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

older | 1 | .... | 1459 | 1460 | (Page 1461) | 1462 | 1463 | .... | 1849 | newer

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    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How soon after birth can I have sex? And will you want to? (Violet)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Women struggling to conceive will try just about anything – fertility drugs, IVF, ‘fertility-boosting’ diets, and acupuncture or hypnotherapy.

    Rebecca Chisholm, 38, had attempted all these methods but to no avail.

    After five years of desperately trying for a baby with her husband Tom, 40, she was still child-free and began to despair that she might never have a family.

    But then Rebecca heard about a revolutionary new type of therapy: fertility massage.

    ‘I had almost given up at that point,’ Rebecca, from Edinburgh, Scotland, tells Metro.co.uk. ‘But I reasoned that even if it didn’t work, it couldn’t do any harm, so why not give it a try?’

    The therapy, simply called fertility massage, was created by natural health practitioner Clare Blake. Mother-of-one Clare, 44, devised it after working as a doula for several years, supporting women through pregnancy and childbirth.

    What is Fertility Massage Therapy?

    Fertility massage therapy is a deep massage that focuses on improving circulation to the abdominal area.

    It can involve reflexology, acupressure, flower remedies, abdominal massage, pulsing, Reiki, and the Rebozo technique, which uses a shawl to massage the abdominal area in a gentle rocking motion.

    ‘I came across a lot of women who’d struggled to fall pregnant or had suffered miscarriages and wanted to do something to help them,’ she explains.

    A qualified massage practitioner, Clare learned how to administer deep abdominal massage to help improve the function of the womb during a trip to Belize.

    She decided to combine this with pulsing (a type of Tai Chi that involves applying pressure while swinging and moving parts of the body simultaneously to boost circulation), and Rebozo, a traditional Shamanic binding practice, which involves using material wrapped around the abdomen to enable ligaments to relax.

    ‘The three together help bring harmony and balance to the reproductive system and help women ‘reconnect’ with her womb,’ Clare says. ‘The idea is to bring the organs within the abdominal area back into alignment, releasing pressure and strengthening the surrounding muscles and ligaments.

    ‘This in turn improves blood flow and nerve signals to and from the reproductive organs, as well as helping to flush out toxins and balance hormones, all of which can enhance chances of conception.’

    There is a psychological element to the treatment, according to Clare.

    She believes women sometimes subconsciously prevent conception due to ‘mental blocks’, so she uses visualisation techniques and special meditation as part of the therapy too.

    ‘If a woman has suffered a miscarriage or lost a child, or even if she’s afraid of childbirth, it can create a lot of stress and tension which can affect the reproductive system too,’ she says.

    Since launching the therapy three years ago Clare has, she says, successfully helped around 150 women get pregnant, including Rebecca.

    ‘She literally made my dream come true,’ Rebecca says. ‘I’d had two failed pregnancies before I went to see her and needed to restore my faith in my own body.’

    Rebecca had experienced an ectopic pregnancy, but after fertility massage she had a child (Picture: Rebecca Chisholm)

    Rebecca first fell pregnant at the age of 28 but, five weeks in, doctors discovered her pregnancy was ectopic and had to remove her right fallopian tube, along with the foetus to save her life. It was then that they discovered she had scar tissue on her left fallopian tube too, reducing her chances of conceiving naturally.

    ‘Despite all that, we never gave up hope,’ says Rebecca. ‘Tom and I wanted a child of our own more than anything so we just kept on trying.’

    The second time it took the couple a full year to fall pregnant again but that baby was also sadly not meant to be. The 12-week scan revealed that the foetus had developed into a cluster of cysts, a condition known as a partial molar pregnancy.

    ‘We were advised to have a surgical evacuation which once again left us emotionally and physically scarred,’ recalls Rebecca. ‘It was such an awful time. I began wondering whether I’d ever be a mother.’

    The couple had to wait a further six months before they could start trying again, to ensure Rebecca’s body was clear of molar cells. But then she was struck by crippling abdominal pains and doctors suspected she had endometriosis.

    Rebecca and Tom had been trying to have a child for years (Picture: Rebecca Chisholm)

    ‘It was at this point I decided to seek out alternative means of treatment as the doctor’s only solution was to go on the Pill, which is not great when you are trying to conceive,’ she says.

    Rebecca had already tried acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, reflexology along with adapting her diet. Then a friend told her about Clare.

    ‘She said she’d helped a couple of women she knew who’d been struggling to have children for years,’ Rebecca says. ‘I looked at her website and liked the idea behind the treatment – that it combined holistic physical therapy with psychological.’

    Rebecca travelled to London for the treatment in January 2013 and had two sessions.

    ‘I knew instantly this was a treatment for me,’ she says. ‘I am used to receiving massages, but there was something so powerful and different about Fertility Massage Therapy. I felt so nurtured and cared for, and Clare used techniques that I hadn’t heard of or experienced before.

    ‘When she left me at the end of the session all wrapped up in cloths, I had this intense sense of calm and I felt so safe.

    ‘I didn’t want to be unwrapped, or get off the bed, but when I did, I still felt whole, strong and empowered, like I had reconnected with my body.

    ‘For the first time in years instead of thinking, “I wish I could have a baby”, I began thinking, “I look forward to welcoming my baby”. Every ounce of doubt had gone.’

    On Clare’s recommendation, Rebecca continued to perform self-massage exercises at home and returned for three more one-to-one treatments with her. In May that year, she was amazed to discover she was pregnant again. And this time, there were no problems.

    How to do self-massage:

    It’s important to get advice from a professional before attempting self-massage techniques, as you could end up injuring yourself.

    Clare teaches clients ways they can massage themselves at home. Some techniques won’t be doable on your own, such as Rebozo, while others can be adapted.

    Self-massage will involve gentle motions around from the pubic bone up to the rib cage, using relaxing oils and meditation.

    The idea is to reduce stress and improve the digestive system, which it’s believed to be linked to fertility.

    Rebecca gave birth to her daughter, Elle, in January 2014. She and Tom were over the moon.

    A few months later, the couple decided to try for another baby, so she began practicing the self-massage techniques Clare had taught her. She fell pregnant once more ‘really easily’ and brought their daughter, Pippa, into the world this September.

    Rebecca was so impressed by the therapy, she trained as a Fertility Massage therapist herself so she could help other women.

    ‘We think of our wombs almost as something separate from us and don’t think to look after them in the way we look after our hearts or lungs,’ she adds. ‘It just goes to show that a little womb TLC can make all the difference. It did to me.’

    Fertility Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: How to get super sperm like the Danish Vikings

    MORE: What it's like to have an eating disorder while you're pregnant

    MORE: Can you get over not having children when you really wanted to have children?


    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How soon after birth can I have sex? And will you want to? (Violet)ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How soon after birth can I have sex? And will you want to? (Violet)ellencscottILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How soon after birth can I have sex? And will you want to? (Violet)ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: How soon after birth can I have sex? And will you want to? (Violet)ellencscott

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    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    Special needs children have been cast in stunning fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as ‘accessories’.

    50-year-old Angela Forker, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine months ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences.

    The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctor’s advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life.

    After photographing Madalyn a day before she passed away, Angela started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    The grandmother-of-three has snapped photos of babies flying, jumping on a trampoline, parachuting, living as a mermaid, winning a race and more.

    In one, she transformed a child’s breathing trach and a headwear – used to reshape the skull bones – into an oxygen line from a spaceship and space helmet.

    Instead of hiding the children’s conditions she tries to embrace them like ‘accessories’ and makes them all part of the elaborate scenes.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    Each session can take up to 20 hours, and Angela has so far photographed 25 babies – some of which will serve as a memory of their child’s life for parents.

    Angela said: ‘Many photographers are at a loss with special needs babies as some struggle to sit up for long and may not look at the camera.

    ‘I wanted to create a fantastic scene where all the babies would have to do is lie there.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    ‘I have worked with a lot of terminally ill babies, some will never walk so I love getting them to do something impossible like flying, jumping on a trampoline or sailing a boat.

    ‘I hope to have scenes that incorporate the child’s life that will allow the parents to remember what their child was like here on earth.

    ‘I try to take into consideration either the family’s interests or the baby’s condition, and instead of trying to hide tubes and wires I feature them.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    ‘One baby awaiting heart surgery is in a hot air balloon with a bear in the process of being stitched back together.

    ‘These pictures had a big mission to help people see babies and people with special needs in a different way – to show they are valuable and worthy of love.’

    Angela first created fantasy scenes six years ago for her grandson Ricky which she compiled into a book, while experimenting with new born photography.

    In 2017, she photographed Madalyn who suffered from the most severe form of Holoprenosencephaly – after hearing the family’s situation through her church.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    From the photographs taken during the emotional shoot she knew the little girl could ‘live on forever’ and later would start the Precious Baby Project in her memory.

    Angela said: ‘Madalyn’s parents wanted to give her a chance of life, even knowing she may not make it through the pregnancy they wanted to hold her and let her know they loved her.

    ‘Their love for her was so inspiring and she lived for 15 days, instead of mourning her loss they celebrated each day they had with her.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    ‘I made a little crown for her because they called her princess, it’s very special and in memory of Madalyn who is now looking down on her family so lovingly.

    ‘It was life changing for me, it touched my heart seeing how much they loved her and how she was the most beautiful baby ever.’

    Since then she has been photographing other children, using fabrics and ordinary items to conjure her incredible scenes.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    Angela said: ‘I have a big collection of material and am a master of using items in a non-traditional way.

    ‘I have so much fun using ordinary items to turn them into something else.’

    Angela tries to mould the scenes around the baby’s conditions, the parents’ interests or hobbies, and more.

    Some of the images these will go onto become a lasting memory of the children and others a beautiful piece of art.

    Angela said: ‘One of the babies, Max, his dad is a paratrooper, so I had him as a paratrooper diving out of a plane and he gave us the biggest smile.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    ‘I try to come up with meaningful titles, that one was called ‘Jumping into the Unknown’ due to his condition being scary but also the great joy he brings.

    ‘For another family, during their pregnancy the mom went into septic shock, which a lot of people die from, and when the baby was miraculously born, he had Down Syndrome.

    ‘I showed their baby in turbulent waters with a lighthouse shining out and guiding their baby to safety on a boat named ‘Blessed’ – which was a word their parents asked me to feature.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Angela Forker/Caters News)

    ‘The light from the lighthouse shines down protecting him and made all the difference in that scene, it was a nice piece of symbolism.’

    Though she says it can be difficult to get the child’s attention and position them correctly for the photos, Angela hopes her images will help to reshape people’s perceptions of children with special needs and the value of their lives in society.

    She said: ‘It’s a miracle to have the final picture and often the families are moved to tears.

    ‘I feel so grateful these pictures turn out the way they do and are seen by people as making a difference.’

    MORE: ‘Gay’ penguins successfully hatch baby chick and take turns to care for it

    MORE: Photo series captures the hope and disappointment of going through IVF


    DISABLED BABY SCENESDISABLED BABY SCENEShattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYDISABLED BABY SCENESDISABLED BABY SCENEShattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Angela Forkers images of special needs children, which is a part of the Precious Baby Project which celebrates and redefines perceptions of children with differences) - Special needs children have been cast in beautiful fantasy scenes that incorporate their wires, tubes and life-preserving apparatus as accessories. Angela Forker, 50, from New Haven, Indiana, USA, started the Precious Baby Project nine-months-ago to celebrate and redefine perceptions of children with differences. The mission is in memory of Madalyn Grace Solis, whose parents disregarded doctors advice to abort their child and instead after her miraculous birth, celebrated her 15 days of life. After photographing the Madalyn, a day before she passed away last year, she started working with other terminally ill babies and children with special needs. SEE CATERS COPY

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    (Picture: Carnival Films; Highclere Castle)

    Ever wanted to be part of an actual Downton Abbey dinner? Well, now you can, as one is being hosted at Highclere Castle.

    For those not in the know, Highclere Castle in Hampshire, is where Downton Abbey is filmed.

    Premium Tours is throwing the Christmas party, and is offering a ‘Downton Abbey Christmas Experience’.

    The evening includes a coach trip to the 5,000 acre Hampshire estate, Champagne and canapes in the saloon and a tour of the boujee reception rooms.

    You can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle (Picture: Highclere Castle)
    (Picture: Highclere Castle)

    You will get to experience all of this before sitting down for a three-course dinner and wine, before watching a performance of Christmas carols around the Christmas tree.

    In true Downton Abbey fashion, the menu is super fancy. Would you expect anything less?

    For the first course, you can decide between Lady Carnarvon charred salmon and avocado tian leaf salad with Melba toast, or a roasted vegetable terrine with micro cress salad and aioli sauce. We told you it was posh.

    You can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle (Picture: Highclere Castle)
    (Picture: Highclere Castle)

    The second course options are roasted turkey breaks, pigs in blankets, roasted fondant potato, Brussel sprouts with chestnuts and carrot Vichy, or baked ‘Goldcross;; goat’s cheese, pine kernels and red onion puree wrapped in filo pastry with watercress foam and extra virgin olive.

    Finally, dessert will be a traditional Christmas pudding with brandy cream sauce.

    The dinner will take place on 15 December 2018, and costs £490.

    Yes, that’s a lot of money, that maybe you should consider saving for Christmas presents – unless you’re a seriously dedicated Downton Abbey fan, of course.

    MORE: All the best Black Friday 2018 UK deals, offers and discounts available today

    MORE: The best Morrisons Black Friday deals on alcohol including beer, Prosecco and gin


    You can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere CastleYou can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere CastlehattiegladwellmetroYou can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle (Picture: Highclere Castle)You can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle (Picture: Highclere Castle)You can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere CastleYou can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere CastlehattiegladwellmetroYou can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle (Picture: Highclere Castle)You can have Christmas dinner at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle (Picture: Highclere Castle)

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    Why does your sex drive increase in the summer?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If your significant other has plans for a big night out tonight then it’s probably best that you get out your trench coat and fake moustache, because the 23rd of November is the day of the year on which you’re most likely to be cheated on.*

    According to the Illicit Encounters, a website for people who are cheating on their partners, 80% of their users had arranged to see their lover on November 23rd.

    When asked to explain the popularity of cheating on the 23rd of November, which also happens to be Black Friday, a spokesperson for Illicit Encounters said: ‘The clocks going back afford us more time in bed, but they allow for a lot more when it comes to adultery. Pitch black afternoons aren’t exactly joyful, especially for those who wait long hours at home for their partner to return from work, and it’s in these moments of upsetting reflection that someone may realise how fractured their marriage is.

    As a result, they decide to warm up their cold, dark afternoons, with a steamy affair being the perfect remedy.’

    Perfect sounds like a bit of a stretch, when we know that infidelity can lead to a lot of heartache, and sometimes to the end of a relationship. Surely starting the most recent series of The Sinner would be a better way to get over the dark evenings?

    *Please don’t do this. If you’re insecure about your relationship, talk to your partner or seek guidance from a counsellor.

    Signs your partner might be cheating on you

    Your partner starts receiving calls and texts in the middle of the night – 44%

    Your partner suddenly starts working late – 43%

    Your partner keeps their phone by their side – 41%

    Your partner starts spending time with friends you haven’t met – 40%

    Your partner changes the passcode to their phone – 34%

    Your partner keeps passwords and pin numbers secret – 30%

    Your partner starts going away on business – 30%

    Your partner keeps their phone on silent – 30%

    Your partner archives messages so they are hidden – 27%

    You notice unexplained bank transactions – 27%

    Your partner suddenly changes their style and clothes – 25%

    Your partner has more than one social media account – 23%

    Your partner turns their phone off at night – 18 percent

    Your partner starts wearing a new perfume or aftershave – 15%

    Your partner buys a new wardrobe – 14%

    Your partner is always complaining about being tired – 14%

    Your partner has new tastes and demands in the bedroom – 13%

    Your partner starts treating you to unexpected gifts – 10%

    Your partner suddenly comes off Facebook – 10%

    Your partner suddenly got into foods they weren’t into before – 7%

    Your partner suddenly wants more sex – 6%

    Your partner starts fake tanning – 3%

    You can read more about these statistics here.

    MORE: Photo series shows children with special needs in dreamy scenes

    MORE: Newsflash – hating on the Kardashians and reality TV doesn’t make you edgy


    ***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Sex after having a baby: Everything new parents need to know about postpartum love making (Catherine Phillips)***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Sex after having a baby: Everything new parents need to know about postpartum love making (Catherine Phillips)rebeccacnreidWhy does your sex drive increase in the summer?***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Sex after having a baby: Everything new parents need to know about postpartum love making (Catherine Phillips)***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** Sex after having a baby: Everything new parents need to know about postpartum love making (Catherine Phillips)rebeccacnreidWhy does your sex drive increase in the summer?

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    PICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Thomas Evans/Caters News)

    Transgender models have been photographed beaten up and dressed to show the abuse transgender people face every day.

    34-year-old Thomas Evans, from Manhattan, New York, hopes to depict the reality of the abuse transgender people face.

    He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot.

    The masterclass, held by Thomas at Central Connecticut State University, USA, coincided with Trans Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

    Thomas believes the community is suppressed by a lack of access to health care, employment and housing – which can lead to increased likelihood of drug use and the risk of HIV.

    Thomas, a photo artist, said: ‘These models are well-known in the trans and LGBTQ+ community, I wanted the students to hear their stories and see these people living their truths.

    PICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Dina Delicious showcasing the accepted portrayal of womanhood and the reality of the harm that can be comitted against the trans community) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Thomas Evans/Caters News)

    ‘The first portrait shows the accepted, what people see in prescribed genders of masculine and feminine.

    ‘Then for the second we show the abuse trans people face in society.

    ‘Each model posed in two different portraits.

    ‘We gave Brian the look of a bloody nose from makeup, it was very dramatic and intense.

    ‘The first look is to show what is acceptable in society and approved, that is beautiful and in the box of beauty, masculine and feminine and what is accepted.

    ‘The second shows the abuse in society towards trans people – physical, sexual, verbal, mental and cultural.

    ‘The most common is verbal abuse and that can be just as damaging, we want to represent all forms of abuse from the sides you can see to those that you can’t.’

    The photographs contrasted two images, the ‘glamour’ of accepted gender norms and the physical manifestation of abuse geared towards the trans community.

    Covered in makeup to create fake blood and bruising Brian Michael Smith and Dina Delicious hope the photographs will bring awareness to the .

    PICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Dina Delicious showcasing the accepted portrayal of womanhood and the reality of the harm that can be comitted against the trans community) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Thomas Evans/Caters News)

    35-year-old Brian is an actor famed for his role on the NBC show Queen Sugar. He believes it was important to highlight the treatment of the trans community.

    That the photos were released on Transgender Day of Remembrance made the experience more poignant for him.

    The violence trans people face

    According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 29 transgender people in the US died in 2017 due to fatal violence – the most ever recorded.

    These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified.

    They say that while the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of colour.

    2018 has so far already seen at least 22 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means.

    He said: ‘It remembers the victims of violence and suicide, a lot of them because of the communication around trans people, the stigma and violence.

    ‘It’s important these people may not have experienced physical assault and to see that impact of a violent situation.

    ‘When allies understand they are more likely to stand up for real people, honouring their identity.

    ‘All people should be free to explore how they want to define themselves, nothing is set in stone.’

    Dina, a recording artist, actress and activist, from New York, found the ‘polarity’ of the images exciting as she is used to be photographed in a more glamorous way.

    She said: ‘I’m used to having photos taken, but it was interesting and exciting meeting these students.

    ‘I think while in the editing room they will understand it in a clever way, at the time they were taking photos it was in an artistic way.

    ‘It’s very emotional for me, I believe seeing photos will open their eyes and create a dialogue.’

    Thomas was inspired by the women’s marches after President Trump’s leaked comment ‘Grab them by the p****’ and the need to support children who are non-gender conforming.

    Thomas said: ‘Growing up as a gay child, I felt a lot of shame, so I tried to hide who I was and created these walls, but now as an adult I recognise being able to access masculine and feminine is a gift.

    ‘As a gay man, I am able to present as a man and still have the emotional response as feminine, which to me is more compassion, sensitive to the world, more empathetic.

    ‘To me being able to carry both is a gift, I want to take the best of each energies and use them.

    ‘I hope for zero judgement on how people present themselves and breaking down stereotypes.

    ‘Society is moving in such a rapid direction that gender is not male or female anymore, the new generation is gender fluid.

    ‘They don’t have to decide to be either a man or a woman in the world but can create their own path, I’m trying to normalise that idea.”

    In the masterclass Thomas highlighted his Femme the Man campaign.

    Thomas added: ‘I never set out for the photo campaign to be controversial, I follow my passion in life and feel like I’m expressing my hope for equality.

    ‘I want to promote diversity, equality, compassion and love.’

    MORE: There’s a Black Friday deal which will let you get Netflix free for six months

    MORE: Why we say sorry so much and how to stop it


    TRANS ABUSE SHOOTTRANS ABUSE SHOOThattiegladwellmetroPICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Dina Delicious showcasing the accepted portrayal of womanhood and the reality of the harm that can be comitted against the trans community) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Dina Delicious showcasing the accepted portrayal of womanhood and the reality of the harm that can be comitted against the trans community) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPYTRANS ABUSE SHOOTTRANS ABUSE SHOOThattiegladwellmetroPICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Dina Delicious showcasing the accepted portrayal of womanhood and the reality of the harm that can be comitted against the trans community) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY THOMAS EVANS / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Dina Delicious showcasing the accepted portrayal of womanhood and the reality of the harm that can be comitted against the trans community) - Trans models have been photographed beaten up and dressed in gender norms as part of a trans awareness week. Thomas Evans hopes to depict the abuse transgender people face and their accepted societal norms in his daring images. He photographed celebrity models Dina Delicious and Brian Michael Smith as part of the shoot in Central Connecticut State University, USA. - SEE CATERS COPY

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    (Picture: Pets at Home)

    Pets at Home has loads of Black Friday deals this weekend, so if you’re looking for some cheap dog food or some bargain cat toys, that’s the place to go.

    The animal product retailer has lots of stuff on offer, for cats, dogs, birds and more.

    For instance, they’re currently selling IAMs dog food with up to £12.99 off, and Felix As Good As It Looks cat food for £3, down from £4.49.

    Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)
    (Picture: Pets at Home)

    Alongside this, you can get treats for just 90p, knocking 39p off the original price.

    And don’t forget about the doggy bones – you can currently get them for just £8.40, down from £14.

    They’re also selling pet carriers are super cheap prices – including one for just £12, down from £20.

    Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)
    (Picture: Pets at Home)

    Pets at Home also has a number of accessories on offer, including animal combs, to stop your fur babies shedding in the winter.

    You can get up to 50% off of these.

    And if you’re looking for a new bed for your fluffy friend, the store has loads available, such as Wainwright’s Supersoft Plush Scallop Cat Bed, which is £21 down from £28.

    Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)
    (Picture: Pets at Home)

    Now, for the more expensive offers.

    Pets at Home is also selling a number of bird cages. The Rainforest Cages Skyline Angel Play Top Antique Cage is selling for just £216.75, down from £289.

    Another is selling for £105, down from £150. Bargain.

    MORE: When do Black Friday deals end? Don’t miss any of the offers

    MORE: Superdrug’s best Black Friday discounts and offers


    Pets at Home salesPets at Home saleshattiegladwellmetroPets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)Pets at Home salesPets at Home saleshattiegladwellmetroPets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)Pets at Home sales (Picture: Pets at Home)

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    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

    In the run-up to Black Friday, Charlotte Tilbury has offered some of her best-selling makeup and skincare products with up to 50% off.

    Yes, you read that right, up to 50% off.

    It’s safe to say that makeup artists don’t come much more iconic than Charlotte Tilbury, her artistry is magical – she recently painted the faces of this years Angels for the legendary 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

    And her eponymous beauty range is famed for being fabulously feminine and stylishly packaged with innovate formulations.

    Whether you are treating yourself or a loved one, Charlotte Tilbury’s Black Friday offering shouldn’t be missed.

    Here’s the products still available to buy, that haven’t yet sold out.

     

    Liquid Lipstick Trio at 33% off (choose your three shades), was £72.00 now £48

    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

     

    At Your Lip Service Royal Lipstick Trio, was £60 now £30 (save 50%)

    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

     

    Get 50% off Naughty and Nice Magic Box Beauty Advent Calendar, was £150.00 now £75

    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

     

    Lip Masterclass Lip Kits, was £130 now £65

    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

    Get 40% off The Morning Routine Skincare Kit, was £67.50 now £40.50

    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

     

    Save 40% on The Night-Time Routine Skincare Kit, was £84 now £50.40

    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

    MORE: Virgin Media Black Friday deals for 2018

    MORE: Today is the day you’re most likely to be cheated on


    CharlotteTilburyDeals-056bCharlotteTilburyDeals-056bemilyknott17CharlotteTilburyDeals-056bCharlotteTilburyDeals-056bemilyknott17

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    (Picture: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    WW is the new face of Weight Watchers, focusing on a healthy lifestyle rather than simply losing weight.

    If you want to think more about your wellbeing in the run-up to Christmas and New Year, they’re participating in Black Friday.

    Find out what kind of bargains you can grab here.

    Subscriptions

    There will be 40% off WW’s three month subscriptions between Friday 23 November and Monday 26 November.

    All you need to do is go to your local group and request a three month plan.

    As part of this, you’ll get:

    • Free Headspace customised content within the WW app
    • New and improved FitPoints, focused on personalised activity plans for those engaged in an active lifestyle
    • A focus on Healthy Habits within the app, for those wanting to focus on wider lifestyle changes as opposed to just weight management
    • Connect Groups, an updated community network available on the app that connects users with other likeminded members
    • Updated WW product range containing no artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours or preservatives
    Weight watchers has a new name WW
    (Picture: WW)

    There are also plenty of offers on the site to help you complete your weight loss and health journey, with include 50% off selected accessories, 30% off selected cookbooks and 20% off selected foods.

    Here are some of the discounts on offer.

    Protein Chocolate Crunch Bar

    Was £1.20 now 95p (20% off)

    BBQ Savoury Snacks

    Was 55p now 44p (20% off)

    Bakes Cookbook

    Was £7.95 now £5.55 (30% off)

    Compact Air Fryer – 2L

    Was £39.99 now £29.99 (25% off)

    MORE: Black Friday deals offer 50% off Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Advent Calendar

    MORE: Pets at Home has loads on offer this Black Friday


    Weight watchers has a new nameWeight watchers has a new namejessicacvlWeight watchers has a new name WWWeight watchers has a new nameWeight watchers has a new namejessicacvlWeight watchers has a new name WW

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    Fertility month: Top tips to get super sperm like the Danes getty images
    Fertility month: How to boost sperm health

    Over the past few years, we have seen more and more men with sperm issues. It’s a known fact that around 50% of fertility is down to male factors and yet this figure surprises many, because through generations we’ve been led to believe fertility is all about women.

    The male partner has an equally crucial role to play at conception in providing the healthiest sperm he can for the future health of the child.

    Here are 6 top tips to boost sperm health.

    Tip 1: Sex, sex and more sex!

    There are so many myths around sex when trying for a baby, and the most common questions I am asked are about how often to have it and whether it’s better to save the sperm up.

    Firstly, you should be having sex as much as possible, at least three times a week.

    Secondly, the idea of saving sperm is a myth, as it will die after a few days and research shows that the more fresh sperm there is, the better the quality.

    If you can’t manage to have sex three times a week, the man should be masturbating regularly to keep the sperm turning over. Think of it like a Tube train where the doors open and people only get in – if he isn’t ejaculating, more sperm are being packed in and they can’t survive.

     

    Tip 2: Passion

    Testosterone is the hormone of desire. Sex can become an issue between partners when they’re trying for a baby or if they’ve done endless rounds of IVF, and it’s easy to see why sex becomes mechanical.

    Focusing on getting a good sex life back is key to sperm health. Arousal is important as it affects the amount of sperm you will produce and you’re not helping yourself by having mechanical, passionless sex.

    Tip 3: Pressure and performance anxiety

    Take the pressure off one another when it comes to wanting a baby. Pressure causes performance anxieties in men. I see this so often, and it’s a frustrating game to the man, but also for the woman who worries she has missed the opportunity for that month.

    A man doesn’t need to know everything that’s going on in a woman’s body to be ready for sex.

    He doesn’t need to know when she’s ovulating and he doesn’t need the pressure to perform.

    Being too diligent with your fertility monitoring can put the pressure on too. Taking your temperature month after month is a constant reminder that you are trying for a baby and waking up to a bleep every morning becomes very wearing.

    You may want to try for a couple of months to familiarise yourself with your cycle, but no longer. Temperatures change if you have had a late night, a cold or drunk alcohol too, so you could be adding pressure without really seeing better results.

    Equally, if your man seems to be avoiding sex, don’t text him man at work telling him it’s your fertile time, describing the texture of your cervical mucus or telling him he has to have sex at a certain time.

    It won’t help.

    Tip 4: Relationship

    So often we see that the relationship is tense due to trying for a baby, which makes it harder to have sex.

    Sex can become a subconscious currency between couples. Trying for a baby and going through IVF challenges any relationship and that is why, as part of the holistic approach to fertility that we adopt at The Zita West Clinic, we offer fertility counselling to help couples better understand themselves in order to support each other through the pressures and challenges of trying for and having a baby.

    Tip 5. Lifestyle

    Make sure you get a sexual health screen. It’s well-documented that alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs affect sperm health and increase free-radical damage, which affects the DNA of the sperm. Being overweight or underweight can also affect fertility, so it would really help to take a good look at your exercise regime and your diet.

    Tip 6. Nutrition

    Recent research has found that men need to focus on their diet just as much as women when it comes to creating a healthy baby.

    Nutrients such as Vitamin B9 (folate), carnitine, Omega 3 and Vitamin D can all help in creating and maintaining healthy sperm.

     

    You can find more by Zita West at zitawest.com, or you can make an appointment to visit the Zita West Clinic (020 7224 0017), where Zita and her team specialise in natural fertility and IVF as well as working with couples who have already had failed IVF cycles. 

     

    Fertility Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: How to get super sperm like the Danish Vikings

    MORE: What it's like to have an eating disorder while you're pregnant

    MORE: Can you get over not having children when you really wanted to have children?


    Egg fertilisation, illustrationEgg fertilisation, illustrationakismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdFertility month: Top tips to get super sperm like the Danes getty imagesEgg fertilisation, illustrationEgg fertilisation, illustrationakismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdFertility month: Top tips to get super sperm like the Danes getty images

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    Picture: Amazon Heated clothing
    (Picture: Amazon)

    Winter is here, the nights are getting darker and the days colder, which means it’s now totally acceptable to have your heating on full blast at every given opportunity.

    But of course, the heating can’t come with us everywhere we go. Sadly.

    Well, that’s what we thought.

    It seems anything is now possible, as you can now buy winter coats, vests, fleeces and even sweatshirts with actual heating. Yes, it will be like walking around with your radiator permanently attached to your body. Amazing.

    (Picture: Amazon)

    They all come with a rechargeable battery heating device, meaning you can literally sit in your own warmth at the office all day long.

    The company, which is based in the US, has created an all-season apparel line. So basically, you can choose whether you turn the heating on or not – meaning you can wear it all in the summer and autumn with the heating turned off, too.

    (Picture: Amazon)

    The heating comes from various parts of the clothing and has four different heating levels, and the battery has 8 hours of charge.

    You can buy the collection from Amazon, though it’s pretty expensive, for obvious reasons.

    This slim fit jacket, for instance, costs £129. If you’re on a tight budget, you might be better off layering up.

    MORE: You can now have Christmas dinner at the Downton Abbey castle

    MORE: When do Black Friday deals end? Don’t miss any of the offers


    Heated clothingHeated clothinghattiegladwellmetroPicture: Amazon Heated clothingHeated clothingHeated clothinghattiegladwellmetroPicture: Amazon Heated clothing

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    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui
    (Picture: Cover Images)

    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property, and so arranged a suggestive photoshoot with half naked models.

    Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, from Houston, Texas, has created controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores.

    Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear.

    However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional ‘ultra conservative’ sales methods.

    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui
    (Picture: Cover Images)

    Kristin tells Cover Images: ‘I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young.

    ‘After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren’t getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought.

    ‘I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers.

    ‘I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable.

    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui
    (Picture: Cover Images)

    ‘Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in.

    ‘I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success!’

    According to Kristin, the home, which only got 180 views all throughout October, has already received over 10,000 this past week.

    She explained: ‘You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was “unprofessional”, “tacky”, and a “disgrace to the profession”.

    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui
    (Picture: Cover Images)

    ‘I know better. Our industry is changing quickly. The younger generations decided years ago they hate realtors. They hate the concept.

    ‘They think they are fake AF and do not need them. So they found ways to avoid us. They found ways to sell their own home.

    ‘Agents are constantly on edge fearing society is replacing us and we will all be out of jobs soon….and in some way they are right.

    ‘If you think all a real estate agent brings to the table is take pictures of a house and list it on the internet, you can’t see justifying not doing it yourself.

    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui
    (Picture: Cover Images)

    ‘What agents are forgetting is we are a service. We must pull out all stops and do whatever it takes to make sure our clients walk away happy. Its our duty.

    ‘If part of our service means putting ourselves on the line to stand out then so be it. These old school agents that are so quick to hate what I do, are so busy trying to protect the “integrity” of a profession that they don’t understand anymore.

    ‘People want honesty. People want sincerity. People want to KNOW what you bring to the table. Being a pretty face on a post card doesn’t cut it anymore.

    ‘You need creativity. You need someone who knows their market. You need someone willing to take a risk on you. THAT is the new face of real estate.’

    A real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui
    (Picture: Cover Images)

    Kristin’s slogan was ‘I will sell the sh*t out of your house’ when she started her own personal marketing approach, naming herself the ‘potty mouthed realtor’.

    She said: ‘I was contacted by agents across the US wanting to know if I was real and let me know I was an inspiration for breaking the mold.

    ‘I quickly received a cease and desist from NAR (National Association of Realtors) as I am not able to use the TM Realtor even though I am a designated Realtor.

    ‘So my broker at the time made me remove it, but I knew I was on to something. I received several clients from the short time I had my stickers on my car from people who hated Realtors like I did, mainly younger generations.

    ‘So the world hasn’t seen the last of me, I have many more tricks up my sleeve… and whatever negativity I encounter… as long as it sells my clients house… will all be worth it.’

    MORE: Cheapest house in UK is on market for just £1

    MORE: How to make sure you’re ready for bad weather this winter


    Controversial Sexy Property Sales ListingControversial Sexy Property Sales ListinghattiegladwellmetroA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional Controversial Sexy Property Sales ListingControversial Sexy Property Sales ListinghattiegladwellmetroA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing quiA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing quiA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing quiA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing quiA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing quiA real estate agent was having trouble gaining attention for a property - so arranged a suggestive shoot with half-naked models. Realtor Kristin Gyldenege, of Houston, Texas, has courted controversy for the sales listing which shows a young couple carrying out chores. Whether doing the washing, cooking breakfast or changing a lightbulb, the man is topless and the lady is in her underwear. However, Kristin believes the images of the $230,000, three-bed home in Conroe reflect the potential young buyers who no longer respond to traditional "ultra conservative" sales methods. Kristin tells Cover Images: "I had this gorgeous little listing in a flood prone area that never flooded but made it tricky to get traffic just to see this adorable house just two years young. After 40 days on the market and several open houses we still weren't getting traffic so I had an idea. I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought. I knew I wanted to appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, first time home buyers. I also knew using just regular people would not get the attention it deserved so I recruited two fitness models and posed them throughout the home Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells so it needed to be sexy but believable. Something someone could see themselves in or ASPIRE to see themselves in. I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night it had gone viral and by Monday morning the pictures had been removed due to HAR receiving over 100 complaints. Success! "The home that got 180 views in all of October....has now been viewed almost 10k times in less than a week, and that is just on HAR site. You see I knew there was going to be controversy. I knew there were haters. I experienced it the first time I went viral with stuffy old school agents saying I was "unprofessional", "tacky", and a "disgrace to the profession". "I know better. Our industry is changing qui

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    (Picture: Caters News)

    A blogger has broken a record to grow Russia’s longest nails in a bid to win a bet.

    35-year-old Elena Shilenkova spent four years growing her ‘babies’ to 12cm long in order to win a bet with a friend, who said she couldn’t do it.

    But the YouTuber, from Saint Petersburg, refuses to swim in the sea, play tennis or wear gloves despite Russia’s freezing temperatures – all to protect her talons, which she refers to as her ‘babies’.

    Elena said: ‘My nails are now the longest I have had, I have been growing them for four years and three months.

    ‘It started over a bet with my friend, and now everyone is just used to my ‘long nail’ status.

    Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova with the certifcate confirming she has the worlds longest nails.) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘I call them my babies, as they are four years old and I take care of them as I would do with babies.’

    Elena says she doesn’t face any difficulties in her everyday life, despite having super long nails. Though she has had to make some sacrifices in order to maintain the length, which includes not going in the sea, even though she loves to swim.

    She has had long nails since her teenage years but is now racked with the constant fear one might break – and often has nightmares she will wake up with short nails.

    Elena said: ‘I don’t have any problems with the things I do daily, I just do some things in a different way than most people.

    ‘For example, I would say that my way of typing is a little bit different.

    Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova and her 4.7 inch nails) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘I just need to constantly control all my movements.

    ‘I have to think beforehand about all my actions and movements and try to avoid sharp movements and ‘behave’ softly – sharp movements are my enemy.

    ‘I am most worried about breaking the nails in my sleep and I often have nightmares that I wake up with short nails.

    ‘The dreams are quite real so I wake up in panic and check closely my nails to make sure they are alright.

    ‘I am afraid to break them as I would have to waste my time on fixing them – they do break sometimes but I always fix them.

    ‘Total control helps – I also take vitamin pills for nails and hair every six months.

    ‘I would love to swim or play tennis.

    ‘Also, I miss gloves –it can be quite cold in Russia and I have to put my hands in my pockets.’

    Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova and her 4.7 inch nails) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Elena said when it comes to people’s reactions on the street, there are as many positive as negative comments – especially from older people.

    She says her super long nails don’t affect her love life, either.

    ‘When I was a child and went to school, I already had nails longer than most adult women – but my teachers were quite tolerant about it,’ she said.

    ‘They even did not let me wash the windows as they were afraid that I could break my nails.

    ‘People have different reactions when they see my nails, some get frightened others don’t understand what they are.

    ‘Some say ‘they are so cool’ and ask for a selfie or say that they ‘respect me for my patience’.

    ‘But a few ask me when I would finally cut them off.

    ‘I do like having these long nails because I always get a lot of attention.

    ‘If a person meets me once he/she would never forget me. My nails are like personal calling card.

    ‘People see thousands of faces and are always erased from the memory – but someone with nails like mine would never been forgotten.

    ‘It’s impossible not to notice me.

    ‘I am quite a social person, especially with men.

    ‘Quite often men just don’t notice my nails, but when they do, they get surprised and start asking all those typical questions.

    ‘I am never short of male attention.’

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    Worlds longest fingernailsWorlds longest fingernailshattiegladwellmetroPic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova with the certifcate confirming she has the worlds longest nails.) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova and her 4.7 inch nails) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova and her 4.7 inch nails) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.Worlds longest fingernailsWorlds longest fingernailshattiegladwellmetroPic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova with the certifcate confirming she has the worlds longest nails.) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova and her 4.7 inch nails) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.Pic by Caters News - (Pictured: Elena Shilenkova and her 4.7 inch nails) - The video blogger has been growing her nails for four years and broke the record after maintaining them in 4.7 inches (12cm). Elena Shilenkova, 35, a youtuber and blogger from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wanted to win a bet with her friend and was determined to grow her nails- she has now won the national record and makes a decent living from her videos, showing how to take care of them. She has had long nails since her teenage years but now she has them so long she is constantly worried she might break her babies as she calls them.SEE CATERS COPY.

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    ‘In the black community, skin lightening has always been a controversial issue.’ (Picture: Nissy Tee)

    The Jamaican dancehall artist Grace Hamilton, professionally known as Spice, caused some serious controversy last month after she posted a picture on her Instagram page with the caption: ‘Nothing wrong with a fresh start…’.

    Spice was unrecognisable in the photo – it looks as though she had bleached her skin, which appeared at least five shades lighter.

    Instagram Photo

    While some seemed pleased that she had bleached her skin, Spice later revealed that she hadn’t actually done it – but was raising awareness of the issue of colourism in the black community, further motivated through her new song: ‘Black Hypocrisy’.

    Once I found out it was a publicity stunt, I saluted her for the creativity and carried on living my life as normal.

    Just when I thought the madness had subsided, another story surfaced – but this time it involved TV reality star and model, Blac Chyna.

    She posted a photo on her Instagram page to 14.8million followers, promoting a skin lightening cream known as Whitenicious, and captioned it: ‘Lagos Nigeria, join me at the first official launch of my face cream this Sunday November 25th’.

    People were outraged.

    In the black community, skin lightening has always been a controversial issue.

    Some have argued that individuals can choose to do what they want with their skin and that people should mind their own business, which I completely understand and respect.

    However, there are a number of other people, myself included, who see it as a much deeper problem.

    Once it became clear to me that this is because they are using skin bleaching creams, I realised that some Congolese people genuinely feel like they have to use these products, because to them the lighter you are, the more beautiful you are.

    While I can’t speak for Nigerians, I can certainly understand some of the backlash Blac Chyna has received as a young Congolese woman who has grown up seeing how much of an effect skin lightening can have.

    Congolese people are notorious for bleaching their skin, so much so that it’s assumed all of us do it.

    I am of lighter complexion, so every time I told people I am Congolese – whether it was in school or in other arenas in life – I would always be asked the same question.

    And as I grew older, I began to realise why.

    Skin lightening creams are just a normal part of the lives of a significant number of Congolese people.

    From aunts to uncles, the Congolese community is full of people (more so those from the older generation) whose skin has a slightly different hue and whose knuckles appear much darker than the rest of their body.

    Once it became clear to me that this is because they are using skin bleaching creams, I realised that some Congolese people genuinely feel like they have to use these products, because to them the lighter you are, the more beautiful you are.

    It’s as if there’s a notion perpetuated within the community that ‘light is right’. The only way that they could truly reach the epitome of beauty was to be lighter or to have ‘fairer skin’, as others phrase it. 

    So when celebrities, especially those with such large platforms, promote these kinds of products they are in essence perpetuating the very same message.

    ‘Congolese people are notorious for bleaching their skin, so much so that it’s assumed all of us do it.’ (Picture: Nissy Tee)

    Bleaching creams are sold under the counter in Congolese food outlets and even in hair stores.

    What’s even more frightening is that people are going to Congo and buying huge packs of bleaching creams to bring them over to the UK and distribute within the community.

    This in itself is alarming; if there are this many people bleaching in the UK, can you imagine how many people are bleaching in Congo? The thought of it infuriates me.

    The problem for me doesn’t come with choice, it comes from a question that we all have to ask ourselves: whose standard of beauty are we trying to live by?

    In short, we can’t deny that white European beauty has been packaged and resold across the world as the highest standard of beauty.

    From billboards to magazines, from the west to the African continent, people have been fed the idea that beauty can only come in a certain way – and it has left many Black Africans (including Congolese people) obsessed with attaining this ‘desirable’ standard.

    And sadly this has also inflamed issues of colourism within the black community, especially in the past as it seemed that lighter women and sometimes men were regarded more highly than darker men and women.

    The aspect that people don’t talk about as much is the damage that bleaching products do to both a person’s physical body and their mental state.

    Bleaching creams have harmful chemicals that can make your skin highly irritable and more susceptible to cancer.

    It also affects the way people perceive themselves – these creams are essentially saying that you’re neither beautiful nor desirable until you’re at least several shades lighter.

    However, in recent years there has been a significant shift in the way bleaching creams are considered in the black community.

    With movements on social media such as #blackgirlmagic and #blackboyjoy, black people of different shades have spun the notion that ‘light is right’ on its head, and made it very clear that beauty is not defined by colour nor skin tone.

    As a result, we are seeing young girls who are proud to stand in the skin they’re in, and I can only hope – if not for my sake but then for the sake of my future children – that skin bleaching creams can truly become a thing of the past.

    MORE: I’ve learned to embrace my afro with confidence but employers are still discriminating against black hair

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


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    Dolce & Gabbana’s founders have apologised and asked for forgiveness in a video published on Friday.

    In case you missed what they apologised for, let’s do a quick recap.

    Earlier this week Dolce & Gabbana faced backlash for their campaign to promote a huge fashion show in Shanghai.

    The #DGTheGreatShow campaign featured a series of videos showing an Asian woman trying to eat traditional Italian foods, such as cannoli, spaghetti, and pizza, with chopsticks.

    Those videos prompted anger when posted on Weibo, China’s biggest social media platform, with people accusing the campaign of relying on ‘racial stereotypes’. Critics pointed to the use of ‘outdated’ cultural symbols such as lanterns in the background, the ‘stereotypical’ styling of the model, and the depiction of an Asian woman as timid and giggling.

    #BoycottDolce was mentioned on Weibo thousands of time as a result.

    Then things got worse.

    Diet Prada shared screenshots of messages purported to be sent by Stefano Gabbana, apparently in response to accusations of racism.

    Instagram Photo

    Models and influencers announced that they would pull out of the brand’s show, scheduled to happen on Thursday.

    Dolce & Gabbana then issued a statement claiming that the brand’s main Instagram account, and the account of Stefano Gabbana, had been hacked.

    The brand then announced that the show in Shanghai would not be going ahead as planned, writing on Instagram: ‘What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to bring this event to life.’

    Now the brand has released a video of Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce asking for China’s ‘forgiveness’ and apologising in Mandarin. The video has been shared across Weibo.

    ‘Over the past few days we have thought long and hard with great sadness about everything that has happened and what we have caused in your country,’ they say in the video. ‘And we are very sorry.

    METRO GRAB INSTAGRAM Dolce & Gabbana accused of racism https://twitter.com/dolcegabbana/status/1063758991531085824
    (Picture: dolcegabbana/Twitter)

    ‘Our families have always taught us to respect the various cultures of the world, and this is why we want to ask for your forgiveness if we have made mistakes in interpreting yours.

    ‘We also want to apologise to all of the many Chinese people in the world. We take this apology very seriously as well as this message.

    ‘We have always been in love with China. We’ve visited it and seen many of its cities.

    ‘We love your culture and we certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.

    ‘We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again. In fact we will work to do things better.

    ‘We will respect the Chinese culture in every way possible.

    ‘From the bottom of our hearts we ask for forgiveness. Sorry.’

    In spite of the apology, the furore continues.

    Under the Instagram post of the apology video the comments are still flooded with criticism.

    ‘Forgive not forget, they offended the whole Asian culture, they deserved to get lost in Asian markets,’ wrote one commenter. ‘There’re many better choices and brands, and we don’t want their Douchebag & Garbage.’

    MORE: If your partner doesn’t like you talking about racism, it’s a red flag

    MORE: Blac Chyna’s skin lightening cream makes black women think dark skin can’t be beautiful

    MORE: Unpaid internships lasting longer than four weeks ‘should be banned’, report says


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    ‘Knowing you’re different but not understanding why is difficult.’ (Picture: Getty)

    Learning that The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) is urging for primary school pupils to be educated on what it means to be LGBT, and seeing the reader comments on the article really sparked my interest.

    As someone who has struggled with this issue through childhood, and now feels able to speak about LGBT matters confidently as a trans guy, I want to share my opinion.

    I was born female but always believed I should have been born a boy; I remember feeling like I never fit in, even more so during puberty, but I didn’t know the meaning of trans until I was 14.

    Although I had known from a very young age, I really struggled to come out, because I had to contend with a lot of pressure to conform to feminine stereotypes and be ‘girlier’.

    I strongly believe it would be a good thing if young people are educated from a young age about what it means to be LGBT, as it really wasn’t until I met more understanding people my own age that I started to feel and become more accepted.

    It’s important to know that there are people who are different from those you might normally be surrounded by, and that it’s okay to be you, whoever that is.

    Knowing you’re different but not understanding why is difficult, especially during school years when you don’t have the ability to always express yourself confidently.

    Those who identify as LGBT tend to have a feeling about it from a young age, but if there’s no education available or existing knowledge of others experiencing similar emotions, many young people just suppress these feelings.

    If we actively provided safe spaces for young people who identify as LGBT, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many confused individuals who are too afraid to ask questions on topics like this in early stages of their development.

    I know first-hand how judgemental school children can be.

    This can lead to so many young people hiding who they truly are until they can finally admit it years later, but by then have missed out on years of happiness.

    It’s sad, because schools could act as a brilliant environment to learn about everything in the world including sexuality and identities. It could be a place where children feel free to ask questions.

    If both parents and teachers encouraged pupils to learn more on topics like LGBT, perhaps there would be more safe spaces for people who identify as gay, bi, trans etc.

    Personally, I was fortunate to make really supportive friends in the summer of 2016 at the National Citizen Service (NCS) youth programme.

    I remember one girl standing up in front of the entire group and announcing that she was bisexual.

    Right then and there she showed me that we were in an environment that welcomed free expression. We’re still friends today.

    My NCS group was actually the first group of people I chose to tell when I was ready to come out. I found some amazing friends there and the whole experience gave me the confidence to eventually brave the change, and be who I am.

    Some people can underestimate how hard coming out is to the person doing it, and how lonely the world can feel when you’re different.

    Growing up is hard enough without fully understanding who you really are, and constantly being told you should be like this or that.

    If we actively provided safe spaces for young people who identify as LGBT, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many confused individuals who are too afraid to ask questions on topics like this in early stages of their development.

    People might be able to grow up feeling proud of who they are instead of ashamed.

    The earlier we can educate children, the better. Hopefully by doing so, the next few generations can help create a much more supportive and accepting society.

    James, now 19 years old, is currently studying for a degree in children, young people and families with British Sign Language in York.

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    Gay Pride Parade-People marching with a large Flag, Reykjavik, IcelandGay Pride Parade-People marching with a large Flag, Reykjavik, IcelandallieabgarianGay Pride Parade-People marching with a large Flag, Reykjavik, IcelandGay Pride Parade-People marching with a large Flag, Reykjavik, Icelandallieabgarian

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Acupuncture: the process of inserting small needles into specific spots in the body to encourage natural healing and release your inner chi (life energy).

    While some people, myself included, might be reticent to having small, sharp prick points across their limbs, the ancient Chinese medicine is frequently used in a particular community – namely, that of hopeful budding parents.

    You might remember it from Sex and The City, when Charlotte gave the practice a go after hearing of its successes among other mums.

    Acupuncture / fertility Credit: HBO
    (Picture: HBO)

    Many of those struggling with fertility issues claim that acupuncture, along with other alternative Eastern medicines such as yoga and meditation, have helped them improve their odds in conceiving.

    But how does it really work, and is there proof of its success?

    Emma Cannon, who is a fertility expert and registered acupuncturist, tells Metro.co.uk about the benefits of the practice.

    ‘Acupuncture is the most researched complementary therapy when it comes to fertility, and there have been several well-respected studies demonstrating that acupuncture in conjunction with IVF improves IVF outcomes and increases the rates of live births,’ she said.

    ‘Acupuncture works in a number of ways; it improves pelvic blood flow so can be used the improve the endometrium (womb lining) and it stimulates the part of the brain that controls hormones, so optimises LH and other fertility hormones.

    ‘It’s very helpful in women who do not ovulate as it impacts on the hormones associated with ovulation and regulating ovulation in some anovulatory women.’

    How does acupuncture work?

    Sessions usually last 20 to 40 minutes. How many pressure points are used depend on your symptoms and choice of treatment, but a regular session can include up to 12 needles.

    These are very fine, and are inserted just under your skin but can be pushed deeper to reach muscle tissue.

    The process shouldn’t be painful, but can you might feel a slight ache or tingling.

    Depending on what your therapist says, your acupuncture can also be stimulated with electric currents, known as electroacupuncture.

    Source: NHS

    A study released earlier this year also showed that acupuncture can help with lumbar and pelvic pain in pregnant women, with 89% of participants reporting ‘symptom reduction’.

    This is further supported by a Swedish research article from 2005, and information from the British Acupuncture Council.

    What can acupuncture help with during pregnancy?

    • Morning sickness
    • High/low blood pressure
    • Anxiety
    • Tiredness
    • Constipation
    • Tender breasts
    • Migraine and other headaches
    • Back ache
    • Pelvic pain (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
    • Varicose veins

    Source: British Acupuncture Council

    If needles make you squeamish, there’s a sister method you can try – acupressure, where your therapist will use his or her fingers to improve blood flow and release tension instead.

    Do note, the NHS refers to both acupuncture and acupressure as ‘complementary or alternative medicines (CAM)’, which shouldn’t replace the treatment you get from your doctor.

    And there’s also conflicting information on whether it’s safe to try acupuncture or acupressure during your first trimester, so it’s always best to check with your GP before you do.

    Acupuncture isn’t just used to treat pregnancy ailments, but also migraines, chronic pain, joint pain, post-operative pain, menstrual problems, digestive issues, and more – the list goes on.

    Though available for free on the NHS, it’s very limited – and odds are you’ll be put on a waiting list.

    Thankfully, private treatment can be fairly affordable, ranging from £40 to £70 for your first session, and a reduced price there onwards.

    If you’re considering acupuncture, you’re actually in luck timing-wise; with it being Black Friday weekend and all, there are currently discounted sessions, starting from £9.

    But do remember – before you channel your inner chi by having needles shoved in your precious body, chat to your GP.

    Fertility Month

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

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

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

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

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    Acupuncture UKAcupuncture UKallieabgarianAcupuncture / fertility Credit: HBOAcupuncture UKAcupuncture UKallieabgarianAcupuncture / fertility Credit: HBO

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    (Picture: Erin Aniker/Metro.co.uk)

    It’s a touchy subject, money.

    While I’d happily unleash my mental health diagnoses on the timeline, I’d dive for my phone if someone were about to log into my online banking and see how much (or how little, rather) money I actually have saved.

    As a society we’re notoriously cagey around our own money.

    Talking about your salary is considered the height of rudeness, while a question about our savings would make us shrivel up in pure discomfort and horror. How dare someone ask how much money we have?

    But when someone does speak about their cash flow, we don’t hold back in viciously tearing them apart.

    Look at the woman who admitted that she struggles with her finances despite living at home and earning 40K a year. People on Twitter raged at the woman’s audacity of having the privilege of a good salary and supportive parents, yet still finding herself needing cash. They questioned what on earth she could be spending her money on, accusing her of covering up a secret coke habit or lying about what she spent on clothes.

    She was called ‘disgusting’ and a ‘disgrace’, told to ‘get in the bin’ and ‘learn to live within her means’.

    There was a real sense of shame in Sian’s coming clean about her financial situation; a knowledge that she wasn’t doing things ‘right’ and definitely wasn’t proud of how she was living.

    ‘It’s embarrassing,’ she wrote. ‘I feel demoralised to be working full-time in a good job and still unable to support myself.’

    Surely that’s a feeling a lot of us can relate to – the enduring guilt and shame of being an adult and still not having your financial shit together.

    But rather than taking in that feeling of empathy and offering understanding or a simple ‘I feel that way, too’, the online hoardes tore Sian apart.

    There’s something defensive about that, right?

    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Shutterstock)

    We know that we’re terrible with money. We struggle too. We feel so guilty and ashamed of it that when someone else’s situation reminds us a bit of ourselves (even if they do have a higher paycheck and the luxury of living at home), we need to berate them to exorcise some of our own self-hate.

    It happens every time there’s a Refinery29 Money Diary with someone who has a good salary and still isn’t getting their spending and saving balance right.

    We love to criticise other people’s spending choices because it means we can vicariously be sh*tty to ourselves.

    We’ve already exhausted the nights of anxiety worrying about affording lunch at work when we’re deep in our overdraft, the mental self-flaggelation that comes after casually spending £30 on a takeout again when we know full well that for us, dropping £30 on food rather than making something basic is a big deal.

    So when the opportunity arises to bash someone else’s spending habits, people take it.

    Oh, those silly people mindlessly spending in the Black Friday sales. Don’t they know that the deals aren’t that great? Don’t they realise they’re buying into consumerism?

    Ugh, she complains about debt but I’ve seen her ordering Ubers home and buying Pret for lunch. What an idiot.

    It’s easy to judge and criticise, and what we’re saying is sort of accurate.

    It isn’t financially responsible to spend a tonne of money just because it’s 20% off for the day. We really do need to stop buying and buying instead of being happy with what we have. The environmental impact of fast fashion is a valid concern. It is silly to buy Pret for lunch every day instead of making our own sandwiches with a loaf of bread that’d cost us a penny per slice.

    But when we do this, we’re overlooking something major.

    The way we spend our money isn’t logical, it’s emotional, and there’s a whole load of other stuff going on that makes us spend in reckless ways.

    Were you taught about finances at school? I certainly wasn’t, and arrived into adulthood with a fear of credit cards and a budget plan I found on the internet.

    Finances, the way we spend, are such a crucial part of our lives, and yet they’re not treated as a vital part of education. It’s assumed your parents will show you the ropes… but what if they don’t bother, or they have their own unhealthy relationships with money?

    Patterns of debt get passed down and the way you see your parents act around money filters through.

    My mum would panic around money and pass financial questions on to my dad, who would get caught up in general economics if you asked him a simple question about cash. They’d give me lunch money each week without considering if it was the most cost-effective option (it wasn’t, looking back), and monthly pocket money didn’t come with guidance on how to spend it.

    I grew up in a family where money was a mysterious thing that wasn’t discussed, and so I didn’t learn the logic of what cash should be saved and what could be spent.

    I watched my mum ignore money and my dad stay silent about it. I’ve definitely picked up some less-than-positive habits from that – I’ll refuse to look at my accounts for weeks out of fear, then get into an intense spiral of guilt and panic when I see I’ve failed to save an amount I think is appropriate, or I’ve had to borrow from my savings again, or a text comes through to warn I’m in my overdraft.

    I don’t think I’m alone in that.

    Other people will have grown up with parents who gambled, or who vocally worried about money, or who spoke about the cost of basic items to excess. Of course that’s going to affect how they spend it as they grow up – there’ll be ingrained patterns of spending and regretting, anxiety, and the fear of not having enough.

    Even if you managed to grow up with financially concious parents who didn’t tilt too far into the boundaries of restricting or spending to excess, even if you learned about budgeting the moment you had your first bit of income, you haven’t cleared all the emotional hurdles of money.

    Then you’re bombarded with a society that encourages you to spend, spend, spend.

    **ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Everywhere you look there’s an idea of ‘need’. You need new clothes – wearing the same outfit isn’t ‘appropriate’. You need an iPhone and a monthly data plan so you can communicate with friends and answer work emails at the weekend.

    These are things that if you were dumped in a place outside of society, you could survive without. But we all know that the way the world is set up, these are needs – not to survive, but to be well-liked, to be judged kindly, to do the things you’re expected to do.

    The challenge is that the list of needs never stops growing. You have to spend a certain amount on things that aren’t essential by the strictest definition, but are necessary to be what’s considered a functioning member of society. As you move around certain social groups, those needs jump up to match. While you were able to survive a full year on £4,000 in university, suddenly it’s unsettlingly easy to spend £900 in a month on what feels like nothing, dumped on travel to get to work, ingredients for healthy meals, a gym membership.

    Each step of spending is easy and rewarded. You don’t just get a new product, you get social approval.

    We know all this. We know that we’re in a system that requires spending and makes it unhealthily easy to get into debt. And yet we judge ourselves and others harshly for crossing perceived lines into spending ‘too much’ or not being smart with our money.

    But can you really blame the reckless spenders? Can you really expect that everyone spends and saves their money wisely when everything’s telling them to spend, when they’ve grown up watching other people do the same, when they’ve had no education on how their salary should be used, and most of all, when there’s still this heavy silence around money?

    We need to talk about money.

    We need to have a serious look at the emotions around money and the impact it can have on our mental wellbeing.

    We need to be create a conversation that’s open and understanding, where people aren’t torn down for admitting a truth that a lot of us are experiencing but hiding under the nearest blanket we can find: We don’t know what we’re doing with our money, and we’re scared.

    The expectation of sorting out our attitudes to money can’t be on the individual alone. We need a cultural shift.

    Imagine if people talked openly about their salary – we’d all be able to get a solid sense of whether we’re being fairly paid for our work.

    Imagine if anyone struggling could ask for help, not in the form of a high-stakes loan but with an understanding look at why they spend the money they do and an actual longterm plan for getting their cashflow back on track.

    The way we viciously rip apart people’s spending habits is proof that we need to talk about finances, because that judgement is coming from a place of fear.

    When we see someone else spending money badly, we’re reminded that we do the same. We’re scared we’ll end up worse off and doing it all wrong.

    The answer to that isn’t turning fear into rage or turning it internally and going on a post-shopping guilt binge, but a drastic shift in the way we talk about finances.

    The level of the emotions expressed – the judgment, the anger, the shame – when money comes up is proof that it’s time to talk.

    Money is scary, but just like any monster under the bed it’ll become a lot more manageable when we turn the light on.

    MORE: How growing up poor affects your attitude to money as an adult

    MORE: How people live on low wages: £19.5k a year

    MORE: Is living in your overdraft really that bad?


    **ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)**ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)ellencscott**ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)**ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)ellencscott

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    If the C word offends you when mentioned in November, leave this article and go back to Grinch-ing.

    For those keen to get their festive fix early, Winterville has planted itself in south west London at Clapham Common for the second year running.

    Created by the minds behind Street Feast and Field Day, you can expect the perfect combination of all things loved by millennials: street food, quirky activities and unusual entertainment – like the ‘U OK hun?’ show, which includes ‘inflatable unicorns, glitter, circus and celeb tantrums’, along with drag performers.

    While Winter Wonderland is overrun with tourists, the Winterville location lends itself to a more relaxed experience and less queues.

    (Picture: Winterville)

    And you can still get your sausage and sauerkraut, with the added offering of Street Feast vendors such as Up In My Grill, Black Bear Burger, You DoughnutYum Bun, and much more.

    Meanwhile, on the drinks side, pop into the American Whiskey Bar, Wine Bar, Craft Brew Camp or Christmas Lodge for some Frozen Pumpkin Spiced Rum or Hot Buttered Bourbon.

    There’s the obligatory ice skating ice rink, fun fair rides and mulled wine, but dubbed an ‘alternative festive experience’, you have the added benefit of plonk golf, Chivaree circus, an adult puppet show, craft fair, Spiegeltent, and roller disco.

    (Picture: Winterville)

    There’s plenty of family friendly activities too, such as the Christmas Labyrinth and the Routemaster bus –transformed into a magic and theatre space with a puppet workshop on the upper deck.

    Winterville has also partnered with Backyard Cinema to bring you all the classics – Cool Runnings, Elf, Home Alone, The Holiday, Miracle on 34th Street.

    Frozen and the Wizard of Oz is on the agenda, too.

    Open Tuesday to Sunday, the festive event will run until 23 December.

    For opening hours, tickets for special activities including the cinema and more information on what’s on, visit the Winterville website.

    MORE: Millennials are ruthlessly killing all your favourite Christmas traditions

    MORE: When does Winter Wonderland open for 2018?

    MORE: The ethical guide to Christmas trees


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    How to get pregnant at 40
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Miracle babies are children born to a woman who was told she would never be a mother.

    Metro.co.uk spoke to three women who have each had their own miracle baby. Each woman had various health complications that led to doctors telling them they would never have children.

    But each woman went on to conceive a child naturally, against all the odds.

    Tia Upward is 31 and lives in Wimborne, Dorset. In 2005 she was told the likelihood of her having children was incredibly slim.

    At the age of 18 she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a tumour of the bone – in her left knee. She had to have six cycles of chemotherapy and a full knee replacement due to the severity of her cancer.

    She didn’t have any time to harvest any eggs due to the urgency of her chemotherapy.

    Egg harvesting could have taken up to six weeks and she couldn’t afford to contemplate that kind of time scale.

    She was advised during her chemotherapy that her periods may or may not stop.

    Tia said: ‘If they did stop they may or may not return. The hospital was very unsure how the chemo would react to my body or eggs.

    ‘If my periods were to return there was still no guarantees children could be on the cards.

    ‘They advised me if children were in my life plan I would need to start trying sooner rather than later on the basis my menopause could happen 10 years earlier.’

    She continued: ‘At the time as you can imagine it was all a lot to take in at 18. I was still in my mind very young.

    Tia fell naturally pregnant after being told she had a slim chance at being a mother (Picture: Tia Upward)

    ‘I had to take one thing on at a time. Without fighting the cancer in the first instance I wouldn’t be around to mother a child anyway.

    ‘It did play on my mind on occasions however because children are such a big part life.

    ‘I buried my head in the sand a bit and pushed it all to the very back of my head.’

    Tia says she hadn’t yet explored IVF or given serious thought to adoption, because she wasn’t ready for a baby yet.

    Then she fell pregnant.

    Her daughter, Ivy, was ‘quite a little surprise’.

    She explained: ‘If truth be told we weren’t trying for a baby at all. We both worked on Super Yachts out of the country so when the penny finally dropped we were going to be parents it was quite a shock.

    ‘The week I actually found out I was pregnant I was 10 years cancer free. I had been to my very last cancer checkup ever that week.

    ‘I went out celebrating on the Friday night and found out on the Sunday I was in fact six or seven weeks pregnant.

    ‘Although my period was late pregnancy was the last reason on my mind. Perhaps that was somewhat naive of me. Due to my past history I just brushed the idea off. But what an amazing gift.

    ‘I had very mixed emotions when I fell pregnant. What a little miracle.

    ‘It took me a good week I think to actually come to terms with the fact. We were in far from the right situation to bring up a baby working abroad but we were determined to make it work and we have never looked back.’

    (Picture: Tia Upward)

    Emily Rogers, 34, from London, was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 18, and had a laparoscopy to remove the cysts.

    Her aggressive form of endometriosis meant she ended up back in hospital a year later. In total she had four laparoscopies.

    After the final surgery she was told by her gynaecologist that her chances of conceiving naturally were reduced by around 70%.

    Emily says she was devastated, but at the time wasn’t really thinking about having children as she was still young.

    Still, she discussed the idea of surrogacy with her mum, and chose to have her eggs frozen.

    But in the end, Emily fell pregnant naturally – when she wasn’t even trying. She says it was the ‘biggest shock’ of her life.

    She said: ‘I felt like the luckiest woman alive. I was also petrified that something would go wrong.

    ‘I always say that my son made me a mother. Endometriosis is a strange condition, and in many cases falling pregnant can cure you – although it is supposedly very difficult to conceive.

    ‘After my son was born, I went on to have two more babies – both planned!’

    Emily was diagnosed with endometriosis at 18 (Picture: Emily Rogers)

    Elizabeth is 32 and lives in South East London.

    She was 21 when she was told that she had polycystic ovaries on both sides, and that having children would be more of a challenge.

    After another three years she found out she had fibroids and, later, endometriosis. At 24 she was told that she had a one in two million chance of getting pregnant without IVF.

    She said: ‘At 21 I felt a lot more upset than later on as the news got worse. I think you become very numb after knowing there’s so many issues but at first I was devastated.

    ‘Once I’d found out about the fibroids and endometriosis I’d spent a long time working on convincing myself I didn’t want children. Although I knew I would’ve have liked it I wrote it off in my own head.

    ‘I didn’t explore IVF but I would have been open to adoption and fostering and I still am.’

    Elizabeth hadn’t been trying for children when she fell pregnant – and was even taking the pill to induce a period with the possibility of surgery on a big cyst she had on one of her fallopian tubes.

    She said: ‘I was being sick in the mornings, did a pregnancy test by complete chance as I felt so rough. Then I went to an urgent care centre as it came back positive. They didn’t understand how, given the fact that I was on the pill and had taken the pill to bring on a huge period.

    ‘So, they sent me to the local hospital where they did a scan and I was 7 weeks pregnant. I was seen by a consultant for a while at the beginning as it was very VERY rare for a pregnancy to survive all that and be fine.

    ‘They were amazed which was cool to see and the nurse actually said “she’s your little miracle baby”’.

    Elizabeth says she feels ‘so amazing’ now that she’s a mother, and that her daughter is her entire world.

    She added: ‘I can’t even imagine not having her.

    ‘I think it’s made extra special as I’ve been married and divorced and met my daughters father on a holiday travelling in China, only three months before I got pregnant. We’re happily a little family of three now and I feel very lucky.’

    Fertility Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: How to get super sperm like the Danish Vikings

    MORE: What it's like to have an eating disorder while you're pregnant

    MORE: Can you get over not having children when you really wanted to have children?


    How to get pregnant at 40How to get pregnant at 40hattiegladwellmetroHow to get pregnant at 40How to get pregnant at 40How to get pregnant at 40hattiegladwellmetroHow to get pregnant at 40

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    Anthropologie is selling twigs for £40
    (Picture: Anthropologie)

    Sometimes we like to imagine all the ridiculous things we’d buy if we were extremely wealthy.

    Perhaps we could afford to rent a one-bedroom flat in London! Wild!

    Or we’d fritter away our money on £100 cocktails, a £140 paperclip from Prada, and all the £467.85 jeans we could carry.

    But there’s one level of wealth we’re slightly struggling to wrap our heads around.

    Imagine, if you will, wanting to decorate your home with some sticks, and rather than just wandering around the nearest park and choosing the best twigs, you headed straight to Anthropologie.

    In this exact scenario, Anthropologie would actually have you covered, as they’re selling a ‘decorative birch bundle’ for £40.

    Anthropologie
    (Picture: Anthropologie)

    Yes, that is a grand total of 20 sticks from a birch tree for £40. That’s £2 a stick.

    In the grand scheme of things, £40 is not a wild amount of money. We’ve spent more on unnecessarily fancy meals.

    But the concept of spending this amount on some sticks has baffled many.

    That’s not to say people didn’t see the product coming. One soothsayer predicted Anthropologie branded sticks back in 2015.

    Anthropologie suggests that their birch bundle is perfect ‘if you’re looking to bring a rustic quality to your home’, but sadly does not suggest where one should put the sticks. The images simply show the twigs tied with rope and let loose.

    We suppose you could pop them in a vase or scatter them across your carpet for a forest feel.

    We reached out to Anthropologie to find out more information about the twigs, and ask for some styling tips, but they haven’t got back to us yet. We’ll update this article if they do.

    If you’re not up for dropping 40 quid on Anthropologie’s artisanal selection, do not fear, for we have created a DIY guide to getting the look.

    Head to Google Maps and find your nearest green space. If there are no parks, any nearby tree will do.

    Survey the ground for twigs and sticks. Be selective: You do not want logs, which will be too large to carry home, sticks that have come in contact with dog poo aren’t quite right, and it’s best to avoid sticks that are not still attached to trees.

    Select twenty sticks (or more, if you’re really living the high life), then tie them with a piece of brown string.

    Voila, the perfect gift for all your loved ones – if you can resist keeping your creation for yourself!

    MORE: The way we viciously rip apart how people spend their money is proof we need to talk about finances

    MORE: Lush is selling new exclusive bath and shower bombs this Black Friday


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