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

older | 1 | .... | 1464 | 1465 | (Page 1466) | 1467 | 1468 | .... | 1851 | newer

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    Months before she met the man who she’d marry, Stephanie Agew lost her sight.

    She’d inherited a condition called cone-rod dystrophy, which leads to an impairment of vision or blindness.

    She’d lived next door to Rob Campbell for 18 months, but didn’t cross paths until October 2016, when they met at a drinks event held by the apartment building.

    Stephanie has never seen Rob, but even after getting off on the wrong foot (she thought he was a bit too much at first), they quickly fell in love.

    On Christmas day 2017, Rob popped the question, and this month they got married.

    Naturally, the wedding was pretty spectacular.

    Wedding guests wear blindfolds at blind bride's wedding Mark Pawlyszyn
    (Picture: Mark Pawlyszyn)

    To experience the world as Stephanie for a few moments, guests wore blindfolds during the wedding vows.

    The location was on the same road as Stephanie’s great aunt’s house, where she had visited as a child, so she could remember the amazing view over the Glasshouse Mountains.

    Rather than a ringbearing toddler, Stephanie and Rob had an owl from Raptor Vision fly down the aisle, land on Stephanie’s arm, and deliver the rings.

    (Picture: James Day)

    The flowers were selected to be especially fragrant, and staff at the venue, Weddings at Tiffany’s, took the time to describe every detail to the bride. Every piece of fabric was infused with essential oils so Stephanie could be reminded of different parts of the day years later.

    The entire thing was captured by photographer James Day and videographers Lemon Tree Film House.

    ‘When we lose one of our senses the others become heightened,’ said James. ‘This allows us to experience something as beautiful as these vows in a totally unique way. Today, we get to experience them from Steph’s perspective.

    (Picture: James Day)

    ‘I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few tears myself. In fact, I was a bawling mess seeing Steph walk up the aisle.

    ‘It was easily the most emotional wedding ceremony I’ve ever been a part of.’

    The team at Lemon Tree Film House added: ‘To capture Steph and Rob’s wedding day through film has to have been the most overwhelming experience of our lives.

    ‘We watched as Rob saw Steph for the first time and were reminded of the hundreds of times our brides have told us that seeing their groom’s face as she walks down the aisle was the most important moment for them.

    (Picture: James Day)

    ‘Here was Steph looking so stunning that she took Rob’s breath away and yet she couldn’t see her own beauty nor Rob’s expression of complete adoration herself.

    ‘It’s humbling. It’s powerful. It’s love. It’s love that knows no bounds.

    ‘The daily challenges they successfully overcome and the unwavering physical and emotional support they provide for one another far exceeds anything most of us have to contend with.

    ‘Quite simply, they are amazing human beings.’

    MORE: Best man dresses in wedding gown to prank groom’s first look

    MORE: My best friend saved my life when he spoke to me about my problems. I want other men to do the same


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    (Picture: Costa)

    You know the struggle of trying to find your card while balancing your coffee in one hand and your bad in the other.

    It could be a thing of the past with Costa’s new contactless coffee cup.

    Instead of fishing around in your bag or your pocket for your card, you can just tap the bottom of your cup and off you go.

    The silicone base, which contains the contactless chip, is detachable so you can wash it.

    (Picture: Costa)

    It can be used anywhere with contactless payments – not just in Costa stores, so you can use your coffee cup to pay for your shopping almost anywhere.

    The Clever Cups are powered by bPay by Barclaycard technology, which means you can track your spending, top up your balance and even block the contactless payment element online if you leave your cup on the Tube on the way home.

    It might even encourage you to remember your reusable cup instead of always throwing your cups away.

    Jason Cotta, Managing Director at Costa Coffee said: ‘Contactless technology has become increasingly prominent in our daily lives and through the launch of the new Costa/Barclaycard Clever Cup we hope to appeal to those tech-savvy customers to help facilitate and drive environmentally friendly behaviour.

    ‘Whilst we are committed to ensuring more takeaway coffee cups are recovered and recycled we also want to incentivise and reward customers who help reduce the number of takeaway cups being wasted.

    ‘We already offer a 25p discount on hot drinks in all our stores for customers using reusable cups, and hope the innovative Clever Cup will become an additional incentive for increasing the use of reusable cups.’

    (Picture: Costa)

    Rob Morgan, Head of Sales and Partnerships, at Barclays said: ‘Today’s shoppers are looking for seamless ways to pay.

    ‘Our wearable chip technology allows almost any accessory to be transformed into a smart payment device, unlocking the benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases.

    ‘We’re proud to be working with Costa Coffee to give the UK another compelling reason to carry a reusable cup as part of their daily routine.’

    The new Clever Cup is priced at £14.99, with a £1 donation from every sale going to The Costa Foundation and is available from all Costa Coffee stores now.

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

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

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


    SH_L5944-6db3SH_L5944-6db3lauraabernethy6SH_L5944-6db3SH_L5944-6db3lauraabernethy6

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    (Picture: Lidl)

    Whether you’re all about the festive spirit or dread the annual shindigs, you probably don’t want to pay too much for Christmas decor.

    Good news then that everyone’s favourite budget retailer Lidl is selling its first ever Christmas tree at its signature bargain prices.

    With the big day less than a month away now, forget about fussing over which pine or fir tree to go for, just head to any of Lidl’s 720 stores to pick up your low-maintenance pot.

    The Lidl supplier is a tree co-op named Needlefresh, and all Christmas trees are sourced and grown in the Black Isle in Scotland (Photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

    You can opt for a real fresh-cut Nordmann Fir tree for £19.99 or £16.99 for one in a pot.

    The low-cost supermarket has sourced the trees from a co-op called Needlefresh who grow them in the Black Isle in Scotland.

    Set in 2,000 acres of green farmland, growers in the Scottish Highlands also hand-prune each tree.

    (Picture: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

    All of Lidl’s trees are also LEAF Certified which means each one has been grown sustainably. If you want to find out more about your own tree, you can track your tree online to find out exactly where it was grown.

    To keep trees in their festive finery for as long as possible, Lidl recommends leaving it outside until it’s ready for decoration. Once inside, keep it away from direct heat and pop it into a pot. Healthy trees can drink up to a pint of water a day, so be sure to keep it topped up.

    The trees will be available in-store from Thursday 29 November.

    If all this talk of Christmas trees has made you hungry for whatever reason then don’t forget, everyone’s other fave budget retailer, Iceland, is selling pine tree flavoured crisps.

    All in the spirit of Christmas eh.

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

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

    MORE: How to protect your Christmas tree from your cat


    Lidl's first christmas treeLidl's first christmas treefaimabakar1Lidl's first christmas treeLidl's first christmas treefaimabakar1

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    (Picture: Getty)

    It’s the diet favoured by celebs including Victoria Beckham and Kate Hudson, and proponents claim it makes them feel better than ever.

    But is the alkaline diet rooted in science, will it help you lose weight, and are the claimed health benefits real?

    The basics of the diet is that you have to try and maintain a blood pH kevel of of 7.365 (which is ever-so-slightly alkaline).

    Alkaline promoting foods include most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, as well as some nuts, seeds, and legumes.

    You can eat these without limiting (although you should aim for 80% fruit and vegetables and 20% of grains and proteins).

    You will, however, have to cut out dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, processed foods, and possibly caffeine and alcohol depending on which version of the diet you follow.

    On top of eating certain foods only, you have to be careful about how they’re cooked, as sometimes cooking can change the acidity levels of foods.

    If you’re already vegan, this diet would be easier to get started on, as you’re not limiting as many foods straight off the bat.

    There is very little fat and sugar in the diet, and many allergens such as peanuts and shellfish are omitted so it could be useful for people sensitive to certain things.

    Despite the fact a number of outlets will try to sell you alkaline-infused products and supplements, you don’t need to buy anything specific to follow the plan.

    Those who are fans of the alkaline diet say it can help with everything from arthritis to diabetes to cancer, and even reverse the process of aging.

    Authors with books on the topic also argue it can boost energy levels, reduce headaches, and help you sleep better.

    However, Dr. Melinda Ratini says on WebMD that no food can alter your blood pH levels in any meaningful way as your body already regulates this.

    Robert Young, ‘PhD’, the man reported to have invented the alkaline diet was ‘convicted of two charges of practising medicine without a license’.

    He was forced, before receiving a 44-month sentence to declare: ‘I do not have any post-high school educational degrees from any accredited schools. I am not a Microbiologist. I am not a Hematologist. I am not a Medical Doctor. I am not a Naturopathic Doctor. I am not a trained scientist.’

    Despite all of this, however, the diet itself – being full of fruit, veg, and proteins and low in saturated fats and refined sugars – could be good for you and help you to lose weight.

    There is currently no evidence to suggest that an alkaline diet can have any bearing on cancer, however, so you should always speak to a medical professional about any diet changes.

    It will be a tough plan to follow, and cutting out major food groups is a big change, so if you do choose to go ahead with the alkaline diet plan, be aware that it’s not a quick fix, will take a lot of planning, and won’t miraculously cure any ailments you might have.

    MORE: Costa launches coffee cup with a built in contactless card

    MORE: Deadly bacteria is being ignored and should be taken more seriously


    Healthy selection of vegetablesHealthy selection of vegetablesjessicacvlHealthy selection of vegetablesHealthy selection of vegetablesjessicacvl

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    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Mum-of-two Kelly Young wanted to make a quick buck by selling a pair of Timberand boots she no longer wanted.

    Wanting to be more economical, she wrapped up and sent the green shoes to a customer who bought the shoes on eBay.

    But she forgot one very important thing she’d previously hidden inside the shoe box – a six-inch vibrator.

    And sadly for Kelly, she was reminded of it after a man bought the item for his wife as an anniversary gift who found it wedged inside.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: TIMBERLAND BOOTS AND VIBRATOR AFTER CUSTOMER OPENED PARCEL) A 'mortified' mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customer who bought her shoes as an wedding anniversary gift on eBay - forgetting she had hidden her vibrator in the box. Single mum-of-two Kelly Young, 22, sold a pair of green Timberland boots on eBay last week to a man who was buying them for his wife's anniversary present. While wrapping them for delivery, Kelly forgot she had hidden the six inch sex aid in a shoe box away from prying eyes - oblivious to the fact she was sending it to the puzzled couple. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    It wasn’t until Kelly, from Bracknell, Berkshire, received a message from the customer’s wife asking ‘have you lost something?’ along with a picture of the sex toy that she realised her mistake.

    Kelly said she was so embarrassed by the free bonus gift she sent that she plucked up the courage to reply days later – and has yet to receive a response.

    ‘I was so shocked when I opened that message,’ she said.

    ‘The woman just said “my husband bought these shoes off you. Are you missing something?”

    ‘I won’t be asking her to send it back in the post, that’s for sure.’

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: KELLY YOUNG'S ORIGINAL POST SELLING TIMBERLAND BOOTS) A 'mortified' mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customer who bought her shoes as an wedding anniversary gift on eBay - forgetting she had hidden her vibrator in the box. Single mum-of-two Kelly Young, 22, sold a pair of green Timberland boots on eBay last week to a man who was buying them for his wife's anniversary present. While wrapping them for delivery, Kelly forgot she had hidden the six inch sex aid in a shoe box away from prying eyes - oblivious to the fact she was sending it to the puzzled couple. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    Not sure if the vibrator is new though (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    The stay-at-home mum admits she now worried they thought she’d sent an ill-judged anniversary present.

    ‘I don’t know if they thought I’d done it as a little joke,’ she added.

    ‘I was worried she thought I’d sent it to her husband on purpose, because he had told me it was their anniversary.

    ‘I’d had three other people watching them but unfortunately, he was the unlucky one who got the special surprise.

    ‘I can remember hiding it in my shoe so no-one would see it if they came to my flat.

    ‘But funnily enough, my friend Kayleigh actually tried the shoes on a few weeks before. I remember her putting the toy back in the shoe and we nearly wet ourselves laughing.

    ‘She put it back in my shoe, I completely forgot, wrapped the shoes up and sent them.

    ‘I put them in the shoe box and it didn’t feel like there was anything in there – let alone a sex toy.

    ‘The first person I told was Kayleigh. We were crying with laughter again, we couldn’t speak.

    ‘It was a bit shocking. It’s not something that happens every day.’

    Certainly not.

    MORE: Amazon shoppers ‘horrified’ by porn film listed in ‘Dad Gifts’ section

    MORE: Mum says son’s CBeebies toy sounds like a woman having an orgasm

    MORE: Researchers find that nice men have more sex


    mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customermum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customerfaimabakar1PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: TIMBERLAND BOOTS AND VIBRATOR AFTER CUSTOMER OPENED PARCEL) A 'mortified' mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customer who bought her shoes as an wedding anniversary gift on eBay - forgetting she had hidden her vibrator in the box. Single mum-of-two Kelly Young, 22, sold a pair of green Timberland boots on eBay last week to a man who was buying them for his wife's anniversary present. While wrapping them for delivery, Kelly forgot she had hidden the six inch sex aid in a shoe box away from prying eyes - oblivious to the fact she was sending it to the puzzled couple. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: KELLY YOUNG'S ORIGINAL POST SELLING TIMBERLAND BOOTS) A 'mortified' mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customer who bought her shoes as an wedding anniversary gift on eBay - forgetting she had hidden her vibrator in the box. Single mum-of-two Kelly Young, 22, sold a pair of green Timberland boots on eBay last week to a man who was buying them for his wife's anniversary present. While wrapping them for delivery, Kelly forgot she had hidden the six inch sex aid in a shoe box away from prying eyes - oblivious to the fact she was sending it to the puzzled couple. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customermum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customerfaimabakar1PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: TIMBERLAND BOOTS AND VIBRATOR AFTER CUSTOMER OPENED PARCEL) A 'mortified' mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customer who bought her shoes as an wedding anniversary gift on eBay - forgetting she had hidden her vibrator in the box. Single mum-of-two Kelly Young, 22, sold a pair of green Timberland boots on eBay last week to a man who was buying them for his wife's anniversary present. While wrapping them for delivery, Kelly forgot she had hidden the six inch sex aid in a shoe box away from prying eyes - oblivious to the fact she was sending it to the puzzled couple. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: KELLY YOUNG'S ORIGINAL POST SELLING TIMBERLAND BOOTS) A 'mortified' mum accidentally sent her sex toy to a customer who bought her shoes as an wedding anniversary gift on eBay - forgetting she had hidden her vibrator in the box. Single mum-of-two Kelly Young, 22, sold a pair of green Timberland boots on eBay last week to a man who was buying them for his wife's anniversary present. While wrapping them for delivery, Kelly forgot she had hidden the six inch sex aid in a shoe box away from prying eyes - oblivious to the fact she was sending it to the puzzled couple. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Unsolicited advice sucks, especially when it’s on your appearance.

    One woman had the misfortune of receiving some from a man who commented on her hair via dating app Plenty of Fish.

    She shared the message in which he told her that her natural curly hair wasn’t good enough.

    ‘Very attractive, beautiful, let your hair grow long and straight, no disrespect intended or trying to offend you, I’m telling you from a guy’s perception’ he wrote to her.

    But she didn’t have any time for his backhanded compliment. She simply replied: ‘I style my hair how I want to’.

    (Picture: Getty)

    Posting on a curly hair forum on Reddit, the user who goes by the name YerBlues69, said she was sick of being told that straight hair is the better option.

    ‘Unsolicited advice. I’ve got naturally curly hair and this guy sends me this message,’ she wrote.  ‘I just had to share. It bothers me to no end that people think curlies would look better with straight hair. Why should we change our God-given hair texture to look better for you? vent over.’

    And others were feeling her energy, commending her for the blunt reply to the dude.

    ‘News flash, women don’t exist to give guys something pretty to look at! You do you, sis,’ wrote one user.

    ‘Some men really still don’t understand that all the effort we put into ourselves is, shockingly, for us,’ wrote another.

    Others shared their experiences of internalising the message that straightening hair is more beautiful, professional, and synonymous with ‘making an effort’.

    Some women shared anecdotes of boyfriends who told them to flatten their curls while others said their partners love their natural looks.

    ‘I feel like rejecting the curly hair, is rejecting a huge natural part of oneself,’ wrote a person, ‘I don’t want to feel uncomfortable in my own relationship. I could not.’

    Meanwhile, one person suggested that the man who gave the unsolicited advice might’ve been doing it for a sinister reason, like negging.

    ‘I have a feeling this was his attempt at negging,’ they explained. ‘Negging- an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator’s approval.’

    While we don’t know the original poster’s reasons, we can categorically say don’t offer advice to people about their hair if you’re putting them down, especially if you don’t know them.

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

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

    MORE: Woman spends four years growing her fingernails 12cm long


    Looking like a modern day mother natureLooking like a modern day mother naturefaimabakar1Looking like a modern day mother natureLooking like a modern day mother naturefaimabakar1

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    (Picture: Argos)

    Attention, cat owners: Argos is selling a Christmas tree that is virtually impossible for your fur babies to ruin.

    One of the most festive times of the year comes when putting your Christmas tree up. You shove some Christmas music on and cover it in baubles, tinsel and fairy lights.

    But then your cat comes along and ruins it all, by climbing the tree, pushing the branches onto the floor and getting all tangled up in the tinsel.

    (Picture: Argos)

    But Argos is battling that exact problem with new parasol Christmas trees – which feature branches so high they’re completely out of your cat’s reach.

    The Christmas tree is 6ft, and is selling for £33.33 – and there’s pretty much no way for your cat to climb it without failing.

    The product description reads: ‘Keep your perfectly placed baubles, bows and bells out of reach of curious, crawling kids or your cats’ playful paws with this 6ft parasol tree.

    (Picture: Argos)

    ‘If Santa’s been extra generous, there’s plenty of room to stack pressies underneath rather than scattering them around it. It’s also a great alternative to the traditional tree if you’re a tad tight for space.’

    Sure, it’s not quite the magical Christmas tree we’re all after, but if it saves waking up to baubles all over the floor every morning throughout December, it’s well worth it.

    MORE: Costa launches coffee cup with a built in contactless card

    MORE: Lidl is selling its first ever, very real Christmas trees


    Argos Is Selling These 'Parasol Christmas Trees' For Cat OwnersArgos Is Selling These 'Parasol Christmas Trees' For Cat OwnershattiegladwellmetroArgos Is Selling These 'Parasol Christmas Trees' For Cat OwnersArgos Is Selling These 'Parasol Christmas Trees' For Cat Ownershattiegladwellmetro

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    Caption: Recycled snowman
    Apex

    At last, our prodigious Friday night Pinot Grigio guzzling has a productive outcome.

    Somerset pub The Queen Victoria Inn in Priddy have come up with an inventive use for empties and created a 20ft recycled glass snowman.

    PIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: "Ben is a very talented engineer and this is the result. "It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place. "There's been lots of responses - people really like it." This picture shows Mark Walton outside the Queen Victoria Inn. SEE STORY BY APEX NEWS - 01392 823144 ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS AND PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145
    (Picture: APEX NEWS AND PICTURES)

    The unusual festive display, made with more than 2000 wine bottles, is the latest in a series of eye-catching Christmas presentations outside the pub.

    In 2016, a 16ft tree was created using recycled glass bottles and almost a 1000 feet of lights.

    Last year a spectacular Gingerbread House makeover transformed the Victoria Inn exterior. The Gingerbread is back this year along with the eco-friendly snowman.

    PIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: "Ben is a very talented engineer and this is the result. "It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place. "There's been lots of responses - people really like it." SEE STORY BY APEX NEWS - 01392 823144 ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS AND PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145
    (Picture: APEX NEWS AND PICTURES)

    The Christmas spectacles have been created collaboratively for the last three years by pub landlord Mark Walton and regular Ben Selway, a talented engineer.

    ‘It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place.’ said Mark, ‘There’s been lots of responses – lots of people stopping to take a look.’

    PIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: "Ben is a very talented engineer and this is the result. "It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place. "There's been lots of responses - people really like it." SEE STORY BY APEX NEWS - 01392 823144 ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS AND PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145
    (Picture: APEX NEWS AND PICTURES)

    And the local community will show their support and appreciation for Mark’s own Winter Wonderland when the lights are switched on in a special ceremony this evening.

    The Victoria Inn’s decoration scheme isn’t just pretty but efficient too.

    After 2016’s glass tree, Mark confirmed that the bottles would be recycled and the frame used to grow vegetables.

    We’re dreaming of a green Christmas.

    MORE: Lidl is selling its first ever, very real Christmas trees


    Recycled snowmanRecycled snowmanmeganbnolanPIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: Recycled snowmanRecycled snowmanmeganbnolanPIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: "Ben is a very talented engineer and this is the result. "It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place. "There's been lots of responses - people really like it." This picture shows Mark Walton outside the Queen Victoria Inn. SEE STORY BY APEX NEWS - 01392 823144 ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS AND PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145PIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: "Ben is a very talented engineer and this is the result. "It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place. "There's been lots of responses - people really like it." SEE STORY BY APEX NEWS - 01392 823144 ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS AND PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145PIC: JASON BRYANT/APEX 27/11/2018 Visitors to a village pub will get a welcome Christmas cheers with a difference - from a giant snowman made from thousands of empties. The massive glass snowman made from over 2000 wine bottles stands at the entrance to the Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy, Somerset. It was created by landlord Mark Walton and pub regular Ben Selway who also designed the pub's spectacular Gingerbread house display. Mr Walters said: "Ben is a very talented engineer and this is the result. "It took three people and an electrician well over a week to get it all in place. "There's been lots of responses - people really like it." SEE STORY BY APEX NEWS - 01392 823144 ---------------------------------------------------- APEX NEWS AND PICTURES NEWS DESK: 01392 823144 PICTURE DESK: 01392 823145

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    The best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018
    The best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018

    Embellished and glittering baubles are nice, but the best Christmas tree ornaments are filled with our favourite beauty products.

    And this year more brands than ever have packaged their pocket-sized beauty buys into clear balls and super-cute baubles to suspend from our pine trees.

    They make great secret santa gifts, stocking fillers and they’re an affordable option if you fancy treating yourself ahead of Christmas, because you work hard, right?

    From the likes of Molton Brown, Benefit and Urban Decay, we’ve rounded up the best beauty baubles and tree decorations to buy for Christmas 2018.

    Mario Badescu Holiday Ornament Duo, £10, beautybay.co.uk

    (Picture: Beauty Bay)

     

    Muddled Plum Festive Shower Gel Bauble, £12, moltonbrown.co.uk

    Muddled Plum Festive Shower Gel Bauble
    (Picture: Molton Brown)

     

    This Works Sleep Tight, £13, boots.com

    (Picture: Boots)

     

    Bod Shake That BOD Mermaid Treats, £8, beautybay.co.uk

    (Picture: Beauty Bay)

     

    Benefit Mini Hoola Stocking Stuffer Matte Powder Bronzer For Face, £12, boots.com

    Benefit Mini Hoola Stocking Stuffer Matte Powder Bronzer For Face
    (Picture: Boots)

     

    Sarah Chapman Overnight Glow, £15, feelunique.co.uk

    (Picture: Feelunique)

     

    TOO FACED Better Than Sex Deluxe Ornament, £10, cultbeauty.co.uk

    TOO FACED Better Than Sex Deluxe Ornament, £10, cultbeauty.co.uk
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

     

    Laura Mercier Luxe Indulgences Hand & Body Crème Collection, £27, spacenk.co.uk

    (Picture: Space NK)

     

    Emma Hardie Skincare Merrily Moringa, £10, cultbeauty.co.uk

    Emma Hardie Skincare Merrily Moringa
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

     

    Aromatherapy Associates Pearl of Wisdom Light Relax Bath & Shower Oil, £12, feelunique.com

    (Picture: Feelunique)

     

    BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Champagne Pop Mini Ornament, £16, spacenk.co.uk

    BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Champagne Pop Mini Ornament
    (Picture: Space NK)

     

    Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray Bauble, £10, urbandecay.co.uk

    (Picture: Urban Decay)

     

    Oskia Star Kissed Christmas, £15, beautybay.com

    (Picture: Beauty Bay)

    MORE: Poundland’s Naughty Christmas Elf is back and just as outrageous as ever

    MORE: Cottage keeps getting mistaken for Amazon warehouse


    The best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018-f88bThe best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018-f88bemilyknott17Muddled Plum Festive Shower Gel BaubleBenefit Mini Hoola Stocking Stuffer Matte Powder Bronzer For FaceTOO FACED Better Than Sex Deluxe Ornament, £10, cultbeauty.co.ukEmma Hardie Skincare Merrily MoringaBECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Champagne Pop Mini OrnamentThe best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018-f88bThe best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018-f88bemilyknott17Muddled Plum Festive Shower Gel BaubleBenefit Mini Hoola Stocking Stuffer Matte Powder Bronzer For FaceTOO FACED Better Than Sex Deluxe Ornament, £10, cultbeauty.co.ukEmma Hardie Skincare Merrily MoringaBECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Champagne Pop Mini Ornament

    0 0

    (Picture: Aldi)

    Christmas is just four weeks away (I know, where has this year gone?!) which means stores are blessing us with their heartfelt Christmas adverts.

    Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot has always been a firm favourite – and now the super cheap supermarket has released wrapping paper featuring its advert’s star.

    The store has launched wrapping paper featuring Kevin the Carrot and his family in their Christmas jumpers.

    Kevin & Family Blue Gift Wrap (Picture: Aldi)
    (Picture: Aldi)

    It costs £1.99 for a three metre roll and is currently only available in stores.

    The product description says: ‘This fabulous festive gift wrap features Kevin and the whole family on a blue background with glittery golden snowflakes and a Merry Christmas message.’

    The gift wrap comes in both blue and silver, and would be the perfect wrapping for Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot plush toy – as long as you can get your hands on one, of course.

    MORE: Poundland’s Naughty Christmas Elf is back and just as outrageous as ever

    MORE: The best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018


    Aldi is now selling Kevin the Carrot wrapping paperAldi is now selling Kevin the Carrot wrapping paperhattiegladwellmetroKevin & Family Blue Gift Wrap (Picture: Aldi)Aldi is now selling Kevin the Carrot wrapping paperAldi is now selling Kevin the Carrot wrapping paperhattiegladwellmetroKevin & Family Blue Gift Wrap (Picture: Aldi)

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    Loneliness of having a baby by sperm donor. Metro illustrations (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler/ Metro.co.uk) woman sat on a sofa in her home holding a cup of tea, while her son play with toys on the floor. She needs to look very sad, and be in the centre of the pic so she appears alone ??? sad, dark colours too perhaps? Something that conveys her loneliness
    I took my son to playgroups where I cried into cups of tea made for me by another adult, for a change. (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler/ Metro.co.uk)

    When I decided to have a baby with the help of a sperm donor, I was ready for the life change that becoming a mother would bring.

    No more partying the nights away, or lazy lie-ins nursing my latest hangover. And no more wasted efforts in dead-end relationships.

    Instead, I would spend my evenings at home nursing my contented baby, then meet other mummies for coffee mornings and days in the park.

    I’d been looking into adoption around age 30, thinking this might be a way for me to have a family if I hadn’t met the right man by 35. But, after getting dumped shortly after my 34th birthday by my latest boyfriend, I decided to consider sperm donation.
    I felt I was done wasting time with men who weren’t ready to have a child and came across the option of co-parenting with a single gay or straight man.
    I met a guy who was open to being a known donor or co-parent, and after around a year of attempts at artificial insemination at home, we did IVF together in 2013 but I miscarried.
    Once I had mentally and physically healed, I decided to try again with one of my frozen embryos.
    This time, the pregnancy was viable and when my son arrived I was far from lonely.

    I was living with a man I had begun dating shortly after miscarrying, and my mum had come over for the birth.

    I had colleagues, friends and family rooting for me from near and far.

    I had made new ‘mum friends’ at a National Childbirth Trust (NCT) preparation for parenthood class, and my boyfriend’s kids were excited about meeting their step-sibling for the first time.

    When I was desperate for some regular, reliable support from people I counted as my friends, I set up a visiting rota using the ‘Meal Baby’ app, a registry for friends and family to give a helping hand with meals. I explained that I didn’t need meals brought to me, just some company – and not a single person signed up.

    My boyfriend had been so supportive ever since I told him about my quest to become a mum.

    He had held my hand during the embryo transfer at the clinic, had adored my pregnant body, relocated to London and decorated the nursery, attended the NCT classes with me and told me he wanted to be a dad to my baby.

    Sadly, he left us when my son was just three months old.

    I fell into a hole.

    The stories I’ve heard of other ‘choice mums’ – single women who choose to have a baby without a partner –  often differ from mine, as they didn’t have the expectation of a partner by their side.

    Most of them built up their support network over a period of months during their pregnancy, moved closer to relatives or in with their mum, or made other adjustments to accommodate their increasing need of support prior to the baby’s arrival.

    I had well-meaning friends spread across London, some with kids and some without (the mums all with partners) – and all without a clue about my state of mind.

    When I was desperate for some regular, reliable support from people I counted as my friends, I set up a visiting rota using the ‘Meal Baby’ app, a registry for friends and family to give a helping hand with meals.

    I explained that I didn’t need meals brought to me, just some company – and not a single person signed up.

    I took my son to playgroups where I cried into cups of tea made for me by another adult, for a change.

    It felt humiliating explaining to my NCT group that my partner had left us, and that he wouldn’t be seeing my child either, because there was no relation.

    I struggled on at home, scrambling to fill the day and clutching on to contact with other adults against the fog of sleep deprivation.

    As my son started nursery and I returned to work, I enjoyed using my business brain again, engaging in regular contact with my colleagues and enjoying child-free lunch breaks. But since I couldn’t usually participate in any after-work drinks or events, weekends were often still lonely, so I started taking my baby to church.

    Then I was made redundant, and friends gradually began to move out of London – to bigger houses, new partners and some back to their countries of birth.

    I am far from the only lonely person in London, I know that. In fact, the single parent charity, Gingerbread, acknowledges that loneliness is a problem that its members are faced with.

    I’ve made some friends through the charity’s meet-up groups, and from a romantic perspective, I’ve tried speed dating to combat the loneliness, and have met some lovely guys.

    Unfortunately, the cost of a babysitter every time I try to get to know someone is financially restrictive, and romance fizzles out before it gets to the next step.

    Yet as my son grows older, he becomes a fascinating person to interact with, and I’m happy with my choice. I still wish I had someone though, to share the highs and lows of parenting with.
    My mum still works and doesn’t live in London, but she spends as much time with us as she can, so as a result I’m far closer to her than I’ve ever been, and she and my son share a lovely bond.
    I don’t regret having my wonderful boy instead of waiting around for ‘Mr Right’ until it might have been too late.

    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: Finding out I had HIV in my fifth month of pregnancy changed my life for the better

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

    MORE: Male fertility stories: My ability to have a baby doesn’t define me as a man


    Loneliness of having a baby by sperm donor.Loneliness of having a baby by sperm donor.allieabgarianLoneliness of having a baby by sperm donor. Metro illustrations (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler/ Metro.co.uk) woman sat on a sofa in her home holding a cup of tea, while her son play with toys on the floor. She needs to look very sad, and be in the centre of the pic so she appears alone ??? sad, dark colours too perhaps? Something that conveys her lonelinessLoneliness of having a baby by sperm donor.Loneliness of having a baby by sperm donor.allieabgarianLoneliness of having a baby by sperm donor. Metro illustrations (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler/ Metro.co.uk) woman sat on a sofa in her home holding a cup of tea, while her son play with toys on the floor. She needs to look very sad, and be in the centre of the pic so she appears alone ??? sad, dark colours too perhaps? Something that conveys her loneliness

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    Tanya and Brendon (Picture: Bourn Hall)

    Next year, Tanya Hill might finally get to meet one of her nine ‘maybe babies’ – embryos created seven years ago.

    Tanya, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, was 21 when she was told she had leukemia and she quickly had to decide if she wanted to have children, or lose her chance forever.

    Luckily doctors worked quickly during a short gap in treatment to allow her to create her embryos with her partner Brendon, 29.

    When she hits the second anniversary of entering remission in March 2019, they can finally start to look at implanting them, though they know they may need to use a surrogate as pregnancy could cause Tanya to relapse

    ‘We call them our maybe babies as we definitely do not plan on having nine kids. However each little embryo is potentially part of our little family,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    Before her diagnosis, dog walker Tanya, now 28, claims she was ‘the healthiest she had ever been’ and she had no symptoms.

    Tanya was diagnosed with leukemia at 21 (Picture: Tanya Hill/Metro.co.uk)

    She was taking a drug called roaccutane to treat her acne and as part of her treatment, she was required to have regular blood tests to check blood count, liver function and cholesterol.

    It was one of these tests which flagged that something was wrong.

    She explains: ‘I had a call from my GP asking me to go to the hospital for a bone marrow test.

    ‘Not having any idea what this was or why it was needed, I asked to know what they thought it was.

    ‘They were reluctant to say over the phone but finally said leukaemia.’

    Tanya in hospital (Picture: Tanya Hill/Metro.co.uk)

    After tests on her bone marrow, their thoughts were confirmed.

    Tanya adds: ‘Initially I went into complete denial in a type of fake acceptance.

    ‘I told my family that I was going to be fine and wasn’t worried at all and stayed very positive.

    ‘The doctors had a quiet word with my parents as they believed I may have a breakdown later on as I was being “too positive”.

    ‘I never exactly broke down, however, I believe I started to except it about a month on once the chemotherapy made me very ill.’

    Tanya during treatment (Picture: Tanya Hill/Metro.co.uk)

    But it wasn’t just the cancer Tanya had to deal with – the treatment she needed to save her life could mean she would never be able to have children as the radiotherapy would destroy her eggs.

    ‘At the time of diagnosis, I had been with my fiancé for around 9 years,’ she said.

    ‘We already knew we wanted children and were planning for the next year so to hear we may not be able to have children hit me harder than the cancer diagnosis.
    ‘You can live through cancer. There would be no going back from having all your eggs destroyed by radiotherapy.’

    Despite the need for urgent treatment, doctors were able to carry out IVF and retrieve Tanya’s eggs inbetween chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

    ‘Due to my time sensitive situation, the IVF experience was all very quick.

    “The type of leukaemia I had can be very aggressive and so the clock was ticking.

    Tanya had chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant (Picture: Tanya Hill/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I was fast-tracked an appointment with the gynaecology department at Addenbrookes hosptial and then literally within a week myself and Brendon were sitting at Bourn Hall Clinic signing consent forms to freeze our embryos.”

    ‘I didn’t have much time to think about what was happening. It all happened in about three weeks. There was even one point where they thought I might have to abandon the IVF half way through for more treatment.

    ‘All I knew was that I was one of the luckiest person as not many girls get the chance for IVF in inbetween treatments.’

    Doctors were able to collect 13 eggs and nine of them were fertilised into embryos.

    She says: ‘I can’t explain the happiness and relief Brendon and I felt when we heard I have 13 eggs successfully removed and then to hear that nine were successfully frozen embryos.

    ‘To be given nine chances for conceiving a child that is biologically ours, which is more than we could have hoped for, when at one point our only option was adoption.

    ‘Even with our embryos we may still consider adoption as well though.’

    How are embryos frozen?

    The embryos will be put in a special substance, which replaces water in their cells.

    This will protect the embryos from damage caused by ice crystals forming.

    They’ll then be frozen, either by cooling them slowly or fast freezing (vitrification) and stored in tanks of liquid nitrogen until you’re ready to use them.

    HFEA

    Unfortunately, Tanya’s three rounds of chemotherapy were unsuccessful and a stem cell transplant from one of her brothers also failed, despite being a 100% match.

    She was given a new treatment called Inotuzumab, which did help her go into remission. She has been warned that this is a temporary fix and she is at risk of relapsing. She is currently taking part in a clinical trial to try to prevent this.

    Since being told the cancer was gone in March 2017, Tanya has embraced life and has thrown herself into fundraising for some of the charities who helped her.

    The couple ran the London marathon together in April this year, raising £7,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

    (Picture: Tanya Hill/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I wanted to push myself and prove to myself that cancer hadn’t broken me. It was a brilliant experience and really helped me get back into shape and good health.

    ‘I’m feeling great now. We recently converted a van into a camper so we’re spending lots of time traveling with our two dogs and planning for our wedding, honeymoon and then finally and most importantly our ‘maybe babies’.’

    Tanya and Brendon were told she would have to be in remission for two years before they could try to implant the embryos but they have also be warned that they may need to use a surrogate as her decreased immune system increases the risk of her relapsing if she is pregnant.

    (Picture: Tanya Hill/Metro.co.uk)

    She said: ‘We’re not if I will be able to personally carry them but we are finally getting married next year, after over eight and half years of engagement, and we hope that when we get back from our honeymoon, we hope we can consider it.

    ‘If cancer hadn’t come along I am only too aware that I might already have had a baby by now and be trying for a second child.

    ‘My big dream now is that we will be able to become parents after IVF at Bourn Hall and move down to the South Coast with all of our extended family and bring our children up near to the sea.’

    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?


    For More information see Holdsworth AssociatesFor More information see Holdsworth Associateslauraabernethy6For More information see Holdsworth AssociatesFor More information see Holdsworth Associateslauraabernethy6

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    You’ve got a lot of writing to do, Father Christmas (Picture: Getty)

    When you have kids, Christmas is even more hyped up than usual.

    From putting up the decorations to watching festive films, everything takes on more meaning when you’re with a little one whose eyes are wide with magic.

    Their excitement at Santa coming down the chimney to deliver presents is one of the cutest parts, and Royal Mail are facilitating it in a big way.

    If you send off a letter to the big man, you’ll get one back, further cementing the fact that he definitely is real and definitely is excited for the big day.

    Here’s how to do it.

    You get extra presents for neat writing… Probably (Picture: Getty)

    First, get your wee one to write their special letter to Father Christmas.

    You’ll need to make sure they include their name and address in the letter, since even Santa doesn’t have those powers of deduction.

    Plus, include a stamp so he can send it back to you free of charge (even St. Nick is a bit skint at this time of year)

    The deadline to post is 7 December.

    Santa's Royal Mail address

    Santa/Father Christmas

    Santa’s Grotto

    Reindeerland

    XM4 5HQ

    Royal Mail do say they guarantee every letter will get a reply (and they’ve missed the mark in previous years) which means it might be a good idea to let it be a surprise or warn your child that Santa is very busy.

    Bit heavy for the sleigh (Picture: Getty)

    If your child has a visual impairment, you can also get a braille or audio letter for free from the RNIB.

    Along with their message to the man in red, include their name, age and address, as well as a telephone number and the format you require (uncontracted or contracted Braille, a large font size, or audio CD).

    The deadline for the RNIB letters to be sent by you is this Saturday 1 December.

    Santa's RNIB address

    Santa Claus

    RNIB

    Midgate House

    Peterborough

    PE1 1TN

    MORE: The best beauty baubles and tree decorations for Christmas 2018

    MORE: Every Christmas number 1 single since 1952 – from Mr Blobby to Rage Against The Machine


    Santa Claus surrounded by envelopes, portrait, elevated viewSanta Claus surrounded by envelopes, portrait, elevated viewjessicacvlSanta Claus surrounded by envelopes, portrait, elevated viewSanta Claus surrounded by envelopes, portrait, elevated viewjessicacvl

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    (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)

    Beauty ideals are always changing. While the thigh gap might’ve been all the rage in the noughties, now being ‘thick’ – having a big bum, thighs and legs – is having a moment.

    To document just how much the perception of a ‘perfect body’ has changed in the last few hundred years, fitness blogger Cassey Ho has photoshopped images of herself.

    Starting from 1400-1700 and ending on 2018, the Blogilates blogger detailed the circumstances of the time and the fashion influencers which inspired the sought-after body types.

    Instagram Photo

    Cassey talked about how being fuller sized and well-fed was a sign of status and money during the Italian Renaissance.

    Next, she explored the 1920s when boyish, androgynous and youthful figures were in, with women binding their chests with strips of cloth to fit into flapper dresses.

    Then the hourglass figures takes off, with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe being idolised, further cemented by the creation of Playboy and Barbie figures.

    In early 90s, ‘thin is in,’ she said. ‘Having angular bone structure, looking emaciated, and super skinny is what’s dominating the runways and the magazine covers. There’s even a name for it: “heroin chic”.’

    Cassey Ho (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)
    (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)
    Cassey Ho (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)
    (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)

    ‘During the mid 90s to 2000s, big boobs, flat stomachs, and thighs gaps are in,’ she wrote. In 2010, breast augmentation is the highest performed cosmetic surgery in the United States. It’s the age of the Victoria’s Secret Angel. She’s tall, thin, and she’s always got long legs and a full chest.

    ‘Mid 2010s-2018 – Big butts, wide hips, tiny waists, and full lips are in! There is a huge surge in plastic surgery for butt implants thanks to Instagram models posting “belfies”.  Even cosmetic surgery doctors have become Instagram famous for reshaping women. Between 2012-2014, butt implants and injections rise by 58%.’

    In editing the images to show how ideals have changed, Cassey showed just how unattainable these goals were.

    She encouraged her 1.4million followers to look past these fads.

    ‘Why do we treat our bodies like we treat fashion? “Boobs are out! Butts are in!”’ she wrote.

    ‘Well, the reality is, manufacturing our bodies is a lot more dangerous than manufacturing clothes. Stop throwing your body out like it’s fast fashion.

    ‘Please treat your body with love and respect and do not succumb to the beauty standards. Embrace your body because it is your own perfect body.’

    Wise words.

    MORE: It’s not diverse but there’s nothing wrong with the Victoria’s Secret show – at least it’s honest

    MORE: Meet the woman dedicated to making activewear for women of all sizes

    MORE: An open letter to the Instagram fitness model my boyfriend dumped me for


    Fitness blogger photoshops herself with the 'perfect body' throughout different generations to show how temporary they areFitness blogger photoshops herself with the 'perfect body' throughout different generations to show how temporary they arefaimabakar1Cassey Ho (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)Cassey Ho (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)Fitness blogger photoshops herself with the 'perfect body' throughout different generations to show how temporary they areFitness blogger photoshops herself with the 'perfect body' throughout different generations to show how temporary they arefaimabakar1Cassey Ho (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)Cassey Ho (Picture: blogilates/Instagram)

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    Why do we do this with trees? (Picture: Getty Images)

    Christmas is a time rammed full of bizarre traditions that we all accept to be normal.

    Pulling crackers, eating turkey, giving presents, singing carols, getting incredibly drunk at 11am – why do we do all these things to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ?

    A huge part of Christmas for many is getting the tree out and decorating it with your family, which is just another of the strange things we do in this country in December.

    But why do we do it? Here is a look at the history of Christmas trees and how they have been decorated…

    It’s nearly time to get the tree out (Picture: Getty Images)

    Why do we have Christmas trees?

    People putting up Christmas trees can be traced back to the 1500s in eastern Europe.

    The first recorded tree put up specifically for Christmas can found in 1510 in Latvia and 1521 in Slovakia, according to the Christianity Today website.

    However, the tradition of putting trees in homes during wintertime – and not just Christmas – goes back even further to the pagan times.

    Christmas tree and decorations in living room Getty
    Christmas tree and decorations in living room (picture: Getty)

    Using the green leaves of an evergreen tree to decorate homes during wintertime started as a Pagan tradition, designed as a symbol of life amid the dark, cold winter nights.

    The tradition dates back to the Roman times – with them doing so usually around their New Year celebrations. People in northern Europe did something similar although many placed the branches in boxes for the entirety of winter.

    Early Christians were pretty reluctant to adopt the idea with one prominent Christian from the second century, Tertullian, being quoted as saying: ‘Let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple.’

    This stance softened after missionaries spread a legend saying that every tree miraculously threw off ice and snow when Christ was born to reveal green branches, according to the Christianity Today website.

    Why do we decorate trees?

    Always wonky (Picture: Getty)
    (Picture: Getty)

    It wasn’t until the 1500s that these evergreen trees started being associated with Christmas and became widely popular in the 16th century in Germany.

    The jump from being a wintertime decoration to a symbol of Christmas is believed to have come from trees being decorated in biblical and nativity plays.

    They were not covered in baubles and tinsel then, but berries, candles and nuts and were known as ‘Paradise trees’.

    The plays got rowdier and rowdier and many were banned in the 16th century, leading to people starting to decorate their homes instead – with a Christmas tree taking pride of place.

    The tradition grew from there and eventually churches started putting decorated Christmas trees up as well.

    As far as lights go, when churches began putting up Christmas trees, they would often go up next to shelves stacked with candles. These candles were soon used to decorate the tree, which later evolved into putting up Christmas lights and ornaments.

    Prince Albert, Queen Victoria and their children surround a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle (Picture: Getty Images)

    The practice of decorating a Christmas tree only became popular in America in the 1840s and 50s when a picture of Queen Victoria and her family was published in the States.

    Victoria, with Prince Albert and their children are seen around an impressively decorated tree that sparked the Americans into adopting the tradition.

    MORE: How to get a letter from Father Christmas through the Royal Mail

    MORE: ITV saves Christmas by agreeing to air Elf to mark film’s 15th anniversary


    This Is Us - Season 1This Is Us - Season 1philhaigh26Christmas tree and decorations in living room GettyAlways wonky (Picture: Getty)This Is Us - Season 1This Is Us - Season 1philhaigh26Christmas tree and decorations in living room GettyAlways wonky (Picture: Getty)

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    Shoppers make their way down Oxford Street in London, U.K., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. U.K. consumer confidence slipped to a four-year low in December and risks weakening further in 2018, according to a GFK UK Consumer Confidence Indicator report. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    (Picture: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Christmas shopping can be a bit of a chore.Often you have no idea what to buy but you know it want to be special.

    But apparently the person we spend the most time choosing a gift for is our partner.

    According to a study, we spend almost three hours scouring the shops looking for something for our significant other – an hour an a half longer than it takes to choose something for our best friend.

    Even dad is easier to buy for, with Brits taking an hour and 28 minutes to select a special something – although one in five think he’d rather have a kiss and a hug anyway.

    (Picture: Getty Images/Hero Images)

    The study of 2,000 adults, commissioned by ipostparcels, shows mum takes an average of an hour and 47 minutes to buy for while sisters take an hour and 12 minutes and brothers just under an hour.

    But the boss takes the least amount of effort – with workers taking just over half an hour to choose a gift if you’re unlucky enough to draw him or her in the office ‘secret Santa’.

    Gemma Conroy, ecommerce manager for ipostparcels said: ‘Our research has highlighted how thoughtful and dedicated people are to their present buying.

    ‘We know how important it is to find the perfect gift for those special people in our lives, and nothing beats the feeling of giving someone a present which they absolutely love.’

    Researchers also found adults are most worried about impressing a partner, followed by their children and their mum.

    Dad is the second hardest person to buy for, according to 17% of adults who have no idea what to buy him.

    While a further 16% find it hard shopping for mum, and 12% agonise over what toys to get the children – and spend a staggering two hours and 27 minutes doing just that.

    The in-laws will receive presents chosen in just over an hour, while grandma and grandad take 49 minutes and 45 minutes respectively.

    Aunts, uncles and cousins take around 35 to 40 minutes to shop for.

    How long do we spend deciding what to buy?

    Partner – 2hrs 44mins
    Children – 2hrs 57mins
    Mum – 1hr 47mins
    Dad – 1hr 28mins
    Grandma – 49mins
    Grandad – 45mins
    Best friend – 1hr 13mins
    Uncle – 35mins
    Aunt – 40mins
    Cousin – 40mins
    Brother – 58mins
    Sister – 1hr 12mins
    Boss – 32mins
    Children’s friend – 39mins
    In-laws – 1hr 3mins
    Niece – 58mins
    Nephew – 58mins
    Godchildren – 42mins
    Godparent – 34mins

    The research also delved into people’s reactions to the gifts they had been given – and found children are the most honest, and the most likely to show discontent at something they’ve received.

    Similarly, just over a third of gift givers said they could tell straight away when the recipient didn’t like what they’d been given.

    But if the tables are turned, 30% believe they have a good ‘fake enthusiasm face’ themselves when opening a gift they don’t like.

    Four in 10 females believe they can disguise their true feelings with their facial expressions, and yet only 25% of males believe they can hide how they really feel.

    More than a third of people admit to re-gifting a present they didn’t like – with men more likely to re-gift something than women.

    A fifth are most likely to re-gift a present received from the in-laws than any other gift-giver.

    Shoppers walk with their purcheses along the main shopping street Oxford Street in London, on December 20, 2017. Shoppers crowded Oxford Street, a main shopping high street in London, less than a week before Christmas. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
    (Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

    Brits care about the importance of giving at Christmas, with 44% preferring to give a gift than receive one, compared to the small one in 10 who would rather receive a gift.

    A huge 62% said they feel ‘happy’ when they give a gift compared to only 14% who feel anxious, showing how enjoyable gift giving is.

    Similarly, receiving a gift makes people feel loved and appreciated and 44% say they prefer a carefully selected gift over money or a gift voucher.

    However, 14% of adults admit to feeling disappointed when someone is late giving a gift and 5% say it is embarrassing.

    The study, conducted via OnePoll, also found people start thinking about and buying their Christmas presents a whole seven weeks before the big day.

    However, a very organised one in ten starts ticking presents off their Christmas list four months ahead of time.

    MORE: Why do we have Christmas trees and decorate them? A look at the history of the festive tradition

    MORE: Argos launches parasol Christmas trees that are impossible for your cat to ruin

    MORE: Costa launches coffee cup with a built in contactless card


    BRITAIN-ECONOMY-RETAIL-CHRISTMASBRITAIN-ECONOMY-RETAIL-CHRISTMASlauraabernethy6Shoppers make their way down Oxford Street in London, U.K., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. U.K. consumer confidence slipped to a four-year low in December and risks weakening further in 2018, according to a GFK UK Consumer Confidence Indicator report. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesShoppers walk with their purcheses along the main shopping street Oxford Street in London, on December 20, 2017. Shoppers crowded Oxford Street, a main shopping high street in London, less than a week before Christmas. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)BRITAIN-ECONOMY-RETAIL-CHRISTMASBRITAIN-ECONOMY-RETAIL-CHRISTMASlauraabernethy6Shoppers make their way down Oxford Street in London, U.K., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. U.K. consumer confidence slipped to a four-year low in December and risks weakening further in 2018, according to a GFK UK Consumer Confidence Indicator report. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesShoppers walk with their purcheses along the main shopping street Oxford Street in London, on December 20, 2017. Shoppers crowded Oxford Street, a main shopping high street in London, less than a week before Christmas. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

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    (Picture: Getty Images/Hero Images)

    We’ve got bad news for those of you still mourning the teenaged spidery smudges which never quite became a beard.

    Not only do women find bearded men hotter than their clean-shaven counterparts, they also perceive them to make better long-term boyfriends.

    Just not fair, right?

    So: is it because women want a kind soul, and associate beards with acoustic-strumming sensitive-Steves, frolicking in gentle waves and wearing mood rings?

    The answer? No. But also, sort of.

    It turns out that beards have the ability to interact with perceptions of men’s masculinity and femininity, mitigating it in either direction.

    The data emerged from a study called The Masculinity Paradox: Facial Masculinity and Beardedness Interact to Determine Women’s Ratings of Men’s Facial Attractiveness.

    Conducted by the University of Queensland, it presented over 8000 female subjects with a range of faces, on a wide spectrum from overtly masculine to overtly feminine. All of the faces were also manipulated to show varying degrees of facial hair from squeaky-clean to quasi-yeti.

    Women were asked to rank the faces in terms of attraction, both in terms of short term flings and longer term relationships, and the results showed a significant majority were attracted to bearded men for their longer-term option.

    Touching his great beard
    (Picture: MuratDenizPhotoImage)

    Why is this?

    The study reports that ‘Masculinized and, to an even greater extent, feminized faces were less attractive than unmanipulated faces when all were clean‐shaven, and stubble and beards dampened the polarizing effects of extreme masculinity and femininity.’

    Which basically means that a beard can make a masculine-featured man seem a little softer, and a feminine-featured man a little harder.

    Are…are beards magic?

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

    MORE: Partners are the most difficult people to buy Christmas gifts for, study says


    Close up of man touching mustacheClose up of man touching mustachemeganbnolanTouching his great beardClose up of man touching mustacheClose up of man touching mustachemeganbnolanTouching his great beard

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    (Picture: Getty Images/EyeEm)

    An anonymous transgender woman has raised £2, 000 to fund a prototype of specially designed underwear to fit and flatter herself and other transgender women.

    The woman, who has asked to be referred to as Bee, was initially aiming to find suitable underwear for herself.

    But having considered the idea she realised that this kind of product would benefit thousands of transgender women.

    Now she is broadening her aims and hoping to find a designer and manufacturer.

    Bee, like lots of other transgender women, has decided against gender-affirming surgery and has been wearing women’s garments – including underwear – for ten years.

    However, she’s found that ‘tucking’ her genitals isn’t always possible or comfortable with off-the-shelf underwear.

    Many transgender women rely on tucking to help them wear their desired clothes, and to feel as gender-affirmed as possible. Tucking is safe when done appropriately, but can sometimes be uncomfortable and cause skin infections and UTIs.

    This is partly why Bee is calling attention to the necessity of a new kind of underwear geared specifically towards transgender women.

    Another reason is less functional and more aesthetic: Bee reports that the most suitable underwear for tucking currently available is unfeminine and not especially pleasant to wear; ‘think Bridget Jones’ pants’ she says.

    Bee contacted Sewport, a platform which connects brands and designers with product specialists and manufacturers to create specialist products, and explained her needs.

    (Picture: Sewport)

    Although she was not connected with anyone already active on the site, Sewport have taken her request public in the hope that a designer is out there who may be able to bring the idea to life.

    Boris Hodakel, Sewport founder, said: ‘I implore any designer or manufacturer who has experience in the lingerie market to get in touch.

    ‘It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how the garment would look or functionally work, Bee is open to any sort of discussion, and I’m sure from her personal and your professional experience, something great will happen.’

    If you could help Bee or know somebody who could, you can sign up and get in touch here.

    MORE: M&S labelled as ‘sexist’ for describing ‘fancy little knickers’ as Christmas must-haves for women

    MORE: Men with beards make better boyfriends, study says


    Transgender woman wants to invest £2,000 of her own money to fund design of safe underwearTransgender woman wants to invest £2,000 of her own money to fund design of safe underwearmeganbnolanTransgender woman wants to invest £2,000 of her own money to fund design of safe underwearTransgender woman wants to invest £2,000 of her own money to fund design of safe underwearmeganbnolan

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    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    A cat-loving Seattle couple has thrown a wedding with a difference.

    The most adorable, squee-inducing difference ever.

    Iz and Colleen are pretty cute as it is:

    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    But they exceeded themselves in planning their post-nuptials activity.

    Self-described ‘crazy head over heels cat people’, the two decided to include their feline friends in their special day.

    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    Their own two cats were sadly unable to be there because of their special needs, so they reached out to the Seattle Animal Shelter and arranged for six kittens to be special guests.

    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    ‘We wanted guests to have something to do during the family picturing taking time, and were too broke to have a cocktail hour,’ Colleen told Buzzfeed News.

    ‘We love our cats very much, and wanted to bring a little of their spirit to the celebration.’

    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    Guests were obviously thrilled to get the chance to play with the sweet little guys, on top of celebrating the marriage of their loved ones.

    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    In line with their considerate and compassionate approach to their own cats, Iz and Colleen ensured that their kitten party would be made up of animals who would enjoy being there.

    ‘The little dudes at our wedding were selected for being especially social, there were volunteers making sure they were handled safely and not overstimulated, and they left after about an hour,’ they said.

    ‘Guests loved the kittens, and lots of people told us that every wedding should have a mandatory kitten hour.’

    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings
    (Picture: F**k Yeah Weddings)

    To repay the kindness, the happy couple made a donation to Seattle Animal Shelter and encouraged their guests to do the same in lieu of gifts.

    MORE: Transgender woman wants to invest £2,000 of her own money to fund trans-friendly underwear

    MORE: Men with beards make better boyfriends, study says


    Couple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at weddingCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at weddingmeganbnolanCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at weddingCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at weddingmeganbnolanCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah WeddingsCouple ditch cocktails for kitten hour at wedding Credit: Fuck Yeah Weddings

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

    There are many apps, gadgets, and advice forums all about fertility, leaving many thinking it might be some complex algorithm that no human could possibly decipher.

    The truth it, fertility is pretty complex, but that doesn’t mean it’s a complete enigma.

    There are times of the month when you’re most fertile, and all it takes is some tracking.

    First, it’s important to note what ovulation is. This is when your body releases an egg, and tends to happen near the middle of your two periods.

    You’re most fertile a day or two either side of ovulation, but can get pregnant for around five or six days a month.

    There are ways to track when you ovulate, which you can do manually or via an app.

    If you’re doing it manually, class day one as the first day of your period. Then work out how long your full cycle is, right through until the next ‘day one’.

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

    Do this for a few months – as cycles can vary – and look at the shortest one, subtracting 18 days from the length. This gives you the start of your fertile window.

    Next, subtract 11 days from the length of your longest cycle, which should give you the end of your fertile window.

    Alternatively, there are tracker apps on your phone where you can log your period. Some will even give you a handy notification when you’re ovulating.

    That said, the NHS recommends that you shouldn’t just rely on some sort of schedule to try to conceive.

    For the best chance at conceiving, try to have sex around every two or three days.

    This is because, scheduling sex can be stressful, which may affect your fertility, and it can lead to some couples having less sex or miscalculating and missing the right time anyway.

    Just try to relax, enjoy the process, and not worry too much about the ‘right’ time.

    If you’re concerned about your fertility, check this piece out to see who you can contact.

    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: Couple shun cocktails for kitten hour at their wedding

    MORE: Transgender woman wants to invest £2,000 of her own money to fund trans-friendly underwear


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