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

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Sainsbury’s has started trialling ‘wellness aisles’ and ‘hubs’ to provide specific areas for health products.

    The supermarket is dedicating aisles, or sections of aisles, to wellness, health and nutritional products – similar to what you might find in Holland & Barrett.

    The areas will house supplements, vitamins, egg white smoothies, protein bars and even drinking vinegar products.

    However some critics have claimed that creating dedicated areas for wellness is counter-productive, and that health and nutrition should be the central focus for supermarkets.

    (Picture: Getty)

    In a statement, Sainsbury’s said, ‘wellness and sports nutrition are areas that are becoming increasingly popular with our customers.

    ‘To make sure they can find everything they need quickly and easily, we’ve doubled our range, introducing specialist and premium brands that customers won’t find in any other stores.

    ‘With such a convenient choice of distinctive products, we’re confident that health-conscious customers won’t need to shop anywhere else.’

    Many shoppers will certainly find it appealing to be able to find their niche health and wellness products without having to trawl the high street.

    But some customers have raised concerns about what’s actually being sold in the aisles, and questioned whether all the products can really be branded as healthy.

    Food writer, Bee Wilson, tweeted; ‘This is depressing. A new “wellness” aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes.

    ‘The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.’

    Another Twitter user, Marcia Barrington, replied; ‘I just don’t think they get it? Healthy food is easy: home cooked from scratch. It’s not difficult.’

    Sainsbury’s said in response that the products shown in Bee’s original tweet were not included in the new wellness range. They also said they will be adding more signs to the Cambridge store to make the distinction clearer for customers.

    The wellness hubs launched late last year and, following the trial period, Sainsbury’s intend to extend the venture in January 2019 and beyond.

    MORE: A vegetarian Happy Meal is more than a menu choice – it’s validation

    MORE: Swapping sugar for sweeteners might not be a healthier choice

    MORE: January’s weight-loss culture is incredibly difficult when you’ve had an eating disorder


    Woman grocery shoppingWoman grocery shoppingnataliemorris88Woman grocery shoppingWoman grocery shoppingnataliemorris88

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    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    There are some wedding stories that make our hearts sink in our stomach.

    This is one of those stories.

    It’s a tale of heartbreak and devastation, shared – as so many great stories are – on Mumsnet.

    We’ll give you the short version, then you can enjoy the full miserable plot: A bride went to cut her wedding cake, only to find that hungry guests had already tucked in.

    Mumsnet-er Inigoan writes: ‘Evening guests turned up at 7pm. Around 8pm bride and groom decided to cut the cake.

    ‘Only to find cake had already been cut by a hungry guest shockshockshock.’

    Inigoan explains that the wedding cake was not a cake, but three tiers of different types of cheese surrounded by grapes and crackers.

    There was no little bride and groom on top, so perhaps the cake looked more like a pile of cheese for general eating than a proper wedding cake.

    It was, however, in a separate room to the bar and dance floor, so clearly someone had decided to dig around for some cheese without being invited to do so.

    After the bride discovered her cheese tower had been eaten, ‘an absolute war broke out’.

    People hold in hands glasses with white wine. wedding party. friends toasting with a champagne above white table
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    ‘Half the people saying well, how were they supposed to know it was the cake, other half saying it was pretty obvious,’ writes Inigoan.

    ‘Bride in tears (or tiers boom boom). Around three or four people had taken some of the cake by the time they realised!’

    The post has received over 300 responses, and is fairly divided between people calling out the mystery cheese eater as incredible rude, and those saying they wouldn’t have guessed tiers of cheese were a wedding cake.

    Oh, and the thread is filled to the brim with cheese puns.

    ‘Bet the bride was thoroughly cheesed off,’ wrote one Mumsnet user.

    ‘The guests broke the roules, they should Brie ashamed,’ said another.

    And our favourite: ‘She can’t Brie too cheesed off. It wasn’t Gouda the guest to cut off a slice but they’d have been crackers to withstand temptation.

    ‘They must have cut it very Caerphilly for no one to notice straight away. Was the guest Swiss? Bet the groom went Emmental, but it was a bit OTT of the bride to cause such a raclette.’

    Our advice: never be the first person to slice into any food at a wedding. Wait for the go-ahead from one of the caterers or the bride and groom themselves. Better safe than sorry, no matter how tempting a big wedge of cheese may be.

    MORE: Couple get married at the charity that brought them together and feed hungry children after vows

    MORE: Fearless Photography Awards chooses the best wedding pictures of 2018

    MORE: Bride-to-be threatens to un-invite guests to her wedding for not giving her cash at engagement party


    Mumsnet cheese wedding cake dramaMumsnet cheese wedding cake dramaellencscottPeople hold in hands glasses with white wine. wedding party. friends toasting with a champagne above white tableMumsnet cheese wedding cake dramaMumsnet cheese wedding cake dramaellencscottPeople hold in hands glasses with white wine. wedding party. friends toasting with a champagne above white table

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    Rolling with the vegans? (Picture: Getty/Rex)

    If Piers Morgan’s attempt to start some kind of ‘vegan-sausage-roll-gate’ has done anything, it’s gone to show that yes, there were indeed quite a few vegans who were eagerly waiting for a sausage roll they can enjoy.

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Katie Price attends the ITV Gala at the London Palladium on November 9, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)Katie Price refuses to be 'walked over' as she blasts 'backstabbers'

    As the irate tweets from vegans keep pouring in, it’s clear that the, as Piers puts it, ‘PC-ravaged clowns’ at Greggs have actually tapped into a big market with their new vegan product.

    Piers’ apparent, erm, beef with vegans notwithstanding, the statistics show that veganism is actually pretty popular.

    Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by S Meddle/ITV/REX (10020153ck) Piers Morgan 'Good Morning Britain' TV show, London, UK - 10 Dec 2018
    (Picture: ITV)

    What does going vegan mean?

    Vegans, similar to vegetarians, voluntarily restrict their diet. However, while vegetarians don’t eat any animals, vegans go a step further and don’t eat any animal products. That includes things like milk and eggs.

    In this picture taken on June 5, 2017 a piglet is seen at a pig farm on the outskirts of Beijing. Millions of backyard pig farmers in China are being forced out of the industry as the government cracks down on pollution and encourages producers to expand their operations with the aim of modernizing the industry and smoothing out fluctuations in prices and supply. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI / TO GO WITH: China-agriculture-economy-pork, FOCUS by Allison JACKSON (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
    It’s hard to argue with a face like that. (Picture: Getty Images)

    What are the benefits of veganism?

    The Vegan Society lists 3 key reasons why people should go vegan: for animals, for your health and for the environment.

    Many people believe that the process of obtaining animal products is often unduly cruel, and going vegan is their way of taking a stand against it.

    Not only that, but from the trucks used to transport the animals to the deforestation associated with the need to grow feed for them, the production of meat and other animal products has a negative impact on the environment.

    As for the health benefits, The Vegan Society argues that turning vegan ‘is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet.’

    So how many vegans are out there?

    In April 2018, a comparethemarket.com survey found that the number of vegans in the UK had risen to a whopping 3.5 million.

    That means that 7% of British people have the will to say no to traditional, dairy-full cheeses and meaty sausage rolls. This number includes a wide range of celebrities, from Ellie Goulding and Lewis Hamilton to Paul McCartney and Thom Yorke.

    However, the Vegan Society reports a much lower figure of 600,000, which is obviously much less significant, but still represents a four-fold rise in four years.

    It’s no wonder then that Greggs wants to cater to this massive, and growing, market.

    MORE: Susanna Reid was a question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and her life was made

    MORE: Keira Knightley learns ‘not to f*** with Cinderella’ after those controversial Disney comments


    What's actually in the vegan Greggs sausage roll?What's actually in the vegan Greggs sausage roll?aidanmilan6Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by S Meddle/ITV/REX (10020153ck) Piers Morgan 'Good Morning Britain' TV show, London, UK - 10 Dec 2018In this picture taken on June 5, 2017 a piglet is seen at a pig farm on the outskirts of Beijing. Millions of backyard pig farmers in China are being forced out of the industry as the government cracks down on pollution and encourages producers to expand their operations with the aim of modernizing the industry and smoothing out fluctuations in prices and supply. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI / TO GO WITH: China-agriculture-economy-pork, FOCUS by Allison JACKSON (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)What's actually in the vegan Greggs sausage roll?What's actually in the vegan Greggs sausage roll?aidanmilan6Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by S Meddle/ITV/REX (10020153ck) Piers Morgan 'Good Morning Britain' TV show, London, UK - 10 Dec 2018In this picture taken on June 5, 2017 a piglet is seen at a pig farm on the outskirts of Beijing. Millions of backyard pig farmers in China are being forced out of the industry as the government cracks down on pollution and encourages producers to expand their operations with the aim of modernizing the industry and smoothing out fluctuations in prices and supply. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI / TO GO WITH: China-agriculture-economy-pork, FOCUS by Allison JACKSON (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

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    (Picture: Gumtree)

    We wish we could handle a cheating partner as brilliantly as this woman.

    While we’d be sobbing and yelling at the TV while watching Don’t Tell The Bride re-runs, this unnamed woman wrote a snarky advert for the bracelet her ex-husband gave her while he was being unfaithful.

    Over on Gumtree the woman, known simply as AM, listed a Pandora bracelet her ex had given her for sale for $350 (£194).

    ‘I’m selling the Pandora bracelet that my ex-husband thoughtfully put together for me while he lied to me throughout our marriage,’ wrote the woman. ‘It turns out that pretty trinkets don’t pay for betrayal.’

    Excellent opening line to an advert, we reckon.

    The advert goes on to list of the details of the bracelet’s charms, which include a hippo, an amethyst spacer, and purple beads.

    Describing the charms, AM writes: ‘Safety chain with 14ct yellow gold hearts – designed to keep the bracelet together better than our marriage.

    METRO GRAB - taken from Gumtree without permission Woman lists cheating husband's gift on Gumtree https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/melbourne-cbd/women-s-jewellery/authentic-pandora-bracelet/1205347185 Credit: Gumtree
    (Picture: Gumtree)

    ‘Chick – like the babies he was trying to force me to have because he wanted babies before he was 30 and wouldn’t entertain the discussion about what I wanted.

    ‘Heart with a 14ct yellow gold arrow – symbolising the pain in my heart when I found out about the lies. And then again, when I found out how long they’d been going on for.

    ‘Limited edition teddy bear with 14ct yellow gold heart – much like the limited nature of his trustworthiness.

    ‘Bride & groom dancing – not that we ever danced. He hated dancing but I loved it. Oh and god forbid some guy approached me on the dance floor. The one time I didn’t move a guy on quickly enough, a scotch glass came hurtling through the air at me to let me know of my ex’s displeasure.

    ‘Forever together – apparently not.’

    Ouch.

    The advert ends with: ‘The pieces are all in very good condition (much like I am now after the divorce).

    ‘Payment: PayPal or cash (apparently tears of my enemy is not a legitimate payment type).’

    Naturally the advert has got quite a bit of attention, but so far only two offers have been made. So if you fancy wearing the remnants of a shattered relationship, you can still go ahead and purchase it.

    May we all deal with breakups with such grace in 2019.

    MORE: Woman shares heartbreaking tale of wedding guests who ate the cheese cake before the bride could slice it

    MORE: What is a softboy, and are you one?

    MORE: A simple guide to getting over a breakup


    Woman lists cheating husband's gift on GumtreeWoman lists cheating husband's gift on GumtreeellencscottMETRO GRAB - taken from Gumtree without permission Woman lists cheating husband's gift on Gumtree https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/melbourne-cbd/women-s-jewellery/authentic-pandora-bracelet/1205347185 Credit: GumtreeWoman lists cheating husband's gift on GumtreeWoman lists cheating husband's gift on GumtreeellencscottMETRO GRAB - taken from Gumtree without permission Woman lists cheating husband's gift on Gumtree https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/melbourne-cbd/women-s-jewellery/authentic-pandora-bracelet/1205347185 Credit: Gumtree

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    (Picture: Getty)

    The ketogenic diet is high-fat, low-carb and becoming hugely popular.

    The latest nutrition trend is helping people to lose weight through a diet which involves a moderate amount of protein, loads of fat and tonnes of greens.

    It tends to work because fat is more energy dense, so it takes longer to digest and can help us to feel fuller for longer.

    If you’ve recently jumped on the keto bandwagon, but you’re struggling with recipe ideas – look no further.

    Try these super simple dinners, which you can make mid-week or ahead of time. Dieting can be hard, but the cooking part doesn’t have to be.

    Courgetti with chicken and pistachios

    (Picture: Getty)

    Time to dust off your old spiralizer – courgette noodles are a perfect low-carb alternative to spaghetti.

    Simply grill or roast chicken thighs in a healthy slug of oil, with garlic, salt and pepper. When they’re cooked, slice them into strips and toss them in to a frying pan.

    Add sliced onions, mint leaves, lemon juice and roughly chopped pistachios, and warm through on the hob.

    Add your spiralized courgette at the last minute and fry for around two minutes, so it keeps its crunch.

    Fried salmon with asparagus

    This couldn’t be simpler. Easy to make and brimming with vitamins and omega 3, this dinner could quickly become a regular feature.

    Trim your asparagus first. Then add a hearty amount of butter to a pan that’s big enough to fry both the fish and the veg.

    The asparagus will take around four minutes on the hob, and the fish needs a couple of minutes on each side.

    Season everything with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Easy.

    Sausages with creamed green cabbage

    If you need something as comforting as bangers and mash, but without the carbs – this could be a great alternative for you.

    Choose your favourite sausages – Cumberland with apple and sage work really well, but any will do. Cook them as per the instructions.

    For the cabbage, all you have to do is shred it in a food processor, and then fry it in butter until it turns a golden brown colour.

    Add whipping cream to the fried cabbage, bring it to the boil and then simmer until the cream reduces. Season it with salt, pepper and parsley.

    Keto cheese omelette

    (Picture: Getty)

    A simple classic, you can’t really go wrong with a cheese omelette – and it’s completely in line with the principles of keto.

    You probably know how to make an omelette. Whisk up a couple of eggs, add milk, salt and pepper, dump then in a frying pan with butter. Sprinkle cheddar cheese into the centre while one side is cooking – you could even add some greens, spinach or kale will work well.

    When it starts to sizzle, flip or fold your omelette so the other side can cook and your cheese melts.

    Chicken BLT salad

    The classic sandwich, just without the bread. This isn’t a tragic salad that will leave you hungry and unsatisfied. Just because there are no carbs, that doesn’t mean your dinner can’t be indulgent.

    For the dressing, mix mayonnaise with crushed garlic and salt, and set to one side.

    Fry the bacon in a pan with butter, set it aside when it’s crispy. Use the bacon fat to fry chicken thighs with salt and pepper until cooked through.

    Roughly chop some iceberg lettuce and add to a bowl. Add tomatoes, the cooked bacon and chicken, and add a dollop of your garlic mayo.

    Stuffed avocados

    Kind of like tacos, but a little bit greener – these stuffed avocados are ridiculously quick to make.

    All you need is a couple of perfectly ripe avocados cut in half with their stones removed.

    For the filling, fry beef mince with diced onions and garlic, chuck in paprika, chili flakes and your favourite Mexican seasoning for flavour.

    Stuff the meat into the avocados and top with cheese, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sour cream. Perfect for a speedy dinner, or for having guests over.

    MORE: Ketogenic diet may help prevent cognitive decline

    MORE: Sainsbury’s is trialling ‘wellness aisles’ and people aren’t sure how to feel about it

    MORE: Swapping sugar for sweeteners might not be a healthier choice


    A ketogenic meal laid out on a dining table with the hands of people serving themselvesA ketogenic meal laid out on a dining table with the hands of people serving themselvesnataliemorris88A ketogenic meal laid out on a dining table with the hands of people serving themselvesA ketogenic meal laid out on a dining table with the hands of people serving themselvesnataliemorris88

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    (Picture: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

    During the final days leading up to 2019, there was a weight loss story that grabbed the headlines before swiftly disappearing into the New Year’s Eve excitement – and it needs more attention.

    Kelly Brook, the English model and TV presenter known for her beautiful curves, revealed that she had received criticism about her weight from her boyfriend, Jeremy Parisi. Apparently, he had encouraged her to shed a few pounds by saying she was a ‘balloon’, which prompted Brook to drop two dress sizes.

    From a healthy size 16 to a healthy size 12.

    It appears that despite the headway we’ve made on mutual respect in the last decade, some people still need a reminder on how to treat their partners. So, let me offer this refresher.

    You are never allowed to mock your partner’s body.

    You are never allowed to ask your partner to modify their body for you.

    You are never allowed to manipulate a partner into changing who they are for you.

    With the influx of weight loss and fitness stories in January, this one is especially concerning; not only because Brook is a public figure with thousands of women following her every move, but also because this type of scenario is actually about more than just a quip on weight loss.

    Underneath the surface, this type of weight-related manipulation, alongside other kinds, can be considered a form of emotional-psychological abuse, used as a tool to control other aspects of your life; research by Healthtalk.org showed it can also lead to anxiety, difficulty sleeping and even self-harm.

    As if this wasn’t bad enough, based on her comments, Brook also seemed grateful to her beau for providing her with the ‘inspiration’ to lose weight. I’m not shaming her, but it’s important to understand that this is common.

    The person you love most in the world has put you down, and so it’s only natural for you to think that surely they’ve only done so because they care about you, right?

    Earlier, in April this year, a woman named Shelby shared a text exchange on Twitter where her boyfriend had told her she was ‘definitely getting a beer gut’ and that is was ‘weird’ that her stomach stuck out more than his.

    Shelby continued the conversation by asking if he still found her attractive, to which her boyfriend said yes, but only if she didn’t gain any more weight.

    Clearly a keeper.

    People rallied behind Shelby on social media, telling her to drop the real dead weight – her boyfriend – which she ultimately did. But not before she had gone through the process of doubting herself and questioning whether he was indeed right, something which is sure to stick with her for a long time.

    This type of gaslighting – which can happen in both romantic and platonic relationships, and serves to reduce the victim’s self-esteem (though this isn’t the only method) – isn’t always easy to walk away from, especially if you’re young. Confidence is strengthened by finding out and accepting who you are, and this takes years to build up.

    Even more so if you’re in or getting over a toxic relationship.

    I speak from experience; my weight has gone up and down since I was a teenager.

    In 2010, I met a man in Australia whose friends told him he couldn’t possibly sleep with me, because I was – in their eyes – unattractive and big.

    Years later, when I had lost four stone for health reasons and felt my prettiest ever, another man who I was in a serious relationship with, pointed out that my top was too sheer and would give others the wrong idea.

    I was livid, and he apologised. But then he followed up with months of well-placed comments and extreme jealousy that would eventually hit home, and I stopped getting angry and started wondering whether he had a point.

    Despite weight issues, I’ve always been a fairly confident person, but this changed how I saw myself for a long time. If someone puts you down long enough, you start to believe you deserve it.

    This tradition of men especially, though not exclusively, feeling as if they have the right to modify a woman (whether it be her weight or personality) isn’t new, with misogynistic abuse seen in public spheres including politics and most commonly, fashion – where weight-related vitriol has long been an accepted part of the industry.

    But people are fighting back against the idea that a value is linked to weight (FYI, in case you still haven’t grasped this – it isn’t).

    We saw it when Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek said that no one has any interest in trans or plus sized models, and was subsequently shut down and shamed.

    We’ve seen it in the rise of plus sized models like Tess Holliday, and body-positive campaigns and fashion shows like Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty.

    And even in response to the recent Kelly Brook story, via Twitter:

    So, as you’re reading story upon story this month about ‘how to look your best self by dropping X amount of pounds’, remember that while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your health or lose weight, your motivation needs to be right.

    Do it for you, and only for you.

    And if anyone – partner or otherwise – has anything to say about it, you can direct them to this article (before saying buh-bye).

    MORE: 13 mental health resolutions you should set yourself for 2019

    MORE: Please stop feeling under pressure to lose weight just because your friends are

    MORE: No one is going to aim for obesity because of Tess Holliday


    "Mary Poppins Returns" European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals"Mary Poppins Returns" European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals"Mary Poppins Returns" European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivalsallieabgarian

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    (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    Today is Fat Cat Friday, the day in the year by which the UK’s top CEOs earn more than the average UK annual wage.

    And while today is a good day to rail against capitalism and rage about the gender pay gap, we’d also like to give a shout-out to the fat cats who deserve some love.

    Fat cats like Dina, a stray who’s searching for a loving home after arriving at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in November.

    Dina is overweight and very round. Battersea describe her as ‘dumpling shaped’.

    Her tubby size is a bit of a mystery to staff at the shelter, as she was found living in someone’s garden and didn’t appear to have an owner feeding her.

    Regardless of how she put on so much weight, Battersea staff knows she needs to slim down.

    (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    She’s now searching for a home with a family who’ll help her stick to a strict diet so she can get back to a healthy weight.

    Owners will need to stay strong and give Dina a nudge towards healthiness, as she’s not particularly motivated on her own.

    During one visit to the clinic, Dina spotted the weighing scales, hissed at them, then walked away.

    Dina has been at the shelter for a while now, being overlooked because of her physique.

    (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    While the average stay for a cat at Battersea is 22 days, today Dina has been there for 50 days. Poor thing.

    She’s a lovely kitty, though, enjoying a good snuggle and a chin stroke.

    Owners will need to have a garden, as Dina enjoys exploring and needs the exercise.

    Rosa Steele, cattery team Leader at Battersea, said: ‘Dina is a sweet cat with a lot of love to give, who’s sadly been here for twice as long as most of our cats. She enjoys nothing more than a chat with her human friends and a cheek rub or two.

    (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    ‘She’s on a strict diet which is going well, but she’s still overweight – so her new owners will need to be committed to keeping her on track and maintaining her diet and finding fun ways to get her to do a little exercise.

    ‘Most cats have a healthy appetite and enjoy a balanced diet. However some, like Dina, may like their food a little too much.

    ‘Cats are strong-minded creatures and they will be sure to let you know what food they do and don’t like, owners just need to make sure they’re eating the right amount each day and getting enough exercise to prevent any unhealthy weight gain.’

    Can you help this fat cat find the loving home she deserves? If so, contact Battersea Dogs & Cats Home directly for a chat.

    MORE: Oliver the carb-loving cat keeps stowing away on a potato harvest tractor

    MORE: Dogs can catch chlamydia from bird poo – do you know the signs?

    MORE: The best animals of 2018


    dina featured-af5ddina featured-af5dellencscottdina featured-af5ddina featured-af5dellencscott

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    metro illustrations
    Don’t stress, it’s going to be FINE. (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    If you got engaged over Christmas, first things first. Congratulations!

    Metro.co.uk’s Ellen Scott might not approve of the timing, but we’re happy for you. Only, after the smug Instagram, squealing phone calls and temptation to order Bride Tribe temporary tattoos, comes the dawning realisation. You’ve got a wedding to plan.

    Now, there’s no pressure to get married straight away. Some people like a long engagement, and if that works for you then don’t feel any pressure to pick a date. But if you’re hoping to get married in the next year, then it’s time to get cracking, as lots of venues, caterers, florists and even guests get booked up ahead of time.

    Before you start planning, please have a sharp word with yourself and remember that wedding planning is not the exclusive job of one partner. It might have been like that once upon a time, when getting a ring on your finger meant giving up work, but these days most couples are made up of two job-havers, and as such requires work on both sides.

    Date

    First things first, you need a date. Ideally you’ll be flexible about it to start with, but to get the ball rolling you need to know whether you’re going for a summer wedding in a garden or a winter wedding in a ball room (or none of the above).

    Budget

    Sit down with your partner and a piece of paper, and treat it like a meeting. Romantic? No. But essential.

    You need to agree a budget, and you need to agree where that budget is going to come from. No point saying it should cost £20K without actually asking the question of who’ll be paying that money.

    The wedding might be a year or six months away, but you’ll be putting down deposits straight away, so it’s time to be brutal.

    Strategize

    This is also a good moment to agree on a list of priorities. Unless you’ve got unlimited cash, you are going to have to make sacrifices at some point, so agree what you think is the most important part. Are you music people? Food people? Determined to have an open bar? Getting on the same page, both metaphorically and literally, is your best chance at a smooth planning experience.

    Venue

    Booking a venue is the biggest part of planning your wedding, because without one, it’s not happening. A few things to consider in terms of your venue are the following:

    • Is it licenced for ceremonies? If not that’s fine, but you’ll need to get legally married at a registry office ahead of your ceremony.
    • Do they have a set caterer or provider of alcohol? Don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re sure you won’t be stuck paying for chewy brown meat.
    • How flexible are they about numbers? Can you adjust in the run up to the event?
    • What is their wet weather plan? A beautiful garden is all well and good, but if it buckets down on your special day and you have to walk down a brown carpet aisle in Event Room B then it might not be the happiest day of your life.

    Venues book up quickly, sometimes up to three years in advance, but if you’re hoping for a summer wedding you should still be able to find somewhere lovely.

    Other options to consider would be renting a field or piece of land and putting up a marquee, or having a registry office wedding and a party at a pub or restaurant.

    It is most expensive to get married on a Saturday, followed by Sunday, then Friday, then Thursday. Monday to Wednesday usually has a set, cheaper, rate.

    Dress

    You do not need to buy a dress right now, but, scary as it might sound, if you’ve only got six months to plan, you do need to start thinking about it.

    Wedding dress shopping is an extraordinary kind of shopping where you try on dresses which are not your size and then order them. They take at least a month to arrive and then you’ll also need time for alterations.

    Many brides find that they want to go on a few dress trying trips to make sure that they’ve tried out all of the options, so probably worth booking an appointment (yes, you need an appointment) soon.

    Save the dates

    If you’re in that mid-twenties to mid-thirties life period where everyone is getting married, you’ll find that summer weekends book up fast. You can spend money on posting beautiful save the date cards, or you can do a Facebook event, but whatever you do, make sure the date has gone out to the people you really want at your wedding, otherwise you’ll end up wish clashes which can make life very uncomfortable.

    Take a break

    Once you’ve booked a venue, let everyone know the date, tried on some dresses and got a rough idea of what you’d like the day to be like, you can have a sit down and a massive glass of wine/cup of tea.

    We won’t lie to you, there’s still a lot left to get done, but you’ve broken the back of planning and you deserve a break, at least for a couple of days.

    MORE: Your partner has no place commenting on your body – value isn’t measured in weight

    MORE: How many vegans are there in the UK?

     


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    ‘Research has found that girls are twice as likely to show signs of depressive symptoms linked to social media use, compared to boys at age 14.’ (Picture posed by model: Getty)

    January is upon us, and with it comes the post-Christmas blues.

    We are bombarded on social media with the message that the new year should bring with it a new version of ourselves. A fresh start. But new beginnings offer little hope to those who feel there is no end in sight.

    We are pressured to ‘shed those festive pounds’, and start living our best lives. Gyms, weight loss programs and the like capitalise on our insecurities, offering false respite from the feelings of emptiness that many of us feel.

    Now I’m not suggesting that exercise isn’t good for you. Of course it is. It is proven to help us keep healthier, boost our mood and can be a tool to release our frustrations in a constructive way.

    But the narrative told to us, especially to women, that losing weight somehow magically fixes all of our problems, is toxic.

    The pressure for women to be skinny and for men to reach Hulk-like proportions is not a new concept. But the ways in which this notion is being delivered to us is.

    Social media permeates every aspect of our lives. We get a direct insight into the lives of celebrities, politicians, friends and that girl you used to sit behind in geography.

    But it’s a false reality.

    Social media permeates every aspect of our lives. We get a direct insight into the lives of celebrities, politicians, friends and that girl you used to sit behind in geography.

    It isn’t just adults who are susceptible. For a young generation who have no concept of life before the internet, we must protect and educate them against its dangers.

    Research out today from University College London has found that girls are twice as likely to show signs of depressive symptoms linked to social media use, compared to boys at age 14.

    It damages not only their view of the world, but their view of themselves. The same study suggested the more that people use social media, the more severe depression they will experience and I’m not surprised.

    It saddens me to see just how many ‘celebrities’ with many young, vulnerable followers, are advertising weight loss products over Instagram. Diet shakes and diet pills are dangerous.

    They are essentially laxatives. No laxative has ever soothed the feeling of emptiness, its job is to do literally the opposite.

    We are told to overindulge at Christmas then diet in the new year and I’ve already seen Easter eggs in the supermarket. The cycle continues. We are taught to self-loathe, self-improve and that happiness lies in the number on our scales.

    Detoxing can help. A social media detox, that is. Unfollow anyone who tries to sell you something to liquify your poop, or uses a face-tuning filter that makes them look like they were drawn by Disney. It’s all fake.

    We need to weigh up our mental health instead.

    I find Christmas and New Year very difficult. I’m guilty of obsessive comparison disorder, and when I’m at my lowest, I can’t help but feel that everyone else is having the best time and they don’t want me around to ruin it. Classic anxiety.

    I’ll be surrounded by family and friends and fortunate enough to be warm, loved and well-fed yet still have a feeling of inescapable loneliness within. Classic depressive symptoms.

    It’s a time when we don’t just compare ourselves to others, but we compare ourselves to the version of ourselves from the previous Christmas. I guess the true spirit of Christmas is to be grateful for what we have, rather than mourning what we think we don’t.

    Whenever I’m struggling with my own mental health and I open up to those close to me, they tell me to look after myself, to be kind to myself and to focus on myself.

    I appreciate their comfort and support, but I genuinely struggle to discover how to put that into action. There’s no magical diet shake for that. But I’m working on a figurative one.

    If I should choose a resolution, not just for the new year, but for each new day it should be to lose weight off my mind, not my hips.

    MORE: My Label and Me: I wear my bisexuality as a badge of honour

    MORE: Rail fares and train delays aren't just irritating - they affect my life, career and family

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


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    Lunges involve basically every muscle in your legs and bum.

    They are fantastically efficient and effective, when performed correctly – and can help you sculpt that toned butt you’re looking for, as well as building power and strength.

    As well as being a great burner for your calves, hamstrings and glutes, lunges also target your core and help improve your stability.

    Once you’ve got the ground work sorted, there are loads of ways you can advance the exercise and make it even more effective – walking lunges, backwards lunges, lunges with weights.

    But before you get to that – you’ve got to master the basics.

    Done wrong, lunges can be deadly for your knees and hip joints, so you want your form to be absolutely on point.

    Luckily, our expert James, Creative Director of Sweat by BXR, is on hand to teach you exactly how to execute the perfect lunge.

    According to James, it’s really important to keep your upper body straight when you’re lunging – you don’t want to lean forward or tilt at the waist.

    Engage your core and step forward with one leg. Lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90 degree angle.

    The motion should be forwards, and your back foot should be planted solidly on the ground.

    Make sure that the knee of the leg you step forward on travels directly over your toes. You don’t want your knee falling inwards, because that’s unstable and will put pressure on your joints.

    Tips for perfect lunges

    Don’t rest your hands on your knee
    Keep your arms up and away from your legs. It can be tempting to lean on your knee as you lunge, but doing that collapses your spine and makes it harder for your knee to stay stable.

    Keep your shoulders back and relaxed
    Make sure your chin is up and you’re looking ahead rather than down. This will help you keep your upper body upright.

    Adjust with smaller steps
    If you feel any pain, adjust the movement and take smaller steps. This will put less pressure through your hip and knee joints.

    Try reverse lunges
    Reverse lunges are also a good alternative for people who experience knee pain. Try both kinds of lunges in order to vary your workout. Watch the video to see the perfect reverse lunge form.

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

    MORE: How to do a plank: The perfect technique for the core exercise

    MORE: The biggest fitness trends for 2019


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    Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Approximately one in four people in the UK suffer from mental health problems. Many, though by no means all, are also currently taking some form of antidepressant, with over 64 million prescriptions issued by GPs last year.

    But these pills might be ending up in different hands than they were originally meant for.

    In a recent survey by Chemist 4 U, it was revealed that 29% of participants were taking or had taken antidepressants that weren’t prescribed to them.

    So, why are some people taking others’ antidepressants?

    Nikki, a mental health and human rights campaigner, took her ex boyfriend’s medication when they were together, because she was afraid her GP wouldn’t believe her symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

    ‘It was just over a year ago,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I was really struggling with my mental health and hearing voices. I decided to take my ex’s antipsychotic medication called Quetiapine because I didn’t think the doctor would believe me when I said I was struggling with voices.

    ‘One of my diagnoses is borderline personality disorder and it’s very misunderstood.’

    Nikki might have a point; last year we reported how women took to Twitter to share tales of being disproportionately misdiagnosed and treated badly by doctors by using #MyDoctorSaid.

    Interestingly, the survey actually showed that out of those suffering from a mental illness, 25% refuse to seek help from medical professionals because they had done so in the past and found the treatment to be poor.

    Others, like Emma, are unhappy with the technical side of things. She tells Metro.co.uk that she likes to have a back-up because the NHS mobile ordering app isn’t up to scratch.

    ‘I’ve taken my flatmate’s medication before,’ she said.

    ‘We’re both on the same pill, but for different illnesses, and unfortunately, the NHS’s mobile ordering app is awful. For me, it’s good to know I’ve got backup if I run out.’

    What it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Meanwhile, Susan*, 28, who used antidepressants for a few years, had more personal reasons for not wanting to get her own prescription.

    ‘I was in a bad place, but didn’t want to admit how bad it was or that medication might help me,’ she said.

    ‘I had the notion in my head that it was only for “certain people” and that I was strong enough to get over my depression and anxiety issues without taking any meds. But when my mum offered for me to try hers, I gave it a go.

    ‘It didn’t feel like I was really on antidepressants, because they weren’t really mine. About a year later, when I felt more ready, I went to the doctor and got my own. I admitted to taking my mum’s pills and she said that I shouldn’t have.

    ‘She didn’t guilt trip me, but told me that what I’d been taking wasn’t right for my condition and not as effective.’

    There are risks to taking medication that isn’t chosen for you, including adverse effects that could occur if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients or are taking other medication at the same time.

    But similarly, if you have started on a course of medicine, don’t just instantly stop taking them but discuss it with a medical professional first, as it could be dangerous to do so. Also, bare in mind that it can take weeks for the antidepressants to fully kick in, so if you’re inconsistently taking drugs that aren’t yours (or just taking one or two, now and then) – you might be missing out on the benefits.

    ‘A GP or pharmacist will make a full assessment of an individual and their condition before assigning medicine to them, so taking medicine that is not specifically prescribed to you can be absolutely detrimental to your health,’ Shamir Patel, a pharmacist at Chemist 4 U, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘For instance, you could be unknowingly allergic to an ingredient in the drug, or it could be the wrong medicine to treat your symptoms. Though the reasons why individuals are taking antidepressants that haven’t been prescribed to them isn’t transparent, our study has shown that people are staying away from talking to medical professionals about their mental health symptoms for one reason or another.

    ‘Taking prescription medicines not intended for you is never the answer to this, however, as you could be putting something incredibly damaging to you in your body – no two people are the same.’

    While the antidepressant study wasn’t conclusive (it did only have 2,000 participants, after all), other revelations included the most common antidepressant drug – Trimipramine.

    Also, 19% of those diagnosed by a doctor had opted out of taking any drugs at all, while only 31% of those who did take antidepressants said that they were effective.

    Whatever your personal stance on it, as always, we recommend that you talk to a medical professional before taking any medication.

    Feel you can’t speak to your GP? Contact the mental health charity, Mind, for more information on how to get help, instead.

    MORE: 13 mental health resolutions you should set yourself for 2019

    MORE: How to look after your mental health when you’re always on the internet

    MORE: What happened when I called Samaritans for my mental health


    Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpallieabgarianWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration IllustrationsWhat it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospitalWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpallieabgarianWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration IllustrationsWhat it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital

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    (Picture: Metro.co.uk/The Range)

    The Range has released a ‘bikini body weight loss plaque’, aimed at people who want to save money while losing weight.

    In the post-Christmas haze, lots of us are feeling the call of green vegetables and mineral water after a festive period of indulgence. Which is presumably why The Range have released this object, which conflate weight loss with having a ‘bikini body’.

    The idea is that you put £1 on to the plaque every time that you lose one pound of body fat. By the end of the process you’ll have lost just shy of two stone, and saved £23.

    Or £21.71 if you discount the £2.29 that you spent on the plaque in the first place.

    According to the NHS, a safe rate of weight loss is between one and two lbs per week, meaning it should take a minimum of 12 weeks to save £23.

    Not everyone is impressed by the idea, though, with critics taking to The Range’s Facebook page to share their distaste at the idea that weight loss was the way to achieve a ‘bikini body’.

    Lauren McKenzie wrote: ‘Toxic message, every body is a bikini body and people shouldn’t be sold into rewarding themselves with their own money for losing weight.’ 

    Lou Bell wrote: ‘Surely all bodies are bikini bodies?’

    Rachel Simpson Morse added: ‘Stop making women feel unworthy. Its not ok some people cannot lose weight through medical reasons and its heart wrenching.’

    Metro.co.uk contacted The Range for comment, but they did not respond before the time of publication. If they get in touch with us, we’ll let you know. 

    MORE: Woman shares heartbreaking tale of wedding guests who ate the cheese cake before the bride could slice it

    MORE: Sainsbury’s is trialling ‘wellness aisles’ and people aren’t sure how to feel about it


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    (Picture: Getty)

    Everyone and their mum is going vegan.

    It’s booming in popularity and it’s not hard to work out why. Veganism helps save the planet, it makes you more conscious about your diet, and it’s nice to know no animals had to die to satisfy your hunger.

    Whether it’s for veganuary, or a longer-term lifestyle change, veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism are all on the rise.

    We seem to have collectively decided that we want to eat less meat. And, on the whole, that’s probably a really good thing.

    But when it comes to what we eat instead of meat – things get a little more complicated.

    Evidence is mounting that some vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives might not actually be as healthy as we think they are.

    Some are so loaded with sodium that they’re positively dangerous, and you might have heard rumours that too many soy-based products can lead to serious health problems.

    Greggs has just launched their vegan sausage roll, which is made from Quorn, and many other mainstream brands are wising-up to the growing demand for meat substitutes.

    But is it wiser to steer clear of them altogether?

    Tofu is a soy-based product (Picture: Getty)

    Some experts have criticised vegetarian meat alternatives for containing worrying levels of sodium – which is obviously bad news for your heart and kidneys. You definitely wouldn’t want to be consuming more than the daily recommended levels of salt on a regular basis.

    But the major concerns when it comes to meat substitutes is the potential risks associated with eating too many soy-based products.

    The worry is that oestrogen-like proteins that are found in soy can mess with your hormones, so much so that it could even cause breast cancer. But in reality, a number of experts have said that there is no link.

    Scientists have found that soy-based foods don’t contain high enough levels of isoflavones to increase the risk of breast cancer.

    And soy-based foods, like tofu, are fantastic and vital sources of protein for non-meat-eaters.

    ‘Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids and acts as a valuable source of iron and calcium,’ explains nutritionist and raw chef, Geeta Sidhu-Robb.

    ‘Soy is high in polysaturated fats, fibre, vitamins and zinc which is beneficial to the immune system. On the whole, if carefully planned, meat alternatives can form the crux of a healthy diet and are far less dense in saturated fats and calorie value than meat. They certainly have benefits over fatty meats.

    ‘It is, however, vitally important to know whether your body is suited to certain diet changes. For example, tofu is not suited to somebody with kidney or gallbladder stones owing to its high amount of oxalates.’

    Inflammatory headlines aside, we know now that soy doesn’t result in an increased risk of breast cancer. In fact, it could actually protect you from some cancers.

    But what about Quorn products – like the Gregg’s sausage roll? Do we need to limit how much of this we’re eating?

    ‘Quorn is made from mycoprotein which is produced by adding oxygen, nitrogen, glucose and minerals to a fungus called Fusarium venenatum,’ explains Geeta.

    ‘While the fungus is edible, it can have some adverse reactions for some people. This means that excessive Quorn consumption is not always advised.’

    Probably the biggest thing to be concerned about where meat-substitutes are concerned are the salt levels. Some of these products contain really high levels of sodium, so you do need to be careful when choosing a product and read all labels carefully.

    But Geeta thinks even despite the concerns over sodium, the substitutes are still better for you than meat.

    ‘One negative often attributed to meat alternatives is the high levels of sodium used to preserve the food and improve the taste, which can be damaging to your kidneys.

    ‘However this is not to say that genuine meat is not pumped with preservatives, unhealthy oils, additives and salts meaning that, in the balance of things, alternatives are actually healthier than processed meat – it just depends which substitute you opt for.’

    And that’s the crux of it. It’s down to your choice and making sure you’re as informed as humanly possible when you’re out food shopping.

    But ultimately, if you’ve made the decision to go vegan or vegetarian – then good for you. You’re doing your bit for animal welfare and to help the environment.

    If you need to bite in to something that looks and feels a bit like meat to help with the transition, then you should go for it. And if you still have concerns, make sure you speak to your GP or a nutritionist.

    MORE: All the easiest Keto dinner ideas

    MORE: What’s actually in the Greggs vegan sausage roll?

    MORE: McDonald’s is finally offering a vegetarian Happy Meal


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    Our weekly What I Rent series takes you inside people’s rented properties around London.

    Sometimes they’re a little scuzzy, but beyond a dirty toilet or a bit of mould in the bathroom, they’re lovely places to live, rented out by people who are fortunate to earn enough to navigate the city’s housing market.

    For many people in London, these rented properties would be a luxury.

    The shortage of social housing is pushing individuals and families into homelessness. If they are lucky enough to have a place to live, their situation remains unstable and their homes are anything but desirable.

    There are an estimated 700,000 children currently living below the poverty line in London. Too many of us see numbers like that and quickly forget them, ignoring the reality of living in poverty by thinking in terms of facts and figures rather than the actualities of being a child living in poverty.

    A new photo series challenges us with that reality. In partnership with The Childhood Trust, photographer Katie Wilson has created Bedrooms of London, photographs of the bedrooms of children living in the capital.

    Each photo will be shown at the Foundling Museum along with a first-hand narrative collected and written by Isabella Walker, with the intention of giving people an insight into what it’s like to live in a city in poverty surrounded by extreme wealth.

    The project will be shown at the Foundling Museum from the 8 February to 5 May 2019. Take a look at a few of the images below.

    Nadine, Crystal, Peter, and Simone

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Nadine, Crystal, Peter & Simone, 2017
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    Nadine, 17, Crystal, 16, Peter, 15, and Simone, nine, live with their parents in a two-bedroom flat. The photograph above shows the room the siblings share and where they spend their leisure time.

     

    Antousha, Gabriela, and Moses

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Antousha, Gabriela & Moses, 2018
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    This room is shared by five-year-old Antousha, four-year-old Gabriela, and one-year-old Moses.

    Their parents, who are unable to work, share the other bedroom in the flat.

     

    Edward

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Edward, 2017 ? Katie Wilson
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    Edward is four. He sleeps on a bed next to his mother’s, in a one-room hostel.

     

    Adam

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Adam, 2017 ? Katie Wilson
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    This is the living room. It’s also where nine-month old Adam sleeps along with his mum and dad, as well as where the rest of Adam’s three siblings eat their dinner, as there’s nowhere else to sit.

     

    Rory and Vanessa

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Rory & Vanessa, 2018 ? Katie Wilson
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    There’s no space to move between the beds of Rory, his sister Vanessa, and their mum, Zainab.

    Clothes are washed in the shower and food is stored on the bathroom shelves.

    Jane

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Jane, 2017 ? Katie Wilson
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    Jane sleeps in the cot, her mum on the bed next to her. Their room is in a hostel where neighbours have parties, late-night arguments, and abuse drugs and alcohol.

     

    Christopher and Simon

    Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Christopher & Simon, 2017 ? Katie Wilson
    (Picture: Katie Wilson)

    Sainey was trafficked to London as a slave.

    She lives with her sons, Christopher, four, and Simon, two.

    She can’t afford to buy them clothes.

    MORE: Fat Cat Friday shows how little is being done to close the gender pay gap

    MORE: Last year we welcomed a refugee into our home – now I can’t imagine Christmas without her


    Bedrooms of London photo seriesBedrooms of London photo seriesellencscottKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Nadine, Crystal, Peter & Simone, 2017Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Antousha, Gabriela & Moses, 2018Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Edward, 2017 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Adam, 2017 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Rory & Vanessa, 2018 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Jane, 2017 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Christopher & Simon, 2017 ? Katie WilsonBedrooms of London photo seriesBedrooms of London photo seriesellencscottKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Nadine, Crystal, Peter & Simone, 2017Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Antousha, Gabriela & Moses, 2018Katie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Edward, 2017 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Adam, 2017 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Rory & Vanessa, 2018 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Jane, 2017 ? Katie WilsonKatie Wilson, Bedrooms of London-Christopher & Simon, 2017 ? Katie Wilson

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    Maldives, atoll Ari sud, ile de Rangali, Hotel Resort & Spa Hilton, vue du ciel//Maldives, South Ari Atoll, Rangali island, Hotel Resort & Spa Hilton, top view
    The Maldives is nearly always a warm option (Picture: Getty)

    If you are already sick of being back at work after new year and the cold is getting to you, then it might be time to book yourself a holiday somewhere a bit warmer.

    The rest of January might be a bit soon to get the time off work, but it might be possible for you to escape somewhere a little sunnier by February.

    thumbnail for post ID 8310447Liverpool set to make massive £16 million profit on former Chelsea striker

    While Europe might be pretty chilly throughout February, there are warmer climates you can visit, and if you bag yourself a good deal, they won’t even cost you as much as you might think.

    Here are some of the hottest destinations you could turn into your next holiday…

    Zagora, Morocco

    February average temperature: 23°C.

    Sunshine hours per day: 8 hours.

    Flight time: 4 hours.

    (Picture: Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

    Get the real desert experience this February in Zagora, Morocco.

    Take a camelback tour and camping trips to Morocco’s capital Marrakech through the deep Sahara and take in the natural sights Morocco has to offer.

    Make sure you pack the essentials for your desert experience this February.

    (Picture: FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Dubai, UAE

    Temperature: 25 °C.

    Sunshine hours: 8 hours.

    Flight time: 7 hours.

    Jumeirah Beach hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates  (Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images)

    The desert will grab your heart and warm your cockles the second you arrive in Dubai and the luxury will have your head over heels.

    The warm sunny weather never takes a hit in Dubai as the dry desert climate will have you hydrating at the infamous Dubai brunches, which you seriously cannot miss out on.

    There will be no need to pack an emergency brolly as there will be no rain to speak of in Dubai. Make sure to not only spend your time under the sun but visiting the souks (market) there’s spice souks, gold souks, perfume souks and fish souks.

    Maldives

    February average temperature: 28°C.

    Sunshine hours per day: 10 hours.

    Flight time: 12.5 hours.

    Floating on the heart of the Indian Ocean is the tropical nation comprised of 25 ring-shaped atolls making up more than 1,000 coral islands.

    Soak up the sun this February as you lounge on the iconic beaches, swim in the blue lagoons and dive into the Maldives extensive reefs.

    Head to the capital Malé to take in the atmosphere of life in the Maldives at their busy fish markets and taste the jewels the Indian Ocean has to offer.

    GettyImages-463068643.jpg
    The Maldives is a dream destination (Picture: Getty)

    Lanzarote, Canary Islands

    February average temperature: 18°C.

    Sunshine hours: 7 hours.

    Flight time: 4 hours.

    The pool of ‘Jameos del Agua’ is visited by a lot of tourists at Jameos del Agua (Picture: Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)

    Head to the island of Lanzarote this February for a cheap holiday on the Spanish territory.

    Built to delight tourists, you will find some of the most accommodating hotels completed with all your holiday needs.

    Visit the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve for some unique attractionsa and iconic beaches.

    Take camels rides around volcanoes and eat at a restaurant in a volcanic cave by Jameos de Agua.

    You will really be able to kick back in Lanzarote this February (Picture: Getty)

    Montego Bay, Jamaica

    February average temperature: 26°C

    Sunshine hours per day: 8 hours.

    Flight time: 9.75 hours.

    Montego Bay Jamaica will be heaven on earth for you this February (Picture:DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty)

    If you want to fall asleep under shady palm trees and have happy dreams about how wonderful your February is then head to the pure shores of Jamaica.

    Not only will the cultural phenomenon of Jamaica take you on the ride of your life but you can also hire a motorbike to let the natural phenomenon of Jamaica take you on a journey too.

    The sun filtering through the rainforests will surely revive your cold British soul and sure you of the post-Christmas blues.

    Montego Bay is designed to show you a good time as the area is known for the best of both worlds: a relaxing week on the sands and a raucous party place.

    You can enjoy some duty-free shopping or clear water snorkelling this February as you fly away into your Caribbean dream.

    Tourists sunbathing at Doctor Cave beach in Montego Bay (Picture: Getty Images)

    Singapore

    February average temperature: 27°C

    Sunshine hours per day: 8 hours.

    Flight time: 13 hours.

    Tourists walk on the OCBC Skywalk between the Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay (Picture: Getty Images)

    This city-state lies exactly one degree north of the equator so it will give you exactly what you need in terms of a centre balance in the sun department this February.

    See the entirety of the Garden City in bloom as Spring begins and get your blood running warm on your getaway from the British weather.

    Have your mind blown by the wide open green spaces in the compact city of Singapore while exploring everything Asia’s fastest growing tourist destination has to offer.

    Gardens by the Bay(Picture: Chong Seng Keat/SOPA Images/LightRocket /Getty Images)

    Phuket, Thailand

    Temperature: 28°C.

    Sunshine hours: 9 hours.

    Flight time: 11.25 hours

    Phuket in Thailand is renowned for its natural beauty (Picture: Getty)

    Enjoy a rainbow spectrum of wondrous sights as you relax by the blue lagoons and watch the pink sunsets this February.

    You will really benefit from the pleasure that Spring has sprung when you get to Thailand and leave behind your life filled with grey and damp.

    Head to Phuket to get yourself going on one of Thailand’s most popular beaches.

    Take a ride on a Tuk-Tuk and leave your worries behind.

    Leonardo Bay on Phi-Phi Island, off Phuket Island (Picture: Getty)

    MORE: Devastated dog owner abandons pet at shelter with heartbreaking note after being left homeless

    MORE: Get ready for a bitterly cold weekend as temperatures plummet to -7C


    maldives-48eemaldives-48eephilhaigh26Maldives, atoll Ari sud, ile de Rangali, Hotel Resort & Spa Hilton, vue du ciel//Maldives, South Ari Atoll, Rangali island, Hotel Resort & Spa Hilton, top viewGettyImages-463068643.jpgmaldives-48eemaldives-48eephilhaigh26Maldives, atoll Ari sud, ile de Rangali, Hotel Resort & Spa Hilton, vue du ciel//Maldives, South Ari Atoll, Rangali island, Hotel Resort & Spa Hilton, top viewGettyImages-463068643.jpg

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  • 01/04/19--08:37: Why do I sneeze after sex?
  • How to do coital aligment technique during sex
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Picture the scene.

    You’ve just finished having sex, enjoying the afterglow, and then suddenly you’re in the middle of a sneezing fit.

    Streaming eyes, runny nose, – all the trappings of a cold but it’s not that you’re allergic to dust or anything. You’re sneezing because you’ve had sex.

    Why? Well, it might be because you have a condition nicknamed honeymoon rhinitis. Which is where you find yourself sneezing and runny nosed when you have sex.

    According to an article in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology ‘The condition appears to be genetically determined, and caused by the presence in the nose of erectile tissue which may become engorged during sexual arousal as a side effect of the signals from the autonomic nervous system that trigger changes in the genitals of both men and women.’

    Symptoms of honeymoon rhinitis:

    • Burning or pain when urinating
    • A fever or chills
    • Feeling tired
    • Feeling shaky
    • Pain during sex
    • Pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen
    • Cloudy, dark, or strong-smelling urine

    Unfortunately there’s no current cure for sex sneezing, other than not having sex, which isn’t the most fun way of getting around it.

    On the upside, the problem tends to be post coital rather than during sex, so at least you can enjoy getting it on before the sneezing starts?

    MORE: Do you have diarrhoea or is it shigella from poo in your mouth during sex?

    MORE: Bride cut into wedding cake to find it was polystyrene covered in icing


    How to do coital aligment technique during sexHow to do coital aligment technique during sexrebeccacnreidHow to do coital aligment technique during sexHow to do coital aligment technique during sexHow to do coital aligment technique during sexrebeccacnreidHow to do coital aligment technique during sex

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    (Picture: Triangle News, PrettyLittleThing)

    A girl has shared photos of herself crying after PrettyLittleThing sent her the wrong outfit for New Year’s Eve.

    19-year-old Brittany Colley had bought a last minute outfit the day before, which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work.

    She said: ‘I placed my order with PrettyLittleThing on December 30, as a last minute order as I couldn’t find anything to wear.’

    But sadly, they sent the wrong item.

    She continued: ‘I opened the parcel to get ready as I’d been to work so didn’t have a chance to look at it earlier in the day.

    - Picture taken from twitter showing Brittany Colley crying after being sent the wrong PLT dress TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5587 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk By Niamh Cavanagh A SNOWFLAKE millennial was left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Year?s Eve. Heartbroken Brittany Colley was left puffy-eyed when she opened her Pretty Little Thing package to see that the completely wrong item had been sent to her. The 19-year old had bought a last minute outfit the day before which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work. *Full copied filed via the wires/Triangle News* *TRIANGLE NEWS DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY TRIANGLE NEWS ARE FOR TRIANGLE NEWS SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD TRIANGLE NEWS HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL*
    (Picture: NiallAttawi/Twitter)

    ‘When I opened it the material wasn’t the same and when I held the dress up it was a complete different dress.’

    According to Brittany, she burst into tears as soon as she tried the dress on. Her friend then posted photos of Brittany crying on his Twitter account.

    Brittany said: ‘I was crying my eyes out because I didn’t have anything to wear and yeah it was nothing alike and so disgusting, like I couldn’t even wear what they had sent me.’

    The dress she had ordered was a high neck midi dress while the outfit she received was a low-cut short dress.

    According to the student, the incident ruined her night.

    - Picture taken from twitter showing Brittany Colley crying after being sent the wrong PLT dress TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5587 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk By Niamh Cavanagh A SNOWFLAKE millennial was left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Year?s Eve. Heartbroken Brittany Colley was left puffy-eyed when she opened her Pretty Little Thing package to see that the completely wrong item had been sent to her. The 19-year old had bought a last minute outfit the day before which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work. *Full copied filed via the wires/Triangle News* *TRIANGLE NEWS DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY TRIANGLE NEWS ARE FOR TRIANGLE NEWS SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD TRIANGLE NEWS HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL*
    (Picture: NiallAttawi/Twitter)

    She said: ‘It did ruin my night because I wasn’t going to go out.

    ‘I didn’t want it to totally ruin it so in the end I found something I already had to wear.’

    Brittany got her friend to take the pictures of her wearing the dress crying.

    Despite spoiling her night, Brittany decided not to email PrettyLittleThing as she only needed the outfit for New Year’s Eve and said she wouldn’t have worn it again.

    Woman left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Years Eve METRO GRAB FROM https://www.prettylittlething.com/black-glitter-high-neck-twist-front-midi-dress.html Credit: PrettyLittleThing
    The dress she was supposed to get (Picture: PrettyLittleThing)

    She said: ‘I didn’t bother to email them because it would’ve just been a case of “we apologise, send the dress back and we’ll send you the one you were meant to get…”

    ‘But I wouldn’t wear that dress for another time, so I’ll just send the dress back and get my money back.’

    A spokeswoman from PrettyLittleThing said: ‘Our customer service team have been in touch to advise on our returns policy.’

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

    MORE: Girl’s £20 bodycon dress ends up showing more than she bargained for


    wrong dress comp-de42wrong dress comp-de42hattiegladwellmetro- Picture taken from twitter showing Brittany Colley crying after being sent the wrong PLT dress TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5587 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk By Niamh Cavanagh A SNOWFLAKE millennial was left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Year?s Eve. Heartbroken Brittany Colley was left puffy-eyed when she opened her Pretty Little Thing package to see that the completely wrong item had been sent to her. The 19-year old had bought a last minute outfit the day before which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work. *Full copied filed via the wires/Triangle News* *TRIANGLE NEWS DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY TRIANGLE NEWS ARE FOR TRIANGLE NEWS SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD TRIANGLE NEWS HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL*- Picture taken from twitter showing Brittany Colley crying after being sent the wrong PLT dress TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5587 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk By Niamh Cavanagh A SNOWFLAKE millennial was left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Year?s Eve. Heartbroken Brittany Colley was left puffy-eyed when she opened her Pretty Little Thing package to see that the completely wrong item had been sent to her. The 19-year old had bought a last minute outfit the day before which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work. *Full copied filed via the wires/Triangle News* *TRIANGLE NEWS DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY TRIANGLE NEWS ARE FOR TRIANGLE NEWS SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD TRIANGLE NEWS HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL*Woman left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Years Eve METRO GRAB FROM https://www.prettylittlething.com/black-glitter-high-neck-twist-front-midi-dress.html Credit: PrettyLittleThingwrong dress comp-de42wrong dress comp-de42hattiegladwellmetro- Picture taken from twitter showing Brittany Colley crying after being sent the wrong PLT dress TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5587 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk By Niamh Cavanagh A SNOWFLAKE millennial was left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Year?s Eve. Heartbroken Brittany Colley was left puffy-eyed when she opened her Pretty Little Thing package to see that the completely wrong item had been sent to her. The 19-year old had bought a last minute outfit the day before which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work. *Full copied filed via the wires/Triangle News* *TRIANGLE NEWS DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY TRIANGLE NEWS ARE FOR TRIANGLE NEWS SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD TRIANGLE NEWS HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL*- Picture taken from twitter showing Brittany Colley crying after being sent the wrong PLT dress TRIANGLE NEWS 0203 176 5587 // contact@trianglenews.co.uk By Niamh Cavanagh A SNOWFLAKE millennial was left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Year?s Eve. Heartbroken Brittany Colley was left puffy-eyed when she opened her Pretty Little Thing package to see that the completely wrong item had been sent to her. The 19-year old had bought a last minute outfit the day before which was due to arrive at her house while she was at work. *Full copied filed via the wires/Triangle News* *TRIANGLE NEWS DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY TRIANGLE NEWS ARE FOR TRIANGLE NEWS SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD TRIANGLE NEWS HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL*Woman left in tears after a fashion retailer sent her the wrong outfit on New Years Eve METRO GRAB FROM https://www.prettylittlething.com/black-glitter-high-neck-twist-front-midi-dress.html Credit: PrettyLittleThing

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    What it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    There is still a huge stigma around mental health hospitals.

    Many horror films are set within abandoned mental health hospitals, creating a common perception that they’re places of outdated, horrific treatments and people screaming in the corridors.

    This isn’t reflective of reality.

    30-year-old Rebecca has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital three times. The first was in June 2008, the second October 2009, and the third June 2010. All of these admissions were for anorexia.

    Rebecca tells Metro.co.uk: ‘For the first admission, I had no idea that psych hospitals really existed and had no ideas of what it would be like.

    ‘I was very annoyed to be admitted to hospital because I wanted to carry on losing weight.

    ‘For the second admission I knew what I was expecting and had a definite target set before I was admitted so I knew what I needed to do.’

    Rebecca was sectioned for each admission, which she says made her feel annoyed at that she’d fallen back into the situation where she’d had all control taken away from her over and over again.

    She said: ‘The first psych ward I was in felt a very strange experience as I had no idea what to expect.

    ‘We were basically left to our own devices except for meal times and 30 minute supervision after.

    ‘The majority of the staff were very unsympathetic and had no real understanding of eating disorders.

    ‘My consultant always dismissed what I said as something all people with anorexia say and I felt very much like my individual feelings and opinions were ignored.

    ‘I also feel this admission made my eating disorder worse as I met lots of other chronic anorexia sufferers who didn’t want to recover.

    ‘As this was my first admission, I was very naive to everything but I quickly learnt all the tricks and my anorexia strengthened.

    medication illustration
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I spent all my time in the hospital exercising in my bedroom and the staff just said they would give me more calories to compensate.

    ‘They didn’t try to help cure my exercise addiction. I was admitted to that first hospital for a year and when released, I instantly set about losing all the weight I had gained.

    ‘I went for follow up once a week for 4 weeks and then had a community nurse who I saw once every two to threeweeks but she was easy to deceive and I was able to make it seem that I wasn’t losing weight.’

    Rebecca says each admission has been different, as one hospital was amazing, with all caring staff who always trying to help and listen.

    She ended up working with one medical professional to get better, doing group therapy and keeping busy.

    She said: ‘It had a much more homely feel and we could have interaction with other patients on other wards whereas the first admission had been me only ever interacting with eating disorder patients.

    ‘I was in that second hospital for about 7 months and when discharged, I had follow up once a week for four weeks and was then left to the care of my community nurse.’

    Rebecca is currently under the care of her community mental health team which she says has saved her life.

    She went back to university and completed her degree.

    When asked whether she feels there are any misconceptions around mental health hospitals, she said: ‘I think there are bad depictions of psych wards but unfortunately, because the quality of treatment in different psych wards is so variable and my experience in that hospital at the start of my third admission (before I was sectioned) actually shows some of these negative depictions are true.

    woman with hand on shoulder
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I think some people don’t differentiate between different mental illnesses and I think there is often a stigma that psych hospitals are just full of manically crazy people locked up.

    ‘This is not the case and there are a lot of ‘normal’ people in psych wards with normal lives, normal jobs and having normal conversations, it just so happens that they are also struggling with a mental illness but this doesn’t make them mad or crazy.’

    21-year-old Christopher was 16 when he was admitted to a mental health hospital after experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations as well as depressive episodes.

    He said: ‘I was heartbroken when sectioned, although it was needed – I originally entered voluntarily although due to my mental state deteriorating and me trying to leave the unit, I was place on a section 3 which lasted about two months.

    ‘I was under the crisis team, and was prescribed medication to help my psychosis and depression.

    ‘This didn’t help and eventually I stopped taking medication. My parents became worried about this, and liaised with the crisis team to get me taken into hospital.

    ‘The ward I was on was lovely. While I was the only ‘child’ on an adult ward, I was on constant observations.

    ‘The staff were fantastic. They helped a lot with my progression and were able to get me out of my room and doing things.

    ‘There was a lot of routine when I was on the ward. Fixed medication and meal times, which was good as it stopped you from neglecting yourself and becoming lazy.’

    Christopher was in hospital for around four months, which he says felt like an ‘age’. When he came out, he decided straight away that he wanted to become a mental health nurse.

    He went back home with his parents and had follow up appointments weekly with an early intervention team, who helped him get back into college, where he started to do nursing.

    He said: ‘I didn’t experience too much of a stigma, the hospital I was in was on the grounds of a general hospital.

    ‘I did feel that you would ‘stand out’ as the MH patient, although this was probably just paranoia.

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

    ‘I’ve seen stigma on social media, and in the press. This is definitely improving though.’

    Hannah, 26, has been admitted to a mental health hospital three times.

    The first was under child and adolescent mental health services to an under 18 mental health ward when she was 12, and twice with adult services at 18 and 23.

    She tells us: ‘Admissions were due to severe anxiety which developed into an eating disorder and food restriction.

    ‘I felt I could control my anxiety by not eating, or only eating my very small group of “safe foods”. Unlike many eating disorder admissions based on anorexia and bulimia; I was admitted with Food Avoidance Emotional Disorder and didn’t have the thoughts of being too fat or needing to excessively exercise, rather that I was too thin but my anxiety wouldn’t allow me to eat as food was ‘dangerous’.

    ‘My first admission was one of the most traumatic days of my 14 years living with my mental health issues.

    ‘My parents had told me we were going out somewhere only for them to divert to the hospital where the staff were waiting for my arrival.

    ‘I remember trying to jump out of the car to run away and shaming my parents for lying to me about where we were going.

    ‘Now that I’m older and can understand the situation, I know that my parents did it out of love and with my best interests at heart, essentially saving me from major health complications.

    ‘I was admitted with absolutely no understanding of my anxiety or eating disorder and felt completely out of control. At 12 it was difficult to understand what “mental health” was and it was difficult to not be in control of the decisions being made regarding treatment – being under 18,

    ‘My parents and medical team had control over all decisions being made.

    ‘I was fortunate to not be sectioned and I am grateful looking back that my parents and nurses were able to support me in understanding their decisions and agreeing to treatment, however there were other patients on the ward of similar ages under section for various mental health conditions.’

    (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk)

    Hannah says that her admissions at 18 and 24 were a lot easier, but she was still severely unwell.

    At 18, she spent three weeks on a drip on a medical ward before being admitted to the mental health ward.

    She said: ‘Having been admitted previously, I feel this allowed me to understand what was happening and the process of what was ahead of me in terms of hospital stays and treatment plans. Not that this made the reality of physically and mentally working on that treatment plan any easier as such but at least I could identify the path ahead.

    ‘Being admitted to an adult mental health ward as opposed to child and adolescent was a complete eye opener. I don’t know how I imagined it would be, but it was nothing like I thought it might be. I was one of the youngest patients on the ward on both occasions and was on a ward with severely unwell patients.

    ‘It was scary, intimidating and overwhelming and as much as the nurses made great efforts in making me feel settled, some of my fellow patients made me feel very unsafe.

    ‘I had two occasions when the same patient attacked me and although the staff were very quick in reacting, I feel it highlighted the difficulties at present with limited services and facilities for varying degrees of treatment required by individuals.’

    Hannah says being on a psychiatric ward was like ‘no other experience’ she will ever go through.

    She explained: ‘Looking back I find it equally fascinating and awful how bad it was but at the time I couldn’t find any humour to lighten the situation.

    ‘The child and adolescent unit I was admitted to was outdated and not fit for purpose. It was a separate building to the main hospital in which a trolley would bring breakfast, lunch and dinner to us from the canteen.

    ‘One room was set up as a school which all under 16 patients had to attend, there was a girls ‘dorm’ and a boys ‘dorm’ with a couple of individual bedrooms and a shared bathroom.

    ‘The unit did have a weekly schedule of activities and group sessions such as art therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology sessions however not all activities were available for all patients dependent on their treatment plan.

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

    ‘The adult mental health ward was much more clinical, and the days were the slowest days I feel I will ever experience.

    ‘There were no therapy sessions or support groups, you simply sat in the common room from when you woke up to when you went to bed.

    ‘No effort or facilities to work with patients on their difficulties and mindset, simply sitting watch the days pass by.

    ‘Patients would come and go on a daily basis, with new admissions every day or patients being rotated between wards to allow beds to become available. ‘

    She added: ‘Until I’d been on a psych ward I had no idea what it would be like. I feel it’s something that unless you’ve been through it yourself, it’s hard to fully understand what it’s like.

    ‘I feel people are reluctant to say they have been admitted due to the old fashioned view of what a mental health unit was like – while they have come a long way since then, there is still plenty of education and awareness to be provided to allow the public to change their perception of mental health and psych wards.

    ‘People are scared to say they have been on psych ward because of the connotations the public/media have created around it.

    ‘To be admitted people seem to think you must be “mad” or “psycho” and I try to think that actually no, we are just unwell the same as anyone could be unwell with any other medical issue.

    ‘My normal response seems to be “yes I’ve been on a psych ward but don’t worry I’m not mad” and I suppose the feeling to need to say it this way sums up that we still feel people will be judgemental or stereotypical about the type of person we are if we admit to having mental Health difficulties.’

    Cory, 31, was sectioned in May 2018. After his uncle was murdered, he’d given up his career as a mental health nurse and struggled with alcohol and drugs as well as a failing relationship.

    He said: ‘One morning I visited my GP and things were particularly bad for me and I had displayed some suicidal thoughts.

    (Illustration: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘My GP was concerned and I was made to attend A&E, if I didn’t go with the ambulance then they would send the police for me to collect me on a section 136.

    ‘When I first started as a nurse one of my colleagues off of another ward told my colleagues she had nursed me when I was younger.

    ‘So this built up barriers for me to talking to other nurses as I was seen by the same Trust that I had worked for three months prior.

    ‘The nurse who came to assess me was someone who I had previously worked with so I said I don’t feel comfortable talking to them.

    ‘I was told “tough” and it was them or a Mental Health Act assessment. Knowing people also made it difficult for me to want to engage with community teams.’

    Cory had a horrific time on a mental health ward. He says that as he refused to go to the hospital, he was dragged and bruised by hospital security staff, who then sat him in a secure van.

    On the ward, he met six people he’d worked with, which was uncomfortable.

    He adds that it was a very traumatic time, and he feels the hospital was not beneficial for him. He also feels there is a huge stigma around mental health hospitals.

    28-year-old Siobhan was admitted to a mental health hospital three times, all throughout 2018, due to depression and suicidal thoughts.

    She was at risk to herself and unable to keep herself safe without 24/7 specialist care.

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

    She tells us: ‘Being admitted to hospital was a real mix of feelings, the first time was scary and unsettling, and ultimately very upsetting.

    ‘I didn’t know what to expect and I had not been engaging with mental health services for long, so everything was new to me.

    ‘Sometimes staff don’t realise how little a patient may know about services, so it can be hard to understand what is happening and why.

    ‘For subsequent admissions I also had a real sense of failure, as I’d promised myself I’d never end up there again, but had to admit defeat (to myself) and be admitted, which I found very difficult to accept.

    ‘I felt as if I was letting everyone around me down, as they thought I was getting better. Through all of my admissions there was always a sense of relief.

    ‘Fighting strong suicidal thoughts and urges everyday is exhausting, with everyday being a battle to survive in your own head it becomes harder and harder to keep going and stay safe.

    ‘Going into a psychiatric hospital means I gave that responsibility to someone else, there was now a whole team of people there to keep me safe and all possible risk items that I could hurt myself with were removed. So I no longer had to fight to keep myself physically safe.’

    Siobhan was first admitted after a serious overdose attempt. The crisis team were caring for her at the time and recommended a psychiatric hospital admission to stable her mental state and allow medication to start working properly in a safe and controlled environment.

    Her other two admissions were after her mental health deteriorated and she became suicidal again, so they were keeping her safe and helping her through a crisis period.

    She said: ‘Psych wards are hectic, there are lots of people, who are seriously ill with lots of different mental illnesses, all living in one space.

    ‘I’ve had experiences of psych wards where patients mostly kept to themselves so you didn’t really get to know other people.

    ‘But I’ve also been on a ward where there was a great atmosphere amongst most of the patients, where you got to know them, did activities together and tried to make the most of a bad situation.

    ‘But it’s always busy, patients and staff going about their day doing lots of things. It can also be very boring at times, there are usually some activities during the week, but on the weekends when there are less staff about there is less to do, and there is only so much colouring that one person can do to pass their time.

    ‘It can be uncomfortable at times too, if there is a very unwell patient who is struggling and in distress it can increase the tension on the ward, but at the end of it all everyone understands that this is the illness that person has and is not the person themselves.

    ‘[Hospitals] are very regimented, meals, medication, activities are all at certain times. Dinner always seems to be 5pm, which makes you feel like a child again.

    ‘Coming back to the “real world” can feel strange, as for the time I was in hospital my world was just within those four walls.

    ‘Ultimately though, being at home is the best place, it doesn’t take long to readjust, and it is the most beneficial way to start getting better.’

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: Why are some people taking antidepressants that weren’t prescribed to them?

    MORE: 13 mental health resolutions you should set yourself for 2019


    What it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospitalWhat it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospitalhattiegladwellmetromedication illustrationwoman with hand on shouldermetro illustrationsmetro illustrationsmetro illustrationsWhat it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospitalWhat it's really like to be admitted to a psychiatric hospitalhattiegladwellmetromedication illustrationwoman with hand on shouldermetro illustrationsmetro illustrationsmetro illustrations

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Going vegan has many benefits. First, there’s the obvious ‘you’re not eating animals’, environmental factors and improvements to your health.

    On the latter, research has linked veganism with benefits such as lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reducing rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

    But there’s another advantage too, that could help you in everyday life. More specifically, your sleeping patterns.

    Thanks to the specific diet, veganism could be the key to a good night’s rest, according to Neil Robinson, who is the Chief Sleep Officer at bed and mattress manufacturer, Sealy UK.

    Serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin are found in many vegan foods, and these nifty chemicals are imperative in helping you snooze.

    Melatonin, a hormone that all humans produce, is sometimes also added into diets on its own as a medicinal supplement to help adjust the body clock when messing with sleeping patterns (like suffering heavy jet lag after a long flight). But this is in medicine format, so ask your doctor before you use it.

    But as Robinson points out, you can get a natural dose of these elements through foods that fits a vegan lifestyle. So, what should you be eating?

    Kale

    Remember a few years ago, when everyone was on the kale bandwagon? There was a reason (aside from the calorific benefits) and that was calcium; a natural sleep aid which contains tryptophan (an amino acid that helps create melatonin) – it’s a win, win, basically. No need for that glass of warm milk to lull yourself off to the dreamland, just have a bowl of kale or even spinach as an alternative to your calcium intake.

    Bananas

    Once again, lots of tryptophan, which by now you know is good for you. But, bananas also have high levels of magnesium and potassium, which in turn will help relax your muscles.

    Oats

    Healthy heart, happy life, right? Keep the ticker going strong by adding some oats to your breakfast bowl. With a variety of useful vitamins and minerals, the ingredient will encourage your body to loosen up and as a bonus, it’s also a natural source of melatonin.

    Almonds

    Tired of sleepless nights? Grab a handful of almonds and munch away. Similarly to bananas, you’ll get a boost of both tryptophan and magnesium, and thanks to the high protein levels, you’ll also stay fuller for longer. Just don’t overdo it, as almonds are also very high in (healthy) fats. According to Healthy Eating, 23 is the magic number, but others say 8-10; so it’s always best to check with a nutritionist before you go for that bowl of nuts.

    Cherries

    With an extremely high potency of melatonin and antioxidants such as anthocyanins, this combo could assist in keeping you in that zen-like deep sleep state for longer.

    Peanuts and peanut butter

    Peanuts and peanut butter contain niacin, a vitamin B3 that’ll aid with the production of serotonin. These two treats also high in good fats and similarly to almonds, will keep you nice and full. But keep an eye out for peanut butter products that also contain palm oil, which is damaging to the environment and also not part of a plant-based diet.

    Chamomile tea

    Have a cuppa before you get under the covers, and you’ll raise your levels of amino acid glycine, which’ll help your muscles relax. Chamomile is also said to have an anti-anxiety effect.

    Avocado

    Last but not least, there’s the ingredient that has become the buzz word for millennials everywhere, and disrupted the property market – the trusted avocado. Now, although according to some it’s not technically vegan (let’s ignore this and move on for now), it does contain lots of magnesium, which could decrease cortisol levels – also known as the stress hormone – and voilà, you’re sleeping better already.

    (Picture: Getty)

    But let’s put this to the test. What do the vegans say?

    George, 26, who has been a vegan since November 2017, tells Metro.co.uk that he saw a change in his sleeping pattern at first, but it’s now levelled out.

    ‘I definitely noticed a positive change in my sleep when I first went vegan, for sure,’ said George.

    ‘Probably doesn’t feel so great now, like more than a year into it, because you kind of get used to it. I suppose I wouldn’t say that I’m feeling like “holy shit I’m sleeping so well” every day now, because that’s just not the case, but there was a marked difference when I first made the switch.’

    Carrie, 43, had already been a vegetarian for many years, when she made the switch to a vegan lifestyle. But she suffered headaches at the beginning, due to the toxins coming out of her system when she stopped eating dairy.

    ‘I have been a veggie for most of my life. When I first went vegan three years ago, I had headaches. As I understand it, this was because of the toxins coming out of my system due to not eating dairy, nor meat or fish.

    ‘So, I discovered that I needed to get some B12 into my body. I tried the tablets, which were disgusting, then the drops, which were great but nothing really felt enough to me. Eventually I found that B12 patches were helpful; I stuck one behind each ear, and I felt like a real-life wonder woman, which has helped me sleep a lot better.

    ‘If I’m having trouble sleeping, which does happen if I have too much tea or coffee, a hot bath helps me snooze. Sometimes I just need to get fresh air and exercise during the day to help me sleep too.

    ‘Going vegan has helped my health in that I am rarely ill, and I am sure it is has therefore helped me sleep, as I am quite convinced that dairy upsets my system. To outright say it is has helped me sleep better I would not really say, but it has improved my sleep, as it has improved my wellbeing, my digestion, and my overall health.’

    Feeling inspired to go vegan yet?

    As always, if you’re making drastic changes to your diet, it’s best to chat to a medical professional or nutritionist before you do.

    Just to say on the safe side (and to make sure that you’re getting the best beauty sleep possible).


    Cropped Hand Holding Vegetable Against Yellow BackgroundCropped Hand Holding Vegetable Against Yellow BackgroundallieabgarianCropped Hand Holding Vegetable Against Yellow BackgroundCropped Hand Holding Vegetable Against Yellow Backgroundallieabgarian

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    Without the glittery sheen of Christmas, you’re snapped into the reality that it’s cold and dark. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    You don’t know what day it is. You feel purposeless. You hate your job and all you want to do is stay in bed eating the dregs of a Quality Street tin.

    Everything’s shit, I know – and so do brands.

    We’re in the midst of the January blues, a dismal time when brands, influencers, and marketing execs know you’re feeling rubbish, and want to turn that misery into money.

    It might be a self-fulfilling prophecy (we know the January blues are coming, so we feel down in anticipation then end up feeling genuinely sad), but there are legitimate reasons we tend to feel crap in the first month of the year.

    We’ve made it through Christmas, a time when we’re pressured to feel full of the magical Christmassy spirit, buoyed by an uptick in social events, surroundings decorated in twinkling lights, and enforced togetherness. The ending of that deliberately hyped up joy is bound to feel like a comedown, a period of perfectly wrapped bliss followed by mourning that it’s over and won’t be back for another year.

    Without the glittery sheen of Christmas, you’re snapped into the reality that it’s cold and dark.

    You’ve spent so much money over the festive period that you’re in a state of guilt and panic, fearing checking your bank account and seeing just how far into your overdraft you’ve dipped.

    You’ve had to return to work after time off, and are confronted with the shocking reality that sitting in an office and using your brain provides considerably more stress than unwrapping presents and watching the Christmas special of Gavin and Stacey.

    Then comes the new year, new you pressure. It’s a new year, so it’s time to shed your old self and make some big changes. You’ll be convinced of a need to change because, well, look at you, you feel like everything’s shit right now. You’ve over-indulged in every way and you hate yourself.

    It’s okay, though, say the adverts and emails arriving in your inbox. You feel rubbish because of the January blues, and – handily enough – they have the perfect remedies for just that.

    woman lying down
    Today, apparently, is Sunshine Saturday, when people hate their lives so much that all they want is to drop a load of cash to go somewhere sunnier. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Buy a goals planner, say brands. Sign up to for six sessions of yoga for a bargain price. Pay to download this special budgeting spreadsheet so you can get your spending in order. Go on holiday.

    Today, apparently, is Sunshine Saturday, when people hate their lives so much that all they want is to drop a load of cash to go somewhere sunnier. You’ll notice a lot of ads about sales on flights.

    Coming up soon is Divorce Day, when couples file for divorce after putting on a happy face over Christmas. Perhaps you’d like to sign up to this dating app?

    Then comes 21 January, the most magical marketing day of them all: Blue Monday.

    Blue Monday is the creation of Dr Cliff Arnall, for the sole purpose of a press release by Sky Travel in 2005. The brand wanted to figure out when people would be cold, running low on money, and feeling crap, so they could jump on that day and sell everyone a nice holiday.

    Other brands jumped on this genius bit of trickery, declaring that the third Monday of January would be the most miserable day of the year, and thus people should scare away the blues with, well, whatever the brand is selling.

    New clothes! A spa weekend! A bet on a football match which could get you a load of money!

    But there’s something pretty important to know about brands and marketing: They don’t give a toss about your mental wellbeing – they just want your money.

    That’s why for every announcement of a sale to ‘clear the blues’ or press release about why you feel rubbish right at this very moment, there aren’t many recommendations for professional help for a low mood.

    Because here’s the thing – you very well might be feeling absolutely awful right now. But that’s not because it’s Blue Monday, or you ate too much turkey at Christmas, or you haven’t signed up to a gym yet.

    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Brown men don’t cry – how a culture of shame stops South Asian men talking about mental health (Rupen Gahir Kalsi)
    Seasonal affective disorder is a very real, very distressing thing, and the situational factors behind why we might be more likely to feel bad in January shouldn’t be ignored. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Buying things isn’t a fix. You’re feeling down because of parts of your life that aren’t as brilliant as you feel they should be.

    If we’re talking about genuine January blues – the comedown from Christmas, the worries about money, the cold weather – that’s something that will be resolved not with buying things you don’t need, but with time.

    You can save money and feel a little calmer about your bank balance. You can go for a run outside and feel better about your health while also getting some sunlight. You can treat yourself gently when you go back to work, and accept that it might take a few days before you’re back up to speed.

    This will pass. The days will lengthen and the temperature will rise again. You do not need whatever fancy thing is being promoted on Instagram to feel complete.

    But if it’s not January blues, you could be struggling with your mental health. A significantly less catchy, less trendy thing, and – annoyingly enough – not something that can be solved by making a vision board and buying a stationary bike.

    Seasonal affective disorder is a very real, very distressing thing, and the situational factors behind why we might be more likely to feel bad in January shouldn’t be ignored.

    But brands don’t care about that. They don’t care about making sure you’re okay, they just want to give you an explanation for why you feel crap that they can then easily resolve with whatever they want to promote.

    It’s deeply toxic, but it’s the standard course for capitalism: Create a need, then fulfill it. Tell people they’re not sad for genuine reasons, but because they need to buy what you’re selling. Genius.

    By the time you’ve bought into all the things, it’s too late. You’re just as unhappy, but now you have more stuff. References to feeling down and the January blues have abandoned you despite the sadness still lingering, replaced with chat about Valentine’s Day and why you really should take your partner on a luxury weekend away – champagne and rose petals thrown in for an extra hundred.

    The reality is this: Mental health issues are not something that can be fixed by a new and shiny thing. They can’t even be fixed by a really fancy mood journal decorated with cacti.

    Your mental wellbeing takes time and hard work. You might need medication, you might need therapy, you might need to adjust some damaging patterns that you’ve been building since you were little.

    It’s a lot easier and more comfortable to dismiss dark thoughts and heavy feelings as just the standard January blues that everyone else is feeling, but that’s doing yourself a disservice. Get wise to the marketing tricks being used to lull you into a sense that being miserable is a standard, and have a look at your life not in terms of resolutions and new year makeovers, but how fulfilled you actually, truly feel.

    Shut out Instagram, move the marketing emails to spam, and confront yourself separately from how you ‘should’ be feeling. Take your mental wellbeing seriously – because every brand mentioning the January blues sure as hell doesn’t.

    MORE: Why are some people taking antidepressants that weren’t prescribed to them?

    MORE: People share what it was like to be admitted to a mental health hospital

    MORE: Ignore the social media influencer telling you to detox and weigh up your mental health instead


    over-eating-at-christmas metro illustrationsover-eating-at-christmas metro illustrationsellencscottwoman lying downILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Brown men don’t cry – how a culture of shame stops South Asian men talking about mental health (Rupen Gahir Kalsi)over-eating-at-christmas metro illustrationsover-eating-at-christmas metro illustrationsellencscottwoman lying downILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Brown men don’t cry – how a culture of shame stops South Asian men talking about mental health (Rupen Gahir Kalsi)

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