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

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    Sufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder Psychology therapy life body beauty mental health mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk Phebe
    (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)

    I have apotemnophobia.

    You’ve probably never heard of this condition before. It’s not one that’s talked about often, and it’s certainly one I’d never realised was a thing until I started suffering with it myself.

    Apotemnophobia is the severe fear of becoming an amputee, and an intense discomfort being around people who have had body parts amputated.

    This phobia often arises from trauma, especially in relation to serious injuries.

    My apotemnophobia developed after a near-death experience which resulted in major, emergency surgery.

    Ever since I have been living with PTSD, which has transformed into this phobia.

    My brain has conditioned itself to believe that I am going to end up severely ill with a life-threatening illness such as sepsis or meningitis which will go on to mean I’ll need a major surgery. My brain has fixated that major surgery as amputation.

    That fear comes up whenever I’m around amputees.

    I am ashamed to have this phobia. It makes me feel like an awful person. It makes me worry that people will think I have a hatred of disabled people, that I’m a judgemental or nasty person. But this isn’t the case. It’s a phobia.

    Ecoanxiety Electricity power save eco money anxiety disorder mental health body mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk Phebe
    (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)

    When I see an amputee in the street, it’s like my entire body freezes. I go hot and cold and I don’t know what to do or where to look. I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack.

    I’ve developed an obsession with avoiding amputation.

    If I get even the smallest of cuts on my finger, I will refuse to touch anything dirty until it heals. This means the washing up can pile up for days because I’m afraid of touching dirty dishes with an open (yet tiny) wound.

    I panic that the cut will get infected, and that will lead to sepsis and then that will lead to an amputation.

    Rationally, I know that’s not how things go. My brain goes from one to 100. But I convince myself that it’s going to happen.

    Meningitis, sepsis, septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome are my worst triggers.

    I once read a story about a girl who’d left a tampon in too long and lost her leg after getting TSS. Ever since reading that story I have stopped wearing tampons, despite having used them for years with no troubles.

    I just can’t take the risk.

    I wish I didn’t have this fear. I wish it wasn’t a part of my life because not only is it debilitating but it makes me feel guilty.

    It’s got to the point where I’ve muted the words ‘amputee’ and ‘amputation’ alongside other trigger words related to this on Twitter.

    Sufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder Psychology therapy life body beauty mental health mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk Phebe
    (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)

    I have had help for my phobia. I underwent many weeks of CBT. At the start, I couldn’t even say the word ‘amputee’ out loud. I believed that if I said it aloud, that amputation might happen to me. But over the course of a few weeks it got a little easier.

    When my therapist thought I was ready, I started undergoing exposure therapy. This included reading positive stories on amputations. My therapist wanted me to see that you can still live a happy, fulfilled life after amputation.

    I watched a documentary of a man who’d developed Strep A and had all four of his limbs amputated.

    Ten minutes into the documentary, I had a panic attack. I started uncontrollably crying and felt like I couldn’t breathe. But I sat through it. I watched the entire thing. And I felt a little better.

    It’s horrible having a phobia of something that affects millions of people.

    What’s particularly hard is that I’m yet to meet anyone else with apotemnophobia.

    There are no Facebook support groups for people with this fear. I’m yet to find anything online. I feel totally alone.

    I want people to know that having this phobia doesn’t mean I hate amputees or anyone with a disability. It doesn’t mean I think badly of people who have undergone an amputation.

    It is simply a phobia. It is my problem, not anyone else’s.

    I hope one day to be able to speak out about this publicly, but I’m terrified of the backlash.

    It’s not like being afraid of heights or spiders or tiny holes.

    Hopefully, one day there will be more understanding around phobias.

    They’re not rational. They’re not something you choose to feel. They’re not an excuse for prejudice and hate.

    I wish I didn’t have apotemnophobia. I’m speaking out not because the shame or guilt has disappeared, but because I want to help other people feeling awful for their fears.

    For now my focus is working hard to overcome a phobia I’m deeply ashamed to have.

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: Living with Body Integrity Identity Disorder: A condition that convinces sufferers to amputate their own limbs


    Metro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationshattiegladwellmetroSufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder Psychology therapy life body beauty mental health mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk PhebeEcoanxiety Electricity power save eco money anxiety disorder mental health body mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk PhebeSufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder Psychology therapy life body beauty mental health mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk PhebeMetro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationshattiegladwellmetroSufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder Psychology therapy life body beauty mental health mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk PhebeEcoanxiety Electricity power save eco money anxiety disorder mental health body mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk PhebeSufferers of Body Integrity Identity Disorder Psychology therapy life body beauty mental health mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk Phebe

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    METRO ILLUSTRATIONS Why we need to stop asking couples when they're having kids Credit: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Dave Anderson/Metro.co.uk)

    According to society, our adult lives must follow a very specific formula. Move out, get a job, settle down with a partner, get married, have a baby, retire then die. Therefore, it seems that the most common question a long term, usually married couple will incessantly be asked is ‘well, when are we going to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet then?’

    As well meaning as this may be, can we all just stop a minute, analyse the enormity of such a weighted question and just f***ing stop? Most couples will appreciate the welcome relief of not having to explain their decision not to have kids yet or cover with excuses just because it’s the next expected milestone.

    There are a number of reasons why posing this question casually is akin to walking on to an emotional minefield. Mines such as not actually wanting children, not being able to conceive or having marital problems, all of which hurt when stepped on.

    FACT: The question can NEVER have a satisfactory answer

    Think about it.

    When you ask someone this question, what are you actually hoping for? Of all of the possible answers you can get, I imagine that the only mildly positive outcome that you can hope for is: ‘actually yes, I’m pregnant right now!’

    And how likely is that? Do you think if there were a pregnancy, it slipped the couple’s minds and your prompting question gives them that light bulb moment that they knew there was something they had to share?

    For a starter, it’s bad luck to announce a pregnancy in the first trimester. And secondly, it’s down to the couple who they tell, if they tell and the environment and time in which they do it. If they want you to know, you won’t need to ask. They will ensure you know.

    If you do get the answer you want (unlikely – the most common response is probably awkwardness) then what that means is that you have forced a couple’s hand in revealing something they weren’t ready to.

    Conclusion? No matter what outcome you get for the question, it has not been worth asking. At best, it just leaves everyone feeling like they want the ground to swallow them up. At worst, it has caused someone hurt, pain or stress.

    What if we aren’t ready for kids or don’t want them?

    Couples shouldn’t have to explain (Picture: Getty)

    For a start, no couple is obligated to have children. Ever. It’s an archaic attitude that we are all here to procreate and then die; we all have right to live our lives without having to contribute to the circle of life if we so choose.

    Plenty of couples have decided that they don’t want kids. More still possibly aren’t ready and having a ring on their finger doesn’t automatically leave them with a deadline.

    Even worse could be that the couple being pressed for a baby announcement are in the midst of fighting this one out between them, with one side of the couple ready to have a little one and the other half completely against it.

    All in all, whatever their placement on the spectrum of ‘not wanting a kid’, it’s awkward to feel you have to answer and it forces people to either cover with excuses (although why should we need to justify ourselves?) or to bluntly admit the truth and face of barrage of raised eyebrows, dropped monocles and splutters of dismay. ‘But WHY don’t you want kids? You’d make such a good mum/dad!’

    Of course, the only legitimate response to the question is: ‘none of your f***ing business, pal. Weather’s been nice recently, hasn’t it?’ but that’s not how it works.

    Many parents will know that it doesn’t even stop when you actually have a baby as immediately the ‘when are you giving them a brother or sister?’ questions start, which can be equally insensitive, prying and infuriating.

    10 variations of the question that should be banned

    • ‘So when’s the baby coming along?’
    • ‘Are we going to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet any time soon?’
    • ‘Oooh, it’ll be babies next!’
    • ‘So, have you got any good news for us yet?’
    • ‘You better start saving for nappies, right?’
    • ‘I can’t wait for the grandchild to come along’
    • ‘You’ll be excited to start a family now!’
    • ‘Have you talked baby names yet?’
    • ‘Are you trying for a baby yet?’
    • ‘So, I take it you’ve stopped having sex with condoms now you’re married?’

    Okay, the last one is sarcastic – but that might as well be what you ask seeing as any form of the question is blunt and completely personal.

    What if we have lost a child?

    Any couple could be enduring their own private pain (Picture: Getty)

    The weighty question could be the catalyst for all kinds of emotions and no-one knows the battles faced in someone’s private life and nor should they. The person you are flippantly, and in fairness to you, probably inadvertently, pressuring to reproduce may have had a tragic loss that is deeply traumatic and painful.

    Cases of miscarriages and stillbirth are common and life shattering and rarely something that one will broadcast outside of the closest people to them. It’s agonising and not a topic that anyone would ever want to address in the form of small talk at a party or in the office.

    Chances are, if you are one of those people that go around asking people you only know as acquaintances when they’re going to get a move on and start a family, you have probably hit a very exposed and sensitive nerve.

    It’s not possible to imagine the pain of having lost a baby – or more than one – and then having to brave it out when asked why you haven’t had a baby yet. It is estimated that 15 – 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

    You will rarely know if the person you are asking has endured complications, miscarriages or stillbirths and you have no idea the wounds you could be opening by asking when they plan to start a family. Just don’t ask. Ever.

    What if we can’t conceive?

    Conceiving can be a huge battle for many (Picture: Getty)

    Wanting to start a family and not being able to is a trauma faced by many couples with infertility, with up to 3.5 million people in the UK experiencing problems with conception. For some, it is destined never to happen.

    When confronted with the question on when they plan to have a baby, no-one wants to have to explain that they planned for it long ago and are still coming to terms with the fact that it will never happen for them.

    Not everyone CAN have a child and for people this affects, having it slapped in their face during every other conversation means that the struggle just gets even worse.

    What if our relationship might not be right for a baby?

    Asking can just open a can of worms (Picture: Getty)

    It’s a well known understanding that nobody knows the truth about a relationship except for the couple in it. What goes on behind closed doors is not what is on display at social events or on Facebook.

    Picture a couple who are secretly going through marriage counselling or are constantly arguing and the last thing that will be healthy for them is bringing a child into the mix. You could just be setting the stage for further arguments.

    Solution? Just never ask

    At the end of the day, it matters not the reason why a couple you think would make great parents haven’t yet had a baby. It is not their duty to tell you, it may not be something that they want to talk about and the worst (but not uncommon) scenario, you could be actively hurting them.

    You mean well and there will never be a thought that you are setting out to cause awkwardness. But for the sake of the couples out there who have things going on in their lives that contribute to them not having a child, please banish this bit of chat out of your repertoire forever.

    And even if there are no issues at play, it’s just infuriating to think that we all still seem expected to follow a pattern. In a modern society where every life and situation is different, why should it be deemed odd that a couple aged in their 30s don’t have a couple of children?

    Just don’t ask (Picture: Getty)

    Some people have children young, some people have them old. Some have them while single, some have them while married, some never get married and have them and some never have them at all. And some simply can’t have children and do not need constantly reminded of it as if they don’t think about it enough as it is.

    There’s only one thing that is common and consistent for everyone.

    And that is that a couple’s conversation over having kids or not is their business and theirs alone. So stop asking.

    Fertility Month

    This story is part of Fertility Month, a month-long series covering all aspects of fertility.

    For the next four weeks, we will be speaking to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who can shed light on the most important issues.

    If you have a story to tell or a question to ask, please do get in touch at fertilitystories@metro.co.uk.

    Here is a selection of the stories from Fertility Month so far - and you can find all Fertility Month content here.

    MORE: Fertility Month: Why we are talking about fertility this month

    MORE: I found the perfect sperm donor - but I never got my happy ending

    MORE: Plastic could be affecting your fertility – here’s how and why

     

    MORE: 17 things you only understand if your grandad is your best friend

    MORE: 17 things you only understand if your granny is your best friend in the world


    couples-kids-2-copy-14a6couples-kids-2-copy-14a6wallomrslugMETRO ILLUSTRATIONS Why we need to stop asking couples when they're having kids Credit: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.ukcouples-kids-2-copy-14a6couples-kids-2-copy-14a6wallomrslugMETRO ILLUSTRATIONS Why we need to stop asking couples when they're having kids Credit: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk

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    Like snogging a boy in the year above on a pile of coats at a house party, camping, I’ve always thought, is fine for teenagers but not something that has any place outside of adolescence.

    Yet, because I clearly have masochistic tendencies, I volunteered for a camping experience more extreme than any other: dangling over the side of a Gloucestershire cliff, 10 storeys high.

    This is an experience from buyagift.co.uk – you can pay £450 for dinner for two and a night on a hanging tent – a portaledge – in winter.

    Once you’ve got past wondering why anyone would do this, there’s the how.

    I meet Kevin Roet, 38, of Rise And Summit on a bright, clear day at Stroud station by his blue van, with its climbing pick logo.

    As he drives me over the old Severn Bridge, he tells me how he started climbing aged 12 then, as an adult, ditched his office job to set up this business.

    ‘I love climbing,’ he says. ‘I feel guilty sometimes because it doesn’t feel like work.’

    We park then walk to Offa’s Dyke – a path that will lead us up to Wintour’s Leap near Woodcroft.

    Kevin says it will be a ‘nice walk’. The Wye Valley countryside is beautiful, but ‘walk’ is an understatement. The path is thin and very steep, and most of the time I’m clinging to Kevin’s outstretched hand.

    Offa's Dyke Path on Hatterrall Ridge with views of Herefordshire in the Distance. The Black Mountains. Brecon Beacons National Park. Powys. Wales. UK.
    Offa’s Dyke path (Picture: Getty)

    Once we are at the top of the cliff though, I look out at the River Wye and the Forest Of Dean and it’s not too shabby.

    I peer over the limestone cliff, called Fly Wall. I’m not afraid of heights but I’d also rather not fall and be smashed to pieces.

    Once the gear is on – harness, helmet, ropes, metal loops called carabinas and Grigri, which you use to let the rope out – it’s time to abseil down.

    It takes five minutes of reassuring from Kevin before I move. My logical brain is having issues re: whether or not this will lead to my immediate death.

    ‘Trust the system,’ says Kevin, and for some reason this phrase, and my assessment of the ropes attached to huge rocks, sways me.

    When I get to the bottom I feel pleased with myself but surprisingly tired. It’s easier on the second try.

    Kevin assembles the portaledge aka my bed. It’s basically just a bit of canvas stretched across a few metal poles, held up by ropes.

    Three lady ramblers stop by.

    Just me hanging out in The Wye Valley (Picture: Kevin Roet)

    Two of them won’t even look over the edge. The third takes my picture, ‘in case I don’t make it.’

    ‘This is absolutely ridiculous,’ she exclaims. ‘I think you’re mad. Why are you doing this?’

    Her shock bolsters me – I start to feel like less like a worried blob and more like Lara Croft.

    Until she continues, ‘I remember watching the ambulances come for people when I was younger.’

    I put on my night time layers – a long-sleeved top, t-shirt, leggings, jeans, hoodie, woolly jumper, two pairs of socks, a thick coat and gloves.

    I use the portable loo (a plastic cube with a hole in it) and decide to deliberately dehydrate myself because there’s no way I’ll risk potentially pissing myself as Kevin hauls me up a cliff side for a bathroom break in the middle of the night.

    I abseil down to the portaledge. When I land and lie on it, flat on my back, I feel fine. After the exertions of climbing and abseiling it’s a blessed relief. It feels a bit like lying on a trampoline, which is in my top 10 sensations.

    By now, I’m not too bothered by the drop either. There’s a strong rope connecting my harness to a rock at the top, so even if I roll off in my sleep I’ll still be alive – just dangling against a cliff face in the middle of the night.

    My bed from below (Picture: Kevin Roet)

    There’s enough slack in the rope for me to sit up and move around the red canvas rectangle, which is about the size of a small single bed.

    Every time I move the portaledge moves a bit, with a creak, which is a little disconcerting.

    Kevin comes to my ‘bedroom’ for dinner, and we eat beef jerky, boil in the bag chicken tikka and tinned peaches. He also gives me a small bar of Green & Black’s, which I save for later.

    Night falls around 7.30pm, so Kevin heads off to sleep on his rock above and I shuffle into my sleeping bag.

    I stare at the view for a while, then drop off at around 8pm. Not literally.

    The first time I wake it’s a few hours later. I admire the stars and wish I knew more about the constellations. Owls are hooting and ducks are quaking. I eat the Green & Black’s. It’s all pretty nice.

    The second time I wake up I’m freezing my face off. I dig out my cloak and hat and pull my hoodie tight rough my face.

    The third time I wake up there’s incredibly beautiful mist below me. I would appreciate this more if I wasn’t aching so much.

    Just me sleeping (Picture: Kevin Roet)

    The fourth time I wake I remember why I don’t do camping. How had I forgotten this agony? My back is in so much pain. This is, I assume, because I’m sleeping on a flimsy bit of canvas stretched across poles hung from a cliff top, not a lovely mattress. I turn onto my side.

    The fifth time I wake up my side and my hips hurt. My gloved hands are freezing. Also, wild pigs in the Forest Of Dean are making aggressively loud grunting noises.

    The sixth time I wake up there’s a lovely sunrise, which I don’t give a crap about because I’m cold and achey and camping is hell.

    Still, I go back to sleep one last time before Kevin greets me, peering over the edge at 7.45am, which is too early on the weekend, even if your bed is hanging over a cliff.

    He lowers down a chamomile tea. I’m so achy that everything is difficult – reaching for the cup, getting out the sleeping bag, even getting my shoes on.

    Kevin throws down a rope and I hook myself on. He pulls me up using a system where he’s carrying a third of my weight. I feel like a cow being airlifted.

    Eventually, ungracefully, I’m crawling over the edge.

    After a boil in the bag breakfast of beans and sausages, we start the descent.

    The portaledge (Picture: Yvette Caster)

    It’s very steep, and Kevin kindly holds my hand for most of it. The hardest bit is when we ‘scramble’ over loose rocks and boulders using our hands and feet like monkeys.

    Finally we’re back at the van, then the station.

    I bid farewell to Kevin and think about my night of extreme camping.

    I don’t feel the need to do it again but I did enjoy some aspects.

    Sleeping out under the stars was a first. Being that high up was a novelty. And at times (when I wasn’t griping about the cold or my aches) I felt strangely emotional.

    The sky, the Wye, being right in the middle of nature was something special – a room with a view like no other.

    If only there was a portaledge made of memory foam.

    How to plan your own cliff camping trip:

    Cliff camping for two in the Wye Valley, with breakfast and dinner, costs £450 from buyagift.co.uk.

    You can also sleep hanging over the Atlantic Ocean, on a portaledge attached to a Devon cliff for £500.

    Trains from London Paddington to Stroud take about an hour and a half. Tickets cost from £48.40 return.

    (Top picture: Yvette Caster)

    MORE: Here's why you should visit Nevis

    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


    IMG_5100-dadbIMG_5100-dadbyvettemcasterOffa's Dyke Path on Hatterrall Ridge with views of Herefordshire in the Distance. The Black Mountains. Brecon Beacons National Park. Powys. Wales. UK.IMG_5100-dadbIMG_5100-dadbyvettemcasterOffa's Dyke Path on Hatterrall Ridge with views of Herefordshire in the Distance. The Black Mountains. Brecon Beacons National Park. Powys. Wales. UK.

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    Pregnancy heart illustration (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)
    (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)

    So far for fertility month at Metro.co.uk, we’ve covered the joy and heartbreak of finding the perfect sperm donor, whether yoga can help with conceiving, how plastic affects parenting, among others.

    But there are things that stand in the way of conceiving, such as Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a condition that may hinder getting pregnant as it affects a woman’s hormone levels.

    It causes irregular or no ovulation, which means the egg isn’t released and you can’t get pregnant.

    Affecting as many as one in ten women, PCOS is a worry for people who want to start a family, but there are still options for those wanting to have children.

    Professor Adam Balen, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists told Metro.co.uk that PCOS is the most common hormonal disturbance to affect women.

    ‘Treatment may depend on what the main concerns are for particular symptoms. Irregular and unpredictable periods can be unpleasant and an inconvenience. If a woman doesn’t want to conceive, she may be prescribed a low dose combined oral contraceptive pill. If ovulation occurs erratically, it may take longer than average for a woman to become pregnant.

    ‘There are a number of treatment options available to stimulate regular ovulation including taking clomifene tablets, which encourages the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries. If medication isn’t successful, women may be offered hormone injections.

    ‘Women who are overweight have a reduced chance of conception and are at increased risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy-related complications. They are encouraged to lose weight before trying to conceive, whether naturally or through fertility treatment. To actively maintain a healthy body weight, women are advised to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet and take part in regular exercise.’

    Though there’s no cure for PCOS, there are treatments you can try to help and some women with the condition, have been able to get pregnant completely naturally.

    Mum Tarryn Poulton, founder of PCOS Diet Support, was able to conceive naturally after being diagnosed ten years ago.

    She told Metro.co.uk how diet is a big part of the solution. ‘Many women are diagnosed with PCOS when they first start trying to conceive,’ she said. ‘The birth control pill masks many of the symptoms and when women with PCOS stop taking the pill, the symptoms of PCOS come to light.

    ‘This was the case with me. When I was diagnosed with PCOS over 10 years ago, my doctor was very unhelpful. Her suggestion was to either go back on the pill (which is not an option when you are trying to conceive) or to be referred to a fertility clinic.

    ‘Difficulties regulating insulin are part and parcel of PCOS. If women with PCOS are able to manage those insulin levels, they are more likely to see improvements in their androgens (a type of hormone) and levels of inflammation, which in turn improves ovulation and boosts fertility.’

    now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring
    Exercise and a good diet is needed if you want to conceive with PCOS (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    There are other options available such as IVF, which may be used by couples if the egg and sperm struggle to meet. While IVF has been used by many couples successfully to conceive, it can still be expensive if you don’t fall under the criteria to get it for free on the NHS.

    Other options include using ovulation drugs or injections which contain hormones that stimulate the ovaries to release one or more eggs. These drugs, when used with a healthy diet, weight, and exercise, can help you conceive.

    Fertility drugs can be taken together with metformin which helps to lower insulin levels and leads to more regular menstruation and ovulation cycles allowing women to get pregnant.

    According to the NHS, If you’re unable to get pregnant despite taking oral medications, a different type of medication called gonadotrophins may be recommended. These are given by injection and there’s a higher risk that they may overstimulate your ovaries and lead to multiple pregnancies.

    An alternative to this is a surgical procedure called ovarian drilling. This keyhole surgery can be equally effective but doesn’t increase your risk of multiple pregnancies.

    However, the effects of the procedure may only last a few months and it carries the risk of developing scar tissue between the fallopian tubes and ovary.

    It’s likely that a fertility specialist will check that your fallopian tubes aren’t blocked before most of these treatments are used.

    If you have PCOS and you do become pregnant, you have a higher risk of complications, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), pre-eclampsiagestational diabetes and miscarriage. These risks are particularly high if you’re obese.

    If you’re overweight or obese, you can lower your risk by losing weight before trying for a baby.

    If you have PCOS and want to get pregnant, talk to your doctor and assess each option to see what’s best for you.

    MORE: Pregnant mum says she was fat shamed by her midwife despite being size 12

    MORE: Woman ditches her secret shaving routine to grow a beard like her husband

    MORE: Male fertility stories: I had lazy sperm and no one to talk to about it


    Pregnancy heart (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)Pregnancy heart (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)faimabakar1now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that springPregnancy heart (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)Pregnancy heart (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)faimabakar1now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring

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    ***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Woman who had to terminate her pregnancies due to hyperemesis gravidarium and can never carry children Picture: MMUFFIN
    ‘My nausea was so intense I couldn’t brush my teeth. I developed thrush in my mouth’ (Picture: MMUFFIN/Metro.co.uk)

    Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is just a fancy term for pathological morning sickness so severe you wish you were dead. And I mean that literally.

    Suicidal feelings are very common among sufferers of HG. When told to suck it up or try ginger biscuits, these feelings can turn homicidal instead.

    HG is not your average run-of-the-mill morning sickness. Snacking on frequent small meals is an impossible task when you’re bedridden and too sick to even walk to the kitchen.

    No amount of rice crackers will help when you’re vomiting 30+ times a day and unable to keep down water.

    Sipping peppermint tea is not an adequate alternative for the IV bag of fluids you require when you’ve been hospitalised yet again for dehydration and ketoacidosis.

    Two of the most famous sufferers are Charlotte Bronte, who may have been killed by it, and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

    Kate has given birth to three children despite suffering from HG with all three pregnancies, a fact I find astounding. I can only surmise that some or all of the following factors are at play:

    • A severe ignorance about birth control
    • World-class around the clock private medical care
    • Pressure from the royal family to pop out those heirs
    • A deep, dark, masochistic streak

    I find myself conflicted when I hear news of her pregnancies. On the one hand, it’s great that she’s a public face raising awareness around HG. On the other hand, I wish that face wasn’t so immaculately glowing all the time.

    HG is not a glamorous illness. My nausea was so intense I couldn’t brush my teeth. I developed thrush in my mouth, the taste of which certainly didn’t help.

    My body was fairly clean as sitting at the bottom of the shower and letting lukewarm water stream over me provided some relief, but actually washing my hair was beyond me.

    The lack of vitamins and minerals led to dry, cracked skin and brittle nails. Of course, none of this was a concern. I would have looked like Quasimodo if I could just have felt normal for a day.

    I was lucky to have a supportive GP who was happy to chuck a variety of anti-emetics at me.

    Unfortunately, none of them worked.

    They did stave off the vomiting, but I still struggled to eat or drink anything. I was either bed-ridden or retching over the bathroom sink.

    I tried my best to eat as having an empty stomach only intensifies the nausea, but pretty much all I could handle was cucumber with the skin peeled off.

    I’d sip water and then let it dribble back out just to wet my mouth.

    By my sixth week of pregnancy I had already tried four different medications, lost 9lbs, and felt suicidal.

    I was admitted to a maternity ward to for IV fluids and meds. Treating the dehydration did help me feel less dazed and confused, but I was still constantly on the verge of vomiting and could not eat.

    I was getting worse every day, and my doctors advised a therapeutic termination. In fact, I was only allowed to leave the hospital on the condition that I was booked in for a medical abortion at Marie Stopes.

    Around 10% of pregnancies with HG end in terminations. Often it is because women feel like they have no support, and are denied access to medications that could help them.

    There is a UK charity, Pregnancy Sickness Support, dedicated to helping sufferers of HG who are fighting to educate GPs and maternity staff about the recommended guidelines from the Royal College of Gynaecology.

    I was refused corticosteroids, something that could possibly have helped me survive my very much wanted pregnancy.

    Instead, it was suggested I look at sterilisation because a future pregnancy would be too dangerous for my health.

    I’m only 25 and my husband and I are facing a life of childlessness.

    One year out, and my anxiety around being sick is still so bad that I’m on anti-anxiety medication.

    I’d honestly struggle to tell you which was the greater toll of HG, physical or mental.

    If you have a loved one with HG, please do not underestimate its impact. It is a serious medical condition.

    It cost me my child, and could have cost my life.

    Fertility Month

    This story is part of Fertility Month, a month-long series covering all aspects of fertility.

    For the next four weeks, we will be speaking to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who can shed light on the most important issues.

    If you have a story to tell or a question to ask, please do get in touch at fertilitystories@metro.co.uk.

    Here is a selection of the stories from Fertility Month so far - and you can find all Fertility Month content here.

    MORE: Fertility Month: Why we are talking about fertility this month

    MORE: I found the perfect sperm donor - but I never got my happy ending

    MORE: Plastic could be affecting your fertility – here’s how and why

     

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

    MORE: ‘I’m the third wheel’: Writer who is desperate to be a mum admits feeling ‘jealous’ of her surrogate

    MORE: Doctors help lesbian couple become first women ever to take turns carrying the same baby


    Metro IllustrationMetro Illustrationjessrubyaustin***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Woman who had to terminate her pregnancies due to hyperemesis gravidarium and can never carry children Picture: MMUFFINMetro IllustrationMetro Illustrationjessrubyaustin***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Woman who had to terminate her pregnancies due to hyperemesis gravidarium and can never carry children Picture: MMUFFIN

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    (Picture: Morrisons)

    Avocado on toast is possibly the perfect brunch food but do you sometimes feel like there’s just not enough to satisfy your cravings?

    Well now you can buy a giant fruit that makes an incredible 12 portions of avocado on toast from just one fruit.

    Morrisons has launched the 1kg fruits, which measure up to 25cm in diameter.

    And best of all, they cost just £2, which they say is a saving of one third on a normal two-pack.

    The avocados will be available from 12 November and the supermarket promises that they will still have a 70% flesh to 30% stone ratio.

    (Picture: Morrisons)

    Avocado Expert at Morrisons, James Turner, said: ‘Despite their size, these avocados still have a distinctive creamy flavour.

    ‘The skin turns from green to black when they’re ripe, so you’ll always know when they’re ready to eat.

    ‘Because avocados are so popular right now, we think these will fly off the shelves.’

    MORE: Millennials love plants because we have nothing else

    MORE: This adorable 85-year-old’s food Instagram is cuter than anything ever

    MORE: Is eating avocado wrecking your sleep?


    Morrisons-Giant-Avocado-3-0c2dMorrisons-Giant-Avocado-3-0c2dlauraabernethy6Morrisons-Giant-Avocado-3-0c2dMorrisons-Giant-Avocado-3-0c2dlauraabernethy6

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    From a young age all I dreamed of doing when I was older was designing toys.

    Geppetto, Pinocchio’s dad, was the only person I ‘knew’ that had such an amazing job, and as such I didn’t actually think it was a real career option (I mean, he is a Disney character after all).

    I gave up on my dream and instead toyed with the idea of being an architect or something else creative.

    I eventually pursued a career as a fashion designer and when I graduated displayed a miniature version of my catwalk collection of Barbie dolls at an exhibition.

    It just so happened that there were some talent scouts from the Lego Company there who spotted my collection and loved it.

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Matthew Ashton is vice president of design at Lego (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    They were looking for someone to work on a range of toys for girls back then, and thought my background in fashion and passion for toys was just what they needed.

    So, by the complete coincidence of me being in exactly the right place at the right time, I landed the job that I had dreamed of having all my life.

    Now, 18 years later, I’m still at Lego and loving my job. I’m currently the vice president of design, which basically means I get to do loads of cool stuff.

    For example, I’m the executive producer on the upcoming Lego Movie 2, which I’m still finding a bit hard to believe.

    I work across the whole portfolio of toys, meeting with the design manager of each product line to check things are going according to plan and offering advice and guidance on how to refine their designs to ensure Lego produces the best possible toys.

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    Matthew started in fashion design before he was scouted by Lego (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    At Lego, we know the real experts are the kids – so we test our ideas with them and change elements based on their feedback to ensure they’re perfect for our biggest fans.

    I remember sitting on my bedroom floor building Lego when I was a kid myself, and it was the freedom to create what I wanted that always had me asking my parents for more.

    The fact that I’m now in a position where I can help children bring their imagination to life in brick-form inspires me every day.

    People always ask what the weirdest things I‘ve dealt with in my career include, and if I’m being honest, there are quite a few.

    One stand-out moment was when I was working on a product line called Lego Monster Fighters and we were having a bit of trouble selling the idea to management (they were afraid that it might be too scary for the audience we were targeting).

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Also pictured is the LEGO sign made of individual Lego people. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    There are an infinite number of ways that Lego bricks can be combined (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    In order to show the ‘fun’ side, I did the whole presentation dressed as a vampire, popping out of a coffin and even performing the Thriller dance routine alongside the design team to finish.

    Needless to say, our slick dance moves won management over and we went on to launch an awesome product line that our fans loved.

    Once when I told someone I was a designer at Lego, they responded, ‘Hasn’t somebody already designed that?’

    I think she presumed the 300+ products we launch every year were just a combination of bricks put into a box, but I can confirm it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    Sure, we sell sets, but we also produce the classic boxes of bricks.

    A statistic that still baffles me today is that there are 915 million ways to combine six 2×4 bricks – the building possibilities are literally endless.

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland
    As well as being a producer on the Lego Movie 2, Matthew gets to read lots of other film scripts (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    To be a Lego designer, you must be good at keeping secrets.

    We work 12 to 18 months in advance on all of our product launches so I already know all the Lego toys that kids will have under their Christmas trees in 2019.

    We also get to read a lot of scripts from movies that are in development while we are designing franchise toys, and of course we are sworn to secrecy.

    I sign a lot of NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) to make sure I keep my lips zipped, so you aren’t getting any spoilers from me!

    Anyone can be a Lego builder – it doesn’t matter if you’re getting creative building on your living room floor or working at the head office in Billund, Denmark; we all have the ability to let our imagination run wild and create something spectacular.

    Put down your phone, pick up some bricks and let your builds do the talking.

    On a final note, if you prefer a shorter read and want my odd job summarised in one sentence – as I’m sat writing this from my office, I’m dressed as Jeff Goldblum’s ‘Grandmaster’. That’s how I roll!

    How to get involved with My odd job:

    My odd job is a new weekly series from Metro.co.uk, published every Monday.

    If you have an unusual job and want to get involved, email qin.xie@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: My odd job: After the body is removed from a trauma scene, people call me to clean up

    MORE: My odd job: I’m a magician and yes, I can do the rabbit out of the hat trick

    MORE: My odd job: I’m a third generation lion tamer and I’ve been training big cats since I was 15


    ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton - LegoODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton - LegoqinxieLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Also pictured is the LEGO sign made of individual Lego people. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton - LegoODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton - LegoqinxieLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Also pictured is the LEGO sign made of individual Lego people. Photo credit: Susannah IrelandLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, NOVEMBER 5TH 2018. ODD JOBS: Matthew Ashton, Design Vice President of toy brand Lego, pictured looking for inspiration among the latest Lego models at the Lego offices in London, United Kingdom, 5th November 2018. Photo credit: Susannah Ireland

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    It’s cold, it’s November and it’s Monday tomorrow – but this is the perfect thing to cheer you up.

    This little Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth is under a month old and it is just adorable.

    But the baby has already had a bit of a difficult time.

    When it was born at Brevard Zoo in Florida on 17 October, its mother Tango wasn’t a natural parent.

    The little one, who weighed 317g at birth, is now being hand-raised by zoo keepers.

    Brevard Zoo Baby Sloth
    (Picture: Brevard Zoo)

    ‘When we found the baby away from Tango, we tried to reunite them,’ said Lauren Hinson, a curator of animals at the Zoo explained.

    ‘But the new mother was not nursing, nor did she show interest in the newborn. Tango is a first time mother whose inexperience likely led her to not care for the little one.’

    Brevard Zoo Baby Sloth
    (Picture: Brevard Zoo)

    Lauren has been providing round-the-clock care for the sloth, which hasn’t been named yet as they don’t know what sex it is.

    It’s difficult to tell the sex of a sloth and often laboratory testing is required to find out if baby sloths are male or female.

    Brevard Zoo Baby Sloth
    (Picture: Brevard Zoo)

    The baby sloth is fed goat’s milk every two-and-a-half hours.

    Adorably, the newborn was given a choice of materials to cling to and it chose a sloth blanket from the gift shop.

    It will be cared for by Lauren and the zookeepers for around five months before the weaning process begins.

    MORE: Here are some unbelievably cute sloths to soothe your Sunday

    MORE: Morrisons launches giant 1kg avocados the size of emu eggs

    MORE: How the cleaning craze is damaging the environment


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    (Picture: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley)

    Salsify is a favourite among high-end chefs – but you’ve probably never heard of it.

    The root vegetable was a staple food in the Victorian era but fell out of favour.

    But now, Waitrose is bringing it back.

    The supermarket has announced that they will be selling the vegetable in 100 stores.

    Supplied by potato company Albert Bartlett, they hope to reintroduce salsify to the British diet.

    It was common in the 19th century and even featured in the classic cookbook Mrs Beaton’s Book of Household Management, which was first published in 1861.

    The taste is described as ‘a little like a mild artichoke, perhaps with a trace of liquorice or, when cooked, some even claim to detect a hint of oysters.’

    It’s already used by top chefs like Michel Roux Jr, Richard Corrigan and Jeremy Lee.

    The supermarket will stock the black variety of the vegetable, grown in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk and a small amount of the white variety, grown in Aryshire in Scotland.

    (Picture: by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

    It will be available in 350g packs for £2.99 until the spring.

    And if you aren’t sure what to cook with it, you can try this salsify based alternative to festive favourite pigs in blankets.

    MORE: This adorable baby sloth raised by zookeepers will brighten up your Sunday

    MORE: Morrisons launches giant 1kg avocados the size of emu eggs

    MORE: Millennials love plants because we have nothing else


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    Caption: Stacey Solomon skirt
    Provider: Getty/ Primark

    Stacey Solomon might be more famous for her TV presenting skills than her fashion designing but it seems her range for Primark has been a big hit.

    And one item in particular is selling fast – with some people even reselling it on Ebay for double the price.

    The green animal print pleated skirt is bang on trend.

    The star said she loves the twist on the typical leopard print, combining it with bright colours.

    ‘I’ll be wearing them at every opportunity,’ she said.

    Stacey Solomon skirt
    Caption: Stacey Solomon skirt
    Provider: Primark

    The Loose Women and former X Factor star released the range released the collection with the high-street store last month.

    After posting a picture of Stacey wearing the skirt on Instagram, Primark have received hundreds of comments from shoppers desperate to find the skirt.

    One said: ‘NEEEED this skirt already looked in 2 primarks .. can’t find it.’

    Another added: ‘Primark have upped their game.’

    Instagram Photo

    Instagram Photo

    Instagram Photo

    The skirt, if you can find it in store, costs £13.

    If you don’t spot it in store, the skirt is available on Ebay but prepare to pay a much higher price.

    Stacey’s collection is the latest celebrity collaboration that has sold out.

    Holly Willoughby’s collection for M&S has been very popular with some pieces selling out on the first day.

    MORE: Waitrose is bringing back ‘forgotten’ Victorian vegetable salsify

    MORE: Morrisons launches giant 1kg avocados the size of emu eggs

    MORE: This adorable baby sloth raised by zookeepers will brighten up your Sunday


    Stacey Solomon skirtStacey Solomon skirtlauraabernethy6Stacey Solomon skirtStacey Solomon skirtStacey Solomon skirtlauraabernethy6Stacey Solomon skirt

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    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Me and my Dad's bipolar - Eleanor Seagall
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Your boyfriend’s clothes can be the perfect thing to wear when you are in need of some comfort.

    And now there’s some science behind the idea.

    Researchers at the University of British Columbia say that wearing something with your partner’s scent on it reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety.

    The study involved 96 women who were randomly assigned to smell one of three scents – their romantic partner’s, a stranger’s or a neutral scent.

    How to talk to a woman you don't know
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The partner’s were asked to wear a t-shirt for 24 hours and then it was frozen to retain the smell.

    The scientists then measured stress and cortisol levels throughout tests such as a mock interview.

    They found the group who were given their partner’s scent had lower stress levels but those who smelt the t-shirts worn by a stranger were significantly more stressed.

    So next time your significant other complains about you wearing their favourite t-shirt or hoody, you can tell them science says it’s a good idea.

    MORE: Everyone wants this green animal print pleated skirt from Stacey Soloman’s Primark collection

    MORE: My odd job: To work at Lego, you have to be good at keeping secrets

    MORE: Waitrose is bringing back ‘forgotten’ Victorian vegetable salsify


    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Me and my Dad's bipolar - Eleanor SeagallILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Me and my Dad's bipolar - Eleanor Seagalllauraabernethy6How to talk to a woman you don't knowILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Me and my Dad's bipolar - Eleanor SeagallILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Me and my Dad's bipolar - Eleanor Seagalllauraabernethy6How to talk to a woman you don't know

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    (Picture: Firebox)

    There’s nothing quite like a relaxing bath, some candles and a glass of something nice.

    But now forget having a glass of Prosecco in your hand – you could have it in your bath water instead.

    Firebox has launched a set of Prosecco bath bombs for a particularly luxurious soak.

    The bag costs £7.99 and includes 10 gold, shimmery bath bombs scented with Prosecco.

    (Picture: Firebox)

    They are described as creating ‘a tub of shimmering golden fizz, rich in glitter and nourishing skin-friendly naturals like coconut oil.

    ‘The scent of Prosecco luxuriates in the air around you. You’re basted in hydrating, bubbly glitter – leaving a healthy glow when you finally dare to part with your dream bath.’

    The bath bombs could be the perfect Christmas gift for the Prosecco enthusiast in your life, or just a nice treat for yourself in the cold winter months.

    They certainly add a whole new meaning to the term ‘bubble bath’.

    MORE: Wearing your boyfriend’s clothes is good for you, research shows

    MORE: Everyone wants this green animal print pleated skirt from Stacey Soloman’s Primark collection


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    (Picture: Morrisons)

    Christmas is just seven weeks away and there’s festive food everywhere you turn.

    But who are we to complain – it’s delicious.

    And it seems everyone is getting in on the Yorkshire pudding wrap trend that hit street markets last year.

    Earlier this month, Lidl announced they were doing a roast for six people wrapped in delicious batter.

    But now Morrisons has launched the perfect lunchtime-sized alternative.

    (Picture: Morrisons)

    The new Christmas Yorkshire Pudding Wrap is packed with turkey, pork sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet cured bacon, fresh spinach and mayo.

    Ben White, Morrisons sandwich expert said: ‘Everyone loves Yorkshire pudding and everyone loves Christmas dinner, so we are combining the two to create a modern classic. We’re looking forward to hearing what customers think but we hope that they’ll love it.’

    The Christmas Dinner Wrap launches on 12 November, costing £3.00 and will also be part of Morrisons Food to Go meal deal.

    MORE: You can now get Prosecco bath bombs for a very luxurious soak

    MORE: Morrisons launches giant English Breakfast sandwich that comes with 10 fillings

    MORE: Eat’s Christmas menu includes a roast dinner in a Yorkshire pudding wrap


    Morrisons ChristmasYorkshire Pudding Christmas Dinner WrapMorrisons ChristmasYorkshire Pudding Christmas Dinner Wraplauraabernethy6Morrisons ChristmasYorkshire Pudding Christmas Dinner WrapMorrisons ChristmasYorkshire Pudding Christmas Dinner Wraplauraabernethy6

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    now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring
    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Staying fit should be for everyone. Women of all sizes work out, play sport and stay active. You don’t have to be a size 8 Instagram model to hit the gym, but it seems a lot of fitness retailers haven’t got that memo.

    If you’re a size 16 or bigger, it can be damn near impossible to find supportive, comfortable activewear. Sweaty Betty’s largest size is an XL – which translates to a size 16. Lululemon pushes to a size 18, but not for every product.

    Nike and ASOS both have a plus-size range, reaching a size 32, and a size 30 respectively. But not enough brands have a plus-size range, and when so many people fall into this category – surely they shouldn’t have to have a separate range at all.

    We’re in the middle of a body-positivity revolution – so why are so many big brands still clinging on to archaic ideals about the female form? 45% of women in the UK are a size 16 or bigger – what message does it send to women if fitness brands are only catering for the smaller half of the population?

    now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring
    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Asics just released a new ad campaign featuring tiny Elite models – it sparked a conversation around the potentially damaging effects of this kind of imagery. Many women felt that by only using women who are no bigger than a size 6 as the face of a fitness brand, they were showing something that is dangerously unattainable.

    One woman battling to change the perception of active women is Lucy Arnold. She owns Lucy Locket Loves – an inclusive fitness brand dedicated to providing a larger range of sizes.

    Lucy has just launched an ad campaign featuring women of all sizes, as an alternative to Asics’.

    (Picture: Lucy Arnold/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘This year has been the year of a the woman, with campaigns including Time’s Up and #MeToo. But still, we are faced with unrealistic images and poor representation within marketing and advertising,’ Lucy tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The new Asics campaign is part of this problem. Fitness is a real issue for many women, especially those who struggle to get fit, and having these “perfect” images thrust in our faces does a lot more harm than good.’

    Lucy thinks brands have created an intrinsic disconnect with their core customers – and they aren’t listening to what women actually want.

    ‘So many of my customers tell me how hard it is to get activewear that fits properly when you are a size 16 and above, that it’s almost impossible. We live in a society that is constantly telling us that we need to be unhappy with our bodies – we need to be skinnier, but still have curves – it’s ridiculous.

    ‘If we want people to learn to love themselves and create a love of exercise, they need to feel comfortable whilst exercising. They need to know that they can do a workout and feel great and have kit that fits properly. We want to help everybody, whatever the journey they are on and wherever they are.’

    (Picture: Lucy Arnold/Metro.co.uk)

    Lucy is convinced that the way to help women boost their confidence is through accessibility and inclusivity – they need to see themselves reflected int eh images around them.

    ‘We can build confidence by taking away this imperfect ideal we see in the media every single day. I’m a size 14 personal trainer and owner of a fitness brand, people tell me how much I have helped empower and support them through social media. How it made them realise they are perfectly normal and they should stop trying to be who the media tells them to be and learn to love themselves.

    ‘Alone we are one drop but together we are an ocean. What we want to do is showcase every single size and represent the nation as a whole, not just a tiny part of it. If people thought it was normal to be different shapes and sizes, they would feel so much more confident about doing exercise and this is what I want to do.’

    (Picture: Lucy Arnold/Metro.co.uk)

    The Asics advert sparked a furious response online as both men and women expressed their anger at the collaboration. Lucy thinks people are simply tired of outdated campaigns designed to make women feel bad about themselves.

    ‘These adverts aren’t empowering,’ Lucy explains.

    ‘They are not promoting that exercise is for everybody. They are not showcasing the size 18 lady who just completed a marathon. Or the size 8 and size 14 mum and daughter attending a class together. They aren’t showcasing what actually happens in gyms and running clubs around the world, and they are not encouraging anybody to start exercising.

    ‘All they’re actually doing is leaving out so many of their own customers in their own campaigns – which is nonsensical.’

    (Picture: Lucy Arnold/Metro.co.uk)

    Women face huge, systemic barriers to staying fit – the burden of childcare and taking on the bulk of domestic duties is one barrier, but another is fear of judgment and societal pressures to look a certain way.

    Inclusivity is key if we want to create a culture of genuine body positivity and acceptance. If a woman can walk into a shop and find a pair of gym leggings that fit her, support her and make her feel good – it could be the first step in changing attitudes and re-establishing body norms.

    MORE: Asics using Elite models in their latest campaign is a monumental step back for women’s sports

    MORE: Staying fit could help you find love

    MORE: It’s never too late to start running – I just ran my first half marathon at 65


    Lucy Arnold-2a43Lucy Arnold-2a43nataliemorris88now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that springnow that summer is over, it's harder to harness that springLucy Arnold-2a43Lucy Arnold-2a43nataliemorris88now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that springnow that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring

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    Anyone who has been to the SeaWorld Parks will know that it’s next to impossible to narrow down all the excitement on offer into one list.

    With SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Discovery Cove offering record-breaking attractions and unforgettable sights, the thrills are seemingly endless. Incredible rides and unbelievable animal experiences allow guests to experience the speed, power, agility, beauty and grace of some of the world’s most impressive animals on land or under the sea.

    You can glide through the sky with the grace of a ray on Manta at SeaWorld before encountering the animals in The Grand Reef at Discovery Cove, or dive face-down like a stalking falcon on Falcon’s Fury and speed like a big cat on Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens.

    If you prefer a slower pace, you can step into Dolphin Lagoon at all-inclusive day resort Discovery Cove where you can swim with a bottlenose dolphin or hand-feed exotic birds in the Explorer’s Aviary.

    You’ll meet cheetahs and mantas, sharks, penguins and turtles, soar through the air and glide like a creature of the deep, experience jungles, rapids and watery landscapes inspired by habitats thousands of miles across the earth, brought to vivid life. Expect the unexpected – here are the 13 most exciting things to do at the SeaWorld Parks.

    1 Visit the park with the MOST rollercoasters in all Florida 

    Busch Gardens is home to more rollercoasters than any other park in the Sunshine State – which considering Florida is the theme park capital of the world, is some claim to fame. The rides are not just rollercoasters either – they are exploratory missions into the planet’s most exciting animal worlds.

    Coaster enthusiasts will love super-fast Cheetah Hunt, the park’s longest coaster, SheiKra, a 200-foot tall floorless dive coaster, Falcon’s Fury, a 335-foot freestanding drop tower, and Montu, Kumba, and Florida’s first family spin coaster Cobra’s Curse to name a few.

    The thrills are set to continue into 2019, when Florida’s tallest launch coaster Tigris opens at the park.

    2. Plunge down the world’s tallest rapids drop

    SeaWorld’s newest water ride Infinity Falls has more than just the world’s tallest rapids drop up its sleeve. Wind your way through ancient civilisations, mysterious jungles and past fountains and waterfalls as your raft spins and plunges into swirling rapids, finally hurtling down that 40ft drop – the tallest of its kind in the world – into the white waters below before gently coming to a stop at Harmony Village.

    This ride isn’t just about thrills (though it has plenty): it wants to show riders the wonders of the world’s rivers and inspire a message of conservation.

    3. Ride the mighty Mako – Florida’s only hyper coaster

    As the newest coaster at SeaWorld (and many claim the most exciting), Mako is more than just a rollercoaster – it’s a hypercoaster, and it’s Florida’s only one.

    Named after the fastest shark in the ocean, this absolute beast speeds around a towering 200ft-high, 4,760ft track at a top speed of 73mph, taking in a full height vertical drop and plenty of air time.

    There are no upside-down moments – or inversions as they are called in the biz. This is about being higher, faster, longer than the rest.

    It’s 2m 24s of pure adrenaline.

    4. Go on a Serengeti Safari

    Over at Busch Gardens you can meet more than 300 species of animals, including big cats, gorillas, elephants, meerkats and snakes.

    Climb aboard a safari truck alongside your expert guide and explore the 65-acre Serengeti Plain, home to zebra, rhinos and giraffes (additional fees apply). 

    5. …and have a selfie taken with a giraffe

    With animals all around you on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain, it’s impossible not to get a great shot – but the giraffes in particular are known for being very camera-friendly.

    Don’t be surprised if one leans in with a big ‘smile’ (or pokes out its long blue tongue) just as you’re about to snap your pic.

    6. Plunge down Orlando’s steepest drop tower

    Brave the 40ft watery free fall on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls at Aquatica. This colourful, twisting, turning water slide features the steepest multi-drop tower in all of Orlando – and it delivers a massive adrenaline rush too.

    Step into one of three clear ‘breakaway’ boxes at the top of the slide and stand face-to-face with other riders, not knowing who will fall first… Without warning, the floor will disappear under one of the ‘capsules’ and you will plummet 40ft down before zooming through a 360 degree spiral slide. This ride is built to thrill – and it does not disappoint. Totally world class.

    Fun fact: Ihu is named after the waterpark’s colourful gecko.

    7. Swim with dolphins

    After all that adrenaline, it’s time to go in search of some serenity. At Discovery Cove’s Dolphin Lagoon, you can swim alongside beautiful bottlenose dolphins, coming nose-to-nose with these playful creatures in blissful surroundings. Watch them play, learn about their habits – and if you’re game, hold on to a fin for the best ride in Florida.

    Not only is Discovery Cove the only place in Orlando you can swim with dolphins, but you can hand-feed aviary birds here too. An all-inclusive day resort that is an animal-lover’s paradise.

    8. Fly like a ray on Manta

    Manta at SeaWorld is a seriously unique rollercoaster that glides around the track, swooping and diving, giving the rider the sensation of being a real-life manta ray. At a pretty speedy 56mph, the manta-shaped coaster is not actually the fastest – but it’s one of the most immersive and thrilling.

    The coaster takes on four inversions up to 140ft high over a pool, with sudden face-down vertical drops, an exhilaration inline twist and sharp turns timed with fountains bursting up to the train, making it feel as if the flying manta has launched right into the water.

    The ride is entered through an aquarium filled with the beautiful creatures too. A truly unique themed rollercoaster. Sit at the front and put your arms in the air to really feel like you’re in flight.

    9. Experience the thrill of a Cheetah Hunt

    Inspired by the speed of a hunting cheetah, Busch Gardens’ Cheetah Hunt coaster takes on twists, turns and an upside-down roll at the top speed of 60mph. It’s a family coaster, but with plenty of thrills thrown in. With a tonne of exciting airtime, launches and high-speed zig-zagging across the tracks, it’s constantly on the list of coaster fans’ must-do coasters in Florida. Hunt it down quick and join the fun.

    Don’t miss Cheetah Run while you’re there too – long glass viewing windows on to the plain where you can witness the world’s fastest land animal at full sprint.

    10. Snorkel among thousands of fish and rays and come face-to-face with sharks

    At Discovery Cove’s stunning Grand Reef, you can swim or snorkel among beautifully colourful fish and gliding rays.

    Or don a diving suit complete with helmet for SeaVenture (additional fees apply) – an innovative underwater walking tour where you’ll take a leisurely stroll across the sea floor, get up close and personal with unique sea life and stand among a school of fish feeding around you with the magnificent reef as your backdrop.

    You can come face-to-face with sharp-toothed reef sharks too, though you needn’t worry about the teeth, as they are on the other side of a long panoramic window!

    11. Take on the only floorless rollercoaster in Orlando

    Who fancies speeding around a 4,177ft track 153ft up at 65mph with legs dangling, open-sided cars and nothing beneath your feet?

    Oh you do? SeaWorld’s Kraken Unleashed – named after the terrifying mythical sea monster from the deeps, kept prisoner by Poseidon – is the world’s second longest floorless rollercoaster and the only one in Orlando – and it’s an unforgettable ride.

    Seven inversions – including two vertical loops, a dive loop, a spiralling camelback (zero-g roll), a cobra roll and a flat spin – make for some serious white knuckle moments.

    Rated ‘Extreme’ by SeaWorld, this – SeaWorld’s first ever coaster built – is for the real coaster geek.

    12. Eat dinner surrounded by sharks

    In the magical blue-tinged glow of this sub-aquatic dining room, hundreds of sharks glide by, inches from your table, as you dine on delicious steak and sea food. Shark’s Underwater Grill at SeaWorld is fine dining and fascinating views with a wonderful window into the deep. Don’t miss this one!

    13 …and visit the Arctic AND the Antarctic in one day

    At Wild Arctic, experience this mysterious, frozen part of the world as if you were right there in the Tundra yourself. The 3D simulator will take you on a thrilling jet-helicopter ride through the icy Arctic landscape, soaring high over treacherous peaks and down into valleys as it journeys to the Base Station Wild Arctic, where you’ll witness the magic of beluga whales and walruses.

    Or step on to the ice at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, where you’ll meet four species of penguin – Gentoo, King, Adélie and Rockhopper.

    This award-winning exhibit mimics the natural Antarctic environment – which means it’s freezing!

     

    HOW TO BOOK YOUR SEAWORLD PARKS ADVENTURE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

    There is so much to see and do on a trip to Orlando that it can seem overwhelming trying to work out how to fit it all in.

    To book a trip to SeaWorld Parks along with the rest of your Orlando experiences, visit Virgin Holidays and let them take care of all the details.

    They have 30 years’ experience nailing down the best itineraries – and as well as making sure you make the most out of the theme parks, they can book all your flights, accommodation and car rental too. 

    You can make an appointment to see an Orlando Holiday Expert in one of Virgin’s stores – find details here

    Getting help from a Virgin Holidays expert means that all your tickets, passes, theme park packages, parking and plans will be sorted for you – and they can even get your fast track passes to avoid the queues on the big rides. 

    It takes the all the hard work out of booking – all you have to do is pack your cossie and turn up. 

    Virgin Atlantic flies direct to Orlando (MCO) from Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN) daily, with summer services from Belfast (BFS) and Glasgow (GLA). To make your holiday extra special, Vroom lounge access is available for anyone  flying from Gatwick or Manchester. Find out more about Vroom access here

     

    COMPETITION: Your family could be in with a chance to experience the wonder of Orlando for FREE!

    Virgin Holidays and Visit Orlando are giving one lucky family the chance to spend a week in the sunshine state, with free reign to enjoy all that Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Parks have to offer.

    The winners  will get return Economy Flights from London Gatwick or Manchester Airport to Orlando International for 4 people (2 adults & up to 2 children up to 16) and hotel accommodation for 7 nights at a 3V or 4V hotel on a room only basis.

    You will be able to get around in style with car hire for the whole week with the Virgin fully inclusive insurance package included in the prize, along with entry tickets to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Parks for 1 week.

    And that’s not all. Three runners-up will each get an incredible £500 Virgin Experience Days gift card, which they can spend on a whole host of exciting treats and days out, such as supercar track sessions, luxury spa days, theatre tickets and so much more.

    All you have to do to be in with a chance to win and experience the magic first hand is draw your perfect family holiday in Orlando. Find out more here. 

     

    https://seaworld.com/orlando/park-info/theme-park-map/

    https://www.virginholidays.co.uk/travel-extras/attraction-tickets/seaworld-orlando/theme-park-info

    https://www.virginholidays.co.uk/travel-extras/attraction-tickets/seaworld-orlando/tickets-and-prices


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    FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.
    (Picture: SWNS.com)

    Brits love a good fry up, don’t we? We know it’s unhealthy and we shouldn’t be chowing down on so many fried goods, but it’s just a national staple (it is called a full English, after all).

    But we’re probably not used to seeing our beloved Christmas meal in fried form. That’s exactly what one Devon chippy is offering; poultry leg, sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets, and stuffing – all battered.

    There’s also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off – which are also, you guessed it, fried.

    FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.
    (Picture: SWNS.com)

    Andrew Marshall, 35, runs chippie, Marshall’s Fish Bar in Collumpton, Devon, and is offering the Christmas treat ahead of the festive season.

    ‘After some thought, we decided to launch the Chipmas dinner again because it seemed to work so well last year,’ he said.

    ‘The reason I came up with the idea is because my staff says I am a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas so I thought why not come up with something different?

    ‘I started with just the battered Brussels sprouts, then the pigs in blankets, and then I thought why not serve an entire Christmas dinner?

    ‘The battered Christmas dinner will start with a fried chicken leg, sprouts, carrots and pigs in blankets.

    FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.
    (Picture: SWNS.com)
    FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.
    (Picture: SWNS.com)

    ‘We will then take an ice cube of gravy, surround it in mash potato, cover it in breadcrumbs and then fry it.

    ‘We will also either deep fry the stuffing or cover it in batter and fry it. And for dessert, we will either try battered Christmas pudding or mince pies.’

    And as with a lot of other fast foods, the meal is also relatively light on the wallet at just £9.95.

    If you are interested in getting your hands on the grub, bear in mind, the festive takeaway totals 1,100 calories, just under half of your recommended daily intake if you’re a man, and over half if you’re a woman.

    According to the NHS, within a healthy, balanced diet, a man needs around 2,500kcal a day to maintain his weight. For a woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal a day, which vary according to age, metabolism, and levels of physical activity, etc.

    Enjoy, and eat responsibly, people.

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    MORE: Morrisons launches Christmas sandwich wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding

    MORE: You can now get Prosecco bath bombs for a very luxurious soak


    SEI_39670853-0ad2SEI_39670853-0ad2faimabakar1FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.SEI_39670853-0ad2SEI_39670853-0ad2faimabakar1FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.FILE Andrew Marshall has created a battered Christmas dinner at his Fish and Chip shop in Cullompton, Devon. A festive chip shop owner has gone one batter than his rivals - and created a deep fried full Christmas dinner. See SWNS story SWFRIED. Andrew Marshall serves a poultry leg, battered sprouts, carrots, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing - all battered. There's also a gravy bomb and a mince pie to finish it off - which are also fried. The festive takeaway totals an artery-clogging 1,100 calories but is relatively light on the wallet at just ??9.95.

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    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE PHOTO IN WHICH BABY LAYLA JACKSON'S FOOT APPEARS TO GIVE HER MUM SHAWNNA BINKS A PENIS) A mum was left red-faced by her own holiday photos when her baby's foot accidentally made her look like she had a PENIS. Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb from where she tried to sit 15-month-old Layla on her lap - but has still put it in an album. The hilarious photo shows bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter's first holiday in Cyprus as she shifts a wriggling Layla into position. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Unfortunately placed photographs give us life.

    We don’t mean pics hanging awkwardly by the bed or in the bathroom; we’re talking about optical illusions, disproportionate limbs, and (seeming) nudity, all caught by the photographer snapping at the right place at the right time.

    One mum was at the receiving end of such a banterous pic when she was photographed holding her baby whose feet, dangling in between her mum’s legs, made it look like her mama had a penis.

    Taking it on the chin, Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb by 15-month-old Layla on her lap – but has still put it in an album.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: MUM SHAWNNA BINKS AND HER BABY LAYLA JACKSON WHILE TAKING PHOTOS ON HOLIDAY IN CYPRUS) A mum was left red-faced by her own holiday photos when her baby's foot accidentally made her look like she had a PENIS. Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb from where she tried to sit 15-month-old Layla on her lap - but has still put it in an album. The hilarious photo shows bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter's first holiday in Cyprus as she shifts a wriggling Layla into position. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    The hilarious photo showed bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter’s first holiday in Cyprus as she shifted a wriggling Layla into position.

    But the photo, taken by Shawnna’s mum Carol, 52, caught the pair off guard and little Layla’s foot hung beneath her mother’s legs – taking on a phallic appearance.

    Layla’s clothes also covered Shawnna’s bikini which makes her seem naked.

    Shawnna, from Hull, Yorkshire, said: ‘I couldn’t get it again if I tried. It’s definitely a one in a million shot.

    ‘It was my little girl’s first holiday and we just went to Cyprus – obviously we were taking loads of pictures.

    ‘I sat Layla on my lap and I said to my mum will you take some pictures – about 50, because sometimes my little girl smiles and sometimes she doesn’t smile.

    ‘I couldn’t actually see them until we got back and I couldn’t believe we had caught that picture.

    ‘When we got back to the villa we started to sort through them. My mum pointed at one and said “that’s a nice picture that” and I said “I can’t put that online”. She was like “why?”.

    ‘So I just told her to look at the picture. She looked more closely and saw where Layla’s foot was. She was shocked and told me I had to put it online because it’s so funny.

    ‘It just wasn’t meant to look how it looked. Everyone found it funny.

    ‘I’ve already put it in an album because obviously when she is older and she looks through them all, she can see it.

    ‘I didn’t want to delete it because when I look back at it it’ll just remind me of the lovely holiday we had together.

    ‘I just couldn’t believe it. You couldn’t have done it again if we tried – it was just one of those pictures.’

    Most people saw the funny side of it after she posted the picture online with one person joking that Shawnna was getting deleted as he didn’t know she ‘was a dude’.

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    Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Mediafaimabakar1PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE PHOTO IN WHICH BABY LAYLA JACKSON'S FOOT APPEARS TO GIVE HER MUM SHAWNNA BINKS A PENIS) A mum was left red-faced by her own holiday photos when her baby's foot accidentally made her look like she had a PENIS. Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb from where she tried to sit 15-month-old Layla on her lap - but has still put it in an album. The hilarious photo shows bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter's first holiday in Cyprus as she shifts a wriggling Layla into position. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: MUM SHAWNNA BINKS AND HER BABY LAYLA JACKSON WHILE TAKING PHOTOS ON HOLIDAY IN CYPRUS) A mum was left red-faced by her own holiday photos when her baby's foot accidentally made her look like she had a PENIS. Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb from where she tried to sit 15-month-old Layla on her lap - but has still put it in an album. The hilarious photo shows bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter's first holiday in Cyprus as she shifts a wriggling Layla into position. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Mediafaimabakar1PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE PHOTO IN WHICH BABY LAYLA JACKSON'S FOOT APPEARS TO GIVE HER MUM SHAWNNA BINKS A PENIS) A mum was left red-faced by her own holiday photos when her baby's foot accidentally made her look like she had a PENIS. Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb from where she tried to sit 15-month-old Layla on her lap - but has still put it in an album. The hilarious photo shows bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter's first holiday in Cyprus as she shifts a wriggling Layla into position. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: MUM SHAWNNA BINKS AND HER BABY LAYLA JACKSON WHILE TAKING PHOTOS ON HOLIDAY IN CYPRUS) A mum was left red-faced by her own holiday photos when her baby's foot accidentally made her look like she had a PENIS. Shawnna Binks, 24, was initially mortified when she spotted the photobomb from where she tried to sit 15-month-old Layla on her lap - but has still put it in an album. The hilarious photo shows bikini-clad Shawnna perching on a rock while on her daughter's first holiday in Cyprus as she shifts a wriggling Layla into position. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266

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    A woman set up a successful business making reborn dolls because she wanted to immortalize the baby she waited 15 years to have.

    Robin Longley, 55, was so smitten with her daughter Katherine, who is now 12, that she decided to commission a reborn doll that looked just like her newborn – but ended up making it herself.

    Longley, of Goldsboro, North Carolina, told Metro US: ‘I started out because I wanted a reborn baby to look like my daughter, and I didn’t have $800 to spend on a doll.

    Reborn doll artist Robin Longley with the first doll she made – a likeness of her baby Katherine, which she decided to create after spending 17 years trying to have a child (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)
    Longley with the doll that looks like her daughter Katherine. Her friends and family were so impressed with the doll that she quickly set up a successful business via word of mouth (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)
    Robin with her daughter Katherine when she was a baby. She conceived a boy she called Michael, miscarried him at five months, then fell pregnant again with her daughter 11 months later (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Reborn babies were a fairly new thing, and I thought “I want a baby, who looks like my daughter, so I can keep that memory alive.”‘

    ‘So I said, “Well, I already know how to make porcelain dolls, so I’ll Google and figure out how to do it.”‘

    thumbnail for post ID 8130989Cristiano Ronaldo slips into London with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez

    Longley was told she would not be able to have children naturally, and began fertility treatment at 25.

    She and her husband John, 63, had begun to investigate adoption when she unexpectedly fell pregnant with her son Michael 14 years ago, only to miscarry five months later.

    The self-taugh artist got pregnant with Katherine 11 months after that, at the age of 40.

    Mother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceive
    Longley now has a special ‘nursery’ in her home filled with reborns. She owns around 120 dolls, with each having a selection of outfits which are washed and changed every week (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)
    A selection of the outfits Longley has bought for her reborns. She estimates that she has spent $5,000 on the dolls themselves, and a further $2,000 a year on clothes and furniture (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)

    And her craft project to make a reborn likeness of Katherine soon turned into a successful word-of-mouth business.

    Longley says around a fifth of her clients are women who struggle to conceive themselves.

    She now makes between 12 and 15 dolls a month which sell for up to $800, with each doll taking up to 72 hours of work to complete.

    They require around 30 layers of paint, and are weighed down with Poly-Fil as well as glass beads to make them feel just like a real baby.

    Longley, who decided not to try for any further children after Katherine, explained: ‘A lot of ladies who purchase these are told they’re never going to be able to have a baby, and I understand that desire to have a child.

    Longley spends between one and three days rooting the hair of each reborn doll, depending on how ‘old’ the doll is, with newborn likenesses taking less work (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘It’s difficult for women. The most difficult thing you go through is trying to conceive a baby and not being able to.

    ‘Women feel like they’re not compete, and they’re not suitable to be a parents…somehow, religion tends to play into it, when it really has nothing to do with it – its just a simple matter of nature.’

    Longley says she looks at photos of the reborn’s parent or parents to help create a ‘baby’ who looks like them, to help them ‘bond.’

    She added: ‘These babies somehow comfort these ladies, but they’re by no means a replacement for a child. They’re a doll, no matter how you look at it.

    ‘If it gives someone comfort, that helps me as an artist to know my work has given them comfort.’

    Longley offers an ‘anatomically-correct’ reborn like this baby girl, with Poly-Fil and glass beads placed inside its torso and limbs to help weigh it down like a real infant (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)

    The artist is also occasionally asked to make ‘memorial babies’ – a likeness of a baby which was stillborn or died shortly after birth, and says doing so is a harrowing task.

    Longley said: ‘The hardest thing for me to do is the stillborn babies, because you have to see these images.

    ‘I do it from photographs. Those I don’t hold on to.

    ‘As soon as the doll is finished the person who has ordered it has to take them away.

    ‘It kind of tears you up to see that. It’s emotional to even start on them.

    ‘I dont see how that helps with the healing process.

    Longley occasionally makes a likeness of a baby that died, but said: ”I dont see how that helps with the healing process. To me I think it would hold up the healing process, because you’re holding on to something that you can’t physically have.’ (Picture: Robin Longley/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘To me I think it would hold up the healing process, because you’re holding on to something that you can’t physically have.’

    Longley has her own huge reborn collection, numbering around 120 dolls.

    She has a special ‘nursery’ at her home, complete with bouncy seats, car seat, stroller and an antique Shaker crib that cost $200, as well as a huge wardrobe of clothes, which are all washed and changed once a week.

    The artist estimates she has spent around $5,000 on dolls, and another $2,000 each year on outfits for them.

    Explaining why she is so devoted to her reborns, and what has kept her in business, Longley said: ‘I love what I do, and thats why I started.

    ‘The realism has kept me into them, because they are so much like a baby.

    ‘The clients I have dont want a doll, they want a baby.

    ‘If you don’t make a doll that looks like a baby, you’ll never make it in this art.’

    If you would like more information on Robin Longley’s reborns, or to commission a doll, visit her Facebook page. 

    Fertility Month

    This story is part of Fertility Month, a month-long series covering all aspects of fertility.

    For the next four weeks, we will be speaking to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who can shed light on the most important issues.

    If you have a story to tell or a question to ask, please do get in touch at fertilitystories@metro.co.uk.

    Here is a selection of the stories from Fertility Month so far - and you can find all Fertility Month content here.

    MORE: Fertility Month: Why we are talking about fertility this month

    MORE: I found the perfect sperm donor - but I never got my happy ending

    MORE: Plastic could be affecting your fertility – here’s how and why

    MORE: How hard is it to get pregnant if you have polycystic ovary syndrome?

    MORE: How to get super sperm like the Danish Vikings

     


    Mother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceiveMother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceivejimmymccloskeyMother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceiveMother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceiveMother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceivejimmymccloskeyMother set up successful reborn business because she wanted to immortalize the baby it took her 17 years to conceive

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    (Picture: Irene Rudnyk)

    A professional photographer decided to go on freelance services website Fiverr to find retouchers for one of her images.

    Knowing that people offered their services for as little as $0.25, she wanted to see what the results would be like by paying various prices to different retouchers.

    Irene Rudnyk knew she’d be able to find people for low rates due to the amount of freelancers using the app, with the profession being incredibly competitive.

    She told Bored Panda: ‘I had heard people mention Fiverr a lot on YouTube so I was really intrigued by the website.

    ‘When I realised that a lot of people on there offered retouching services, I knew I had to try it out. It seems too good to be true because most people were charging very little for the retouch and almost everyone had five star ratings.’

    METRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene Rudnyk
    (Picture: Irene Rudnyk)

    ‘For me, retouching is very important. I like to photograph fantasy-like images, so I need to bring the fantasy-like element to them in Photoshop.

    ‘I also have a very specific editing style that makes my images recognisable. Distinguishing yourself from ton of other photographers is very important nowadays.’

    Irene paid three retouchers to work on her photos at different prices: $0.25, $5 and $10, to see what the results would be like.

    She gave them each an unedited picture along with one request – to make the image ‘vibrant and warm’, and to give the model ‘clean skin, bright eyes and make her hair look more red’.

    And here are the results:

    The $0.25 job

    METRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene Rudnyk
    (Picture: Irene Rudnyk)

     

    The $5 job

    METRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene Rudnyk
    (Picture: Irene Rudnyk)

     

    The $10 job

    METRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene Rudnyk
    (Picture: Irene Rudnyk)

    Irene says the results were interesting, and wasn’t too happy with them.

    She said: ‘I am a perfectionist and it’s usually very hard for me to trust someone else with my creative vision.

    ‘I think most people tend to want to create something rather than just document the mundane everyday life. We like to look and admire extraordinary things that are beautiful, and editing help us create that and get closer to that creative vision.’

    MORE: Christmas dinner in deep-fried form, anyone?

    MORE: My odd job: To work at Lego, you have to be good at keeping secrets


    Retouching experimentRetouching experimenthattiegladwellmetroMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykRetouching experimentRetouching experimenthattiegladwellmetroMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene RudnykMETRO GRAB - taken from the BoredPanda site with permission from photographer - please link to YouTube video Retouching experiment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqStOLLaVKE Irene Rudnyk

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    (Picture: Swizzels)

    Swizzels has just launched a new sweet creation, the Great British Dessert Chews, invented by a fan.

    The sweets, which are due to go on sale next year, come as part of a nationwide search to find the ‘next big thing’ in the sweet world, and the chews were voted for by the public as part of a Swizzels competition

    The winning invention, created by Tracy-Jane Fielding, is a mixed bag of individually wrapped chew bars inspired by classic British dessert flavours such as sticky toffee pudding, apple pie & custard and strawberry trifle.

    The sweets were selected as a finalist by Swizzels’ panel of judges, who received hundreds of weird and wonderful sweet entries from fans up and down the country, including avocado sherbet.

    (Picture: Swizzels)

    The other finalists in Swizzels’ Sweetest Invention competition were: Love Yourself Hearts, featuring positive messages of self-love such as Be You to make people feel good about themselves, Pop Lollies, boiled lollies featuring fizzy pop flavours dandelion & burdock, pink lemonade and cream soda with a fizzy sherbet centre, and mini coladas, Squashies featuring the familiar coconut and pineapple flavours of the classic Pina Colada cocktail, but without the alcohol.

    Tracy-Jane said: ‘I can’t believe it. I am amazed that the public have got behind my idea and want to see it brought to life – it’s a complete shock but I’m so excited.

    ‘The idea behind Great British Dessert Chews originated from my time working in restaurants. Often menus would be adapted and changed, but one thing that would always remain is the classic British dessert. Whether it be sticky toffee pudding or rhubarb crumble, these desserts never went out of fashion – people love them.

    (Picture: Swizzels)

    ‘I have been a huge fan of Swizzels sweets for many years, so it’s a privilege to know that my invention will be sitting alongside the classics such as Parma Violets, Drumstick lollies and Love Hearts that have been so popular for decades.’

    Jeremy Dee, head judge of the Sweetest Invention competition, added: ‘As soon as we discovered Tracy-Jane’s idea we were all instantly filled with warmth and nostalgia, envisaging how it would come to life. Her passion and excitement shone through and we are delighted that the public are eager to see Tracy-Jane’s sweet dreams come true.

    ‘We will be inviting Tracy-Jane to Swizzels HQ where she will see Great British Dessert Chews being developed and brought to life for the first time. We plan to start production next year, ready for sale later in 2019, so watch this space.’

    MORE: Christmas dinner in deep-fried form, anyone?

    MORE: Morrisons launches Christmas sandwich wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding


    Swizzels has narrowed down hundreds of sweet invention ideas from fans and is now calling on the public to vote for their favouriteSwizzels has narrowed down hundreds of sweet invention ideas from fans and is now calling on the public to vote for their favouritehattiegladwellmetroSwizzels has narrowed down hundreds of sweet invention ideas from fans and is now calling on the public to vote for their favouriteSwizzels has narrowed down hundreds of sweet invention ideas from fans and is now calling on the public to vote for their favouritehattiegladwellmetro

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