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

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    metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Want to be the perfect housemate?

    There are a few (very easy) things you can do.

    Badi, an app that helps people find flatmates, did a survey of renters to find out what traits are the most desirable among people they’re living with.

    Unsurprisingly, renters want a housemate who’ll pay their rent and bills on time, who are respectful of people’s space, and are clean and tidy.

    No real shockers there, but considering how many of us have experienced nightmare housemates in our years of renting, perhaps we’re all in need of a little reminder.

    It’s important to understand your housemates, though – while one in five renters said they’d love a housemate who makes the house feel more like home and 27% said they’d like to be friends with their housemate, others may prefer to keep to themselves.

    Just look at the list of dream housemate traits below – at number 10 is ‘is always there for you if you need to talk’, while at number 18 there’s ‘is rarely there’. Confusing, no?

    Our advice: Get to know your housemate before committing to moving in. You’ll want someone with a similar communication style and expectations.

    Moving in with someone who wants you to be besties while you’re just searching for a crash pad will get deeply annoying over time.

    20 most desired traits in a housemate:

    1. Pays bills without fuss or delay
    2. Does their share of chores
    3. Always does their washing up
    4. Takes the bins out without being asked
    5. Doesn’t hog the bathroom
    6. Doesn’t leave unwashed plates out on the side
    7. Gets along with your friends
    8. Keeps to their food cupboard
    9. Lets you know before having a house party
    10. Is always there for you if you need to talk
    11. Keeps to their shelf in the fridge/freezer
    12. Will make you a cuppa if they get to the kettle first in the morning
    13. Good music taste
    14. Brings little touches to make the place feel more like home
    15. They are generous
    16. Shares the remote
    17. Cooks dinner when you come home late from work
    18. Is rarely there
    19. Likes the same films as you
    20. Stays out the way when you bring people round

    MORE: What I Rent: Carlie and her daughter, £1,500 a month for a two-bedroom flat in Streatham Hill

    MORE: What I Rent: Jordan, Kurt and Pete, £673 each for a three-bedroom house in Earlsfield

    MORE: Would you live with Gordon Ramsay? UK renters want to flatshare with TV chef and the mind boggles


    Why we need an Airbnb of colourWhy we need an Airbnb of colourellencscottWhy we need an Airbnb of colourWhy we need an Airbnb of colourellencscott

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    We all know how terrible smoking is for us… and yet an estimated one billion people around the world currently smoke cigarettes.

    Clearly, we need a reminder of just how much damage smoking can do.

    So we urge you to watch this new film created by Public Health England, which shows the effects of smoking cigarettes versus the use of vaping, which PHE encourages people to switch to when trying to quit smoking.

    The film shows Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard carrying out an experiment to visually show the high levels of chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month.

    Three bell jars filled with cotton wool, each representing the lungs, are attached to a pump providing a stream of air to each jar; one with smoke tobacco cigarettes, one to vape e-cigarettes, and one with just plain old air.

    After a month’s worth of tobacco smoke, the cigarette inflicted ‘lung’ jar is brown, the cotton wool is brown, and the tube leading to the pump is thick with tar.

    The vaping jar is pretty much unchanged, with just some water vapour on it and slight discolouration.

    That goes to show just how much of a difference you could make by swapping smoking for vaping.

    Vaping isn’t risk-free and – of course – it’s best to just give up all cigarettes, electronic or otherwise. But research suggests that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, so it’s a brilliant choice for people trying to give up.

    Short and long term benefits of quitting cigarettes:

    After 20 minutes smoke-free, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

    After 12 hours, carbon monoxide in the blood stream drops to a normal rate.

    After three months without cigarettes, your circulation and lung function improve.

    After one year without smoking your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.

    After two to five years your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half, and your stroke risk is the same as a non-smoker.

    After ten years you are half as likely to die from lung cancer.

    After 15 years your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.

    Unfortunately, not everyone knows that. Research shows that 44% of smokers either wrongly believe vaping is as harmful as smoking or do not know that it poses much lower risks to health.

    That means that many smokers may be struggling to quit because they don’t feel able to use vaping as an easier switch than going completely cold turkey.

    Professor John Newton, the director of health improvement at Public Health England, said: ‘It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about safety.

    ‘We need to reassure smokers that switching to an e-cigarette would be much less harmful than smoking.

    ‘This demonstration highlights the devastating harms caused by every cigarette and helps people see that vaping is likely to pose only a fraction of the risk.

    ‘We want to encourage more smokers to try and quit completely with the help of an e-cigarette, or by using other nicotine replacement such as patches or gum, as this will significantly improve their chances of success.

    ‘If you’re trying to stop smoking, our free online Personal Quit Plan will help you find the support that’s right for you.’

    Dr Shahab, a leading smoking cessation academic and associate professor in health psychology at University College London, added: ‘The false belief that vaping is as harmful as smoking could be preventing thousands of smokers from switching to e-cigarettes to help them quit.

    ‘I hope this illustrative experiment helps people see the huge damage caused by smoking that could be avoided by switching to an e-cigarette.

    ‘Research we and others have conducted shows that vaping is much less harmful than smoking and that using e-cigarettes on a long-term basis is relatively safe, similar to using licensed nicotine products, like nicotine patches or gum.

    ‘Using e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement such as patches or gum will boost your chances of quitting successfully.’

    If you’re planning to quit smoking in 2019 (well done, you), you can build a free personal quit plan online, or chat to your GP for advice.

    MORE: Vaping weed gets you way, way higher than smoking it, study finds

    MORE: Key to quitting smoking is spending more time with vapers, research says

    MORE: Christmas Eve increases the likelihood of having a heart attack by about 37%, experts say


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    A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoo
    Ray started covering his body in tattoos to fix some old inkings he was embarrassed of (Picture: Ray Houghton /SWNS.COM)

    Ray Houghton has gone to extreme lengths to get the body he wants.

    First off, he’s a bodybuilder. So he spends a lot of time working out.

    But a more distressing bit of effort he’s put into his body is wrapping his penis around a rolling pin so he could get it tattooed.

    Ray, 61, used a rolling pin to keep his penis in position during a four hour tattoo session.

    He says it wasn’t too painful (he’s used to the pain of getting tattoos), but his testicles swelled up to four times their usual size once the deed was done.

    ‘I don’t feel the pain anymore but the tattooist couldn’t believe I wanted to get such a sensitive area done,’ said Ray. ‘There was quite a bit of blood and it was uncomfortable to walk the next day.

    Bodybuilder Ray Houghton ,61, having his penis and testicles tattooed. .See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.
    A rolling pin was used to keep the penis in place during the four hour tattooing session (Picture: Ray Houghton /SWNS.COM)

    ‘We used a rolling pin because that was the easiest way for the tattoo to be done. You can’t just do it on a bench or work top.

    ‘It was quite weird at first but it made a lot of sense. It worked out perfect really.’

    Ray can now proudly say he’s got tattoos all over his body. He’s spent around £7,500 and more than 240 hours on a full tattoo body suit.

    His tattooing mission began when he decided to get some old inkings covered up.

    Bodybuilder Ray Houghton ,61, having his penis and testicles tattooed. .See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.
    Ray had his penis tattooed in the comfort of his own gym (Picture: Ray Houghton /SWNS.COM)

    Ray had his eight original tattoos – including a boat, a naked woman, a Geisha, and the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ – done in a caravan near his Royal Artillery base.

    After getting into bodybuilding, Ray discovered he was too embarrassed of those tattoos to show off his muscles – so decided to get them covered up with Maori style designs.

    From then on he set about covering his entire body in tattoos to cover up any signs of ageing.

    ‘I was so desperate to get it done. I didn’t like to look in the mirror and see my ageing skin,’ said Ray. ‘I like to look young.

    ‘I hated seeing varicose veins and wrinkles. It’s horrible.’

    Bodybuilder Ray Houghton shows of his finished tattoo. See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.
    The only part of his body that hasn’t been tattooed is the top of his head (Picture: Ray Houghton / SWNS)

    After getting his penis tattooed on Christmas Eve, Ray now feels ‘complete’.

    ‘I had age spots and scars that I were ashamed of,’ he said. ‘But now I am proud to go along to the nudist beach. People tell me they can’t believe how good I look for my age.

    ‘I feel like a celebrity and I love people staring at me.

    ‘I’ve been big all my life and as I got older people stopped telling me I looked good. But now I feel great again.

    Bodybuilder Ray Houghton who got hooked on ink and got his whole body covered in tattoos in one year- and now is having his penis and testicles tattoed. See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.
    Ray finally feels ‘complete’ (Picture: Ray Houghton /SWNS.COM)

    ‘I did lose a lot of confidence and I began to feel like an old man. What people think of me is important to me.

    ‘Those old tattoos were done when I was 17. They were disgusting.

    ‘Now I’m proud to show my body off again and I can’t wait to show people my body in full. I love it.

    ‘None of the tattoos were really painful at all to have done, even this last one.

    ‘I have wanted my penis done for three months but my normal tattooist wouldn’t do it. I wasn’t nervous, just excited to to finally get it done.

    ‘I feel complete when I look in the mirror now. It was the perfect Christmas present.’

    MORE: Woman who tattoos nipples on recovering breast cancer patients gets banned from Facebook

    MORE: Man who loves Marks & Spencer doesn’t just get any tattoo, he gets an M&S tattoo

    MORE: If you liked Knickers the big cow, you’re going to love Lil Bill the tiny bull


    A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattooA bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattooellencscottA bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattooBodybuilder Ray Houghton ,61, having his penis and testicles tattooed. .See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.Bodybuilder Ray Houghton ,61, having his penis and testicles tattooed. .See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.Bodybuilder Ray Houghton shows of his finished tattoo. See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.Bodybuilder Ray Houghton who got hooked on ink and got his whole body covered in tattoos in one year- and now is having his penis and testicles tattoed. See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattooA bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattooellencscottA bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen rolling pin to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattooBodybuilder Ray Houghton ,61, having his penis and testicles tattooed. .See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.Bodybuilder Ray Houghton ,61, having his penis and testicles tattooed. .See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.Bodybuilder Ray Houghton shows of his finished tattoo. See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.Bodybuilder Ray Houghton who got hooked on ink and got his whole body covered in tattoos in one year- and now is having his penis and testicles tattoed. See SWNS story SWSY tattoo. A bodybuilder wrapped his penis around a kitchen ROLLING PIN to have his entire private parts - including his testicles - covered in tattoos.Buff Ray Houghton, 61, can 'proudly' claim to have at least one tattoo on every body part after undergoing one final four-hour inking - on his gentiles.He now boasts an impressive full body suit of ink which cost ?7,500 and required more than 240 hours of tattooing.Ray, from Manchester, has now completed a two year journey to get his body covered in ink after enduring the four hour sitting to have his entire penis and testicles tattooed.

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    Hair dye allergic reaction
    Charlotte is sharing her story to encourage others to do a patch test (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    A trained hairdresser has shared photos of her reaction to hair dye to encourage others to always do a patch test.

    Charlotte Cragg, 26, is a trained hairdresser, so knows how important patch tests are.

    But when she used a box dye to colour her hair, she skipped the patch test as she was sure she’d be fine, having used the product before.

    Charlotte ended up having an allergic reaction that caused her face to swell up and feel like it was burning.

    The hairdresser had used the same brand of dye without issues a few months beforehand, but this time she had a reaction to the PPD present.

    Back in 2005, Charlotte had a black henna tattoo on her arm which turned into boils and became infected thanks to a reaction to the PPD in the tattoo.

    Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004
    Charlotte had previously used the box dye with no issues (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    She continued to have her hair dyed professionally with no issues, until May 2018, when she dyed her hair at home for the first time.

    ‘I bought two boxes of Nice ‘n’ Easy in cool brown and coloured my hair,’ said Charlotte.

    ‘I did a patch test beforehand and followed the instructions as normal.

    ‘That night, my head was a bit itchy but I never thought anything of it.’

    Two months later, in July, Charlotte noticed her roots were coming through so decided to use the second box of dye. Having used it months earlier, she skipped the patch test.

    By the time she returned home from a night out, her head felt unbearably itchy.

    Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, pictured during the allergic reaction. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004
    This time Charlotte had an allergic reaction, which caused her face to swell (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    ‘I had to sleep with a flannel over my head to cool it down,’ she said.

    ‘And when I woke up the next morning my ears had puffed up and my head was boiling hot.

    ‘That day, I went to a local pharmacy where the pharmacist recommended antihistamines and a topical cream to put on my face.

    ‘I hoped the tablets would help my symptoms settle down quickly.

    ‘Instead they worsened, my face swelled up and my head felt like it was on fire.

    ‘My throat was sore and I had jaw pain. I looked like Sloth from the Goonies.

    ‘My kids, Max, 6, and Ollie, 4, were terrified of me and said I looked like a monster.

    ‘Ollie cried when he saw me and refused to go near me. If I tried to kiss him, he ran off.

    ‘One side of my face became droopy, like I’d had a stroke. And my eyes were completely swollen shut.’

    Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, pictured during the allergic reaction. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004
    She was lucky that steroids brought her back to normal (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    When Charlotte went to the out-of-hours GP surgery, she was told she’d suffered from an allergic reaction to the hair dye and was given steroids.

    She was lucky that her throat hadn’t closed up, but it was swollen. She had to stay home for a week while the swelling went down.

    After a few days of steroids Charlotte was back to normal.

    The mum and hairdresser hasn’t been put off colouring her hair, but she wants her story to remind others of the importance of doing a patch test every time they dye their hair – even if they’ve used the same dye brand and colour before.

    ‘It’s so important especially when you’re dying your hair at home,’ she says.

    ‘Always follow the instructions or go to a salon.

    ‘I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you’ve used a product before.

    ‘I’ve not been put off dying my hair but I’ll definitely be more cautious in future. Although I probably should have known better since I’m a trained hairdresser.’

    MORE: Woman with so many allergies she has to wear gloves and mask when she goes out

    MORE: Keep sneezing? There might be dust mites hiding out in your bed

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


    Hair dye allergic reactionHair dye allergic reactionellencscottHair dye allergic reactionPic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, pictured during the allergic reaction. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, pictured during the allergic reaction. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004Hair dye allergic reactionHair dye allergic reactionellencscottHair dye allergic reactionPic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, pictured during the allergic reaction. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004Pic by HotSpot Media - HAIRDRESSER LOOKED LIKE A MONSTER AFTER HAIR DYE ALLERGIC REACTION - IN PIC - Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, pictured during the allergic reaction. - A trained hairdresser has revealed how an allergic reaction to hair dye left her looking like a monster. Charlotte Cragg, 26, from Kendal, Cumbria, used a box dye to colour her hair but decided against doing a patch test. Unfortunately, the mum-of-two suffered an allergic reaction that saw her face swell up and burn. Thankfully Charlotte's face has returned to normal and she's urging others to always do a patch test. Charlotte, a midwifery student, says: ???I learnt the hard way to always do a patch test even if you've used a product before???SEE HOTSPOT MEDIA COPY 0121 551 1004

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Christmas and New Year is a tricky time to know whether shops are closed or flinging open their doors and putting sales on.

    With bank holidays flying around, it is hard to remember when the stores will have their shutters firmly closed or not.

    thumbnail for post ID 8288751Virgil Van Dijk reveals the secret to Liverpool's incredible defensive record

    Things tend to get back to normal on 2 January, but what abut New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

    Here are the opening plans for many of the major stores on 31 December and 1 January.

    Morrisons

    (Picture: Getty)

    On New Year’s Eve most stores will be opening at 6am but they will then close early ahead of the celebrations at 4pm, so make sure to shop early if you need some supplies for the evening.

    Most Morrisons stores will then open later on New Year’s Day at 9am and then close at 6pm.

    These times could vary depending on your local store, so you are advised to check when your shop will be open on the Morrisons store finder.

    Tesco

    (Picture: Getty)

    Tesco stores will generally be operating Sunday opening times on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (although most Metros will be closed on New Year’s Day).

    Many stores are also likely to open slightly later on New Year’s Day but it is worth checking with your local store if you need some early morning supplies that day.

    For the most accurate opening times for your local Tesco it is recommended that you use Tesco’s store locator and have a look at their Christmas page for all related information.

    Sainsbury’s

    (Picture: Getty)

    Most Sainsbury’s stores will then open at 7am on New Year’s Eve but then close at 9pm or 10pm.

    On New Year’s Day many of the shops will open slightly later at 9am until 9pm and then normal opening hours will resume the following day on Wednesday 2 January.

    These are only guidelines, so it is advised to check using the Sainsburys Store Locator to find out the exact opening for your local shop.

    Asda

    Asda supermarket
    (Picture: Getty)

    Many Asda stores will open at their normal time but then close early at 7pm ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

    Asda stores will be opening later on New Year’s Day at 10am and then many will close at 5pm.

    To get the most accurate opening hours for you local store you should use the Asda store locator which has the latest information on their Christmas opening times.

    Lidl

    (Picture: Getty)

    On New Year’s Eve Lidl stores will open at 8am and close at 6pm and the shops will then close for New Year’s Day, except for stores within the M25 as they will be open from 10am to 6pm.

    They will then return to their normal opening hours from Wednesday 2 January.

    Aldi

    (Picture: Getty)

    On New Year’s Eve Aldi stores will open at 8am but then close early at 6pm and then all stores will be closed on New Year’s Day.

    Marks and Spencer

    (Picture: Getty)

    On New Year’s Eve many Marks and Spencer shops will close early ahead of the celebrations with some stores closing at 5pm or 6pm, and then many of their stores will shut on New Year’s Day.

    Opening times can vary between stores so it is advised that you check the opening hours for your local store by using the M&S store finder.

    Waitrose

    (Picture: Getty)

    On New Year’s Eve most Waitrose shops will open at 8am but closing quite early at 6pm and they will then all be closed on New Year’s Day.

    Opening times can vary so it is advised that you check your local store on the Waitrose branch finder.

    Iceland

    (Picture: Getty)

    Many shops will then open early on New Year’s Eve at 7am or am but then close early ahead of the celebration at 5pm or 6pm, and then all stores will close on New Year’s Day.

    Argos

    (Picture: Getty)

    There will then be reduced hours on New Year’s Eve and new Year’s Day, but Christmas Day is set to be the only day that all stores will close completely.

    You can find out the exact opening times for your local shop by using the Argos store locator.

    Boots

    (Picture: Getty)

    On New Year’s Day Boots shops will open slightly later than their usual opening times, but this can vary from 9am, 10am or 11am.

    You can find the full details on your local shops opening times by using the Boots store locator.

    MORE: When are benefit payments made over New Year?

    MORE: HMV on brink of collapse in another blow for UK high street


    Woman walking by son carrying shopping cart at supermarketWoman walking by son carrying shopping cart at supermarketphilhaigh26Asda supermarketWoman walking by son carrying shopping cart at supermarketWoman walking by son carrying shopping cart at supermarketphilhaigh26Asda supermarket

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    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/Metro.co.uk)

    Pause your quarter-life crisis and take a breather: You’ve still got plenty of time to get your sh*t together.

    According to a new study, the average Brit should have their life sorted out by age 39.

    So if you’re in your twenties or early thirties and feel like a total mess, no need to panic.

    If you’re 39 or over and are still all over the place, we’re so sorry.

    The study was carried out by responsible adult types Beagle Street Life Insurance, who surveyed 2,000 adults to find out at what age we should have different parts of our lives all settled and secure.

    According to the study, the average British person should have their career, love life, and social relationships in order by age 39.

    Some things need to be sorted a bit earlier though.

    The study suggests that by 29 we should have a secure group of friends, and by 31 we should have met and fallen in love with ‘the one’. Sorry, singles.

    Don’t descend into an existential crisis if you’ve passed those ages and haven’t hit those prescribed milestones.

    These are ‘shoulds’ not ‘musts’, and you’re definitely not alone in still feeling a bit up in the air. 44% of those surveyed said they didn’t think they’d ever have their lives completely sorted. Hard relate.

    25% said their love life was a disaster, and 74% said they spend more time putting things off than trying to sort out their lives.

    A small portion (16%) said they don’t want to bother worrying about grownup stuff, while 14% of 18 to 29 year olds said they were too young to worry about the future and were focused on having fun in the here and now. Great.

    You’re also not alone if you feel completely rundown by the pressure of everyday life, as 78% of the adults surveyed said they struggle to deal with all the life admin they have to deal with.

    So essentially, we’d all like to think we’ll be sorted by 39, but we’re also all procrastinating messes who have no idea how to get their sh*t together. Cheers to that.

    MORE: Rare condition might explain why you keep shoving your partner out of bed

    MORE: We can’t deal with messaging more than seven people at once on dating sites

    MORE: Artist creates fake book covers that perfectly summarise the millennial existential crisis


    organising communal rentingorganising communal rentingellencscott(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) metro illustrationsorganising communal rentingorganising communal rentingellencscott(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) metro illustrations

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    woman on laptop
    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    You’ve probably seen the lists.

    On Twitter, or Instagram or Facebook – people are posting lengthy lists of everything they have achieved in 2018. There are photos, links to work, and usually a deep, meaningful message about what these achievements mean to them.

    Be it personal – an engagement, baby, buying a house – or professional – publishing a book, landing their dream job, every article they have written over the last 12 months – people are desperate to share their highlights and present a perfect package of curated, annual success.

    It’s classic social media behaviour and it’s natural if your first instinct is to recoil from it.

    We want to roll our eyes at the sheer brazenness of the boasting. These aren’t humble-brags, these are brag-brags – and it’s everything we hate about social media.

    After the first of these end-of-year lists were posted, it wasn’t long before the snarky, derisive backlash began.

    But why are we so averse to people sharing good news? Is it the deeply ingrained British sense of self-deprecation that dictates our behaviour? Or does it come from a place of jealousy, comparison and insecurity?

    Surely we should be able to celebrate other people’s successes, and our own.

    Sexual assault is not a problem we can solve with a ‘consent app’ (Sirena)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We were taught as children that boasting is bad, that no one likes a show off. Perhaps we’ve internalised that school of thought to an unhealthy degree.

    So instead of rolling our eyes, we should be applauding these lists.

    When so much of life is about struggle and hardship, we absolutely should take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for what we have achieved.

    Surely you’d prefer open, honest discussion about things that we’re proud of, over the snivelling, insidiousness of humble-bragging. If you’ve achieved something and you want the world to know, you should feel empowered to tell people about it.

    This is particularly important for women.

    Emma Case is a life coach who works specifically with women. She says she always encourages her clients to blow their own trumpets and celebrate themselves, because women, more than men, have been conditioned to believe they shouldn’t.

    ‘As women we need to learn that celebrating our own achievements is not just OK, but is absolutely necessary,’ Emma tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘We could all easily name three things that we did badly or “failed” at, over the year, but it’s high time that we learned to confidently articulate the things that we are great at too.

    ‘Change and progress often comes from a series of tiny steps combined, it isn’t always about the huge, defining moments. We could easily overlook these steps if we’re not conscious of them, which is why it’s so important to be aware of all of our successes – even the tiny things.’

    It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of only seeing the negative things, the heartbreaks, the things we f*cked up, the jobs we didn’t get.

    But how would your outlook change if you stopped thinking about your year in terms of absence – the things you didn’t achieve?

    No, you didn’t start that novel. Your boyfriend didn’t propose. You’re still nowhere near ready to put a deposit on a house. Looking through this lens of absence, it’s easy to view your year as a write-off.

    But that’s never the full picture.

    Even in a year of serious drama, upheaval and grief – there are always moments of light, moments of success, moments to be proud of. Even if it’s as small as – well, I survived, I’m still here.

    These are the things that should be focused on. What you gained or learned. It’s cheesy, but taking the little wins and learning from them is really the only way you can grow and develop as a person.

    illustration of woman
    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    So we’ve agreed that celebrating our achievements is a good thing. But why does it have to be at the end of the year? Does January really hold some magical power of regeneration?

    By now, we know the whole ‘new-year-new-me’ shtick is a tired, outdated construct. You won’t wake up in January and suddenly feel like a different person. But that doesn’t stop us being hopeful.

    We still pour out all our booze on 1 January, start paying for an expensive gym membership we will never use, write a list of the books we’re definitely going to get through.

    Despite the overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary, we still believe that this January will be different. This year, we will be better.

    So maybe that is what January gives us. The hope and the statement of intention. Just because we know ‘resolution culture’ is a construct, that doesn’t mean we can’t use it to our advantage.

    The dawn of a new year brings with it the hope of renewal.

    1 January holds a certain promise of transformation – the chance to begin again, to wipe the slate clean, to become a better version of you.

    But Emma thinks that saving our celebration and self-reflection for the end of the year isn’t the best way to go about it.

    ‘I ignore January and rigid goal setting in favour of something much more fluid and effective,’ she explains.

    ‘True and lasting change takes time, so I’m a huge fan of having monthly or quarterly reviews of achievements and goals, rather than one huge, pressurised new year evaluation.

    ‘Doing it this way means I will already have a balanced view of what I’ve achieved, so there will be no disappointment or shock come the end of the year.’

    Food for thought for next year. But that boat has already sailed for 2018. If you want to shout about your achievements, then it’s time for a social media thread.

    But if the point of listing your achievements is self-reflection and growth, why not just write them down in a notebook? Why splash them over social media? It suggests that what’s really happening here is a need for validation from strangers – nothing deeper.

    Francesca Dean, a disability rights campaigner and aspiring journalist, thinks it’s not that simple.

    She says that for her, posting achievements online is a way of recognising the people who have helped her along the way.

    ‘I don’t think it’s about showing off whatsoever,’ Francesca tells us.

    ‘I like to share my achievements on Twitter because there are so many people who have helped me this year, and stuck by me through thick and thin.

    ‘I think reflecting on things that you’re proud of is key to determining your attitude for the new year. But also, most importantly, it’s about recognising who was really there for you during ups and downs and showing gratitude.’

    Francesca’s year has been an important one. She has achieved more than many people thought would be possible for her – and she knows that sharing those achievements is a crucial part of advocating for people living with disabilities.

    ‘This year I landed my own segment on local news programme, Granada Reports, I was a finalist in the youth journalism competition, Breaking Into News, I got my first ever job at Blackburn Youth Zone, and I spoke at ITV’s inclusion event.

    ‘I want to shout about these achievements because I have a disability, and I think there are so many people who don’t realise just what disabled people are capable of doing, as long as they have the correct network around them.

    ‘I’m so grateful to be an advocate for those living with a disability who can’t defend themselves, or helping children who have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. I know my parents initially felt as though there was no hope for me, but I’m happy i’m able to consistently prove that there is hope.’

    Francesca’s achievements are unbelieveably worthwhile, but you don’t need to have achieved anything nearly as substantial in order to deem it worthy of celebration.

    Taking stock of the year, the highs and the lows, is a fantastic way to gauge where you’re at, what you still want to achieve and how far you’ve come.

    New year is traditionally about setting new goals. New things to aim for, new tasks to add to our to-do lists. But our to-do lists are already overwhelmingly long and they never seem to get any shorter.

    Maybe a more useful exercise is to look back before looking ahead. This year, why not see what you can tick off your list before adding a truckload of new tasks to achieve?

    MORE: I give up my Friday and Saturday nights to keep our LGBT+ spaces safe

    MORE: How to be more environmentally friendly in 2019

    MORE: How to survive the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year


    It's okay if your end of year achievement list doesn't look like everyone else'sIt's okay if your end of year achievement list doesn't look like everyone else'snataliemorris88Sexual assault is not a problem we can solve with a ‘consent app’ (Sirena)illustration of womanIt's okay if your end of year achievement list doesn't look like everyone else'sIt's okay if your end of year achievement list doesn't look like everyone else'snataliemorris88Sexual assault is not a problem we can solve with a ‘consent app’ (Sirena)illustration of woman

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    (Picture: Mayhew)

    For the 12th year running, animal welfare charity Mayhew teamed up with homelessness charity Crisis to help people and their pets living on the streets over the festive period.

    As part of the annual event, vets and animal welfare officers provide care to the pets providing support and companionship to homeless people, while members of Crisis provide support and advice to the pets’ owners.

    Dogs are given purpose-built temporary kennels and receive food, blankets, a warm coat, and a safety collar along with any emergency care they need.

    Each pet is also given a full health check over the festive period to monitor any ongoing issues.

    This might not sound like a huge deal – if someone’s homeless, why would they be bothered about their pet’s health and wellbeing?

    But the truth is that a pet can provide homeless people with companionship and emotional support they so desperately need. Dogs can also provide protection from the dangers homeless people face on the streets.

    It’s an important bond. Homeless people may turn down offers of housing as well as rehab opportunities simply because they’re not allowed to keep their pets.

    (Picture: Mayhew)

    So of course their beloved pet’s wellbeing is important – it’s why you’ll often see homeless people using what little money they have been given to buy their dog food before getting themselves something to eat.

    Over the festive period, when it’s cold and loneliness can take an especially hard toll, it can be incredibly helpful for homeless pet owners to know there’s a place to go to ensure their dog is in good health, without the threat of judgement or the dog being taken away.

    Deputy head of animal welfare at Mayhew, AJ Ford, said: ‘We support homeless people and their pets with care and advice all year round.

    ‘The Crisis at Christmas event is always special and we see many new and familiar people and their beloved animals.

    ‘All the dogs we’ve seen this year received full vet checks and some will be coming back into our onsite Community Vet Clinic for further treatment, for free, over the coming weeks.’

    If you’d like to help out homeless people and their pets, you can make a donation to be split equally between Crisis and Mayhew, or buy a virtual gift for a homeless person or their dog, on the Mayhew website.

    MORE: These dogs look like real-life mops

    MORE: Elderly dog born with no nose is left homeless at Christmas

    MORE: Dog who was in a shelter for eight years finally gets her forever home


    Mayhew Dec 2018-63 (002)-9467Mayhew Dec 2018-63 (002)-9467ellencscottMayhew Dec 2018-63 (002)-9467Mayhew Dec 2018-63 (002)-9467ellencscott

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    (Picture: Getty)

    There’s no better way to start the year than with a bracing dip in the open water.

    Wash away your worries and dramas from 2018, and emerge chilly, cleansed and ready to face whatever the new year throws at you.

    After a week of slobbing on the couch, cheese crumbs clinging to your jumper, chocolate melting in your clammy palm, it’s time to get moving.

    Rally your family or friends and persuade them to come for a New Year’s Day swim – it could be the start of a glorious new tradition.

    But you might want to go easy on New Year’s Eve, because it could be risky if you’re hungover.

    (Picture: Getty)

    Obviously, the best way to go about this is to experience cold water throughout the year, do plenty of open water swimming and allow your body to acclimatise to the temperatures.

    But what normally ends up happening is that people brave the cold once a year and get through it screaming and breathless – which is also a fun way to do it.

    The great news is that doing a freezing festive swim is not only an amazing personal challenge to start the year – it’s also a fantastic way to raise money for charities such as Crisis, Macmillan Cancer, or any causes that are close to your heart.

    Tips for outdoor swimming

    Sudden immersion in cold water is not recommended for people who are pregnant or hungover, or have medical conditions including asthma and heart conditions.

    It is recommended that you enter feet first and do not immerse your head unless experienced and acclimatised to cold water swimming.

    Look after yourself on the day. Avoid getting too cold before the swim – and when you get out, get dressed relatively quickly – you’ll actually feel your coldest 10 minutes after you get out of the water, so you want to be encased in thermals and have a hot drink in hand before then.

    Don’t have a quick shower as this may make you colder. The reason quick showers are best avoided is that when you get out of the water the blood in your skin is chilled. Getting dressed and warming up from the inside out lets it return to your system slowly and more safely.

    If you feel at all shaky or ill, let the pool lifeguards or any of the volunteers know immediately and you will be taken to the lifeguards room to warm up safely and with supervision.

    For the swim itself – you may feel shocked when you get in and like you can’t breathe. Focus on your exhalation, this tends to help.

    The Outdoor Swimming Society

    The Outdoor Swimming Society have helpfully curated a list of all the places in the UK where you can experience a fun and challenging festive dip this new year.

    The list is divided into lidos, lakes or sea and lets you know if the swim is family friendly or more endurance-based. So you can pick the perfect event for your needs.

    Some of the most appealing swims on the list include Felixstowe Beach, Blackroot Pool in Sutton and Corbyn Beach in Torquay. But there are loads to choose from.

    And who knows, this first foray into open water swimming could open up a brand new hobby for you to take into 2019 and beyond.

    MORE: It’s not boastful to celebrate your achievements at the end of the year, it’s necessary

    MORE: The best fitness deals in the sales

    MORE: How to do a burpee: the perfect technique for the full-body burner


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    Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.
    (Picture: MEN Media)

    Forget the age old adage that has a man’s home as his castle.

    After all, it feels slightly pale in comparison to transforming a portion of your house into a functioning pub.

    That’s just what 35-year-old Anthony McNamara has taken the time, care and effort to do, in the family garage.

    For one, it means that ‘popping down the local’ for New Year’s Eve has taken on a whole new meaning.

    Sounds good, doesn’t it? No queue for the bar, garbled orders, or interminable waits for a taxi. Forget drunken strangers, with closing time also at Anthony’s discretion.

    Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.
    (Picture: MEN Media)

    This was no impulse decision, with the home pub a long-cherished dream. When the opportunity arose, it didn’t seem right to put in anything less than 100%.

    The decor apes that of any idealised local boozer in the country, with evident effort going into making it ‘just right’.

    And with the swinging pub sign, frosted door, proper beer taps and lines, curated snack selection and even a last orders bell, the Hooped Owl (reference to the owl on the badge of Anthony’s beloved Oldham Athletic, and the green and white hoops of Celtic) is about as traditional as it’s possible to be without stepping in a time machine to the 1970s.

    Though it’s been a lengthy process, it’s open in time for New Year’s Eve, which means his family and friends get the chance to bring in 2019 in style.

    Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.
    (Picture: MEN Media)

    Anthony carried out all the work himself, including the wood panelling and layering the Anaglypta wallpaper.

    He told Manchester Evening News: ‘It started quite a few years ago. I was watching a reality show about a family who built their own pub.

    ‘It became a mini dream but one that I’ve never been able realise because our house was always too small.’

    Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.
    (Picture: MEN Media)

    Moving the family to Blackburn in 2017 helped to transform a financial pipedream a reality.

    The new, separate garage accounted for the space, with the rest a result of nous, graft and a smooth £2,000.

    No detail was deemed too unimportant, including a cooler which runs through to his lager and cask ale kegs, with Coors Light and and ale from Worsthorne Brewery the current beers on rotation.

    As word of the project spread, Anthony says he’s been swamped with offers of football memorabilia for the walls.

    Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.
    (Picture: MEN Media)

    He added: ‘The garage had been converted into a bedroom but it needed a lot of work’.

    ‘I really wanted a really traditional old school pub and I think I’ve done an okay job of recreating that.

    ‘I originally didn’t expect to spend £2,000 but I think it’s all right. I’m very proud of the carpet – it’s a very authentic old school carpet and it took a while to source the wallpaper. People bought me stuff too.

    ‘My mum got me the bell’.

    Even though plenty of the graft was his own, Anthony mentions another home-pub trailblazer in particular, who helped to push the project along.

    ‘I could never have done it all without my friend Damien Hindle.

    ‘He also converted his garage into a pub and was instrumental in giving me advice, putting me in touch with breweries and directing me in how to install beer lines and coolers.

    ‘Damien was my first guest. We gave it a very thorough christening.

    ‘Life is short and can be grim, do whatever makes you happy. For me, it was turning my garage into a boozer’.

    Now, lets see what your Zone 4 landlord says when you suggest similar for your Norwood house-share.

    MORE: Is your local on the list of 16 best pubs for 2019?

    MORE: How many pubs have been killed off in your area?


    This dad built himself a pub in his garage for New YearThis dad built himself a pub in his garage for New Yearfranciscogarcia92Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.This dad built himself a pub in his garage for New YearThis dad built himself a pub in his garage for New Yearfranciscogarcia92Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.Popping down the local for New Year's Eve has taken on a new meaning in the McNamara family. That's because, thanks to the efforts of dad Anthony, the nearest pub is now just a few feet away - in their very own garage. It means after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, there will be no queue for the bar or wait for a taxi, drunken strangers won't be a problem, and closing time will be at Anthony's discretion.

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    (Picture: Getty)

    A new study has found that drinking a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer a day could help you live longer.

    Yes, you can now tell all your family members who tut at you when you pour a glass that you’re thinking about your health.

    The study, published in JAMA Network Open, also found that both measures of alcohol aren’t harmful for pensioners with heart failure.

    The over 65s who drink moderately live more than a year longer than those who give up the booze completely following a heart failure diagnosis, a new study has found.

    The findings came from analysis of data from 5,888 adults who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study from 1989 to 1993.

    With an average age of 79, slightly more than half of the heart failure patients were women, and 86% were white.

    Glasses of red wine in a row on a table
    (Picture: Getty)

    They were divided into four categories for the analysis: people who never drank, people who drank in the past and stopped, people who had seven or fewer drinks per week, and people who had eight or more drinks per week.

    The researchers defined one serving of alcohol as a 12-ounce beer, a 6-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor.

    The researchers found an association between consuming seven or fewer drinks per week and an extended survival of just over one year, compared with the long-term abstainers.

    This was after taking into account lifestyle factors and the extended survival came to an average of 383 days.

    The greatest benefit came from drinking 10 drinks per week, but so few patients fell into that category that the data was insufficient to draw definite conclusions.

    The findings suggested drinking moderately was safe for patients – but cardiologists warned their data was observational and did not establish a cause and effect link.

    Senior author, Professor of Medicine David Brown at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said: ‘My patients who are newly diagnosed with heart failure often ask me if they should stop having that glass of wine every night.

    (Picture: Getty)

    ‘And until now, I didn’t have a good answer for them.

    ‘We have long known that the toxic effects of excessive drinking can contribute to heart failure.

    ‘In contrast, we have data showing that healthy people who drink moderately seem to have some protection from heart failure over the long term, compared with people who don’t drink at all.

    ‘But there was very little, if any, data to help us advise people who drink moderately and have just been diagnosed with heart failure.’

    He said the study showed a ‘survival benefit’ for moderate drinkers compared with those who abstained from alcohol.

    On average, their life expectancy was just more than a year longer than abstainers – a difference the researchers said was ‘statistically significant’.

    The findings, however, did not suggest that nondrinkers should start boozing after a heart failure diagnosis, the researchers warned.

    Professor Brown continued: ‘People who develop heart failure at an older age and never drank shouldn’t start drinking.

    ‘But our study suggests people who have had a daily drink or two before their diagnosis of heart failure can continue to do so without concern that it’s causing harm.

    ‘Even so, that decision should always be made in consultation with their doctors.’

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    TO YOUR HEALTH - A daily glass of wine doesn't appear harmful for pensioners with heart failure and actually helps them live longerTO YOUR HEALTH - A daily glass of wine doesn't appear harmful for pensioners with heart failure and actually helps them live longerhattiegladwellmetroGlasses of red wine in a row on a tableTO YOUR HEALTH - A daily glass of wine doesn't appear harmful for pensioners with heart failure and actually helps them live longerTO YOUR HEALTH - A daily glass of wine doesn't appear harmful for pensioners with heart failure and actually helps them live longerhattiegladwellmetroGlasses of red wine in a row on a table

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    Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    A teenager who resembles a ‘broken doll’ received makeup for the first time ever this Christmas, after having her face rebuilt.

    13-year-old Kira Yates suffers from a rare condition, Apert syndrome, which means she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.

    What is Apert syndrome?

    Apert syndrome is a condition involving abnormal growth of the skull and the face due to early fusion of certain sutures of the skull.

    Children with the condition have bulging eyes that are usually wide-set and tilted down at the sides.

    They are known to have problems with teeth alignment due to the underdevelopment of the upper jaw while some have cleft palate.

    Among other anomalies, children with Apert syndrome have webbed fingers and toes.

    It affects one in every 100,000 babies.

    Four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was ‘smashed and reshaped’, Kira asked for makeup for the first time.

    Her mum, Michelle, 52, says her daughter used to get bullied for her looks, but ever since the series of operations she has thrived.

    She said: ‘When she had the surgery we lost Kira and gained an entirely new girl.

    Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘It has completely changed her life. Kira has started a dance class, is doing really well at school and has become a typical teenager.

    ‘There are still many things that she won’t be able to do but she has done so well.

    ‘Kira has started to love fashion and has asked for make-up for the first time this year. She keeps up with the latest trends, she is a completely new person.

    ‘I’m so proud of her.’

    Kira has had more than a dozen major surgeries in her life already – including the 14-hour operation at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to lift her sunken face.

    Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs. See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    The surgery involved inserting metal plates into Kira’s face before fitting her head with a metal frame – which she then had to keep on for three months.

    Since having the frame removed, Kira struggled at school with bullies – but has been moved to another specialist school where she is now thriving.

    Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs. See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    Michelle, a full-time carer for Kira, said the cruel taunts ‘never stopped’ her daughter.

    She said: ‘The children can be so cruel. Kira knows she is different but doesn’t understand why at this point.

    ‘As she gets older she is asking more and more questions [about her condition].

    Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘Since she moved schools, Kira has done so much better. She is happy now and has a lot of friends.’

    While she had the frame on her face, Kira continued to be able to feed herself.

    She now attends a dance class and loves watching Youtube videos and spending time with her new friends.

    Michelle, who also shares two older children, Ryan, 22, and Victoria, 20 with husband Mark, added: ‘She loves everything to do with fashion now. She has bought herself some trendy new leggings and is keeping up with all of the trends of her friends.

    ‘Kira is just like any other schoolgirl. The surgery has allowed her to be more independent.

    ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel now.’

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    SEI_45585070-2a01SEI_45585070-2a01hattiegladwellmetroKira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was SEI_45585070-2a01SEI_45585070-2a01hattiegladwellmetroKira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs. See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs. See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.Kira Yates, 13, who has Aperts Syndrome, is now able to wear makeup ,which she has requested for Christmas, and mum Michelle, 52, is helping her learn to apply it, pictured at home near Doncaster, North Lincs.See SWNS story SWLEmakeup . A teenager born resembling a ???broken doll??? has received makeup for the first time for Christmas - after having her face painstakingly rebuilt.Kira Yates, 13, suffers from a rare condition which meant she was born with malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet.However, four years after pioneering surgery where her skull was "smashed and reshaped", fashion-obsessed Kira asked to be bought makeup for the first time.Her proud mother Michelle, 52, said Kira, who "used to get the mickey taken out of her looks", has thrived since the series of major operations in 2014.

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    USA: Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Marttila/Rex Shutterstock. Only for use in this story. Editorial Use Only. No stock, books, advertising or merchandising without photographer's permission Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock (5665534q) Grendel the cat pulls facial expression while she enjoys catnip Photographer captures cat behaviour as they enjoy catnip, America - 28 Apr 2016 FULL COPY: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/sbkc We all have our favourite foods - but a cat's love for catnip has to be seen to be believed. These hilarious portraits are from a photo project documenting the phenomenon. They were captured by pet photographer Andrew Marttila. He explains: "I'm a 30 year old animal photographer specialising in cats. I've lived in Philadelphia for the past 5 years, but travel extensively for work all over the United States and abroad. "I started taking photos for this series a few years ago after witnessing my roommate's cat's penchant for catnip. He's something of an addict. "In addition to rolling around in the green stuff, he loves to eat it, producing some of the coolest photos I've ever taken."
    (Picture: Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock)

    Would you give your baby crack cocaine?

    That’s not a question most of us expect to be asked an afternoon in December.

    But this is the internet, where The Times really did tweet out an article about catnip with that very question.

    Let us explain.

    In mid-December Debra Merskin, a professor at the University of Oregon, wrote an article for The Conversation musing that it might be unethical to give a cat catnip. She suggests that getting a cat ‘high’ and then laughing at its behaviour is unethical, as we would consider doing the same thing to a human deeply wrong.

    ‘As an animal media studies scholar, I argue laughing at a cat who has been given a drug even if they seem happy should raise questions about human power and animal autonomy,’ writes Debra.

    ‘If [it] is unethical to drug a child and to laugh at how he or she responds, should we unthinkingly do the same with our cats?’

    Debra doesn’t actually say that giving a cat catnip is like giving a baby crack cocaine, but questions why giving drugs to a baby isn’t okay and giving drugs to a cat is. She does, however, refer to catnip as ‘kitty crack?’, so perhaps that’s where the comparison came from.

    The Times then made the comparison to giving crack cocaine to a baby in the intro of their piece, which takes us to now, today, when we must ask: is giving your cat catnip really anything like giving a baby crack cocaine?

    The short answer is no. It’d be more like giving a baby weed, which is, well, still not allowed, but not quite as scary-sounding.

    How does catnip work?

    Catnip is a herb that’s a member of the mint family. Nepetalactone is a chemical compound found in catnip’s leaves and stems, and is a stimulant when sniffed, giving cats a sort of ‘high’ that lasts for around ten minutes.

    It’s thought that nepetalactone mimics feline pheremones and thus triggers all the cat’s receptors for excitement and energy. They might roll around, meow, drool, and be more playful.

    Not all cats are affected by catnip, and some will respond with aggression rather than joy and rolling around.

    Young kittens aren’t affected by catnip at all, so you’ll need to wait until your cat has grown up before finding out if they’re sensitive to catnhip highs.

    The morality of giving a cat behaviour-altering substances for our own enjoyment isn’t something we can definitively declare – that’s your decision, the same way the ethics of keeping a pet in the first place is.

    But what we can discuss is the actual safety of giving cats catnip – and why it’s not the same as giving a baby crack cocaine.

    First things first – there’s no evidence that suggests catnip is addictive to cats.

    Catnip can indeed change a cat’s behaviour, and that’s something to watch carefully, but there’s also no evidence to show that catnip poses serious health risks… unlike crack cocaine.

    In fact, catnip can be beneficial to cats.

    The RSPCA tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Many cats won’t respond to catnip as the physical response is an inherited trait which not all cats possess.

    ‘The plant can have some beneficial impacts on feline welfare such as providing environmental enrichment and stimulation for those cats who respond to, and engage with it.’

    Dr Vanessia Howie, Cats Protection’s Head of Clinical Services, backs this up.

    USA: Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Marttila/Rex Shutterstock. Only for use in this story. Editorial Use Only. No stock, books, advertising or merchandising without photographer's permission Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock (5665534ao) Jinx the cat pulls facial expression while enjoying catnip Photographer captures cat behaviour as they enjoy catnip, America - 28 Apr 2016 FULL COPY: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/sbkc We all have our favourite foods - but a cat's love for catnip has to be seen to be believed. These hilarious portraits are from a photo project documenting the phenomenon. They were captured by pet photographer Andrew Marttila. He explains: "I'm a 30 year old animal photographer specialising in cats. I've lived in Philadelphia for the past 5 years, but travel extensively for work all over the United States and abroad. "I started taking photos for this series a few years ago after witnessing my roommate's cat's penchant for catnip. He's something of an addict. "In addition to rolling around in the green stuff, he loves to eat it, producing some of the coolest photos I've ever taken."
    (Picture: Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock)

    ‘There is no evidence to show that there are health risks associated with giving cats catnip,’ Vanessa tells us. ‘Nepetalactone, the active component of catnip has been shown not to be harmful to cats even when fed at high doses.

    ‘Catnip instead provides an excellent form of environmental enrichment for cats, particularly those that are housed indoors.

    ‘Smell is incredibly important for cats and olfactory stimulation is therefore also important, although something which is often overlooked when providing for a cat’s species specific needs.

    ‘Research has shown providing catnip to cats actually improves their wellbeing and has positive effects on both their short and long term welfare if used regularly.’

    Both the RSPCA and Cats Protection warn that catnip can cause some cats to display ‘aggressive behaviour’ such as rough play and scratching, so it’s wise to supervise cats when they’re around catnip and allow them to play alone without other cats barging in. These effects will only last between five and 15 minutes.

    In terms of safety, the only other thing you need to conscious of is that catnip can make cats want to chew (call it the munchies, if you wish) so any toys containing catnip must be safe to chew and would not cause problems if accidentally swallowed.

    ‘The effect of catnip is through smell alone and not taste, so catnip is best provided in a form that cats can easily smell,’ explains Vanessa. ‘For example, toys filled with dried catnip or liquid catnip sprayed onto toys or a cloth.

    ‘The smell will reduce over time, so it is best to always provide fresh catnip that has not been exposed to the air for the maximum catnip-effect.’

    So, to recap: Giving your kitty catnip is not much like giving a baby crack cocaine, as it doesn’t appear to pose health risks and can in fact be beneficial for your cat.

    The morality side of things is up to you, but if you can ignore the guilt of laughing at your cat looking silly, you can rest easy knowing you’re not sentencing your feline pal to a life of drug addiction and petty crime.

    MORE: Glorious photos capture cats high on catnip

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    MORE: Therapy cats can be life-changing for people with mental illness


    Apparently it's wrong to give your cats catnipApparently it's wrong to give your cats catnipellencscottUSA: Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Marttila/Rex Shutterstock. Only for use in this story. Editorial Use Only. No stock, books, advertising or merchandising without photographer's permission Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock (5665534q) Grendel the cat pulls facial expression while she enjoys catnip Photographer captures cat behaviour as they enjoy catnip, America - 28 Apr 2016 FULL COPY: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/sbkc We all have our favourite foods - but a cat's love for catnip has to be seen to be believed. These hilarious portraits are from a photo project documenting the phenomenon. They were captured by pet photographer Andrew Marttila. He explains: Apparently it's wrong to give your cats catnipApparently it's wrong to give your cats catnipellencscottUSA: Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Marttila/Rex Shutterstock. Only for use in this story. Editorial Use Only. No stock, books, advertising or merchandising without photographer's permission Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock (5665534q) Grendel the cat pulls facial expression while she enjoys catnip Photographer captures cat behaviour as they enjoy catnip, America - 28 Apr 2016 FULL COPY: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/sbkc We all have our favourite foods - but a cat's love for catnip has to be seen to be believed. These hilarious portraits are from a photo project documenting the phenomenon. They were captured by pet photographer Andrew Marttila. He explains: "I'm a 30 year old animal photographer specialising in cats. I've lived in Philadelphia for the past 5 years, but travel extensively for work all over the United States and abroad. "I started taking photos for this series a few years ago after witnessing my roommate's cat's penchant for catnip. He's something of an addict. "In addition to rolling around in the green stuff, he loves to eat it, producing some of the coolest photos I've ever taken."USA: Feature Rates Apply MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Marttila/Rex Shutterstock. Only for use in this story. Editorial Use Only. No stock, books, advertising or merchandising without photographer's permission Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Marttila/REX/Shutterstock (5665534ao) Jinx the cat pulls facial expression while enjoying catnip Photographer captures cat behaviour as they enjoy catnip, America - 28 Apr 2016 FULL COPY: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/sbkc We all have our favourite foods - but a cat's love for catnip has to be seen to be believed. These hilarious portraits are from a photo project documenting the phenomenon. They were captured by pet photographer Andrew Marttila. He explains: "I'm a 30 year old animal photographer specialising in cats. I've lived in Philadelphia for the past 5 years, but travel extensively for work all over the United States and abroad. "I started taking photos for this series a few years ago after witnessing my roommate's cat's penchant for catnip. He's something of an addict. "In addition to rolling around in the green stuff, he loves to eat it, producing some of the coolest photos I've ever taken."

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    Determined, muscular young woman doing squats with dumbbells in gym

    2018 was the year of HIIT, wearable tech and the resurgence of yoga.

    While all three of these are likely to remain popular into the new year, there are some brand new fitness trends that will likely be fighting for your attention in the new year.

    What’s exciting to see is how much of the new stuff is focused on joined-up training and a kinder fitness culture.

    It seems as though the fitness world is finally pivoting away from its obsession with pain and punishment. Great news for anyone who values their joints.

    There’s also a big focus on training at home – and we don’t mean some halfhearted sit ups in front of Coronation Street. The home workout has gone high-tech, and we are 100% here for it.

    Stay ahead of the curve this January and have a look at what else is going to be clogging up the social media feeds of your favourite fitness bloggers.

    Body weight training

    (Picture: Getty)

    Strength training isn’t going anywhere – but the difference this year is that we’re ditching the weights.

    Getting strong is going to be all about using your own body weight in simple, effective moves.

    Body weight training is growing in popularity because of its convenience. All you need is an area of space and a sports bra, so body weight exercises are great for anytime, anywhere workouts.

    Most body weight exercises are accessible for any fitness level, and unlike weights, they’re very easy to modify.

    Your own body really is an incredible resistance training tool. Using your body weight during exercises including push-ups, squats, planks, and lunges, can be a challenging and effective way to work your muscles.

    Upgraded home workouts

    Working out at home has its appeal. Firstly – you don’t have to go anywhere. It takes a huge part of the effort out of fitness, so if you can develop an effective routine, it could be much easier to stick to your goals.

    But the ‘effective’ part is the issue. When you’re home alone it’s easy to be distracted, drop your form or not push yourself as hard as you would in the gym.

    That’s where the new technology comes in.

    2019 will see the growth of a range of new products and technologies that will help you get the most out of your living room session.

    Interactive personal trainers can connect through your TV and help you keep on track – they’re surprisingly effective and won’t let you slack off. FIIT is a great, UK-based platform that you can use on your phone, tablet or smart TV.

    Or take it to the next level with some serious home-gym equipment. Paleton are selling at-home spinning bikes, so you can feel the burn without leaving your house – if you can stump up £1,500, that is.

    Mindful exercise

    Mindfulness has been on the rise for the last few years – encouraging people to live in the moment and exist in the present through the use of breathing and meditation.

    It’s meant to help alleviate a whole host of anxieties and mental health problems – so how does mindfulness translate into fitness?

    Mindful movement, or conscious movement is the concept of moving and exercising with intention and an awareness of your whole body.

    Rather than throwing yourself into something full-throttle, conscious fitness encourages precise movements that put form above all else.

    The aim isn’t just to elevate your heart rate and get sweaty, it’s also to teach you how to use your body efficiently.

    The benefits of mindful movement

    ‘Meditation and mindful movement are two of the best tools we have to free our minds of clutter.

    ‘These modalities focus on the importance of brain health and functional mobility.

    ‘Meditation is one of the more direct routes to mindful presence. Clear and healthy thoughts create purposeful action in one’s life.’

    Angela Leigh, Director of Talent, Aaptiv

    Group training

    We’re familiar with the idea of group training classes – spinning, body pump, HIIT – we know how it works.

    But 2019 will turn previously solo activities into something that can be enjoyed in a group.

    Take rowing, for example. There has been a huge boom in group rowing machine classes, allowing people to work on their form and endurance in a team environment.

    Another favourite for 2019 will be the VersaClimber – and Sweat by BXR are the first studio in Europe to launch group classes.

    If you’ve never seen a VersaClimber before, it’s essentially a rather scary looking machine that mimics the natural motion of climbing. It is a 75-degree vertical rail with pedals and handles – and it is a serious full-body burner.

    Group environments can trigger your competitive instincts, force you to work harder and provide better encouragements and rewards when you push yourself.

    Shorter classes

    According to ClassPass’s yearly report, more of us are booking classes that are 45 minutes or less – and they think this is a trend that’s set to continue.

    This is absolutely brilliant news – no one has time to spend more than an hour working out anyway. Shorter, more efficient workouts are on the rise and we love it.

    No more wasting time with lengthy downtime between moves, no more plodding needlessly on a treadmill for all eternity. Let’s smash it out and get the hell out of there. We have lives to lead.

    MORE: Where to go swimming on New Year’s Day

    MORE: The best fitness deals in the sales

    MORE: How to do a burpee: the perfect technique for the full-body burner


    Determined, muscular young woman doing squats with dumbbells in gymDetermined, muscular young woman doing squats with dumbbells in gymnataliemorris88Determined, muscular young woman doing squats with dumbbells in gymDetermined, muscular young woman doing squats with dumbbells in gymnataliemorris88

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    Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: L-R Joshua and Luke ) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Christmas pranks are nothing new – just take those awful people who decide to hide Brussels sprouts in Forrero Rocher wrappers.

    The. Absolute. Worst.

    But Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, took it one step further by welding his brother’s Christmas gift into a steel box.

    So, there was no other way to get into the present than to melt the metal.

    A picture of Luke’s gift from his brother, which he received at their mum’s home ‘in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall’, was shared over 100,000 times online in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional and very sweary wrapping.

    Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: The present that Joshua wrapped for Luke.) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: Caters News)

    The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, committed to unconventional customs of unique wrapping every year for the last seven years.

    Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonald’s wrappings, it soon became an un-festive tradition.

    This year, Luke, 29, a grinder at Rittal CSM in Plymouth, had decided to return to traditional paper, but his brother, Joshua 27, who also works at Rittal CSM, in Plymouth as a welder, was determined to take the game one step further.

    Luke said: ‘I started the tradition. I didn’t have anything to wrap my brother’s present in and if I’m honest, I’m a pure wind up merchant.

    ‘I knew it would start something with my brother.

    ‘In the past, I’ve received Xbox games and collector’s Rubik’s Cubes so the gift itself has always been good.

    ‘I got Josh vouchers to go clay pigeon shooting which I thought was quite a good present.

    ‘But it’s fair to say that this year I’m a bit skeptical of the present.

    ‘I’ve not got a clue of what it could be, as something inside could melt when I open it.’

    The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut – and emblazoned with a ‘f**k you’. Charming.

    Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: The present that Joshua wrapped for Luke.) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Thanks to the family’s isolated country location during the festive period, Luke has no way of being able to open his gift until he returns to work.

    And after Luke’s post went viral, it seems there’s plenty of people who can’t handle the suspense of ‘What’s in the Box?’.

    Luke said: ‘Only my Mum and brother know what’s in the box but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the biggest anti-climax.

    ‘I’m not going to let him win but it’s fair to say, he’s set the bar pretty high.

    ‘I’m getting messages from people as far away as America.

    ‘The entire thing is mad.

    ‘It’s been a very, very weird Christmas.’

    Luke plans to open the box in the next few days. Here’s hoping it’s worth it.

    MORE: Girl with ‘broken doll’ syndrome receives makeup for Christmas after having her face rebuilt

    MORE: It’s not boastful to celebrate your achievements at the end of the year, it’s necessary


    BROTHER PRESENT WRAPPING PRANKBROTHER PRESENT WRAPPING PRANKhattiegladwellmetroPic from Caters News - (Pictured: L-R Joshua and Luke ) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: The present that Joshua wrapped for Luke.) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: The present that Joshua wrapped for Luke.) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.BROTHER PRESENT WRAPPING PRANKBROTHER PRESENT WRAPPING PRANKhattiegladwellmetroPic from Caters News - (Pictured: L-R Joshua and Luke ) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: The present that Joshua wrapped for Luke.) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.Pic from Caters News - (Pictured: The present that Joshua wrapped for Luke.) -For one family, a bizarre Christmas tradition has gone slightly over the top as one present went viral this year in a Facebook post. Joshua Schol, from Plymouth wrapped his siblings gift inside a steel box that will have to be welded open. A picture of Lukes gift from his brother, which he received at their mums home in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall, had been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook in under 24 hours, because of its unconventional - and very sweary - wrapping. The mystery gift was handed to Luke in a steel box, that has been welded shut - and emblazoned with a rather rude f**k you. Thanks to the familys location during the festive period, Luke wont be able to open his gift till he returns to work. The two brothers, Luke and Joshua Schol, from Plymouth, have committed to this rather unconventional custom of unique wrapping for the past seven years. Wrapping their gifts to each other in everything from bin bags to McDonalds wrappings, its a rather un-festive tone. SEE CATERS COPY.

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    (Picture: Getty)

    It is notoriously difficult to secure a marathon place.

    Whether it’s the London Marathon, or a less iconic run in another area of the country – the competition is always fierce and there’s a high chance that you won’t make the cut.

    If your goal for 2019 is to complete a marathon, then you need to start thinking about it now.

    Careful planning and proactive applications will really lower your chances of receiving a disappointing rejection letter in the post.

    (Picture: Getty)

    London Marathon

    28 April 2019

    One of the biggest, most well-known marathons in the world. And, as such, one of the hardest to get in to.

    It’s important to note that the entry ballot only stays open for five days, almost an entire year ahead of actual event. So you need to be quick.

    The ballot for 2019 has now been drawn but you can still claim a charity place – you will have to raise around £2,000.

    Blackpool Marathon

    28 April 2019

    If you weren’t successful in the London Marathon ballot, then it’s definitely worth considering the north west of England.

    Blackpool, also known as the Las Vegas of the north, offers timeless seaside scenery and iconic landmarks.

    Head to the coast for this two-lap marathon, which runs along the length of Blackpool’s promenade. Signing up will cost you £36.50.

    Milton Keynes Marathon

    6 May 2019

    Now, you might think Milton Keynes is nothing but roundabouts and car parks – but you’re only partly correct.

    The south midlands town does have more to offer, making it a great alternative option to get your marathon fix next year.

    The route is impressively picturesque with a ton of greenery – and it starts and finishes in Stadium MK, which will feel pretty amazing when you cross that finish line.

    Sign up for £48

    (Picture: Getty)

    Edinburgh Marathon

    26 May 2019

    If you’re after beautiful – Edinburgh’s your best bet. The UK’s second-biggest marathon, it’s a perfect option if you miss out on London. And it has absolutely loads to offer.

    The route takes you around the city, passing the historic Holyrood Park, the seaside Portobello Promenade and the oldest golf course in the world, Musselburgh Links.

    And, surprisingly for Scotland, the course is pretty flat, which is great news for your knees.

    It costs £57.70 to sign up.

    Bournemouth Marathon

    6 October 2019

    After something a bit later in the year? The Bournemouth marathon doesn’t take place until next autumn – so you’ll have plenty of time to get yourself race-ready.

    The risk with an October marathon is that the weather could be savage, and an intense sea breeze could really mess with your PB.

    But the gorgeous sea views might make it worth it. Check the website to find out the finalised sign-up price.

    The Wales Marathon

    7 July 2019

    Now in its ninth year, the Wales Marathon is fast becoming a firm favourite among UK runners.

    The route takes competitors from Tenby to the lakes of Pembrokeshire and all the way back. It’s the country’s only closed-road route, so that makes for an enjoyable run, and the gorgeous Welsh countryside will provide a stunning backdrop.

    It costs £45 to sign up.

    MORE: The biggest fitness trends for 2019

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    Female runner wearing medal at charity run finish lineFemale runner wearing medal at charity run finish linenataliemorris88Female runner wearing medal at charity run finish lineFemale runner wearing medal at charity run finish linenataliemorris88

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    (Picture: Louise Moran /SWNS.COM)

    A six-year-old girl handed out soup and presents to homeless people on Christmas day.

    Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help people sleeping rough in Glasgow after she met someone sleeping on the streets after a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.

    Pearly Rose and her family met a man huddled in a doorway and were heartbroken to see his suffering.

    Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.

    Pearly Rose McGowan,6, with her grandfather Martin,57, and cousin Michaela,15, who helped her with distribute 'goodie bags' to the homeless in Glasgow on Christmas Day..See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.
    (Picture: Louise Moran /SWNS.COM)

    Her grandma, Ruth, cooked up some soup, and the family included sandwiches, crisps, sweets, socks, and an envelope with £20 inside it.

    Pearly Rose’s aunt, Teresa, 38, said one of the recipients of a gift bag was moved to tears by the gesture.

    Her own daughter, Michaela, aged 15, also went out with Martin and Pearly Rose to distribute four bags of presents.

    Pearly Rose McGowan,6, helped the homeless in Glasgow this Christmas by giving out goodie bags .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.
    (Picture: Louise Moran /SWNS.COM)

    Teresa said: ‘On Christmas day they all opened up their presents and noticed they had a lot of stuff.

    ‘It was then that Pearly and my dad remembered the homeless guy from the previous night.

    ‘So they came up with the idea to go out around Glasgow giving the homeless these bags.

    ‘My dad has always been a giver so I think his kindness has started to rub off onto Pearly and my daughter Michaela.

    ‘Pearly went and opened up my Dad’s cupboard and took out his new jumper which still had a tag on it.

    ‘My mum made the soup and we just got everything else together.’

    The family travelled from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, and spent their afternoon on Christmas Day walking around Glasgow city centre looking for people they could help.

    Pearly Rose McGowan, 6, distributing goodie bags to homeless people in Glasgow on Christmas Day with grandfather Martin,57. .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.
    (Picture: Louise Moran /SWNS.COM)

    Mum-of-two Teresa added: ‘They started driving around Glasgow but they couldn’t see anyone homeless, that’s when they decided to go on foot.

    ‘They went around the city centre and told us that one of the guys that received the bags was crying saying ‘you don’t know what this means’.

    ‘It was just so lovely to hear, Pearly says she wanted to do it because she wanted them to have something for Christmas.

    Pearly Rose McGowan, 6, distributing goodie bags to homeless people in Glasgow on Christmas Day with grandfather Martin,57. .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.
    (Picture: Louise Moran /SWNS.COM)

    ‘It’s just amazing because at six years old or when you are 15 years old you just think of yourself.

    ‘But not Pearly, she decided to think of others before herself and that’s exactly what she’s like.

    ‘I’m just proud of them all.

    ‘We shared the pictures on Facebook and the rest of our day the phones kept pinging just by people commenting amazed by what they had done.’

    MORE: Man pranks his brother by putting his Christmas gift in a ‘f*** you’ welded steel box

    MORE: Girl with ‘broken doll’ syndrome receives makeup for Christmas after having her face rebuilt


    CHRISTMAS SPIRIT - These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas DayCHRISTMAS SPIRIT - These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas DayhattiegladwellmetroPearly Rose McGowan,6, with her grandfather Martin,57, and cousin Michaela,15, who helped her with distribute 'goodie bags' to the homeless in Glasgow on Christmas Day..See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.Pearly Rose McGowan,6, helped the homeless in Glasgow this Christmas by giving out goodie bags .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.Pearly Rose McGowan, 6, distributing goodie bags to homeless people in Glasgow on Christmas Day with grandfather Martin,57. .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.Pearly Rose McGowan, 6, distributing goodie bags to homeless people in Glasgow on Christmas Day with grandfather Martin,57. .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.CHRISTMAS SPIRIT - These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas DayCHRISTMAS SPIRIT - These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas DayhattiegladwellmetroPearly Rose McGowan,6, with her grandfather Martin,57, and cousin Michaela,15, who helped her with distribute 'goodie bags' to the homeless in Glasgow on Christmas Day..See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.Pearly Rose McGowan,6, helped the homeless in Glasgow this Christmas by giving out goodie bags .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.Pearly Rose McGowan, 6, distributing goodie bags to homeless people in Glasgow on Christmas Day with grandfather Martin,57. .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.Pearly Rose McGowan, 6, distributing goodie bags to homeless people in Glasgow on Christmas Day with grandfather Martin,57. .See SWNS story SWSChomeless. These adorable pictures show a six-year-old girl handing out soup and gifts to people sleeping rough on Christmas Day.Kind-hearted Pearly Rose McGowan was inspired to help homeless people in Glasgow after a chance meeting with someone sleeping on the streets, as she returned from a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve.After watching Mary Poppins Returns, the family encountered a man huddled in a doorway and were moved by seeing his suffering.The following day, after unwrapping her presents, Pearly Rose asked her granddad Martin, 57, if he would help her create goodie bags for homeless people.

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    A teenager who was bullied over a giant red ‘butterfly rash’ on her face has shown off her 90 minute makeup routine to hide it.

    Chloe Boweren has suffered with seriously low self-esteem due to the malar rash – a bright red of purplish rash in the shape of a butterfly – ever since it first appeared across her eyes, nose and cheeks three years ago.

    Believed to be due to autoimmune disease lupus, the rash saw Chloe branded ‘butterfly girl’ and ‘cherry tomato face’ by school bullies and left her reluctant to leave the house unless she had to.

    What is lupus?

    Symptoms of lupus include rashes from sunlight/UV, including butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks, joint and muscle aches/pains, extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, depression and internal organ problems

    Triggers include puberty, menopause, childbirth, viral infections, sunlight, trauma or medication

    Treatment includes hydroxychloroquine tablets

    Tips for handling lupus day-to-day include avoiding over exertion and getting plenty of rest, avoid exposure to sunlight or fluorescent lights and trying to avoid stress or anger.

    Source: http://www.lupusuk.org.uk

    Three years since her first flare-up, Chloe now refuses to let the bullies get her down and bravely shows her rash to give support to other lupus sufferers.

    She has even filmed her 90-minute process of applying makeup so others can learn how they might be able to cope with the condition.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: CHLOE BOWEREN, 18, WHO SUFFERS WITH RED BUTTERFLY-SHAPED RASH DUE TO SUSPECTED LUPUS) A teen who was cruelly bullied over the giant red 'butterfly rash' on her face has revealed her gruelling 90 MINUTE makeup routine to hide it. Chloe Boweren battled low self-esteem when the malar rash - a bright red or purplish rash in the shape of a butterfly - first appeared across her eyes, nose and cheeks three years ago. Believed to be due to autoimmune disease lupus, the rash saw Chloe branded 'butterfly girl' and 'cherry tomato face' by school bullies and left her reluctant to leave the house unless she had to. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Chloe, from Stanwell, Surrey, said: ‘When I was 15, I woke up one morning with this face rash. People called me butterfly girl or cherry tomato face – it was awful.

    ‘I fell into depression. I was going through my GCSEs and it was hard.

    ‘I made the video because I just want to show people that they can love themselves and not to worry about other people.

    ‘Sometimes I even like to go out without makeup now and embrace my face rash. It’s interesting to be different.

    ‘Three years on, my message to my bullies is this – just look at me now.

    ‘I don’t care what people say about me. There’s more to life than worrying about other people’s opinions.’

    The investigation into Chloe having lupus came after allergic reactions and hormone imbalances were ruled out by doctors.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: CHLOE BOWEREN'S MAKEUP TUTORIAL FOR TEENS WITH LUPUS) A teen who was cruelly bullied over the giant red 'butterfly rash' on her face has revealed her gruelling 90 MINUTE makeup routine to hide it. Chloe Boweren battled low self-esteem when the malar rash - a bright red or purplish rash in the shape of a butterfly - first appeared across her eyes, nose and cheeks three years ago. Believed to be due to autoimmune disease lupus, the rash saw Chloe branded 'butterfly girl' and 'cherry tomato face' by school bullies and left her reluctant to leave the house unless she had to. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Day-to-day, Chloe suffers symptoms including extreme fatigue and arthritis.

    Chloe said: ‘I woke up one morning in 2015 and had this malar rash across my face.

    ‘I felt disgusting. I didn’t know what it was.

    ‘I thought I’d used a face cream that had brought me up in the rash.

    ‘My mum thought it was sunburn and I was baffled – it was September and freezing. It made me feel really concerned.

    ‘I went to the GP and as soon as I walked in she was like “oh my god, what has happened to you?”

    ‘Lupus is really bad. It can even attack your organs. Selena Gomez, the singer, has lupus and she recently had to have a kidney transplant.

    ‘My rash is very hot and itchy on the first day it comes up. It feels like a football has hit me in the face on a cold day, but after a few days it doesn’t feel like anything – it’s just there.

    ‘Doctors thought I was allergic to progesterone to start with, but lupus has many different triggers.

    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘It comes and goes but the only thing that is worrying for me is that it doesn’t just affect my face, it’s my whole body.

    ‘I get arthritis, and lupus and fibromyalgia come together. When I get my face rash I sleep for 15 hours a day.

    ‘The fibromyalgia affects my mobility, makes me tired and forgetful, then the lupus affects my organs and my face.’

    Drawing on her own experience of bullying at school and her new-found self confidence, Chloe, encouraged by her mum, decided to use her makeup skills to help other sufferers.

    Shortly after Chloe met her boyfriend, she developed the rash. He supports her 100% and now she’s enjoying more support from her followers.

    Chloe said: ‘The rash made me feel really low about myself so I thought I’d do something to make myself feel good.

    ‘My mum thought of the idea of the makeup tutorials to show others how I cover it up.

    ‘Being a 15-year-old girl you are obsessed with makeup.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: CHLOE BOWEREN WEARING MAKEUP TO CONCEAL FACE RASH) A teen who was cruelly bullied over the giant red 'butterfly rash' on her face has revealed her gruelling 90 MINUTE makeup routine to hide it. Chloe Boweren battled low self-esteem when the malar rash - a bright red or purplish rash in the shape of a butterfly - first appeared across her eyes, nose and cheeks three years ago. Believed to be due to autoimmune disease lupus, the rash saw Chloe branded 'butterfly girl' and 'cherry tomato face' by school bullies and left her reluctant to leave the house unless she had to. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘I was watching all these videos on YouTube, but there weren’t any for people with lupus, so I decided to start posting my own videos online.

    ‘I know makeup boosts my confidence.

    ‘There’s no makeup videos to show people to cover their rash, yet there’s videos to show people how to cover spots or wrinkles.

    ‘There’s probably a girl out there aged 15 like I was, looking for someone like her.

    ‘I wanted to be that person to give other people a voice and a chance to boost their confidence and self-esteem.

    ‘Each look takes around 20 minutes if I don’t do my eyebrows. My whole face will take 45 minutes.

    ‘I just use makeup from high street stores like Boots or Superdrug, but I do also order some products online such as NARS.

    ‘It really is all about finding confidence in yourself. Everyone’s rash is different.

    ‘I have a boyfriend and we’ve been together since [before] I got the rash. He’s really understanding and knows all about it.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: CHLOE BOWEREN'S MAKEUP TUTORIAL FOR TEENS WITH LUPUS) A teen who was cruelly bullied over the giant red 'butterfly rash' on her face has revealed her gruelling 90 MINUTE makeup routine to hide it. Chloe Boweren battled low self-esteem when the malar rash - a bright red or purplish rash in the shape of a butterfly - first appeared across her eyes, nose and cheeks three years ago. Believed to be due to autoimmune disease lupus, the rash saw Chloe branded 'butterfly girl' and 'cherry tomato face' by school bullies and left her reluctant to leave the house unless she had to. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘I know that around him I don’t have to cover it up.

    ‘But I don’t really go out. I only go out if there’s a reason to.

    ‘Most of my friends go out almost every weekend.’

    A spokesperson from Lupus Trust said: ‘Most symptoms of lupus are invisible – two symptoms which are visible are rashes and hair loss.

    ‘Patients have often said that they find both of these symptoms very distressing.

    ‘Patients have apologised to me saying they shouldn’t be complaining about something they often refer to as trivial, but the way we look affects our confidence and sense of well being.

    ‘It’s totally understandable that people would find rashes and hair loss upsetting, especially in this day and age where we’re constantly bombarded by photographs of perfect hair and skin.

    ‘It’s really great to hear that Chloe is tackling the subject.

    ‘There are plenty of online tutorials about makeup that feature ladies with perfect skin, so to have one that specifically shows how to deal with lupus rashes will, I’m sure, be of interest to lupus patients and many others that suffer from rashes.’

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    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Easy for jokes to get out of hand, isn’t it?

    You don’t need to tell Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson twice. The couple from Pontypool, South Wales spent 10 months and thousands of pounds building a 10ft Lego wall in their family home.

    As with many of the best adventures, it started with a throwaway comment. Janet and Alan had hoped to ‘jazz up’ their games room, quipping that their beloved bricks could suffice to build a full-scale wall.

    Yet what started out as a self-avowedly silly bit of fun quickly became something much more ambitious, almost as soon as they laid down the first pieces.

    Though it cost them a pretty penny, alongside countless hours, both Janet and Alan say the wall – at more than three metres long and one metre tall – is the perfect ‘talking point’ when friends visit.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand - when they spent 10 months and thousands of pounds using the plastic bricks to build a 10 FOOT wall in their home. Janet Turford, 43, and Alan Wilkinson, 50, hoped to 'jazz up' their games room and joked that they could use their beloved Lego to build a lifesize wall. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    With the finished result dubbed suitably ‘awesome’, it’s tough to see exactly where the endeavor goes from here. There’s plenty of idiosyncratic characters, secret doors and even a miniature Lego man adding a final flourish to the wall.

    Janet said: ‘It was a labour of love but it took 10 months because we did it as and when we could after work and at weekends – just whenever we had a little free time to fill.

    ‘We’ve got a games room with a pool table and karaoke and lots of different quirky bits, a dartboard and everything.

    ‘We had the space above the bar that needed filling. It was just plain. We were just trying to figure out how we could jazz it up and we both love Lego so came up with the idea of building an interactive wall that our friends and family could enjoy along with us.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘We came up with the idea of building a Lego wall as a bit of a joke, and obviously we dismissed it as silly at first.

    ‘As we’re not ‘master builders’ it was a little tricky but we managed it in our own way and 100% ‘kraggle’ free.

    ‘We have a few parties with family and friends during the year but we don’t have a massive amount of people that come around on a daily basis. It’s mainly for us.

    ‘It’s a talking point, definitely. It’s massively taken us by surprise how appreciative and enthusiastic people are about it.

    ‘You just don’t think that many people are going to appreciate something you’ve done so it is very humbling.

    ‘Especially when it’s a personal thing and it’s a project you’ve done yourself and put out there. It’s gone a bit bonkers.’

    Sourcing the bricks cost the couple immense effort, with endless scouring of car boot sales, auction houses and online sellers to find the thousands of required bricks.

    Both Alan and Janet claim they have no idea how much they spent in total, though a conservative estimate puts it in the multiple thousands.

    But that’s a small price to pay, for the sheer joy of it – according to Janet at least.

    ‘I love it all. I love the men in little holes. I love my JCB man and my criminal escaping down a ladder with a policeman at the top’

    ‘I love our little robot that we made the night before because there was a hole that needed filling so we made him out of pieces to make a robot. There’s so many different things. I just love it all’.

    ‘It made some long lasting memories and we have it to cherish for many years to come’.

    Well, it’s certainly more exciting than your aunt’s conservatory extension.

    MORE: I’m Your Biggest Fan: The LEGO builder who has spent £15,000 collecting over 400 Star Wars sets and 2 million bricks

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    Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Mediafranciscogarcia92PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand - when they spent 10 months and thousands of pounds using the plastic bricks to build a 10 FOOT wall in their home. Janet Turford, 43, and Alan Wilkinson, 50, hoped to 'jazz up' their games room and joked that they could use their beloved Lego to build a lifesize wall. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Mediafranciscogarcia92PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand - when they spent 10 months and thousands of pounds using the plastic bricks to build a 10 FOOT wall in their home. Janet Turford, 43, and Alan Wilkinson, 50, hoped to 'jazz up' their games room and joked that they could use their beloved Lego to build a lifesize wall. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: The lego wall as built by Janet Turford and Alan Wilkinson) A playful couple's 'joke' about building a Lego wall got out of hand. However what started out as a 'silly' bit of fun when the pair started piecing together the first bricks in September last year quickly snowballed into something 'bonkers'.SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266

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    (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    ‘Conscious tourism’ is the buzz-phrase of 2019 and, according to multiple travel trend reports, it’s what we’re all going to be obsessed with.

    It does tend to conjure up images of hemp-wearing gap yah students trying to ‘help’ locals who’d rather they weren’t there, rather than a sumptuous and relaxing trip for a couple – or throuple, it is 2018 after all.

    However, it turns out conscious tourism can be more unconscious by nature, and encompass the coolness and romance that you might associate with travelling.

    Paris is a city of decadence – and nothing wrong with that – but as a young couple visiting during a politically tumultuous time, my partner and I wanted to do things differently.

    That’s where MOB Hotel came in, and it gave us an ideal base from which to explore the more alternative (sorry, I gagged too) side of the City of Love. 

    MOB is the brainchild of Cyril Aouizerate, who has the kind of swagger that’s impossible to learn. We stayed in the St Ouen location, although there is also one in Lyon, and more MOBs planned across the world.

    The hotel is covered in pictures of Communist leaders (inspired by Cyril’s father – who was secretary general of the CGT) and rock stars, and decorated in a way you could only describe as a mix of Scandinavia and France. 

    Gotta get a pic of my dad, brb (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    The rooms are small, and built to be a bolthole to come back to after days and nights enjoying your surroundings.

    There are no TVs – an intentional move – as Cyril doesn’t feel they’re necessary. Far from being a forced switch-off, however, the idea is that you can simply switch on with your own devices if you fancy, with some of the fastest Wifi in the area. 

    MOB is genuinely something special, for the ethos as much as the rooms. Photos of the builders who worked on the hotel line the walls of the lobby, there is a community garden on the terrace where the neighbours can plant fruit and veg, and they run and fund a fashion school next door.

    Gentrification will always be a thing, but if a business can move into a vibrant neighbourhood like St Ouen and try to include and benefit the local community, that gets a huge thumbs up from me. 

    Apart from marvelling at the curtains (that show a mural of everyone from Amy Winehouse to Barack Obama) here’s what we got up to on our romantic trip to Paris with a difference. 

    The contruction workers’ families came to see their portraits, and were very happy with the results (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    St Ouen 

    The food at MOB is Levantine with a more modern twist. Try the Lamajoun pizza or sea bass for something substantial, or some of the Barbie’s hummus to soak up your cocktails (I can personally recommend the splash, which is a kiwi delight).

    The lighting in the bar/restaurant is low, the music is just on the right side of jazzy, and knowing your bed is right upstairs makes this a sweet spot for lovers. 

    Lamajoun is love, lamajoun is life (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    In terms of things to do in the area, you’re spoilt for choice and could spend days wandering around. The hotel is situated right in the middle of Le Puces, which is Europe’s largest flea market.

    At one moment you could be looking at priceless art and Only-Fools-slapstick-worthy crystal candeliers, and the next you’re buying knock-offs from a trestle table. We tried to set ourselves a challenge where we wandered off with 10 euros each and bought each other a mystery gift, but ended up just wanting to spend time together – very uncool.

    Catch a movie at revolutionary cinema 1789, or drink, eat, and make stuff at Le Recyclerie or Main D’eouvres. This area was once the heart of Parisian Communism (which you’ll notice from the architecture) and the spirit of collaboration is still a big thing here.

    Romance definitely doesn’t just need to mean staring into each other’s eyes over a bottle of Bordeaux – although you can always do that too. 

    The Good Morning Keith pop-up at MOB (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    Belleville 

    French food is great, but in Belleville there’s everything from Lebanese to Japanese, which may make you reconsider l’escargots.  

    Trendy bars also abound here, in an area I’ve affectionately termed ‘the Shoreditch of Paris’. Hit up the Rue Denoyez (a street art dream) and sup coffees and beers while pretending you work in a creative agency (wear an interesting hat for added effect).

    The streets of Belleville are incredibly colourful (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    The Pere Lachaise cemetery is a short walk away, and you can see the final resting places of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Chopin. A passer-by told us while we were there that it’s bigger than Monaco, although that seems like it may have got lost in translation. 

    Edith Piaf is also buried here, and you can visit her family’s old house on Rue de Belleville to see where the legend was born. Love is… considering your mortality (clearly). 

    Cemetery cat > grave pics (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    Montparnasse 

    Forget the Eiffel Tower in any sense beyond than getting a photograph beside it. It’s expensive, there are crowds, and you can’t actually see the Eiffel Tower from inside it, duh.

    Go visit the Montparnasse Tower instead, which is easy to get to and half the price. It has the fastest lift which takes you up to the 56th floor viewing platform. From there you can see the city skyline as it was meant to be seen.

    Incidentally, we got there and I wimped out immediately upon seeing it, so here’s a photo of me and my shame as well as what your picture would look like if you weren’t scared of heights. 

    You cannot even see the top, so I~ am confident I made the right choice not to puke off the top (Picture: Jessica Lindsay)

    Instagram Photo

    We were also recommended a few places by the lovely Keith of Good Morning Keith (who makes incredible, organic, rock-inspired clothing with his absolute baller grandma Paulette, and sells them in a pop-up at MOB). Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can fit into two days, so we’re taking his word for it:

    Serpent a Plume is location on the Places Des Vosges in Marais, and has a hot tub, plenty of dark corners, and some of Paris’ most colourful characters.

    Near the Gare du Nord is Hotel Grand Amour, which is a real Insta-palace, and gives you the joy of an authentic brasserie with the decor of a grown-up French funfair.

    The costs

    We stayed at MOB Hotel Paris, where rooms start at €79 (£71) per night. To get there, we took the Eurostar from St Pancras to Gare du Nord, which costs from £44 one-way or £58 return. Once you’re in Paris, you can get around on the Metro, which is €1.90 (£1.70) per journey.

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