Articles on this Page
- 12/31/18--07:49: _Man receives an apo...
- 12/31/18--08:57: _Girl buys PrettyLit...
- 12/31/18--09:00: _McDonald’s opening ...
- 12/31/18--09:22: _Is Zamzam (holy) wa...
- 12/31/18--09:28: _The biggest food tr...
- 01/01/19--00:00: _Caribbean beaches, ...
- 01/01/19--01:00: _Eight years without...
- 01/01/19--01:03: _Twitter account rat...
- 01/01/19--01:40: _A farmhouse with it...
- 01/01/19--01:55: _What I Rent: Sam an...
- 01/01/19--02:50: _The best hangover b...
- 01/01/19--03:24: _Seriously hungover?...
- 01/01/19--03:59: _Nirvana are reporte...
- 01/01/19--04:00: _Spiritual in Switze...
- 01/01/19--04:05: _Be careful who you ...
- 01/01/19--05:13: _Vans is suing Prima...
- 12/30/18--22:00: _The struggles of ha...
- 01/01/19--06:07: _Lush launches its 5...
- 01/01/19--06:22: _Adorable video show...
- 01/01/19--06:32: _These are the most ...
- 12/31/18--08:57: Girl buys PrettyLittleThing trousers so long they cover her boobs
- 12/31/18--09:00: McDonald’s opening times on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2019
- 12/31/18--09:22: Is Zamzam (holy) water going to be the wellness trend of 2019?
- 12/31/18--09:28: The biggest food trends of 2018
- 01/01/19--01:40: A farmhouse with its own golf course has just gone up for sale
- 01/01/19--02:50: The best hangover breakfasts if you’re doing Veganuary
- Use small amounts of spread and oils high in unsaturated fats, such as vegetable and olive oils.
- Include sources of protein in most meals, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and tofu.
- Favour high fibre, starchy foods, such as sweet potato, wholemeal bread, pasta and rice.
- Eat calcium-rich foods daily, such as calcium-fortified products.
- Drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day.
- Season food with herbs and spices instead of salt where possible.
- 01/01/19--03:24: Seriously hungover? These animals know just how you’re feeling
- 01/01/19--04:05: Be careful who you label toxic – they may be a friend in need
- 01/01/19--05:13: Vans is suing Primark for selling ‘copies’ of their trainers
- 12/30/18--22:00: The struggles of having your birthday on New Year’s Eve
- 01/01/19--06:07: Lush launches its 50% off sale
- 01/01/19--06:32: These are the most popular names for rescue dogs
School can be tough. With teenage hormones flying around and everyone grouped into cliques, people say some pretty nasty things.
There are probably things you said that you regret and things others said to you that still affect your confidence now.
But years on, would you be willing to open up those conversations again?
For Mina Gerges, a simple message from one of the people who had bullied him throughout high school brought a lot of closure – even though he graduated eight years ago.
The message said: ‘Hey man. I just want to apologise for any f**ked up things I said to you or about you in high school. It weighs on me. I hope all is well. Cheers.’
Mina, 24, from Toronto, Canada, was born in Egypt and grew up in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
When he was 12, his family moved to Canada and he started high school there but as he was different to the other kids, he soon became a target.
‘High school in Canada was really hard. Getting used to the new culture was challenging and I was bullied a lot for my accent, my weight, my high voice, or my interests in art and acting,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.
‘On top of that, I was coming to terms with the fact that I’m gay and desperately trying to learn to love who I am despite my Middle Eastern culture’s anti-gay views, and I was really afraid of the consequences if my parents found out.
‘At that time in high school, people weren’t as accepting of LGBT people, so there weren’t any people who were out of the closet for me to seek help from or look up to.
‘It felt really lonely at times not having anyone to talk to about this, so getting bullied for being feminine and being called “a faggot” didn’t make it any easier.
‘Some of the things this group of guys would do were make fun of my feminine actions, use anti-gay slurs at me, openly gossip about my sexuality, and mimic my voice when answering questions in class.’
Now eight years on, Mina has moved on from his time at school. He is a body positive and LGBT advocate who is proud of who he is.
So when he received the message, he was pretty surprised.
He explains: ‘At first I was shocked to see this message since high school was almost eight years ago.
‘It brought back a lot of feelings I had when I was in high school of trying so hard to belong, getting bullied for being who I am and feeling lonely for not having anyone to talk to about this, and the long journey it took me since high school to love myself despite what these bullies and my culture say about being gay.
‘To be honest, as shocked as I was to get this message, I also felt so happy to see that someone whose words and actions toward me were so cruel had grown up and learned to be empathetic and compassionate.
‘I recognised how hard it is for him to own up to the mean things he’d done and said, and it made me see that people do eventually learn to be kinder and learn that their actions and words hurt people and they eventually mature and own up to their mistakes and apologise. It was an amazing moment for me.’
Mina shared the image of the message online and people are touched by the action, with many expressing how much it would mean to them if those who had taunted them at school did the same thing.
After seeing the response to his tweet, Mina replied to the man and it has started a conversation between the pair.
He says: ‘I said thank you and asked him what made him think of what he did to me in high school after all this time.
‘He told me that it’d been weighing on his conscience for a while and that he’d wished he’d apologised sooner and that even though he can’t undo his actions or their impact on me, that he hopes that owning up to his actions and this apology and will help me heal.
‘He also said he was thankful that I accepted his apology after all these years, and that he’s always open to chat more if I’d like to.’
Mina admits that seeing this message has helped him move on and hopes that it will help others do the same.
‘I definitely forgive him after seeing this message,’ he says.
‘I felt very nostalgic thinking about the pain and loneliness my younger self felt in high school, and the healing power that this apology has.
‘I know that so many LGBT people experience the exact same bullying I experienced in high school and still face it every day, so I hope this apology shows that people eventually grow to be compassionate and apologise for their mistakes.
‘I also hope this sends the message to younger LGBT kids in high school that it gets better eventually and they’ll still be able to flourish and succeed despite whatever negativity is thrown at them by bullies in high school.’
So if you regret something you said to someone else in your teens, it’s never too late to let them know you didn’t mean it.
Man gets a message from the person who bullied him in high school saying sorry, eight years laterMan gets a message from the person who bullied him in high school saying sorry, eight years laterlauraabernethy6Man gets a message from the person who bullied him in high school saying sorry, eight years later
A girl bought a pair of size 6 trousers from PrettyLittleThing that were so big they looked like a jumpsuit.
22-year-old Elle Morris shared a photo of herself holding the wide-leg trousers against her body, showing how instead of reaching just over her hips, they went all the way up to her chest.
Sharing the photo on Twitter, she wrote: ‘@OfficialPLT size UK 6 trousers??? Erm sorry??’
Elle said that although she is short, the trousers definitely ‘wouldn’t fit anyone’.
She’d bought the size 6, £7 trousers on PLT’s website earlier this month.
The product description reads: ”Switch up your wardrobe with a co-ord this season.
‘These trousers feature a stone printed fabric, a high waistline and a wide leg fit, team them with the matching top and heels for an effortless look.’
This isn’t the first time a PrettyLittleThing order hasn’t looked like the picture shown on the website.
At the beginning of this month, Lucy Anderson-Roberts bought a black crop top with a ripped design to pair with some high waist trousers.
However,the rips in the top, which were supposed to sit across the rib cage, actually flashed Lucy’s nipples.
So, it’s safe to say she couldn’t wear it out.
She said: ‘I saw it in the sale a while ago and thought it would go great with a pair of high waisted trousers I have.
‘Before I’d put it on I noticed that it wasn’t quite right. The gaps weren’t in the right place. I thought there was no way that’s going to fall below my boob.
‘I tried it on anyway and took a photo to send to my boyfriend. We were cracking up about it.
‘I thought it was really funny but it does need to be raised because it’s a bit annoying that I can’t wear the top.
‘I was a bit gutted about that.
‘It’s meant to be a crop top style with that extra detail going along the middle area. It’s a size 12 as well.’
PrettyLittleThing slammed for gigantic size 6 trousersPrettyLittleThing slammed for gigantic size 6 trousershattiegladwellmetroPrettyLittleThing slammed for gigantic size 6 trousersPrettyLittleThing slammed for gigantic size 6 trousersMERCURY PRESS. 12/12/18. Pictured: Lucy Anderson-Roberts, 27. Lucy Anderson-Roberts had bought the black cropped top from the online fashion site, Pretty Little Thing, hoping it would go nicely with some high waisted trousers. But the 27-year-old got a shock when she tried the ?5 t-shirt on, as the rips in it left her breasts exposed after Lucy thought the rips would fall across her midriff as advertised on the online retailer's website. Lucy, from Bath, Somerset, said: "I saw it in the sale a while ago and thought it would go great with a pair of high waisted trousers I have. SEE MERCURY COPY
The whole country will be celebrating the end of the year and the start of 2019 tomorrow night.Snoop Dogg offers to adopt abandoned dog named Snoop
McDonald’s is often a popular choice for people looking for a drunken snack before their journey home from a night out and it’s likely to get pretty busy on New Year’s Day.
Not all of the McDonald’s restaurants will be open at midnight on New Year’s Day so if you plan to go their after your celebrations then you will need to plan ahead to make sure the one you’re going to is open.
Here is everything that you need to know about the McDonald’s opening times for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
When will McDonald’s be open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?
Most McDonald’s will be closing early on New Year’s Eve at 10pm, however many of their larger restaurants will stay open throughout the night.
Some of the McDonald’s restaurants set to be open before, during and after midnight include Leicester Square in London, Oxford Street in Manchester, Darnall Road in Sheffield, Temple Row in Birmingham and Lord Street in Liverpool.
Other than the 24 hour restaurants, many McDonald’s won’t open until 9am on New Year’s Day, however some restaurants, particularly in London will be opening earlier (some as early as 5am).
So if you’re looking for either a late night drunken snack or some early morning hangover food then make sure you check which McDonalds near you will be open.
For the most accurate opening and closing times for your local McDonald’s restaurant you should check the McDonald’s store locator.
When does McDonald's breakfast start and finish?
According to McDonald’s there is no specific start time for breakfast and this varies for each branch.
Information on its website states: ‘The time we start serving breakfast in the morning will vary from restaurant to restaurant. You can find locations and opening and closing times for all of our restaurants in the UK using our restaurant locator on our website.’
However, most McDonald’s restaurants end their breakfast menu at 10:30am and then begin to serve their main food menu.
‘The 10.30am cut off enables us to accommodate our breakfast lovers and allow the customers who enjoy our main menu offering to get it before 11am.’
McDonald's cure for baldnessMcDonald's cure for baldnessdanielmackrellblog
And we think the next wellness trend might be ~ wait for it ~ water. But not just any water, holy water, specifically Zamzam water.
The Zamzam water is part of Islamic culture and considered holy because of its historical significance.
It’s pretty boujiee too and can only be sourced from The Well of Zamzam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
And it has all the hallmarks of becoming a trend in 2019.
Twitter users have joked we could be seeing Zamzam smoothies, coconut infused holy water, and even Zamzam chai.
So what exactly is Zamzam water?
Islamic tradition states that the well from which it flows was revealed to Hajar, wife of the prophet Ibrahim, and mother of Ismail thousands of years ago.
The mother and son were stranded in the desert without nothing to drink as Mecca is located in a hot dry valley with few sources of water.
Hajar then ran seven times back and forth in the heat between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, looking for something to quench their thirst.
Getting thirstier by the second, Ismail then scraped the land with his feet, where suddenly water sprang out (a similar story is in the Bible). Hajar then closed the well with sand and stones after telling it to ‘zome zome’ – meaning stop flowing which is how it got its name.
Then near the site of the well, the Kaaba – or House of God where millions of Muslims complete pilgrimage every year – was built.
When Muslims do Hajj or Umrah (pilgrimages) they drink Zamzam water and bring some back to their respective countries to share among friends and family as it is considered holy.
Muslims believe there are blessings in the water and drink it as prophet Muhammed also drank from the well and said it is the best water on earth.
It is believed to have cured sickness in the past too.
In recent years Zamzam water has been popularised and become more readily available (you can buy exports online).
Can any water become holy?
Zamzam water isn’t the only water considered holy. In religions such as Christianity and Sikhism, holy water is used for baptisms and spiritual cleansing.
But it has to be blessed by a member of the clergy or a religious figure.
So technically yes, normal tap would can become holy. If you wanted, you could even get your holy water filtered.
You can even get tiny bottles of the stuff to hand out as wedding favours. Online retailers on sites such as Etsy even offer personalisations to be made so couples can write their names and the date of their wedding on them.
Although Zamzam water is free from the Mosque, if you want to buy it online, the price varies.
One Etsy seller is offering 500ml for £16.95, so it’s certainly a bit pricier than picking up a plastic bottle from supermarket.
The health benefits might also attract wellness watchers as it is said to enhance energy levels, help with weight loss, and is said to be the purest (containing an adequate amount of bicarbonates (366mg/l), which is higher than the French Alps water).
So, who knows, it might be available at our nearest Whole Foods one day (if it’s not too expensive to import that is).
P.S if you’re wondering, it tastes just like water.
zamzam-fbfbzamzam-fbfbfaimabakar1Muslim pilgrims drink Zamzam water at the Grand mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah - S1AEUADYZAAA
You’re probably at the stage where you don’t want to think about food.
After consuming your own body weight in Christmas dinner, cheese, wine and boxes of Quality Street,
But it’s time to look back on some of the biggest food trends of 2018.
Vegan food that looks like meat
A few years ago, being vegan was a bit of a struggle but now supermarkets and restaurants are adding all sorts of things to their menu that are suitable for anyone with a plant-based diet.
There’s even hope that Greggs might release a vegan sausage roll next year.
Pigs in blankets
Ok so pigs in blankets aren’t new, especially at Christmas but this year, they became a pretty big deal.
And if you’re already craving them after Christmas, don’t worry. Iceland launched pigs for the bbq last year – perfect for summer.
Again, a staple of a roast dinner for decades, the Yorkshire Pudding has always been popular.
And with the Yorkshire pudding wrap trend going a bit more mainstream, you’ll be pleased to know you can now pick some up to make your own at home.
Unusual ice cream
With a hot summer in 2018, ice cream was a pretty solid choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
But some ice cream parlours took it pretty far.
Fruit in all shapes and sizes
When we weren’t munching on Yorkshire puddings and pigs in blankets, something a bit healthier was on the cards – fruit and vegetables.
But this year saw a rise in fruit grown to be different.
2018 was the year we all became a bit more conscious of our plastic use and supermarkets are starting to take note.
Morrisons started selling cucumbers without the plastic wrap, Asda followed them with plastic free swedes in August and a supermarket in Scotland offered a milk vending machine so you can refill your old cartons.
It wasn’t just about what we were eating this year, it was about how it was packaged.
Gin has become more and more popular and this year saw a huge increase in more left-field flavours.
The best food trends of 2018The best food trends of 2018lauraabernethy6The best food trends of 2018Moving Mountains 'bleeding' B12 vegan burger at MidlredsHere's how you can get paid to eat Yorkshire puddings Credit: GettyPigs in blankets ice cream. See SWNS story SWCAcream; An ice-cream parlour is offering bizarre festive recipes this Christmas including PIGS-IN-BLANKET and BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Customers at Fabio's Gelato are being served up to 24 "strange" and "wacky" combinations of ice-cream and sorbets which are around for a limited time. Owners Fabio, 34, and wife Hannah Vicenti, 33 have been running the business for four years and have already made over 400 unique flavours so far. The couple say the Pigs-in-Blanket recipe, which includes sausage, bacon, vanilla ice-cream and maple syrup, was originally inspired by their Christmas Brussels Sprouts recipe. Fabio, from Hitchen, Herts., said: "The pigs-in-blanket recipe tastes like a breakfast. "You get sweet from the ice-cream and then get a smokey taste from the bacon and then you get the sweet again from the syrup taste. "It's like when you get Bacon and maple syrup on pancakes but it is just colder." Other Christmas recipes include mince pie, ginger bread, and chocolate orange. He adds: "People are so intrigued by the mince pie one, even people who don't like mince pies like the ice cream flavour because it isn't dry". The ice-cream parlour, in Hitchen, Herts., which the couple say Arsenal midfielder Wilshere regularly visits, has managed to create a reputation for not being your "regular" ice-cream parlour.Glass of Gin and Tonic with Ice and Lime, sitting on old leather suitcases.
The Caribbean in early summer – it makes more sense than you think.
Palm trees, white sands, rum punch and five star luxury – but at a more affordable price tag.
And while it does just technically fall into the hurricane season (which runs until November), you’d be more at risk in the rainier months of August, September or October, than in May or June.
So, if you’re looking for a bargain, you might want to consider St Kitts and Nevis for your spring or early summer holiday rather than splurging on winter sun.
When I visited, the weather was reminiscent of an English summer – warm but overcast, with occasional rain.
This was ideal for a tourist like me who always intends to lie on a sun lounger, but gets itchy feet after a day, then runs about exploring.
Not literally though – the aforementioned five star resorts came complete with buggies and drivers of course.
High on my list of favourite activities was my journey across the island on The St Kitts Scenic Railway – a great way to learn about the island’s history, take in the landscape and have a drink or two (the three-hour trip includes cocktails and soft drinks).
The railway, built between 1912 and 1926 for transporting sugar cane from the fields to the central factory, is a reminder of the island’s colonial past.
St Kitts was the first Caribbean island colonised by the British, and one of the first to grow sugar cane – the land worked by people enslaved and shipped from Africa.
The French also fought for the island, and won, but it was handed back to the British as part of the Treaty Of Versailles.
St Kitts and its sister island Nevis, which are one nation, finally gained independence in 1983.
The last sugar train ran in 2005 but, by then, the railway was also being used for these excursions.
It’s more than just a history lesson – it’s a chance to see many angles of the island – homes, hotels, shorelines and fields, and hear about island life today.
I particularly loved the St Kitts Scenic Railway choir, who serenaded us with a mixture of gospel and traditional songs, as well as the St Kitts national anthem.
My tour of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, now a Unesco World Heritage attraction, was also interesting.
The fort, which sits atop a volcanic hill, was designed by the British and built by African slave labour from basalt blocks and local limestone.
It played a crucial part in colonial wars with the French and was used by the British military until 1853.
You can wander around the fortress, which is very well preserved, and also take in a small exhibition on the island’s military past.
Tickets to Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park cost about £8.
Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens was also a notable slice of island history, although I was underwhelmed by my tour.
This 300-year-old house, with rooms furnished in the colonial style and an ancient stone bath, must have seen some interesting events and could have been better curated.
However, it has beautiful views and is focussing on the lighter side of things, hosting weddings, rum tasting and Caribbean cookery lessons.
You should also visit Nevis, just a short boat trip away, and the Museum Of Nevis History.
The Georgian style building was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, who lived on the island until he was nine.
He went on to help draft the US constitution and spoke out against slavery (and his life is currently the topic of popular West End musical, Hamilton).
History aside, St Kitts’s Timothy Beach, with the charming Sunset Cafe, is worth a stop, Cockleshell Beach is great for swimming and watersports, while Reggae Beach Bar & Grill on the Frigate Bay Strip serves up delicious lunches.
If you’re a fan of shopping then Caribelle Batik and Port Zante are worth a look.
Visiting St Kitts and Nevis off season may not appeal to all, but it’s arguably a more interesting time to go.
Everything is less crowded, cheaper and, if you’re one for lots of sightseeing, more manageable without the sweltering heat.
Don’t forget your sunblock or bug spray though – it may sometimes be overcast but those rays, and mozzies, still find a way to get through.
Where to stay in St Kitts and how to get there:
Guests at Belle Mont Farm have their own villas with private infinity pools and views of the island, plus covered outdoor bathrooms.
The decor is homely, and there’s a focus on sustainability and comradeship – dinner was at one long table with our fellow guests – making this an extremely memorable place to stay.
Although it’s about as far from camping as you could get, you get the feeling of being immersed in nature – but with the added bonus of a projector to watch films on in bed.
Park Hyatt St Kitts, in contrast, feels more familiar, with its smart spa, luxury communal pools and extensive, quality buffet breakfast.
The food here is a real highlight and the staff are extremely attentive, plus activities from paddle boarding and croquet to gratitude journaling and live entertainment are available.
British Airways is offering seven nights in selected dates in May at Belle Mont Farm, including return flights from Gatwick, from £,1099 per person.
You can also book seven nights Park Hyatt St Kitts in selected dates in June, with BA flights, from £1,549 per person.
I flew with British Airways from London Gatwick to St Kitts via Antigua.
The journey took about 10 hours 30 minutes.
Where to stay in London for more five star luxury
I stayed at Andaz London Liverpool Street in the heart of East London.
I was in their incredibly stylish (ANDAZ)RED Suite, designed by Sir Terence Conran.
The room featured a light, bright and colourful lounge area with a huge TV, Rankin portraits and excellent views of the buzzing streets.
There was also a stunning bathroom stocked with Ren toiletries, a calming, minimalist bedroom and a striking hallway lined with Nobuyuki Taguchi’s black and white photos of London.
The suite was created to help raise money to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa – (RED) partners with all kinds of brands to raise money in this way.
Thirty per cent of the room rate, which is from £418 per night, is donated to the project.
Dinner was at Rake’s Cafe in the hotel – a charming floral space serving imaginative cocktails and snacks.
To get to the airport from Liverpool Street, take the Metropolitan tube line to Farringdon station, then a train to Gatwick – the journey takes about an hour.
Fort-7263Fort-7263yvettemcasterSt Kitts Brimstone Hill Fortress, 18th century compound, largest and best preserved fortress in the Caribbean, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. Kitts, Leeward Islands, West Indies, Caribbean, Central Americafrigate Bay is the name of two bays located close together on the island of Saint Kitts. The two bays are located southeast of the capital Basseterre, at the northern end of the isthmus joining the Southeast Peninsula with the rest of the island.(Picture: Bellmont Farm)The Park Hyatt St Kitts (Picture: Yvette Caster)(Picture: Yvette Caster)
This January, my new year’s resolution is to give up smoking.
I haven’t had a cigarette for eight and a half years, so having to quit for a second time is decidedly inconvenient. In fact, it’s an absolute pain in the arse.
I last smoked in April 2010. I was laid up in bed for a couple of weeks with the double whammy of a slipped disc and a chest infection. The chest infection gave breathing the feel of rubbing my insides against sandpaper, and within hours I’d convinced myself I had lung cancer.
It was a dark fantasy I indulged to finally scare myself into quitting the fags for the first time in 15 years. Also, given that I couldn’t so much as fart without feeling like an ice pick had been driven into my vertebrae, not going out to buy them was relatively straightforward.
For three or four days I was nicotine free for the first time in my life. Job done. Or so I thought.
All addicts have three voices vying for their attention: the good guy, the bad guy, and a second bad guy cunningly disguised as a good guy.
The good guy cares, he sees the logical flaws in continuing with the addiction, the damage it’s doing to your health, relationships and finances. He can be angry with you, kind and supportive, and he’s always there when you know it’s time to stop.
The bad guy wants what he wants and he wants it now, then again, and again and again for the rest of time. His catchphrase is ‘f*ck it!’ and sometimes he only need raise his voice for a split second to ruin an entire life.
And then, then there’s the third voice. He’s reasonable, level-headed and often walks into the room when the other two voices are at war and offers a compromise.
He’s the sort of guy who’ll say, ‘Well, how about this… you can drink, but only on weekends,’ or ‘if you don’t buy your own cigarettes, you’d still be cutting down,’ or ‘you can bet but no horses’.
And so the drinker keeps drinking, the smoker keeps smoking and the gambler keeps gambling. That third voice’s sound advice keeping you hooked.
And with this very voice in my head, after nearly a week free of nicotine, I decided to properly give up smoking, by getting some nicotine.
This lead to patches, gum and an embarrassing incident with a nurse at my GP surgery where we discovered that a nicotine spray can cause chronic hiccups within seconds of application.
Successfully having kept myself addicted to nicotine I then saw a BBC News story about ‘electronic cigarettes’. To the uninitiated, all electronic cigarettes use a battery to heat a coil which then turns a glycerin solution into vapour. This solution is available in various strengths of nicotine and a mind boggling array of flavours.
I’d never seen one before, and though at very early stages, it seemed like a miracle cure. What better way to quit smoking, than… smoking!
And so eight years as a committed smoker of e-cigarettes commenced (‘vaping’ wasn’t even a word when I started).
From the early days when you couldn’t buy them in shops and people would do double takes when they saw the end light up blue and ‘smoke’ escape, through changes in design, bigger batteries, tanks, mods, coils, variable OHMS and wattage.
Through changes in the law, tutting, security guards not quite sure what the policy was, stage techs saying it would set off the fire alarm (while simultaneously making sure enormous smoke and haze machines were working properly for the show), polite notices, passive aggressive notices, aggressive notices. Right up to now, where vape shops line our high streets, staffed by countless thousands of identical men who look like paintball instructors with exotic pets and a Vauxhall Nova they’re doing up.
I wonder how many others like me will be trying to kick the habit they once used to kick the habit.
I’m not that guy. I will not leave behind an enormous cloud of vapour for you to walk through as I pass you in the street. Nor will I fill the room with the sickly scent of watermelon (I was never addicted to watermelons).
But you might see me hunched in the corner of a pub, always facing away from the sharp-eyed barman, lips pressed into my fist as I hide the device I’m chugging on. Or you might hear an odd crackling sound as I turn towards the window on a flight far more than is ideal for a man as scared of flying as I am. And if I come to your house I will just take it out and start puffing away without asking. Not out of rudeness you understand, I’ve been vaping every few minutes for the last eight years, I just have no idea I’m doing it anymore.
It was said of the poet Patrick Kavanagh, that in his later years, as alcoholism began to destroy him, he kept a whisky bottle under his pillow, one that he could unscrew, drink from, and close, without even waking up. For this reason alone I keep my e-cig out of arms reach from my bed. If I could do it continuously with some ingenious circular breathing device I would. And that, alas, is why I have to stop smoking… again.
Public Health England has released a video to encourage people to use vaping to help quit the fags. Research is finally proving that the health benefits of vaping over smoking are enormous, e-cigarettes provide nicotine without the harmful smoke and tar that causes cancer and heart disease. Most figures put vaping at between 95-98% safer. And, as something of an early adopter I might be the ideal vaping guinea pig, if it were bad for you, I’d be the first to cop it.
That said, it hasn’t been without its drawbacks. My throat gets irritated sometimes, my voice is becoming almost gravelly enough to do the voice over on Masterchef, and I’ve become prone to loose it entirely if I don’t look after myself.
I once got some very dodgy e-liquid off a stall that gave me mouth ulcers like you wouldn’t believe and, such as seems to be the bequest of all technological advancements these days, I’m drowning in f*cking wires. I’m sick of the chargers, batteries, power packs and USB cables I need to cart round to fulfil this addiction.
We all know how bad smoking is, how anti-social, how damaging, how expensive. But something only a smoker will understand is just how sad I will be to stop.
Cigarettes punctuated my days for 15 years; highs, lows, morning cups of tea, pints, gigs, parties, reading, long empty afternoons, essays, dates, midnight walks, exams, drives, crises, sleepless nights. I’ve smoked cigarettes, roll ups, pipes, cigars, cigarillos, shisha.
The scent of each one carries associations, sense memories, nostalgia so intense it stops me dead in the street. And vaping, well… it’s just always been there, everywhere, every minute. I will miss it, literally, like air.
This January I wonder how many others like me will be trying to kick the habit they once used to kick the habit. How many will once again do battle with the most insidious of withdrawal symptoms.
The only way I can explain it to a non-smoker is by telling them to hold their breath. Now imagine that panicked, minute-long desperation to inhale was stretched out for half an hour, and wasn’t satisfied by air. That’s what needing nicotine is like.
If only I had realised all those years ago, that being addicted to nicotine is just as annoying as being addicted to fags, even if it is less dangerous.
A masked man smoking vape and exhalingA masked man smoking vape and exhalingaimeepm
Dating isn’t all that pleasant, to put it midly.
A Twitter account has documented all the trashy text messages, DMs, Snapchats, and other creative platforms to connect with people, compiling an impressive list of horrible interactions.
SheRatesDogs is the account that reveals how dates turn from sweet to abusive, to bizarre, threatening, and just plain weird.
The woman behind it is Michaela Okland and she tells Metro.co.uk why she’s set it up.
‘I was looking at the account WeRateDogs where cute dogs are rated above 10/10 and thought it’d be funny if there were an account where the dogs are sh*tty exes!’ she explains.
‘There’s no system to my ratings really, I just give them all negative numbers. The lowest I gave would probably be -12 if I’m like f*ck that’s messed up but the ratings aren’t super careful or specific.’
One of the best, according to Michaela, was from a man who’d told his date a different name and then texted her the next day using his real name. She simply replied: ‘It would’ve been a lot easier to remember (who you were) had you not told me your name was Mike last night.’
Michaela rated the whole thing -8.
Another story with the same rating went to the person who wrote, without context, on Snapchat: ‘I’m going to tie you up and pour hot candlewax on you but way too much to be sexy like at least a gallon.’
These are also her faves:
Michaela’s account has soared in popularity and garnered 76,000 loyal followers who tune in to see the latest dating mishaps and also share their own.
While most are funny, some are quite worrying and turn hostile very quickly.
Some people who have been rejected in the chat have quickly turned angry and abusive.
Michaela makes sure she censors out all the names to protect the identity of those who send them in, simply leaving the contents of the message for all to see.
The account is full of gems that you could keep you scrolling for hours.
Here are a few of our faves:
Twitter account rates trashy exesTwitter account rates trashy exesfaimabakar1Twitter account rates trashy exes@SheRatesDogs
A property with its very own golf course has just gone on the market for £2.95 million.
Sweetwoods Park Golf Club currently has 410 members and is run as a successful business with a turnover of just under £1m, but the new owners would be able to play whenever they wanted.
The 6,515 yard course in Edenbridge, Kent, was developed on the 172 acre estate surrounding the six-bed property. in the early 1990s.
Now it is an 18-hole, par 72 course, with a driving range and practice putting green, clubhouse, professional shop, car park and greenkeeper’s complex.
The course is considered long and challenging enough to appeal to experienced golfers.
The business makes about £950,000 turnover a year from membership fees of up to £1,325, green fees, corporate events, shop sales and catering.
The property is located in the Wealden area, between East Grinstead and Royal Tunbridge Wells, in a secluded valley with stunning views.
The current owner bought the house and golf club in 2008 and has redeveloped the clubhouse, shop and buggy store with modern, purpose-built facilities.
The period farmhouse is set in an area of woodland next to the golf club car park and has a private garden.
It was refurbished last year and has 3,854 sq ft of accommodation which includes a dining room, sitting room, drawing room, kitchen and pantry, conservatory, six bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Ian Simpson, from estate agents Savills, said: ‘Sweetwoods Park Golf Club is an attractive lifestyle ownership proposition, combining a substantial period house with a golf business which generates significant income.
‘A compact, well-located country estate of this nature in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is likely to attract a broad range of purchasers with diverse range of ideas for its future.
‘The house is a 16th century period farmhouse in pretty good condition. It is quite close to the golf course, it overlooks the clubhouse.
‘It’s the perfect property for a golf fan, whoever buys it will own the club outright and if they want to play golf they can play as much as they like.
‘Obviously they will have to run it as a business if they want to make a profit.
‘At the moment it is trading well as a golf business, it is a well thought of and well designed course on an attractive piece of land, although it wasn’t designed by one of the high profile course designers.
‘We’ve already had quite strong enquiries from the golf sector and one or two more speculative enquiries interested in it as a country estate.’
16th century farmhouse on the market for ?2.95m comes with its very own 18-hole golf course16th century farmhouse on the market for ?2.95m comes with its very own 18-hole golf coursehattiegladwellmetroBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: Savills/BNPS A golfer's cup of tee... Golfers with a driving ambition to have their own course will want to get their hands on this property that has gone on the market for ?2.95m. The 16th century farmhouse comes with its very own 18-hole golf course on its land. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club currently has 410 members and is run as a successful business with a turnover of just under ?1m, but the new owners would be able to play whenever they wanted. The 6,515 yard course in Edenbridge, Kent, was developed on the 172 acre estate the six-bed property is on in the early 1990s. Now it is an 18-hole, par 72 course, with a driving range and practice putting green, clubhouse, professional shop, car park and greenkeeper's complexBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: Savills/BNPS A golfer's cup of tee... Golfers with a driving ambition to have their own course will want to get their hands on this property that has gone on the market for ?2.95m. The 16th century farmhouse comes with its very own 18-hole golf course on its land. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club currently has 410 members and is run as a successful business with a turnover of just under ?1m, but the new owners would be able to play whenever they wanted. The 6,515 yard course in Edenbridge, Kent, was developed on the 172 acre estate the six-bed property is on in the early 1990s. Now it is an 18-hole, par 72 course, with a driving range and practice putting green, clubhouse, professional shop, car park and greenkeeper's complexBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: Savills/BNPS A golfer's cup of tee... Golfers with a driving ambition to have their own course will want to get their hands on this property that has gone on the market for ?2.95m. The 16th century farmhouse comes with its very own 18-hole golf course on its land. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club currently has 410 members and is run as a successful business with a turnover of just under ?1m, but the new owners would be able to play whenever they wanted. The 6,515 yard course in Edenbridge, Kent, was developed on the 172 acre estate the six-bed property is on in the early 1990s. Now it is an 18-hole, par 72 course, with a driving range and practice putting green, clubhouse, professional shop, car park and greenkeeper's complexBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)?Pic: Savills/BNPS A golfer's cup of tee... Golfers with a driving ambition to have their own course will want to get their hands on this property that has gone on the market for ?2.95m. The 16th century farmhouse comes with its very own 18-hole golf course on its land. Sweetwoods Park Golf Club currently has 410 members and is run as a successful business with a turnover of just under ?1m, but the new owners would be able to play whenever they wanted. The 6,515 yard course in Edenbridge, Kent, was developed on the 172 acre estate the six-bed property is on in the early 1990s. Now it is an 18-hole, par 72 course, with a driving range and practice putting green, clubhouse, professional shop, car park and greenkeeper's complex
Happy New Year!
Let us all hope and dream that 2019 will be the year rents drop and housing is no longer a stressful nightmare.
While we wait for those wishes to come true, let’s keep looking at the state of renting in London, shall we?
In this week’s edition of What I Rent – a weekly series in which we take you inside a different person’s rented property, in case you missed it – we’re hanging out with Sam and Ollie, who share a two-bedroom flat in Hoxton.
How much do they pay for this great honour? What’s great about their flat and what’s… not so great? Let’s find out.
Hey Sam, how much rent do you pay?
£1,700 PCM split two ways. I pay a little bit more (£65 a month) for the larger room.
For bills we have to pay £130 each including council tax, water, electricity, gas, and internet.
And whereabouts are you?
Hoxton, East London. Our nearest tube is Old Street which is maybe a 15 minute walk away.
What do you get for what you pay?
Two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen/dining/living room.
How long have you lived in the flat?
And how did you find it?
Rightmove. We viewed about seven or eight flats before getting this one. It was a pretty bad experience but one I think basically everyone in London has to go through.
Ollie and I knew each other from university but hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years because of different placement years/years working abroad etc.
We’re both sociable people but also really tidy, so it’s a pretty good situation!
How have you made the flat feel like home?
We’ve got the Xmas tree up at the moment which is really nice, but we’ve made sure to have a lot of plants in.
We also rent the flat unfurnished, so actually owning everything in here makes a big difference.
Do you like where you live?
We’re both really happy with the flat.
The kitchen and living area alone make it really good – we both have lots of friends over and having this big space is great for that.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
I think so. The bedrooms aren’t massive, but the big living/dining space makes up for it.
The only problem we have is a lack of storage, so things like the ironing board & drying racks live behind the kitchen door.
Are there any issues with the flat you have to put up with?
The walls between us and our neighbours are very, very thin.
We think there’s a bedroom on the other side, because whenever we have friends sleep on our sofa they get to hear the neighbours ’talking’ all night…
Any plans to move again?
Not a conversation we have really had! I think we’ll both assess our options next spring/summer.
And have you considered buying a place?
In the same way I’ve considered winning the Euromillions, I have considered buying a flat in London.
Same, Sam. Shall we have a look at Sam and Ollie’s flat?
What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.
If you fancy taking part, please email email@example.com.
You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!
You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.
What I Rent, 15th DecWhat I Rent, 15th DecellencscottSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, ShoreditchSam & Ollie, Shoreditch
Happy New Year! You probably feel horrible.
There’s no better way to ring in the new year than with a pounding head, churning stomach and the rank aftertaste of stale Prosecco.
Normally a giant fry-up would sort you out. Salty bacon, sausages slathered in ketchup, two fried eggs with glistening yolks, and a healthy sprinkling of cheese to complete the heavenly picture.
But now you’re doing veganuary, and bacon can’t save you.
What do vegans eat on a hangover? Because tofu doesn’t sound appealing right now.
Luckily there are some great vegan options that will have you feeling better in no time. Wipe off last night’s make-up and get yourself to a supermarket, stat.
Vegan full English
There are actually loads of elements of a full English that are vegan. Take away the eggs and the meat and you’re still left with beans, tomatoes, toast, mushrooms.
Why not make a big feature out of the mushrooms? Cover them in oil and garlic and a fresh squeeze of lemon, perfect on a thick slab of sourdough.
Or if you still feel like you’re missing a bit of bite, buy some veggie sausages – the bean and tofu-based ones are super stodgy and comforting.
Before you turn your nose up, tofu is actually an incredibly versatile, vegan food – and if you prepare it properly, it will feel just like you’re eating scrambled eggs.
It’s really simple, you just crumble tofu with your fingers, toss it into a hot pan with oil and plenty of seasoning, and cook until it is warmed through.
Add some tomatoes or a handful of chopped red pepper for an added hit of flavour and a helpful boost of antioxidants to help you start feeling more human.
Hangovers are changeable beasts, sometimes you need all the salt, and other times all you need is pudding. Big, cakey pudding for breakfast.
If that’s the case, sweet, delicious pancakes are the perfect option.
Banana pancakes are really easy to make vegan, just use soy milk or oat milk, and a mashed banana for extra moistness. Don’t forget that honey isn’t vegan – but agave will give you the same syrupy, drippy sweetness.
Banana’s are actually great on a hangover because they are brimming with potassium, which your body needs to recover.
Tips for new vegans
Pulled jackfruit sandwich
If you’re really craving a meaty fix, jackfruit could be a great way to trick your brain.
The dense, chewy fruit mimics the texture of meat, and is often slathered in BBQ sauce and eaten in a sandwich, a-la pulled pork.
The jackfruit is really easy to prepare. You can buy it in tins, all you have to do is rinse it, heat it through in a pan with oil, and then season to taste.
Look, hash browns are vegan, so we should probably all just go vegan now. What more could you possibly need on a hangover?
Frozen or homemade – they’re all amazing, and they’re all vegan. Hash browns are thought by many to have a magical quality to cure any hangover within the first three bites.
So if your hangover has reached critical levels of severity, we strongly recommend making yourself a plate of no less than six hash browns and eating them in bed, with ketchup.
All the potato
And let’s not forget that all potatoes are vegan. And there is so much you can do with the humble potato. So much that your hungover body would kill for.
Chips, wedges, mash, waffles – fry them with onion and pepper for a Mexican-inspired breakfast hash. The options are endless.
The best vegan food to eat on a hangover Picture: passenger6a METROGRAB ref: http://www.passenger6a.com/vegetarians-are-taking-over-the-world/The best vegan food to eat on a hangover Picture: passenger6a METROGRAB ref: http://www.passenger6a.com/vegetarians-are-taking-over-the-world/nataliemorris88
Happy New Year! How’s your head? Bad? You’re not alone.
If you’re currently sat in bed hating life, regretting drinking so much and staying out all night, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.
But it seems it’s not just humans who are feeling this way.
If you need a little giggle to help you get through this very hard day, a few animals who know exactly how you’re feeling are here to help.
A polar bear, a monkey, a fox and an elephant have all been snapped looking a little worse for wear, and we can relate. So hard.
This elephant has been pictured with his head in the sand, looking as though he seriously regrets last night
We’re sure this polar bear wasn’t the only one to get his head stuck in a cone on New Year’s Eve…
‘Please, just let the ground swallow me up’
This gorilla doesn’t really look very happy at all
If you’ve had a heavy night, at least you can rest assured that other people – and animals – are with you.
So just rest up, binge on greasy food, and think about starting your New Year’s resolutions tomorrow – because today definitely doesn’t count.
Today is for sleeping.
Hungover animalsHungover animalshattiegladwellmetro*MANDATORY BYLINE* PIC FROM David Serradilla Galindo / Caters News - (PICTURED: A young elephant slipping and falling on its face in Kruger National Park in South Africa.) - Its been a RUFF couple of weekends for these boozy animals on all four corners of the globe. From an elephant taking a nose dive in the plains of Africa, to a polar bear with his nose stuck in a traffic cone, these animals could be mistaken for being hungover. Indeed, a monkey in his jungle home takes it one step further, as hes seen running with a bottle of beer with a mischievous grin. This gallery makes it clear that humans arent the only species to over-indulge! SEE CATERS COPY.PIC FROM CATERS NEWS / ELENA ASEIDULINA - (PICTURED: This pranking polar bear seems to be imitating a classic student stunt - after he nicked a TRAFFIC CONE.Gosha the polar bear was clowning around when he swiped the bright orange traffic cone placed in his enclosure in Priamursky Zoo, Russia.) - Its been a RUFF couple of weekends for these boozy animals on all four corners of the globe. From an elephant taking a nose dive in the plains of Africa, to a polar bear with his nose stuck in a traffic cone, these animals could be mistaken for being hungover. Indeed, a monkey in his jungle home takes it one step further, as hes seen running with a bottle of beer with a mischievous grin. This gallery makes it clear that humans arent the only species to over-indulge! SEE CATERS COPY.***MANDATORY BYLINE - Angela Bohlke/Caters News*** - (PICTURED: A Fox is seemingly stuck as it lands head first into the snow at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.) - Its been a RUFF couple of weekends for these boozy animals on all four corners of the globe. From an elephant taking a nose dive in the plains of Africa, to a polar bear with his nose stuck in a traffic cone, these animals could be mistaken for being hungover. Indeed, a monkey in his jungle home takes it one step further, as hes seen running with a bottle of beer with a mischievous grin. This gallery makes it clear that humans arent the only species to over-indulge! SEE CATERS COPY.**MANDATORY BYLINE** PIC FROM Sarah Vaughton / Caters News - (PICTURED:The frowning gorilla at Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. ) - Its been a RUFF couple of weekends for these boozy animals on all four corners of the globe. From an elephant taking a nose dive in the plains of Africa, to a polar bear with his nose stuck in a traffic cone, these animals could be mistaken for being hungover. Indeed, a monkey in his jungle home takes it one step further, as hes seen running with a bottle of beer with a mischievous grin. This gallery makes it clear that humans arent the only species to over-indulge! SEE CATERS COPY.
It seems that Marc Jacobs has once again polarised the fashion and subculture worlds.
The brand is reportedly being sued by Nirvana for a t-shirt released as part of the Bootleg Redux Grunge collection.
Back in 1993, he designed a grunge-inspired collection for Perry Ellis that got him fired – but it made his name.
Although it was considered revolutionary by some, many were angered by seeing the expensive clothes being paraded by supermodels, feeling it was an unwelcome antithesis to everything grunge embodied.
And now the revival of the collection could be causing a few problems too, as Nirvana are reportedly taking them to court for ripping off their smiley face design.
According to TMZ, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, and the Courtney Love-controlled Cobain estate have filed a lawsuit against the company for their use of the trademarked design.
It shows a design similar to the Nirvana logo, with the word Heaven above, and the cross eyes replaced by M and J.
The products bearing the symbol start at £110 on the Marc Jacobs website, where the description reads, ‘This bootleg smiley tee sure smells like teen spirit.’
As reported in The Fashion Law, the suit states the design ‘infringed Nirvana’s copyright, misleadingly used Nirvana’s trademarks, and utilized other elements with which Nirvana is widely associated to make it appear that Nirvana has endorsed or is otherwise associated with” Marc Jacobs.’
You might be feeling confused about this, since you’ve been able to get Nirvana tees from Primark to Urban Outfitters for decades. The difference with this, however, is that LMVH-owned Marc Jacobs never applied for authorisation or paid for the privilege.
On top of all of that, they’re alleged to have used song lyrics from the band and videos of their performances in the promotion of the range.
We contacted Marc Jacobs for comment, but have received no reply. We’ll update if they get back to us.
In the meantime, the tees and sweats are still for sale on the brand’s website.
Nirvana suing Marc Jacobs for using smiley face on ultra-lame, throwback shirt Picture: NET-A-PORTER METROGRAB https://www.net-a-porter.com/gb/en/product/1113460?gclsrc=aw.ds&cm_mmc=Google-ProductSearch-UK--c-_-NAP_EN_UK_PLA-_-NAP%C2%A0-%C2%A0UK%C2%A0-%C2%A0GS%C2%A0-+Designer+-+Class_Clothing%C2%A0-+Type_Tops%C2%A0-%C2%A0High%C2%A0-%C2%A0BT--Tops+-+T-Shirts_INTL&gclid=Cj0KCQiAvKzhBRC1ARIsANEXdgypPH04S-1OApsi0M1pYTmxAU4zy4yMTyOpSx32ZzW4sKYGnitQ0UAaAo8fEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.dsNirvana suing Marc Jacobs for using smiley face on ultra-lame, throwback shirt Picture: NET-A-PORTER METROGRAB https://www.net-a-porter.com/gb/en/product/1113460?gclsrc=aw.ds&cm_mmc=Google-ProductSearch-UK--c-_-NAP_EN_UK_PLA-_-NAP%C2%A0-%C2%A0UK%C2%A0-%C2%A0GS%C2%A0-+Designer+-+Class_Clothing%C2%A0-+Type_Tops%C2%A0-%C2%A0High%C2%A0-%C2%A0BT--Tops+-+T-Shirts_INTL&gclid=Cj0KCQiAvKzhBRC1ARIsANEXdgypPH04S-1OApsi0M1pYTmxAU4zy4yMTyOpSx32ZzW4sKYGnitQ0UAaAo8fEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.dsjessicacvlNirvana suing Marc Jacobs for using smiley face on ultra-lame, throwback shirt Picture: NET-A-PORTER METROGRAB https://www.net-a-porter.com/gb/en/product/1113460?gclsrc=aw.ds&cm_mmc=Google-ProductSearch-UK--c-_-NAP_EN_UK_PLA-_-NAP%C2%A0-%C2%A0UK%C2%A0-%C2%A0GS%C2%A0-+Designer+-+Class_Clothing%C2%A0-+Type_Tops%C2%A0-%C2%A0High%C2%A0-%C2%A0BT--Tops+-+T-Shirts_INTL&gclid=Cj0KCQiAvKzhBRC1ARIsANEXdgypPH04S-1OApsi0M1pYTmxAU4zy4yMTyOpSx32ZzW4sKYGnitQ0UAaAo8fEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
The DJ was mixing The Eagles’ Hotel California into a trance-like Sanskrit anthem, while candles flickered dimly in a hundred-year-old chapel. Each and every muscle in my body was trembling.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this scene doesn’t make much sense.
Because climbing 5,000ft to Davos, the jewel of the Swiss Alps, to attend a rock ‘n’ roll yoga class doesn’t make sense.
Nor does the location – a Hard Rock Hotel, a brand most famous for its music memorabilia-stuffed cafes and hotels.
Except it does.
Davos has been a spa town for centuries, at one point world-famous for its treatment of tuberculosis for the rich and famous.
Hours spent lounging in the cool Swiss sun, guzzling gallons of fresh milk and eating copious quantities of mountain-reared meat and cheese – it’s no wonder the treatment was so popular.
The world has moved on since then, but some things never change: the cool, clean mountain air; the breathtaking Alpine vistas; the impossibly quiet and clean streets.
Davos has all the trappings of somewhere to still body and mind.
Hard Rock certainly raised a few eyebrows when it announced the location of its first hotel in continental Europe.
But Davos is not so strange a choice when you consider Hard Rock’s suite of wellness programs.
It now includes a Rock Spa, where music of your choice is pumped through from overhead while your massage table rhythmically vibrates; and Rock Om yoga, a new library of music-led yoga lessons of various difficulties, is available in every room, with yoga mats and accessories available via room service.
And it was this rock n’ roll yoga that I’ve come to try – as to inaugurate Rock Om yoga, DJ Drez and Marti Nikko, the husband and wife duo behind the program, were in Davos in person.
It was nearing the end of one of the Rock Om yoga sessions.
We were drenched in sweat, having just been made to dance and shimmy our way around the room.
Our hands were firmly planted on each others’ (strangers!) sweaty backs, on command of Marti.
DJ Drez had reduced the previous frenetic trap-style music to a murmur, supplanted by a soft heartbeat in the form of a weak kick drum.
Was this peace? Was this relaxation? Was this what yoga was about? Was this what music was about? Did any of that particularly matter?
As much as my English cynicism tried to resist with every fibre of my being, the chants of ‘I am love’ that reverberated around the chapel made it difficult not to give in.
You just have to look around.
Snow-capped mountains, warm Swiss hospitality and scenes of perfect quiet make for an unarguably perfect yoga destination.
Other things to do in Davos:
Take a horse and carriage ride through the Swiss Alps
Even the most miserable of travellers will struggle not to have their icy hearts warmed by a whimsical horse and carriage ride through the Swiss Alps.
Blankets are provided, but be sure to wrap up warm if you’re planning on going in winter – horse carriages are without heating!
Visit Europe’s highest brewery
The BierVision Monstein brewery, the highest in Europe, uses only ingredients from the surrounding region. It’s not every day you get to try a beer made with pure Swiss mountain spring water and fresh hops.
It’s the opposite of mass-produced lager as you can get – produced at low scale and only available in the surrounding regions.
The brewery is housed in a former cheese factory in the charming town of Monstein. Even if you’re not a huge beer fan, the factory is wonderfully quaint and intimate.
The winding half an hour drive to the brewery is chock full of breathtaking views and verdant mountainscapes, too.
Tour the historic Kirchner Museum
If you’re a fan of expressionist German art, don’t miss out on a visit to the Kirchner museum.
Ernst Kircher, who lived out the latter part of his life in Davos, was a pillar of German expressionism and branded as a ‘degenerate’ by the German Nazi party.
The museum has the largest collection of his works in the world, but the building’s bare-bones design is something to see in its own right.
What to eat in Davos:
Try a traditional Fondue
Chocolate and cheese are the first things that spring to mind when thinking of Swiss food, but Fondue Chinoise is just as much of a tradition.
Closely associated with the Christmas period, the dish consists of a communal warm broth in which you and your friends cook a selection of raw meats and vegetables.
Teufi Restaurant, with its intimate wood panelling and traditional parlor setting, is an excellent place to try this dish. They offer both a meat and cheese fondue.
With the hilariously awkward logistics of table-side cooking and warm wooden interior, it’s hard to not feel cosy and festive with this Christmas tradition.
If you’re feeling especially adventurous, ask for the sherry at the end of your meal. It’s Swiss tradition to mix the meaty, salty broth with a dash of sherry as a unique digestif, but it’s an acquired taste.
Take in the views at Panorama Restaurant
With a wonderfully charming ex-sanatorium behind you, Hotel Schatzalp, and breathtaking views in front, this traditional Swiss eatery is not to be missed.
The Bündner Plate provides a charming selection of regional delicacies.
It includes Bündnerfleisch, an air-dried beef reared on the surrounding hillsides; Bergkäse, a delicious hard mountain cheese; and Birnenbrot, a sweet bread similar to a fig roll.
Accessible by the Schatzalp funicular, the Panorama Restaurant is also a good starting point for a number of hikes of varying difficulties.
If you’re going in winter or spring, make sure to take the short walk to the gorgeous local waterfall.
Where to stay and how to get to Davos:
I stayed at Hard Rock Davos, replete with every creature comfort you could want (including an incredible spa), situated in the heart of Davos.
It’s a two minute walk to the Schatzalp funicular that will take you up to the mountains, where the views are breathtaking.
Rock Om yoga library is available in all the rooms, with in-person classes planned for the near future.
Rooms there start from £131 per night.
The best way to get to Davos is by flying into Zurich, where flights start from £67 return from London with EasyJet. From Zurich, it’s a 2-hour transfer to Davos.
For more things to do in Davos, see the Davos Klosters website.
IMG_1567-ee54IMG_1567-ee54zanderwilkins19It's the largest collection of Kirchner in the world. (Photo: Kirchner Museum Davos)
Toxic: Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year.
An adjective used to describe anything that is poisonous, harmful or even destructive. In 2018, there was a 45 per cent rise in the number of times its meaning was searched for online.
Over the last 12 months it has been used to call out damaging actions, relationships and situations. It has kick-started conversations that have led to people escaping abuse or manipulation, to realising their self-worth.
In many ways it has allowed for mental health to be placed at the top of the priority list. I don’t think it’s too far to say it has literally saved lives.
For every reason written above, I applaud its use. Yet I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when I hear the term bandied around so freely like it’s nothing.
So what’s the problem? Why shouldn’t we plough headfirst into 2019 promising to cut out our toxic friends just as we might with too much alcohol, late night kebabs and other things bad for our health?
Sometimes labelling a person toxic can do more harm than good. Just like many other labels it can be dehumanising and all-encompassing – especially if your toxicity is really a cry for help.
I’ll admit, it’s tricky to explain. I must emphasise again: if someone is hurting your mental health, get out, get out, get out.
But often I hear stories that may have more to them than meets the eye. Friends labelled toxic for flipping out for no reason, or always assuming the worst in everyone. The ones who never offer a ‘well done!’ or a ‘congrats!’ when life landmarks are passed.
I used to be one of those friends.
Four years ago it felt like the ground was thinning out beneath me until it became paper under my feet. One day I stepped and I fell right through. I was in freefall, with nothing to cling on to – until I crashed down, miserable, at rock bottom. I ended the year by beginning cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression and anxiety.
When mental health illnesses take hold, rationality goes out the window. I was toxic, but not to my core.
During that time my outlook was consistently bleak and joyless. It felt as though my rational self, the real me, was being held hostage and I had been taken over by this evil, venomous, monster who wanted everyone to be as unhappy as me.
I recently found a list I wrote of all the things I genuinely believed to be true when my depression was at its worst. I wrote that all my friends hated me, that they spoke about me constantly, that they thought they were better than me, smarter than me, that they laughed at how I was struggling.
A list of furious illogical bullet points that I thought was my reality.
Each point was a reason I would lash out at my friends over small injustices only I could see. I would accuse them of things concocted in my mind and I would undermine their biggest successes out of twisted jealousy. Then I would go home and the tiny remnants of the real me would cry at how horrible, selfish and weak I was. I would tell myself I didn’t deserve to have any friends at all. It was a self-perpetuating circle and I was trapped.
When mental health illnesses take hold, rationality goes out the window. I was toxic, but not to my core.
I lost relationships during that period and I can wholeheartedly say, now, as a rational and healthy human being, that I am so glad those people decided to do what was best for themselves. I was vile and their own mental health was and is paramount.
But I think if any of them had called me toxic to my face it might have sunk me for good.
When you are battling against your own mind, being written off could cause you to pull up the drawbridge and surrender.
We often talk about how to be there for our friends who are struggling with their mental health but we forget the part on what to do when things get ugly, or dark. If one of your friends breaks, should you just throw the whole person away?
For the friends who stuck by me I know it felt a bit like banging their heads against a wall. But they never stopped answering my calls and I never felt like I couldn’t reach out. They taught me what it means to be compassionate.
So my advice is to ask yourself some key questions before branding someone toxic. Why is this person acting like this? Have they always been this way? What impact is it having on me?
Your friends will understand if you need time apart for your own peace of mind. But, if you can handle it, they might need you more than ever.
Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helplucymiddleton1Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrations
Vans is taking Primark to court for allegedly copying the designs of two of their iconic trainers.
The footwear brand says Primark has been selling ‘intentional copies’ of the trainers in the UK since 2017.
After asking the budget retailers to stop, they thought the matter was dealt with in January, but Vans then discovered that Primark was still selling the doppelganger shoes in America.
The lawsuit that has been filed alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.
The first product in contention is Vans’ Old Skool trainers, which cost £55. Primark is selling a pair that are eerily similar, with a similar white side stripe and piping along the edges, for just £8.
Primark is also accused of stealing the Sk8-Hi shoe design, which is a high-top trainer with the classic stripe, piping and waffle-patterned sole, and retails at £65. The similar Primark design costs £12.
The law suit states that customers have started calling Primark’s trainers as ‘fake Vans’ on Twitter and Instagram.
In court documents, Vans said, ‘the Side Stripe Trademark’s prominent placement and often-contrasted colour make Vans’ shoes immediately recognisable to consumers even at far-off distances.’
They went on to call the Primark shoes ‘calculated and intentional knock-offs of Vans’ footwear products’ that were ‘designed to confuse the purchasing public.’
They even said Primark’s chpice of name for their products were evidence of stealing. They said Primark used the names, ‘”Skater low tops” and “Skater high tops” in a blatant attempt to suggest a connection with Vans’ products that bear the Vans trademarks and trade dress, including the Vans’ Old Skool Shoe and Sk8-Hi Shoe.”
Primark told the WWD that the company disagrees with the allegations brought by Vans and plans to ‘defend’ its position.
SEC_45885833-a64dSEC_45885833-a64dnataliemorris88Vans are suing Primark for selling 'copies' of their trainers - Vans waffle sole pattern
It’s no fun, this getting older lark.
Frankly, it seems to be an awful lot of week long hangovers, beef jerky cartilage and pangs of formerly alien concepts like ‘responsibility’.
Whatever your hang-up, there’s supposed to be at least one day where the overwhelming sense of drift evaporates in exchange for a well deserved bit of attention lasered in on you, and you alone.
Isn’t that what birthdays are for? It doesn’t matter if it’s your early-20s, or mid-30s: here lies a ready-made excuse to put yourself at the centre of your own little social universe, even if only for one night.
So spare a thought then, for the New Year’s Eve babies in our midst.
Imagine crafting that carefully curated Facebook event, choosing the perfect banner picture, sculpting the droll event description, safe in the knowledge that your special day is, at best, the fourth or fifth choice for the ingrates you call friends.
It’s a particularly harrowing kind of social irritation, rooted as it is in complete inevitability. Nothing is going to change the sad reality of being doomed to play out in the shadows of other people’s nights out.
But it doesn’t have to be a tale of unending grimness.
There are those who relish the chance to slink out of the limelight, for whatever reason. Having a birthday on 31 December is potentially an introvert’s gift, both an excuse to stay in or a chance to delegate the responsibility of planning and logistics, safe in the knowledge that any blow-back will be someone else’s problem.
For Tristan, it’s frustration that generally marks his birthday experiences, without any of the imagined potential benefits. The 26-year-old outlines a few certainties, experienced over the years.
‘It’s basically the one day in the calendar where you can guarantee most people you know have plans six months in advance. [Each one] better than your own’, Tristan tells Metro.co.uk. ‘[They] treat it as their own personal night to have an extreme laugh, and your birthday infringes on that.’
There’s another seasonal consideration. After the sanctioned permissiveness of December, there’s the self-imposed comedown right around the corner that means delaying birthday celebrations is often a futile hope.
Or, as Tristan puts it more succinctly: ‘It’s also sh*t because everyone does Dry January immediately after. And because your birthday has such a definite ‘end’ nobody lets you get away with doing another birthday in the days after.’
Even in the event that everyone does coalesce, ‘you’re expected to plan their NYE for them’, says Tristan. And who wants to play promoter on their own special day?
It’s the same for 24-year-old Rebecca James, who lives in south London. Being relied on to make plans, feeling responsible for other people’s nights, losing sight of what you’d actually want to do – they’re just a few of the reasonable expectations for the big day itself.
Sure, she tells me, there have been more than a handful of parties where she’s fallen asleep before midnight, not out of choice, but through subscription to other people’s ‘sh*tty plans’.
‘People don’t care that much that it’s your birthday, even though it sounds bratty,’ says Rebecca. ‘Maybe it’s a good form of ego death, as it’s much easier just taking the simple route and letting other people dictate. I’ll just be going to the local pub this year.’
If that sounds like a fairly zen resolution, it was formed in the glare of some pretty dreadful experiences over the years.
‘[One year] I was so indecisive, I was ended up pressured into a Mike Skinner drum and base night in Bournemouth,’ Rebecca tells us.
Everyone was going, it was a plan, at least it’s something to do: the usual sly stock phrases that end in well meaning social coercion.
Predictably, Becca did not have fun.
‘I had such a foul time that I spent the whole night alone plonked next to a bin in the toilets, because it seemed preferable to the gig itself,’ she remembers. ‘Everyone carried on with their evening, conveniently dropping in on me when they needed the toilet, dragging me out, only for me to scuttle back in when nobody was looking.’
Though it took a while, her friends eventually concluded that as it was her birthday she could spend it where she pleased.
You’ll catch her in that local this year, doing precisely what she usually does most other evenings. Having next-to-no expectations comes with the territory of any realistic New Year’s Eve birthday holder. After all, if the past is to offer guide, it’s that heaping more pressure on an already overhyped evening is a recipe for an inevitably dull disappointment.
Often, the most memorable nights have been the most unexpected. There was an impromptu live drummer at the pub last year, flanked by his cronies on stage, Becca adds.
‘It was the best performance ever. I was up front fist pumping, pogoing, dripping with sweat, getting a dance circle with my own mates. I had all the right people around to kiss and hold as the new year came in. I only went to the toilet for a wee.
‘Now that’s what I count as a good birthday.’
Metro IllustrationsMetro Illustrationsfranciscogarcia92What it's like to have your birthday on NYE New Year's Eve Year party drink drinking fun mental health celebration fashion lifestyle sad Credit: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.ukHow being unable to decorate the places we live is affecting us
Christmas and New Year has probably left you a bit exhausted.
It’s time to relax and indulge in some self-care – how about a bubble-filled bath or a face mask?
Well, exciting news. Lush has just launched their 50% off sale.
Last year, they came under some criticism for only discounting their leftover Christmas treats in store as they said they didn’t have enough stock left.
Although they left it a little later than their in store sale, which started on Boxing Day, at least it is back.
But be quick, the brand said it would only last until they run out of stock and their website has been known to crash during previous sales as everyone rushes to grab a bargain.
These are some of the things you can still pick up:
Gingerbread man sparkle jar, now £4.25
Stardust giftset, now £20.75
Puddy Holly Bubbleroom, now £2.48
Golden Wonder bath bomb, now £2.75
The Lush 50% off sale is backThe Lush 50% off sale is backlauraabernethy6
An adorable video shows the moment little Amelia Batiz didn’t recognise her own daddy after he shaved off his beard, which he’d had ever since she was born.
32-year-old Jeremy, from Arizona, had had a beard for so long that even his wife Sofia had only seen him without one once before.
Sofia, 36, said: ‘I didn’t know that he was going to shave it off that day either.
‘He just asked me to get the camera rolling on my phone and then he walked out of the bathroom.
‘It was a big shock for Amelia and for me.
‘Ever since Amelia was born daddy always had a beard, so when it was gone she had absolutely no idea who he was.
‘The expression she made was priceless, it was a disgusted face, like, ‘eeew get away from me.’
After the big reveal 14-month-old Amelia remained very sceptical of the ‘strange new man’ in her house.
‘It took about half a day before she realised that this strange new man was actually daddy,’ said Sofia.
‘She kept ignoring him and running over to me, my mom or my brother instead, he was a complete stranger to her for a while.
‘He was trying to do all the things that he always does with her, like he takes her out to get the mail with him every day, but she was suspicious.
‘It wasn’t until he read her favourite book to her that she finally caught on, he always reads it to her in this special way, so she twigged.’
Now the rest of the family are trying to adjust to a beardless Jeremy.
Jeremy always has a beard, he had a beard when I met him so it was a big change for all of us,’ said Sofia.
‘He looks ten years younger, my son says he looks like a college student now, my mom said he looks like a teenager.’
Thankfully Amelia and Jeremy are back to being best buds again – now that Amelia’s got used to his shaven face.
Sofia added: ‘Once she realized it was daddy under there they went right back to how they always are, it took her a while.’
Bella and Max are the most common names for rescue dogs taken in over the past year.
Dogs Trust, which rehomes thousands of dogs per year, took on 134 Bellas and 113 dogs called Max in 2018.
While the majority have found a new owner, there are currently seven Bellas and nine Maxs still awaiting their forever homes.
The second most common names were Poppy and Buddy with 120 and 108 dogs coming in with these names, with Daisy and Charlie following close behind with 99 and 105.
The top 10 most common female dog names
Dogs Trust also revealed the most unusual dog names – such as Uncle Clive, Ruby Sausage, Battleplan, Super Trouper, Muddy Puddle and Lady Luna Freya.
Adam Clowes, director of operations at Dogs Trust, said: ‘We see dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes coming through our doors but there are certainly some names that crop up more than others.
‘The names Bella and Max are loved by dog lovers everywhere, so it’s no surprise they’ve come top of the list.’
Dogs Trust Leeds is currently looking to rehome Bella, a three-year-old crossbreed described as ‘a lively girl who is happy to meet new people’. The rescue centre says she adores her toys and will happily entertain herself with her favourite ball.
In Kenilworth, Warks, is Max, an eight-year-old crossbreed who is a ‘sensitive boy’ looking for a quiet, adult-only home with a secure garden where he can potter about.
The top 10 most common male dog names
Dogs Trust West Calder, in Scotland, has Bella, a four-year-old Saluki who loves chasing her ball, lazing about in the garden and enjoying the company of her human friends. She is looking for a home with children aged 12 and over.
Another crossbreed, four-year-old Max, is looking for a new home at the Loughborough centre in Leicestershire. The ‘playful and energetic’ boy loves playing with toys and will need an adult-only home.
Adam added: ‘We care for our dogs for as long as it takes to find them a suitable adopter, and we’ve happily rehomed over 13,000 dogs to new owners in 2018.
‘We’re looking forward to matching up even more dogs with their special someones in 2019 – whether they’re a Buddy or a Crème Brulee.’
Bella and Max are the most common names for female and males dogs taken in by a rescue charity in 2018Bella and Max are the most common names for female and males dogs taken in by a rescue charity in 2018hattiegladwellmetroMax the dog who is being looked after by the Dogs Trust in Loughborough. See SWNS story SWBRnames; Bella and Max were the most common names for rescue dogs this year in 2018, it has emerged. Dogs Trust, which rehomes thousands of dogs per year, has taken on 134 Bellas and 113 dogs called Max over the past 12 months. Whilst the majority have found a devoted new owner, there are currently seven Bellas and nine Maxs still awaiting their forever homes. Coming in a close second were Poppy and Buddy with 120 and 108 dogs coming in with these names, whilst Daisy and Charlie are the third most commonly seen names at 99 and 105.Bella the dog who is being looked after by the Dogs Trust in West Calder. See SWNS story SWBRnames; Bella and Max were the most common names for rescue dogs this year in 2018, it has emerged. Dogs Trust, which rehomes thousands of dogs per year, has taken on 134 Bellas and 113 dogs called Max over the past 12 months. Whilst the majority have found a devoted new owner, there are currently seven Bellas and nine Maxs still awaiting their forever homes. Coming in a close second were Poppy and Buddy with 120 and 108 dogs coming in with these names, whilst Daisy and Charlie are the third most commonly seen names at 99 and 105.