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

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    Modern witches at Christmas
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    December isn’t usually a month you associate with witchcraft – spells and magic are more suited to Halloween in most minds.

    But as well as Christmas, we’re about to reach the festival of Yule – one of the most important days in a modern witch’s calendar.

    Far from standing over a cauldron, the modern witch looks pretty normal – commuting to work, drinks with friends and a nine to five job.

    And even some of their festive celebrations are pretty similar to the well-known Christmas traditions.

    Christmas trees, holly and mistletoe are all familiar Christmas emblems, but they all started as part of Yule.

    Although the celebrations might not be too far apart, celebrating as a witch can be difficult in a country where the majority of people identify as Christian or come from Christian backgrounds.

    (Picture: Silver Tempest)

    Silver, 33, from London, a solitary witch (meaning she is not part of a coven), will still celebrate some aspects of Christmas with her loved ones.

    She discovered magic and witchcraft as a teenager and as she got older, it became a fundamental part of her life.

    Now, she fits her beliefs around her everyday life, finding support from other witches through YouTube.

    ‘I read tarot cards, I work with crystals and herbs, I work with the phases of the moon and the seasons,’ she tells Metro.co.uk

    ‘I like to take these elements to slightly non-traditional or more modern places so I have a few charmed keyrings attached to my keys to avoid losing them, I once charmed my boots to avoid stepping in dog poo on the streets and I have charmed my jumpers and scarves to keep me warm in the winter.

    ‘I do spell work and incorporate these elements into creating the most effective method for the change that I want to see in my life.’

    She admits that not everyone understands her beliefs so she chooses to continue to celebrate many aspects of Christmas.

    ‘I still spend time with friends and family and eat a lot of traditional foods and give gifts,’ she says.

    ‘I’ve never had a strong connection with the religious elements of Christmas though I do understand that it’s a large part of it for a lot of people.

    ‘Yule is on the 21 December this year although this can change as it falls on the winter solstice.

    Witching terms

    Paganism

    Paganism, is an umbrella term covering all religions that are not related to the Judeo-Christian family of religions.

    Wiccan

    A modern Pagan mystery religion that was introduced to the public in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner. It combines traditional British folk magic beliefs with early 20th century hermetic ritual practices into a dynamic whole. Not all witches are Wiccans, as Wicca is a belief system and being a witch is a way of life.

    Traditional witch

    A traditional witch practices the old craft before the Wiccan practices were introduced.

    Coven

    A group of witches who meet together to practise magic. Some witches are not involved in covens at all and work alone.

    ‘It is the celebration welcoming the return of the light. It falls on the longest night of the year and so every night after this is shorter and each day is longer.

    ‘As I don’t practice or celebrate with a group of other witches my celebrations are generally quite simple and can be as little as meditating upon the flame of a candle thinking about the year to come.’

    Although Silver has found ways to incorporate both aspects of Christmas and Yule into her life, she does feel like it is difficult living in a country where your beliefs are different to the ‘norm’.

    She adds: ‘I feel like my point of view is left out of most situations where religion is called into question.

    ‘To hear politicians in particular say that we are a Christian country has been very frustrating because for the most part I do not believe we are a Christian country any more and so to attempt to invoke a sense of religious unity in this way is a poor grasp at gaining support, especially over the last few years where matters in the political arena have been very tense and high anxiety, to put it mildly.

    ‘One basic level of inequality could be that the Christian interpretation of Christmas and Easter involve state sanctioned days off work as public holidays. There are eight Pagan festivals through the year and I do not get state sanctioned holidays for those.

    ‘I have found the yearly outrage at calling the Starbucks cup a ‘holiday cup’ to be quite amusing as people get religiously uptight and offended over something so small.

    ‘It’s just a coffee cup people, chill out. I don’t feel the need to scream and shout because the pentagram star is not included in Starbucks festive offering for the year.’

    But over the past few years, Silver has noticed an increase in people recognising the Pagan origins of Christmas.

    ‘I have seen memes flying around the Internet that draw attention to the fact that Christmas as a holiday season has very Pagan roots.

    ‘For example the tradition of the Christmas tree is something ancient Pagans did, to bring a living tree into the houses so that the wood spirits would have somewhere warm to stay over the cold winter.

    ‘Decorating the house and traditions around mistletoe and holly are also deeply Pagan and people don’t seem to realise that is the case.

    ‘With the Internet giving everyone a voice the notion of a Christian Christmas as we know it is being challenged. I enjoy seeing this happen particularly as I enjoy a good Internet meme.’

    (Picture: Bexz Walker)

    Like Silver, traditional witch Bexz, 41, from Kent, celebrates Yule and agrees that their celebrations aren’t too far removed from their Christian neighbours.

    Bexz was raised as a witch and has owned her own traditional witchcraft shop since the 1990s.

    She says: ‘I am a traditional witch and not a Wiccan so I do not have deities, do not work with moon phases, no chanting, do not cast circles or do any rituals.

    ‘I cast spells as and when I need to and am happy to work with both the lighter side and darker side of magic.

    ‘I have been out and proud since I was young and I am relatively well-known in the Witchy community.

    ‘However for some others it is very hard. My children were bullied at school and we have had death threats.

    ‘However, you cannot change who you are to please other people. My children are grown up now and also ‘out and proud’.

    ‘I think no matter how or in what way you may differ from what is perceived as ‘normal’ you are going to have a tough time.

    ‘But we have a strong family and amazing friends so we carry on doing our thing. We all make up the world and diversity is the key to an enriched culture. Just a shame not that not everyone thinks like that.

    ‘We celebrate Yule on the 21 December so like many people’s Christmases we have presents, a big feast and some games etc.

    ‘We always bring fresh holly and ivy into the house for protection over the winter months and make wishes on the Yule log.

    ‘It is a time for hope as it is the shortest day and longest night, therefore every day after this brings a little more light into our lives.’

    (Picture: Liz Williams)

    Although not a Christian, occultist Liz, from Glastonbury, says she actually has quite a traditional Christmas.

    She became a witch as her dad was an amateur stage magician who bought books about any type of magic and Liz grew up reading them.

    Now 53, she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, which is primarily a Druidic group, a type of Paganism.

    She said: ‘I panic at Christmas time, like most Brits: too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

    ‘We have a very traditional Christmas. I went to the village carol service last night and decorated the Christmas tree, and we have a family Christmas with presents, turkey and traditional music.

    ‘We also celebrate the Winter Solstice, which falls around 21 December, but because we run a pagan-oriented retail business, we’re working all day and we tend not to take part in rituals etc, because we’re too tired.

    ‘I generally try to go for a long walk around the solstice and watch the sun go down.’

    Liz adds that although her views are not conventional, she finds that most people are supportive and although initially people may think that the festive period might be very different for her, interwoven traditions actually make it quite straight forward.

    ‘We do have a long history of magical practice within the Christian tradition in this country: many beliefs that are depicted as ‘pagan’ were shared by the Catholic church and some survived the Reformation.

    ‘A lot of the folklore that fuels contemporary, revivalist pagan beliefs comes from a Christian basis, and some of that may in turn have come from earlier Saxon and (mainly in Ireland) Celtic practices.

    ‘Pagan and Christian traditions are far more interwoven than, sometimes, either cares to admit.’

    MORE: What is the pegan diet?

    MORE: Marks & Spencer is now selling foot long pigs in blankets


    Modern witches at ChristmasModern witches at Christmaslauraabernethy6Modern witches at ChristmasModern witches at Christmaslauraabernethy6

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    The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.
    (Picture: Airbnb)

    This adorable, tiny home is now taking bookings on Airbnb. But there’s a snag. Guests can’t be taller than 2cm.

    Which is fine for Borrowers – less fine for ordinary humans.

    The teeny tiny house is located in Hamburg – in the miniature city of Knuffingen, right in the heart of world-famous exhibition, Miniatur Wunderland.

    It’s a beautiful two-storey building, made in the classic redbrick, German style – and is available for hire for one night only on Christmas Eve.

    But when the property is no bigger than a lunchbox, it might not be wise to invite the whole family.

    The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.
    (Picture: Airbnb)

    Airbnb and Miniatur Wunderland have teamed up to offer this adorable holiday listing this season, all with the aim of raising money for a good cause.

    Anyone can log onto Airbnb and book a night at the property in Knuffingen, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help, a charitable social logistics initiative based in Hamburg.

    The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.
    (Picture: Airbnb)

    The companies say that all tiny visitors will be greeted like honorary citizens. Their journey will start at the world famous Knuffingen airport, a technical masterpiece that took almost six years and four million Euros to construct.

    One of the busiest and most famous cities in Wunderland, Knuffingen measures 120 square meters and has a population of 10,000 tiny people.

    Passionate train enthusiasts can arrive by Christmas train, pull into the town’s tiny station and stare in wonder at the Guinness Book of World Records-certified model railroad system, which has a whopping 15,400 metres of track.

    The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.
    (Picture: Airbnb)

    The little home offers everything a tiny guest could possibly need, from the luxurious stamp-sized bed to the festive family room with its open fire and towering four centimetre tall Christmas tree.

    In the lounge there’s a comfy, thumbnail-sized sofa, a paper-clip-sized rocking horse and a 40 mm wide fireplace.

    The tiniest items of all are the Christmas stockings over the fire: barely visible to the human eye, they are about the length of a standard pencil tip.

    Although average-sized guests won’t be able to fit inside, you can still make a booking for £8 a night in order to make a donation to the charity this Christmas.

    The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.
    (Picture: Airbnb)

    House rules

    • Guests must measure 2 cm or less
    • No oversized luggage allowed
    • Small talk with the host is encouraged
    • Miniature pets are permitted, penny-sized at most
    • Tiny parties and gatherings are allowed, if they can fit through the doorway
    • Shoes off – especially high heels

    MORE: Queen looking for someone to live and work in Buckingham Palace

    MORE: Christmas gifts for the guy or girl who already has everything

    MORE: Netflix Christmas 2018: Best new shows and movies to watch in December


    The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.nataliemorris88The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.nataliemorris88The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.The world???s tiniest home is now available to book on Airbnb. The mini home is part of Miniatur Wunderland, the world???s largest model railway based in Hamburg, Germany. From today, guests can head to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/30728582 to book. The home will only be available for guests who are 2 centimetres and under, with all proceeds going to Hanseatic Help.

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    METRO GRAB FACEBOOK Meet Lil' Bill, a tiny calf who is roughly the size of a cat, per the Epoch Times. The tiny bull was lives at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he's cared for by doctors, researchers, and students. https://www.facebook.com/MSUCVM1/photos/a.104552903791/10156897791493792/?type=3&theater
    Meet Lil Bill, the very small bull (Picture: Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine)

    We’re not sure how you would have missed this, but back in the tail-end of November people were obsessed with Knickers, a steer so large he can’t be killed.

    I even said that the big cow was what we desperately needed in these troubled times.

    Basically, Knickers is not just a big cow, but a big deal.

    And if, like us, you’re a fan, we reckon you’ll be just as excited about Lil Bill.

    To be clear, Lil Bill is not like Knickers. He is not large. In fact, he’s very, very small.

    Lil Bill weighs in at 9lbs, making him the size of a cat.

    The calf (so yes, he will grow) is around a 10th of what other calves weigh at his age, and is thought to be one of the smallest cows around.

    Exactly how lil is Lil Bill?

    The average birth weight of a calf is 63.6lbs. Lil Bill weighed 7.9lbs at birth, and now weighs 9lbs – the weight of a healthy adult cat. He’s around the size and height of a cat, too.

    In comparison, Knickers the large steer weighs 3,086lbs. His height from hoof to shoulder is 6ft 4.

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

    The weird thing: Vets at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine have no idea why Lil Bill is so, well, lil.

    Delivered on 27 October, vets reckon he was born a month premature. He was having trouble breathing, so vets at the university jumped in to keep him alive.

    He’s now being carefully monitored, but vets still don’t know why he’s so small. He may have some form of dwarfism in addition to being born premature.

    Lil Bill’s tiny size means he has to have extra support for his joints, so he’s wearing splints on his legs.

    Thankfully, vets are feeling positive about Lil Bill’s life.

    6463049 A miniature cow named Lil' Bill is tipped to be the world's smallest bovine after he was born one tenth the average size of a calf and weighs a mere 4.5kg
    Lil Bill was born a tenth the size of a regular calf (Picture: Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine/ Facebook)

    ‘Other than sleeping a lot, which is normal for preemies, Lil’ Bill behaves much like most five-week old calves,’ said Dr Grissett, one of the vets looking after the calf. ‘Once awake, he trots around looking for attention, often head-butting team members to demand more milk!

    ‘I’m feeling much more confident that he will make it, but we definitely still have some hurdles to jump over for him to make a full recovery.

    ‘We’ll know much more when we have the results of the genetic testing and the other detailed lab work we completed.

    ‘Most of the time, calves more than three to four weeks premature, don’t have a great chance of survival.

    ‘Lil’ Bill has beat the odds by making it past his one-month mark. He certainly has the will to survive. Our goal is to make sure he has the very best opportunity to do so!’

    MORE: 2018’s pet slimmers of the year are chunky Labrador Sadie and spaniel Borris after they both lost a quarter of their weight

    MORE: Woman engaged to a chandelier now has a tattoo of the light of her life


    SEI_44248888-e055SEI_44248888-e055ellencscottMETRO GRAB FACEBOOK Meet Lil' Bill, a tiny calf who is roughly the size of a cat, per the Epoch Times. The tiny bull was lives at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he's cared for by doctors, researchers, and students. https://www.facebook.com/MSUCVM1/photos/a.104552903791/10156897791493792/?type=3&theaterIn this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center back, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed SEI_44248888-e055SEI_44248888-e055ellencscottMETRO GRAB FACEBOOK Meet Lil' Bill, a tiny calf who is roughly the size of a cat, per the Epoch Times. The tiny bull was lives at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he's cared for by doctors, researchers, and students. https://www.facebook.com/MSUCVM1/photos/a.104552903791/10156897791493792/?type=3&theaterIn this image made from video taken Nov. 15, 2018, Knickers the steer, center back, is in paddock with cow herd in Lake Preston, Australia. A enormous steer in the state of Western Australia has avoided the abattoirs by being too big. The 194 centimeters-tall bovine, dubbed "Knickers", is believed to be the tallest in the country and weighs about 1.4 tons, local media reported. (Channel 7's Today Tonight via AP)6463049 A miniature cow named Lil' Bill is tipped to be the world's smallest bovine after he was born one tenth the average size of a calf and weighs a mere 4.5kg

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    (Picture: Chaunlegend/Instagram)

    Listen, we don’t like to judge. What you do with your hands is up to you, even if you decide to get this penis manicure.

    That’s right, you can literally get a dick on your hands if you’re brave enough, courtesy of Kylie Jenner’s nail artist.

    Chaun P is the super profesh nail artist who normally creates A-list quality manicures in all shapes, sizes, and colours.

    So when he decided to have a little fun and go nuts with the fleshy design, the internet became obsessed.

    Instagram Photo

    Ever the businessman, the LA-based technician wanted to create something no one had ever done before.

    Rest assured though, Chaun revealed it wasn’t available to the public, he was just showing the world he can do any type of nail art, no matter how tricky or intimate.

    ‘I was talking to my friend Octavius — he had shown me a picture of teeth nails — and I was like, “ew! Lol,’ and then I told him that they have booty nails and he was like, “what?!”‘ he told Cosmopolitan.

    ‘Then, he asked me if anyone had done dingaling nails yet and I was like, “noooooooo,” and that’s when I got the idea. So, I started whipping them up in my studio.’

    On his Instagram, Chaun showed a time lapse of the creation from beginning to the finished product, using prosthetics to form the shape and then glazing over it with clear polish.

    Then he painted it a lovely fleshy pink, adding foreskin and pubes for decoration. We’re not sure if he tried it on his own hand or found a willing (and gutsy) participant.

    As expected, commenters had a field day on Chaun’s Instagram where some admitted they wouldn’t mind doing the manicure.

    If you did manage to get one, it should certainly make a hand job very interesting.

    MORE: A sex club in London hosts Christmas parties for frisky festive folk

    MORE: We’ve found the perfect super realistic genital jewellery for your secret Santa

    MORE: Sex, urine, and demon porn: People share their Christmas party horror stories


    Penis nailsPenis nailsfaimabakar1Penis nailsPenis nailsfaimabakar1

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    (Jena Ardell/Getty)

    Tomorrow is Christmas Jumper Day which means walking around in brightly coloured knitwear and looking as festive as possible.

    If you haven’t bought a jumper this year there is still time to get yourself sorted and there are plenty of deals on offer to make sure you don’t spend too much on something that you’ll only wear once or twice.

    If you do decide to join in with the festive fun tomorrow make sure you donate some money to Save the Children which raises money during the annual event.

    Here are some of the best places to buy Christmas jumpers ahead of the festive holidays.

    Asda

    Asda has plenty of Christmas jumpers available in store and online and they are all reasonably priced.

    There is a good mix on offer of low-key smart sweaters as well as some that are more in your face and jolly.

    Grey Fairisle Crew Neck Jumper – £16

    (Asda)

    Black Team Rudolph Sequinned Christmas Jumper – From £10

    (Asda)

    Dr. Seuss The Grinch Swipe Sequin Christmas Jumper – £16

    (Asda)

    Red Reindeer Sequin Kids Christmas Jumper – From £10

    (Asda)

    Boohoo

    Boohoo has plenty of Christmas Jumpers available to order that range from as little as £12 up to £25 if you want to spend a bit more.

    There’s quite a wide range to choose from in terms of colour and design, depending on how loud and festive you want to be.

    If you’re looking to get a Christmas jumper in time for tomorrow then you might be better off buying one in store, but if you are just looking for a good quality jumper at a cheap price, there are plenty here that you can get in time for Christmas.

    Petite Christmas Tree Jumper – £12

    (Boohoo)

    Reindeer Fairisle Christmas Jumper – £20

    (Boohoo)

    Reindeer Scarf Christmas Jumper – £15

    (Boohoo)

    On The Naught List Christmas Jumper – £13.50

    (Boohoo)

    ASOS

    ASOS has plenty of classy Christmas jumpers available if that’s what you’re looking for.

    They include some nice looking patterns and designs and they are all reasonably priced if you don’t want to spend too much.

    Monki Xmas jumper with rainbow xmas trees in black – £20

    (ASOS)

    Monki Xmas lover checked sweat in red – £20

    (ASOS)

    ASOS design Christmas jumper in vintage fairisle – £26

    (ASOS)

    Burton Menswear christmas fairisle jumper in white – £20

    (ASOS)

    ASOS design Christmas jumper with all over festive design in navy – £25

    (ASOS)

    Tesco

    This two-person jumper was designed along with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), and is supposed to help highlight loneliness – particularly among young men who are at risk.

    All of the profit from the Christmas jumpers goes towards CALM and they’re available in stores now.

    Twosie Christmas jumper – £18

    (Picture: Tesco)

    H&M

    If woolly jumpers isn’t really your bag, this festive hoody from H&M might be for you.

    It’s £14.99, and you can either get the pictured snowman one or a Santa version.

    Printed hooded snowman top – £14.99

    (Picture: H&M)

    MORE: Witches at Christmas: Meet the women who celebrate with spells

    MORE: H&M is selling what looks like a skirt made from a yellow puffer jacket


    Man Wearing Ugly Christmas jumperMan Wearing Ugly Christmas jumperdanielmackrellblogMan Wearing Ugly Christmas jumperMan Wearing Ugly Christmas jumperdanielmackrellblog

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    PICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS)

    Balloons! Fun for parties and for the bedroom. But please don’t use them as condoms.

    Maggy BerLoon (shockingly, that’s not her real last name) has a balloon fetish, and loves having sex with balloons and her husband, Jan, a human.

    She describes balloon sex as a ‘lot of bouncy fun’.

    Her passion for balloons spurred her to launch a company, Balloons United, which sells biodegradable balloons made of natural latex for all our party or sex needs.

    She’s keen to be open about the world of looners (that’s the term for people who enjoy using balloons in a sexual way) to get rid of the embarrassment still lingering around the fetish.

    Maggy, from Solingen, Germany, said: ‘Balloons somehow get people aroused, but how can be entirely diverse.

    PICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS)

    ‘I think for all Looners, everything is about the material, the shape, the look, the feel, the colour, the flexibility and the high tension that such a fragile object can take.

    ‘Most Looners get aroused by actually playing with balloons – sitting on them or rubbing them, and having sex on them, alone or with one or more persons.

    ‘Others just love to watch other people playing with them in a teasing, sexy way.

    ‘The power, to tease and push boundaries are essential aspects.

    PICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS)

    ‘You can be gentle or rough and play with the limits of the balloon as well as with your partner’s.’

    Of course, bursting the balloons plays an important part in the sexual thrill.

    ‘You may think you are in full control, but that’s not true,’ explains Maggy. ‘Balloons might burst anytime, unwanted or provoked.

    PICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS)

    ‘This characteristic can add a lot of excitement and thrill to the interaction, even if you’re not a balloon fetishist.

    ‘Everyone should own the right to discover themselves, as well as their desires without being afraid or feeling ashamed.

    ‘It’s all about enjoying your life to its fullest, whatever this means individually – of course, if its legal and doesn’t harm anybody.

    ‘To summarise it shortly, it’s a hell of a lot of bouncy fun.

    ‘Some are attracted by bursting them in several ways or just by observing others doing so – they call themselves Poppers.

    ‘Others hate the burst or even have a phobia, and they try to avoid destroying a balloon at any cause, those are the Non-Poppers.

    ‘Semi-Poppers find themselves somehow in between of those groups.

    ‘Some of them just pop balloons from time to time, maybe they also feel aroused by it.

    PICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Some balloons often made of latex, are so large a person can fit inside it) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS)

    ‘Others don’t care about the burst at all. It’s just a little bummer when the sex toy suddenly is gone.’

    Maggy started experimenting with inflatables years ago, after meeting now-husband Jan.

    She’s tried all sorts of latex creations, ranging from standard birthday party balloons to massive ones designed to look like human bodies – and even balloons people can sit inside.

    She still gets a lot of questions about the looner community, so wants to break the silence.

    ‘Most people are just naturally surprised and have tons of questions, since they never heard of it before or never had the chance to talk with someone about it,’ says Maggy.

    ‘Sometimes they really seem interested at first, but they start giggling, make silly jokes or start comparing it with other unique preferences.

    PICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS)

    ‘I guess this often just comes out of insecurity or maybe they themselves struggle with their own sexuality, needs, sexual fantasies in some way.

    ‘Connecting this item with a fetish, obviously lead to funny thoughts, which I totally understand. So why not embrace this completely.

    ‘I think, people often take things too personal and are so deadly serious about several topics.

    ‘It felt like the balloon fetish was stuck in a weird and hidden closet.

    ‘Like the image of Looners being strange, sick or weird took over reality. But from my point of view this never was or is the truth.

    ‘This is what inspired me to come out of my closet and to share some pictures, which my husband and I produced together.’

    Maggy reckons that if people tried out sex with balloons, they’d end up having a lot of fun.

    ‘Honestly, we’re talking about ordinary people with a unique preference,’ she says.

    ‘I think it’s so sad if fear has such a significant impact towards our actions that we prefer to hide and ultimately get in the way of our own individual happiness.

    ‘So, generally, we are better saying goodbye to judgmental behaviour, training ourselves in self-acceptance and meeting each other with tolerance and respect.’

    MORE: Lots of people searched for Fortnite and Bowsette porn this year

    MORE: A sex club in London hosts Christmas parties for frisky festive folk

    MORE: What the BDSM community can teach us about consent


    BALLOON FETISH MUMBALLOON FETISH MUMellencscottPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Some balloons often made of latex, are so large a person can fit inside it) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYBALLOON FETISH MUMBALLOON FETISH MUMellencscottPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Some balloons often made of latex, are so large a person can fit inside it) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY BALLOONS UNITED / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Maggy started taking erotic shots with the balloons in a bid to normalise the fetish, she believes it is closeted for no reason and other looners should not hide away) - A mum-to-be who enjoys having explains having sex with balloons opens up about the unusual fetish most consider weird.Maggy BerLoon, 31, started experimenting with inflatables over a decade ago after meeting now-husband Jan, and describes it as a hell lot of bouncy fun. She explains the range in ways that people with the fetish, called Looners, enjoy the balloons using them as sex toys, to making love on top of them and more. They range in size from normal birthday party balloons to giant ones people can sit inside, life-sized and larger that also come in a range of shapes. - SEE CATERS COPY

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    If you get emotional watching the sweet moment a bride and her dad take part in the father-daughter dance, then don’t worry, this one isn’t like that.

    Shucking tradition, Chrissy Mitchell, 32, slipped into skates after saying ‘I do’ and took to the dancefloor with her dad, Tim Lesak, 51.

    The dad and daughter from Illinois, USA, who’ve been skating together since Chrissy was in secondary school, showed off their fancy footwork, moving to ‘Don’t Stop The Rock’ by Freestyle.

    And they said they didn’t even practice in the lead up to the performance.

    (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘I knew when my husband proposed to me that I wanted to be on skates on my wedding day,’ said Chrissy.

    ‘It is something my dad and I have always done together.

    ‘I’ve been skating since I was 14 and he has been skating since before he could walk. He taught me all the footwork I know and how to dance to the beat of the music.

    ‘On the day I was so excited. I couldn’t wait. We winged the entire thing. I think I talked to him a day or two before the wedding and he was like, “I haven’t touched my skates in about two years.”

    ‘He was so excited, he had a smile on his face the whole time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile that much.

    ‘Everyone loved it.’

    Chrissy Mitchell,32, and Kevin Mitchell,32,at their wedding at Bear Cave Lake in Oswego, Illinois.See SWNS story SWNYroller.This is the moment a bride wowed her wedding guests with a dad-and-daughter dance - on ROLLER SKATES.Chrissy Mitchell, 32, slipped into skates after saying ?I do? and took to the dancefloor with her dad Tim Lesak, 51.The duo, who have been skating together since Chrissy was in middle school, showed off with fancy footwork as they boogied to ?Don?t Stop The Rock? by Freestyle.Shipping clerk Chrissy said ever since her husband, shop manager Kevin Mitchell, 32, popped the question, she knew she wanted to skate on her big day.
    Chrissy with her husband Kevin before the performance with her dad (Picture Tara Mikuzis/SWNS)

    Dad Tim has been skating since he was a toddler and went on to do speed skating and artistic skating.

    He also worked as a coach, following in the footsteps of his own father who was also an instructor.

    Keeping the family tradition alive, Tim said he wanted to just go for it.

    Chrissy Mitchell,32, and her father Tim Lesak,51, roller-dance for her first dance after she said ?I do? at her wedding to Kevin Mitchell,32,at Bear Cave Lake in Oswego, Illinois.See SWNS story SWNYroller.This is the moment a bride wowed her wedding guests with a dad-and-daughter dance - on ROLLER SKATES.Chrissy Mitchell, 32, slipped into skates after saying ?I do? and took to the dancefloor with her dad Tim Lesak, 51.The duo, who have been skating together since Chrissy was in middle school, showed off with fancy footwork as they boogied to ?Don?t Stop The Rock? by Freestyle.Shipping clerk Chrissy said ever since her husband, shop manager Kevin Mitchell, 32, popped the question, she knew she wanted to skate on her big day.
    Ted, 51, has been skating his whole life (Picture:Tara Mikuzis/SWNS)

    ‘On the day I brought my skates and I said, “right, let’s do it”,’ said Ted.

    ‘Everything was ad lib. It is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    ‘It made a special occasion even more special.’

    MORE: Mum-to-be goes on glorious rant and cancels baby shower after people made fun of her baby’s name

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    MORE: Guests wear blindfolds to honour bride who lost her sight before she met her groom


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    Sterling Silver Building Blocks (Picture: Tiffany)
    (Picture: Tiffany)

    Still struggling with those last few Christmas presents? Tiffany & Co could have just what you need.

    The iconic jewellers have created their own version of a LEGO set, made entirely of sterling silver and American walnut. Because that’s something we all need.

    It could be the perfect stocking filler to impress the in-laws, or maybe you just have a particularly fancy kid on your Christmas list – whatever your reason, you should probably just buy them.

    Now we know that bouji LEGO is a thing… we need it.

    Step aside basic LEGO, you’ve been upgraded (Picture: LEGO)

    They’re not exactly cost effective. A set of 10 bricks costs more than £1,300.

    And we’re not really sure how much you can build with just 10 bricks. It wouldn’t even stretch to a car or a house – let alone the three-storey penthouse suite of our dreams.

    But maybe they’re meant to be decorative. Maybe you’re supposed to scatter them on your coffee table in a whimsical, yet decidedly fancy nod to childhood.

    They will certainly look nice. ‘This luxurious and unique set of numbered and lettered building blocks is elevated with sterling silver and American walnut,’ reads the description on the website.

    You can also get them engraved or personalised for that extra special touch.

    So if you’re looking for a lavish gift that’s both pointless and pretty – these building blocks could tick every box.

    MORE: Where to buy cheap Christmas jumpers for the festive holidays

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    Tiffany silver legoTiffany silver legonataliemorris88Sterling Silver Building Blocks (Picture: Tiffany)Tiffany silver legoTiffany silver legonataliemorris88Sterling Silver Building Blocks (Picture: Tiffany)

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    Christmas is the one time of the year that everyone forgets dieting and picky eating and just gets stuck into all the food.

    But for vegans – and our omnivorous families and friends – it can be stressful.

    Your mum wants you to try her roast duck while everyone acts like you’re the Grinch if you suggest a vegan pud.

    But it’s actually dead easy to host a vegan without disrupting your own dinner.

    And who better to explain how to do it successfully than vegan YouTubers BOSH! and Derek Sarno, the chef behind Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen range? They recently teamed up with Tesco for #Vegmas – an animal-free culinary celebration of Christmas in all its richness.

    With one in five hosts (18%) planning to cater for a vegan or vegetarian guest this Christmas, BOSH! teamed up with Tesco to create a series of plant-based Christmas recipes for Tesco Vegmas – a vegan Christmas feast. And we’ve popped some of the recipes below.

    You’re in good hands with these plant-based legends (Picture: Tesco)

    What tips do you have for people hosting a vegan guest this Chrimbo?

    Derek: Colour and taste are key to how I work on impressing for any occasion!

    Most traditional holiday foods are brown so I like to kick things up a notch highlighting the amazing deliciousness and centre stage qualities of veg.

    Not over cooking the sprouts – heck I love changing up or even adding additional ways they can be prepared like shaving sprouts and quickly stir-frying with a bit of lime and garlic. Adding more greens like spinach and herbs to the roast potatoes. I always prep things the day before for easy cooking the day of.

    Bosh: The first thing is don’t see it as a chore and embrace the opportunity to try something new.

    Be prepared as well, make sure you write a list of what you need and do some prep beforehand. There’s loads of delicious vegan recipes out there.

    We’ve put lots of Christmas recipes on our website bosh.tv, such as a the mushroom wellington and even a butternut squash with spiced red wine jus and roast spiced nuts. We have teamed up with Tesco and created some real showstoppers that’ll have all your guests impressed, not just the vegan ones.

    Mushroom wellington anyone? (Picture: Tesco)

    How can people introduce more plant-based foods into people’s Christmases?

    Derek: It has been a long tradition at my house to make all the sides vegan-friendly (and the main if I’m honest) so more people can enjoy it and naturally rise to the centre of the meal. Mushroom gravy, stuffing without the dairy and added fresh herbs and greens at the last minute.

    Bosh: Having a vegan Christmas couldn’t be easier right now.

    All you have to do is make a few replacements. Switch your goose fat roast potatoes for olive oil or coconut oil. Mince pies can be made with pre-rolled pastry, which is usually vegan.

    Replace your pigs in blankets with plant-based sausages and marinated aubergine (recipe on bosh.tv). You can replace your bacon lardons on Brussel sprouts for mushroom ones! Get creative, there’s loads of ways you can make your Christmas dinner a little more vegan-friendly.

    Yep, that’s a plate of mushrooms – not actual scallops (Picture: Tesco)

    What was your first vegan Christmas like? What did you make?

    Derek: Everyone loves a holiday and we’re no different. My first holiday consisted of crispy panko-herb crusted mushroom Schnitzel with gravy, escalloped sweet potato casserole topped with crispy red onion, roasted Cauliflower and broccoli with garlic, herb and white wine toss along with our new signature dish I’ve been working on, a herb crusted butternut squash tenderloin’ roast with whipped potato.

    Bosh: Our first vegan Christmas was really interesting but delicious. We had nut roast with parsnips, leeks, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, onion gravy and peas. We made this ourselves when our families still had turkey.

    Since then we have been experimenting with our vegan Christmas food as Christmas Day is arguably the most important meal of the year!

    We love a mushroom wellington, a red wine gravy poured over it. This year we might even make jackfruit as a main.

    And a sticky toffee pud to finish with, naturally (Picture: Tesco)

    So, now that you’re all fired up, what vegan Christmas bits should you cook? Here are a couple of BOSH! recipes to get the party started. And yes, we’ve eaten them and they are truly delicious.

    Of course, if you can’t cook for love nor money, Waitrose is doing beet wellingtons and a glittery nut roast, as well as vegan chocolate tortes. while Tesco has a tonne of really, really delicious bites.

    Vegmas King Oyster scallops starter

    King Oyster Mushroom ‘Scallops’ with Creamed Maple Parsnips, Toasted Hazelnuts and Watercress

    Ingredients for ‘scallops’:

    4 Tesco Finest King Oyster mushrooms

    1 tsp of salt

    Juice of 2 lemons

    ½ litre warm water

    2 tbsp olive oil

    Salt and pepper to taste

    A splash of white wine

    Ingredients for creamed maple parsnips:

    3 parsnips

    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Ingredients for garnish:

    50g hazelnuts, toasted

    Hazelnut oil

    Watercress

    Method:

    Preheat oven to 180°C.

    1. Cut the caps off the mushrooms and cut the stems into 2cm thick slices. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a mixing bowl, catching any pips in your other hand. Add the salt to the mixing bowl. Put the slices of mushroom in the mixing bowl, cover the mushrooms with warm water and leave the mushroom slices to soak for 2 hours.

    2. Peel the parsnips and chop them into 2cm chunks. Put the chunks of parsnips into a pan, cover with water, season well and put the pan on the stove over a high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Drain the vegetables and let them steam dry in a colander.

    3. Put the parsnips in the food processor, add the olive oil and seasoning and blitz to a smooth purée. Taste the purée, adjust the seasoning if needed and transfer to small saucepan.

    4. Spread the hazelnuts out over a baking sheet, put the sheet in the oven for 8-9 minutes to toast the nuts. Take the nuts out of the oven, roughly chop them and set to one side.

    5. Drain the Mushroom Scallops. Warm the olive oil in a frying pan, add a splash of white wine and fry the Scallops for 4 minutes on each side until golden in colour with a slight crisp around the sides. Turn the heat right down and leave the scallops to keep warm. Put the parsnip purée on the stove over a medium heat and warm it through, stirring constantly.

    6. Artfully flick a dessert spoon of parsnip purée over a plate. Place 4 ‘scallops’ across the purée. Sprinkle over some toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle over a little hazelnut oil. Sprinkle over a few sprigs of watercress and serve immediately.

    Vegmas Mushroom Wellington

    Ingredients:

    Olive oil, for drizzling

    3 tbsp oil from sun-dried tomato jar

    4 long shallots

    8 cloves garlic

    4 sun-dried tomatoes

    1 carrot

    1 stick celery

    8 sprigs thyme

    4 sprigs rosemary

    2 sprigs sage

    500g chestnut mushrooms

    200ml red wine

    2 ½ tbsp cranberry sauce

    1 bay leaf

    ½ tsp nutmeg

    ½ tsp cinnamon

    200g chestnuts

    200g pecans

    100g dried breadcrumbs

    2 320g pre-rolled sheets plant-based puff pastry

    2 tbsp plant-based milk

    1 tbsp maple syrup  

    Method:

    Preheat oven to 180°C.

    1. Roast your mushrooms: Lay 10 nice-looking chestnut mushrooms in a row down the middle of a sheet of tin foil. Drizzle over a little olive oil, sprinkle over a little salt and pepper, lay 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 3 cloves of garlic and a sprig of sage on top of the mushrooms.  Wrap the mushrooms up tightly in the tin foil, put the parcel in the roasting tin, put the roasting tin in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

    2. Prepare your filling: Whilst the mushrooms are roasting, peel and finely slice the long shallots. Peel and finely grate the carrot. Finely dice the celery. Finely slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Pick the leaves off 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 small sprig of sage and finely chop. Blitz 300g of the mushrooms in the food processor to form a mince. Blitz 100g chestnuts and 200g pecans in the food processor to form a meal. Roughly chop the remaining chestnuts.

    3. Warm the sun-dried tomato oil over a medium heat in the deep-frying pan. Add the shallots to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme and sage to the pan and stir for 4-5 minutes. Add the minced mushrooms to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook for 10 minutes until well sweated. Pour the red wine and cranberry sauce into the pan, add the bay leaf, simmer for 6-7 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn the heat down, add the nutmeg and cinnamon and stir for 1 minute.

    4. Take the roasting mushrooms out of the oven and open the foil. Put the mushrooms on a plate and pour the liquid from the tin foil into the mixing bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs and nut meal into a mixing bowl and mix them together with a spoon. Pour the mushroom mince into the mixing bowl, remove the bay leaf, fold everything together to form a thick, textured dough and leave to cool to room temperature.

    5. Prepare your wellington: Lay one sheet of puff pastry out on a baking sheet. Spread half the mushroom mixture lengthways down the middle of the pastry. Use your hands to mould it into a rectangle shape with a flat top, leaving at least a 5cm gap on both sides. Place 2 neat lines of mushrooms down the middle of the mixture, you will have 5 lines in total. Layer the rest of the mixture over the top, encasing the mushrooms. Smooth and shape into a neat, long, rectangular mound.

    6. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush a little of the plant-based milk around the exposed pastry edge. Lay the second pastry sheet over the filling and press it all down well, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Seal the edges by pushing down all the way round the filling with your fingers. Trim any excess pastry from the edges, making sure you leave a 1½ cm crust around the base of the wellington. Put the excess pastry to one side for later. Use a fork to crimp all around the edges of the pastry to firmly seal the wellington in a decorative fashion.

    7. Take a sharp knife and score a criss-cross pattern across the top of the whole wellington. Pierce a few air vents in the top of the pastry. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the Wellington for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, mix the maple syrup and plant-based milk in a small bowl to make a glazing liquid and brush the whole wellington, place back in the oven until golden brown and crispy, for around 25 minutes. Cut the wellington into equal slices and serve immediately with all the trimmings.

    Vegmas Christmas spiced truffles

    Ingredients:

    150ml full fat coconut milk

    3 cinnamon sticks

    3 cloves

    2 allspice

    Zest of a clementine

    Pinch salt

    250g dark chocolate

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    2 tbsp maple syrup

    Olive oil
    2 tbsp cocoa powder

    Method:

    1. Place the coconut milk in a saucepan, add the spices and the clementine zest. Place over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the flavours to infuse for 30 minutes. Return to a boil and then strain the coconut milk through a sieve and discard the spices.

    2. Break up the chocolate into small chunks. Put the chocolate and coconut milk in a bain marie and melt them together over a very low heat.

    3. Take the bowl off the heat, add the salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup and olive oil to the bowl and fold everything together to combine. Pour into a container and place in the fridge to set.

    4. Scoop equal portions of the mixture out of the bowl and roll all the portions into ping pong ball sized balls with cold hands.

    5. Put the truffles on a plate and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Put the plate in the refrigerator and leave them to chill until firm.

    MORE: From cruelty-free Wagyu beef to Lewis Hamilton: A week in vegan news

    MORE: What is the pegan diet?


    Tesco Vegmas Mushroom Wellington Whole-bbabTesco Vegmas Mushroom Wellington Whole-bbabmkylTesco Vegmas Mushroom Wellington Whole-bbabTesco Vegmas Mushroom Wellington Whole-bbabmkyl

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    (Picture: Monica Muffin for Metro.co.uk)

    Do you have a crush?

    Is your crush on social media? Do you follow each other? If you answered yes to those questions then chances are you’re guilty of Instagrandstanding.

    That’s when you curate the perfect Instagram posts, tailoring them to appear more favourable to your crush.

    Oh, they like football? Bam, there’s a picture of you in a Spurs jersey (assuming, hopefully, that you actually like football and are not just pretending to for the sake of your crush).

    It’s all about tactical posting because let’s face it, Christmas is here and we need a bae to take to Winter Wonderland.

    So can you really blame a person for editing out all the non-relevant bits if it means you get to drink mulled wine under starry Christmas lights with that one person you’ve been obsessing over?

    Tales of office Christmas party hookups - good, bad, and deeply embarrassing
    He’s clearly been Instagrandstanding (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    Don’t overdo it though, you don’t want various Instagram stories on how much you love memes and then when it comes to engaging with the person, don’t know your Kermit from your ANTM meme.

    Dating Guru James Preece tells Metro.co.uk it’s about balance.

    ‘Instgrandstanding can be a powerful tool if used properly. The whole point of social media is to advertise your life and share what you are up to.

    ‘If you demonstrate that you are happy, successful and above all – fun – then other people will want to be part of it. Think of your social media platform as a CV. It’s got to sell your plus points and help you stand out from the competition. If it doesn’t add value then don’t use it.

    ‘Keep your posts interesting and upbeat, to reflect how you would be on a date. A little intrigue and mystery is good too…so don’t be afraid to have little “hints” of your personality.

    ‘But there’s no point creating fake content as you’ll be caught out eventually. If you do enter into a relationship then they’ll wonder why things don’t match up. The trust can be lost if they think you tried to trick them. Instead, focus on everything you are genuinely interested in and make the most of them.’

    One social media whizz and milennial who has Instagrandstand-ed in the past told Metro.co.uk about her motivations.

    Betty* said: ‘I want a dude that reads? I will post the f*** out of the books that I’ve been reading. I noticed that my crush likes anime, well all of a sudden I am posting myself reacting to a crushing but iconic anime scene that I’ve Googled.

    ‘The most pathetic thing I’ve done was forge an interest in Arctic Monkeys – and documented it all over my Instagram – because my crush said they were the greatest band living.’

    Come to think of it, we might all be guilty of adding a little flair to catch a certain someone’s attention.

    After all, how else will the one know that you too love binge-watching Empire and that you look good in oversized men’s hoodies?

    Not speaking from experience, obvs.

    *Not Betty’s real name because she doesn’t want to give the game away.

    MORE: Watch out for scroogeing, the dating trend that could ruin your Christmas

    MORE: Apparently having a crush on someone makes you shop more impulsively

    MORE: Mulled wine, cobbled streets and a fairytale old town: Christmas in Tallinn is both charming and magical


    text_mistakes_mmuffin_illo-b453text_mistakes_mmuffin_illo-b453faimabakar1Tales of office Christmas party hookups - good, bad, and deeply embarrassingtext_mistakes_mmuffin_illo-b453text_mistakes_mmuffin_illo-b453faimabakar1Tales of office Christmas party hookups - good, bad, and deeply embarrassing

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    Christmas cards have been around for a long while now (Picture: Getty)

    You are fast running out of time to buy your Christmas cards and get them sent as the big day approaches once again.

    Every year we routinely buy our festive notes and send them to friends and family wishing them Happy Christmas, ready to be seething if we don’t receive one in return.

    thumbnail for post ID 8242765Tortoiseshell nails are the next big beauty trend - here's how to create them

    The tradition has been going on for as long as anyone can remember, but when and how did it get started in the first place?

    The custom of sending Christmas cards is a British tradition that dates all the way back to 1843 and is thanks to Sir Henry Cole

    Cole thought of the timeless tradition after setting up the Public Record Office, which is now the Post Office, as a way of getting ordinary people to use the service.

    John Horsley’s Christmas card design (Picture: Getty Images)

    The first Christmas card was designed by the artist John Horsley who was Sir Henry Cole’s friend and they sold them for one shilling each, which is about 12p now.

    The card depicted good deeds, like clothing the naked and feeding the hungry and a picture of a family celebrating Christmas.

    At the time only a thousand of the cards were printed and Cole and Horsley got an earful about the fact that the picture showed children drinking wine.

    Of those cards only 12 are left today, including the one that Cole sent his grandmother.

    The invention of the Penny Post in England meant that sending letters and well wishes to loved ones by post was more accessible to larger populations as the stamp only costed a penny and allowed you to send the correspondence anywhere in Britain.

    The tradition has lived on and thrived (Picture: Getty Images)

    People like Henry Cole who had many people to contact at Christmas time needed a quick solution that sent the appropriate festive message and didn’t require that much time or effort.

    In came the Christmas card and after the first year of its appearance in the UK the tradition took off.

    There is no way of knowing who sent and received the first Christmas card, but it was one of those who bought one of Horsely and Cole’s cards that would have ignited the long-term Christmas tradition.

    A Prussian immigrant in Boston, Louis Prang is credited with creating the first Christmas card in the US.

    It had a flower painting on the front and said Merry Christmas.

    MORE: If you’re a single millennial, you’re probably guilty of Instagrandstanding

    MORE: How to host a vegan this Christmas – with food you’ll really want to eat


    Letters  to Santa ClausLetters  to Santa Clausphilhaigh26Letters to Santa ClausLetters to Santa Clausphilhaigh26

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    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

    As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead.

    Sure, you could ponder new year’s resolutions or work out a savings plan, but planning out all the beauty trends you’ll rock in 2019 sounds a lot more fun.

    FYI, you should put tortoiseshell nails at the top of your list.

    Nails decorated with a tortoiseshell design have been slowly creeping up on Instagram over the last few months.

    Perhaps it’s a more muted answer to the onslaught of leopard print in the world of fashion, perhaps it’s a take on granny chic – we’re not sure why tortoiseshell nails have become a trend, but we’re glad they have.

    Not only are they timelessly chic, they’re also surprisingly easy to do.

    We chatted to the lovely folks over at Shoreditch Nails, who shared their guide for creating the look.

    How to create tortoiseshell nails:

    1. Apply a base coat

    2. Apply a layer of brown polish

    3. Apply a thin layer of yellow polish on top

    4. Apply dark brown dashes – you can use your regular polish brush, as the dashes or splodges don’t need to be precise

    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

    5. With a clean brush, smudge the dashes

    6. Apply black dots

    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

    7. Smudge those with a brush, too

    8. Apply a top coat

    Voila!

    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

    Once you’ve got the basic technique down, you can have all kinds of fun.

    Try pairing tortoiseshell nails with matte black polish

    Instagram Photo

     

    Rock just the tips

    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

     

    Go long, glossy, and glam

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    Add gold accents

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    A square shape adds a twist

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    And a touch of sparkle is always welcome

    Instagram Photo

    Pair with tortoiseshell rimmed glasses and a torti cat on your lap.

    MORE: The butt wreath trend is here and we are so thankful

    MORE: Expert warns of the risks of putting baubles in your beard


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    (Picture: Morrisons)

    When supermarkets reach the end of their shelf life for products, they have to, by law, throw them away if they haven’t been able to sell it.

    But Morrisons is giving one last push for its customers to buy unsold fruits and vegetables to reduce food waste.

    Their nifty little offer includes one kilogram worth of goods that are in perfectly good eating condition.

    And good news, it’s all for a pound. Cheap as chips (but way healthier).

    A Morrisons employee will hand check the items to ensure they’re in good condition (Picture: Morrisons)

    The Too Good to Waste box will sell items at the end of their shelf life which are still good to eat, in Morrisons stores nationwide.

    It will contain a variety of fruit, vegetables, and salad and the launch is the latest move in Morrisons’ campaign against food waste.

    Morrisons has said the assortment will be picked from its 75 varieties of fruit, 80 sorts of vegetables, and 50 types of salad.

    Each piece has been ‘condition checked’ by a Morrisons greengrocer to ensure that they are still of good quality.

    ‘We’ve listened to our customers who said they don’t want to see good food going to waste,’ said Drew Kirk, fruit and veg director.

    ‘So we’ve created these boxes and every day we’ll fill them with a wide selection of produce at risk of being thrown away. Because produce may be unusual and varied, customers can also try some new and exciting dishes at home without having to spend a fortune.’

    The move comes after Morrisons data showed reducing food waste is one of customers’ top concerns. The supermarket has also started handing out free fruit to children in stores – to prevent unsold fruit being thrown away.

    (Picture: Morrisons)

    Budget retailer Lidl also started a similar move earlier in the year, selling a bigger box for 50p more.

    Their offer includes 5kg boxes of imperfect fruit and vegetables for £1.50 across 122 of its UK stores.

    Anything unsold is given to charity.

    MORE: Morrisons launches veggies in vests as a vegan alternative to pigs in blankets

    MORE: What is the pegan diet?

    MORE: From cruelty-free Wagyu beef to Lewis Hamilton: A week in vegan news


    MORRISONS LAUNCHES TOO GOOD TO WASTE BOX FOR £1MORRISONS LAUNCHES TOO GOOD TO WASTE BOX FOR £1faimabakar1MORRISONS LAUNCHES TOO GOOD TO WASTE BOX FOR £1MORRISONS LAUNCHES TOO GOOD TO WASTE BOX FOR £1faimabakar1

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    (Picture: Joff Lee/SWNS.COM)

    According to new research, the perfect leftover Christmas sandwich consists of turkey, bacon and stuffing.

    Researchers found that once Christmas is over, millions of Brits start to focus on what sandwich they can make out of their leftovers.

    The most popular includes thick slices of turkey with cranberry sauce and some crispy bacon. Not a bad choice.

    The ???perfect??? leftover Christmas sandwich, containing bacon, stuffing, and, of course, turkey.See SWNS story SWBRsandwich.The perfect leftover Christmas sandwich consists of succulent turkey, aromatic bacon and rich stuffing, it has emerged.Researchers found once the main event of Christmas dinner is over, millions of Brits begin to focus on what can be fashioned into the most decadent sandwich of the year.Thick slices of turkey are the most popular choice of filling, with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce and some salty, crispy bacon.Crispy-skinned chicken, roast ham and beef were also popular choices of meats to fill the indulgent yuletide treat.
    (Picture: Joff Lee/SWNS.COM)

    Crispy-skinned chicken, roast ham and beef were also popular choices.

    The nation's favourite Christmas leftover sandwich recipe

    • Thick white sliced bread
    • Turkey
    • Stuffing
    • Bacon
    • Cheese
    • Pigs in blankets
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Mayonnaise

    Darren Littler, Innovation Director at Warburtons, which commissioned the study, said: ‘The Christmas sandwich is a national talking point each year and it’s clear that Brits are particular when it comes to what should and should not be included.”

    More unconventional fillings such as falafel, roasted butternut squash and avocado also appeared as top choices for leftover sandwiches, with 2% even admitting to adding Christmas pudding into it for a twist.

    The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealed
    (Picture: Joff Lee/SWNS.COM)

    9% said they’d add avocado also.

    One in two like to build out the flavour with a couple of rashers of bacon, while 48% incorporate the leftovers of the stuffing .

    And the ingredient most likely to be left out of a Christmas sandwich? Sprouts. Which isn’t a surprise, is it?

    37% of people will only eat Christmas sandwiches if they’re homemade, while a third surveyed by OnePoll reckon the Christmas leftover sandwich is the best sandwich of the year.

    There’s even apparently a ‘Leftover Sandwich Hour’, which takes place between 1pm and 2pm on Boxing Day.

    MORE: How to host a vegan this Christmas – with food you’ll really want to eat

    MORE: Why a soy sauce ‘cleanse’ is a dangerous idea


    LEFTOVER LEGEND - The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealedLEFTOVER LEGEND - The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealedhattiegladwellmetroThe ???perfect??? leftover Christmas sandwich, containing bacon, stuffing, and, of course, turkey.See SWNS story SWBRsandwich.The perfect leftover Christmas sandwich consists of succulent turkey, aromatic bacon and rich stuffing, it has emerged.Researchers found once the main event of Christmas dinner is over, millions of Brits begin to focus on what can be fashioned into the most decadent sandwich of the year.Thick slices of turkey are the most popular choice of filling, with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce and some salty, crispy bacon.Crispy-skinned chicken, roast ham and beef were also popular choices of meats to fill the indulgent yuletide treat.The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealedLEFTOVER LEGEND - The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealedLEFTOVER LEGEND - The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealedhattiegladwellmetroThe ???perfect??? leftover Christmas sandwich, containing bacon, stuffing, and, of course, turkey.See SWNS story SWBRsandwich.The perfect leftover Christmas sandwich consists of succulent turkey, aromatic bacon and rich stuffing, it has emerged.Researchers found once the main event of Christmas dinner is over, millions of Brits begin to focus on what can be fashioned into the most decadent sandwich of the year.Thick slices of turkey are the most popular choice of filling, with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce and some salty, crispy bacon.Crispy-skinned chicken, roast ham and beef were also popular choices of meats to fill the indulgent yuletide treat.The nation's favourite Christmas Sandwich has been revealed

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    (Picture: Reddit/Twitter)

    One of the best things about this time of the year is getting to put up the Christmas tree.

    To put some Mariah Carey on, get all of your decorations out and pretend you’re in an S Club Junior music video (Puppy Love, obviously).

    But if you’re wanting something outside of silver tinsel, fairy lights and baubles, you could think about joining the Portal Christmas Tree trend.

    It was first established back in 2012, and features the bottom two thirds of an artificial Christmas tree hung to the ceiling, while the top third is stuck in the floor, to look like the tree is making its way through a portal.

    METRO GRAB - introcut without permission - viral image Portal Christmas tree trend No credit
    (Picture: Reddit)

    Eight days ago, somebody took to Reddit to share a photo of their own Portal Christmas tree, which was lit up with lights on both ends of the tree.

    It has so far been viewed over 43,000 times – and there’s plenty more to see on Instagram.

    Here are a few of our favourites.

    This is a great way to stop your cats from climbing up your tree

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    This is such an easy and creative idea

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    We’re big fans

    Instagram Photo

    So, if you’re yet to put up your Christmas tree yet and fancy some new ideas, maybe the Portal Christmas tree trend is for you.

    MORE: If you’re a single millennial, you’re probably guilty of Instagrandstanding

    MORE: Tiffany & Co is selling the world’s most bouji Lego set made of silver


    Portal Christmas tree trendPortal Christmas tree trendhattiegladwellmetroMETRO GRAB - introcut without permission - viral image Portal Christmas tree trend No creditPortal Christmas tree trendPortal Christmas tree trendhattiegladwellmetroMETRO GRAB - introcut without permission - viral image Portal Christmas tree trend No credit

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    (Picture: Getty)

    The humble crunch. A staple of any core workout. Much-loved by six-pack seekers around the world.

    But there are so many ways to get it wrong.

    Crunches are fantastic for toning up the abdominal muscles, but they’re only effective if you do them right.

    Flinging your body up by your shoulders without a stable base isn’t going to do you any good – and could even increase your risk of injury.

    Our expert James is on hand to teach you exactly how to execute the perfect crunches.

    To do an abdominal crunch you have to start by lying on the floor on your back, with your knees bent.

    Place your hands across your chest, or behind the head – as long as you aren’t pulling on your neck when you lift up.

    Slowly, the muscles you should start to contract your stomach muscles, which will lift the shoulder blades off the floor by about two inches.

    The point is to strengthen the core muscles, improve posture, and increase mobility and flexibility.

    Once you’ve perfected your form, you can add it to your regular workout routine – and watch the abs start to form before your eyes.

    Crunches: things to remember

    Don’t go too high
    These are crunches, not sit-ups – and if you go too high you start working your hip flexors instead of the stomach muscles.

    Don’t hold your breath
    When it starts to get hard it’s tempting to hold your breath. Don’t do it. If you deprive your body of oxygen the crunches are only going to start to feel harder.

    Keep working all the way down
    Once you get to the top of a crunch, your job is only half done. Keep the tension in your muscles for a controlled descent to really feel the benefits.

    Don’t use momentum
    If you swing yourself up like a pendulum you can trick yourself into thinking that you’re working hard – but you’re not! Keep your moves slow and always controlled.

    MORE: This is why skipping is such amazing cardio

    MORE: The ultimate gift guide for fitness lovers

    MORE: This 29-year-old with stage four lung cancer says fitness has transformed her life


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    Has anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating beside a pool vent? Metro illustrations (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    Have you eaten your lunch yet? Are you sitting comfortably? Are you in a relatively stable mental state? If yes, please read on.

    If not, perhaps wait until these conditions are met before taking a gander at this piece.

    Today in Getting Freaky – your weekly dose of sexual health and misadventure realness – we’re looking at pool sex (solo or otherwise).

    Last week, we took on the myth/truth of the candiru fish, and now we’re going to delve into some more man-made water beasts.

    Teenagers are disgusting – this we know. They can also be overly experimental with masturbation.

    Not content with a squirt of lotion, the underwear section of their mum’s big catalogue, and some imagination, some young people go to extreme lengths to try something new.

    When I was at school, the closest we had to a private pool was being the last to get out of the communal one during swimming lessons.

    Still, somehow, word got around of a mysterious person who had been disemboweled by a pool vent (or filter, whatever you want to call it) while masturbating.

    This person was allegedly using the suction of the filter to pleasure themselves while doing the deed, when all of a sudden their insides were pulled from their anus.

    Told you it’d be harrowing.

    There are multiple origin stories for this particular urban legend, but the one that stands out the most from my generation is from Chuck Palahnuik’s novel Haunted.

    Your boy Chuck has made a few appearances in this series, and undoubtedly has a lot to answer for when it comes to f***ing us all up for life.

    One of the short stories in Haunted, which was published in 2005, is called Guts.

    The narrator – a boy aged 13 – tells of his favourite hobby, Pearl Diving. This is when he would get down on to the floor of the pool to experience the suction of the filter, coming up for air intermittently until he ejaculated, creating the ‘pearls’ he spoke of.

    On the time in question, his intestines were pulled into the filter and ripped out. He was then forced to bite into them to free himself and save from drowning, and face a bowel resectioning (he also got his sister pregnant, but that’s a different part of the story).

    If you’re disgusted by this, you’re supposed to be. During initial readings of the story, umpteen faintings were reported, and one teacher was suspended in 2009 for letting his 11th graders read it; for the best, tbh.

    Pool filters are bloody dangerous, though, and Palahnuik himself says that the story he wrote came from a true account of someone he’d met at a sexual addiction clinic.

    Some urban legends are proliferated as cautionary tales, and it seems like this may be the case with Guts.

    The masturbation part was likely unnecessary, but not outside the realms of possibility. Regardless of why you’re down there, there’s a chance you could be injured by a pool filter.

    In 2007, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) reported that a 6-year-old girl’s intestines were ‘eviscerated’ by a filter in a Minneapolis wading pool.

    According to the journal entry, ‘a search of the pool filter turned up several feet of [the girl’s] intestine’ and ‘doctors had to remove the remaining part’.

    It was expected that she would be hospitalised for around two weeks as a result, but Fox News later stated that she had died as a result of complications.

    JEMS ascertained that ‘170 people, mostly children, had been caught in [pool] drains and 27 of them had died’ between 1990 and 2007 in the US. Not a huge number, but more than enough to make you wary.

    Why small children for the most part? It’s likely due to the placement of these filters.

    In most swimming pools, they’re placed on the bottom floor, which is hard for you to sit on. In a baby or wading pool, they’re much closer to the surface.

    Also in most modern swimming pools, these vents have grates over the top which allow them to suck in hair and small debris but not take in anything larger.

    However, Metro ran a story whereby a young boy in Spain last year had to have life saving surgery after being disembowelled by pool filter, showing that it isn’t simply a case of old vs new pools.

    Many of these incidents seem to have arisen when the grates are not fitted properly or become unstuck for whatever reason.

    A case report by Hultman and Morgan in 1994 said, ‘transanal suction from a swimming pool drain can result in intestinal evisceration’ but that it ‘is completely preventable by installation of semi-permanent, anti-vortex grates.’

    So, yes, it can happen if you’re sitting on a grill-less filter, and the effects can be completely devastating.

    The children that this has happened to have faced life-changing injuries as a result of something completely innocent. Whether anyone has experienced the same fate as a result of sexual misadventure is unknown, and it’s unlikely we’ll ever know for sure.

    Why you would do it – on purpose, after having an actual think about the consequences – after knowing all of this is beyond me.

    If you can’t find a partner to gently use breathplay (not intense suction in any way) to stimulate you, the Sqweel Go will simulate oral sex for you or you could try a rotating butt plug to mimic a rimjob.

    On a more serious note, if you’re in a public pool and see vents that are coming loose, please speak to an attendant. If you’re some Lord or Lady Fauntleroy with their own pool, ensure that the filters and grates are maintained. It genuinely could save your life.

    Until next week, freaks.

    Rules for safe anal play

    Avoid intense suction (particularly from a machine such as a vaccuum).

    Use a water-based lubricant.

    Build up slowly if you’re inserting toys.

    Only ever use internal toys specifically designed for anal.

    If you’re uncomfortable with what’s happening, stop.

    Keep it out of the pool… For other reasons on top of this article.

    MORE: This is how to do crunches

    MORE: Morrisons is selling 1kg boxes of unsold fruits and veggies for £1


    Has anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating besideHas anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating besidejessicacvlHas anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating beside a pool vent? Metro illustrations (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)Has anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating besideHas anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating besidejessicacvlHas anyone really had their anus damaged by masturbating beside a pool vent? Metro illustrations (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

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    (Picture: Johan Deckmann)

    Some book titles just scream relatable, don’t they?

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is probably one self-help book that you’ve seen at least one person reading on the Tube.

    Following a similar vibe, artist Johan Deckmann has created mock self-help books that are pretty much things we troubled millennials might want to read.

    ‘I’m Okay and Other Lies’, for example, is definitely something we’d have our eyes glued on and back hunched over for.

    Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis (Picture: Johan Deckmann)
    Mood (Picture: Johan Deckmann)

    Johan, a Copenhagen-based artist and author, uses old books from antique stores and writes a fitting title to share with his 85,000-strong followers.

    He is also a psychotherapist which helps him understand the types of issues and anxieties people experience on a daily basis.

    ‘I get inspired everywhere I go but especially by the people I meet as a psychotherapist,’ he told Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I see great beauty in the big task of working with oneself and I deeply respect the efforts that this requires. My works are a portrait of modern human behaviour.

    ‘I write and develop my works everywhere I go. I work with my words like little riddles. So when I finally hit the studio I spend a lot of time deciding and refining before I share my works.

    ‘My works are mostly not autobiographical. They are a projection of my thoughts, imagination, and observations. So I won’t run out of material before I stop thinking and I have no plans for that.’

    Johan said that what he is creating is ‘a portrait of the modern human condition and self-sabotage’.

    One of his favourites, and probably one we’d read, is titled: How to Feel the Way You Felt Before You Knew What You Know Now.

    Unfortunately, no such texts exist and Johan admitted himself he wouldn’t know what words would be contained inside.

    One thing is for sure, if he ever decided to write them, he’d have a long list of people willing to read them.

    How to Show Someone That You Hate Them If You Are Too Shy To Tell Them is a strong vibe.

    Here are a few of our faves:

    (Picture: Johan Deckmann)
    (Picture: Johan Deckmann)
    Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis (Picture: Johan Deckmann)
    (Picture: Johan Deckmann)
    (Picture: Johan Deckmann)
    (Picture: Johan Deckmann)

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    MORE: A chart comparing working mums vs stay-at-home mums has annoyed a lot of people


    Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisisArtist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisisfaimabakar1Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis (Picture: Johan Deckmann)Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis (Picture: Johan Deckmann)Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisisArtist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisisfaimabakar1Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis (Picture: Johan Deckmann)Artist creates the fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis (Picture: Johan Deckmann)

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    Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate. Christmas decoration. Close up.; Shutterstock ID 530890891; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock/Anna_Pustynnikova)

    Christmas cake is the best. Boozy, stodgy, festive deliciousness. But if you’re planning on driving, then you may want to take it easy.

    Experts have warned that just two slices of the brandy-drenched dessert could put you over the legal drink-driving limit.

    And it would be all too easily done. If you’ve had a single glass of wine or a beer, you might think you’re fine – forgetting about the healthy dose of spirit in the cake. Not to mention the dollop of brandy butter on the side.

    Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate. Copy space. ; Shutterstock ID 523823362; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock/Anna_Pustynnikova)

    The research, conducted by All Car Leasing, suggested that drivers need to think about what they eat as much as what they drink, to avoid getting into trouble and putting their safety at risk.

    What is the UK drink-driving limit?

    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

    In Scotland the limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood.

    And it wasn’t only the cake that festive foodies need to be wary of.

    The research looked into a variety of items often found on Christmas menus, and they discovered that a number of items are more boozy than most people realise.

    The experts found that most people also have a single drink with their meal, which in combination with the food could definitely push them over the limit.

    So it’s really important to look at the overall picture of your alcohol consumption over Christmas – the danger of potential drink-driving extends beyond declining a second glass of fizz.

    Other boozy Christmas food

    Bloody Mary prawn cocktail – 0.34 units

    Chicken liver parfait with brandy – 0.1 units

    Glazed carrots – 0.1 units

    “Drunken” brussel sprouts – 1.5 units

    Red wine gravy – 1.9 units

    Cranberry and port sauce – 0.3 units

    Christmas cake with brandy butter – 1.15 units

    Christmas fruit cake – 0.33 units

    Traditional mince pies – 0.14 units

    Chocolate truffles – 0.04 units

    MORE: Portal Christmas trees are a brilliant festive Instagram trend

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    Two portions of Xmas cake could put you over the drink-driving limitTwo portions of Xmas cake could put you over the drink-driving limitnataliemorris88Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate. Christmas decoration. Close up.; Shutterstock ID 530890891; Purchase Order: -Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate. Copy space. ; Shutterstock ID 523823362; Purchase Order: -Two portions of Xmas cake could put you over the drink-driving limitTwo portions of Xmas cake could put you over the drink-driving limitnataliemorris88Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate. Christmas decoration. Close up.; Shutterstock ID 530890891; Purchase Order: -Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate. Copy space. ; Shutterstock ID 523823362; Purchase Order: -

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    Morrisson's ruby port
    (Pictures: Morrissons)

    Port is (arguably, when you count Baileys and sherry) the most Christmassy drink.

    It’s ideal in front of a roaring fire and some classic sitcoms, and is traditional at the end of a meal.

    It’s even better when you can get an award-winning one with enough change from a tenner to get a couple of festive bakes.

    Morrisons’ own-brand ruby port fits that bill, after the £7 tipple won a platinum accolade at the annual Decanter Awards.

    Platinum is the highest level available in each category, and is supposed to signify the absolute best of the best.

    Morrisons beat the likes of Taylor’s, who got a silver for their Very Old Single Harvest from 1968 which costs £189.99 a bottle.

    According to the supermarket, they developed the beverage with the The Symington’s Family Estate in Portugal, and they say it has chocolate and cherry notes.

    It got a score of 97 out of 100, and the tasting notes from Decanter say ‘Unbelievable value, a must buy! Beautifully dense plummy fruit, sweet, fleshy, complex and ripe with a lovely grippy edge. A soft palate with a great length, rather serious for a ruby!’

    Well, we all like a grippy edge with our after dinner drinks, don’t we?

    MORE: Two slices of Christmas cake could push you over the drink-drive limit

    MORE: Drinking a glass of wine a day could keep you out of the hospital


    Morrisson's ruby portMorrisson's ruby portjessicacvlMorrisson's ruby portMorrisson's ruby portMorrisson's ruby portjessicacvlMorrisson's ruby port

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