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- 11/21/18--06:44: _How to have a styli...
- 11/21/18--06:51: _When is Ryanair’s C...
- 11/21/18--07:20: _We prefer spending ...
- 11/21/18--08:16: _This is why you nev...
- 11/21/18--08:16: _Best deals from the...
- 11/21/18--08:54: _Black Friday 2018 o...
- 11/21/18--09:38: _Things to do in Lon...
- 11/21/18--22:17: _How to cope if Chri...
- 11/21/18--23:00: _Christmas hampers 2...
- 11/21/18--23:07: _From Black Friday d...
- 11/21/18--23:24: _Is banning palm oil...
- 11/21/18--23:30: _Happy Thanksgiving ...
- 11/21/18--23:50: _Happy Thanksgiving ...
- 11/21/18--23:52: _Christmas gifts for...
- 11/21/18--23:55: _The ethical guide t...
- 11/22/18--00:00: _My Label and Me: Sc...
- 11/22/18--00:25: _Stress is ruining o...
- 11/22/18--00:54: _Meet the Diet Coke ...
- 11/22/18--01:18: _Millennials are rut...
- 11/22/18--01:27: _Introducing ‘Lean O...
- 11/21/18--06:44: How to have a stylish Christmas tree with minimum effort
- 11/21/18--06:51: When is Ryanair’s Cyber Week sale, and what deals can you expect?
- 11/21/18--08:16: This is why you never get enough cola bottles in a bag of Haribo
- 11/21/18--08:16: Best deals from the Debenhams early Black Friday sale
- 11/21/18--09:38: Things to do in London this Thanksgiving
- 3x Frank’s RedHot fried chicken sliders with blue cheese ranch dressing
- Fried yams with marshmallow-cream dip
- Frank’s RedHot wings smothered in cranberry sauce
- Choice of either Virgils Cream Soda or Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer
- Frank’s RedHot t-shirt
- 11/21/18--22:17: How to cope if Christmas shopping makes your anxiety worse
- A sense of dread
- Feeling constantly “on edge”
- Difficulty concentrating
- A racing heartbeat
- Feeling faint
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Hot flushes
- Shaky limbs
- A choking sensation
- Numbness or pins and needles
- 11/21/18--23:00: Christmas hampers 2018: The best Christmas hampers to buy for 2018
- 11/21/18--23:07: From Black Friday deals to scaring turkeys: A week in vegan news
- 11/21/18--23:24: Is banning palm oil the right choice?
- 11/21/18--23:30: Happy Thanksgiving messages, images and greetings to send today
- 11/21/18--23:52: Christmas gifts for the eco-conscious beauty lover in your life
- 11/21/18--23:55: The ethical guide to Christmas trees
- 11/22/18--00:00: My Label and Me: Scarred
- 11/22/18--00:25: Stress is ruining our sex lives
- Stress – 45% of respondents listed stress as a factor that negatively affects their sex life
- Physical health – 32%
- Mental health issues – 26%
- Having kids – 20%
- Work – 18%
- Pornography – 12%
- Social media – 10%
- Other family members – 10%
- Reality TV – 7%
- Friends – 5%
- Go carol singing- (only 6% will do this for Christmas)
- Hide a silver coin in your Christmas pudding – 6%
- Giving gifts to the postman – 8%
- Roasting chestnuts – 9%
- Going to a carol service on Christmas Eve – 11%
- Lighting a brandy-soaked Christmas pudding – 12%
- Having chestnut stuffing with Christmas lunch – 13%
- Having mistletoe around the house – 14%
- Hanging holly and ivy in the house – 15%
- Kissing under the mistletoe – 16%
- Watching a pantomime – 16%
- Making decorations by hand – 16%
- Making a Christmas cake – 19%
- Cooking a gammon for Boxing Day – 21%
- Having a real Christmas tree – 22%
- Leaving a mince pie out for Father Christmas – 23%
- Hanging stockings over the fireplace – 24%
- Going on a Boxing Day walk – 28%
- Lighting candles for the Christmas table – 32%
- Wearing a Christmas jumper – 41%
- Having a Boxing Day buffet – 41%
We know, we know, it’s only November but Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s time to talk trees.
Most people argue that we can’t put our tree up until December but the 1 December (which helpfully falls on a Saturday this year) is just over a week away.
You need to be prepared to avoid making it a stressful and tiring afternoon.
So here are some of our top tips to transform your house into a grotto in no time.
Choosing the tree
A real tree might smell amazing but it’s not always the most practical.
Keeping it alive and looking fresh is a bit of a skill and it can be dangerous for animals to eat the pine needles that end up all over the floor.
You might want to opt for an artificial tree that you can use again and again.
If you are pining for a real one, Ikea are doing their £5 deal again this year.
But if you don’t have a car and your local store is too far, try your local garden centre or high street or you can get your tree delivered through a service like Pines and Needles, who can also decorate your tree for you if you are struggling.
No matter what tree you choose, make sure you measure your space correctly.
Pick the best spot, away from radiators or anything that might damage the tree, and get your measuring tape out.
Make sure you check the height of the tree and leave enough space for the stand and tree topper.
Also be wary of the width of the tree – the taller the tree, the wider it is and although you might have high ceilings, an 8ft tree is a bit of a hassle if you trip over it every time you walk past.
If you go for a real tree, you can trim the branches and with an artificial one, try readjusting the branches at the back so it sits back further.
If you choose a real tree, you should saw off about 3cm at the bottom of the trunk to create open bark that will soak up water and help it to stay fresh.
Decorating the tree
So you’ve got the tree, dug out your bauble collection and untangled the lights. When it’s all laid out in front of you, it can seem overwhelming.
Sam Lyle, founder of Pines and Needles, has some tips:
‘It may sound obvious, but two people are better than one if that’s possible – even if it’s just for the lights.
‘Lights go on first and it’s great if one person can feed them to the other as they wind it round and round, starting at the bottom. Embed the lights in the lush greenery and then move out as you go up, ensuring and even spread.
‘When decorating your tree it is all about textures and layering no matter which theme you choose.
‘Decide on which of your decorations you would like to be featured most prominently and place those first (those tend to be the largest or most detailed) and then use those as a basis to dress your tree around using your most small simple decks as ‘fillers’.
‘Everyone has a different way of decorating but themes look good, whether that’s a colour or a certain style such as Scandi (sparse; red and white) or Victorian (wooden decorations, dried fruit, pine cones).
‘Tinsel has been dying out for a while but ribbon is en vogue, but go horizontally rather than at an angle – it’s a much cleaner look.
‘Last but not least is the tree topper – whether that’s a beautifully ornate star or a cherished angel made by a child, ceremonially placing it atop the tree is one of the most satisfying ways to signal the official start of the festive period.’
And as for styles, you might might be tempted to just stick to the same thing you do every year but if you want to try something different, these are some of this year’s top trends.
Royal fever is still in the air after the royal wedding and everybody is desperate to get a hint of royal heritage into their decorations.
Introduced by Prince Albert in Queen Victoria’s era, the Christmas tree has become quite the tradition in the royal households, and no doubt this year, they will be sticking to their traditional regal look. Rich in style and texture but remaining effortlessly stylish at the same time.
Think deep red velvets, gold glass and silk ribbons hanging delicately. Detailed ornaments like small gold cherubs or some hanging crystal cut teardrops at the edges of the Sumptuous branches. These will compliment the larger glass red and gold baubles complete with many, many warm white lights.
Inspired by rich reds and golds, the classic British festive look is bound to bring cultural heritage into your home.
Pick classic red and gold baubles, traditional Victorian inspired decorations and crown shaped decorations to achieve the ultimate Royal look.
You can also keep this decoration trend looking fun with embracing a combination of fun London decorations including classic London buses and postboxes mixed with the classic reindeers and jingle bell
This year, Nordic is a big trend. The Scandinavians are kings of Christmas style with effortless elegance at the heart of decorating.
The Scandi look brings simplistic woodland with copper tones and geometric shapes. Embrace wooden decorations, snowflakes and delicately cut masterpieces.
The Scandi look brings simplistic woodland.
Always opt for plain white fairy lights for the ultimate Nordic look.
Keeping your decorations white, cool and sophisticated is going to be a big trend this year. An elegant way to add festive cheer into your home without dreaming of a white Christmas.
Decorations should be kept white with an injection of silver so add sophistication.
Dress the tree up with glass decorations which are always a welcomed addition to the crisp look.
For a more traditional look, metallic decorations are a great way of combining tradition with glamour.
comabt-lonlinesscomabt-lonlinesslauraabernethy6Here's what a Christmas binge does to your body
Low budget airline Ryanair are hitting us with some massive bargains this Cyber Weekend.
Instead of just Black Friday, we’re being treated to a number of different discounts on flights from airports across the country.
The deals are already underway, and are changing all the time, so we can only give you a taster of the sale.
However, here’s what we do know so far.
We’re currently on day three of the cyber week craziness, which means 250,000 seats on sale from just £4.99.
Depending on which airport you go from, prices sometimes start at £26.09, though, so pick your timings and departure wisely.
Travel is between December and January – ideal for some winter sun – and destinations include most of Europe.
Ryanair will also be offering a 10% discount on all check-in bags booked this week, with the normal price for bags over 10kg being £25.
The sale will last until Monday 26 November, with each day showing a new set of discounts and offers. The sale page is updated at midnight.
If there’s a deal you really can’t pass up, then don’t, as it might not be there the following day.
Get your bargains here.
The Ryanair app is seen on a smartphoneThe Ryanair app is seen on a smartphonejessicacvl
Dogs are a man’s best friend, as the saying goes.
But now there might be some statistics to back it up.
According to a survey, more than half (53%) of pet owners admit they enjoy the company of their pet more than that of their best friends.
And 17% favoured quality time with their pet over their partner, according to research conducted by dog-friendly Mercure Hotels.
And for good reason, as most pet owners see their animal as a positive influence on their well-being.
Three in five find their pet helps them destress after a tough day, and 57% feel less lonely when their pet is beside them.
And 70% said they find their pet to be a calming presence in their home.
Of course, with our pets being such a big part of our lives, 79 per cent of pet owners miss their pets when they travel away from home, and a quarter feel lost without their animal companion with them on the trip.
When asked to consider the things they miss most about home when they go away, 17 per cent named their pet.
Though 42 per cent crave their own bed the most after a few nights away.
James Lys, General Manager for Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon, said: ‘Our pets are a huge part of our lives and can make our day-to-day lives richer than it would be without them.
‘We have noticed a marked increase in guests who bring their pets, specifically their dogs, travelling with them to share in the experience.’
Conkers could kill your dogConkers could kill your doglauraabernethy6Portrait of a tabby cat yawning in the camera
The subject of the best Haribo is divisive. It can end friendships. Cause family feuds.
But what we can probably all agree on is that it’s not gummy bears. Which is unfortunate, because bags of Haribo are brimming with them
New research from Magnet has found that the much-maligned edible teddy makes up 38% of an average bag of Haribo – that’s almost twice as many as any other variety.
No wonder we’re always left fighting over our favourites.
Researchers found that an average 190g pack of Haribo Starmix contains more than three times as many gummy bears as fried eggs – there’s also a dearth of love hearts.
The cola bottles may not fare the worst in terms of figures, but it’s certainly the sweet a lot of us would like to see more of.
The study found that there’s a one in five chance of picking out a ring, a 16% chance of getting a heart and just a 14% chance of choosing a cola bottle. Outrageous.
But if you happen to be a foamy fried egg lover, your odds are even worse. In an average handful you’ve only got a 12% chance of picking an egg.
To find out these groundbreaking figures, researchers painstakingly picked through 100 packs of Starmix and counted 5,738 sweets – that’s some serious dedication.
An average bag contains 22 gummy bears, with the only other sweet coming close being the rings at 11 per bag. Cola bottles average at just 8 per pack, and
So gummy bear obsessives are in luck, but for everyone else, you probably want to get in there quickly to secure your faves.
This is why you never get enough cola bottles in a pack of HariboThis is why you never get enough cola bottles in a pack of Haribonataliemorris88When it comes to Haribo, we all have our favourites. But what are the chances of picking out your favourite sweet? (Picture: Magnet)A bag of Haribo Starmix sweets
Debenhams is a British high street stalwart, with homeware, clothing, and everything your makeup bag could ever hold.
While they’re famed for their Blue Cross sales, they also offer some great bargains on Black Friday, and this year is no different.
This year’s sale has already started, and there are plenty of discounts across different departments.
Here’s what kind of offers you can expect:
You can view all the deals right here.
This includes brands such as Faith, Red Herring, J by Jasper Conran, and Jack & Jones.
Be aware, this discount ends today, so get your boots while they’re cheap.
Again, there are savings to be had from loads of brands, including H! by Henry Holland, Principles, and Maine New England.
Then, there’s major savings on toys and electricals.
This Bosch toy kitchen, for example, is now down to £27.50 from its original price of £55.
You can also get a Nescafe Dolce Gusto for just £35, down from £90. That’s one Christmas present sorted.
There are some brilliant discounts in the fragrance department. This Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman 100ml has 60% off, and is only £19.99.
On top of all that, NYX Cosmetics, Benefit, Gucci, and other big names are included in the sale, so get your 50% bargains while they’re hot.
FILE PHOTO: New Debenhams department store is seen in a shopping centre in WatfordFILE PHOTO: New Debenhams department store is seen in a shopping centre in WatfordjessicacvlFILE PHOTO: A new Debenhams department store is seen in a shopping centre in Watford, Britain, September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD
A huge amount of Black Friday shopping is done online these days, but there is still a decent amount done in store across the UK.
Certain retailers offer in-store only deals to get punters through the doors, so if you want to get your hands on them, you will have to move away from the screen and get to the shops.Cambridge students graffiti famous Corpus Clock unveiled by Steven Hawking
Most stores don’t go to the effort of opening early or later than usual on Black Friday, but some do, and if you want the best bargains, you will probably want to get there early.
Here are the opening times we know of on Friday 23 November for some of the biggest participants in Black Friday.
Morrisons does not appear to be opening for extended hours on Black Friday, however, their opening times do differ from store to store.
Most open at 7am, but some start trade at 6am and run as late as 11pm.
Check your local store here.
Some Debenhams stores will be opening a little earlier than usual on Friday, with some branches starting trade at 8am (such as Oxford Street being open 8am – 11pm).
However, some do still open a bit later, at around 9.30am, so it is best to check your local store here.
In the past Tesco have closed some of their 24 hour stores for a bit on Thursday night to prepare for Black Friday.
However, this will vary from store-to-store, so it really is easiest just to check your local outlet here.
Currys PC World
Currys PC World is operating longer hours than usual on Black Friday at most of its stores due to the huge amount of deals they have on offer.
Some stores are opening as early as 7am, with others at 8am, so check your local outlet here.
Lidl are operating normal hours on Black Friday which, depending on the store will be 7am or 8am until 10pm or 11pm.
Find your local store here.
Boots stores tend to open around 7.30am and they are not doing anything different for Black Friday in terms of opening times.
However, stores vary across the country so check the Store Locator here.
SEI_40125887-8c9aSEI_40125887-8c9aphilhaigh26ROCHDALE - JANUARY 9: A shopper pushes her cart outside a Morrisons supermarket January 9, 2003 in Rochdale, Lancashire. The mid-size British supermarket chain, Morrisons, announced its bid to overtake rival Safeway in a 2.9 billion pound deal that would combine the firm with 589 stores and a 16 percent market share. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)Debenhams signage is seen on a shop in Oxford Street, central London on June 19, 2018. - British department store chain Debenhams warned on profits on June 19, 2018, sparking a slump in its share price and compounding the gloom for large UK retailers. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 08: Customers enter an LiDL Discount supermarket on January 8, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. According to government statisticians, nominal revenue grew compared to the previous year and growing online sales have enabled German retailers to achieve record growth in 2017. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means the whole of the US will be eating turkey and girding their loins for the Black Friday sales.
Given that the US and UK have a ‘special relationship’, we seems to have adopted a lot of their holiday traditions.
From the Coca Cola truck to consumerism, we love American when it comes to Christmas, so why not go the whole hog and celebrate Thanksgiving too?
It’s a good way to make your American mates feel welcome, and there’s plenty of food involved.
Here’s how to get involved in the capital.
Until the 25th, Wingfest winners Butchies will be serving up a Thanksgiving feast for the gods:
It’s £25 in total, and should fill you up until Santa arrives.
Market Hall, Fulham
In the Fulham Market Hall, different retailers – Hot Box, Fanny’s Kebab, Made of Dough, and Butchies – have each been creating their own take on a classic Thanksgiving dish using French’s Mustard or Frank’s RedHot.
Expect pork ribs with cranberry and mustard BBQ sauce, and a Thanksgiving pizza topped with sausage stuffing, pancetta, brussel sprouts and hot sauce.
Test out their wares from 6pm to 11pm, and keep an eye out for the free t-shirt and sauce giveaways.
Blues Kitchen, Camden
If you’ve got a hankering for all-American gumbo, the Blues Kitchen is the place for you.
Start off with that, then enjoy buttermilk fried turkey and pumpkin pie.
To book, give them a ring on 0203 9111 367.
Home Bar, Shoreditch
Home Bar are hosting a real hoedown with cocktails, dancing, turkey twizzlers, and a good old singalong at the end of the night.
Stetsons, tassels and cowboy boots all strongly encouraged.
The event is free, so head down from 5pm on the day.
Clutch Chicken focus on healthy food that tastes good.
That makes it a good place to head if you’re worried about the excesses of the festive season but still want to fill up on deliciousness.
In partnership with Bulleit Whiskey, the restaurant have a special menu featuring pear and thyme glaze turkey, garlicky roasted new potatoes, and maple drizzled turkey bacon (as well as th4e essential pumpkin pie).
Tickets are £40 per person, and must be booked in groups of four or more. Get yours here.
John Lewis Rooftop, Oxford Street
You don’t need to commit yourself to the whole night here, but it’s an ideal stop if you’re snapping up early Black Friday deals.
The John Lewis Rooftop Gardens have partnered up with MYPIE, and will be giving free turkey, bacon, and stuffing pies.
The first 100 customers to be able to name a US president named John will get their hands on one of the freebies.
If you miss out, you can always buy one of the little delicacies.
Blakes Restaurant, Kensington
For a boujee Thanksgiving, head to the restaurant at Blakes Hotel.
Start off with a butternut squash veloute soup, then enjoy turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a chocolate pecan tart with cinammon ice cream for afters.
It’s £49 per person. Check out the menu here.
Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
This Breaking Bread event is sure to leave you warm and fuzzy by the end of the night.
There will be guest speakers talking about the subject of home (even away from your original one) and a focus on meeting new people and reconnecting with those you already know.
Tickets are £40, and include a pumpkin martini with burnt marshmallow on arrival, as well as a Thanksgiving feasting menu with a twist.
Ready to serve lunchReady to serve lunchjessicacvl
Primark is harrowing at the best of times. But when you’re trying to navigate the crowds and the sale rails with a creeping panic attack tightening your chest and making your head spin – it becomes impossible.
Christmas shopping and Black Friday sales can be tough for people with anxiety. Whether you have generalised anxiety, a panic disorder or social anxieties, the crowds, noise, heat and inescapability of the high street can be intensely triggering.
Anxiety disorder can cause dizziness, faintness, sweating, nausea, chest pain, depersonalisation, along with loads of other physical and psychological symptoms.
The pressures of shopping can exacerbate these symptoms and leave you a trembling, sweating mess. So much for retail therapy.
Despite the fact that many people use shopping as way to unwind, experts believe that shopping is actually a terrible way to relax, and can overload your brain with information.
Dipti Tait, relaxation teacher and Hypnotherapist at The Cotswold Practice, says, ‘Shopping is not the best way to relax. Subconsciously there are many factors on the brain while we shop.
‘We are comparing, analysing, evaluating, making choices and being seduced by the bargain or the sale tag, and this is not always relaxing for the brain,’ she explains.
‘Real relaxation is when the brain gets a chance to switch off from conscious thought. When we engage in activities that help us to use our imagination – like reading or daydreaming – true relaxation in the brain occurs when our mind feels still afterwards, whereas shopping and shopping centres are designed to keep the mind busy.’
And a busy mind is a breeding ground for anxious thoughts.
Kelly, 30, struggles with anxiety and finds shopping particularly difficult.
‘If I shop for something specific and I struggle to find it, or if I’m shopping with a time-frame, I will immediately enter the situation anxious,’ Kelly tells Metro.co.uk.
‘My energy feels really manic and my focus is all over the place. I’ll get very indecisive, where I’ll end up running from shop to shop, then returning to the first, then being angry at myself for wasting time, then deciding not to get the item anyway.
‘Often I leave teary, empty handed and furious at myself for wasting the time.’
The crowds and the queuing are certainly a factor in Kelly’s shopping anxiety, but it’s also the pressure that gets to her.
‘I think my anxiety manifests itself in shopping for two reasons – either the worry of what other people will think, for example if I’m buying a gift, will they like it? Is it perfect? I put a lot of pressure on myself.
‘Secondly, if I’m buying for myself, it can become about self-deprecation. If I try on even one wrong thing, that doesn’t fit or isn’t flattering, I’ll spiral.
‘The spiral will mean I feel awful in every other thing I try on, then the manic energy becomes about finding something to rectify that, something I feel good in, which 99% of the time won’t happen because I’m in that anxious state of mind.’
For Kelly, no amount of deep breathing or positive thinking is going to keep her on the high street for longer than she needs to be.
‘The only coping mechanism I’ve come up with is leave,’ she explains.
‘If I feel that spiral happening, I step away from the situation. I don’t try and find an item to validate myself, instead I’ll go home and put on PJs, be kind to myself, and try again another day.
‘I do often favour internet shopping for that very reason – to avoid to bad lighting, the crowds, and the whole experience.
‘If I’m buying a gift for others, my coping mechanism is to try to take the pressure off myself. If I can only find a small token, that might not be perfect, just a gesture, that’s ok. I’ll write a nice card instead. At home, wrapping the gift, it always feels fine.’
While any kind of shopping can be overwhelming for people with anxiety, Christmas shopping is particularly difficult. Senior therapist and writer, Sally Baker, thinks it’s the pressures of time combined with budget worries that can really exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
‘Trying to juggle a realistic Christmas shopping budget while wanting to buy something spectacular for friends or family is an almost impossible conundrum,’ Sally tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Most people with heavy work schedules don’t have much choice but to shop when the stores are heaving with other people all intent on getting their Christmas shopping done too.
‘Christmas shopping tends not to be for yourself but for other people. This makes it more stressful than ordinary shopping as its easy to get caught up with over thinking and feeling anxious about what other people’s judgement might be, or what their expectations are.’
What to do if you have a panic attack in a shop
Put your shopping basket down and head for the exit. Get outside and breathe deeply and slowly.
What happens physiologically when you’re in a panic is that your breathing becomes more shallow so focus on regulating your breath and that will help you to feel grounded and less panicky. Give yourself time and if you’re able to resume your shopping then do so.
Equally, if you need to go home, then you should do just that. You might think you’re the only person who has to abandon their shopping like this but being triggered in an over-crowded store is pretty common, so give yourself a break and leave out any harsh judgments you might be making about yourself. It’s tough out there.
Sally’s doesn’t think online shopping is the only option for anxious people – her advice is to prepare well and organise your shopping schedule meticulously.
‘Try shopping at independent stores in your local area or even the neighbourhood Christmas Fayre as an alternative to battling the city centre crowds,’ suggests Sally.
‘Online shopping is of course always an option, but because the shopping experience is so unfulfilling and disassociated from reality, it’s easy to forget that you’re spending your hard earned money, and overspend – which can then fuel more anxiety.
‘If you do experience anxiety and need to shop at busy times, then go as early in the day as you can, or preferably, go with a friend so you can support each other amid the chaos.
‘Also, wear layers of clothes as there is nothing worse than being stuck in a queue in an over-heated department store with a big winter coat and scarf making you so hot you feel at risk of fainting or passing out.’
Ellie, 23, is familiar with this feeling. She says that shopping makes her feel physically unwell, and she often finds herself searching for an escape route.
‘I may feel like I need to go to the bathroom or get air and more often than not I instinctively want to leave immediately – particularly in large shopping centres when it comes to finding a parking space or manipulating through crowds,’ Ellie tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I’ve only recently been diagnosed with anxiety but prior to that shopping was quite difficult. I become hot, shaky and full of adrenaline and had a strong “flight” response.
‘Normally, if I had someone with me, I would somehow manage but if I was on my own I would leave as soon as I got what I wanted,’ she explains.
Ellie’s fear of shopping is made worse by the fact that she is often accompanied by her disabled mum, and feels extra pressure to keep her safe.
‘My mum is in a wheelchair and she has a severe allergy to flowers. I’ve been in situations where people have ignored us and walked into us, even into her chair, and she has had strong reactions to being wheeled past flowers, which have led to hospitalisation and her effectively being unable to breathe on site.
‘That’s probably where my anxiety comes from, but even when I’m alone I’m made anxious whilst shopping because of the large crowds, the noise and the constant waiting in where’s in stores, which are sometimes really hot or cold.
‘It is also frustrating and worrying if you have other plans for the rest of the day and you’re running late because of queuing in a shop, this has caused me to panic before.’
When things really get too much, Ellie has a number of coping strategies. One is getting out of there as fast as possible.
‘If I’m on a high street, such as Oxford Street at Christmas, I tend to run onto the nearest bus.
‘Last year I got stuck at Harrods the week before Christmas because of tube closures. I panicked and got on a bus which took me into Oxford Street by accident.
‘I ended up walking to Baker Street, where I worked at the time, and sat on the steps of my office. As it was familiar, it calmed me down, so I’ve realised that going to shops in places I’m familiar with is easier. If I know they are quieter and easy to navigate, that will really help.
Generalised anxiety can cause:
A panic attack can cause:
‘Having a plan or a list can really help, particularly if it is a big shop. I recommend going with someone or having noise cancelling headphones so that you can tune out some of the noise.
‘Also, find out where the toilets and food stations are so you know where to go if you need a break.
‘I always try to leave as much time between shopping and another task as possible, so that I don’t fret about time and rush, because this increases adrenaline which can really affect anxiety.’
Christmas shopping is stressful for everyone, but having anxiety is different. It’s important to listen to your body and take the necessary steps to minimise your risks of getting ill or having a panic attack.
Careful planning can help with this – start early and do the bulk of your shopping online. If you really have to face the high street, go when you know it will be quiet (early morning or during the week), pick somewhere that feels familiar, and have your exit route planned out.
This is why shopping makes your anxiety worseThis is why shopping makes your anxiety worsenataliemorris88(Illustration: Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)
For food lovers, Christmas is without a doubt the best time of year. Parties abound, diets are ditched, families and friends gather for festive feasting – and every brand on earth pulls out their culinary best.
Because nothing says Christmas more wonderfully than a wicker basket packed with calorific goodness.
Here are Metro’s picks for the finest festive hampers of the season.
The Traditional Hamper
Happy Christmas Hamper
From gift site Not on the High Street – this one sells out every year and is their best-selling Christmas food hamper.
Surprise your lucky recipient with a delicious Christmas gift hamper filled with mouth-watering festive and traditional treats such as chocolate Santas from Cocoa Loco, luxury fruit jellies, handmade Christmas cake, British cheddar biscuits, toffee waffles, gorgeous Christmas chutney, crumbly fudge from the Cotswolds, toffee waffles – all from top independent producers.
The Happy Christmas Hamper by the British Hamper Company, £99.97 notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas in a basket
Smoked salmon, stilton, ham, pretty much the best things in life. This traditional feast of good things contains everything you might want for the perfect Christmas day.
Presented in a traditional wicker basket it includes: Forman’s Grade One Smoked Salmon, Marmalade Glazed Half Alderton Ham, Forman & Field Hand-Mixed Christmas Pudding, a Family Sized Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Brandy Butter, Cranberry & Vintage Port Sauce followed by Artisan du Chocolat Truffles as the sweetest of endings.
Forman & Field Christmas in a Basket, £118.75 formanandfield.com
Best of British
Cartwright and Butler embodies the best of British and is ideal for foodies. Their Rosedale Hamper is a fantastic Christmas choice. It includes sweet biscuits, preserves and chutneys, along with their award-winning flatbreads, signature tea and chocolate treats.
Packaged in a vintage inspired wooden create, it looks as good as it tastes (nearly).
Rosedale Hamper by Cartwright and Butler, £170 cartwrightandbutler.co.uk
Merry Christmas Crate
Huge advocates of locally sourced products, food marketplace Yumbles offer a festive hamper that is great for the whole family. Where possible they work with local food and drink producers, and each product is carefully hand-selected and tested for quality.
Packed full to the brim with everything from spiced fudge and chilli biscuits to Merlot, candy canes and cake, this hamper has the perfect balance between sweet and savoury treats – for young and old.
The decorative wooden crate is a beautiful add on.
Merry Christmas Crate by Yumbles, £60, yumbles.com
Christmas Eve Hamper
Kickstart Christmas with this gorgeous selection of Christmas eve treats. This lovely wicker basket is choc full of deliciousness including zesty orange and cranberry marmalade, plum pudding, port brandy, chocolate dipped shortbread, a bottle of vina oria macabeo and wild mince pies.
Givers can add a message of their choice on an included gift card to give it a personal touch.
Christmas Eve Hamper, £124.99, gettingpersonal.co.uk
Iconic London restaurant The Wolseley brings its own brand of magic with this exquisite seasonal hamper. Filled with an assortment of hand-picked items from their collection, it’s bursting iwith a selection of confectionery, jams, loose leaf teas, silver-plated accessories, the finest tipples and festive goodies like Dark Sea Salt Caramel Truffles and All Butter Shortbread.
To complete the offering, a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal NV, a fine Médoc 2011 and a lovely Sancerre 2016.
The Wolseley Signature Hamper, £350, thewolseley.com
Christmas Cheer Hamper
First4Hampers has a great selection but this one is certainly one of the best – sure to please all palates.
Called Christmas Cheer, it’s a well-rounded mix of Australian Shiraz, delectable mince pies, an award winning plum pudding with port, crumbly cheddar biscuits,
chocolate caramels and a sharp breakfast marmalade. The sturdy wicker basket is a bonus.
Christmas Cheer Hamper, £49,99, first4hampers.com
And the Trimmings….
Harvey Nichols Fancy Trimmings
From traditionally made Christmas pudding with rich and creamy brandy butter to Prosecco and cranberry sauce, the HN Fancy Trimmings hamper is the selection you need to add that all-important finishing touch to your Christmas celebrations.
Includes Harvey Nichols Prosecco, cranberry sauce with Burgundy, pear and chili fruits for cheese, and fig savoury Biscuits
Harvey Nichols Fancy Trimmings Hamper, £100, ocado.com
Iconic London deli and grocery shop Panzer’s is launching their most luxurious and mouth-wateringly delicious hampers for Christmas featuring delicious treats and artisanal foods from all over the world as well as cheese boards and your own side of Panzer’s renowned smoked salmon.
Their Festive Hamper includes panettone, muscato, Stollen, mince pies, Panzer’s honey, Stilton, Peter’s Yard Crispbread, Christmas pudding and brandy cream.
Available from November 19, London-based but free nationwide delivery until Christmas. Bespoke hampers are available.
Panzer’s Festive Hamper, £130, panzers.co.uk
The Exquisite Hamper from Aldi
A basketful of the finer things for those who also love to bag a bargain. Packed full of treats and less than half the price of a Fortnum & Mason’s Family Hamper, Aldi’s version contains six new artisanal products this year and also boasts a selection of Aldi’s most premium wines and a vintage champagne.
Included: Exquisite Cheese Sables, Exquisite Giant Sharing Mince Pie, Exquisite Christmas Cake, and Exquisite Florentines, presented in a vintage-style wicker basket.
The Exquisite Hamper from Aldi, £99.99 aldi.co.uk
Rick Stein’s Selection Hamper
Celebrated British chef Rick Stein has created his own selection of festive goodies that are the perfect accompaniment to any celebration.
The gorgeous hamper includes Rick Stein bottles of champagne, white and red wine, Rick Stein’s peach and apricot chutney, bread and butter pickle, Rick Stein’s piccalilli, cranberry sauce, chocolate honeycomb and a Christmas pudding.
Rick Stein Christmas Hamper, £110, rickstein.com
This truly sumptuous hamper from Godminster is a hand-selected choice of their favourite products making it the perfect gift for cheese-aholics.
Included are a truckle of the brand’s award-winning 200g Oak-Smoked Vintage Organic Cheddar, a heart-shaped 400g Vintage Organic Cheddar, a 400g round truckle of their Vintage Organic Cheddar, Great Taste award-winning Apple and Beetroot Chutney and a Triple Tipple gift set including three bottles of hand-infused vodka spirits.
Godminster Ultimate Hamper, £128.90, godminster.com
The Cheese Geek
It’s Christmas afternoon and you’ve got the whole family round, grandparents, maybe aunts and uncles and a few annoying cousins. There are repeats of Only Fools and Horses on the telly, and you need something to support the incoming Queen’s speech – enter the Cheese Geek.
A brand new cheese subscription service, they are getting in on the Christmas act. Their Frankie Hamper offers five mouth-watering cheeses including Cornish Kern, Haford Welsh Cheddar and Bath Soft – with over 1kg in total – along with a pot of Proper Truffle Honey, Red Onion & Port Marmalade and Peter’s Yard sourdough crispbreads. Every one is delicious and big enough to make a real statement on the cheeseboard.
The Frankie – £69.99 thecheesegeek.com
A Bagful of Beauties
A luxury hamper bag filled to the brim with a selection of sweet and savoury products from Mrs Bridges that includes preserves, chutneys cookies and delectable fudge – all in a a snappy jute tote. Guaranteed freshness into 2019
Mrs Bridges Ultimate Christmas Hamper, £39.99, lakeland.co.uk
The Mary Gift Set
It may be Christmas, but Virgin Marys need not apply. Perfect for that post-Christmas eve hangover, the Daylesford Mary Gift Set makes the ultimate Bloody Mary.
Boasting an exceptional vodka and naturally sweet, fruity, vine-ripened tomato juice, it is pure cocktail heaven.
Includes Artisan vodka, Organic tomato juice, organic peppercorn blend and organic celery salt.
Daylesford Mary Gift Set, £70, daylesford.com
Pretty in Pink-ster Gin
If fizzy drinks just aren’t your festive scene – try a hamper of beer.
The BeerBods beer club is still completely unique. Buy a 12, 24 or 48 week gift to BeerBods and the beer lover in your life will receive the best beers from small, independent breweries around the world, straight to their door.
All BeerBods subscribers drink the same beer each week (all the bottles all arrive together so it does take a bit of willpower not to guzzle them all in one weekend) and then share their views with other Bods subscribers during live online tasting sessions every Thursday at 9pm.
Sent as a single collection of great beers, this makes a wonderful Christmas Hamper – and a gift that keeps on giving.
£36 for 12 weeks, £70 for 24 weeks, £135 for 48 weeks, BeerBods
Sweet Treat Hampers
The picture-perfect cookies make Christmas prettier than ever. Their most popular Christmas tin features some of the more traditional festive figures, such as snowmen, presents and crackers.
Includes nine hand-iced biscuits presented in a hand-illustrated gift box -along with a Bottle of 75cl Prosecco
Christmas Biscuits and Prosecco hamper, £50, biscuiteers.com
The ‘El Grande’
A luxurious chocolate hamper from Willie’s Cacao, this one is pure, unexpected fun. Includes Cacao Champagne cocktails, Passionfruit pearls and yes, a Mexican Mole.
Also bursting with cacao nib brandy, made with Dudognon artisan cognac, Champagne Janisson Baradon, Brut Sélection, praline truffles, and a tasting collection of five single estate dark chocolate bars, hot chocolate powder, apple brandy caramel black pearls, and Mexican Mole Cacao, to make savoury Mexican chocolate casserole.
Willie’s Cacao El Grande, Luxurious Chocolate Hamper, £99, williescacao.com
This ribbon-tied hamper of festive and favourite goodies will make everyone smile this Christmas.
Contains a milk chocolate wreath with cookies and caramel, milk and caramel Enchanted Forest, Ho Ho Ho – Milk, Salted Caramel Snowflakes, Dark Snowflakes, Coconut and Macadamia Snowballs and a 200ml bottle of Prosecco Superiore to celebrate a Christmas well done.
Merry Christmas Everyone, £50, Hotelchocolat.com
Chococo’s Assorted Christmas Hamper is a special selection of their Christmas range presented in a silver hamper box.
Included are are new Festive Collection Box of nine seasonal chocolates including 2018 award-winning tawny port & fig and Dorset sea salt caramel, new cherry, orange & almond clusters in 43% Venezuela origin milk chocolate, assorted origin milk, white and dark chocolate snowmen and festive milk chocolate slabs studded with cranberries, almonds and cinnamon, Turkish Delight covered in 67% Madagascar origin dark chocolate and a milk chocolate bauble made from 43% Venezuela origin milk chocolate.
Chococo Assorted Christmas Hamper, £50,chococo.co.uk
Designer Christmas Chocs
If you’re looking to treat someone to some truly special chocolates, luxury chocolatier Choc on Choc have a beautiful hamper on offer.
A traditional chocolate selection boasting beautiful designs, it contains a milk chocolate reindeer, a selection of white and milk chocolate reindeers, a white and milk chocolate Santa Claus bar, four dark chocolate salted caramel truffles, nine chocolate truffles and a ‘Happy Christmas’ chocolate selection box dusted with edible gold glitter to top it all off.
Choc on Choc Classic Christmas Hamper, £60 choconchoc.co.uk
Build your own
Pretty and Personal
BuildMyGift.com was born from a search by the owner for a gift hamper that was truly personalised to the recipient. Christmas hamper-wise this brand is perfect if you want well thought-out, memorable and uplifting gifts at a range of different prices. From Cow Shed bath products to Veuve Cliquot champagne, there is something here for everyone.
In the box above – for someone who loves a sparkly Christmas:· Moet Christmas cracker (£23) · Skinny Dip phone case (£12) · Katie Loxton – Good as Gold pouch (£18) · Charbonnel et Walker Chocolate Bar (£6).
Range of personalised hampers starting around £25, buildmygift.co.uk
Festive fudge doesn’t get better than this.
Choose your own size, choose your products, choose your box – Fudge Kitchen lets you create bespoke hamper of fudgie deliciousness that fits every recipient and every budget.
The packaging here is elegant and the box comes bound with a satin ribbon.
Fudge Kitchen Build Your Own Hamper starting at £16, fudgekitchen.co.uk
One for the fitness fans: this is the ultimate Rude Health Christmas hamper.
The Healthy Hamper includes: Coconut Drink, Almond Drink, Tiger Nut Drink, Cashew Drink, Honey Spelt Puffs, The Ultimate Muesli, The Ultimate Granola, Bircher Soft and Fruity, Sprouted Porridge Oats, Ginger and Turmeric Oaty, Black Sesame and Chia Oaty, Chickenpea and Lentil Crackers, The Peanut Bar, The Coconut Bar, The Pumpkin Bar and The Sweet Potato and Cacao Bar.
The Ultimate Hamper from Rude Health, £50 rudehealth.com
Vegans rejoice! With all the cheese, ham and chocolate dominating the festive table, vegans don’t get enough of a look-in. The Goodness Project is changing that with this basket of goodness, stuffed with a bottle of organic Prosecco and whopping 15 delicious vegan snacks.
And the goodness doesn’t stop there – a donation is made for every one sold which goes to conservation and animal welfare projects around the world.
The Wild Thing Vegan Prosecco and Snack Hamper, £58.50 thegoodnessproject.co.uk
Glorious Gluten Free Hamper
A sumptuous gift of Paxton & Whitfield cheeses, wine and accompaniments, with all contents free from gluten, presented in a branded wooden hamper box.
An enormously impressive gift to send to friends or family – or even to get in for your own Christmas feast. The wooden box is beautifully made and makes a lovely keepsake.
Includes: Pepper Cracker Bakes, Apricot, Date & Sunflower Seed Cracker Bakes, mini waxed Stilton, Cheddar Pounder, Celtic Soft Cheese, A Baked Fig Ball, Carmelised Onion Chutney, Côtes de Duras White (75cl) and Côtes de Duras Red (75cl).
Glorious Gluten Free Hamper, £100, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
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Believe what you want, but Black Friday does feel like an excuse for stores to shift rubbish stock quickly ahead of the real Christmas rush.
But very occasionally you do come across a proper bargain.
One that genuinely warrants you putting a timer on your phone to remind you to have your card at the ready.
And it being 2018, we’ve got a real corker of a vegan BF deal for you.
Oh, and Tesco’s putting on a special vegan Christmas dinner to raise money for food poverty charity The Trussell Trust and pesky vegans have been going around frightening turkeys in America.
All in a week of vegan news…
Get 50% off Purezza pizza today and on Black Friday
Four words: half-price vegan pizza
Between 12pm and 4pm, the award-winning plant-based pioneers is offering half-price doughs at both their Camden and Brighton restaurants.
Can’t get out of the office? No bother – it’s teamed up with Deliveroo to give you 20% off Purezza orders, so you can sit back at your computer and stuff yourself silly with hemp dough and seitan without moving a muscle.
Isn’t that how God intended Black Friday to be?
Tesco has got plant-based kings BOSH! to cook up a feast at #vegmas
Need a little inspo for your Christmas menu? Well head on over to Shoreditch on 4 December, because Tesco has got vegan cooking duo BOSH! to come up with a special five-course vegan festive feast.
Putting plant-based spins on classic festive dishes, guests will enjoy vegan wine and canapés, king oyster mushroom ‘scallops’ to start and vegan ‘bangers in blankets’ as part of their main course. Certain dishes in the menu will also include items from the Tesco vegan Christmas range, such as the Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash, which is stuffed with a tangy beetroot and apple filling, and topped with crunchy, colourful pumpkin and sunflower seeds – ideal for vegan hosts or those looking to impress guests.
Don’t like the pudding options? Blame Instagram; BOSH! got their 360,000k + followers to vote on which pud to serve up on the night. They went for two options: Christmas-spiced sticky toffee pudding or a mincemeat tart, both served with a luxurious cashew brandy cream.
American-born chef and Director of Plant-Based Innovation at Tesco, Derek Sarno, commented: ‘There has never been a more relevant time for an event like Vegmas, with plant-based eating on the rise in the UK, and many people choosing to eat meat more mindfully each week. Holidays can be a time when already stretched home cooks can feel overwhelmed with cooking for everyone.
‘Vegmas is designed to show how easy Tesco makes it to cater for all dietary needs and add more plants to your holiday tables – whether via easy and impressive pre-prepared items such as the Tesco Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash centrepiece – or by using some recipe inspiration.’
The recommended donation is £15 for tickets, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of food banks for people in crisis.
It’s happening at White Rabbit, Dereham Place, EC2A 3HJ and you can find tickets here.
Heather Mills is opening a vegan food factory in a former Walkers Crisps plant
Heather Mills is one of the original vegans. Did you know that she owns V-Bites (she set it up 25 years ago)? Well, me neither (until recently).
And now, she’s planning to create 300 new jobs in Co. Durham by opening a vegan food factory on the site of a former Walkers Crisps plant.
All being well, it’ll be the nation’s largest vegan-only operation.
She told The Mirror that the space ‘was the most important factory in the area’.
‘I want this to become the vegan food equivalent of technology’s Silicon Valley in California.
‘A plant-based valley, that will bring more business into the North-East.’
Organic turkey farmers accused vegans of scaring their birds
Turkey farmers claim to have received death threats from vegans who have been frightening their birds ahead of the great Christmas slaughter.
Paul Kelly, owner of Kelly Bronze turkeys, told the Sunday Telegraph than plant-based protestors have been scaring turkeys and shouting at them through loudspeakers.
‘They let the birds out of the pens and we lost four of them, these pedigree turkeys that we were trying to save the colour, they did a lot more harm than good.
‘The small farmers are happy to show you what they’re doing, it’s the bigger companies who can afford to hide away.
‘I’ve had death threats, loads. It’s part and parcel of the job. There’s nothing nice about killing any animal but you just treat them as you want to be reared and kill them with absolute respect.’
In fact, the Telegraph went on to gather a lot more farmers who had a lot more to say, including one TV chef who asked why we don’t all just ‘sit home and eat (our) Quorn and enjoy (ourselves) and leave the rest of us alone?’
Time Magazine names Beyond Sausage one of the best inventions of 2018
Time Magazine has listed the vegan Beyond Sausage as one of the ‘Best Inventions 2018’.
‘In recent years, alternative beef—aka real-seeming burger patties made from plant oils and proteins—has started popping up on menus at restaurants,’ the mag reported.
‘Now Beyond Meat, the company behind the Beyond Burger, is experimenting with a different alternative-meat product: sausage. Its new Beyond Sausage looks and tastes surprisingly close to the real thing.
‘It’s also leaner, with 43% less total fat and 38% less saturated fat, and much more sustainable than actual meat.’
Beyond Meat – the company behind the sausages – is in such demand that this year it had to open a second plant to keep up with the demand.
Times are changin’ people!
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Few brands have undergone a glow-up quite as grand as Iceland.
Once a Kerry Katona kingdom, it’s morphed into a beacon of morality and innovation in the food market.
And the apex of its blossoming came with this year’s ‘banned’ Christmas ad.
To recap: Iceland brought out an ad which was made with/by Greenpeace, highlighting the devastation that palm oil causes in places like Indonesia where Orangutans are just trying to live their lives.
A very touching campaign with a very salient point.
While some of us have been conscious of the ills of palm oil for a while, the vast majority of the public have no idea that it’s in so much of their foods and household products.
20,000,000 hectares of land are currently devoted to palm oil production – mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia, West Africa and parts of Latin America. That equates to an area almost five times the size of Switzerland.
Even those of us who do know about the overwhelming presence of palm oil find ourselves doing very little about it, aside from buying one of Lush’s amazing Orangutan soaps (the proceeds of which go towards helping the Sumatran Orangutan Society, trying to reverse the effects of deforestation in Sumatra).
Why? Well because palm oil is a bit of a contentious subject in the vegan community.
If you’re eating something that’s been made with a product responsible for the deaths of loads of wild animals, can one really say it’s vegan, even if it contains no actual animal products?
There’s been quite a lot of panic over exactly how Iceland is going to remove palm oil from its shelves and whether this is going to impinge on their products’ plant-based properties.
Keith Hann, director of Corporate Affairs told Metro.co.uk that rumours Iceland was going to replace palm with dairy were ‘untrue’.
‘We have replaced palm oil with a variety of oils and fats depending on what achieves the best result for each individual product,’ he said.
‘The most common replacements are sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. In a small number of cases we have replaced palm oil with butter, but these were not vegetarian or vegan products.
‘What is true is that there has been a small and temporary reduction in the number of vegan lines currently in store in order to make room for special Christmas lines, which will include a vegan No Turkey Christmas dinner.
‘The full plant-based range will return – with additions – early in the New Year.”
It’s disappointing that they’re reducing their vegan output over Christmas but at least the plant-based products that do remain will be entirely dairy-free.
But one does wonder just how worthy Iceland’s move really is, nonetheless.
They definitely are doing something right by scrapping non-sustainable palm oil but it may be a reductive solution to a far bigger problem.
You see, it’s not palm oil itself that’s the problem
Palm oil isn’t destroying the landscape – deforestation is happening in order to keep up with consumer demand. But palm isn’t even the biggest contributor to that destruction and over-farming.
You know which commodity is responsible for the largest share of global deforestation? Animal agriculture and soy.
Our unquenchable thirst for cheap meat means that a further 480,000 hectares of rainforest are cleared every single year to make way for soybean plantations. Just 6% of all the soybeans production ends up being sold for human consumption (that’s to us vegans and veggies), while 75% ends up as feed for animal agriculture.
Palm oil is a relatively small contributor to the issue of deforestation when compared to the impact of meat.
Plus, not all palm oil is the same.
Why not simply switch to sustainable palm oil sources?
According to the WWF, the solution isn’t simply to replace palm oil with other types of vegetable oil – like Iceland proposes – because that’d mean much larger amounts of land would need to be used, since palm trees produce up to 10 times more oil than other crops per unit of cultivated land.
‘This would result in serious environmental damage, with the risk that more forests would need to be converted into agricultural land,’ they explain.
Palm oil plays a massive role in keeping farmers and their families in some of the world’s poorest countries in work. In Indonesia and Malaysia, some 4.5 million people rely on palm oil to survive financially.
So what would sustainable palm oil look like?
The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil has set out a set of principles that need to be met in order to be classed as sustainable.
Their criteria states that no primary forests or areas which contain ‘significant concentrations of biodiversity (e.g. endangered species) or fragile ecosystems, or areas which are fundamental to meeting basic or traditional cultural needs of local communities (high conservation value areas), can be cleared’.
They also say that you can’t go around slashing pesticides on crops, that you have to treat workers fairly and that local communities must be informed before anyone plans the development of new plantations.
Sustainable palm oil not only fulfills global food demand (red palm oil is very rich in E and A vitamins), it also supports poverty reduction, local interests, and protects the environment and wildlife.
Iceland may have started an important conversation, but doing a full ban on palm oil might not be the best answer.
SEI_39156680-649fSEI_39156680-649fmkylReally simple guide to giving up palm oil Picture: Iceland METROGRABExcavators are seen in the PT Ladang Sawit Mas (Bumitama), oil palm concession, part of the Bumitama group, in Muara Kayong hamlet, Nanga Tayap sub-district, Ketapang Regency, West Kalimantan.
Happy Thanksgiving 2018, everybody!
22 November is the day of the year we should all stop and think about what we have to be thankful for and appreciate those who make us want to give thanks.
It is a time to celebrate with friends and family, and whilst it is an American holiday, there is plenty going on in the UK for it as well this year.
Whether you are sending a card, seeing loved ones in person or just writing a text, here are some of the best messages, images and greetings to send on Thanksgiving.
‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ – John F. Kennedy
‘I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.’ -Marcus Samuelsson
‘I am grateful for what I am and have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual.’ – Henry David Thoreau
‘Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.’ – Oprah Winfrey
We have so much to be thankful for. One day a year hardly seems adequate.
Toasted, roasted, baked and done! Hope your Thanksgiving is loads of fun.
Being a family means you are part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is more than the festivities, it gives us time to ponder upon what lessons we learnt and how we can spread happiness around, to look back at all the great memories and good people who came into our lives. We appreciate you so much. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and your loved ones.
At this time of Thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings. The freedom of this great country in which we live. It’s opportunity for achievement. The friendship and confidence you have shown in us. For all of these things we are deeply thankful. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.
There have been times when I forgot to thank you for being there for me. I take this day to tell you how special you are and how great my life has become because of you. Have a memorable Thanksgiving.
May all the good things of life be yours, not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year.
Happy Day after Thanksgiving! Hope you didn’t forget to set your scales back 10 pounds last night.
Each day I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, dreams that turned into reality and likes that turned into love. Most importantly though, I am thankful for you today and everyday.
Millions Turn Out For Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade In New YorkMillions Turn Out For Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade In New Yorkphilhaigh26
Get ready to eat, drink and most importantly give thanks as it is 22 November 2018 and that means today is Thanksgiving.
The US holiday is all about remembering what you have to be thankful for, and most celebrate by digging in to an enormous meal with friends and family.
It is a time to think about how lucky you are and these quotes, memes and jokes might make you feel just a bit luckier.
Here are some of the best we could find for you to share with your loved ones today.
‘Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ – Marcel Proust
‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.’ – Marcus Tullius Cicero
‘Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day’ – Irv Kupcinet
‘Praise God even when you don’t understand what He is doing.’ – Henry Jacobsen
‘Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.’ – Maya Angelou, Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer
‘I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.’ – G.K. Chesterton
‘The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.’ – Jeff Miller
Q: Why was the Thanksgiving dinner so expensive?
A: It had 24 carrots.
Q: Why did the turkey get arrested?
A: The police suspected him of fowl play.
Q: What sound does a turkey with a limp make?
A: Wobble, wobble.
Q: If fruit comes from a fruit tree, what does a turkey come from?
A: A poul-tree.
Q: Why did the Turkey cross the road?
A: It was Thanksgiving Day, and he wanted people to think he was a chicken!
Q: What did the turkey say to the computer?
A: “Google, google, google.”
‘Thanksgiving is one of my favourite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realise how blessed and lucky we are.’ – Joyce Giraud
‘What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s purely about getting together with friends or family and enjoying food. It’s really for everybody, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from.’ – Daniel Humm
Above view of extended family talking at Thanksgiving dinner.Above view of extended family talking at Thanksgiving dinner.philhaigh26
Tis the season to be eco-conscious.
We are living in the time to be an environmentally conscious beauty lover. More beauty brands are going vegan, cruelty-free and organic while placing a higher value on sourcing natural ingredients.
Because of this, we are in an ocean of high quality natural products, and its a happy place to be. Even so, sorting through all these brands can be a daunting task, especially when you want to give a natural beauty gift to your Eco-conscious friend or family member.
Whether you’re treating yourself to some updated goodies or shopping for your loved ones, we’ve got your back with some of our top picks.
Every year, over a billion toothbrushes are thrown away worldwide, ending up in a landfill, in the sea or washed up on the beach. Using a toothbrush with a biodegradable handle, like the Truth Brush, is a small change, but over time can help make a huge difference.
The cream-based natural deodorant comprises of a ‘slightly sweet, warm-scented blend of natural manuka honey and subtle notes of vanilla.’ The toxic-free vegan deodorant melts into skin effortlessly and is great for use on all skin types.
The award-winning Nailberry is a breathable nail polish brand that is free of chemicals (no formaldehyde, no toluene, no camphor, no DPB). It’s also certified vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free and Halal. What’s not to love?
Lisa Franklin candles are known for using hand-finished natural wax in their products using a secret blend which includes Soy and Rapeseed, not forgetting the candle wick which is made from cotton. Eco-friendly indeed!
The popular mineral range loved by celebrities and makeup artists alike have combine their Lip2Cheek in shade ‘Demure’, Living Luminizer and Brightening Brush to help you create a radiant and flushed cheek look wherever you find yourself this season.
The only problem is deciding whether to give this set away or keep it to yourself.
The beauty world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house, Sana Jardin is blazing a revolutionary trail – and leaving utterly sublime scent in its wake.
Created primarily as a vehicle for social change, this brand advocates the economic empowerment of women through ‘The Beyond Sustainability Movement’ (which creates female entrepreneurs to bring about change through fair commerce, not less sustainable charity).
Discover a dynamic duo for hands and lips with the Burt’s Bees A Bit of Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear Gift Set, a pair of moisturising products all wrapped up in a festive bauble, perfect to give as a gift.
On average, Burt’s Bees products are 99% natural with over half of the products 100% natural, which is great for the environment.
Naturally rich and moisturising, the Black Poppy & Wild Fig bar soap from Soap Co invigorates your skin with added poppy seeds to aid exfoliation.
Handmade using a traditional cold process method, each bar is hand cut, stamped and wrapped with care and what’s better; it looks beautiful wrapped up as a gift.
Antipodes’ best-selling product consists of a nutrient-rich face oil for fresh, healthy, plump skin. The superior collagen-boosting action of avocado oil helps reduce the appearance of lines, age spots and scars.
Antipodes boast clean certified vegetarian skincare that delivers outstanding results for helping support production of collagen, elastin and antioxidant activity, using natural ingredients sourced from its motherland, New Zealand.
Eco-friendly beauty buys for ChristmasEco-friendly beauty buys for Christmasnerdabouttown1Clean Deodorant Balm - Vanilla & Manuka 15mlNailberry L'Oxygene Nail Lacquer Dial M For MaroonLISA FRANKLIN Our natural wax candles are hand-finished in the UK using a secret blend which includes Soy and Rapeseed, and include cotton wicksRMS BEAUTY Bright and Blushing SetSANA JARDIN Tiger By Her Side Eau de Parfum( 50ml )Burt's Bees A Bit of Burt's Bees - Coconut & Pear Gift Set
Humans have been confirmed to be trash since the days of Adam and Eve, but even more so in recent years.
We’re collectively destroying the planet at an alarming rate, but some of us are out here trying to undo that damage.
Christmas is undeniably the most wonderful time of the year but it’s also a time of huge waste. Tonnes of wrapping paper thrown in the bin, excessive amounts of food cooked and wasted – and trees. Glorious, glorious Christmas trees.
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association estimates that seven million trees are purchased by Britons every year – that’s a lot of potential waste.
So, is an artificial tree better for the planet as you can use it for years? Can they be recycled? Are real trees stolen from forests in the dead of night?
Artificial trees are made from PVC, which isn’t widely recycled, so your tree will end up in landfill once you’re done with it.
Plus, the vast majority of artificial trees are made in places like China and Taiwan, where working conditions and environmental regulations are poorer – on top of the huge carbon footprint of shipping it over here.
However, is this better than the carbon footprint of buying a new one year in, year out?
The Los Angeles Times reports that it takes nine years of using an artificial tree for it to be a better choice than getting a real one year in, year out. (Let’s be real, many of us are still go back to our family home to find the same artifical tree we decorated as children.)
It can be frustrating trying to work out which is the most eco-friendly option, as neither is perfect, but there are steps you can take to figure out which works best for you.
Trace your tree
Whether you choose real or artificial, you’ll want to be finding out where that tree was produced.
The vast majority of artifical trees are made in China. Which is quite far away.
A real tree bought locally uses less resources to be made and shipped to you, however the environmental impact of a ‘fake’ one lessens the more you use it.
Real Christmas trees aren’t usually cut down willy nilly from local woodland – they’re cultivated especially by dedicated growers. However, many trees are shipped in from forests in Norway, which obviously increases that tree’s carbon footprint.
Find a grower near you by on the British Christmas Tree Growers Association’s website.
Make sure you buy an organic tree, as pesticides can be harmful to fragile ecosystems.
Buy a potted living Christmas tree
By purchasing a potted living tree, you can take the decorations off, pop it in the garden, shower it with love and bring it back in come next year.
However, the issue with potted Christmas trees is that they’re best when small – obviously the larger a tree gets, the larger its roots are, and the larger its pot needs to be – so if you have grand plans for a huge tree, this isn’t the option for you.
You also need to be pretty green-fingered.
Get a living tree with roots to replant for next year
Now this one obviously isn’t feasible for many people, especially those of us who live in flats, or are the opposite of Alan Titchmarsh when it comes to gardening.
However, if you have the space and the know-how, then you can always replant your tree and dig it up again, but you obviously have to buy one with healthy roots.
Make sure you dig it up carefully, as damaging the roots could end up in needle drop. Nightmare.
Rent a living tree
Determined to have a real tree but don’t have anywhere to pot or replant one? Try renting one.
There are companies that deliver trees to your door, then collect them after Christmas, re-using them year after year.
Have a Google to see if any companies like this operate in your area.
Dispose of your tree responsibly
Want a real tree but replanting/potting/renting is impractical/impossible? Just make sure you don’t add to the Christmas tree graveyard that is the streets of Britain bleak first week of January – dispose of your tree properly.
According to Recycle Now, real trees are recyclable, and your old tree can be shredded into chippings and used for stuff like parks and woodland areas.
Their Recycling Locator tool helps you find your local authority’s website so you can see what the deal is in your area. They may well have a Christmas tree collection service, but if not? You can take it to your local tip and add it to the garden waste skip.
Dumping your tree with your rubbish means it will end up in landfill.
If you can safely burn your tree outside, this is also an option. Burning it only emits the carbon dioxide that was stored up when it was growing.
However, don’t even think about using it as kindling for an indoor fire – T.J’s Chimney Service advises that popular types of Christmas tree like firs, pines and spruces have a high sap content, which can burn quickly and explosively.
Plus, the needles can spark. Burning your house down in the bleak midwinter isn’t ideal, really.
Looking to dispose of an artifical tree? Before you take it to the local tip, why not see if any local schools/hospitals/nursing homes want it?
Don’t beat yourself up
Many of us simply can’t afford to buy/rent a new, living, local, organic tree every year, as much as we may want to.
Being 100% sustainable in all areas of our life isn’t realistic, so we have to focus on areas that are do-able for us personally.
Do the best you can, and if that means buying a plastic tree and wheeling it out for years, then so be it.
Happy Christmas, guys!
Carrying The TreeCarrying The Treelisambowman
I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to labels.
Labels have always meant being put into a box, and the problem with my labels is I never fully fit into any box.
I am mixed race. I am half English and half Chinese, which makes me both white and a person of colour. I look at forms that emphasise my difference; I’m left often inevitably having to tick the ‘other’ box.
I have had 15 surgeries, a brain tumour, a punctured intestine, a cyst in my brain and a condition called hydrocephalus but I never felt like the label ‘disabled’ fit. Largely because my conditions were not visible, I didn’t feel that the label was justified.
And then there was my weight, I am now a size 20, which firmly cements me as ‘fat’, but for most my life, I was confused with what label to go with in terms of that.
I tended to always be bigger than my friends but anytime I used the word ‘fat’, I would quickly be told that I wasn’t. Words like curvy or voluptuous would be thrown around but it made me feel physically nauseous to have my body described in that way.
All in all, it made me reject labels and decide that no one label could ever encapsulate me. I thought that labels in general were too deterministic.
Whilst I didn’t know which labels I liked, I knew for sure which label I didn’t like: scarred.
Scarred seems such a horrible word. It is never used in a positive context and any time I heard it, my mind would automatically associate it with words like ‘deformed’ or ‘damaged’.
The word scarred held such a permanent state in my head, it wasn’t something that could be fixed or improved upon; I was scarred and that is what I would be for the rest of my life.
I found that the thing causing me most difficulty around my scars was my ability to talk about not only the scars, but the surgeries.
University was the first time I felt safe enough in a friendship group to have these conversations, and what I realised is that it was never about the scars.
The main thing that helped me was realising no one cared about my scars as much as I did.
At 24 years old, not only does the word ‘scarred’ just roll off the tongue but I use it on a daily basis.
It is not just a word I use to describe myself but a word I use to introduce myself as my online moniker is ‘Scarred Not Scared.’
People will often know that name before they know my real name and now those words fill me with pride because what I realised over time was that the problem was never with the word.
Scarred is a neutral word, as are most words. It was my associations that were the problem. It was my problem with my scars that were the problem.
When I used to have an issue with it, I used to always relate the word scarred to being emotionally scarred; that I was emotionally damaged and the trauma that I went undergoing all my hospital experiences would forever taint my perceptions and how I viewed the world.
I feared being emotionally scarred because I was too scared to look long enough at my scars to actually heal them. Now, the word scarred only represents the physical element.
I am physically scarred, that is a fact. When it comes to my emotional side, I think I would be lying if I denied that my experiences have altered my perceptions – but who says that has to be a negative?
One of main distinctions I make online is that I share my scars not my wounds. Because that’s the part I always forgot.
For a scar to exist, your healing has already occurred to transform from a wound. You are no longer exposed, even if it might feel that way and therefore scars require pain to heal, but they also require strength to withstand the healing process.
That is now what my scars are for me – a symbol of all I’ve been through. The reason why I find the word ‘scarred’ empowering is because of all that I have overcome to accept it.
When you’ve given a word so much power your entire life, and then you decide to take your power back and own that word, I believe it liberates you.
The reason why I love my scars is because they are mine, plain and simple.
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email email@example.com
LABELS BLOG -SCARREDLABELS BLOG -SCARREDjessrubyaustinMichelle ElmanMichelle ElmanMichelle ElmanMichelle Elman
We know stress can have seriously damaging consequences.
It can ruin our sleep, trigger heart disease, and lead to burnout.
And yet we keep powering through rocketing stress levels, telling ourselves to toughen up and keep going.
Maybe this will make us pause: Stress is the number one cause of sex-related issues, according to a new survey.
BBC Radio 5 Live questioned 2,066 UK people about their sex lives and found that stress was stated as a cause for sexual issues more than any other factor, with 45% of respondents blaming stress for sexual problems.
The second most common sex-ruiner was physical health problems (35% of people blamed this factor), followed by mental health issues (26%), having children (20%), and work (18%).
10% of respondents blamed social media, perhaps thanks to the urge to scroll through Twitter before bed rather than snuggling up with a partner.
Factors that negatively affect sex:
Just half of those questioned – 50% of men and 53% of women – said they were satisfied with their sex lives. Clearly all those factors are having an impact.
The same survey also found that men and women tend to have different definitions of what counts as cheating.
While 80% of women said that sexting is cheating, only 65% of men agreed. 75% of women said paying for cybersex with a camgirl or camboy is cheating, versus 50% of men.
And when it comes to kissing, there’s clearly a bit of a gender divide, as 73% of women said kissing someone else counts as cheating, compared to just 51% of men.
It might be worth having a little chat with your partner to make sure you’re on the same page.
Why you should never settle when looking for 'The One'Why you should never settle when looking for 'The One'ellencscott
‘Are you having a party?’ the delivery man asks as he lifts the tenth box of Diet Coke cans through my front door.
I laugh nervously and lie through my teeth: ‘Yes, lots of people coming over.’
The truth is all 180 cans were for me. When you drink it like I do, you need to buy in bulk and stock up when it’s on offer.
Lucky enough to have a cellar in our tiny London flat, my flatmate stored wine, while I, piled boxes of this good stuff high.
After a warning from my dentist about the enamel on my teeth, I started cutting down but I’ve found it impossible to cut it out completely.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt like I am addicted to Diet Coke.
Without at least a few cans a day, I get headaches, feel lethargic and have serious cravings, which could be related to the amount of caffeine I drink.
Although the European Food Safety Authority recommends drinking no more than 400mg of caffeine per day (around nine cans), a sudden reduction if you are used to having a lot can cause headaches and irritability.
But my ‘addiction’ is a part of my personality and my friends play on it.
What is in a can of Diet Coke?
To give it that fizz
A colouring that makes it dark brown
Sweetners including Aspartame
Diet Coke doesn’t have any calories as it is sugar free but to get the sweet taste, it contains a blend of sweetners, including Aspartame, which has previously been linked with cancer. However, scientists say there is little evidence to show that is the case.
A can of Diet Coke contains 42mg of caffeine, which is 10mg more than regular coke. In comparison, a cup of tea contains about 75mg and a mug of coffee about 100mg. Caffeine can be addictive and you should not have more than 400mg a day.
I’ve received all the Diet Coke themed gifts including pyjamas, an engraved glass and even a candle made to look and smell like a bottle of my favourite drink.
I’m always being sent links to articles that claim Aspartame, one of the sweeteners in the drink, is dangerous – something which stems from a 1996 report that suggested a link between the sweetener and brain tumours.
However, the NHS states: ‘The study had very little scientific basis and later studies showed that aspartame was in fact safe to consume.’
No amount of pestering from friends can make me give up and there’s a whole community of people like me who are rarely seen without a can in their hand.
Stephen Morrison, 45, from Glasgow, was a Coca Cola or Irn Bru drinker until 2011. He says he wasn’t ‘addicted’ to those but he would drink a fizzy drink most days.
But in 2011, he switched to Diet Coke as he wanted to lose weight.
He lost 12 stone, which was half his body weight, in under a year through changing his diet and exercising – but he gained an ‘addiction’ to Diet Coke along the way.
‘I have to start my day with a can and consume about three to five litres a day,’ he told Metro.co.uk.
‘I have tried to give up in the past but suffered what felt like withdrawal symptoms and with a hectic life, I feel that it acts as a tonic.
‘I am a can man. As cold as possible, even in winter, But, if I am honest, I am a sucker for deals, so will cheerily buy two litre bottles, if on offer.’
From the minute he wakes up at 7.30am, he has a can in his hand and drinks it right through until he goes to bed – drinking up to 15 cans a day.
He says: ‘Some people start the day with a coffee. I need a Diet Coke.
‘If I could have it on a drip, I would. I keep a short supply in my backpack, more in the fridge at work and at home. I plan ahead and I generally always have a can or bottle in my hand.’
Stephen, who works in the civil service, is a health blogger but he says he knows he is in denial about the effects of
He says: ‘I do think that I should cut down, but Diet Coke is just so good.
‘I downplay my intake, but when I am honest (well telling people a slightly lower number, if I am honest), they shake their head and look at me mournfully.’
Rebecca Kerr, 25, from London, drinks about a litre of Diet Coke a day.
She started drinking it as a child and she loved it so much, she would collect labels from bottles from different countries.
She says: ‘I constantly need to have a supply of it.
‘It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. If I run out, I need to go to the shop and get some.
‘I take a glass of Diet Coke to bed with me every night. I just feel terrible and unwell if I go without it for a day. I can easily tell the difference with other brands.’
Laura Starck limits her intake to afternoons only but in that time, she manages up to six cans.
The 24-year-old from High Wycombe explains: ‘I don’t drink tea or coffee, so for me it’s primarily a caffeine thing, plus its zero calories.
‘As a child, I wasn’t allowed full fat drinks and when I became a working adult and sorted by own lunches, the ‘addiction’ really began.
‘I drink four cans a day during the week and five or six at the weekend. But I have that 12pm curfew. I never drink any before then. I keep 30 cans in the boot of my car so I have some all the time.
‘I do still manage about three litres of water a day as well. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink much so it’s really my only vice. It hasn’t affected my health yet so I hope it will be ok.’
Natalie, 26, from Leeds, is a fellow ‘addict’, who started drinking it at a very young age.
She says: ‘When I was a kid, my Mum had to ration my drinking hours to 12:00-20:00. It was an 8 hour slot to get as much of the sweet nectar that I could.
‘I have always really enjoyed the taste, and continued drinking it into my adulthood. I just find it refreshing without being overly sweet.
‘I try to keep it to two cans a day. I have a very low consumption of any other liquids – usually half a pint of water and a cup of tea.
‘Typically I will open a can around 11am but I have been known to open one as early as 8.30am at work, which gets some strange looks.
‘I have been known to take it to the extremes. One time I was super hungover and really needed a rescue Diet Coke as it’s the only thing that revives me.
‘Instead of walking down the road to my local newsagents, I ordered some from a takeaway on Just Eat.
‘The minimum spend was £18, so I ordered some chips and £16 worth of DC – I got through them all within the day.
‘Without it, I do feel tired, groggy and irritable. People always tell me it’s bad for me but I feel like they say that about everything these days.’
Harley Street Nutritionist and Author Rhiannon Lambert said that there’s little evidence that Aspartame, the sugar substitute which has been linked to cancer, actually increases the risk of developing any serious condition.
She says: ‘Aspartame is used as a sugar substitute in diet soft drinks. It is low calorie, up to 200 times sweeter than sugar and is digested quickly into the bloodstream.
‘Aspartame has been subject to much scaremongering ranging from allergies and premature births to liver damage and cancer.
‘However, The Food Standards Agency says that there is no reliable scientific evidence to back up claims that aspartame causes any of the serious disorders with which it has been linked.
‘In fact, the NHS go as far as suggesting an acceptable daily intake: 40mg per kg of body weight.
‘To exceed the limit, someone weighing 60kg would need to drink at least 14 cans of diet drinks a day.
‘Much of the research into sweeteners demonstrates they are perfectly safe to eat or drink on a daily basis as part of a healthy diet.
‘They can be a useful alternative for those with diabetes who need to consider their blood sugar levels sensitively.’
However, Rhiannon added that just because the side effects of Aspartame are likely to have been exaggerated, drinking a lot of it can cause other problems.
‘It has been suggested that the use of artificial sweeteners may have a stimulating effect on appetite and, therefore, may play a role in weight gain and obesity,’ she says.
‘There are also loose links to a disturbed gut microbiome with over use.
‘With a belief that you have saved calories on diet drinks, some may feel they can afford themselves a splurge on unhealthy foods for example.
‘In my experience, a healthy relationship with food and drink is key to minimising any such issues.’
Another issue is that the caffeine often found within diet drinks is a stimulant which can temporarily make us feel more alert or less drowsy.
‘Too much caffeine can lead to insomnia, nervousness, irritability and an abnormal heart rhythm,’ Rhiannon adds.
‘There is also a suggestion that some of the effects of caffeine are more to ‘normalise’ the lower levels of alertness felt by regular users who have not consumed enough caffeine that day.
‘Too much caffeine, particularly in people who are not used it, may cause the adverse effects of irritability and headache.
‘Such symptoms also occur with caffeine withdrawal in people used to lots of caffeine.’
And what about your teeth? You might be cutting out the sugar, which is the biggest problem with regular Coca Cola but it still causes dental problems.
Dr Raha Sepehrara, from the Dental Suite in Nottingham explains: ‘Diet Coke is sugar free and therefore it cannot “feed” the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, all fizzy drinks, whether sugar free or not, are acidic.
‘The acidity can cause tooth erosion, which means it can erode away the enamel of the teeth.
‘Acid erosion makes teeth sensitive to cold temperature and in extreme cases even just cold air can cause pain.
‘It can make the teeth look darker as well as the darker layer of the teeth becomes exposed when there is little enamel left.
‘It is therefore important to limit or stop completely consumption of fizzy drinks, and ensure you never brush your teeth straight after having an acidic drink.
‘The acid in the drink coupled with the toothbrushing can accelerate the tooth wear. It is really important to wait at least 1 hour before you brush your teeth.’
So how can you cut down if you are drinking too much?
Rhiannon Lambert adds: ‘A whole diet approach which focuses on overall diet quality rather than specific ingredients and nutrients is important.
‘Swapping sugar-sweetened beverages for artificially sweetened beverages is likely to be beneficial for most people from a weight management, dental and diabetes perspective.
‘However, healthier drink alternatives should be encouraged as these provide additional nutritional benefits that artificially sweetened beverages do not.
‘If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime. Or heat the water and infuse a tea bag, some coffee or a slice of lemon.’
A spokesperson for Coca Cola said: ‘Diet Coke has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for more than 30 years.
‘As with all the drinks we sell, its ingredients are perfectly safe and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle.’
Stephen Morrison, Diet Coke Addict, Glasgow. All Pics © Martin HunterStephen Morrison, Diet Coke Addict, Glasgow. All Pics © Martin Hunterlauraabernethy6Stephen Morrison, Diet Coke Addict, Glasgow. All Pics ?? Martin HunterStephen Morrison, Diet Coke Addict, Glasgow. All Pics ?? Martin HunterStephen Morrison, Diet Coke Addict, Glasgow. All Pics ?? Martin HunterStephen Morrison, Diet Coke Addict, Glasgow. All Pics ?? Martin Hunter
Well, the very essence of Christmas, apparently.
Our generation is responsible for the death of a number of longstanding Christmas traditions, according to a new study from Ideal Home Show.
A survey of 2,000 British people found that just 6% of us will be going carol singing this Christmas, only 9% will roast chestnuts, and just a dismal 16% plan to kiss under mistletoe.
Cruel, cruel millennials, refusing to scream ‘BETHLEHEM, BETHLEHEM’ at strangers.
Those disrespectful millennials, making delicious gingerbread treats rather than Googling how one goes about cooking chestnuts or begging their nearest florist for a sprig of mistletoe.
Those aren’t the only routines we’re tearing apart with our sharp, relentless millennial teeth.
We’ve also killed off making paper chains (only one in ten of us make them, horror of horrors), watching the Queen’s speech (78% of us don’t plan on watching it! A travesty!), eating gammon, lighting Christmas puddings on fire (12% of us plan to do this. What are the rest of us heathens going to do? Eat a cake that isn’t going up in flames?), and hiding silver coins in our food for our uncles to chip a tooth on.
21 Christmas traditions that have fallen out of favour:
It’s almost as though times have changed and people are letting go of the traditions they no longer enjoy so they can have a more fun Christmas. Shocking.
Thankfully Christmas won’t be all about doing the memes or putting Snapchat filters on the baby Jesus, or whatever millennials do for fun.
There are some traditions that have stuck around. 74% of those surveyed said they’d rather send out hand-written Christmas cards, which is quite sweet, and 60% said they’ll be tucking into mince pies this festive season.
Perhaps we can celebrate Christmas full of festive spirit and joy, rather than surrounded by the carcases of concepts slain by millennials intent on destroying the old ways.
Stick on a party hat, swap presents, and lure millennials into the fun of Christmas with the promise of monogrammed stockings on the fireplace and avocados instead of clementines.
We can get through Christmas in harmony, promise. Just don’t bring up the housing market.
Metro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationsellencscottHow it feels to be depressed at Christmas (Lucy Dimbylow)
Sometimes the most powerful gestures of love are the simplest.
When I got depressed on a trip to Edinburgh a few years ago, my friend Elise simply tucked me under a blanket, closed the shutters and sat with me in the dark of our Airbnb living room.
When I fell into a heavy nap, she left me just long enough to duck to the shops for a tub of fresh Scottish strawberries and a family size block of Cadbury milk chocolate: my comfort foods of choice.
When I woke, she was perched on the edge of the bed, ready with provisions. She sang me acapella One Direction songs while I fortified myself with sugar and in that moment it was precisely, powerfully, just what I needed.
She knew, without having to ask, that snacks, sleep and a few rousing bars of That’s What Makes You Beautiful would make me feel, if not better, at least seen.
She didn’t try to cure me; she didn’t force me out of a funk. She just sat with me in my melancholy, keeping me company through the fog. It was perfect.
Such is the power of female friendship. It can be transformative, beautiful, even life-saving.
When we know each other well enough to predict precisely what someone might need on a day of anguish, then we are the ultimate allies.
I see Elise as often as I can and it brings me comfort and joy just to be in her company. Along with her, I have a collection of resilient, funny, smart, brave girlfriends – without whom I simply wouldn’t know who I am.
When I’m with them, either in person for brunch, or walks, or wine, or over WhatsApp because there are oceans between us, I feel lighter, stronger and more sure of who I want to be in the world. So long as I feel as though I belong by their sides, I know I am doing ok.
Friendships like these exist all over the world and when we put them together, we get this magnificent cross-stitch of female solidarity we like to call The Sisterhood.
Women are united in this uniquely powerful way because we understand what it is to live female; the inconveniences, the dangers, the joys. When we get together for a Sunday roast and gossip, swap secrets and listen to each other, we are negotiating what it is to be a woman.
When we text, WhatsApp and DM each other about broken hearts and marriages, promotions and redundancies, kids and parents, the Spice Girls reunion and Britney Spears’ wellbeing, we are working out how to be the best versions of ourselves – in the company of people who would still love us at our worst.
There is vast, incorrigible strength in that and we should probably be more vocal about what it means to us.
We don’t talk about friendship enough. Not the joys, not the sadnesses. I’d like us to start.
I want this column to be a space for us to chat about friendship, in all its complex glory. I wrote an 83,399-word manifesto on the importance of friendship (it’s called The Friendship Cure) and now I’d like to help you understand, celebrate and appreciate it. If you have a question, problem or dilemma to do with your friends, please get in touch. I’m here, agony aunt-style, to help.
About Lean On Me
Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering your friendship woes in her weekly Metro.co.uk column.
If you’d like to submit a question or problem, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Lean on me’ in the subject line.
Submissions are anonymous and you can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.
Kate and pals-9e15Kate and pals-9e15kateleaver