Quantcast
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog



Channel Description:

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

older | 1 | .... | 1498 | 1499 | (Page 1500) | 1501 | 1502 | .... | 1849 | newer

    0 0

    We should all live with our grandparents at some point
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    MP Mims Davies, the Minister responsible for Loneliness, said in and interview with The Telegraph this week that we all have a ‘moral duty’ to ease loneliness in the elderly.

    She advised that we make like the Mediterraneans and give inter-generational holidays a go, saying: ‘When we are a little bit more bold about how we do things, we find so much more joy in it.’

    Having gone on holidays with my lovely nan and granddad for my whole life, I can wholeheartedly agree. It’s brilliant.

    We’ve played bingo at holiday camps together, and sat on sunny beaches watching the world go by. They’ve overseen me jumping in the pool as a toddler, and seen me off to sketchy Spanish nightclubs as an adult.

    It’s all I’ve ever known when it comes to family holidays, so it actually seems strange that people wouldn’t invite their golden oldies along for trips. But then it also seems strange and sad that we need government intervention into being lonely in the first place.

    Loneliness is a growing problem here in Britain, with one third of people asked in the biggest study ever on the topic saying they feel lonely often or very often.

    Things you only know if your mum is your best friend
    (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk)

    However the study – which had 55,000 respondents – actually found that young people reported feeling lonely more than the elderly, and that living alone didn’t always mean more feelings of loneliness.

    Essentially, it’s not as clean-cut as simply being around the elderly (whether that’s during a holiday or for a regular visit), checking up on them, and making loneliness go away.

    We need to find a way to have less superficial interactions, which will help both ourselves and those who may be more isolated for whatever reason.

    We spoke to Age UK ’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, who said: ‘Families taking older relatives on holiday is a good idea for those who are able to, but many older people may not have family who can offer this kind of support. We can all make a huge difference to the lives of older people living alone, even by doing something as simple as checking in on them.’

    Holidays are a privilege that not everyone can afford, and sometimes there can be quite a few limitations.

    Does everyone involved have the disposable income to go on holiday? Can your elderly relatives find adequate travel insurance? Will there be issues travelling with children and those who might have mobility or memory problems?

    Similarly, a number of elderly people don’t actually have family to rely on.

    If you have the capacity to make your small family holiday a bigger one, then definitely give it a go. If you don’t, you don’t need to feel like you’re shirking your moral duty.

    There are plenty of day-to-day ways to help others – and yourself in the process – where you don’t have to pack a suitcase.

    A meaningful conversation may seem like an obvious or patronising recommendation. But if you truly asked yourself when the last time you checked in on someone without ‘checking up’ on them, you may find it’s longer than you care to admit.

    Why being able to go out without my children makes me a better parent
    (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

    Forget the small-talk, or the checklist of things you normally ask to make sure they’re okay. Ask questions you wouldn’t normally ask, and do things you wouldn’t normally do.

    Instead of dropping by and asking if someone has taken their medication, have a girly day with your nan or do some gardening with your grandpa. It’ll benefit you as much as it will them.

    I found that firsthand when I moved in with my nan and granddad for a few months earlier this year; bridging the generation gap is less an act of service and more a learning curve.

    Obviously you can’t simply go up to someone and ask if they’re lonely, which is why an invite for a coffee or to come and do a big shop can help someone come out of their shell without feeling like a burden.

    Caroline continues: ‘Having a friendly chat with an older person on the bus or in a shop, or offering to help an elderly neighbour with their shopping if the weather is bad can do more good than most of us would ever guess, and at very little cost to ourselves. In fact I guarantee you’ll feel better too as a result. GPs can also help by sign-posting to local services that help people to stay connected.’

    There is no moral duty to solve everything in the world, and it can actually be difficult being told as a young person that the responsibility of older people’s loneliness lies on your shoulders (especially when more of us deal with such things).

    But, when you’re having a whisky and watching Bargain Hunt with Jean down the road, I bet you’ll be loving it. And if you do end up going to Benidorm and painting the town red… Even better.

    Age UK's tips for helping a lonely elderly person

    Visiting an older friend, relative or neighbour regularly

    We can all take action and help the older people in our lives. Whilst visiting older relatives can be challenging if they live far away, research from Age UK shows that making the effort to keep in touch can make a big difference to older people, who may be stoical and reluctant to admit when they are struggling to cope.

    Starting a conversation

    It might seem obvious but simply being friendly and prepared to stop for a chat can give a vital boost to someone who may not have another conversation that day.

    Accompanying your neighbour to a local event

    Christmas provides many opportunities for local communities to get together, whether it’s an event at a local church, a Christmas market or a party. This could be a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone in your street to see if they’d like to go too. If this goes well you could see them again and make it a regular occurrence.

    Offering assistance on extreme weather days

    As winter takes hold the risk of extreme weather increases, making life hard for older people who might struggle to leave their homes as a result. This could be the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to a potentially vulnerable neighbour, for example to see if they need some help with shopping.

    Speak to Age UK

    Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65 to find out how the Age UK network can help someone who may be feeling lonely. Lines are open 365 days a year from 8am.

    MORE: These are the most popular names for rescue dogs

    MORE: Lush launches its 50% off sale


    We should all live with our grandparents at some pointWe should all live with our grandparents at some pointjessicacvlThings you only know if your mum is your best friendWhy being able to go out without my children makes me a better parentWe should all live with our grandparents at some pointWe should all live with our grandparents at some pointjessicacvlThings you only know if your mum is your best friendWhy being able to go out without my children makes me a better parent

    0 0

    (Picture: Vans/Primark/Metro.co.uk)

    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 shoes in America.

    The lawsuit that has been filed alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.

    The Vans shoe on the left and the Primark version on the right (Picture: Vans/Primark)

    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 Vans shoe on the left and the Primark version on the right(Picture: Vans/Primark)

    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.’

    Vans are suing Primark for selling 'copies' of their trainers - Vans waffle sole pattern
    (Picture: Vans)

    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 choice 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.

    We have contacted Primark for comment and will update the article accordingly.

    MORE: Girl buys PrettyLittleThing trousers so long they cover her boobs

    MORE: 2018 had plenty of horrible nail trends that we still can’t get over

    MORE: The best fitness deals in the sales


    SEC_45885833-a64dSEC_45885833-a64dnataliemorris88Vans are suing Primark for selling 'copies' of their trainers - Vans waffle sole patternSEC_45885833-a64dSEC_45885833-a64dnataliemorris88Vans are suing Primark for selling 'copies' of their trainers - Vans waffle sole pattern

    0 0

    Hispanic woman lighting birthday candles
    (Picture: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

    If you’ve ever thrown a party, you probably know the anxiety that comes with it.

    Will everyone get on? Will they enjoy themselves?

    But the biggest worry is probably just making sure people turn up in the first place.

    If you invite enough people, you’re bound to have a decent turn out, right?

    Mum left humiliated when only three people showed up to her birthday
    (Picture: Mumsnet)

    Well one mum has posted about how upset she was when just three of the 80 people she invited to her ‘milestone birthday’ party showed up on the day.

    The post on Mumsnet said: ‘It’s my birthday today, a big one.

    ‘I don’t live in the UK anymore but decided to throw a party back home to celebrate this milestone, with drinks, food and entertainment laid on.

    ‘I invited people months in advance (with occasional reminders in between), and organised it on Sat just gone as that was the day most people could make.

    ‘So we travel 500km, kids in tow, the evening comes and… 3 people turn up. 3.

    ‘A few people did message that they/their kids were ill, but plenty of others simply didn’t show. It was, quite frankly, humiliating.

    Hand holding a note of paper with the message happy birthday on it
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    ‘AIBU to be gutted that no-one bothered to come? For context, I have thrown a couple of birthday parties over the years that were also poorly attended but those were on NYE itself, so I purposely avoided that this time. And this was a milestone birthday.’

    She later went on to clarify that she was expecting between 20 and 30 people to attend and she’d tried to make it as straightforward for everyone as possible.

    ‘Thanks for all the sympathy, strangers of MN!’ she added.

    ‘I wasn’t expecting hundreds but about 20-30, not 3!

    ‘I know relationships change once you move country but these are all people I keep in touch with regularly on FB, and I visit the UK several times each year and try to see people (more so than when I lived there, tbh!).

    ‘I thought for a big birthday, on a Sat in party season, in a place easily reachable by public transport, with free blinking drinks for crying out loud, that people might make the effort to see me for a couple of hours, but there you go. Birthdays are for kids, I guess.’

    And when she received responses, which were mainly sympathetic, she added: ‘I had 20 confirmed and 18 maybes and 40 people who didn’t even respond, to those who asked. About 7 cancelled due to illness. Even assuming ‘maybe’ actually means “no, but I’m too polite to say an out-and-out no”, that leaves a dozen people.’

    Despite her disappointment, she said she had fun with the three friends who did attend.

    But it seems she’s not the only one to have suffered this embarrassment.

    One poster said: ‘I had this happen to me a few weeks ago. Milestone birthday, hired a venue, ordered food and massive professional cakes. Invited about 50 people well in advance and was expecting 25-30.

    ’12 showed up, and whilst i had a lovely time with them, and am so grateful to them for coming, I was devastated and i feel so humiliated. A couple of the no-showers messaged me last minute to let me know but most simply didn’t bother.

    ‘It’s a horrible feeling and I am really not looking forward to going back to uni in a couple of weeks. Anyone who simply didn’t bother to show up, don’t bother with. Don’t message them. If they weren’t coming they should have let you know.’

    Another added: ‘This happened to me on my 40th birthday. DH arranged a surprise party, invited loads and loads of people, spent a shed load of money and…

    ‘Hardly anyone turned up. I was so humiliated on the night that there was so few people attended what was clearly intended to be a big bash. Felt awful for my DH too who was really upset on my behalf.

    ‘One of the worse things for me was that nobody from work turned up and I’d said, quite by chance a few weeks previously, that one of my worst fears was holding a party and nobody turning up.

    ‘So they knew and still didn’t bother coming, even though the majority of them had nothing better to do. Bastards. It’s my 50th next year and I’ve told DH I just want to celebrate very quietly with him and immediate family, can’t take the embarrassment again.

    ‘So I’ve no advice, only to say I totally feel your pain and humiliation, and agree that some people are proper arseholes!’

    MORE: Vans is suing Primark for selling ‘copies’ of their trainers

    MORE: Holidays with grandparents are great, but meaningful conversations are what could help loneliness across generations


    Hispanic woman lighting birthday candlesHispanic woman lighting birthday candleslauraabernethy6Hispanic woman lighting birthday candlesMum left humiliated when only three people showed up to her birthdayHand holding a note of paper with the message happy birthday on itHispanic woman lighting birthday candlesHispanic woman lighting birthday candleslauraabernethy6Hispanic woman lighting birthday candlesMum left humiliated when only three people showed up to her birthdayHand holding a note of paper with the message happy birthday on it

    0 0

    (Picture: SWNS)

    A cat which disappeared for 11 months has finally been reunited with his family after being found on the brink of death by two strangers.

    Purcy, named after his loud purring, had been missing for nearly a year when he appeared emaciated and covered in oil in a stranger’s garden.

    Helen Campion and her family had spent 10 months looking for Purcy, going to door to door and plastering their neighbourhood with missing posters.

    But they eventually abandoned hope and had to go through the heartbreaking task of taking down all the posters they’d put up.

    Ryan Fogarty and partner Tony heard a cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered Purcy in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.

    Ryan and Tony took Purcy in, wrapped him in a blanket, spooned water into his mouth and then rushed him barely breathing to Vets Now’s pet emergency hospital in Manchester.

    Purcy the cat when he was found emaciated and covered in oil. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.
    (Picture: Vets Now/SWNS.com)

    The hospital’s medical team put Purcy in an incubator and worked on him for 24 hours to give him painkillers and fluids and remove the ticks and oil from his skin.

    The veterinary team discovered Purcy was micro-chipped – and rang his owner Helen Campion to tell her the amazing news that he was alive.

    Helen, 39, said: ‘Purcy’s story is proof that Christmas miracles really do happen – and that a much-loved family pet like Purcy can come back from the dead.

    ‘I just want to thank Ryan and Tony and everyone at Vets Now for all they did for him.

    ‘Purcy was so far gone that when they rang to say he’d been brought in they warned me he may well not make it.

    ‘But somehow he pulled through and to look him now he’s totally unrecognisable from the cat Ryan and Tony found.

    ‘People say cats don’t remember their owners after a while – but I can tell you that’s rubbish because when I walked into the hospital, Purcy tried to stand up in his incubator even though his legs were too weak to let him manage it.

    Purcy the cat with owners Helen and Owen. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.
    (Picture: Vets Now / SWNS.com)

    ‘I was in floods of tears, so was my son Owen, 14. Purcy is actually Owen’s cat and I can’t tell you how much it means to Owen to have Purcy home.’

    Ryan and Tony live five miles from Helen’s home in Offerton, Stockport, and it remains a mystery how he ended up so far away.

    Helen, a full-time mother-of-four, said: ‘We just don’t know what happened. We think he may have been hit by a car but we’ll never really know.

    ‘We originally got Purcy from the Millstream Animal Rescue centre in Manchester.

    ‘He was in a litter of kittens abandoned under a garden shed, so he’s definitely used up a couple of his nine lives.

    ‘We called him Purcy because the minute we saw him in the shelter he started purring so loudly.

    ‘He was in the hospital for 24 hours – then when he came home he had to wear a special vest to keep him warm because he was so weak.

    ‘We had to have the heating on full-blast for a month so everyone in the house was sweltering – but no-one was complaining about it.

    Purcy the cat who has now made a full recovery. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.
    (Picture: Vets Now / SWNS.com)

    ‘He was so weak and his muscles were so wasted away that he was only allowed a little bit of food each day to start with in case too much food led to liver failure.

    ‘So the vets drew up a feeding chart for us showing how much to give him each day and how to gradually build it up.

    ‘The oil he was covered in was so thick that they couldn’t wash it all out – so they had to shave off what was left of his fur.’

    Ryan, 33, described the moment they found the emaciated cat.

    He said: ‘It was 9.30pm when we heard the noise. We looked out the back and there was our cat Ronnie and next to Ronnie was poor Purcy.

    ‘Purcy was in a pitiful state. It was incredibly upsetting to see a cat in such pain.’

    Ryan, who runs a hair products business, said he didn’t believe Purcy would have lasted another day outside.

    He said: ‘We rang the RSPCA and they told us to take him to Vets Now straight away – and I’m so glad we did because I honestly don’t think he would have lasted another night outside.’

    Dr Louise Abuzet, advanced practitioner in emergency and critical care at the Vets Now hospital in Manchester, said: ‘Ryan and Tony did absolutely the right thing bringing him in.

    ‘It’s no exaggeration to say they saved his life.

    ‘We gave Purcy painkillers and fluids, checked his blood, removed the ticks and bathed him before monitoring him closely overnight.

    ‘It was touch and go at the time but we’re all so pleased to hear how well he’s doing a year on and to see the pictures of him back to full health. Stories like this make our job so worthwhile.

    ‘Purcy’s case highlights how important it is owners microchip their cats.’

    Helen added: ‘Purcy was well enough to start going outside again in the summer and we’ve cat-proofed the garden specially so he can’t wander off.

    ‘I still can’t quite believe he’s back. I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s true.’

    MORE: These are the most popular names for rescue dogs

    MORE: The best New Year fireworks from around the world


    A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his lifeA cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his lifehattiegladwellmetroPurcy the cat when he was found emaciated and covered in oil. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.Purcy the cat with owners Helen and Owen. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.Purcy the cat who has now made a full recovery. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his lifeA cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his lifehattiegladwellmetroPurcy the cat when he was found emaciated and covered in oil. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.Purcy the cat with owners Helen and Owen. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.Purcy the cat who has now made a full recovery. See SWNS copy SWLEcat: A cat who disappeared for 11 months was found on the brink of death by two strangers who saved his life. Supercute Purcy had been missing for nearly a year when he pitched up emaciated and covered in oil in the garden of Ryan Fogarty in Gorton, Manchester. Ryan and partner Tony heard a piercing cry of pain coming from their garden, opened the door and discovered stricken Purcy, clearly in terrible pain, too weak to even stand up and his skin ravaged by ticks.

    0 0

    All the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at work
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We all feel as through the first day of January has some kind of transcendental, transformative power.

    The new year brings with it the hope of change, of bettering your life, of bettering yourself.

    We make goals and set targets about fitness, healthy eating, career aspirations, relationships with family and friends.

    It’s a chance to asses, dissect and improve almost every aspect of our lives – and it can be incredibly cathartic, even powerful.

    So why do we only allow ourselves to do this once a year?

    now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring
    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Admittedly, it makes sense. The new year is a naturally occurring demarcation of change. The physical newness of the year gives us a vehicle to attach our figurative newness. It’s tidy and clean and easy.

    But really it’s nothing more than a construct. We have decided to attach meaning to 1 January – so why can’t we decide to attach that same meaning to any other day of the year?

    Maybe it’s time to shun this annual ritual of goal-setting and self evaluation, and make it a more regular fixture in our lives.

    Life coach Emma Case says she never sticks to the tradition of setting resolutions on the first day of the year. She encourages her clients to make time throughout the year to weigh up their achievements and set themselves achievable targets.

    ‘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.’

    This is logical. You only have to look at the rate of failure of new year’s resolutions to know that the system is flawed.

    A survey, conducted by Atomik Research, found that a quarter of Brits give up their resolutions within a week, and that only 3% of the population are likely to make it to the end of 2019 with their new year’s goals intact.

    So it doesn’t work. Whether you want to give up booze, go vegan, start writing poetry, go running every Sunday – only a minuscule number of us will see it through to the bitter end.

    What is clear from this, is that intention alone is not enough. You really have to put the work in if you want to see real, lasting change – in any area of your life. So maybe making time to set regular goals and evaluate your progress is the best way to keep you on track.

    Emma hits the nail on the head when she calls new year’s resolutions ‘pressurised’. Of course they are. How can you not feel the pressure when you set yourself an enormous, daunting challenge with only two outcomes – succeed or fail.

    When it comes to education, we know that regular contact with our tutors and frequent goal-setting is the best way to inspire motivation, and improve the quality of work – we remember this from school and university. If left to our own devices we end up pulling an all-nighter the night before the deadline and walking away with a disappointing grade.

    When it comes to resolutions you have to act as your own tutor. Schedule regular meetings with yourself to think about how well you’re doing. What have you achieved up until this point? What do you still want to achieve? How are you going to make it happen?

    Jenny Garrett is a career coach and author. She wholeheartedly agrees with the idea of setting periodic resolutions because it works much better with our fast-paced lifestyles. She thinks it’s vital to write things down.

    ‘At the end of each year most people want to reflect on what they’ve achieved, or not, and make plans for the new year. The challenge is that life is moving at such a pace that we can’t remember what we’ve done,’ Jenny tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘We can look at out diary or calendar, social media and talk to friends to try and prompt our memory, but it’s not as good as having a journal to look back on.

    ‘Regular journalling is a brilliant way of recording your thoughts, feelings and insights, and looking back at a journal will help you become more aware of your recurring thoughts, themes in your year. However I would recommend not waiting until the end of your year to review how you are doing.

    ‘One thing is definite, things will change in your life during the course of a year, and you will need to adjust accordingly, if you wait until the end of the year to review, you will have wasted so much time.

    ‘Think about your sat nav, putting the destination of somewhere far away that you haven’t visited before, looking at the directions and then starting to drive and not looking at the directions again.

    ‘You’re bound to go off track, forget where you were going in the first place and perhaps abandon the journey all together, but regular checking you are on track, recalibrating due to traffic and remember why you want to get there will mean that you’re more likely to reach your destination.’

    Tips for starting a journal

    Journalling doesn’t have to be along and arduous task, it can be a word-a-day to prompt you or a five-minute stream of thought when you just wake up in the morning or before you go to bed.

    There are great apps that can help you – Five Minute Journal is a good one.

    Another app lets helps you record one second of your day every day – 1 Second Everyday: Video Diary – which would be great to look back at quarterly.

    Mindfulness is also a great way to check in with yourself and make sure that you are on the right track, the Headspace and Calm apps are both useful to help you engage in mindfulness for just a few minutes every day.

    Jenny Garrett, career coach and author

    One of the main reasons why people don’t stick to their resolutions is because the challenge they set themselves is too big. You might be tempted to promise to go to yoga everyday, give up sugar entirely, or write an entire novel – but the reality is that giant goals like this are overwhelming.

    Having regular, smaller goal-setting sessions allows you to set bite-size targets that are achievable and won’t lead you to burn out with exhaustion by the first week of February.

    Once you get into the habit of setting and meeting smaller targets, you’ll suddenly find that when you put them altogether you’re much closer to you’re overall, bigger targets – it just means that the path to get there is a lot less stressful.

    This sounds really appealing. Particularly given that we are such fickle creatures. Our desires, needs and demands change according to our mood, circumstance, hormones, even the weather. So is it really feasible to expect us to single-mindedly keep working towards the same goal for 365 days straight?

    Not many of us have that level of focus. And we like a bit of wiggle room.

    Having a goal-setting session once a month allows you to veer of course, try to achieve something you hadn’t even thought of back in January.

    So, rather than being fickle, you’re really just keeping your options open – which provides the opportunity for change that you never thought possible.

    MORE: New year’s fitness resolutions you will actually stick to

    MORE: Someone decides to try Veganuary every six seconds

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


    All the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at workAll the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at worknataliemorris88now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that springAll the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at workAll the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at worknataliemorris88now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring

    0 0

    Claunie at the top of Ben Arthur in Argyll and Bute STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way. John's border collie Skye, who has now passed away STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.
    (Picture: Deadline News)

    Beautiful photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits.

    The images, which were uploaded to different hill walking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs casually posing with a backdrop of mountains.

    One of the pictures shows John Sloan’s dog, Skye, on the ‘devil’s staircase’ on the West Highland Way.

    Another photo shows Skye on a hill with Blà Bheinn on Skye behind her, which was unfortunately the last photo taken of her.

    John Sloan's dog Skye before she passed away. STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way. John's border collie Skye, who has now passed away STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.
    (Picture: Deadline News)

    Skye, who has now sadly passed away, was the mascot for the Scotland for the Roadside Facebook page and postcards were made with her on the front.

    Owner John said: ‘The founder of the group Bruce suggested she should be the mascot as we would tour all over the highlands and islands showing her in the landscape, little did we know how big the group would become.

    ‘I never really took photos until I met Skye, so I have her to thank for that.’

    Another photo shows Claunie at the top of the Cobbler in Argyll and Bute with sunglasses on.

    Modliszka' German-Polish Shepherd at the top of liathach in the Torridon hills STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.
    (Picture: Deadline News)

    Another image of the posing Jack Russell shows him holding a standing on his two hind legs after conquering the climb.

    A third image taken at the summit of Biden Nam Bian, south of Glen Coe shows Blue staff Lola admiring the view as owner Rob Davie took the shot.

    Nikki Yoxall posted a photo of her eight-year-old lab also enjoying Glen Coe.

    Blue staff Lola admiring the view Biden Nam Bian STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.
    (Picture: Deadline News)

    Lucy Marquis took a picture of her three year old dog Cooper looking very proud of himself on top of Beinn Achaladair near Perth and Kinross.

    Avid hiker Modliszka Justyna, from Inverness, took a photo of her 11-year-old German-Polish Shepherd at the top of liathach in the Torridon hills bagging his fifth munro, she said: ‘I’m so proud of him, just wanted to share with you, people who walk with dogs, understand.’

    MORE: Cat who disappeared for 11 months reunited with family after nearly dying

    MORE: These are the most popular names for rescue dogs


    SEI_45833461-81ebSEI_45833461-81ebhattiegladwellmetroClaunie at the top of Ben Arthur in Argyll and Bute STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way. John's border collie Skye, who has now passed away STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.John Sloan's dog Skye before she passed away. STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way. John's border collie Skye, who has now passed away STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.Modliszka' German-Polish Shepherd at the top of liathach in the Torridon hills STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.Blue staff Lola admiring the view Biden Nam Bian STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.SEI_45833461-81ebSEI_45833461-81ebhattiegladwellmetroClaunie at the top of Ben Arthur in Argyll and Bute STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way. John's border collie Skye, who has now passed away STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.John Sloan's dog Skye before she passed away. STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way. John's border collie Skye, who has now passed away STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.Modliszka' German-Polish Shepherd at the top of liathach in the Torridon hills STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.Blue staff Lola admiring the view Biden Nam Bian STUNNING photos show dogs posing at the top of various Scottish summits, which has now become the latest social media trend. The images, which were uploaded to different hillwalking and countryside groups on social media in recent months, show the dogs looking proud as punch overlooking the mountainous backdrop. Majority of these posts has received a huge response on social media with Facebook users loving the latest trend. One of the most amazing pictures shows John Sloan?s dog, Skye, on the ?devil's staircase? on the West Highland Way.

    0 0

    Family make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's face
    (Picture: Soleannys Lugo/Caters News)

    The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a ‘supernatural queen’ have made a desperate plea for surgery to rebuild her face.

    Helianny Lugo, from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb.

    Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors believef her difficulties were ‘incompatible with life’.

    They thought she would die shortly after birth but now three years old, Helianny still battles on with the support of her loving family.

    She was described as looking like a ‘supernatural queen’ due to the ’embedded crown’ in her head.

    She has hydrocephaly, which caused her skull to swell out of proportion due to fluid filling in the cavities and leaving her with brain damage.

    Due to this, the little girl has had some horrible comments, which range from being called ‘ugly’ to being told she should have been aborted.

    PICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Helianny and parents Soleanny and Henry, they say they dont care about the stares, the comments that she is ugly and believe she is alive to show others not to complain and to inspire the world) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Soleannys Lugo/Caters News)

    Her parents are now fundraising for operations to allow her to live a more normal life, including craniofacial surgery to rebuild her face – which they say is their only Christmas wish.

    Soleannys said: ‘Surgery at Christmas would be the best gift. It is our best wish and we would be a happy family to see our daughter with another more beautiful face.

    ‘Having surgery soon has an advantage that it will reduce the scars because as a baby it eventually will disappear.

    ‘If this happened, she would no longer be rejected because of her looks and could socialise with other children without being pointed out or making bad comments.

    ‘Helianny, although she does not speak yet, communicates very well with me.

    ‘She lets me know when she is hungry, when she is sleepy, when someone’s voice bothers her, when she is hot or cold and when she is happy.

    PICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Helianny was believed to be in a vegetative state in the womb and doctors advised terminating her, but now she is close to three months away from her third birthday and living comfortably. She has multiple problems including her eyes, nose and skull not forming correctly, in addition to brain problems and more) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Soleannys Lugo/Caters News)

    ‘Unfortunately, here in my country every day is made uphill struggle to afford any treatment or surgery, she has not had any surgery for lack of money.’

    Helianny was born by caesarean at 39 weeks, after months previously her parents battled to prove she was still worth fighting for.

    Soleannys and her husband were told Helianny would not survive and that they should terminate the pregnancy.

    Soleannys said: ‘I would compare Helianny’s appearance back then to a ‘supernatural queen’ because she had a crown embedded in her head.

    ‘The three protrusions on her head looked like a crown, she had no eyebrows, no eyelashes, very pronounced veins on her head that seemed to burst and pink skin colour in her eyes, where her eyeballs should be.

    ‘Her nose was completely stuck to the skin with only two nasal holes, one very small and the other slightly larger. But even so I perceived her beauty then and still do to this day.

    ‘She was born and survived in spite of her deformities, we decided to respect her right to life.’

    PICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Mom Soleannys and Helianny last year, she says her daughter looked like a supernatural queen when she was born due to the crown like formations on her head, but she has defied the odds) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Soleannys Lugo/Caters News)

    Helianny has undergone four surgeries so far, two to drain fluid from her brain, and another to correct her clubbed foot and another to reconnect her cleft lip.

    The family are fundraising for future surgeries that will allow her the best quality of life and repair some of the craniofacial difficulties that complicate her basic functions.

    Soleannys said: ‘Many people bless Helianny and wish her a good future, we always appreciate that.

    ‘There is also a minority that attacks me, saying that I was irresponsible to have continued with the pregnancy.

    ‘They say that I did not think about the future of Helianny and that if I had not stopped to think what will happen to her when neither her dad nor I are here.

    ‘I try to ignore those comments but of course I think about that, we live for today and take everything one day at a time.

    ‘Nobody knows the future, meanwhile we will continue to work tirelessly so that Helianny can be as independent as possible.

    ‘In the future I hope we can achieve the funds to perform the necessary surgeries.

    ‘I dream of seeing Helianny walk, talk and be as independent as possible so that her only limitation is what she limits herself to.

    ‘Helianny came to this world on a great mission of life, to show us that we complain about so many insignificant things and forget to be happy.

    ‘She came to teach us not to give up, to stop complaining about nonsense, to live one day at a time, to be grateful with what we have.’

    MORE: Having a child with Down’s syndrome isn’t easy, but it is extraordinary

    MORE: Man receives an apology from his childhood bully eight years after they last saw each other


    Family make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's faceFamily make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's facehattiegladwellmetroFamily make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's facePICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Helianny and parents Soleanny and Henry, they say they dont care about the stares, the comments that she is ugly and believe she is alive to show others not to complain and to inspire the world) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Helianny was believed to be in a vegetative state in the womb and doctors advised terminating her, but now she is close to three months away from her third birthday and living comfortably. She has multiple problems including her eyes, nose and skull not forming correctly, in addition to brain problems and more) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Mom Soleannys and Helianny last year, she says her daughter looked like a supernatural queen when she was born due to the crown like formations on her head, but she has defied the odds) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPYFamily make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's faceFamily make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's facehattiegladwellmetroFamily make Christmas plea for cash for surgery on child's facePICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Helianny and parents Soleanny and Henry, they say they dont care about the stares, the comments that she is ugly and believe she is alive to show others not to complain and to inspire the world) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Helianny was believed to be in a vegetative state in the womb and doctors advised terminating her, but now she is close to three months away from her third birthday and living comfortably. She has multiple problems including her eyes, nose and skull not forming correctly, in addition to brain problems and more) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPYPICS BY SOLEANNYS LUGO / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED: Mom Soleannys and Helianny last year, she says her daughter looked like a supernatural queen when she was born due to the crown like formations on her head, but she has defied the odds) - The family of an inspirational toddler described as looking like a supernatural queen make a Christmas plea for surgery that would build her a new face.Helianny Lugo from San Cristobal, Venezuela, was born with a range of problems including her brain, eyes and nose not forming properly in the womb. Her parents Soleannys and Henry, 36 and 34, were advised to terminate her four months into the pregnancy as doctors told her difficulties mean was she incompatible with life. It was believed she would die shortly after birth but now the three-year-old still battles on with the support of her loving family. - SEE CATERS COPY

    0 0

    (Picture: Plywood)

    Finally, a rebellion against the teeny-tiny handbag trend. Being able to take just a phone and our keys on a night out was getting seriously annoying.

    Over in Japan people are loving giant backpacks made by CWF.

    When we say giant, we don’t mean a tad oversized. We’re talking backpacks so large they reach your knees.

    Naturally, that amount of fabric makes these backpacks a little pricier than your average school bag, retailing for around £190 (that’s before the cost of shipping).

    Why would someone want a backpack so large?

    There are so many reasons.

    Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=
    (Picture: Plywood)

    CWF advertises the rucksacks as perfect for camping, when you need to transport large bits of equipment, and mentions that they can be used indoors as storage for clothes and other bits and bobs.

    We like the idea of being able to get inside our own backpack and hide away from the world for a bit. There’d be enough room for you, a book, a torch, and some snacks. Cosy, right?

    The backpacks are also ideal for anyone who can’t help carrying around a load of rubbish in their everyday bag (my mum once pulled 13 different pairs of scissors from her handbag), or perhaps someone who’s trying to cheat the minimalist system of only having an amount of stuff you can carry in one bag.

    Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=
    (Picture: Plywood)

    CWF says the bags are designed to be functional as actual backpacks, with details to make sure they’re comfortable. There’s a third middle strap to support the back and shoulders, and padding on the two main straps so you don’t get massive indents on your shoulders.

    We still wouldn’t recommend carrying around a full giant backpack loaded up with books (think of the strain on your poor back), but if you fancy packing your bag with pillows for impromptu naps, this one’s your best option.

    As we mentioned, the backpacks have been pretty popular, so right now the ‘sand beige’ colourway is sold out. But you can still get the bag in olive or black.

    Pair with oversized jorts and a massive jumper to truly capture the feeling that you’re a tiny mouse trying on a giant’s clothes. Fun.

    MORE: Stunning photos show dogs posing in front of incredible mountains

    MORE: The biggest food trends of 2018

    MORE: Is Zamzam (holy) water going to be the wellness trend of 2019?


    Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=ellencscottGiant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=ellencscottGiant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=Giant backpacks picture: plywood METROGRAB http://www.plywood.jp/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=000000006176&search=backpack&sort=

    0 0

    Welcome to Mixed Up, a series looking at the highs, lows and unique experiences of being mixed-race.

    Mixed-race is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the UK. It means your parents hail from two (or more) different ethnicities, leaving you somewhere in the middle.

    In 2001, when the ‘mixed’ categories were first introduced to the national census, mixed-race people made up 1.3% of the population. Fast-forward 10 years, and that figure almost doubles to 2.3%.

    It’s a trajectory that’s unlikely to slow down.

    Alongside the unique pleasures and benefits of being exposed to multiple cultures, being mixed comes with complexities, conflicts and innate contradictions.

    For many, it’s about occupying two identities simultaneously, reconciling the differences and trying to carve out a space to exist between the two.

    The mainstream understanding of being mixed-race most often refers to people who are white and black Caribbean, or white and black African. But the voices of the mixed-race diaspora extend far beyond this.

    Mixed Up aims to elevate those voices, look deeper at the nuanced realities of being mixed-race and provide an insight into the inner workings of this rapidly growing ethnic group.

    Obi Ugoala is an actor who was part of London’s original Hamilton cast, playing George Washington. He thinks we are still defining what it means to be mixed-race.

    Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
    (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘There is still so much about the experience of being mixed-race that hasn’t been written about, that hasn’t been put on TV, hasn’t been discussed. I think a lot of it is still unknown territory,’ Obi tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘What is the mixed-race experience? Because I haven’t seen it out there.

    ‘I think we, as a generation are defining that now. I think in the next 20 or 30 years, people will grow up and they will have more models to base themselves on, more people who look like them to aspire to.’

    Obi has been playing his part in that. As an original member of the West End’s Hamilton production, he knows what it is to have young black and mixed kids look up to him, to have the experience of telling a story that has historically been closed to people like him.

    If you don’t know about Hamilton, you should really get to know. It’s the smash-hit musical which retells the story of the founding fathers of America, with an entirely non-white, mostly black, cast. It has been hailed as a groundbreaking show that has made important progress in improving inclusivity in the historically exclusive world of musical theatre.

    ‘The interesting thing about Hamilton was that it was about asking, actually, who tells your story?’ Obi explains.

    Obi Ugoala
    (Picture: @obiomaugoala)

    ‘The show says to me that the sins of the past are part of what makes us who we are now. So, I don’t know if I would call Hamilton a “black” show, but more a show that wants to be inclusive.

    ‘One of my bugbears is the term “diversity” – it sounds like you’re reaching around at the back of your spice drawer for something different to the salt and pepper that you always add.

    ‘In fact, those “diverse” stories have always been there, it’s just about us deciding to tell those stories. That’s what matters. So I would much rather think of Hamilton as an inclusive show, than a diverse show.’

    Obi was raised in London by his Irish mum and Nigerian dad, who came to the city as a child refugee to escape civil war.

    Little Obi with his dad (Picture: Obi Ugoala/Metro.co.uk)

    Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of the capital, Obi says he didn’t consider his race for the majority of his childhood. Until it literally smacked him in the face.

    ‘I was visiting family on the outskirts of Dublin and three or four Irish lads came up to me, told me, “this is a white man’s town” and punched me in the face,’ Obi tells us.

    ‘I was young at the time, I was still in primary school. We didn’t get into a proper scuff, and I was fine afterwards. It was more the shock factor of – oh, hi, race exists.

    ‘It kind of seemed to come from nowhere. Growing up in London, surrounded by people of all colours and all different cultures, I hadn’t seen race – as much as I hate that phrase. Or, up until that moment I hadn’t been taught about the problems I was likely to encounter as a direct result of my race – that was alien to me up until that point.

    ‘It felt like a rude awakening, and it was really visceral. I remember my reaction being one of anger – I felt like, why had this happened to me when my family where as much a part of that town as their family were?

    ‘My mum is London born and raised. She met my dad at church, and my eldest brother was a honeymoon baby. It wasn’t quite a shotgun wedding, but they were together less than a year before they got married. My grandparents weren’t exactly enamored with the idea, but by the time I came along – everyone had basically gotten used to the idea by then.’

    When it comes to identifying with a particular side of his heritage, it’s a pretty impossible choice for Obi. Both his Irish and Nigerian heritage have had a huge impact on his personal identity.

    ‘In some kind of statistical anomoly, my mum was an only child in an Irish family, so I didn’t have aunts and uncles on her side. But I did go over to Ireland at least once a year – so I did feel as though I was engaged with that side of my family,’ explains Obi.

    Obi, his brothers and his late grandmother (Picture: Obi Ugoala/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘My Irish grandmother was with us until I was about 18 or 19. After we lost my grandfather she moved around the corner from us, and we would see her three or four times a week.

    ‘My parents raised me to appreciate both sides. On Saturday nights we would have dinner with my Irish grandparents, and we would have Sunday lunch with my Nigerian grandparents. The cuisine was different, and the music was different, but the love and the connection was the same.

    ‘I did Irish dancing and played the tin whistle, as much as I went to Igbo family gatherings.’

    Obi feels that his ability to embrace both aspects of his heritage so wholeheartedly is, in part, down to the spirit of the city in which he was raised. The spirit of London.

    ‘Feeling connected to every aspect of my cultural background is something that feels very London to me. As well as the influence of my parents, the fact that I’ve grown up in London is part of what defines me as a person.

    ‘The fact that you can walk down the street and see a Polski sklep next door to an Indian takeaway, next door to a Turkish barbers – that is what I’m used to, that’s how I see the world, and that’s why I don’t see anything complex or stressful in being both Irish and Nigerian at the same time.’

    Duality is part of the package when you’re mixed-race. You learn to embrace it and navigate the fine lines between two identities. But one thing that’s hard to navigate is the judgement and presumptions of others.

    ‘Personally, I sometimes struggle with what other people see me as. So, because people see me as not-white, I find myself defining as mixed-race, because I know that I’m not part of that club.

    ‘I have afro hair, darker skin, there are certain inescapable visual markers that exclude you from that category altogether.

    ‘I think ultimately, humans want to seek and experience personal freedom. In an ideal world it would be great if people could express their heritage in terms of what it means to them – not how they’re seen by others,’ explains Obi.

    Like many people with an ambiguous racial identification, Obi often feels pressure to explain himself, explain his background. He says it almost feels as though he has to justify his own existence.

    ‘In my experience, people who come from a mixed-heritage are very comfortable and proud of where they come from – but it can be so boring to have to repeatedly explain where you’re from,’ he tells us.

    ‘When people ask – “but where are you from-from, from, from, from?” – it feels like it’s invalidating you. It often feels like an insincere question – and there’s an important distinction between curiosity and fetishisation.

    ‘It comes back to that thing about personal freedoms and about how much we want to or are able to self-identify or define who we are for ourselves. If you’re not allowed the space to do that, that’s what raises people’s hackles.’

    Obi thinks there is a potentially damaging dearth of light-skinned actors and creators taking up space in mainstream narratives.

    Stories like Hamilton exist and resonate because there is an audience hungry for non-traditional storytelling and alternative role models. It’s vital we give more non-white people platforms to tell different stories – Obi thinks it will help inspire the next generation.

    ‘I met The Rock a couple of weeks ago. For me, that was unreal. Eight-year-old me, eighteen-year-old me, every age of me completely lost his proverbial, because he was one of the few people I had seen as kid who I could actually see myself in.

    ‘So to see him in real life, and have a conversation with him – it was so significant for me. There really aren’t many light-skinned male actors out there, so it was inspiring to see him go on to become the highest-paid actor of 2017. He literally came from nothing and he forged his own path, and I credit that and I recognise the drive that that takes.’

    When it comes to representation, Obi thinks the challenges faced by mixed-race men are different to those of black men. Their experiences are far from homogeneous.

    ‘There are black men who are very much represented on TV and in film – I find that black male stories are often defined by their blackness and by stereotypes about black men. Mixed-race men don’t fit into that, because they’re ambiguous. They’re harder to fit into those pre-prescribed narratives around black maleness.

    ‘It’s different for women. In our industry there is often a lot more space for light-skinned or mixed-race women – and that is largely due to our societal problem with how we view black women and black beauty. So these women will be used to represent “blackness” or “diversity” – because their proximity to whiteness allows them to be passable for society’s standards of beauty. I think it’s harder for mixed-race men to fit in like that.

    ‘The way I react to that is – well, if they’re not going to tell stories about us, then we need to get out there and do it ourselves – forge our own pathways.’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘My mum was a trailblazer for shunning arranged marriage’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Can you identify as both mixed-race and black?’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘There are certain elements of English life that Iranian culture would deem totally disgusting’


    Obi leadObi leadnataliemorris88Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisObi UgoalaObi leadObi leadnataliemorris88Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisObi Ugoala

    0 0

    The approximate number of sugar lumps added to fizzy drinks
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Some scary sugar stats: By the age of 10, the average child in the UK has already consumed the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old.

    That’s based on their total sugar consumption from the age of two.

    Public Health England reports that while children’s sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they’re still far too high – the average child is taking in eight excess sugar cubes a day, adding up to 2,920 excess sugar cubes each year.

    National recommendations are no more than five or six sugar cubes (or 20g to 24g of sugar) per day for children between the ages of four and 10.

    Change4Life is launching a new campaign to help parents cut down the amount of sugar their children are consuming.

    Sugar intake breakdown

    • Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to seven sugar cubes).
    • Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (six sugar cubes).
    • Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (five sugar cubes).
    • There is no guideline limit for children under the age of 4, but it’s recommended they avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.

    The campaign encourages parents to ‘make a swap when you next shop’ to cut children’s sugar intake in half. It recommends swapping a sugary juice drink for one with no added sugar, and checking the sugar levels of cereals and yoghurts before handing them over to kids.

    To reduce sugar intake even more, parents are advised to swap out chocolate, puddings, sweets, and cakes for healthier options such as rice pudding, malt loaf, and sugar-free jellies.

    Public Health England estimates that making these swaps every day could remove around 2,500 sugar cubes per year from a child’s diet.

    To help make the change a little easier, the campaign has launched ‘Good Choice’ badges to look out for in shops. You can also try the free Food Scanner app to quickly check a food’s sugar content.

    Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: ‘Children are consuming too much sugar, but parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years.

    ‘To make this easier for busy families, Change4Life is offering a straightforward solution – by making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake.’

    MORE: How to cure a hangover fast

    MORE: New Year’s Day isn’t the only time you should be setting resolutions


    Fizzy drinkFizzy drinkellencscottThe approximate number of sugar lumps added to fizzy drinksFizzy drinkFizzy drinkellencscottThe approximate number of sugar lumps added to fizzy drinks

    0 0

    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    100: What Time Creates captures the details of bodies over the age of 100 (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)

    We’re a culture terrified of ageing.

    Youth is prized in every sense of the word. Achievements aren’t of note unless you complete them by a certain age, money is poured into any cream, diet, or surgery that can reduce the signs of ageing, and ‘you don’t look your age’ is considered a compliment.

    But what if we could celebrate the beauty of our wrinkles and folds? What if we accepted evidence of our ageing as a positive thing?

    Anastasia Pottinger’s new book, 100: What Time Creates, explores that beauty.

    Over the last nine years, Anastasia has worked with models all over the age of 100, listening to their stories and capturing intimate black and white photos of their naked bodies and creased skin.

    ‘Beautiful bodies dominate the media,’ reads the book’s description. ‘We see perfect bodies showcased daily, but Anastasia Pottinger takes on the body in a form rarely appreciated: the elderly.

    ‘With insight, skill, and talent as a photographer Pottinger captures the unique beauty, drama, frailty, and history of citizens who have at lived at least a century.

    ‘These intriguing images invite you to delve into the drama and startling beauty of the human body in its later years.’

    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)
    Our bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB
    (Picture: Anastasia Pottinger)

    MORE: Stunning photos celebrate street cats around the world

    MORE: Stunning photographs capture the world’s last surviving tribes


    SEI_45869741-3a77SEI_45869741-3a77ellencscottOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABSEI_45869741-3a77SEI_45869741-3a77ellencscottOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRABOur bodies at 100 Centenarian Series. Picture: Anastasia Pottinger METROGRAB

    0 0

    (Picture: Greggs)

    Finally – and we mean finally – the Greggs vegan sausage roll is arriving in stores tomorrow.

    Just in time for Veganuary, the chain have perfected their recipe, and the wait is over.

    We’ve been reporting on this for a while now, having been fed metaphorical pastry crumbs from Greggs HQ for a long old time that something big was coming for the free-from crowd.

    They said it’d be 2019, and have kept their promise, as the no-dairy-or-meat delight becomes available.

    Following a petition from PETA – which gained over 20,000 signatures – people have been begging the bakery company to let vegans enjoy the British staple we all know and love.

    They’ll be priced from £1 each, and have 96 layers of light and crisp puff pastry on the outside. The inner will be made with a bespoke Quorn filling, which should hopefully satisfy your savoury cravings.

    You’ll be able to get them at 950 Greggs shops around the country first thing.

    Given that there are around 3.5 million vegans in the UK (and potentially more what with Veganuary upon us) we expect they’ll be a hit. The baker already sells over 1.5 million of the meaty kind a week.

    Roger Whiteside, chief executive at Greggs, said: ‘Like many food retailers we have seen increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan products. We have been trying to develop a Vegan version of our famous sausage roll for some time now.

    ‘It has not been easy but our taste panel customers all love this one, so we have decided to launch it as our contribution to Veganuary.’

    MORE: These are the most popular names for rescue dogs

    MORE: Lush launches its 50% off sale


    0 0

    (Picture: Waitrose)

    Veggies and vegans – what food do you miss most from your meat-eating days?

    For me, it’s hot dogs. I still long for the thrill of processed meat stuck in a bun and slathered in ketchup.

    For others, it’ll be a simple fish finger sandwich – especially if you went from omnivore, to pescatarian, then to vegetarian or vegan.

    Thankfully for the latter squad, Waitrose is here to help satisfy those cravings without making you feel awful for tucking in to actual fish.

    Waitrose is launching Fishless Fingers, made with breaded seaweed tofu with a crispy coating. They’re said to have a subtle fish flavour, which is glorious news for those of us longing for the taste of a nice bit of cod.

    The store recommends pairing the fishless fingers with its vegan tartare sauce and sourdough bread for a dreamy vegan take on a fish finger sandwich. Yum.

    It’s worth noting that Waitrose isn’t the first brand to attempt a fish-free fish finger – Quorn also sells vegan fishless fingers.

    The Waitrose ones are intended to be a bit posher than your average, costing £3.99 for a pack of six, while Quorn offers a ten pack for £2.50.

    So yes, it might be a wise idea to try the Quorn ones before sampling the pricier Waitrose ones, just to see if you’re lucky enough to prefer the cheaper option.

    But isn’t it lovely to see more supermarkets expanding their vegan range, especially in the midst of Veganuary?

    MORE: The best hangover breakfasts if you’re doing Veganuary

    MORE: You could be eating vegan sausage rolls at Greggs next year


    Waitrose fishless fingersWaitrose fishless fingersellencscottWaitrose fishless fingersWaitrose fishless fingersellencscott

    0 0

    (Picture: Getty)

    The new year is firmly here, we’re going back to work and we’ve finally stopped eating chocolate for breakfast.

    But some remnants of Christmas are still hanging on. Tinsel still hangs from every surface, cards still clutter our mantelpieces, there is inexplicable glitter still caked in to the carpet.

    And the tree. The tree is still in our living rooms, sadly spewing browning pine needles and looking more than a little tired.

    It’s a sad reminder of happier, festive times – it’s hard to let go, but the most wonderful time of the year can’t last forever.

    According to tradition, there are strict rules about when your tree has to come down.

    Islington, London

    There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to taking down your tree, so it really depends on your personal beliefs.

    Some say that the tree should be down before the clock chimes midnight on New Year’s Eve, 31 December.

    The idea is that it’s important to rid yourself of the previous year’s baggage and turmoil before the new year begins, and the tree is said to be symbolic of that. According to superstition, it’s bad luck to still have any decorations lingering by New Year’s Day.

    When to take your tree down

    New Year’s Eve. Superstition says that the tree must be down before New Year’s Day.

    5 January. The 12th day of Christmas, and the official end of the festive period.

    6 January. The Christian holiday of Epiphany.

    Which is great news if you’re not a big fan of tinsel or clutter.

    For most of us that ship has already sailed. Normally we’re far too busy having fun in the lead up to New Year’s Eve to think about boxing up the baubles and carting the tree to the tip.

    More popular thinking is that the tree needs to come down on the 12th day of Christmas. Which is 5 January. The good news is that, this year, 5 January falls on a Saturday, so you’ll be able to allocate some time to get the job done.

    The 12th day of Christmas is considered the final day of the festive frivolities. So finish off the last of the mince pies, polish off the cheese, have a final swig of baileys. Come Sunday, Christmas is officially over.

    However, there are some people who leave their trees up until 6 January. People who do this are usually observing the Epiphany, a Christian holiday marking the revelation of God in human form, Jesus.

    So the day you choose to take your tree down really depends on your religious beliefs, customs and personal superstitions.

    But we can all agree that it’s really not a good look if your tree is still up in February.

    MORE: Freezing start to New Year as temperatures plummet to -6°C

    MORE: New Year’s Day isn’t the only time you should be setting resolutions

    MORE: Lush launches its 50% off sale

     


    Woman putting up Christmas DecorationsWoman putting up Christmas Decorationsnataliemorris88Woman putting up Christmas DecorationsWoman putting up Christmas Decorationsnataliemorris88

    0 0

    oliver the cat keeps stowing away on potato truck
    Oliver and his potato friends Picture: Cats Protection)

    Twelve-year-old cat Oliver really likes potatoes.

    Not eating them. He just likes being around them.

    That’s the only explanation for why he keeps stowing away on a potato harvest tractor. He’s just been reunited with his family after his third smuggled trip.

    That’s right – he’s done this three times.

    Each time Oliver has gone missing, it’s been during harvest time at the farm next door.

    Somehow he manages to hitch a ride on the tractor unnoticed, then turns up in Arbroath, six and a half miles away from his home in Carmyllie.

    Thankfully he’s brought back to his family each time he goes missing, thanks to a microchip.

    He’s typically gone for a while before being taken into the vets, where his microchip helps to track down his owners. This time around he disappeared for two months before being brought in.

    Oliver’s owner John Preston said: ‘Oliver’s jaunts started seven years ago when he went missing for five months. We were distraught and had almost given up hope of ever seeing him again when we heard from Cats Protection that he had been found.

    ‘He’s a friendly cat but quite timid with people he doesn’t know, so we think the reason it takes a while for him to be identified is that it takes him time to trust people enough to let them get close to him.

    ‘Even though this was the third time Oliver had gone missing, it doesn’t make it any less worrying.

    ‘As the weeks go by you do start to fear the worst, so we are incredibly happy to have him home safely again, particularly in time for Christmas and New Year.’

    Cats Protection hopes that Oliver’s story will make pet-owners aware of the importance of microchipping.

    Getting your cat a microchip can be a life-saver when it comes to bringing your pet back home. If a pet is found and taken into a vet, a scanner will retrieve its owners’ contact information from the chip. Without a chip, pets may never be found again.

    Sharyn Wood, Co-ordinator of Cats Protection’s Arbroath & Carnoustie Branch, said: ‘This is a great example of just how important it is for cats to be microchipped.

    ‘Cats Protection takes in thousands of stray cats each year and sadly many of them are never reunited with their owners, despite our best efforts. We’d love all cats to be chipped to ensure many more happy reunions.’

    Cats Protection is calling for microchipping to be made compulsory for owned cats in the UK and highlighted this as a priority in its 2022 Agenda for Cats, which was released in May 2017 ahead of the General Election, urging politicians from all parties to support measures to protect cats from abandonment, harm and neglect if they were elected.

    MORE: Cat who disappeared for 11 months reunited with family after nearly dying

    MORE: The 27 best cats of 2018

    MORE: Is giving your cat catnip really like giving a baby crack cocaine?


    Oliver and potatoes 2 (002)-c6d6Oliver and potatoes 2 (002)-c6d6ellencscottoliver the cat keeps stowing away on potato truckOliver and potatoes 2 (002)-c6d6Oliver and potatoes 2 (002)-c6d6ellencscottoliver the cat keeps stowing away on potato truck

    0 0

    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    It’s only the first day after the Christmas break and you’re probably fed up of work already.

    Well how about just packing it all in and travelling the world instead?

    It might seem like a pipe dream but this mum-of-two proves that you shouldn’t let anything stop you.

    Gillian McRobbie quit her job and sold her £170,000 house so she could travel the world with her fiancé and their young daughters.

    No stranger to making bold decisions, former Army medic Gillian, 33, left the forces in 2010 to train as a nurse before starting her own childminding business so she could spend more time with her girls, Isla, six and Maddie, two – then selling up and leaving work behind to hit the road.

    Home-schooling their daughters as they go, she and her partner Andrew Heslop, 35, a private security contractor, have so far visited Portugal, Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia.

    Now in Costa Rica, Central America, Gillian, of Dundee, who has no plans to return to the UK until October 2019, said: ‘Taking a big trip with my children is something I’ve always wanted to do, even before I had kids.

    ‘The whole point is to prepare our kids to live in the big wide world when they become adults – but how can you do that when most of their time is spent at a desk, stuck behind four walls?

    ‘The best way to learn is to get out there and experience life.’

    Gillian caught the travel bug early on in life, embarking on a four-month tour of Europe when she was just 18.

    Then, leaving the Army after four-and-half years, during which time she lived in Germany for three years, she set off again.

    The family in Croatia (PA Real Life/Collect)
    The family in Croatia (PA Real Life/Collect)

    Buying a round-the-world ticket, she backpacked around south-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and The Cook Islands – as well as travelling across the USA, from coast-to-coast.

    Once home, Gillian got together with Andrew, who she’d met in the Army but was initially just friends with, going on to have Isla, who has always been home-educated, and Maddie together.

    But family life did not mean settling down for Gillian, who never lost the urge to explore.

    Then, in around 2017, sick of the nine to five, she had a lightbulb moment.

    She explained: ‘At the time, Andrew was working away for eight months of the year and missing out on so much at home.

    ‘He’s always so laid back and up for anything, so when I began to get itchy feet and suggested we sell up and go, he was totally up for it.

    ‘There will always be jobs to do and houses to buy when we get back, so why wait?’

    Selling the family home for £170,000, they invested some of the cash in a buy-to-let flat, to provide them with an income during their travels.

    Since then, they have not looked back, travelling on and off to far-flung destinations, only returning to the UK for a couple of weeks at a time.

    The family in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)
    The family in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)

    Gillian added: ‘The money we are using to travel with came from saving every penny that came in the door.

    ‘Once we decided to go for it, we stopped buying anything we didn’t need. We had no Sky or cable, and SIM-only mobile contracts.

    ‘If we ever ate out, it’d be using Groupon vouchers and we used a lot of cashback sites, where you can upload pictures of your receipts and get a full or partial refund.

    ‘We budgeted for our weekly food shop, and clothes and toys were mainly from charity shops, which is good for the wallet and the planet.’

    Aside from sentimental items and some spare clothes stored at their parents’ houses, the couple sold more or less everything they owned, including their cars.

    ‘My loved ones know what I’m like, so weren’t overly surprised when I told them what we were doing,’ she continued. ‘People’s only real concern was that we’d have the girls with us. But, of course, we’ll always take safety precautions and have given them all the recommended vaccinations and so on.’

    To keep costs down and ensure money stretches, Gillian stays in either Airbnbs, budget hotels or, where available, for free in homes in need of a house-sitter.

    ‘We always travel in the cheapest and safest way possible, too. Right now, in Costa Rica, we are using local buses, but in some places, that isn’t recommended, so we’ll organise private transport instead,’ she added.

    A free spirit, Gillian has no fixed plans for 2019, but hopes to visit Mexico, Belize and the USA.

    She said the best advice to other parents planning to travel with little ones is simply to take things slowly.

    She said: ‘Things can get a bit overwhelming at times – what with new places, heat, humidity, noise, smells, traffic and so on. So, if you choose one thing to do a day, that gives you plenty of opportunity to take it slowly at the kids’ pace.

    Gillian and Isla in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Caption: Gillian and Isla in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘We also always take safety precautions, like being aware of our surroundings, not flaunting any valuable belongings, not walking around at night and making sure family back home know where we are.

    ‘However, bad things happen everywhere in the world, every day, so you cannot live your life in fear.’

    While the family are likely to live a more settled life when they return to the UK late next year, with Andrew returning to work, Gillian is still keen to instil an adventurous spirit in her girls, so will carry on home-educating them and taking them on shorter trips.

    ‘Despite all the moving around, the girls still have roots and a strong sense of belonging,’ she said. ‘And while Isla has never been to school, everything we do is learning.

    ‘Something as simple as a trip to the supermarket means adding, subtracting, budgeting and learning about healthy food and where it comes from. A hike or a swim is P.E. As a family, we’ve learned history, geography, geology, social studies, languages – the list is endless.

    ‘Travelling also takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you problem solving, resilience and tolerance and kindness for the world around you and its differences.

    ‘I have been told in the past to come back down to reality and give the girls a routine, but I don’t agree – we’re lucky that this is our reality, and the girls are thriving.’

    MORE: Rejoice, for Waitrose is launching vegan fishless fingers

    MORE: Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls are launching tomorrow


    Mum quits job and sells ?170,000 house to travel the world with her fianc? and young daughtersMum quits job and sells ?170,000 house to travel the world with her fianc? and young daughterslauraabernethy6The family in Croatia (PA Real Life/Collect)The family in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)Gillian and Isla in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)Mum quits job and sells ?170,000 house to travel the world with her fianc? and young daughtersMum quits job and sells ?170,000 house to travel the world with her fianc? and young daughterslauraabernethy6The family in Croatia (PA Real Life/Collect)The family in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)Gillian and Isla in Iceland (PA Real Life/Collect)

    0 0

    Anshonarial Greenhouse, a student at Louisiana State University of Alexandria, U.S, went into labour on the day of her graduation while only 25 weeks pregnant.

    Even though the 31-year-old mother-of-one was experiencing painful contractions, she still wanted to walk across the stage and collect her diploma.

    With the help of a baseball coach, Anshonariel managed to do it and nine days later she gave birth to her second child.

    She decided to carry on with the graduation while in active labour, all to show her children the importance of education.

    Woman crosses stage to graduate while in labour Picture: Sarah Black/LSUA METROGRAB https://www.facebook.com/pg/LSUatAlexandria/photos/?ref=page_internal SEEKING PERMISSION AND MORE PHOTOS USING TWO FROM OPEN FACEBOOK WITH CREDIT AND LINK
    The university baseball coach helped her onstage (Picture: Sarah Black/LSUA)

    Studying business administration with a focus in accounting, Anshonariel wanted to share the day with the friends from her small class which included her mother Elaine Young.

    When she began experiencing labour pains at just 25 weeks, Anshonariel took medication to stop the early contractions.

    ‘I knew it was a possibility I couldn’t walk [at graduation], but I really pushed to be able to go,’ Anshonariel explained.

    ‘In accounting there are only like ten students. I wanted to be with them.’

    She was offered a wheelchair to make it across the stage but politely declined.

    She said: ‘It was rough walking across that stage. But walking signifies that I really did it.’

    Woman crosses stage to graduate while in labour Picture: Sarah Black/LSUA METROGRAB https://www.facebook.com/pg/LSUatAlexandria/photos/?ref=page_internal SEEKING PERMISSION AND MORE PHOTOS USING TWO FROM OPEN FACEBOOK WITH CREDIT AND LINK
    (Picture: Sarah Black/LSUA)

    Though graduating meant the world to her and she was determined to make that walk, Anshonariel made sure help was nearby in case anything happened.

    Staff from the university and a private ambulance service were made aware of the situation, ready to act if anything went wrong and to assist her post graduation.

    In the end it was all about showing her other daughter, 10-year-old daughter, Makhia, the value of education.

    ‘Makhia understands how important education is.

    ‘If she sees me doing my work, she does hers. It’s showing her versus telling her,’

    Even while in hospital, Anshonariel submitted the last of her essays to the college and eventually gave birth to a baby boy she named Zaire.

    ‘In college, I tried to believe I could do anything if I could be bold enough,’ she added.

    ‘I just tried to be a boss and make it happen.’

    MORE: Mum gives up her job and sells her house to travel the world with her kids

    MORE: Teenager with lupus rash on her face shares her 90 minute beauty routine

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘If they’re not going to tell stories about us, then we need to get out there and do it ourselves’


    0 0

    (Picture: Getty)

    Now that your hangover from New Year’s Eve has (hopefully) dissipated, you might be planning on saying goodbye to alcohol… At least for a wee while.

    It was reported that, last year, as many as 3 million Brits took part in Dry January, eschewing the booze and giving their health a boost.

    After the excesses of the festive period it certainly feels like the right thing to do. But what do you need to know before you begin?

    Dry January benefits

    One of the first things you’ll notice as you cut yourself off from the booze is sleeping better. Although a few drinks might knock you right out, it means you go straight to the deep sleep phase and miss out on the full, restorative sleep cycle. Plus, it’s always better waking up hangover-free and with no dry mouth.

    As a knock-on effect of this, you’ll likely notice having lots more energy.

    Drinkaware state that ‘regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain’, and that those who ‘experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers.’ Essentially, stopping drinking will never cure all your mental health woes, but you might notice a change in your mood and be able to find new ways to deal with issues rather than using alcohol to ‘help’.

    (Picture: Getty)

    Losing weight is a big reason that many choose to participate in Dry January. With over 200 calories in just one pint or large glass of wine, you’ll likely notice your waistline reducing as you forgo what some call ’empty calories’ (since they don’t satiate you in any way). With fewer hangover meals too, your diet may be boosted overall.

    You should also see that your wallet is gaining weight, as you save money that otherwise would’ve been going behind the bar.

    One study by University College London even found that those who took part had increased liver function at the end of their sober month. Their blood glucose levels also stabilised, (suggesting improved blood-sugar control) and they had lower cholesterol by the end.

    Overall, one of the main things you can gain from a sober stint is a change in the way you look at alcohol. If it prompts you to re-evaluate your drinking, then that can only be a good thing.

    Dry January tips

    • Take each day at a time. Instead of thinking of it as a long old slog that’ll stretch on forever, thinking daily will chunk it down.
    • Join up with friends or colleagues also having a go – you can all support each other.
    • Get rid of any alcohol in the house to remove temptation.
    • Continue to go out with friends. Holing up will make you think of this as a negative thing, so still go to the pub and socialise but have a soft drink instead.
    • Try out a new hobby – whether it’s exercising or joining a knitting club. New social interactions or pastimes will take your mind off alcohol.
    • Give alcohol-free versions a go. From G&T to beer, there are tasty alternatives to any tipple you like, minus the hangovers.
    • Be accountable. Some choose to post on social media, or tell their mates they’re doing Dry January. That way, you’re less likely to give up at the first hurdle.
    • Enjoy it! Fresh mornings and no drunk texts are all part of the joy of Dry January. Notice everything you don’t miss about drinking, rather than just what you feel you’re missing out on.
    (Picture: Getty)

    Dry January apps

    Both the official Dry January app and the Dry Days by AlcoChange app let you track your days off in January and year round.

    Log your progress and the health benefits you’re experiencing, share your progress, and get support when you need it.

    What to know once you’re done

    You’re always going to be triumphant after going a month without alcohol, but the end of Dry January doesn’t need to necessarily warrant a huge binge to make up for it.

    If you find that you are genuinely dependent on alcohol, it’s time to speak to your GP about what to do next.

    If you found that you loved the benefits of being sober, you could commit to drinking less. Doctors already recommend at least two consecutive alcohol-free days a week, which should be a doddle know you’ve gone a full month without.

    Add up all the money you saved throughout the month, and try to write down every positive you’ve noticed from your Dry January. Then, when you’re drinking because you’re bored or just because it’s the ‘done thing’, you might re-evaluate.

    MORE: Woman goes into labour during graduation and still collects her degree on stage

    MORE: Chris Grayling defends plan to give shipping contract to firm with no ships


    Dry January stop drinking new years resolutionDry January stop drinking new years resolutionjessicacvlDry January stop drinking new years resolutionDry January stop drinking new years resolutionjessicacvl

    0 0

    Don’t worry about taking down your Christmas decorations just yet (Picture: Getty)

    Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve might be over, but that doesn’t mean your Christmas tree has to come down just yet.

    In fact, many Christmas traditionalists will keep their decorations on display all the way up till the Twelfth Night.

    thumbnail for post ID 8301162Peter Andre is unimpressed with David and Brooklyn Beckham's dance moves

    While most of us consider peak decoration time to be during the run up to Christmas, Twelfth Night makes it acceptable to keep them up well into the first week of January.

    So if you want to stave off any post-Christmas blues, observing Twelfth Night gives you the perfect excuse to keep the tree and baubles up a little longer.

    If you love your baulbauls, keep them up a little longer (Picture: LeeMcLean SWNS.com)

    When is Twelfth Night?

    There is some debate over the exact date, with some saying it’s 5 January and others 6 January.

    This is because some people count Christmas itself as one of the twelve nights, while others begin the count on Boxing Day.

    Either day is acceptable, but according to folklore, if you keep your tree up after the 6 January, it has to stay up all year.

    Don’t worry, taking down the tree never takes as long as putting it up (Picture: Getty)

    What does Twelfth Night mean?

    Traditionally, Christmas celebrations lasted for twelve days after 25 December.

    That’s because, after Jesus was born, 6 January marked the day when John the Baptist came to baptise him, and the three kings came with their gifts for the baby. This is known as Epiphany.

    If you go further back into habits and customs, some people used to believe that tree-spirits lived in the trees, holly, and ivy in their homes. These spirits would seek shelter there during the cold winter, but if they weren’t released after Christmas there would be problems with agriculture and harvests.

    So, if you’re one for superstition, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later.

    MORE: Combining these common cleaning products can be incredibly dangerous

    MORE: Those doing Dry January will be happy to know the good effects can last for months


    aidanmilan6aidanmilan6

    0 0

    METRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon Cowan
    (Picture: Brandon Cowan)

    People named Brandon really like setting up dating sites about themselves.

    In 2015, it was Brandon Scott Wolf, creator of the website with the same name, who had a platform where you didn’t have to endure endless hours of scrolling through profiles – because his was the only one on offer.

    Now, there’s a new Brandon who is hoping to capture your heart. But unlike the original, who just wanted ‘someone to date’, this one has a criteria.

    Like any good job (sorry, romance) prospective partners are presented with a list of ideal qualifications, but don’t worry – if you’re female and single, you’re already off to a ‘great start’.

    Brandon Cowan's ideal woman

    • Be around 20-28 years old
    • Live within roughly 70 min drive from North Shore in Sydney
    • Be an animal lover (I’m a bit suspicious of those people out there who don’t like animals)
    • Not be [too] crazy
    • Be honest, respectful, and fun
    • Bonus points if you’re vegetarian or vegan (this is not mandatory)
    • Not be ridiculously jealous or controlling in a relationship
    • Fake people, backyard breeders and hunters – please don’t apply

    If you fit the bill and would like to fill in an application to be his new girlfriend (yes, really), you can do so directly through the website, sharing your contact details and a brief note on why you’d be a ‘suitable match’. You can also nominate a friend.

    Let’s take a look at your future soulmate.

    Your Aussie hubby is 24 years old and has tried ‘Tinder and other dating sites’ but is still looking for that special person to share his love of animals and who is keen to have one or two kids in five years.

    Apparently, he’s shy to begin with, but will be cracking ‘inappropriate jokes’ in no time.

    If you think the unconventional dating method is one of Brandon’s special jokes, he assures readers that it’s not.

    METRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon Cowan
    (Picture: Brandon Cowan)
    METRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon Cowan
    (Picture: Brandon Cowan)

    On the site, he writes: ‘By making this website, I am removing a lot of the small-talk that goes along with dating apps.

    ‘I hope it will save everyone’s time by providing a potential girlfriend with more info about myself and also what sort of person I’m looking for, hopefully to secure a suitable match.

    ‘This is not a joke. I’m hoping to find someone to spend the rest of my life with.

    ‘For those who think this is tacky, ask yourself: is it tacky to find your partner on a dating app, dating website, or at a bar?

    ‘Some guys go to bars and go to girl after girl to try and find just one to talk to. And then find out that it’s not a good match (except for one night…).’

    In addition to his bio, Brandon also provides a work history (most of which comprises of working with animals or volunteering at animal shelters).

    He comes somewhat recommended too, with three testimonials from various people in his life: his ex said Brandon ‘liked his work more than he liked me’, a friend said he’s ‘tolerable’ and finally, his mum said ‘if this stupid website doesn’t get Brandon a girlfriend, I don’t know what will’.

    We’re not so sure about that.

    What do you think?

    MORE: Twitter account rates all the desperate and trashy moves of your exes

    MORE: The worst dating trends we were hit with in 2018

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


    Brandon CowanBrandon CowanallieabgarianMETRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon CowanMETRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon CowanMETRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon CowanBrandon CowanBrandon CowanallieabgarianMETRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon CowanMETRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon CowanMETRO GRAB NO PERMISSION - LOW RISK Vegan man launches website to find an 'animal-loving' woman #DateBrandon - Brandon Cowan

older | 1 | .... | 1498 | 1499 | (Page 1500) | 1501 | 1502 | .... | 1849 | newer