORE: Christmas beauty gifts 2018: gorgeous gifts under £50

    AD FEATURE: Beat the winter blues with these 5 colourful winter sun getaways

    MORE: Ben & Jerry’s is giving away free ice cream this week


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    Put a smile on someone’s face this Halloween (Picture: Getty)

    Halloween can be a pretty scary time with all the ghouls, witches and monsters floating about, so it might be a good idea to lighten the mood.

    Now, there is absolutely no guarantee that the following jokes will make you laugh, or even crack a smile, we cannot promise anything.

    EXCLUSIVE ALL ROUND EASTENDERS New Years DAY SPOILER Majority of the square turn out for the wedding of Ray Kelly and Mel Owen ,but what they are all unaware of Ray is ALREADY married ! Mel is aware of this and it looks like she is setting him up ,as everyone arrives EXCEPT the bride .Ray is spotted arriving in a taxi with his best man Mel's son Hunter then he is seen holding his head and running about looking for her to arrive but she is not there ,is she paying him back ? Pls Call to agree Set Fee for Online BYLINE TO READ: ISOIMAGES LTDMel takes shocking revenge on Ray in EastEnders new year wedding drama?

    But they are definitely worth a go to try and get your friends, family and colleagues in the (evil) spirit of things.

    21 nerve jangling jokes and petrifying puns for Halloween 2018

    1) What is the most important subject a witch learns in school?
    A: Spelling.

    2) Q: What do mummies like listening to on Halloween?
    A: Wrap music

    3) Q: Why did the skeleton cross the road?
    A: To get to the body shop.

    4) Q: Where do ghosts like to trick-or-treat? 
    A: Dead ends.

    5) Q: Why are ghosts so bad at lying?
    A: Because you can see right through them!

    6) Q: What do ghosts use to wash their hair?
    A: Shamboo!

    7) Q: What is a vampire’s favourite fruit?
    A: A nectarine!

    8) Q: What kind of dessert does a ghost like?
    A: I scream!

    9) Q: What do birds say on Halloween?
    A: Twick o tweet

    10) Q: What do you get when you cross a Cocker Spaniel, a Poodle and a ghost?
    A: A cocker poodle boo.

    11) Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
    A: Frostbite.

    12) Q: Where do ghosts buy their food?
    A: At the ghost-ery store!

    13) Q: Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?
    A: He didn’t have any guts!

    14) Q: What room does a ghost not need?
    A: A living room!

    15) Q: Which ghost is the best dancer?
    A: The Boogie man

    16) Q: What do you call two witches living together?
    A: Broommates

    17) Q: What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
    A: A sand-witch

    18) Q: What do ghosts eat for supper?
    A: Spooketi

    19) Q: Why are ghosts so bad at lying?
    A: Because you can see right through them!

    20) Q: What do you get when you cross a duck with a vampire?
    A: Count Quackula!

    21) Q: Why did the ghost leave the Halloween party?
    A: They ran out of boos

    9 creepy quotes for Halloween

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    1) Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble – William Shakespeare

    2) Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain – J.K. Rowling

    3) This Halloween the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask. And the best part? With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him – Conan O’Brien

    4) The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle – Stephen King

    5) Die, my dear? Why that’s the last thing I’ll do! – Groucho Marx

    6) I must go in. The fog is rising – Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

    7) Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, “Never take candy from strangers.” And then they dressed me up and said, “Go beg for it.” I didn’t know what to do! I’d knock on people’s doors and go, “Trick or treat.” “No thank you” – Rita Rudner

    8) Hark! Hark to the wind! ‘Tis the night, they say, When all souls come back from the far away- The dead, forgotten this many a day – Virna Sheard

    9) There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls – George Carlin

    MORE: Dear white people: This is why Halloween blackface is racist and offensive

    MORE: Mum calls for Halloween lollipop ban after daughter choked on a sweet


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    It is time for spooky pumpkins again (Picture: Getty)

    Halloween is upon is once again as we get our pumpkins out and stick our witch hats on to celebrate all things spooky.

    So long has Halloween been a tradition that we don’t really stop and wonder why we are doing such daft things on 31 October each year.

    thumbnail for post ID 8090997Beyonce channels Toni Braxton for 2018 Halloween costume and we are honestly not worthy

    Whilst much of what goes on for Halloween these days is not much to do with the origins of the festival, there is a reason we get involved with ghosts and ghouls at this time of year.

    Here is the story behind why we celebrate Halloween…

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    Why do we celebrate Halloween?

    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.

    Trick-or-treating comes from the practice of ‘souling’ or ‘guising’ (Picture: Getty)

    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.

    Halloween parties have also become popularised (Picture: Getty)

    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.

    Different types of colourful pumpkins are piled up for sale (Picture: LightRocket/Getty Images)

    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.

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    Trick or TreatTrick or Treatphilhaigh26Trick or TreatTrick or Treatphilhaigh26

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    Loads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meat
    (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    It’s a good time to be vegan.

    Not only are loads of restaurants lengthening the list of vegan options on offer, but you’ve also got research to back up your plant-based ways.

    A new study from the University of London suggests that a vegan diet may be ‘the best way’ of managing type 2 diabetes.

    Researchers looked through 11 clinical trials between 1999 and 2017 to track the physical and emotional impact of a vegan diet.

    The studies the team looked at lasted for 23 weeks on average and included 433 people, mostly in their mid-fifties.

    From those studies, researchers noticed that quality of life improved in those on a vegan diet. The vegan participants had improved mental health symptoms and tended to lose more weight over the course of the studies, too.

    Researchers claim that a long-term vegan diet may ‘slow progressive nerve damage’ associated with diabetes, and help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels and reduce their blood fats.

    Vegan food at festivals
    (Picture: Erin Aniker)

    In six studies vegan participants were able to cut down on the drugs they were taking for their diabetes. As veganism may help people lose weight, it can help those with type 2 diabetes manage their condition.

    Lead researcher Anastasios Toumpanakis said: ‘It can be concluded that plant-based diets accompanied by education can significantly improve psychological health.

    ‘Adopting a vegan diet can improve quality of life and weight, and therefore the management of diabetes.’

    But before you throw out your dairy products and stock up on courgette, it’s important to note that this study is fairly small, and more research is needed before we can definitively say that veganism is the best option health-wise.

    Previous research does back up the idea that veganism and vegetarianism can help people lose weight, but many experts still recommend the Mediterranean diet as the go-to for improved physical and mental health.

    Some with diabetes have found other diets, such as the ketogenic diet and a programme focusing on blood sugar, helpful.

    Consider your options, talk to your doctor, and take your time seeing what diet works best for you.

    MORE: Where to eat in November: London’s best new restaurants and recent openings to check out this month

    MORE: Here’s how you can get paid to eat Yorkshire puddings

    MORE: Cafe launches world’s first vegan Irn Bru sandwich


    Loads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meatLoads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meatellencscottLoads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meatVegan food at festivalsLoads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meatLoads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meatellencscottLoads of vegetarians and vegans are accidentally eating meatVegan food at festivals

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    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Cornel Cristian Petrus/REX (9917055j) Irina Linovich Street Style, Spring Summer 2019, Paris Fashion Week, France - 30 Sep 2018
    Get your jarf on (Picture: Cornel Cristian Petrus/REX)

    Oh, so you’re still shrobing? I’m so sorry.

    Fashion has moved onwards, and rather than draping a jacket around your shoulders or turning your coat into a top, the hot new way to incorrectly wear your clothes is jarfing.

    Now, before we get into the fashion definition of jarfing, we must note that this is a portmanteau already in existence, but describing something quite different.

    According to UrbanDictionary, jarfing is ‘the combination of jerking-off and barfing’, when you make yourself throw up as you masturbate.

    This is not the type of jarfing currently loved by fashion types, but if you find it entertaining to imagine that’s what we’re referring to throughout this article, you go right ahead. We can’t stop you.

    The fashion take on jarfing is the act of wearing a jumper as a scarf. Get it? The ‘j’ of jumper plus the ‘arf’ of scarf? Easy.

    Alexa Chung is jarfing, so it’s a thing (Picture: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

    The Sunday Times Style reckons that jarfing is heating up as a trend, and celebs and fashion people have been spotted wearing the look, so it’s officially a thing.

    It’s simple to jarf. Just take a jumper, wrap its sleeves around your neck in a loving embrace, and let the rest of your jumper hang down behind your shoulders.

    Is this uncomfortable? Absolutely.

    Will a heavy knit pull your neck and make you feel like you’re being strangled by your own clothing? Yes.

    Does jarfing put your favourite jumper at risk of stretching out and being ruined forevermore? For sure.

    But isn’t that the fun of fashion – ignoring an item of clothing expressly made for the purpose of keeping your neck warm in favour of a trend that looks and feels ridiculous?

    The answer, dear friends, is yes.

    (Picture: Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images)

    We would advise choosing a lightweight jumper you’re not too attached to for your jarfing needs. Perhaps a moth-eaten sweatshirt from the back of your wardrobe, or that mustard yellow knit that you’ll never wear but ran out of time to return.

    The handy part of jarfing is that if you get too cold, you can pop the jumper on. Too warm, tie it round your neck. Easy.

    If you don’t fancy going down the DIY route, there are brands crafting jumpers with second jumpers already knotted around your neck, so you mustn’t go to the faff of picking out a knitted combo yourself.

    Celine’s £1,050 ‘two-in-one sweater’ is, sadly, sold out, but we’re confident it’s only a matter of time until this very wearable trend trickles down to the high street.

    Brace yourselves for jarfing.

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    Street Style : Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 : Day SixStreet Style : Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 : Day SixellencscottMandatory Credit: Photo by Cornel Cristian Petrus/REX (9917055j) Irina Linovich Street Style, Spring Summer 2019, Paris Fashion Week, France - 30 Sep 2018Street Style : Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 : Day SixStreet Style : Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 : Day SixellencscottMandatory Credit: Photo by Cornel Cristian Petrus/REX (9917055j) Irina Linovich Street Style, Spring Summer 2019, Paris Fashion Week, France - 30 Sep 2018

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