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

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    SpareRoom hosts the world’s first pet and their people think tank meeting (Picture: SpareRoom)

    When you’re renting, it’s tough to make the place you live feel like home.

    You’re not allowed to paint or hang pictures (unless you’re sneaky with command hooks), your landlord keeps popping round to check you haven’t wrecked the place, and, worst of all, it’s rare that you’re able to have a pet.

    That’s a real bummer, and it’s something SpareRoom is hoping to change.

    The flatsharing site has launched a new think tank designed to challenge landlords on the idea that renters shouldn’t be allowed cats or dogs in their properties, arguing that being able to have pets makes renters better longterm tenants.

    They’ve done a load of research to find out why landlords are reluctant to allow pets, so that they can work to change things.

    Of the 1,261 landlords surveyed, 69% said they don’t allow pets in their properties, with the majority worried about the smell or damage a pet might cause.

    Why landlords refuse pets:

    • Worries about pets smelling
    • Worries about damage to the property
    • Worries about pets not being properly trained
    • Worries about noise complaints
    • Worries that the property isn’t suitable for pets

    ‘I think landlords are quite cautious people,’ said property expert Kate Faulkner. ‘They’re always worried about money and one of their biggest fears is damage by tenants. If you’ve got 10 people chasing to rent your property, why would you risk taking someone with a pet?

    ‘Landlords want a tenant to be in their property for as long as possible, with as little fuss as possible and they want their rent each month, they don’t want anything to compromise this or any pet related damage to eat into their profit.’

    All of which makes sense if you think about it: anything that could cause damage to the property is going to be a big ‘no’ for a landlord.

    But SpareRoom is hoping to challenge that fear, suggesting that damage can happen regardless of a pet’s presence – a visiting toddler could cause quite a bit of wreckage, whereas a cat with a proper scratching post can leave behind no evidence of ever being there.

    From their survey, SpareRoom found that 88% of pet owners have never had any complaints and that their pets have never caused damage to a property.

    One potential solution to relieve that fear would be an increased deposit for renters with pets, to cover any damage if it happens.

    This would mean that landlords don’t have to panic about any wreckage, and that they have an incentive to rent to pet-owners.

    This plan might not work out, though, considering that there’s currently a bill going through Parliament that will cap deposits to a maximum of six weeks rent.

    So perhaps a slightly bumped up rent could work. Only 17% of pet-owners surveyed said they’d been asked to pay more rent on the basis of having a pet, so clearly that’s an underutilised approach.

    There are so many mental health benefits to owning a pet, and that’s especially important considering the levels of loneliness in young renters.

    We need to work towards a solution that benefits renters and makes landlords feel comfortable renting property to pets and their owners. Right now, 21% of pet owners say they’re keeping pets a secret from their landlords, so clearly the current system isn’t working.

    SpareRoom is working with experts to figure out the best way to allow renters to have pets, through policy change and a change in attitudes. That’ll include making sure only responsible pet-owners are allowed, and the wellbeing of the pet and renter will be considered alongside the rules for a property.

    Here’s hoping landlords and renters can work together to get pets allowed. Who could turn down a sweet little kitten (who promises not to scratch up those hardwood floors)?

    MORE: The Purrfect Landlords campaign is trying to let you keep pets in your rental flat

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

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


    SpareRoom hosts the world’s first pet and their people think tank meetingSpareRoom hosts the world’s first pet and their people think tank meetingellencscottSpareRoom hosts the world’s first pet and their people think tank meetingSpareRoom hosts the world’s first pet and their people think tank meetingellencscott

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    (Picture: Getty)

    The first weekend of December is nearly upon us.

    With it comes the warm anticipation of good tidings and cheer, the all-important Christmas tree, and, of course, the annual agony of trying to predict which estranged relative will give you an unexpected gift, leaving you red-faced and grabbing a bow to slap on the nearest bottle of wine.

    We can’t help you with the latter, but we can help with your Christmas tree decision. With luxury options in the £500s, and sparse little shrubs from £10, it can be hard to know what a fair price really is for a decent tree.

    Luckily this year sees two great budget options on the market. Ikea has revived its amazing £5 pound offer for the sixth year running.

    Each locally sourced Nordman fir tree which retails at £25 comes with a £20 pound voucher, meaning you can have a real tree at home for less than the cost of lunch.

    As you can imagine, this is a hugely popular deal – and is running in every UK store except for Ikea Stratford Order and Collection Point and Ikea Tottenham Court Road Planning Studio –  so you’ll want to get to your nearest store sharpish to take advantage.

    This year Lidl will also be selling bargain real trees for the first time ever, with an option of fresh cut or potted fir trees, all guaranteed to have been grown sustainably in Britain and costing between £16.99 and £19.99.

    What should you be paying for your Christmas tree? Lidl
    (Picture: Lidl)

    But if you don’t manage to snap up these offers in time, what should you be expecting to pay at local markets?

    Of course, prices around the UK vary. Manchester customers are advised to look to spend between £10 and £30 at their outdoor markets.

    Meanwhile in London, research by Bloom and Wild shows the average price paid is £66 – and although London is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, that comes in a whopping £80 cheaper than Dublin, the most expensive Christmas tree city in the world.

    So, depending on your location, you could do worse than to use the London average as your upper-end guide, and aim to spend between £30 and £65 for a really nice tree.

    MORE: Mike the magpie learns to say ‘Merry Christmas’ after listening to Classic FM


    What should you be paying for your Christmas tree?What should you be paying for your Christmas tree?meganbnolanWhat should you be paying for your Christmas tree? LidlWhat should you be paying for your Christmas tree?What should you be paying for your Christmas tree?meganbnolanWhat should you be paying for your Christmas tree? Lidl

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    Christmas can be a lonely time of year.

    It’s no use sitting in your Christmas jumper beside the tree if you haven’t got anyone to share it with.

    But now Tesco is selling ‘twosie’ jumpers so you can snuggle up with a friend or your partner throughout the festive period.

    The supermarket’s clothing brand F&F has teamed up with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to support those who are lonely at Christmas time.

    It’s particularly aimed at men and they want to encourage men to get together and support each other by giving the gift of friendship.

    (Picture: Tesco)
    (Picture: Tesco)

    You can opt for a traditional Fairisle pattern or a Mr and Mrs Claus design.

    The jumpers, which come in one size to fit all, cost £18 and are available in store now.

    Christmas is a time for merriment and joy, but for some it can be an isolating time of year. This Christmas, F&F at Tesco are in partnership with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to support those who are lonely at Christmas time as it launches the two-headed-jumper to encourage men to get together and support each other; giving the gift of friendship this festive season.

    Grab your partner and choose from two festive designs. Either opt for a traditional Fairisle pattern in a festive shade of red or have some fun in the perfect party piece with F&F’s playful Mr and Mrs Claus design – a novelty design that’s bound to add more fun to your festivities. One size fits all.

    Tesco hopes to raise £25,000 from the sale of the CALM Two-Headed Christmas Jumpers, and F&F will donate 100% profits from the sales for CALM.

    Simon Ginning, CEO of CALM says :’We’re delighted to continue CALM’s relationship with F&F at Tesco this festive period.

    ‘Christmas is a fun, joyous time of year but we know it can be tough too.

    ‘That’s why we’re encouraging people to get together and look out for their mates, families and loved ones – whether that be checking in with a text, catching up with someone you haven’t seen for a while, or teaming up for a laugh in a festive two-headed jumper.’

    MORE: What should you be paying for your Christmas tree?

    MORE: Why won’t landlords allow renters to have pets?

    MORE: Cloutlighting is the obnoxious and abusive social media trend that you’ve probably retweeted


    Tesco two people Christmas jumpers to combat lonelinessTesco two people Christmas jumpers to combat lonelinesslauraabernethy6Tesco two people Christmas jumpers to combat lonelinessTesco two people Christmas jumpers to combat lonelinesslauraabernethy6

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    (Picture: Adidas)

    Yeezy season is in full swing.

    The in-demand collaboration between Adidas and Kanye West is releasing new lines and restocking sold-out faves.

    Salt will be the fourth in the 500 colourway collection, following on from Blush, Super Moon Yellow, and Utility Black.

    The 500 is Kanye’s most minimal collection, inspired by military and hiking footwear. With mesh, leather and suede uppers and a bulky AdiPrene sole, Salt continues the monotone theme of the previous 500s and is probably as close to an all white version as we’ll get. It’s a high end, spare aesthetic which is certain to appeal to fashion-forward Yeezy fans.

    The subtle grey (or ‘salt’) of the colourway is created using texture as well as shade.

    Picture: Addidas New "Salt" Yeezy drop
    (Picture: Adidas)

    As well as Salt launching, the popular Zebra was re-stocked, with white, black and red hues on the upper, paired with a full-length Boost midsole. Printed across the side of the upper is “SPLY-350” backwards in red on a solid white stripe.

    To make sure you get Salt fresh off the line, be online at 9am on 30 November or waiting at one of the 28 official UK stockists.

    UK Yeezy Salt stockists:

    • Hanon 51 The Green, City Centre, Aberdeen
    • Consortium, 14 Albert Road, Bournemouth
    • Endclothing, 196 Ingram Street, Glasgow
    • HIP, 14-86 Vicar Lane, Leeds
    • wellgosh, 34 High Street, Leicester
    • Seven, 6 Paradise Street, Liverpool
    • size?, 33-34 Carnaby Street, London
    • Mr Poter, 1 The Village Offices, London
    • Dover Street Market, 18-22 Haymarket, London
    • Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London
    • adidas Originals Store, London, 15 Fouberts Place, London
    • SNEAKERSNSTUFF, 107-108 Shoreditch High Street, London
    • Endclothing, 59 Broadwick Street, London
    • Browns, 24-27 South Molton Street, London
    • Pam pam, 129 Bethnal Green Road, London
    • 18 montrose, 6-8 Stable Street, Kings Cross, London
    • adidas Originals Flagship Store London, 15 Hanbury Street, London
    • Matches, 87 Marylebone High Street, London
    • Foot Locker, 542-546 Oxford Street, London
    • JD Sports, 201-203 Oxford Street, London
    • Footpatrol Ltd, 80 Berwick Street, London
    • Goodhood, 151 Curtain Road, London
    • Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London
    • Net a Porter, 1 The Village Offices
    • Hervia, 40 Spring Gardens, Manchester
    • Endclothing, 133-137 Grainger Street, Newcastle
    • 18 montrose, 58 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham
    • Oki-Ni, ONLINE

    But don’t fret if you miss out- as the man himself said, Yeezys are for everybody: ‘Eventually, everybody who wants to get Yeezys will get Yeezys.’

    MORE: Kanye West is pure Kanye West as he gives North a piggyback on fun day out


    New "Salt" Yeezy dropNew New "Salt" Yeezy dropNew "Salt" Yeezy dropmeganbnolanPicture: Addidas New "Salt" Yeezy drop

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    Sainsbury’s has become the first supermarket in the UK to label products on its shelves as suitable for donation to food banks.

    All 1,400 branches will highlight priority items like cans of fish, meat or vegetables and non-perishable juices, as well as items specifically needed by local food banks.

    The initiative was thought up by a group of Exeter teenage National Citizen Service graduates, who noticed that food bank donation boxes tend to be left near supermarket exits.

    By the time customers see them, they’ve already paid for their groceries and are on their way out.

    The considerate teens pitched the idea to their local Sainsbury’s, suggesting a reversal of the usual set up, making it easier and more intuitive for people to donate.

    After a successful trial version of the idea saw donations triple, it was adopted store-wide.

    EDITORIAL USE ONLY Amber Broad places a 'priority item' label next to goods at Sainsbury's in Exeter to highlight to customers which products are most needed for the in-store charity donation box, as a group of teenagers taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) came up with the idea as part of the social action phase of the national programme. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday November 26, 2018. After brainstorming ideas around how they could make a difference in their community, the NCS graduates came up with the idea when they realised that customers do not see the food donations box until leaving the store. They hope that the labels will encourage customers to purchase the items most needed by the local food bank. Photo credit should read: Neil Munns/PA Wire
    (Picture: Neil Munns/PA Wire)

    The new labels are part of a wider campaign called Help Brighten a Million Christmases, which aims to gather one million food and toy donations for UK families in need before Christmas. Sainsbury’s sister store Argos will be accepting toy donations until the 16 December.

    Claudine Blamey, Sainsbury’s Group Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability remarked: ‘We’re excited to be working together as a group to expand Sainsbury’s food donation programme and to launch Argos’ toy donation programme.

    ‘We are committed to making a positive difference in local communities and we hope our customers get on board to help brighten the lives of those less fortunate in the community.’

    Although everyone can get behind the compassionate motives both of the teenagers responsible and those donating, the necessity of this initiative is worrying, with some people concerned that normalising the existence of food banks is dangerous.

    Help Brighten a Million Christmases comes at a time of growing concern for those reliant on food banks.

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: A volunteer collects food from shelves to fill a client's voucher request at the Trussell Trust Food Bank on December 21, 2015 in Liverpool, England. The Trussell Trust has seen a rise in foodbank use in the period April to September 2015 with problems with the social security safety net being the biggest reason people are referred for emergency food. The Big Lottery Fund has contributed ??748,423 to the Trust as it prepares for what is likely to be record levels of demand this Christmas. (Photo by Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)
    (Picture: Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)

    The Trussell Trust, the UK’s leading food bank provider, has said it expects this December to be their busiest month ever.

    Its network of over 400 foodbanks provided almost 160,000 three-day emergency food supplies in December last year, a figure 10% higher than that of December 2016, and use of food banks has been increasing this year.

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: A volunteer collects food from shelves to fill a client's voucher request at the Trussell Trust Food Bank on December 21, 2015 in Liverpool, England. The Trussell Trust has seen a rise in foodbank use in the period April to September 2015 with problems with the social security safety net being the biggest reason people are referred for emergency food. The Big Lottery Fund has contributed ??748,423 to the Trust as it prepares for what is likely to be record levels of demand this Christmas. (Photo by Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)
    (Picture: Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)

    Ongoing problems with the new Universal Credit system are set to worsen this increased demand.

    Benefits claimants being transferred onto the new system currently have a minimum five-week wait before their first payment.

    MORE: Foodbanks are busier than ever and here is how you can help

    MORE: Tesco is selling Christmas jumpers for two people ‘to combat loneliness’


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    (Picture: Primark/Cult Gala)

    Primark has just launched a new bamboo shoulder bag to its upcoming SS19 collection, and it looks like a dupe of one by Cult Gala.

    Cult Gala’s brown Luna bamboo bag costs £215. It has a circular body and is made from natural bamboo.

    It also features a flat top closure and a beaded shoulder strap.

    Of course, at £215 it’s not one that everyone can afford – especially when it’s not super practical.

    Primark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaper Primark
    (Picture: Primark)

    Which is why we’re so happy that Primark has released a cheaper version, because we love the look of it.

    Primark’s version costs just £20 – which is £195 less than the piece it was seemingly originally inspired by.

    As mentioned above, it comes as part of a new range which is 1950s inspired. The campaign was shot by Cole Sprouse, and features 17 looks from Primark’s new collection, featuring both mens and womenswear.

    Primark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaper CULT GAIA
    (Picture: Cult Gala)

    However, you’re going to have to wait to get your hands on the bag – as, along with the rest of the collection, it won’t be hitting stores until March.

    So, if you’re really hoping to show off a Bamboo bag on Instagram, you might have to ask for the more expensive version for Christmas.

    MORE: Christmas markets, designer clothes and vintage stores: Here’s how to plan a shopping weekend in Bath

    MORE: The internet is very confused by Calvin Klein’s new inside out jumpers


    Primark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaperPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaperhattiegladwellmetroPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaper PrimarkPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaper CULT GAIAPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaperPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaperhattiegladwellmetroPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaper PrimarkPrimark unveils version of Cult Gaia?s best-selling bamboo bag ? and it?s ?195 cheaper CULT GAIA

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    Coping with infertility at work
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Fertility doesn’t tend to be something we think about until it comes to actually trying for a baby.

    Despite the fact we know stress, exercise, and even plastic can affect our ability to have a child, there’s no easy way for us to check if we can have one until the time comes to do so.

    Pregnancy tests are readily available over the counter, but fertility tests are more illusive.

    So it’s no wonder it’s a daunting prospect being at the beginning of your fertility journey.

    Here’s how to get started.

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

    As with most health issues in life, your GP will be your first point of contact.

    They’ll help assess whether conceiving might pose a problem for you, and chat to you about your options.

    One of the initial things your doctor will ask you is how long you’ve been trying to conceive.

    Since most couples (about 80%) will be successful after a year of regular (two to three times a week) unprotected sex, you may have to wait until you’ve been trying this long before you’re referred for tests.

    If you’re young and have no underlying reasons, you might even have to wait two years, as half of people who don’t conceive in the first year will in the second.

    That said, there will be more they can do for you if you meet the following criteria:

    • Are a woman aged 36 or over
    • Have any reason to be concerned about your fertility – this could include previous sexually transmitted infections or cancer treatment

    This is because your fertility can decline after this age or after these issues, so they might be able to fast-track testing.

    Head to your local practice sooner rather than later in these cases, just in case.

    As well as the amount of sex you have (which can feel embarrassing, but don’t worry, doctors have heard it all before) they might ask about a few other things:

    • Previous contraception methods and how long you’ve been off them
    • Whether you have any difficulties during sex
    • How regular your periods are
    • Any other medical history or medication you’re on
    • Lifestyle factors like your weight, stress levels, drug and alcohol consumption, and whether you smoke

    There are physical examinations you may go through in the initial stages, including pelvic, penile, or testicular examination.

    From there, if no diagnosis can be made, you will be referred for further tests which may take place at the same GP’s surgery or at hospital.

    If you haven’t been trying for long enough according to your GP, or simply want to speed the process up for whatever reason, you will likely have to go private.

    You can book a consultation with a fertility clinic, but be aware that these usually cost a couple of hundred pounds (and that’s before you’ve started any treatment).

    Some private clinics also have open evenings, which can be useful if you’re not sure whether you’re prepared to pay just yet, and want to make sure the service will be up to scratch.

    Regardless of where you are or what stage you’re at, the internet can be an extremely useful tool.

    Forums and Facebook groups for people facing fertility issues can provide support – despite the fact it’s important to always go to a medical professional for medical advice.

    People talk about their struggles with IVF, their experiences with tests, and everything related to trying to conceive a child.

    Don’t underestimate the power of knowing you’re not alone.

    For those who just want an anonymous ear or to ask an initial question, The Fertility Network Support Line is available on 0121 323 5025 between 10am and 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday,

    Or you can give them an email at support@fertilitynetworkuk.org.

    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, 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: Menopause at 17: How I came to terms with finding out I couldn’t have children as a teenager

    MORE: Miscarriage is cruel and unfair, and I need to tell you about what happened to me

    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?

    MORE: Primark launches Cult Gala bamboo bag dupe for £195 less

    MORE: Sainsbury’s rolls out ‘food bank friendly’ food labels


    Metro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationsjessicacvlCoping with infertility at workHow to get pregnant at 40Metro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationsjessicacvlCoping with infertility at workHow to get pregnant at 40

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    (Picture: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

    Cheap Monday might have once been the place to go for skinny jeans but it has been struggling.

    Now, H&M, who own the brand, said it is going to close after ‘major challenges due to the shift in the industry’.

    They added that there has been ‘a negative trend in the Cheap Monday’s sales and profits for a long time.’

    (Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    The online store and Carnaby Street branch in London will close on 31 December 2018, with 80 employees affected.

    ‘We need to constantly develop our business and what we choose to invest in.

    ‘We see very good opportunities and great potential for all of the other brands within New Business, which all are developing positively both digitally as well as through physical stores,’ says Anna Attemark, Head of New Business at the H&M group.

    MORE: Sainsbury’s rolls out ‘food bank friendly’ food labels

    MORE: Tesco is selling Christmas jumpers for two people ‘to combat loneliness’


    Washington, D.C., scenesWashington, D.C., sceneslauraabernethy6Washington, D.C., scenesWashington, D.C., sceneslauraabernethy6

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Thinking of your holidays as Storm Diana heads to the UK? Yeah, us too.

    Big travel companies will be ready and waiting to capitalise on our January blues as soon as the trees have gone down and – let’s face it – we’re not going to be doing too much to stop them.

    ABTA have just released their Travel Trends report for 2019, which is great if you want to do your planning ahead of spending.

    Turns out, we won’t be flocking to far-flung destinations, and will be trying our best to hang on to Europe, even if it’s just by lounging on a sunbed there.

    (Picture: Getty)

    According to the report, Europe will be the most popular continent, with 61% of us jetting off there in 2019.

    However, this is actually a reduction, as last year the figure was 63%.

    Asia has gone up in popularity, from 10% to 13%. It’s thought that the rise is due to cheaper flights and favourable exchange rates.

    As far as the countries we’ll be visiting, Bulgaria topped their ‘ones to watch’ list.

    It’s seen a 20% growth over the last year, which might be because they’re having a bit of a moment.

    Plovdiv has been named the next European Capital of Culture, and there’s a great mix of unspoiled beached, ancient architecture, and ski resorts that won’t bankrupt you.

    Greece, Croatia, and Turkey are also on the company’s growth list, so it’s clear that people just want some delicious food and to catch some rays.

    ABTA suggests it also might be to do with the fact that these countries are helping our pounds go further (particularly when exchange rates are bad) since we’re all getting slightly more budget conscious.

    However, we will also be aiming for ‘responsible tourism’ with a focus on sustainability, and many will be focusing on their wellness while they’re away.

    59% of us will also be enjoying ‘staycations’, although this is dependent on whether we get the hot summer that seems to be coming our way.

    Fingers crossed.

    MORE: H&M closes struggling Cheap Monday skinny jeans brand

    MORE: Who to see and what to do if you’re worried about fertility?


    Oia Santorini GreeceOia Santorini GreecejessicacvlOia Santorini GreeceOia Santorini Greecejessicacvl

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    (Picture: Twitter)

    Tinder can be pretty soul-destroying.

    You match with people who you end up never talking to, you’re offered awful one-liners by those who do actually start up a conversation, and you end up unmatching with at least a third of people you thought had potential at first.

    We didn’t think it could get any worse, until one guy matched with his sister.

    Yes, someone was scrolling through Tinder and swiped right on their actual family member. We’re not quite sure what to think.

    Twitter user Weston Koury shared a tweet explaining that he’d matched with his sister on the dating app.

    He jokingly wrote: ‘WTF Just matched with my sister on tinder. Someone execute me. I want electric chair’

    He then shared two screenshots, one of the pair matching and the other of their conversation, in which his sister, Kalynn, asked why her younger brother was on the app when he wasn’t over 18 – to which he replied: ‘This is so gross, I’m calling mom’.

    So far, the tweet has had over 600 retweets and 6,000 likes, and plenty of comments from amused users.

    Of course, most of them are aware that the conversation is likely a set-up – but they’re still impressed with the effort Weston went through to create the conversation and share it to Twitter.

    MORE: Why do men lie about their age on dating apps?

    MORE: Cuffing season is cancelled, now’s the time to date yourself


    Horrified teen matches with his own SISTER on Tinder? and the messages are toe-curlingly awkwardHorrified teen matches with his own SISTER on Tinder? and the messages are toe-curlingly awkwardhattiegladwellmetroHorrified teen matches with his own SISTER on Tinder? and the messages are toe-curlingly awkwardHorrified teen matches with his own SISTER on Tinder? and the messages are toe-curlingly awkwardhattiegladwellmetro

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    young woman using mobile smart phone while sitting on toilet; Shutterstock ID 729052879; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    Forget robots, the future holds smart toilets, which could spot early signs of diseases like cancer and diabetes by tracking your urine.

    Experts at the European Space Agency (ESA) and MIT have teamed up with sanitation specialists to create the ‘FitLoo’.

    The FitLoo is a high tech toilet which screens urine for the presence of extra proteins and glucose, to monitor your health by gathering data through sensors inside of the bowel.

    The toilet will be able to detect fluctuations in levels of these substances, as well as the presence of other markers that might be an early warning of illnesses such as cancer or diabetes.

    You will be alerted if there are any concerns through your smartphone, or direct contact to your GP could also be possible, so that they can keep a remote eye on you.

    Young woman in underwear sitting on a toilet with her white panties around her knees in a close up side view of her body (Young woman in underwear sitting on a toilet with her white panties around her knees in a close up side view of her body, ASCII,
    (Picture: Getty)

    We recently revealed that Brits spend around eight months sat on the toilet in their lifetime – which amounts to 15 minutes a day or two hours a week on the loo.

    But unfortunately, many remain embarrassed when it comes to their toilet health – which is why smart toilets could be so necessary.

    One in four admit they always have a peek into the toilet after going for a number two to keep an eye out for any worrying health concerns, and one in four adults also say they have noticed blood in their stools are using the toilet.

    However, only a quarter of these make appointments with their doctor about it, with the majority delaying it for as long as possible out of embarrassment.

    Instead, if they felt there was something seriously wrong, they would wait eight days to book an appointment with the doctor.

    The FitLoos based on technology are used by astronauts to monitor their health aboard the International Space Station.

    The ISS has been testing a device called the Urine Monitoring System, which collects an individual crew member’s urine.

    Michael Lindenmayer, digital health and smart sanitation lead at the Toilet Board Coalition said that FitLoo gives people a great opportunity to gain control of their health.

    (Picture: Getty)

    He said: ‘At the moment people only go to the doctor when they are sick. We do not listen to our bodies enough, but the toilet is listening every time we use it.

    ‘There is a huge amount of health information that is simply flushed into the sewers every time we go.

    ‘At the moment these are a mishmash of technologies rather than a single device, but the aim is to combine them together into a smart toilet.

    ‘The idea is that people will connect their phone to the toilet and get information about their health. If it sees something amiss, then they would go to the doctor for more detailed tests.’

    The ESA and MIT are currently looking for toilet manufacturing companies who will adapt their technology for use in smart toilets.

    Davide Coppola, project manager of the Space for Sanitation project at ESA, said: ‘We have identified different opportunities for utilising space technologies and data for sanitation.

    ‘One of those is to establish preventive health information systems by combining health data from toilet smart sensors with satellite Earth observation data.

    ‘If you have 1,000 smart toilets collectively monitoring certain diseases in an area, you can use space data to fill in the gaps and calculate the likelihood of spread of diseases.

    ‘There are a number of environmental factors that influence how a disease spreads and can be monitored from space – temperature, for example, or if there is standing water nearby.’

    MORE: Brits spend eight months of their adult life on the toilet, study finds

    MORE: This house looks normal on the outside but it is covered in amazing colourful patterns inside


    SEI_39818848-40e3SEI_39818848-40e3hattiegladwellmetroyoung woman using mobile smart phone while sitting on toilet; Shutterstock ID 729052879; Purchase Order: -Young woman in underwear sitting on a toilet with her white panties around her knees in a close up side view of her body (Young woman in underwear sitting on a toilet with her white panties around her knees in a close up side view of her body, ASCII,SEI_39818848-40e3SEI_39818848-40e3hattiegladwellmetroyoung woman using mobile smart phone while sitting on toilet; Shutterstock ID 729052879; Purchase Order: -Young woman in underwear sitting on a toilet with her white panties around her knees in a close up side view of her body (Young woman in underwear sitting on a toilet with her white panties around her knees in a close up side view of her body, ASCII,

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    RECYCLED REINVENTION: THERMOBALL GOES ECO The North Face is reinventing one of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, with recycled materials, an important step in how we create sustainable change at scale. Reiterate, renew, evolve. We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face. Let???s look at ThermoBall Eco. One of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, is being reintroduced in The North Face stores and online this November 2018, using recycled materials. The same amazing jacket, with a lower footprint. We know that material production and manufacturing accounts for 60 ??? 85 percent of our total environmental impact. Not shipping to our customers (which we Offset), or consumer use, but the production of materials and manufacturing products. This motivated us to change the materials used in our largest collections to Recycled Materials. In this case, we???re taking plastic bottles and recycling them into fibers and fabrics. Converting ThermoBall to recycled materials is an important step toward creating sustainable change at scale. The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price. It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It???s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill. This evolution builds upon how we???ve shifted to use recycled fibers across our core products like our iconic Denali jackets back in 1996, our Reaxion and Glacier lines, and with the launch of our Bottle Source collection in early 2018, sourced from plastic bottles from national parks. When we launched ThermoBall in 2013, it made waves for its groundbre
    (Picture: The North Face)

    Born in 1960’s San Francisco, The North Face was once a company for hardcore climbers only.

    Business slowly grew sideways, incorporating ski gear, casual outerwear, and their now-iconic insulated jackets.

    In the 1990s and 2000s a boom in wearing hiking gear in everyday life made The North Face jacket the garment de jour for everyone from hardy grandfathers on the trail to Brooklyn hipsters sipping beer.

    Now, they’re moving with the times again and re-launching their Thermoball line, this time to be created from recycled plastics.

    RECYCLED REINVENTION: THERMOBALL GOES ECO The North Face is reinventing one of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, with recycled materials, an important step in how we create sustainable change at scale. Reiterate, renew, evolve. We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face. Let???s look at ThermoBall Eco. One of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, is being reintroduced in The North Face stores and online this November 2018, using recycled materials. The same amazing jacket, with a lower footprint. We know that material production and manufacturing accounts for 60 ??? 85 percent of our total environmental impact. Not shipping to our customers (which we Offset), or consumer use, but the production of materials and manufacturing products. This motivated us to change the materials used in our largest collections to Recycled Materials. In this case, we???re taking plastic bottles and recycling them into fibers and fabrics. Converting ThermoBall to recycled materials is an important step toward creating sustainable change at scale. The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price. It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It???s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill. This evolution builds upon how we???ve shifted to use recycled fibers across our core products like our iconic Denali jackets back in 1996, our Reaxion and Glacier lines, and with the launch of our Bottle Source collection in early 2018, sourced from plastic bottles from national parks. When we launched ThermoBall in 2013, it made waves for its groundbre
    (Picture: The North Face)

    Thermoball’s initial launch in 2014 was already a milestone in the company’s  progressive journey- a vegan garment made using synthetic fibers which mimic the insulating warmth of their traditional jackets.

    The product won an Innovator for Animals Award award from PETA  for its creative alternative to down.

    Down, although less publicly denounced by animal rights organisations than leather, is not only an animal product and therefore unsuitable for vegans, but can also be a cruel industry. Much of what we find on the high street- even in high end brands we may trust– can come from questionable sources and factory farming.

    In a statement about the newly relaunched Thermoball, The North Face said: ‘The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price.

    ‘It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It’s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill.’

    So now eco-friendly folk can be doubly delighted to invest in one.

    MORE: The eco-friendly guide to Christmas gift wrap


    SEI_41757214-b02bSEI_41757214-b02bmeganbnolanRECYCLED REINVENTION: THERMOBALL GOES ECO The North Face is reinventing one of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, with recycled materials, an important step in how we create sustainable change at scale. Reiterate, renew, evolve. We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face. Let???s look at ThermoBall Eco. One of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, is being reintroduced in The North Face stores and online this November 2018, using recycled materials. The same amazing jacket, with a lower footprint. We know that material production and manufacturing accounts for 60 ??? 85 percent of our total environmental impact. Not shipping to our customers (which we Offset), or consumer use, but the production of materials and manufacturing products. This motivated us to change the materials used in our largest collections to Recycled Materials. In this case, we???re taking plastic bottles and recycling them into fibers and fabrics. Converting ThermoBall to recycled materials is an important step toward creating sustainable change at scale. The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price. It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It???s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill. This evolution builds upon how we???ve shifted to use recycled fibers across our core products like our iconic Denali jackets back in 1996, our Reaxion and Glacier lines, and with the launch of our Bottle Source collection in early 2018, sourced from plastic bottles from national parks. When we launched ThermoBall in 2013, it made waves for its groundbreRECYCLED REINVENTION: THERMOBALL GOES ECO The North Face is reinventing one of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, with recycled materials, an important step in how we create sustainable change at scale. Reiterate, renew, evolve. We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face. Let???s look at ThermoBall Eco. One of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, is being reintroduced in The North Face stores and online this November 2018, using recycled materials. The same amazing jacket, with a lower footprint. We know that material production and manufacturing accounts for 60 ??? 85 percent of our total environmental impact. Not shipping to our customers (which we Offset), or consumer use, but the production of materials and manufacturing products. This motivated us to change the materials used in our largest collections to Recycled Materials. In this case, we???re taking plastic bottles and recycling them into fibers and fabrics. Converting ThermoBall to recycled materials is an important step toward creating sustainable change at scale. The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price. It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It???s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill. This evolution builds upon how we???ve shifted to use recycled fibers across our core products like our iconic Denali jackets back in 1996, our Reaxion and Glacier lines, and with the launch of our Bottle Source collection in early 2018, sourced from plastic bottles from national parks. When we launched ThermoBall in 2013, it made waves for its groundbreSEI_41757214-b02bSEI_41757214-b02bmeganbnolanRECYCLED REINVENTION: THERMOBALL GOES ECO The North Face is reinventing one of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, with recycled materials, an important step in how we create sustainable change at scale. Reiterate, renew, evolve. We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face. Let???s look at ThermoBall Eco. One of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, is being reintroduced in The North Face stores and online this November 2018, using recycled materials. The same amazing jacket, with a lower footprint. We know that material production and manufacturing accounts for 60 ??? 85 percent of our total environmental impact. Not shipping to our customers (which we Offset), or consumer use, but the production of materials and manufacturing products. This motivated us to change the materials used in our largest collections to Recycled Materials. In this case, we???re taking plastic bottles and recycling them into fibers and fabrics. Converting ThermoBall to recycled materials is an important step toward creating sustainable change at scale. The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price. It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It???s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill. This evolution builds upon how we???ve shifted to use recycled fibers across our core products like our iconic Denali jackets back in 1996, our Reaxion and Glacier lines, and with the launch of our Bottle Source collection in early 2018, sourced from plastic bottles from national parks. When we launched ThermoBall in 2013, it made waves for its groundbreRECYCLED REINVENTION: THERMOBALL GOES ECO The North Face is reinventing one of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, with recycled materials, an important step in how we create sustainable change at scale. Reiterate, renew, evolve. We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face. Let???s look at ThermoBall Eco. One of our largest product lines, ThermoBall, is being reintroduced in The North Face stores and online this November 2018, using recycled materials. The same amazing jacket, with a lower footprint. We know that material production and manufacturing accounts for 60 ??? 85 percent of our total environmental impact. Not shipping to our customers (which we Offset), or consumer use, but the production of materials and manufacturing products. This motivated us to change the materials used in our largest collections to Recycled Materials. In this case, we???re taking plastic bottles and recycling them into fibers and fabrics. Converting ThermoBall to recycled materials is an important step toward creating sustainable change at scale. The new ThermoBall Eco is the same award-winning lightweight down alternative jacket we have all grown to love, at the same price. It has the same product performance, but for one important difference: It???s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. Just the recycled insulation alone, sourced from our partners at Primaloft, is spun from at least five plastic bottles that are diverted from the landfill. This evolution builds upon how we???ve shifted to use recycled fibers across our core products like our iconic Denali jackets back in 1996, our Reaxion and Glacier lines, and with the launch of our Bottle Source collection in early 2018, sourced from plastic bottles from national parks. When we launched ThermoBall in 2013, it made waves for its groundbre

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    (Picture: Triangle News)

    A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions.

    32-year-old Kellie Wilson says her job hunt has been so grueling because bosses reject her as soon as they realise she’s deaf.

    She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she’ll never find her dream position because of her disability.

    Kellie suddenly lost her hearing when she was just four years old and relies on lip reading to understand people.

    She says she’s absolutely sick of being rejected, despite having a range of experience, having previously worked as an administrative officer, legal assistant and finance assistant.

    Kellie, who lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire, once worked as an assistant at notorious jail HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire, from 2004 to 2009.

    Since then, she has had a number of temporary jobs secured through a local job agency but the longest time spent in employment has been nine months, while the shortest was four days.

    - Picture of Kellie Wilson who is deaf and has applied for over 1000 jobs TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5581 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk by Rosaleen Fenton A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. Kellie Wilson, 32, says her job hunt has been so gruelling because bosses reject her as soon they realise she?s hard of hearing. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she?ll never find her dream job because of her disability.
    (Picture: Triangle News)

    And although employers have been happy with her work, none of them have been able to offer Kellie a full time permanent job.

    Now she has chosen to speak out after being repeatedly rebuffed whilst applying for a range of jobs.

    Kellie said: ‘I have had a brief span of temporary postings but nothing permanent.

    ‘During all this time, I’ve only managed to secure a few interviews and often I don’t get a reply at all.

    ‘When I do get an interview, I find it goes well until I disclose my disability.

    ‘I wear two very strong hearing aids but can only hear some sounds so I lip read to bridge the gap.

    ‘But I cannot lip read everyone due to individual mouth patterns. It’s exhausting and frustrating.

    ‘After disclosing my disability, I find people suddenly warn me that the job involves a lot of phone work when it didn’t say that in the advertisement.

    ‘Everything goes swimmingly until I tell them about my ears and then everything changes.

    ‘I feel like I have to apologise and explain for something I cannot change.’

    This year, Kellie has worked at Sainsbury’s for a month in January and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for four days in March.

    - Picture of Kellie Wilson who is deaf and has applied for over 1000 jobs TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5581 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk by Rosaleen Fenton A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. Kellie Wilson, 32, says her job hunt has been so gruelling because bosses reject her as soon they realise she?s hard of hearing. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she?ll never find her dream job because of her disability.
    (Picture: Triangle News)

    Now she is considering surgery to see if it will improve her job prospects – although there is no guarantee that it will help.

    Kellie said: ‘I am currently being assessed for a cochlear implant in the hope of improving my ears a little and help get a job.

    ‘It is meant to bypass my damaged hearing nerves and feed sounds directly to my cochlea.

    ‘Hopefully it will restore some clarity but there are no guarantees as each person is different.

    ‘There is major surgery involved to fit the implant and months of rehab ahead to re-learn sounds if it goes ahead.

    ‘I feel as though I am being forced to change who I am for others.’

    Kellie is calling on employers to ensure their workplaces are genuinely inclusive.

    She said: ‘I have been fighting against this discrimination my whole life and I’m sick of it.

    James Taylor, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at disability charity Scope, said: ‘It’s extremely disheartening to hear yet another story highlighting how widespread misguided attitudes towards disabled workers really are.

    ‘Employers who buy into these outdated views need to realise they are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to tap into the huge pool of disabled talent.

    ‘It’s time for businesses of all sizes to stop making excuses and instead put their efforts into making workplaces and recruitment processes genuinely accessible.

    ‘Scope is determined to tackle the barriers disabled people face in entering, staying in and progressing in work by providing employment support services and our partnership with Virgin Media, where we are calling on other businesses to join our Work With Me campaign.’

    There are more than 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss and more than 900,000 are severely or profoundly deaf.

    A 2016 report by totaljobs found that one in four deaf people have quit their job due to discrimination, while 56% have experienced discrimination in the workplace because of being deaf or hard of hearing.

    A shocking 37% say they also experience discrimination during a job interview – despite 74% feeling confident they have the right skills to look for work.

    Only 13% thought there was enough support for those who are deaf and looking for work.

    MORE: Who to see and what to do if you’re worried about fertility?

    MORE: Why won’t landlords allow renters to have pets?


    A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positionsA deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positionshattiegladwellmetro- Picture of Kellie Wilson who is deaf and has applied for over 1000 jobs TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5581 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk by Rosaleen Fenton A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. Kellie Wilson, 32, says her job hunt has been so gruelling because bosses reject her as soon they realise she?s hard of hearing. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she?ll never find her dream job because of her disability.- Picture of Kellie Wilson who is deaf and has applied for over 1000 jobs TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5581 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk by Rosaleen Fenton A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. Kellie Wilson, 32, says her job hunt has been so gruelling because bosses reject her as soon they realise she?s hard of hearing. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she?ll never find her dream job because of her disability.A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positionsA deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positionshattiegladwellmetro- Picture of Kellie Wilson who is deaf and has applied for over 1000 jobs TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5581 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk by Rosaleen Fenton A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. Kellie Wilson, 32, says her job hunt has been so gruelling because bosses reject her as soon they realise she?s hard of hearing. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she?ll never find her dream job because of her disability.- Picture of Kellie Wilson who is deaf and has applied for over 1000 jobs TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5581 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk by Rosaleen Fenton A deaf woman is desperately searching for a job after being knocked back for more than 1,000 positions. Kellie Wilson, 32, says her job hunt has been so gruelling because bosses reject her as soon they realise she?s hard of hearing. She says having so many job applications rejected has knocked her confidence, and that she fears she?ll never find her dream job because of her disability.

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    Two girls holding each other hands. Ladies couple on the beach; Shutterstock ID 499897720; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    A new study has found that more than a third of lesbian, gay and bisexual university students have attempted suicide, while two thirds have self-harmed.

    Researchers found that students who are lesbian, gay or bisexual are at a much higher risk of self-harm and suicide attempts than heterosexual students.

    The findings, which were published in the journal Archives of Suicide Research, also suggest that low self-esteem comes as a result of discrimination – which may explain the increased self-harm rates.

    The study was conducted by researchers at The University of Manchester, Leeds Beckett University, Lancaster University and Edith Cowan University in Western Australia,

    Dr Elizabeth McDermott, of Lancaster University said: ‘Young people’s mental health is a national concern and this study confirms that lesbian, gay or bisexual young people have elevated rates of suicidality and self-harm compared with heterosexual youth.

    Two sexy guys. Love and Relationships. Sex and passion. Tenderness and beauty. Two men love each other. ; Shutterstock ID 659478913; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    ‘We know much less about how LGB young people seek help for their mental health problems, or what type of support would be effective.’

    Of the LGB students who completed an online questionnaire, 65% had carried out non-suicidal self-harm over their lifetime compared to 41% of heterosexual students.

    Elizabeth said self-harm typically includes cutting, hair pulling, scratching, burning or non-lethal overdoses.

    And 35% of LGB students had attempted suicide in their lifetime compared to 14% of non-LGB students, according to the findings.

    The study was completed by 707 students with an average age of 23 from two English Universities of which 119 self-identified as LGB.

    But Elizabeth said the study does not tell whether being at university increased the risk of self-harm in LGB people.

    Happy friends holding each other; Shutterstock ID 1038614926; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    It is not possible to compare the student sample with prevalence rates for non-suicidal self-injury and suicide attempts across the population as a whole.

    Study co-author Dr Peter Taylor, of Manchester University, said: ‘Surprisingly, there is little data on the psychological mechanisms that might explain the association between being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and self-harm in UK students.

    ‘This data highlights how low self-esteem may leave some LGB students more at risk.

    ‘Interestingly, anxiety and depressive symptoms did not appear to be important once self-esteem was taken into account.’

    He added: ‘Prevention and intervention efforts directed at these psychological mediators by Universities may help to reduce risks in this population.

    ‘Universities are already doing a lot of good things in this area such as counselling and psychological support which is targeted at LGB people.

    ‘And tackling discrimination and improving acceptance of LGB people through public policy and media campaigns may be helpful in reducing any impact on self-esteem.’

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

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

    MORE: How to protect your Christmas tree from your cat

    MORE: Women deserve to have positive c-sections – here’s how


    SEI_41731350-32eeSEI_41731350-32eehattiegladwellmetroTwo girls holding each other hands. Ladies couple on the beach; Shutterstock ID 499897720; Purchase Order: -Two sexy guys. Love and Relationships. Sex and passion. Tenderness and beauty. Two men love each other. ; Shutterstock ID 659478913; Purchase Order: -Happy friends holding each other; Shutterstock ID 1038614926; Purchase Order: -SEI_41731350-32eeSEI_41731350-32eehattiegladwellmetroTwo girls holding each other hands. Ladies couple on the beach; Shutterstock ID 499897720; Purchase Order: -Two sexy guys. Love and Relationships. Sex and passion. Tenderness and beauty. Two men love each other. ; Shutterstock ID 659478913; Purchase Order: -Happy friends holding each other; Shutterstock ID 1038614926; Purchase Order: -

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    Colour enhanced light micrograph.Sample is of human origin.Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an artifical fertilzation technique.Single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of an egg,via a microneedle.Used in treatment of severe male infertility.
    The moment that Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) takes place – a single sperm is being injected into the cytoplasm of an egg using a microneedle (Picture: Getty)

    Male infertility is a really, really important issue  that simply doesn’t get enough recognition.

    The world of fertility is geared around women — despite the fact that male infertility is now the most common reason for couples in the UK to have IVF.

    And we really, really should be paying more attention.

    Last year, an apocalyptic study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that sperm counts in the West have more than halved over the past four decades, and are continuing to decline — which the authors of the study say could lead to the ‘extinction of the human species.’

    And scientists say we don’t really understand why.

    Despite all the incredible advances in reproductive technology, in some ways the approach to male infertility seems to have barely progressed at all.

    Diagnosing male infertility

    The standard NHS semen analysis hasn’t really changed since the 19th century — looking at a sperm sample under a microscope to assess three key parameters: sperm count (how many are there?), motility (can they swim?) and morphology (what do they look like?).

    And that’s….well, basically it.

    If the results of this basic semen analysis indicate a sperm issue, the couple will be referred to a fertility clinic for IVF treatment (specifically, ICSI, a form of IVF where the embryologist injects the sperm directly into the egg), where they will be treated by a gynaecologist.

    So far so good? Yes…and no.

    The evidence suggests that ICSI is the most effective treatment to help a couple with a diagnosis of male factor infertility to have a baby. So in that respect this pathway makes total sense.

    But does this approach really address patients’ needs?

    Let’s break it down.

    • A man with an diagnosis of male factor infertility is referred to a specialist in women’s reproductive health.

    • His female partner will normally undergo numerous investigations — even though she may not actually have any fertility issues.

    • Meanwhile, his actual medical problem is completely ignored once the semen analysis is done. Thereafter the man is frequently relegated to the role of ‘doing the easy bit’, to come up with the goods on demand.

    OK, but isn’t that just how the IVF process works — it’s necessarily centred on the woman’s body?

    Yes, the physical realities for the female partner during fertility treatment are unavoidable — but it takes two people to make a baby. It’s an experience that a couple go through together, and decisions should be made jointly.

    But lots of men have said they felt sidelined from the process by clinicians who would often barely acknowledge their presence — as James describes in his fertility story, told as part of our Fertility Month:

    It wasn’t helped by the fact that whenever we went to appointments it was very much like I was just there — the conversation wasn’t directed at me.

    IVF is really bloody tough for both partners — and that’s before adding in the impact of a male infertility diagnosis: which Richard describes in his fertility story as humiliating, emasculating, isolating, and causing deep self-loathing.

    So in terms of emotional care, yes there’s definitely more that could be done to support patients from the outset.

    But let’s take another look at the overall process.

    In the past, clinical aspects of male infertility were primarily dealt with by urologists. But once ICSI came along, fertility medicine became almost exclusively the domain of gynaecologists.
    Which means infertile men are now being treated by clinicians with little to no training in diagnosing or treating male patients:

    • Gynaecologists don’t perform physical examinations on men to check for any testicular issues that could be affecting his fertility (that might be easily resolved).

    • Or take a full clinical history — which might indicate an underlying health problem, or potential lifestyle factors that might be affecting his fertility (that if addressed, might improve sperm quality).

    • Or undertake further tests to identify additional sperm defects (such as DNA damage) that can cause infertility and miscarriage, but which aren’t picked up by a basic semen analysis (that if diagnosed, might be treatable).

    While NICE guidance doesn’t recommend expensive additional tests, simply taking a history shouldn’t be too much of an ask, surely?

    And if a couple are paying thousands of pounds for physically, emotionally and financially demanding fertility treatment, shouldn’t they at least be given the option to discuss the pros and cons of more advanced diagnostics?

    Treating male infertility

    The result of inadequate diagnosis of male infertility is inadequate treatment of male infertility. In that there, er, isn’t any.

    At least, not treatment for men.

    The idea of choosing to put a patient with no medical issues through invasive treatment, in order to treat someone else’s medical issue, sounds ridiculous, right?

    But that’s exactly what happens with male infertility. Rather than diagnosing the cause of the problem – in order to determine the best way to treat it—the default solution is simply to use ICSI to bypass the problem. Job done.

    And yes, the goal is to have a baby — and if that’s going to achieve the desired result, then great.

    Baby in the Womb
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    But women are bearing the physical burden of potentially unnecessary fertility treatment, all because their infertile partners are being ignored by the medical profession — and opportunities to actually treat their problem are being missed.

    Some scientists have even argued that this infringes upon the ‘basic human rights and dignity’ of women.

    For example, a man with infertility problems who’s overweight and smokes might, if he adopts a healthier lifestyle, improve his sperm quality enough to be able to conceive naturally.

    Yet low-cost and effective interventions may be overlooked, simply because no one ever bothered to take a proper history. (see below for more examples)

    And looking at the bigger picture, the unintended consequence of ICSI’s success is that any attention into understanding the causes of male infertility has been diverted into researching treatment for the female — with many experts arguing that since ICSI was introduced 25 years ago, it has effectively roadblocked any further scientific advancement in male infertility.

    Still, it’s not like male factor is a really common cause of infertility, or a massively growing worldwide problem, is it? Oh no, wait. Ah. Doesn’t sound great, does it?

    Inadequate infertility care is failing men, and it’s failing women.

    How much unnecessary time, money and heartache might be saved if men were actually acknowledged as more than just a sperm donor?

    They deserve better. Their partners deserve better.

    Male infertility is a growing problem on a global scale — so when are clinicians going to start taking it more seriously?

     Male infertility: Moments in history

    16th Century fertility diagnostics

    Early diagnostic tests for male infertility weren’t exactly bulletproof. And mainly involved peeing on plants.

    One option was for both partners to pee into a pot that had been planted with barley, and whichever seed sprouted first demonstrated the fertility of the person who had watered it.
    For a more rapid-turnaround test result, both parties would pee on a lettuce leaf, and the person whose urine evaporated from the leaf first was thought to be infertile.

    Presidential potency

    For hundreds of years any inability to conceive was blamed on the woman — as long as the man wasn’t impotent, he was assumed to be fertile.

    US President George Washington was ‘mystified why, year after year, he and [his wife] Martha could produce no Washington heir’. Obviously as the leader of a great nation, there couldn’t possibly be any question of his virility, so the issue evidently had to lie with Martha.

    Except that Martha was a widow, and had given birth to 4 children with her late husband, before she married George.

    So, er, yeah, the woman with 4 kids is definitely the infertile one…

    Sperm under the microscope

    In the 1860s, American gynaecologist James Marion Sims decided to have a quick look at a semen sample under the microscope (he was investigating infertility, it wasn’t just for kicks. At least, you’d hope not).

    And, wait for it…..he saw ACTUAL sperm with his own eyes! Voila, the semen analysis was born.

    A dedicated male fertility laboratory

    In 1945 the Family Planning Association (FPA) opened a dedicated seminological centre — Britain’s first purpose-built laboratory for investigating semen samples.

    It was established in part specifically to help women, aiming to spare them from ‘unnecessary operative procedures’ if it was the husband who was ‘partly or even wholly responsible’ for the couple’s infertility.

    A 1940s fertility story

    In the 1940s a couple went to see a doctor about their inability to conceive: over the course of two years, the woman underwent a catalogue of invasive — and expensive — investigations and treatments.

    Only after all this invasive treatment was unsuccessful did someone suggest that perhaps her husband’s fertility should be tested.

    One simple semen analysis later, and the verdict was in. Not a single sperm was found in the sample. Not one. Neither in any of the subsequent tests.

    Every single procedure the woman endured was totally pointless — all because male factor simply wasn’t a priority.

    A modern day fertility story

    A couple trying since 2013 to get pregnant had seen many doctors and visited multiple clinics. All had focused on the woman’s reproductive system – she had invasive tests, pelvic scans and many months of guilt and crushing disappointment as she ‘failed’ to get pregnant.

    Days before she was about to undergo an HSG – where dye is inserted through the cervix into the uterus using a catheter in order to check its shape and make sure the fallopian tubes are not blocked – that a doctor suggested her husband might have his sperm tested.

    A 5 minute test later, it was found her husband had problems with sperm motility and count. After successful IVF they now have a baby girl, but as she was by now 41, she felt she had run out of time to have the two children she had dreamed of. An earlier diagnosis would have been possible with even the most basic of sperm tests. In many ways, very little has changed since the 1940s.

     

    2018 Male Fertility Stories

    The advanced sperm test

    Melissa and Josh went through 4 cycles of failed ICSI, before Josh had a number of advanced semen tests, including one for ROS levels (oxidative stress), which can affect sperm quality. After a course of antibiotics, lifestyle changes and antioxidant supplements, his ROS levels came down, and their next cycle resulted in twins. Their fertility clinic had never mentioned this test.

    The surgical procedure

    Naomi and Jonathan were referred to a fertility clinic following a diagnosis of male factor infertility. Jonathan already knew that he had a varicocele (a varicose vein in the testicles), however their clinic advised them that going straight to ICSI was the best option. They had 3 failed cycles, finally succeeding on their 4th cycle. When they decided to start trying for a sibling, Jonathan went to see a urologist to discuss removing the varicocele, in the hope of improving his sperm (and increasing their chances of a successful ICSI cycle). A few months after his surgery, they conceived their daughter naturally.

    The hormone treatment

    Priti and Raj were advised to have ICSI due to Raj’s low sperm count. Priti became very ill with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome during their first (and unsuccessful) cycle. In addition to the shame Raj felt about his diagnosis, he felt enormously guilty that Priti had endured such physically gruelling treatment as a result of his infertility problem.

    Desperate to find any way to avoid putting Priti through another cycle, he trawled Google looking for advice, eventually making an appointment with a male fertility specialist.

    Blood tests revealed that Raj had a hormonal imbalance, which was the likely cause of his low sperm count. After a course of hormone tablets, his sperm count improved enough to attempt a less invasive form of fertility treatment (IUI, or intra-uterine insemination) — which was ultimately successful.

     

    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, 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: Menopause at 17: How I came to terms with finding out I couldn’t have children as a teenager

    MORE: Miscarriage is cruel and unfair, and I need to tell you about what happened to me

    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?


    ICSI (artificial fertilization), sperm being injected into egg x800ICSI (artificial fertilization), sperm being injected into egg x800akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdColour enhanced light micrograph.Sample is of human origin.Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an artifical fertilzation technique.Single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of an egg,via a microneedle.Used in treatment of severe male infertility.Baby in the WombICSI (artificial fertilization), sperm being injected into egg x800ICSI (artificial fertilization), sperm being injected into egg x800akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdColour enhanced light micrograph.Sample is of human origin.Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an artifical fertilzation technique.Single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of an egg,via a microneedle.Used in treatment of severe male infertility.Baby in the Womb

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    Look at that drip. Sensual. (Picture: Nando’s)

    Rejoice, northerners, Canadians, and other purveyors of the magic that is a plate of chips covered in gravy.

    Finally, Nando’s is jumping on the gravy bandwagon with their own take on the saucy brown stuff.

    Just for those chilly festive nights, Nando’s is launching peri-peri chicken gravy.

    It’s a gravy made using chicken (as you’d expect), packed with warming, fiery, herby notes (so there’s a bit of spice).

    From 4 December to 31 December, you’ll be able to buy a jug of peri-peri gravy for £1.25, to drizzle over your chips, wings, mash, and anything else you fancy.

    (Picture: Nando’s)

    We tried the Nando’s gravy first last night, and can confirm it’s rich and thick with a touch of spice. Perfect for when it’s freezing outside and you want to load up on comforting carbs.

    Nando’s is going all in on the gravy, making it the shining star of their Christmas menu. No other festive dishes are planned.

    If you fancy giving it a go, just remember to be fairly speedy. It’ll be available in all UK Nando’s locations, but only from 4 December to 31 December.

    After that you’ll need to revert to perinaise and garlic sauce.

    MORE: Vinegar pies and burgers stacked high: The most delicious side of Pittsburgh

    MORE: You can now order a Toby Carvery roast dinner online


    DipOrPour_Pour-e6b0DipOrPour_Pour-e6b0ellencscottDipOrPour_Pour-e6b0DipOrPour_Pour-e6b0ellencscott

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    ‘I don’t use turkey basters when I’m cooking and am not using one at conception.’

    Becky*, who’s in her mid-thirties, placed this ad on Craigslist in an effort to find a sperm donor who would impregnate her naturally. As she clarifies in the ad, ‘this means we need to have a few days of frequent sex.’

    Becky received well over 50 responses to her ad, the majority of them arriving rapidly, within 72 hours of her ad going online. However, the bulk of these ended up in her trash folder.

    ‘There were the predictable photos of nether regions,’ Beck told me in March 2017, approximately two weeks after she posted her ad. ‘Then there were the men who thought they’d prove their virility by telling me about all the women they’ve “helped.” Then there were the ones who didn’t fit my specification of over 5ft 9 and under 40.’

    It’s the first of several times I talk to Becky, interviewing her initially for a Londonist feature about people meeting their babymaking partners online. Although Becky is a rarity – there are less than a handful of ads posted by women looking for natural insemination – Craigslist is awash with ads placed by men offering their services as bareback babymakers.

    Becky, who was aware of these ads, never considered responding to them. She says: ‘God no! The way they advertise is boastful and it’s very much about unprotected sex. They’re good for nothing guys looking for a woman who’s desperate for a baby, who’s prepared to get her kit off and gratefully jump into bed with them. They’ve got no interest in the child long term.’

    Having split up with an infertile boyfriend in the February, Becky wasted no time in launching a search to find a man to make a baby with. ‘My ex and I were together two years and it took a long time to get rid of him, so by the time I finally did, I was ready,’ she explains.

    However, Becky wasn’t looking for a new boyfriend. Extremely aware of her biological clock ticking, she felt she didn’t have time to meet somebody and ‘wait around until he decides if kids are an option’.

    What she wanted was a sperm donor who’d be involved in the child’s life, ideally in much the same way as a real dad would.

    As she considered the options available to her, Becky knew she’d never resort to a one-night stand. ‘When I mentioned paying for a sperm bank, one friend said I should get down to Yates’s where men are looking to give it away for free,’ says Becky. ‘I was horrified – God forbid if I were to catch HIV.’

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

    Instead, Becky looked at co-parenting sites, which match up would-be mums and dads. However, she was quickly discouraged. She explains: ‘I met one guy, and I didn’t even want to shake his hand. He was 5ft 4, with bad skin, and he thought he was God’s gift. It terrified me, because one option was buying frozen swimmers from a bank, and I thought, “what if it comes from someone like this?” I didn’t feel comfortable paying £1,000 plus per cycle for frozen stuff, when the source could be somebody I didn’t even want to shake hands with.’

    So Becky advertised on Craigslist because, ‘it wasn’t going to cost me anything, and if it didn’t work, I hadn’t lost anything.’

    Within three hours of posting the ad, Becky met Ben – who’s now the father of her child.

    In her initial interview with me, Becky tells me about Ben’s response to her ad. ‘It just tells me his age, his height, and that he’s interested in being my donor,’ she said. ‘It was basic, but it was one of the first responses, and it ticked all my boxes, so I asked him to meet me for a coffee.’

    Telling me about the first time they met, Becky says: ‘it was very normal. It was almost like a perfect date, except it wasn’t really a date – it was a very specific and technical request.’

    Having established shared values, the next time they met was for a trip to the clinic for his ‘n’ hers STD tests, then having got the all clear, ‘the third date was a perfectly normal third date. I wasn’t ovulating, but it gave us a chance to see how things would work.’

    Hang on – is this a subtle way of saying they had sex? ‘Yes.’ And now they’ve seen ‘how things would work’ will they be waiting until Becky’s next ovulating before they have sex again? ‘No…’

    Having clearly clicked with Ben, who she describes as ‘absolutely wonderful’, I wonder if Becky sees him as a prospective partner.

    ‘I enjoy his company, but I have been there, done that, got the T-shirt — it’s not a relationship,’ she says. ‘I don’t know how things will turn out between the two of us. A relationship would be an amazing bonus, but it isn’t the goal.’

    Despite their test run on the third date, at this stage Ben is still considering whether he wants to father a child with Becky.

    Becky says: ‘He doesn’t have the options I do. If I decide I can’t go through with it, it’s my body and I have the choices any woman has, in a society like ours. I’d be shocked if I were to make that decision – it would defeat the whole purpose of me going through this, but I have that option. He, on the other hand, doesn’t. So I appreciate him taking the time to think about it.’

    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) The men offering 'natural insemination' metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    I speak to Becky again in June 2017, in the course of a Cosmopolitan investigation into men advertising natural insemination online. Becky is happy to tell me she’s 14 weeks pregnant, having conceived in the first month of trying.

    ‘We had sex about 20 times in the four to five day fertile window,’ she says, which is quite an enthusiastic effort, considering the general advice is to do it every other day around that time.

    Were they really going all out to ensure she got pregnant – or were they just having fun? ‘It was a bit of both,’ says Becky, who tells me she and Ben are now in a relationship. ‘We spend as much time together as our schedules permit, and we’ve agreed to move in together in the autumn.’

    There are no current plans to get married, but Becky doesn’t rule it out: ‘I’m not the biggest fan of marriage and for the time being I’m happy as I am – but maybe when the baby’s born, I’ll feel differently.’

    Having met each other’s friends and family – most of whom believe they met on Match – Becky and Ben’s relationship is solid, with one of Becky’s friends telling her, ‘this is exactly the sort of guy you should’ve got involved with years ago.’

    But it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Despite being happy when he first found out Becky was pregnant, Ben had second thoughts a week or so later.

    ‘He got very nervous, and said he didn’t think he was ready for this, and asked whether I had to proceed down this path,’ says Becky, who recalls that she was in tears. She agreed to consider an abortion, ‘then I decided actually, no – that wasn’t an option,’ says Becky. ‘He could walk away, that was his right and I’d think nothing less of him for doing that. But we both knew exactly what we were doing, and I don’t believe in abortion as a form of contraception.’

    Having got over his cold feet, Ben is back on board, and planning their baby’s social calendar with friends whose babies are due around the same time.

    Becky, who’s still hurt that Ben asked her terminate the pregnancy, says: ‘I’m not the most forgiving person. I’m closer to forgiving him than I’ve ever been to forgiving anybody. But when he talked about who our baby ought to hang around with, I said the only reason it’s still alive is because of me, so I’ll decide who it goes on playdates with.’

    At this stage, I asked Becky if she’d had any wobbles or regrets herself. She tells me: ‘At the eight week scan, when they’re rooting around with this probe, like they’re looking for something in your handbag, that was a bit uncomfortable. But I’ve been very lucky – this baby has had the good sense not to give me any morning sickness, so no – no regrets at all. Call me halfway through labour and it might be a different situation!’

    The next time I speak to Becky, it’s May 2018. She tells me the baby is now six months old – and she and Ben are engaged. Craigslist’s personals section has now been removed, and I ask Becky how she feels about that.

    She says: ‘It’s the site on which my fiancé and I met, and how our smiley, happy child came into existence. For a lot of my friends, it would be like closing down The Underworld in Camden, because that was where they met the people they got seriously involved with, and had children with.

    ‘Our world is no longer just physical, it’s much more part of virtual reality, and changes to the internet landscape are every bit as worthy of being grieved over as physical changes.’

    Telling me she’s ‘totally delighted’ she took a chance on Craigslist, Becky says the realities of bringing up a newborn baby have made her especially glad she has Ben to share the parenting with.

    She says: ‘It’s having a partner you can turn to at 2am, when you’re exhausted and at your wits end, who you can hand the baby to and say, “please, just take the baby, I need some sleep.”

    ‘I love my baby, but there’s a time when you are so sleep deprived – and at that point, I needed somebody else there. There was no way that would have happened with donated sperm.’

    Catching up with Becky this week for Metro.co.uk’s Fertility Month, she tells me she and Ben are still together and they’re planning on celebrating the baby’s first birthday in a few days. Speaking to Metro.co.uk Becky says: ‘The family is well – we’ve been living together for about a year now – and we’re hoping to have another baby!’

    Relationship expert Jo Hemmings says she understands why women would look online for men to father their children.

    ‘There’s very little we can’t do online these days, and there’s an anonymity about it that women are unlikely to experience when visiting clinics,’ Jo tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Perhaps they anticipate difficult questions, or worry they may be judged for their decision – and if they have any doubts, they may not want these exposed.

    ‘But it’s also about our lifestyles. The women I most frequently see are 39 year old successful professional women, who have reached the age where if they want a family they need to start focusing on their personal lives fast.

    ‘With potential partners thin on the ground and time not on their side, getting pregnant via an online site can seem very tempting indeed.’

    *Names have been changed.

    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, 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: Menopause at 17: How I came to terms with finding out I couldn’t have children as a teenager

    MORE: Miscarriage is cruel and unfair, and I need to tell you about what happened to me

    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?


    Woman who got pregnant through natural inseminationWoman who got pregnant through natural inseminationellencscottnow that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) The men offering 'natural insemination' metro illustrationsWoman who got pregnant through natural inseminationWoman who got pregnant through natural inseminationellencscottnow that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) The men offering 'natural insemination' metro illustrations

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    Where do you put the flashiest restaurant on a cruise ship – top, middle, front, back? Tell you what, let’s stick it on the side instead.

    That’s what’s happened with newcomer Celebrity Edge – and, as if you wouldn’t notice it anyway, they’ve painted it bright tangerine to make it stand out.

    Why on the side? Well, the Magic Carpet, as it is called, not only has great views but – as the name suggests – can also move up and down between 14 decks, performing a variety of functions from being a dining venue to becoming an extension of the pool area or acting as boarding platform when passengers take a boat to shore.

    Sea views: The Magic Carpet restaurant (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    But the Magic Carpet is not the only thing that strikes you when you first see Celebrity Edge. Most modern cruise ships have tiers of balconies while this one just seems to have a wall of glass.

    This is because most cabins have what are called ‘infinite balconies’ – instead of having a separate outside area, the rooms stretch all the way to the edge (hence the name of the ship).

    To feel the sea breeze on your face, simply press a button and the top half of the floor-to-ceiling window winds down. If you want to sit ‘outside’, you can close two dividing doors behind you and the rest of the cabin.

    Outside in: A cabin with an ‘infinite balcony’ (Picture: Dave Monk)

    The infinite balconies were designed by former Dragons’ Den star Kelly Hoppen and, if she’d pitched it to me, I would have loved to tell her: ‘Sorry, Kelly, it’s a “No” from me and I’m out.’

    But, even after a couple of days on board, I was beginning to warm to the idea, especially the extra area you gain.

    The bigger cabins are part of an over-riding theme of space, style and sophistication around the whole ship. Thought-provoking and eye-catching works of art take up whole walls or even rooms. Paintings appear to drip on to the floor or guests can peer behind angled boards to see the inside of the hull.

    Relaxing: The Rooftop Garden (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    On the top deck is a Roof Garden and beside the large swimming pool a light, bright and airy Solarium.

    A three-storey venue called Eden, which has huge windows to the sea, transforms from a relaxed lounge with a salad bar cafe in the morning and afternoon to a night-time venue with exotically dressed dancers performing in front of spectators sipping cocktails made with fresh ingredients from plants grown on an 18ft-high wall.

    The Grand Plaza at the centre of the ship also spans three levels, centred on a Martini bar.

    Impressive: The Grand Plaza (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    Then there’s The Club, a space which hosts games such as laser tag during the day then becomes a dance venue in the evening. But not just any old nightclub – on some evenings guests can walk through a ‘scanner’ and be given a new alien identity to act out with role-playing dancers.

    And not forgetting the theatre as well, putting on performances including the Shakespeare-inspired A Hot Summer Night’s Dream and Kaleidoscope, described as a high-energy music and dance extravagance.

    Naturally, on a ship with nearly 3,000 passengers, the Magic Carpet is not the only place to eat. In all, there are 29 restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges.

    Taste of Italy: The Tuscan restaurant (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    Four complimentary dining venues share 75% of the same menu. The rest of the dishes vary with each location – the Tuscan restaurant serves Italian food, Normandie is French, Cyprus is Mediterranean and Cosmopolitan is inspired by New York fare.

    When booking their cruise, passengers are assigned a table at one of these four venues at one of two sittings – 6pm or 8.30pm – but can try out others if there is space.

    For an extra $55 (£44) a person they can instead eat at the Fine Cut steakhouse or Le Petit Chef, an amazing experience where tiny 3D characters appear to prepare the food in front of your eyes before full-sized waiters bring out the actual dishes.

    Evening dip: The pool area (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    Other venues either have a cover charge or are a la carte.

    Should you feel peckish during the day, you can nip into various cafes, grab a burger from the Mast Grill or treat yourself to a pizza or ice cream.

    To work off those calories, there’s a fitness centre – and a spa offering a choice of 124 treatments to ease those aching joints afterwards.

    Guests who prefer a little exclusivity can stay in two Iconic Suites, sited above the captain’s bridge, or one of six two-level Edge Villas.

    Sea view: The balcony on one of the Iconic Suites (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    All suite guests can use The Retreat with its own sundeck, pool and bar.

    Many things are different on this ground-breaking ship, down to the launches that carry passengers to the shore. Instead of cramped, plastic benches, the boats have wonderfully comfortable padded seats.

    I joined the Edge on its first passenger cruise from Fort Lauderdale in Florida ahead of the ship’s naming by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on December 4, 2018. Afterwards it will begin a season of Caribbean cruises.

    Sun trap: The Solarium (Picture: Celebrity Cruises)

    But, if you are prepared to wait, you can see the 1,000ft-long vessel when it visits Southampton in May 2019.

    Sister ship Celebrity Apex will also be named in the south coast port in spring 2020.

    Celebrity Cruises has been so impressed with its latest addition that it is spending $500million – around £400million – on the rest of the fleet to bring it up to the same level. It’s also introducing a 100-passenger ship, Celebrity Flora, in the Galapagos Islands in 2019.

    Of all the cruise ships launched this year, this one has the Edge when it comes to being strikingly different. Even if you’ve never considered a holiday at sea before, this is worth checking out.

    A nine-night Caribbean fly/cruise on Celebrity Edge costs from £3,429 a person, based on two people sharing an infinite balcony room, based on an April 2019 departure (celebritycruises.co.uk, 0800 441 4054).

    Dave has reviewed a whole fleet of new ships for Metro.co.uk this year, including Symphony of the Seas, Carnival Horizon and Norwegian Bliss. He also writes about cruising on his award-winning blog, shipmonk.co.uk

    MORE: Hiking, kayaking and even gyming: This is probably the most active expedition cruise to Greenland you can do

    MORE: Two friends who met on holiday as kids are reunited through Twitter 15 years on


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    In this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center back, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed "Knickers", is believed to be the tallest in the country and weighs about 1.4 tons, local media reported. (Channel 7's Today Tonight via AP)
    Knickers is the black and white cow. Can you see him? (Picture: Channel 7’s Today Tonight/AP)

    Over in Australia lives a very large cow.

    Or, if we’re being technically accurate, a very large steer, which is a neutered male.

    His name is Knickers.

    He is 6 ft 4in tall standing and weighs 1,400kg.

    That’s actually a tiny bit shorter than the steer that holds the world record for size, Bellino, who lives in Italy, but it is still very, very large.

    So large, in fact, that he’s too big to be killed and sold as meat. Meat processors say they just can’t take him as he’s too large for them to deal with.

    Looking at photos of Knickers next to other, normal-sized cows, we can see why meaty types wouldn’t want to bother with Knickers. He is a large boy.

    In this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed "Knickers", is believed to be the tallest in the country and weighs about 1.4 tons, local media reported. (Channel 7's Today Tonight via AP)
    A large boy (Picture: Channel 7’s Today Tonight/AP)

    Instead of being turned into burgers, Knickers will live out his days on the Lake Preston feedlot in Myalup, Australia.

    And while he may not be much use for farmers, Knickers has found an important purpose: inspiring the people of the internet.

    Having seen photos of his majestic stature, people are flocking to proclaim Knickers their new icon and ruler.

    Thank you, Knickers, for bringing the people of the internet into one uniting sentiment: that is a very large cow.

    If you’re wondering how a cow became so large, the answer is we just don’t know.

    Perth Now reports that Knickers’ owners bought him for $400 as a ‘coach’ – an animal that could lead the other animals on the farm.

    ‘It’s just a freaky thing,’ say his owners.

    MORE: Dog with rare medical condition has his very own high chair to help him eat

     


    Australia Huge SteerAustralia Huge SteerellencscottIn this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center back, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed Australia Huge SteerAustralia Huge SteerellencscottIn this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center back, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed "Knickers", is believed to be the tallest in the country and weighs about 1.4 tons, local media reported. (Channel 7's Today Tonight via AP)In this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed "Knickers", is believed to be the tallest in the country and weighs about 1.4 tons, local media reported. (Channel 7's Today Tonight via AP)

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    Welcome to Mixed Up, a new series looking at the highs, lows and unique experiences of being mixed-race.

    Mixed-race is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the UK. It means your parents hail from two (or more) different ethnicities, leaving you somewhere in the middle.

    In 2001, when the ‘mixed’ categories were first introduced to the national census, mixed-race people made up 1.3% of the population. Fast-forward 10 years, and that figure almost doubles to 2.3%.

    It’s a trajectory that’s unlikely to slow down.

    Alongside the unique pleasures and benefits of being exposed to multiple cultures, being mixed comes with complexities, conflicts and innate contradictions.

    For many, it’s about occupying two identities simultaneously, reconciling the differences and trying to carve out a space to exist between the two.

    The mainstream understanding of being mixed-race most often refers to people who are white and black Caribbean, or white and black African. But the voices of the mixed-race diaspora extend far beyond this.

    Mixed Up is a new series that aims to elevate those voices, look deeper at the nuanced realities of being mixed-race and provide an insight into the inner workings of this rapidly growing ethnic group.

    Dawn-Maria France is a broadcaster and Editor in Chief of Yorkshire Women’s Life Magazine.

    Mixed Race People Pictured: Dawn (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)
    Dawn-Maria France (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    She says she’s incredibly proud of her family’s diverse make-up, and acutely aware that her mix can be traced directly to the slave trade.

    ‘My Dad was half Indian and half Caribbean, and my Mum was a quarter Indian and Caribbean as well,’ Dawn tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘We think that because there were indentured slaves who came from India to the Caribbean, and they replaced the Africans picking cotton – that might be where the mix came from.

    ‘When we did trace the family history, we realised that my Grandad’s line links all the way back to Mumbai. And, of course, my Mum’s goes back to Africa, because it was the African enslaved who came to the Caribbean, via the British.’

    When Dawn’s parents were younger, mixed-race people and interracial relationships were a lot rarer than they are now in the UK. Dawn thinks this provided her with a really unique childhood experience for a woman of her generation.

    ‘For me, I found it empowering,’ explains Dawn.

    ‘People described my house as a Sikh temple because it had all these Asian artifacts, my Dad did lots of chanting and meditation. My Mum brought her African and Caribbean ancestry to the household. So it was a very diverse home.

    ‘I think that enabled me to see people in different lights. It made me more tolerant and more respectful, more conscious and embracing of other people’s differences. I think my parents gave me that.

    ‘Growing up I had images of Buddha, Sikh leaders and Christian images on the walls of my house – but it wasn’t confusing, no, it was actually a privilege to be able to make my own decisions about faith and belief, having had more of an education than most.

    ‘My earliest memory is of going to the Sikh temple with my Dad. I was that little girl who wanted a sari more than anything else – and I still feel like that little girl now.’

    Dawn’s spirituality plays a big part in her life. She says she owes her beliefs and her outlook on the world to both her parents, but it was her Dad’s Eastern religious leanings that really took hold.

    ‘Being taught by my dad how to chant and how to meditate when I was very little is something that I will always cherish. I still chant and meditate now and I identify more as a Buddhist. To be able to link that directly back to my ancestors in Mumbai is incredibly special.

    ‘That melting pot that makes me who I am, it is something that I will always be immensely proud of.’

    Journalist and Broadcaster Dawn Maria France with mother
    Dawn-Maria with her mother (Picture: Dawn-Maria France/Metro.co.uk)

    When Dawn was growing up in the 60s and 70s, she faced her fair share of discrimination and prejudice. People didn’t know what to call her, and weren’t used to the idea of someone being mixed.

    ‘When I was younger, I did get called half-caste. My mum found that very offensive, and hard to tolerate,’ Dawn tells us.

    ‘Half-caste comes from a very dark place. It originates from slavery. It was the name for the children who were the offspring of slave owners – and it was almost always said to me in a degrading way.

    ‘I class myself as a black woman, but I normally say that I am a woman of colour, because when I define myself I want to acknowledge my dad and my ancestors as well.

    ‘This is the terminology with which I choose to describe myself – because it’s important to make those decisions and not let other people define you.

    ‘Half-caste was a label that was put on to me, as opposed to choosing it for myself, which is why I found it so hard to swallow.’

    Things have changed. Mixed-race is a common term, and, overall, acceptance of diversity in the UK is improving. If slowly.

    But Dawn thinks there has been a shift in the last few months, and that we’re teetering on the edge of stepping backwards – into less tolerant times.

    ‘Since Brexit, I’ve found that people want to dissect you more,’ explains Dawn.

    ‘And I find that quite alarming, because I don’t really understand what’s changed – I’m still the same person. Although we’ve moved forward a lot, there’s still that insidious element of distrust and underlying negativity towards anyone perceived as different.

    ‘I saw something in the news the other day – there was a racist cell in the Midlands who said they wanted to kill black people and mixed-race people – and I couldn’t believe that there are still people, albeit a minority, but people who hold such violent beliefs.

    ‘It’s so sad to see that there is still that element in this country – we still have to battle against it.’

    In the long-term, Dawn just wants people who are mixed-race to be treated in the same way as everyone else.

    ‘I think it’s really important to just let people live their lives. Everyone’s an individual, we’re all different – as a mixed-race woman I don’t want to be treated in any particular way, I just want to exist.

    ‘I see myself as a citizen of the world, and I embrace that. I don’t think it’s about your race, or your culture, it’s about individuals, and respecting people for who they are – not for how you perceive them aesthetically.

    ‘I look at Prince Harry marrying Meghan. They fell in love. It doesn’t matter what Meghan’s genetic make-up is, she’s an intelligent, articulate woman – and Harry understandably fell in love with her. That’s all there is to it, so I wish people would leave it alone.

    ‘The relationship has been dissected to death because of Meghan’s ethnicity, and it needs to stop.’

    People often ask Dawn if she found it difficult growing up with such conflicting cultures under one roof – but she tells them there was nothing difficult about it.

    ‘I look at my circle of friends, they come from all backgrounds and all cultures, and I know that my parents instilled that into me – and I’m grateful that they did that,’ she explains.

    ‘My mother always taught me to embrace my differences. She said that I exist out of love, and that I should never forget that.

    ‘After the torture and the horror of the indentured Indians and Africans working as slaves in the Caribbean – out of that struggle, came this love between two individuals, and of course – I’m the result of that.’

    Mixed Up is a weekly series focused on telling the stories of mixed-race people. Next week we speak to Austin. He says he often feels disconnected from the Vietnamese side of his heritage.

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Being Chinese and Jamaican isn’t as unusual as you might think’

    MORE: My baby’s delivery was traumatic and I blame the strong black woman stereotype

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


    Mixed Race People - DawnMixed Race People - Dawnnataliemorris88Mixed Race People Pictured: Dawn (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)Journalist and Broadcaster Dawn Maria France with motherMixed Race People - DawnMixed Race People - Dawnnataliemorris88Mixed Race People Pictured: Dawn (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)Journalist and Broadcaster Dawn Maria France with mother

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