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- 11/28/18--08:48: _Waitrose is selling...
- 11/28/18--08:57: _Deliveroo creates h...
- 11/28/18--09:16: _Silk gloves come of...
- 11/28/18--22:17: _Video shows the bea...
- 11/28/18--22:29: _What’s it like havi...
- 11/28/18--22:39: _TK Maxx pulls ‘OCD’...
- 11/29/18--00:00: _My Label and Me: Al...
- 11/29/18--00:30: _These are the most ...
- 11/29/18--00:42: _Woman ‘documents he...
- 11/29/18--01:00: _Lean On Me: Can a f...
- 11/29/18--01:52: _Expert warns that u...
- 11/29/18--02:34: _A hotel chain are o...
- 11/29/18--03:26: _Woman shares worst ...
- 11/29/18--03:29: _People in Mancheste...
- 11/29/18--03:35: _We’ve met the UN’s ...
- 11/29/18--04:12: _You can have a slee...
- 11/29/18--04:37: _Woman’s excruciatin...
- 11/29/18--04:56: _Finally there’s an ...
- 11/29/18--04:59: _BrewDog launches be...
- 11/29/18--06:20: _Getting Freaky: Is ...
- 11/28/18--22:29: What’s it like having your first baby at 47 years old?
- 11/28/18--22:39: TK Maxx pulls ‘OCD’ kitchenware after campaigners call them out
- 11/29/18--00:00: My Label and Me: Alcoholic
- Swigging in the street was a rage-fuelled ‘up yours’ to society.
- Getting drunk fed into my belief that I didn’t fit in and that alcohol was the only way I could stand to communicate.
- Consuming drugs and alcohol were a way of reclaiming my body (envisage for yourself the childhood tale).
- Having vodka hidden in my bag tapped into the secrecy I’d employed since childhood. I congratulated myself for ‘pulling off’ this double life.
- Drinking fed deep-rooted beliefs and became a tool for self-destruction and self-sabotage.
- It gave me a persona and a reputation.
- It let me get away with things (in my mind, anyway, not other people’s).
- All the best authors and musicians were drunk all the time.
- If men could get away with outrageous behaviour, I was bloody well going to.
- IT WAS FUN.
- 11/29/18--00:30: These are the most popular baby names of 2018
- stomach cramps and pain
- feeling weak
- a loss of appetite
- aching muscles
- 11/29/18--04:12: You can have a sleepover at London Zoo this Christmas
- Thursday 22 – Sunday 25 November
- Wednesday 28 November – Sunday 2 December
- Wednesday 5 – Sunday 9 December
- Wednesday 12 – Monday 24 December
- Wednesday 26 December – Tuesday 1 January
- Complimentary drink on arrival
- Three exclusive after-hours tours of the Zoo at sunset, after-dark and in the morning
- Overnight stay in a private lodge – double or twin bed, en-suite, complimentary toiletries
- A delicious two-course buffet dinner
- Full English breakfast
- Free entry into ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo for two day of your evening stay
- Free car parking
- Exclusive discounts on Keeper for a Day and Meet the Animals experiences
- Heavy periods
- Extreme period pain that can’t be fixed with regular painkillers
- Pelvic pain
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Bleeding from the bottom or noticing blood in poo
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain when going to the toilet
- Anti-inflammatory painkillers
- Hormone medicines
- Contraceptives such as the combined pill
- Surgeries to cut away patches of the endometriosis tissue
- An operation to remove part or all of the organs affected by the condition, such as a hysterectomy
- Painful cramping and heavy bleeding during your period
- Passing blood clots during menstruation
- Unexplained bleeding between your periods
- Pain during sex, especially around the time of your period
- Swelling or tenderness in your lower belly
- 11/29/18--04:56: Finally there’s an easy way to recycle your pet’s food pouches
- 11/29/18--06:20: Getting Freaky: Is ‘blue waffle’ real?
We all love a Christmas tree but they don’t exactly look very tasty.
But for some reason, Waitrose has decided we should have trees we can eat.
Don’t worry – it won’t taste like pine needles, instead these are Rosemary plants, grown in a Christmas tree shape.
Of course, the herb is a great choice to add flavour to your Christmas dinner so you might as well make it even more festive.
It’s not the first time the supermarket has sold the trees – they were introduced last year and proved to be popular.
Standing at around 30cm in height, just under a third of the size of an average Christmas tree, these aromatic miniature trees are edible and smell great.
With needle like leaves, you can decorate it like a traditional Christmas tree.
Grown in Chichester, the trees have been specially selected for Waitrose.
Waitrose Horticulture Buyer Allison Burdett said: ‘We know our customers are keen gardeners and love cooking, so this is the perfect combination for them.
‘The rosemary tree’s leaves can be used to flavour dishes over the holidays and then be planted outside when Christmas is over, so nothing goes to waste.’
Rosemary tree decorated-417bRosemary tree decorated-417blauraabernethy6
Deliveroo has unveiled an entirely edible house made from some of the most popular foods being ordered across the country.
The house features a curry fireplace, a Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast roof tiles and a roast chicken weather vane.
The house was made after research showed a 38% rise in orders of iconic regional dishes on the app, since the weather has been colder.
A team of eight spent two months designing, cooking and building the structure which uses 960 handmade pies, 1,750 slices of bread, 25 square meters of mash potato and 4 litres of gravy paint.
The house is now available to book for anyone who wants to experience it, but spaces are very limited and are picked at random through an online ballet, with spaces available for 28 December.
If selected, you’ll be invited to bring three friends to devour local Deliveroo favourites including PizzaExpress, KFC, Headless Chicken, Chilli Banana, Hei Hei and Proove Pizza – and it’s all free.
The house is situated in Manchester’s Media City as Deliveroo has uncovered Manchester locals order more traditional British dishes than anywhere else in Great Britain.
Emily Kraftman at Deliveroo said: ‘Its great to see so many regional classics being embraced by Deliveroo customers. The public appears to have rekindled their love for some comforting home-grown food.
‘Whether you love a Yorkshire Pud, a Cornish Pasty or something entirely different, you can get it all on Deliveroo.’
SEI_41870966-c265SEI_41870966-c265hattiegladwellmetroDELIVEROO UNVEILS AN ENTIRELY EDIBLE ???HOME SWEET HOME??? AS DATA REVEALS THE NATION IS FALLING IN BACK IN LOVE WITH REGIONAL CLASSICS ??? Deliveroo???s ???Home Sweet Home??? is made from top British favourites ??? The construction celebrates a 38% nationwide surge in orders of comforting British dishes ??? The bespoke house includes a curry fireplace, Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast tiles and even a roast chicken weather vane 28TH November - Deliveroo has unveiled an entirely edible house made from some of the most popular foods being ordered across the country. The house features a curry fireplace, Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast roof tiles and even roast chicken weather vane. The takeaway giant has observed a nationwide 38% rise in orders of iconic regional dishes on the app since temperatures began to plummet across the country, proving we are a nation falling back in love with home-grown comfort food. Top 10 Regional Dishes making a comeback (% uplift YoY) 1. Yorkshire Pudding (42%) (Origin: Yorkshire) 2. Pork Pie (39%) (Origin: Nottinghamshire) 3. Pasty (36%) (Origin: Cornwall) 4. Toad in the Hole (33%) (Origin: Northumberland) 5. Sausage, Mash and Liquor (31%)(Origin: East London) 6. Black Pudding (30%) (Origin: Lancashire) 7. Tikka Masala (27%) (Origin: Glasgow) 8. Haggis (25%) (Origin: Scotland) 9. Fish and Chips (21%) (Various coastal towns) 10. Sausage (20%) (Origin: Berkshire, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Cumberland) A team of eight spent two months designing, cooking and building the structure which uses 960 handmade pies, 1,750 slices of bread, 25 square meters of mash potato and 4 litres of gravy paint. Hungry Brits can book in to enjoy the ultimate morning, afternoon or night-in experience. Spaces are strictly limited and picked at random through an online ballot with spaces still available for Tuesday 28th. If selected, lucky foodie fans will be inDELIVEROO UNVEILS AN ENTIRELY EDIBLE ???HOME SWEET HOME??? AS DATA REVEALS THE NATION IS FALLING IN BACK IN LOVE WITH REGIONAL CLASSICS ??? Deliveroo???s ???Home Sweet Home??? is made from top British favourites ??? The construction celebrates a 38% nationwide surge in orders of comforting British dishes ??? The bespoke house includes a curry fireplace, Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast tiles and even a roast chicken weather vane 28TH November - Deliveroo has unveiled an entirely edible house made from some of the most popular foods being ordered across the country. The house features a curry fireplace, Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast roof tiles and even roast chicken weather vane. The takeaway giant has observed a nationwide 38% rise in orders of iconic regional dishes on the app since temperatures began to plummet across the country, proving we are a nation falling back in love with home-grown comfort food. Top 10 Regional Dishes making a comeback (% uplift YoY) 1. Yorkshire Pudding (42%) (Origin: Yorkshire) 2. Pork Pie (39%) (Origin: Nottinghamshire) 3. Pasty (36%) (Origin: Cornwall) 4. Toad in the Hole (33%) (Origin: Northumberland) 5. Sausage, Mash and Liquor (31%)(Origin: East London) 6. Black Pudding (30%) (Origin: Lancashire) 7. Tikka Masala (27%) (Origin: Glasgow) 8. Haggis (25%) (Origin: Scotland) 9. Fish and Chips (21%) (Various coastal towns) 10. Sausage (20%) (Origin: Berkshire, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Cumberland) A team of eight spent two months designing, cooking and building the structure which uses 960 handmade pies, 1,750 slices of bread, 25 square meters of mash potato and 4 litres of gravy paint. Hungry Brits can book in to enjoy the ultimate morning, afternoon or night-in experience. Spaces are strictly limited and picked at random through an online ballot with spaces still available for Tuesday 28th. If selected, lucky foodie fans will be inDELIVEROO UNVEILS AN ENTIRELY EDIBLE ???HOME SWEET HOME??? AS DATA REVEALS THE NATION IS FALLING IN BACK IN LOVE WITH REGIONAL CLASSICS ??? Deliveroo???s ???Home Sweet Home??? is made from top British favourites ??? The construction celebrates a 38% nationwide surge in orders of comforting British dishes ??? The bespoke house includes a curry fireplace, Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast tiles and even a roast chicken weather vane 28TH November - Deliveroo has unveiled an entirely edible house made from some of the most popular foods being ordered across the country. The house features a curry fireplace, Yorkshire pudding garden, fish and chips door, beans on toast roof tiles and even roast chicken weather vane. The takeaway giant has observed a nationwide 38% rise in orders of iconic regional dishes on the app since temperatures began to plummet across the country, proving we are a nation falling back in love with home-grown comfort food. Top 10 Regional Dishes making a comeback (% uplift YoY) 1. Yorkshire Pudding (42%) (Origin: Yorkshire) 2. Pork Pie (39%) (Origin: Nottinghamshire) 3. Pasty (36%) (Origin: Cornwall) 4. Toad in the Hole (33%) (Origin: Northumberland) 5. Sausage, Mash and Liquor (31%)(Origin: East London) 6. Black Pudding (30%) (Origin: Lancashire) 7. Tikka Masala (27%) (Origin: Glasgow) 8. Haggis (25%) (Origin: Scotland) 9. Fish and Chips (21%) (Various coastal towns) 10. Sausage (20%) (Origin: Berkshire, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Cumberland) A team of eight spent two months designing, cooking and building the structure which uses 960 handmade pies, 1,750 slices of bread, 25 square meters of mash potato and 4 litres of gravy paint. Hungry Brits can book in to enjoy the ultimate morning, afternoon or night-in experience. Spaces are strictly limited and picked at random through an online ballot with spaces still available for Tuesday 28th. If selected, lucky foodie fans will be in
It may come as a surprise to many of us that they ever were, but silk pyjamas will no longer be available on the NHS.
The prescription of nightwear and gloves, previously available to people with eczema and dermatitis, is one of a host of treatments and operations set to be cut or replaced.
Even eczema sufferers themselves have been noting their inexperience with the prescription.
The cut comes as part of a crackdown on NHS treatments which have not been proven to be effective.
At present, £1.2m is spent annually on these garments, including for babies and infants.
Other treatments which will come under consultation and may be cut include acne medication Minocyclin, and heart arrhythmia medication Amiodarone, also due to a lack of proven effectiveness.
Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, said of the proposals: ‘It is essential the NHS should not be paying for anything which has been proven to be ineffective or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives. The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but, as part of the long-term plan for the NHS, we’re determined to make taxpayers’ money go further and drive savings back into frontline care.’
Another controversial prescription up for the cut is gluten-free food. NHS representatives think that the ready availability of gluten-free groceries in standard supermarkets mean that prescriptions should no longer exist.
But concerned Twitter users have pointed out the relatively exorbitant cost of such products.
It’s important to remember that coeliacs are unable to consume gluten, and that gluten-free isn’t – as sometimes represented in popular culture – simply a fad or a food choice for anyone to make.
At a time when food banks are being used at record levels, restricting medically necessary foods to those who can afford them may well be a very unpopular policy indeed.
HEALTH Silk: The NHS in England could save more than ?1 million a year by stopping prescriptions of silk clothing for patients with eczema.HEALTH Silk: The NHS in England could save more than ?1 million a year by stopping prescriptions of silk clothing for patients with eczema.meganbnolanAsian women in purple satin nightgown have upper arm pain after waking up. People with muscle problems.
The emotional moment a bride danced with her terminally ill dad at her wedding has been captured on camera.
24-year-old Vanessa Wickham worried Lew Johnston, 65, would be unable to make her special day as he is in the end stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Lew was diagnosed with the degenerative illness, which obstructs airflow to the lungs, 20 years ago and now needs 24/7 oxygen to keep him alive.
Vanessa and groom Mike Wickham, 25, feared he would struggle to breathe at their venue in Lake Arrowhead, California, USA, as it is 4,000ft above sea level.
Doctors warned his lungs could collapse, so Lew arranged to travel there for a practice run to check he could cope with the altitude.
Vanessa was so happy when it was a success and Lew was given the all clear to attend her wedding at Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins, where he walked her down the aisle.
Moving footage shows Lew and Vanessa dancing slowly together to Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight.
Vanessa, a nurse, said the moment made her wedding to her college sweetheart Mike, an accountant, even more amazing.
The bride, from San Diego, California, said: ‘It was amazing to have my dad there. It was such a special moment to dance with him.
‘He is in the end stage of COPD which has progressed rapidly over the past number of years and his quality of life has gone down a lot. He is on oxygen 24/7 now.
‘We thought he wouldn’t be able to come to my wedding because of the altitude and that was such a worrying few weeks.
‘It would have devastated me and I was so relieved when his doctors cleared him to go.’
Dad-of-three Lew added: ‘My illness is so bad now I really am lucky to get out of the house. To walk Vanessa down the aisle was the highlight of my life.
‘She took my breath away. I felt like I was walking on air when I was walking her down the aisle. I didn’t even notice my oxygen machine over my shoulder.’
Lew and Vanessa enjoyed their first dance in front of 100 guests on 14 July.
Lew said: ‘When we were dancing it felt like Vanessa and I were the only people in the room.’
Vanessa added: ‘It was honestly the most special day of my life.
‘My dad is such an inspiration to me. He ran his own company and he has mentored and helped me my whole life.’
Despite his illness Lew hopes he will live to see another one of Vanessa’s life milestones.
‘It’s a little greedy of me but I would love to meet a grandchild,’ he said.
‘But I’ve had a good life and I take it day by day. If I wake up in the morning that’s great.
‘I feel very lucky that Vanessa has met a guy like Mike – her soulmate. She deserves the very best. From the day she came into our lives she’s been an angel.’
Vanessa added: ‘Because of my dad’s illness, it was extra meaningful. It makes you appreciate every moment you do have together.’
When Sheila Lamb was 40 years old and her husband 29, they decided to start a family. But knowing she was going to be an older mother, the couple expected they’d have some fertility troubles.
After hormone tests, sperm tests and scans, they were referred to a clinic who had success with older women.
Sadly they were diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’ – a common diagnosis which means there is no physical reason why you shouldn’t be able to get pregnant.
Set on growing their family, they tried intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, and a cycle of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) which were all unsuccessful.
They then decided to take a break and later found a fertility nurse in Spain to carry out another ICSI cycle which successfully made Sheila pregnant. Tragically though, she miscarried at six to seven weeks, just before Christmas.
Eating organic food, giving up tea and coffee and trying traditional Chinese medicine with acupuncture, Shiela decided to do one more cycle of ICSI which finally allowed her to have her first child, a daughter, a week after Sheila turned 47.
‘I didn’t plan to wait until I was 47,’ she told Metro.co.uk. ‘Like most women I thought I’d have my family in my 30’s but getting pregnant at the age you decide and when you decide isn’t always plain sailing for an increasing number of people.
‘We started trying when I was 40 – my husband is eleven years younger than me and we were trying for about six years. Regardless as to the woman or man’s age, the investigations, tests and treatment for infertility are generally the same.
‘I sniffed and injected hormones, had blood tests and internal scans. If you are squeamish or shy before doing fertility treatments, you soon have to change!
‘Your dignity goes right out the window. I dealt with all the injections and scans by thinking of our future child – when you have a child you’ll do anything for them, I just had to do anything for them before they were born.
‘We were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” which basically means there doesn’t seem to be a known reason why we can’t get pregnant, but reading between the line they were saying “it’s probably your age”.
‘I was always quite open with friends and family about doing fertility treatment because I didn’t know what someone else had read or had been told, and I wanted to know as much as possible.
‘Because I was older, most of my friends my age had grown up children, so I wasn’t always facing pregnancy announcements or birth announcements, but seeing pregnant women everywhere is hard regardless of your age.
‘When you’re going through treatment your whole life revolves around medication, scans etc but at the same time your everyday life continues.
‘I didn’t know when I would get pregnant or if, and this is very stressful and frustrating. The constant ups and downs and hormone medication is very draining.
‘I read an article about a clinic in Spain where the fertility nurse was English, and my husband and I decided to contact them.
‘Our first cycle we did with the clinic we had two embryos put back. I got pregnant but miscarried. This was the first time I’d ever been pregnant so I went into research overdrive for implantation failure and miscarriage.’
Sheila worried that her thrombophilia condition – an abnormality that increases the risk of blood clots in blood vessels – would cause a miscarriage. Taking some blood thinning medication and a steroid, the couple decided to continue their fertility journey at the Spanish clinic.
‘We had two embryos put back and spent part of the two-week wait in Spain, which took our minds off pregnancy signs and symptoms. Every day I visualised the embryos snuggling in and getting comfy for the next nine months.
‘When you do fertility treatment the clinic likes you to have a blood test to see if you are pregnant. Most women can’t wait until test day and do home pregnancy tests days before test day.
‘I couldn’t bring myself to do a test as I had no symptoms of pregnancy that I could tell. I also had the blood test a day later than I should’ve done, so I waited two weeks plus one day to find out I was pregnant.’
After getting pregnant at 46, Sheila said she spent the next nine months worrying about the baby.
‘I really sailed through with no problems that usually are associated with being older. In fact most people who didn’t know I was pregnant didn’t realise as I put very little weight on. I believe this is because I had such a healthy diet for six years.’
But the labour process was much tougher; she was induced at 40 weeks and had to have a caesarean when her womb wouldn’t contract. After four days, Sheila and her husband welcomed a baby girl, Jessica, to their family.
To detail her experiences and all the terminology that surrounds infertility, Sheila then decided to write two books, the Jargon Buster and My Fertility Book, as there is so much medical information to learn and most terms are abbreviated.
Fertility jargon buster
These are some of the abbreviations that cause much head scratching, she said:
DP3DT – this means you are three days post a three-day embryo transfer
DE – donor egg
DOR – stands for ‘diminished ovarian reserve’ meaning your egg reserve is lower than expected at the age you are
Embt/Embaby – an embryo, your future baby
ET – embryo transfer
FET – frozen embryo transfer
Frostie – frozen embryo
FTTA – fertile thoughts to all
HPT – home pregnancy test
IW – infertility warrior
FKC – frequent knicker checker
PCOS – polycystic ovarian syndrome
PUPO – pregnant until proven otherwise (during two-week wait you are pregnant)
Rainbow baby – a baby born following a miscarriage or stillbirth
BFP – big fat positive pregnancy test
BFN – the one no-one wants, a negative result.
‘We are all different and we deal with things in our own ways but infertility is a life-changing event and don’t underestimate how it affects you and those around you, especially your partner, if you have one,’ added Sheila.
‘It isn’t anything to be ashamed of, and you shouldn’t apologise to anyone.
‘It is very important that you find out all the information that you can, so you know what your medical team are talking about and you can ask questions to get the answers you’ll need in order to have some control over your treatment.’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a selection of the stories from Fertility Month so far - and you can find all Fertility Month content here.
Pregnant at 47Pregnant at 47faimabakar1Pregnant at 47 - Sheila Lamb (Picture: supplied)
TK Maxx has offered an apology and withdrawn products from its shops after OCD-UK and angry Twitter users protested against them.
The novelty Christmas kitchenware items were emblazoned with the slogan ‘I have O.C.D. … Obsessive Christmas Disorder’.
OCD-UK tweeted at the store in response pointing out the offence it could cause:
OCD is a serious mental disorder affecting an estimated three quarters of a million people in the UK.
It’s an anxiety-related condition which involves frequent intrusive thoughts and behaviours.
It can be so disabling that in 1990 the World Health Organisation ranked it in the global top ten leading causes of disability in terms of loss of income and quality of life.
Despite the evident seriousness of this disorder, it is often referred to in a flippant or frivolous manner.
It’s often used as a byword for being hyper clean, or just as a synonym for being quirky and offbeat, upsetting sufferers who are sick of their illness being trivialised.
Twitter users pointed out that other serious sicknesses would not be used as a punchline:
OCD sufferer Sarah Harvey, 24, from Crewe, Cheshire said she found the products upsetting.
‘OCD is not a joke, it is a life consumed with fear and the inability to control your own thoughts,’ she said.
‘I have suffered with OCD from the age of seven and on a daily basis I am left feeling exhausted, powerless and weak.
‘The glamorisation of mental illness really bothers me because in reality there is nothing fun, quirky or cool about it.
‘It’s offensive to people suffering with OCD because every time OCD is misused people believe it and the trend continues.
‘It stops people gaining access to treatment and makes them think they can’t talk about it – because society continues to laugh at it.’
‘I welcome TK Maxx’s decision to review the products and I respect their efficient response,’ Sarah added.
Ashley Fulwood, chief executive of OCD-UK, said this isn’t the first time they’ve had to battle offensive products.
Ashley said: ‘There are two issues – one is that it trivialises it and the second is that it fuels these misconceptions of OCD being something quirky. It fails to recognize that the ‘D’ in OCD stands for disorder.
‘It’s not just a case of us being easily offended. People fail to realise how severe it can be. It destroys lives, relationships, careers and sadly we have tragic consequences of people taking their own lives.
‘As the awareness of OCD has grown the trivialisation has grown. It’s a problem across society in general. We need to be careful about what we say. I accept people make mistakes and TK Maxx have acknowledged that.’
A spokeswoman for TK Maxx said: ‘At TK Maxx we take our customers’ concerns very seriously and appreciate that these items were brought to our attention.
‘It is never our intention to cause offence and as soon as we were made aware of the concerns, we initiated a process to remove these items from sale.’
TK Maxx pulls OCD rangeTK Maxx pulls OCD rangemeganbnolanMERCURY PRESS. 28/11/18. Pictured: Sarah Harvey, 24. Customers have welcomed a move by retailer TK Maxx to scrap a range of festive products with the slogan obsessive Christmas disorder after it was accused of trivialising mental illness. The range of cake tins and cookie jars will be removed from the shelves of the retail giant after complaints from customers that they perpetuate misconceptions about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Campaigners said the range makes light of an illness which ruins lives and leaves people feeling suicidal. SEE MERCURY COPY
The label ‘alcoholic’ is as schmaltzy as a Christmas ham.
It’s the stock photo of a bloke sat at a kitchen table in front of a whisky bottle with his head in his hands. It’s a weapon in the hands of an aggrieved child describing a parent.
When I wrote a book about women and addiction, I reasoned against using labels.
Woman of Substances includes my own hectic tale of smashing phone boxes, hurling pints, stealing from dealers and blacking out in inconvenient places – not always as fun as it sounds – but it’s also a book about temperament, impulsivity, mental health, female rage and trauma.
So when it came to the media coverage, I was dismayed to receive ‘recovering alcoholic speaks’-style headlines, as though I was a failure who had come good.
As if that storyline of rock-bottom-to-redemption is all we should ever be interested in hearing about. As if I would never move on.
Anyone who puts their hand up for help with their drinking becomes an ‘alcoholic’ in the eyes of society.
That’s because 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are so pervasive in popular culture, making cameos in TV shows like Love, Girls and Celebrity Rehab, and movies like 28 Days, The Fighter and Rachel Getting Married.
But ‘alcoholic’ is a non-clinical term.
It’s not found in the two key classification systems of mental illness – the DSM-5 (which prefers to say that a person has an ‘alcohol use disorder’) or the ICD-10 (‘alcohol dependence’ or ‘harmful alcohol use’) – and it wouldn’t be used by any medical professional worth their salt.
It implies permanence, helplessness and some kind of cursed botching of the DNA.
And that’s a big problem for the individual who’s seeking help, because it means their underlying pain, mental health and gory narrative – the complex things that they’ve probably desperately needed to be acknowledged for years – are still not being heard.
You’re just an alcoholic, okay? You have some weird alcohol allergy.
Problem drinking is actually a perfect storm of psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, poor mental health and mood disorders; environmental factors, such as the influence of your peers, your parents, your community; and hereditary aspects, the genetic puzzle of which is still an unknown quantity to researchers.
We do know that prolonged, heavy use eventually causes neuroadaptive changes in the brain.
When we call someone an ‘alcoholic’, we lose all that nuance.
Here’s an example: the drug and alcohol treatment service providers I interviewed for Woman of Substances variously told me that between 70 per cent and ‘99.9 per cent’ of their female clients were sexually abused as children.
That’s a clear cause-and-effect scenario. So why should ‘alcoholic’ be the label for these women when their alcohol use is a symptom of trauma?
Speaking personally, there were many psychological motivations behind my daily drinking:
Alcohol wasn’t just a tool (or ‘maladaptive coping strategy’, if you work in the biz), it was my entire tool kit – and I reckon if you drew a pie chart and marked up your own reasons for drinking, you’d similarly find plenty of very different impetuses.
The trick is to find better tools.
Of course, labels aren’t just applied to other people. Some people like to apply ‘alcoholic’ to themselves, in order to not forget the potential danger if they drink again, or to emphasise the fact that once they start they can’t stop, or to identify with others in the same boat.
I respect that, but I would argue that they are the only people with the right to wield the label. Personally, I’ll stick with ‘I used to have a drink problem.’
Woman of Substances: A Journey into Drugs, Alcohol and Treatment, is out now, published by Head of Zeus.
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email email@example.com
LABELS BLOGLABELS BLOGcharleyross92
Yep, it’s time for the end of year recaps.
It feels like just yesterday we were marveling at the trendiest baby names of 2017, and now here we are; looking at the list for 2018.
Time goes fast, right?
BabyCenter has released their list of the most popular baby names of the year, based on data from more than 742,00 parents who shared what they’d called their babies born in 2018.
There’s nothing too shocking, to be entirely honest.
Sophia, Amelia, and Olivia are still in the top ten for girls, although they have had a little shuffle in the rankings, while for boys Jackson, Liam, and Noah remain on top.
The top 25 girls' names of 2018:
The top 25 boys' names of 2018:
BabyCenter did notice some trends for rising baby names, however.
They noticed an increase in super zen names, such as Peace (up 66% from last year), Harmony (up 15%), and Hope (up 10%), perhaps to counteract the hectic news cycle of the past 12 months.
The Kardashian-Jenner sprogs have had an influence. Stormi jumped 63% from last year, Dream rose 42%, Saint increased by 42%, and Reign went up by 27%.
While we may have once made fun of Gwyneth Paltrow for naming her child Apple, there’s also been a rise in the number of babies given food-themed names. For girls, Kale (up 35%), Maple (up 32%), Clementine (up 15%), and Rosemary (up 20%) were more popular than before, while more boys were named Sage (up 15%).
Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s Senior Vice President of Consumer Experience and Global Editor in Chief (that’s a long title you’ve got there, Linda), said: ‘Sophia is the dominant girls’ name of the decade, with no signs of slowing down. It has worldwide appeal, it’s pronounceable in multiple languages, and it’s feminine and sophisticated all at once.
‘As for Jackson, it’s a modern twist on the old classic Jack.
‘Parents are inspired by the things they love as well as the sound of a name. In the past, we’d look to the Bible or royalty for name inspiration. Today’s parents turn to other sources.
‘We’ve had two decades plus of ‘unique’ names, and anything goes. It’s not like the days when every other baby was named Jessica, Jason, or Jennifer.’
Dad is taking care of a babyDad is taking care of a babyellencscott
A former straight ‘A’ student is ‘documenting her death’ on Instagram, in a bid to make voluntary assisted dying legal.
Holly Warland’s compelling insight into life with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) – a painful genetic condition where the muscles progressively waste away, predominantly on the hips and shoulders – is intended to ‘raise awareness of people who want to die with dignity.’
She was deprived of her chance to become a doctor, after being forced to quit her psychology degree, because of LGMD.
Holly, 27, of Queensland, Australia, who was diagnosed aged 11, said: ‘Disabled people haven’t always got feel good stories.
‘We are broken and sometimes we have to accept that and the fact that it’s permanent.
‘I don’t buy into the whole ‘proud’ of my disabled body thing. I lost the genetic lottery and here I am. I’m not proud and I would happily trade my body with someone else’s.
‘I consider my condition to be terminal, as I am not going to recover and it will shorten my life by, say 20 years or more.
‘I started Instagramming how my body was falling apart to raise awareness of people like me, who want to die with dignity.’
At the moment, Holly’s condition means she is mostly bedbound, or in a wheelchair – needing help with tasks such as showering and going to the toilet.
And while she could live until she is 50 or 60, she says she does not want to leave her family with a ‘horrid corpse’ – instead wishing to opt for assisted suicide to end her life, when she feels she has had enough.
She continued: ‘There is no cure for people like me, only pills to ease the pain, nausea and heart complications that come with the illness.
‘When I’ve had enough, I want to be able to decide to end my life, but I may need help and I don’t want anyone to be prosecuted for assisting me.’
Holly’s words come within weeks of Louis Theroux’s controversial BBC 2 documentary Choosing Death, screened earlier this month as part of a three part series, Altered States.
It explored assisted dying in California, USA, where it is legal for doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill people.
Keen for assisted dying to be legalised in Australia, Holly continued: ‘There are so many laws and ways to control life, but so little to control how and when we die.
‘We shouldn’t treat disabled people as though they all have a death wish, but we should at least let them have that choice.’
Before her diagnosis, Holly was a happy child growing up with her siblings, Adam, 25, Ben, 23 and Mia, 18, but she constantly struggled to keep up with the other kids in her PE classes.
Becoming easily exhausted, she would crash out every day when she came home after school, unable to move.
During sports days, she would hide in the toilets, pretending to be sick to avoid getting involved – the kind of behaviour which, at first, led her parents to think she was lazy, despite her being an academically capable straight A student.
It was only when she saw her doctor complaining of a cold that everyone realised it was something far more serious.
‘I thought I would just be prescribed some antibiotics, but the doctor saw that there was something else wrong with me,’ said Holly.
‘She noticed how slowly I moved, referred me to a specialist and within a year of monitoring and testing, I was diagnosed with LGMD.’
The devastating news hit Holly’s parents, dad Tony, 49, a real estate agent, and stay-at-home mum Teel, 58, the hardest, while she and her siblings were too young to understand the magnitude of her diagnosis.
Holly knew her condition meant she would get weaker, but continued living as she always had done, regardless.
Blessed with an excellent brain, aged 17, after using a wheelchair since she was 14 years old, Holly started studying at Queensland’s University of the Sunshine Coast for a degree in psychology – hoping to get her doctorate when she reached 25.
But everything changed when her condition got worse, meaning that, in 2016, she had to quit her course because of it.
She said: ‘Every day I began waking up to waves of nausea, a racing pulse, sore muscles, hyperventilation, and uncontrollable shaking.
‘I became depressed and suicidal but, ironically, I was so weak I couldn’t physically have killed myself even if I’d tried. I needed someone to unwrap a chocolate bar for me most of the time.’
While Holly worked through this difficult patch, it was the wake-up call that made her realise she wanted to be able to take her own life one day.
Explaining her views on ending her life, she said: ‘As an atheist, I know once it’s done I’ll be extremely relieved to know there’s nothing afterwards.
‘I’m not scared, Death is only hard for the people you leave behind.
‘I’m not sure when it comes to it if I will be this brave, but I’ve had a lot of time to sit around in bed and think about it and I know it’s what I want, although I don’t like the word ‘euthanasia,’ as it sounds so negative – I see it as assisted dying.’
And she hopes posts of her unfiltered experience on Instagram – made with the help of her boyfriend, part-time photographer and videographer Luke Amos, 29 – will help people to understand why she feels legalisation is so important.
Her full-time carer, Luke, who she met on an online dating website, is helping her, despite not wanting to lose her, because he has fallen deeply in love with Holly and has ‘never had a single fight with her’ even though times can be tough.
Holly says her family were crushed when she told them in October 2016 that she wished to decide when to die, but, after she explained the level of pain she lived with every day, they began to understand.
She said: ‘We can joke about it now. My mum says I’m going to write a letter and say exactly what I think of everyone before I go.
‘The way that I want to go would give everyone closure, even though it’s incredibly hard.
‘They love me so much that they are willing to let me make my own decision.’
Meanwhile, Holly will continue with her Instagram posts, hoping to convince people that assisted dying should be legal everywhere, as long as strict guidelines are obeyed.
She continued: ‘I use my Instagram to show the truth of what it’s like, living with a condition like this.
‘It is a means for me to vent online and document my disease as it changes
‘But I also want something positive to come out of my disability and, as I always tell Luke, the only thing stopping me from opting for assisted dying is the law, which is ridiculous.
‘If my posts can change one person’s mind, then I’ll be happy.’
Promising student robbed of her future by an incurable genetic condition ?documents her death? on Instagram in a fight to legalise assisted dyingPromising student robbed of her future by an incurable genetic condition ?documents her death? on Instagram in a fight to legalise assisted dyinglauraabernethy6Holly on the beach in Australia (PA Real Life/Luke Amos)Holly takes photos 'mid-vomit' to let her followers know what her day to day life is really like (PA Real Life/Luke Amos)
Welcome to Lean On Me – a weekly agony aunt style column from Metro.co.uk where Kate Leaver answers your friendship woes.
During my teens and early 20s, I was absolutely inseparable from my male best friend.
We did everything together and always swore that we would never let any chance of a romantic entanglement come in the way of our friendship.
Five years in, we slipped up on a night out (or two) and descended into a strange, awkward half-friendship, confused by what had happened and too terrified to talk about it.
Eventually, he got a girlfriend and we don’t speak anymore.
And now I’m not really sure how I feel about male-female friendships, and whether I completely trust them.
I was always so adamant that you could keep things separate if you were good enough friends – no matter your sexual orientation – but now I’m not so sure.
What are the guidelines, and should we believe in purely platonic friendships between a straight guy and girl during our 20s?
Why is it such a difficult thing to navigate?
Dearest Lily, you bring me one of life’s great conundrums.
A question so complex, we barely answered it in 10 full seasons of the TV show Friends.
A question so confusing, even Nora Ephron had to ruin the perfect friendship movie by hooking up Harry with Sally.
A question so alluring, it convinces male politicians and celebrities that they can’t be left alone in the company of a single woman.
Can men and women ever truly be just friends?
Let me say, enthusiastically – YES.
Our spectacular preoccupation with romantic love can will us to forget that men and women are perfectly compatible as friends.
We do not need a wedding at the end of every love story; every Harry needn’t end up with his Sally.
We should befriend our hairier brethren as often as we can in this life. There is profound loveliness to be found in these friendships.
Now, you, like so many of us, failed to resist the temptation of hooking up with someone you adore.
Do not beat yourself up for that – we are shag-happy beings and it can be especially confusing in your early 20s, when many of us still suspect our worth as women is determined by desirability.
It is also bewildering to get very close to a male friend because what precisely is a lover, if not a friend who has taken his clothes off?
My advice is this: do not lose faith in the friendship potential of man.
Sure, an evolutionary psychologist would tell you that we have no evolutionary reason to make friends with the opposite sex.
But there is joy and sense in being an evolutionary renegade, and embracing what academics would call a ‘cross-sex friendship’.
I am extravagantly fond of my best male friend, a beardy musician who enjoys pizza.
He makes me feel sure of who I am and who I want to be when I’m in his company – and both our partners are absolutely comfortable with our friendship.
We were all at the pub together just the other day and played Monopoly. It is entirely possible – nay, delightful – to have a dear friend with contrary genital components.
Please, don’t be like the broken-hearted woman who swears off love for eternity after one particular injustice of the heart.
Don’t give up on the companionship of our testosterone-filled peers – because their support and camaraderie can be a truly special thing.
You just need a new male buddy, someone to remind you of the delights of platonic love.
Someone to cajole into the supposedly female pursuit of gossip, chit-chat and exchanging vulnerabilities.
Someone who makes you laugh, keeps you humble and disgusts you just enough to deter you from jumping into bed with him.
You might you already know him. Do work with him? Is he your sister’s boyfriend’s mate? Could he be on one of those nifty friendship apps?
When you find him, you will remember what it is to fall in friendship-love with a man.
Dear lady, I wish you good luck in this noble pursuit.
May he be kind, with a repulsive face, just to make your platonic journey easier.
About Lean On Me
Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering your friendship woes in her weekly Metro.co.uk column.
If you’d like to submit a question or problem, email LeanOnMe@metro.co.uk with ‘Lean on me’ in the subject line.
Submissions are anonymous and you can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.
Here are some things that people on the internet have recommended doing, that it turns out are not good idea.
Oh, and putting raw eggs on your eyes. That’s not wise either.
And yet, beauty bloggers across the internet are advising applying raw egg whites on to the eye area to tighten the skin and act as a DIY eyelid lift.
New York based Lizbeth Eguia recently posted a video describing egg whites as a ‘facelift, Botox situation’.
‘Botox can be really expensive, so this is going to be a hack that costs zero dollars if you’ve already got egg in your house,’ she says. ‘If you do have prominent wrinkles, go ahead and try it out.’
There is a tiny bit of sense in the hack. If you apply egg whites to any part of the skin you’ll notice it feels a bit tight and dry, so theoretically, yes, your eye area may feel a tiny bit lifted.
But those effects will be short-lived and not particularly drastic. While beauty bloggers may claim an egg white mask can shrink pores, all it actually does is temporarily tighten them. The same goes for your eye area – while the egg white is on there you’ll feel some tightness, but it’s essentially like putting PVA glue on there – it only has an effect until you peel it off.
Beauty blogger Angie Schmitt tried the hack and said it was a ‘sad disappointment’, saying that it felt like putting egg whites on her eyelids didn’t ‘really feel like it’s doing anything at all’.
As well as not being effective, the egg white hack could also be dangerous, according to one expert.
Cosmetic surgeon Christopher Inglefield, of the London Bridge Plastic Surgery Clinic, suggests that people trying the hack could end up giving themselves food poisoning by messing around with raw eggs.
‘Not only is this ineffective practice, it could potentially spread harmful bacteria, such as campylobacter and even salmonella if you’re really unlucky,’ he explains.
‘You should always wash your hands after handling raw egg.
‘If it’s on your face all day then you are potentially contaminating everything and everyone you touch.
‘Just think of the risks.’
He’s got a point. While it’s unlikely you’ll miss your eye area and chuck raw egg directly into your mouth, it’s possible that touching raw egg – either when applying it to your face or afterwards, when you touch your face – could pass bacteria on to other foods you consume.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning:
Symptoms usually pass within a week.
Think about it: You absentmindedly rub your eye then tuck in to a slice of pizza without washing your hands. Voila, you’ve got raw egg on your pizza.
The risk is pretty low, yes. But considering the hack also doesn’t really work, it might be best avoided just on that tiny percent of chance that you could make yourself ill.
There’s also the chance that egg white’s sticky, drying nature could cause irritation – not ideal around the delicate eye area.
The NHS advises: ‘There can be bacteria on the shell as well as inside the egg, which can spread very easily to other foods, as well as to hands, utensils and worktops.
‘Keep eggs away from other foods – both when they are in the shell and after you have cracked them.
‘Be careful not to splash egg onto other foods, worktops or dishes
‘Always wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, and then dry them after touching or working with eggs. Clean surfaces, dishes and utensils thoroughly using warm soapy water after handling eggs.’
So to recap, putting raw egg whites on your eyes: Probably not a good idea.
Maybe don't put raw eggs on your eyes?Maybe don't put raw eggs on your eyes?ellencscott
We keep being told ‘enjoy things’ and ‘live in the moment’.
But how is that realistic when we need to get all the likes and retweets possible? (sarcasm, obviously)
The Ibis hotel chain have tapped into this disconnect in priorities, by outsourcing your social media needs in some of their hotels.
Their ‘social media sitters’ will take and upload pictures for you throughout your stay, making sure they fit in with your carefully thought-out aesthetic.
Their scheme – called Relax, We Post – is available in Ibis hotels in Zurich and Geneva, and is being rolled out as a trial (finishing this weekend) before possibly becoming more permanent.
You can choose from a selection of influencers and locals to curate you feed.
Each one has listed their specialisms, from fashion, to food, to adventure.
From there, you do have to hand over your Instagram password, and let them tag your posts with #postedbysocialmediasitter – but that only adds to the VIP feel, right?
Oh, and it’ll cost you about ₣90 (£70) for the privilege.
At the moment, Ibis is doing deals for the final weekend, where a double room, breakfast, and social media sitter is from ₣100 (£79) to ₣165 (£130) per night for two people.
If you want to get involved, you can do so here.
From there, just sit back and watch the likes roll in.
Instagram sitters take over your feed while you're on holidayInstagram sitters take over your feed while you're on holidayjessicacvlInstagram sitters take over your feed while you're on holiday IbisInstagram sitters take over your feed while you're on holiday Ibis
We all have a bad date story, but perhaps none so awful as this one.
One woman shared the story of a Whatsapp conversation with a friend saved as Bridget Jones who had endured a first date unlike any other.
When her date told her to wear all black, Bridget thought she might be heading on a fancy first date with a dress code.
Even when their car stopped at a crematorium, she assumed (or hoped) he was just stopping for gas. But instead, her date explained that they were going to attend the funeral of his grandmother.
She had no choice but to go through with it.
The Whatsapp conversation detailing the events of the night was shared by Bridget’s friend on Twitter who was shocked by the revelation.
In the chat, Bridget explains to her friend why she went through with the whole thing.
‘He goes “I just really needed someone to come to this thing with me and thought if I told you, you wouldn’t come”. [He] pulls in and at this point, I’m like f**** there’s no way out.
‘So I’m like f*** it, what’s the worst that could happen. It’s his nan’s funeral.
‘People are sobbing and I’m like I can’t leave, I’d be a massive bitch. Imagine calling an Uber to a funeral home. Didn’t stay for the wake. Made him take me home after the service. He was holding my hand, crying, I couldn’t leave.’
Bridget then went on to explain that her date was going through a tough time as he had recently broken up with his girlfriend.
He’d told his family about his girlfriend, who were all excited to meet her.
Unable to tell them that they’d broken up, for fear of bad timing if anything, he decided to take another girl, Bridget, along.
And Bridget, being a good date, decided to humour the family, comforting a total stranger who couldn’t stop crying.
Most people on Twitter either found it hilarious, disturbing, or could relate. Some said it didn’t happen while others marvelled at the subject’s name, Bridget Jones – a fictional character who endures many dating mishaps.
One person joked: ‘This puts the fun in funeral’.
Worst first date everWorst first date everfaimabakar1
Residents of Tyldesley have dubbed their town’s ‘living’ Christmas tree as the worst in Britain – as they’ve been told it ‘hasn’t finished growing yet’.
The limp-looking tree appeared in the town in Greater Manchester this week. It came with five baubles and a star on the top.
The tree prompted derision from some locals who took to social media to vent their disappointment.
They were stunned when local council chiefs said the tree’s appearance was because ‘it hasn’t finished growing.’
Rebecca Rowland, 36, posted a picture of the tree on Twitter and wrote: ‘Tyldesley’s 2018 tree.
‘If there’s a worse one in the country I’ll sit on the top myself.’
While other Twitter users agreed with her comments, Wigan Council jumped to the defence of the tree.
Council bosses told how it isn’t a purpose-bought Christmas tree, it is a living tree, and the reason it looks the way it does is because it hasn’t quite finished growing.
The ‘living tree’ was installed as part of the guided busway improvements to Tyldesley Market Square in 2015.
Wigan Council said it would be working with traders and the local community to finish off the tree in time for the Christmas switch-on, which takes place in Market Square at 6pm on Saturday.
The fence surrounding the tree will also be decorated.
Coun Stephen Hellier, local ward councillor, said: ‘We are working together as a community in Tyldesley to make the town centre look festive and welcoming to residents and visitors.
‘The tree is a living tree and yet to grow to its full height.
‘We will be decorating it later this week and we are looking forward to welcoming the people of Tyldesley to a successful switch-on event on December 1.’
SEI_41745020-a6ceSEI_41745020-a6cehattiegladwellmetroBritains worst Christmas tree? A Christmas tree in Tyldesley in Greater Manchester is looking worse for wear as Wigan council have not decorated the tree and left it looking bare. Local shop traders have taken matters in to their own hands by deciding to decorate the tree themselves. SWLEtreeWigan council have been told to only decorate the fencing around the tree, but no plans have been had to add decorations to the empty looking tree.Britains worst Christmas tree? A Christmas tree in Tyldesley in Greater Manchester is looking worse for wear as Wigan council have not decorated the tree and left it looking bare. Local shop traders have taken matters in to their own hands by deciding to decorate the tree themselves. SWLEtreeBritains worst Christmas tree? A Christmas tree in Tyldesley in Greater Manchester is looking worse for wear as Wigan council have not decorated the tree and left it looking bare. Local shop traders have taken matters in to their own hands by deciding to decorate the tree themselves. SWLEtreeLocal residents loom at the empty tree in disgust. Britains worst Christmas tree? A Christmas tree in Tyldesley in Greater Manchester is looking worse for wear as Wigan council have not decorated the tree and left it looking bare. Local shop traders have taken matters in to their own hands by deciding to decorate the tree themselves. SWLEtree
Just ahead of the 30th World AIDS Day this coming Saturday, we’ve received some fantastic news – the UK has met the United Nations’ 90-90-90 target.
Today’s stats from Public Health England show 92% of people living with HIV are diagnosed – with 98% of those on treatment and 97% have an undetectable viral load, which means they can’t pass on HIV to anyone else.
This feat shows we’re making real progress in the fight against HIV and it should be a cause for celebration. It clearly shows what can be achieved when people affected by HIV, activists, charities, the research community, the NHS and local councils work together.
Now the big question is – what’s next?
This is far from the end and it’s time for us to be even more ambitious as we work towards ending new HIV transmissions entirely in the UK.
That’s because we’re at a pivotal moment and must not jeopardise progress made by being complacent, which was a key message in Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex’s inspirational video to mark National HIV Testing Week earlier this month.
This 90-90-90 target has been our aim for many years, but we now need a new and ambitious goal.
Following today’s news, we urgently want to see UK governments commit to ending new HIV transmissions by 2030 at the latest and to set out clear steps in how to achieve that.
This will only be happen if we all works together towards a shared vision.
In the past, the UK has led the way when it comes to HIV and that must continue now.
HIV can’t be allowed to fall any further down the priority list and must once again become a key focus with clear strategies put in place, as well as investment in HIV and sexual health services.
We also all have a part to play in eliminating HIV-related stigma.
At Terrence Higgins Trust we have been championing the stigma-busting message that people living with HIV (and who are on effective treatment) can’t pass it on to anyone else.
Today’s figures show that this is true for an incredible 97% of people diagnosed and on treatment in this country.
We know that outdated knowledge of HIV is having a huge impact on the lives, mental health and well-being of people living with HIV – and it’s unacceptable.
That’s why, alongside condoms, more testing and availability of the HIV prevention pill PrEP, tackling the stigma and updating the general public’s knowledge of HIV is crucial, if we’re to achieve our ambitious aim of reaching zero new HIV transmissions.
There was news this week that HIV has hit a 10-year high in Europe, with over 80% of new cases in Eastern Europe.
So we should have a real sense of pride in what’s been achieved in the UK – while also looking to share our learnings internationally.
A significant factor is that people living with HIV are now given treatment much sooner after diagnosis, which means the virus becomes undetectable in the blood more quickly and then can’t be passed on to anyone else.
The 28% drop in new diagnoses we’ve seen since 2015 have been driven by a 31% decline in new diagnoses in gay and bisexual men – particularly by those living in London, where there was a 44% fall.
To see this level of progress across all groups in the entire country, we need to look closely at who is still being diagnosed and what we can do to better target those groups.
I am proud that our organisation has played a part in the incredible progress made since the very start of the epidemic.
We now look to UK governments to step up and commit to ending new HIV infections, and we’ll do whatever we can to help achieve that.
Medical technician preparing a human sample for HIV testingMedical technician preparing a human sample for HIV testingallieabgarian
Is there anything more festive than sleeping next to a lion enclosure?
Probably, but it is certainly a different way to get into the Christmas spirit.
This year ZSL has unveiled its Christmas at London Zoo light trail which weaves between its enclosures and paddocks.
After a festive walk through the central London Zoo you can stay overnight at the Gir Lion Lodges.
Get ready to be woken up by the sound of the lions, one of the 19,000 animals you’ll be bedding down with.
The lodges are located just metres from the home of four Asiatic lions because – as I learned – lions aren’t just from Africa.
The nine chalet-style homes have a bedroom and bathroom. They’re snug, but are all you need for the overnight stay.
Once settled in the zoo staff inform you about the two alarms the zoo has and how to react to them both.
Should the fire alarm sound, you must leave the affected area as quickly and safely as possible.
If you hear the other siren – gulp – you must stay inside or get to a building as quickly as you can, remaining indoors.
It wasn’t clarified if the lodges are lion proof.
The stay begins with a nocturnal animal tour, a chance to see some of the animals who don’t make an appearance during the day.
This includes a peek at your sleeping lion neighbours and watching the flamingos and pelicans bicker as they settle down for the night.
The stars of evening are the immediately endearing porcupines Lana, Nancy and Polly, who scamper out when called by name.
You get the chance to create toys for these spiky rodents by hiding nuts in egg boxes for them to break open.
You’re basically a zoo keeper within the first hour.
Warning: Expect an odour similar to your childhood guinea pig but ramped up by ten notches – porcupines like to weaponise their spines by rolling in their own faeces.
For the second part of the evening you can rejoin the masses and walk the Christmas lights trail.
This takes you through the park with stunning displays, such as the snow sledge Christmas tree and luminous flamingos, next to actual flamingos.
There are also carousels and rides for children and the young at heart to ride on, plus plenty of places to stop and top up on hot chocolate.
The lights are out of the way of animals who would be upset by them.
You’ll find a lot of festive sheds throughout the route, which after the fifth one was slightly baffling but you will be sated by mulled wine and toasted marshmallows.
Father Christmas and his trusty elf Peppermint have traveled from the North Pole to feature in the trail too.
And the Grade I listed penguin house has had a light show makeover, blasting out all your favourite Christmas hits.
Included in your stay at the lion lodges is a two course meal from the Terrace Resturant, near to the zoo’s exit.
There is a good selection of food including burgers and fish and chips to keep the picky kids happy, but of course we had to go for the Christmas dinner.
Followed by festive cakes and biscuits.
And more mulled wine.
It is Christmas and 100% okay to indulge.
Once you’re suitably fed and full, it is time to make your way to the former elephant and rhino house for the behind the scenes tour of your evening.
This is the animal kitchen were you can help the keepers prepare treats and enrichment to give to the animals in the morning.
Food charts line the walls with likes and dislikes of each inhabitant.
The pygmy hippos are a mood – ‘very lazy by nature, enjoy being pampered’ – while the bearded pigs also remind us of people we know – very active, busy and nosey.
The elephants and rhinos no longer live at London Zoo and now reside at its sister park Whipsnade but the stunning 1960s architecture of the building remains.
Here you’ll get the chance to create enrichment for the tigers, by rubbing their favourite spices on sacks to hide in a box they must break open.
Plus hide wriggling meal worms inside twigs for the allusive lemur-like creature, the aye aye, to fish out with its long middle finger.
By about 10.30pm it is bedtime.
Get ready to wack up the heater and crack open your window because here is the most amazing part of your stay, enjoying the sounds of the zoo at night.
You can totally forget you’re in central London and have fun trying to guess who and what you are hearing.
We discovered one particularly noisy resident is Jimmy the white cheeked gibbon who loves to sing.
The sleepover also comes with a complimentary lion alarm clock. Bhanu is the only male Asiatic lion at the zoo and will attempt to wake you up – before 6am – by roaring, which actually sounds more like a bark.
He likes to amplify this by standing in the tunnel between the enclosures getting the maximum echo effect.
He lives with three lionesses; sisters Rubi and her younger twin sisters Heidi and Indi.
They were joined by male lion Bhanu in 2016 and as a species they are endangered with just over 600 left in the wild in the Gir Forest and surround area in Gujuart, India.
After the morning visit to the lions, who love nothing more than to lie on their hot rocks, it is time to do the morning rounds.
First its a trip to feed the very happy bearded pigs who wag their tails like dogs and excitedly welcome nuts thrown into their pen.
Other highlights including peeking in on the dwarf mongoose, meeting the allusive and fear aye aye and prepare to be splashed during feeding time at penguin beach.
The final stop is Tiger Territory to see your enrichment from the night before be torn to pieces by Jae Jae and Melati, the Sumatran tigers.
Chicken thighs are placed around the enclosure for the magnificent big cats and watch as the ginger cats go wild for your ginger scented box.
And so ends your sleepover, but you have the rest of the day to explore the zoo and see the animals who weren’t on the tours – we recommend a trip to the gorillas.
Enjoy your stay, wrap up warm and don’t be the idiot who uses a flash to take pictures of the nocturnal or sleeping animals. No one likes you.
Christmas at London Zoo
The light trail and Christmas experience will run on 34 non-consecutive dates until January 2019.
Advance ticket prices: Adult £16.50, Child £10.50, Family £52.00, Under 3’s & carers free.
For full details and to book tickets visit: christmasatlondonzoo.co.uk
Sleepover at Gir Lion Lodge
Gir Lion Lodge is open from February until December.
A lodge for two people costs from £378 per night, with each additional child place £50 each.
Call for reservations on 0344 225 1826 or visit www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/gir-lion-lodge.
Sleepover at London ZooSleepover at London Zootashsalmon
Lisa Cook had her first period at nine years old.
She experienced so much pain that she would vomit, pass out, and had to miss days of school each time she menstruated.
Her parents took her to a GP, who put her on the contraceptive pill to manage her symptoms without doing any investigation into why her periods were so incredibly painful.
It wasn’t until she was 21 – yep, that’s over a decade later – that she was finally diagnosed with endometriosis.
‘I was in pain daily and extreme pain when on my period,’ Lisa tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I found a new GP age 21 and she referred me straight away for a diagnostic laparoscopy.’
Like many sufferers, the bulk of the information Lisa found out about endometriosis was from the internet, after she’d spent hours searching for a reason for her pain.
At 26, she received a second diagnosis: adenomyosis, a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that causes tissue that behaves like endometrium (lining of the womb) to be found in other parts of the body, such as in the ovaries, in the fallopian tubes, inside the stomach, and in or around the bladder or bowel.
Symptoms of endometriosis include:
There’s no cure for endometriosis, but treatment can include:
There’s a link between endometriosis and infertility, but what’s not entirely clear is why.
We do know that as the severity of endometriosis increases, areas of scar tissue become more common, making natural conception more difficult. Scar tissue can prevent the normal movement of an egg down the fallopian tube, for example.
What is adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is a condition in which the endometrium (tissue usually lining the uterus) is found within the myometrium (the muscular wall of the womb).
It can cause extremely painful and heavy periods. Symptoms include:
There is no cure, but treatment can include a hysterectomy (the removal of the womb), anti-inflammatory medications, and hormone therapy.
It’s difficult to know how adenomyosis affects fertility, as it’s common for someone with the condition to also have endometriosis, making it hard to figure out the exact cause for difficulties conceiving.
It’s thought that adenomyosis may disrupt the uterus’ natural contractions that help sperm to reach the egg in the fallopian tube, or that it may cause damage with contractions when the embryo is implanted.
Lisa had had the conditions for years, but without a diagnosis, had no idea what to do about it.
At 21 she discovered the impact both illnesses had on her fertility.
‘I met a new partner age 21 and we decided to start trying for children pretty much straight away,’ Lisa explains. ‘I knew we might have difficulties getting pregnant but I never imagined we’d be where we are now nine years on.’
Lisa and her partner have been trying to have a child for nearly a decade.
After years of trying naturally, the couple attempted ICSI, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a technique for IVF in which an individual sperm is introduced to the egg. This was unsuccessful, and Lisa says she was refused further cycles.
‘We were entitled to one fresh cycle and one frozen cycle but we didn’t have any embryos to freeze so they didn’t give us a frozen cycle,’ says Lisa.
‘I did appeal this and was sent a letter saying you’re not entitled to more.
‘I feel slightly robbed as statistics do show three cycles are usually needed for a successful pregnancy.’
After the unsuccessful cycle Lisa and her partner looked into adoption, but found that this came with further hurdles.
She tells us: ‘We went to an information day and had an initial meeting.
‘I said I occasionally smoke socially but am willing to stop straight away. We were told I need to quit for three months and get a letter from a GP to say that I’d quit. I wasn’t classed as a smoker by the GP so couldn’t actually do a stop smoking course and get the proof I’d “stopped”. It was a nightmare.
‘We were also told at that initial meeting we would have to stop actively trying for a child if we were to adopt. This was a huge red flag for me – you can adopt if you already have children so why couldn’t we still be trying?’
This year the couple did a surrogacy with a donor egg, but unfortunately the pregnancy ended at ten weeks.
Years of trying for a child has had an impact on Lisa’s mental health. Endometriosis can be an isolating illness, with chronic pain often leading to cancelled plans and difficulty living your normal life. Add in fertility issues – an area that still remain taboo – and it’s only natural that someone would feel low, lost, and alone.
‘I’ve suffered from depression for years now,’ says Lisa. ‘Being in pain every day is a struggle in itself but it affects my ability to work and socialise. I have lost many jobs through ill health and being off sick, resulting in money worries.
‘I dread the thought of never being a mother. It’s something I think about every single day.’
To provide a place of support and information for other women struggling with endometriosis and fertility issues, seven years ago Lisa created a Facebook group, Endo The Silence, where people can vent or get advice.
‘Being at home in pain can be very isolating and the group has definitely been a lifeline for a lot of the members,’ says Lisa.
‘It’s hard to find correct information and advise online. I try to inform the members the best ways on how to get diagnosed and treatment options.’
Lisa hasn’t given up hope. She and her partner plan to try the surrogacy process again soon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a selection of the stories from Fertility Month so far - and you can find all Fertility Month content here.
Endometriosis pieceEndometriosis pieceellencscott
Yes, you could just get your beloved kitty a massive bag of dry food and be done with it.
But they’re utterly spoiled, and instead you buy them a different multipack of meat and fish wet food, each portion individually packaged in its own little pouch.
There’s just one problem (beyond the expense and the knowledge that your cat is eating better than you): you have no clue what to do with the pouch once you’ve squeezed out those gravy coated chunks.
We do worry about our environmental impact when we’re chucking away three pouches a day.
Thankfully and finally, someone’s come up with a solution.
Mars Petcare has partnered with TerraCycle to launch a free nationwide recycling scheme specifically for pet food packaging.
Through the new scheme, pet owners can drop off their used pet food packaging at a number of drop-off locations around the country, or they can free-post them directly to TerraCycle.
Once the packaging has been collected it will be sorted, cleaned, shredded, and turned into small plastic pellets which can be converted into useful plastic items, such as park benches, construction items, and fence posts.
Better than it ending up in a landfill, right?
The packaging that will be eligible for the recycling scheme include wet pet food pouches, flexible plastic treat bags, and flexible plastic bags for dry pet food.
Don’t panic about cleaning the pouches before you drop them off, as any food residue will be composted. Sweet.
Of course, this isn’t the perfect solution – ideally all the packaging we use should be easily recyclable and made sustainably. But it’s a handy way to deal with the issue of pet food packaging while we wait for companies to sort things out.
Mars Inc has made a commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025, so we may have a while to wait.
Finally you can recycle pet food pouchesFinally you can recycle pet food pouchesellencscott
Dogs are a man’s best friend but what use is a night with your favourite mate if you can’t offer them a drink.
Well, now you can as BrewDog has launched a craft beer for canines – Subwoofer IPA.
It’s made with the same base ‘wort’ as their beers for humans but this one has been specifically designed for dogs.
It’s alcohol and hop-free, non-carbonated and even contains vitamins and probiotics.
Packed with citrus overtones and a familiar malt backbone, the brew is perfect for all four-legged friends.
The Subwoofer IPA concept was originally developed by the kitchen team at BrewDog’s bar team in Liverpool who launched a prototype beer for pups and saw huge demand from the city’s dog-loving community.
Dog owners can now buy a bottle of Subwoofer IPA for £2.50 across BrewDog’s network of 39 UK bars, as well as via its online shop.
To launch the new pooch friendly brew, on Sunday 2 December BrewDog will be giving the first 20 dogs through the door of each UK BrewDog bar the chance to win a case of the dog-friendly Subwoofer IPA.
In addition to the top prize up for grabs, each of the first 20 dogs will also be gifted a ‘doggy bag’, containing a bottle of Subwoofer IPA and dog treats.
BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: ‘Following the crazy success of our Liverpool bar team’s canine-friendly craft beer experiment, we wanted to refine a recipe to offer a delicious, refreshing beer for every dog who visits us nationwide.
‘The result has been tried and tested and approved by our panel of pups, meaning the thousands of dogs that visit our bars each week can now get a taste, too.’
Nothing makes you feel older than realising that all the legends that made up your formative years have been lost to the annals of history.
One of the ones slowly losing popularity (probably for the best) is blue waffle.
Classic school japes when I was younger weren’t all about promposals and catfishing.
No, no, back in the noughties, we just showed each other horrifying images on the world wide web and waited for hilarious reactions.
One of those images was blue waffle. You’d be emailed a picture of an ACTUAL blue waffle, featuring the caption ‘bet you can’t find me on Google’.
Reverse psychology will get us all in the end, and get us then it did; most likely in the IT suite or your parents’ dining room for optimum embarrassment.
Blue waffle was a picture of a vulva, where the labia had become mutilated and bluish in colour, allegedly due to a sexually transmitted infection of the same name.
There were warts. There were pustules. It was the kind of thing that made all your parts go in on themselves momentarily, every time you imagined it.
Given that STIs can feel scary to think about, and something like BW is probably blocked by your work’s online settings, have you ever actually checked to see if it’s real?
Turns out, people still care, and still don’t know.
Weird flex in 2018, Perez, but okay?
The thing is, as much as it’s an urban legend, it’s permeated culture to the point where a lot of people still have no idea if it’s real.
Netflix show Big Mouth featured a reference to blue waffle in their recent series, and one of their writers (all clever people with a good knowledge of sexual health – since that’s the general plot of Big Mouth) was completely unaware.
For once and for all, let Getting Freaky dig deep down into the waffle lore, and find out the truth.
Blue waffle was one of the earliest viral ‘memes’ (if you can call it that).
The prank has been going on since around 2006, when the first references of it started appearing on sites like Urban Dictionary.
Some people stated it was a disease, others stated it was a collection of diseases that culminated in the overall effect shown in the photo.
Let’s start with the facts, though: There is no disease called blue waffle.
That hasn’t stopped such a rumour proliferating, however.
One councilwoman in Trenton, New Jersey in 2013 stated at a council meeting that she’d had a concerned call from a constituent. She said: ‘Blue waffle disease deserves the city’s attention… It’s already claimed 85 lives and there’s a case here in Trenton. It is a virus that is 10 times greater at this point than the AIDS virus.’
She hadn’t accounted for the fact that the call came in to her office on 1 April. Rookie error.
It might seem like a more plausible explanation, then, that this image simply shows multiple infections taking hold at once.
But, alas, no.
Dr. Amy Whitaker, now a Clinical Associate of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the University of Chicago Hospital wrote a blog post for Womens Health Network back in peak blue waffle times. She said: ‘There is no disease that causes a blue appearance on the external genitalia.’
So what could it be, then? Dr. Whitaker has some sinister theories that may make your LOLs at the time feel a lot worse:
‘The picture itself is disturbing. It is possible that a bluish appearance to external genitalia could be from bruising, which could result from force, most likely from a sexual assault. I can’t say, obviously, if that is the case here, but bruising certainly wouldn’t be bright blue.
‘No STDS cause external bruising. Additionally, there appears to be one or two lesions, which could be an STD of some sort (for example, a herpes lesion), although it is certainly not clear from the picture.
‘It even appears that there might be some sort of laceration on her right labia, a “cut” of sorts, but again it’s unclear. That could also be from force, or it could be an STD that presents with a lesion on the vulva.’
According to this, there’s every chance that blue waffle came about through mutilation, although Whitaker does assert that it could also just as easily be photoshopped.
One less horrifying theoy claims the colour may have something to do with the antisceptic Gentian Violet and a yeast infection or genital warts.
The solution is known to cause a distinct purple-blue staining, and commentators surmised that it might have been used by the person in the photo (despite the fact this wouldn’t actually help with a yeast infection or warts), causing the unnatural hue.
We all know the value we can place on baseless online theories, though.
The conclusion is that, if the picture of blue waffle is real, it’s come about due to bruising and lacerations. There are no diseases in the world that can reproduce this look, however.
Knowing about actual STIs is extremely important, as you can watch for symptoms and signs.
Whatever you do have, it won’t be blue waffle, that’s for sure.
Is blue waffle real?Is blue waffle real?jessicacvlIs blue waffle real?