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

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    (Picture: Caters News)

    An inseparable couple have got married two decades after meeting each other at nursery, and they’re all loved up.

    Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met when they were three and have been inseparable ever since.

    From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together – Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didn’t expect their relationship to work from such a young age.

    They are now sharing their real life love story to give other childhood sweethearts the inspiration that relationships can work no matter their age.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, in nursery) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Stephanie, from Orford, Warrington, said: ‘We first met at nursery but we continued as close friends in primary school and then went to the same high school together.

    ‘We first started a real relationship when we were 13 years old and dated for a couple of years.

    ‘It’s hard to explain why we fell in love at such a young age but I never get bored when I’m with Matthew and even at the age of three I knew he was special.

    ‘The day he asked me to marry him was one of the best feelings I can ever experience in a lifetime.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, with their daughter Erica) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘We had always been soulmates but to showcase that to everyone we knew was amazing.

    ‘No one ever imagines they’ll end up with their childhood sweetheart but for us it actually happened.

    ‘We used to get told it would never last when we were younger but we’re living proof that you can fall in love at a young age.’

    However, it hasn’t always been easy for the couple, as after school, Stephanie joined the army and Matthew moved to France for work, but they continued to stay in touch.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, on their wedding day with Stephanies parents, Julie and Ste Percival) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Stephanie said: ‘Even when Matthew moved abroad I was constantly thinking about him.

    ‘We weren’t officially together at this point but it was obvious we were both still in love, it was the first time we’d ever been apart.

    ‘I was devastated being apart from him – I think deep down I always knew we would come back together.’

    It wasn’t until 2013, when the pair were 21, that they rekindled their romantic relationship and despite living apart Matthew would drive to see Stephanie every evening after work.

    Six months after the couple got back together, Matthew proposed to Stephanie on top of the Eastgate and Eastgate clock, a local landmark in Chester, as in that short time they knew they wanted to be ‘together forever.’

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, on their wedding day) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    The couple then welcomed a baby girl called Erica in October 2013 and tied the knot three years later.

    Stephanie said: ‘Our wedding was one of the most amazing days of my life.

    ‘It’s crazy we’re still together after all this time as stuff like this never happens.

    ‘When people ask how long we’ve been together it’s hard to explain, we just say we met when we were three and married two decades later.

    ‘We have dozens of pictures together when we were children and we can’t wait to show our daughter, Erica, when she’s old enough to understand.

    ‘Our wedding song was the acoustic version of Sam Smith’s ‘Latch’ which I feel like fits us down to a ‘T’.

    ‘All my dreams came true and I married my best friend.’

    MORE: Black women are constantly hypersexualised – it’s time to stop fetishising skin colour

    MORE: ‘My wife left me six months after I had dreaded snip’ – and other vasectomy tales


    Childhood sweetheartsChildhood sweetheartshattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, in nursery) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, with their daughter Erica) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, on their wedding day with Stephanies parents, Julie and Ste Percival) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, on their wedding day) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYChildhood sweetheartsChildhood sweetheartshattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, in nursery) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, with their daughter Erica) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, on their wedding day with Stephanies parents, Julie and Ste Percival) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, from Orford, Warrington, on their wedding day) - An inseparable couple tied the knot two decades after first meeting each other at nursery and they couldnt be happier. Matthew and Stephanie George, both 26, first met at the tender age of three and have been inseparable ever since. From best friends in nursery, to high school sweethearts, to husband and wife with a child together Matthew and Stephanie have defied those who didnt expect their relationship to work from such a young age.SEE CATERS COPY

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    'Edgy' humour is the opposite of revolutionary Picture: Dave Anderson Metro Illustration
    (Picture: Dave Anderson)

    Haven’t you heard? Comedy is being ground down by the PC patrol. You can’t say anything anymore without social justice warriors shutting you down.

    At least that’s what crap comics would have you believe.

    In reality, you can still say anything you want (as long as it’s within the law). You’re just not exempt from being told you’re a dick.

    Recently, disgraced comedian Louis CK bravely went to battle against a famously powerful and privileged group… Trans and nonbinary teens.

    Here was his joke. Please try to control yourself when you see/hear such epic banter:

    ‘They’re like royalty! They tell you what to call them. You should address me as they/them because I identify as gender neutral. Oh, okay. You should address me as there, because I identify as a location. And the location is your mother’s c***.’

    Within the leaked set at the Comedy Cellar, he also joked about Parkland shooting survivors, and said that young people were boring for caring about politics and should be getting finger-banged instead.

    As someone who reads the newspaper and also gets finger-banged on the reg, I can confirm that Louis’ point is both weak and boring.

    Plenty of fantastic op-eds have been written about how Louis needs to do the listening he promised to do after being accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.

    However, I think it also needs to be said that this ‘truth’-telling, f***-your-feelings style (even before this came to light) is milquetoast tripe.

    A lot of debate arises every time a distasteful comedian hits the headlines, with the free speech lot wading in to talk about the first amendment or snowflakes. The point they’re missing, though, is not that anyone thinks you shouldn’t be allowed to say such things; more that it’s bland, unfunny, and lazy.

    Humour is always subjective – that much is true. But the subversive aspects of comedy have always come from punching up rather than punching down.

    Going for trans and NB kids – a group who are more likely than any other to attempt suicide – doesn’t take any skill or wit. Neither does Ricky Gervais laughing maniacally at the N word alongside CK. Neither does Dapper Laughs making rape jokes. Neither does Jonathan Pie telling people of colour they just want to be oppressed. Do you see a theme here?

    Louis CK uses n-word in video, Chris Rock slammed
    He’s not the messiah, he’s a very boring boy (Picture: HBO)

    Those who make these ‘edgy’ jokes are complete hypocrites, claiming that the rest of us are too sensitive while crying about the fact nobody wants to hear another racist, sexist, or homophobic joke.

    It’s not revolutionary as a privileged rich person who’s made their living from standing on a stage for 15 minutes a night to assume the concerns of some of the most marginalised people in the world are just moany gripes.

    The world moves on, and with it we all must grow. Whether that’s a longstanding HR employee having to use computers after previously doing all their filing on paper, or a builder having to go on a health and safety course where once they just wore a helmet and hoped for the best.

    So, if you’re surprised that a joke isn’t landing when it was already in the notes of the likes of Bernard Manning, you need to assess whether you’re catering to your audience. There’s a reason watching Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part would make most of us cringe now – because we’ve moved on and we’ve learned.

    You don’t even have to go that far back to realise that things change. Little Britain, for example, feels off-key just over a decade after it ended. What did Matt Lucas do, though? Apologise for getting it wrong and continue to progress.

    Comedy often fosters massive egos and echo chambers, as people’s heads get bigger every time they get a cheap laugh. It leads some stand-up comics to think they’re not only right, but making a Very Important Point every time they open their mouth.

    The thing is, we could all get a guilty chuckle if we appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s reminiscent of the bullies at school who’d go after the nerdy, the weak, or those in any way different. Yes, they were surrounded by a baying crowd, but their jibes and taunts weren’t clever or well-thought-out.

    Many of us feel it would be better to leave banter about identifying as a toaster on the scrapheap along with mother-in-law gags and talking about ‘er indoors’, but the wannabe martyrs who frequent your local £3-a-pint open mic night just don’t have the smarts to come up with a better persona than ‘anti-PC jokester’.

    Yet, since the success of a joke lies in the audience’s reaction to it, comedians have to work to make themselves funnier rather than proclaiming everyone else has it wrong. We can all vote with our feet when it comes to attending shows (or with our remote when they’re on telly), and decide to avoid being that jeering crowd surrounding the bully as they bogwash another kid.

    We get it lads, feminists have hairy armpits and you think that ‘chavs’ are a massive lol. But instead of thinking you’re some anti-establishment warrior, perhaps look at how your problematic faves from yesteryear were remembered. Was it as trailblazers for a new way of thinking, or was it simply as bigoted old losers?

    MORE: People aren’t impressed with a bride who plans to challenge guests with maths questions

    MORE: Japanese lesbian couple take ‘wedding’ pics in 26 countries where gay marriage is legal


    Metro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationsjessicacvlLouis CK uses n-word in video, Chris Rock slammedMetro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationsjessicacvlLouis CK uses n-word in video, Chris Rock slammed

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    (Picture: Getty, Reddit)

    Remember the legendary (yet problematic) bride who had a weight-based dress code for her wedding day? (She wanted to form a heart and have the heaviest and lightest people in different colours).

    We all had a great laugh when she revealed she was going to hold a polygraph party to determine who snitched on her demanding dress code online.

    And lo and behold, she actually had the lie detector test and, finally, knows who snaked her.

    It was none other than *drumroll* her mate Stephanie, who has since been ‘removed’ and ‘eliminated’ (Steph, are you alive??)

    (Picture: Reddit/u/popkween)

    In a Facebook post, she wrote the polygraph party saw a 100% attendance and that it was fantastic despite the lie detector machine from Amazon being a ‘bit shitty’.

    ‘Friends, it is with the deepest joy that I can announce the identification of the snitch,’ she wrote. ‘My former friend Stephanie was immediately removed from my property. She confessed to leaking my posts and ridiculing me online.

    ‘My original dress code has gone viral because of her and the outside world will never understand thanks to Stephanie. Good riddance. Now the Hawaii 2019 wedding can go ahead.

    The bride-to-be thanked her other friends Lynn, Jackie, Kristie, and Jax who helped to ‘eliminate the snitch, Stephanie’.

    (Picture: Getty)

    After getting all the results out of the way, she went back down to business, adding further terms and conditions to her stringent dress code.

    She reminded her loved ones and that time is of the essence so they ought to buy soda and helicopter hats for an upcoming wedding-related event.

    ‘Ladies, let me be clear,’ she added, ‘your secondary outfit must at least total at least £1k. We are £24k themed after all.’

    ‘Please submit photos of your synchronised dancing outfits no later than one month. I will be telling each and every one of you what is wrong and how to improve it.’

    THE DRESS CODE:

    In case you forgot, this was her weight-based dress code:

    WOMEN 100-160lbs

    • GREEN Velvet Sweater
    • ORANGE Suede Pants
    • Louboutin Heels (the famous RED heeled shoes. when we spin and lift our feet, the effect will amaze you)
    • Burberry Scarf

    MEN 100-200lbs

    • PURPLE Fuzzy Jacket
    • Soda Hat
    • All White Trainers
    • Plain Glow Sticks

    WOMEN 160lbs+

    • all BLACK sweater and pants. Any material
    • BLACK Heels

    MEN 200lbs +

    • all CAMOFLAGE
    • BLACK sneakers

    Children

    • RED from head to toe. Remember the kids will form the shape of a heart it needs to be true red not blood orange or some bullsh*t.

    We have so, so many questions and naturally so did the good people of Reddit.

    One detective-minded person asked: ‘If 100% of the people attended, why did she have to post an update?’

    Another questioned whether it was actually the husband-to-be who’d leaked the information and Stephanie took the flak.

    Most people were convinced though that the whole thing was a work of fiction, but fiction that they’re entertained by nonetheless.

    ‘I totally think this story is fiction now, but it is fiction that I never want to end,’ said one Redditor.

    ‘I want leaked photos of the polygraph party, I want photos of the soda hats, I want paparazzi photos of the dancing on the beach in Hawaii 2019, I want it all! Bring it on, Bridezilla and her sneaky b*tchy pals! (Stephanie, I love you, girl!)’

    Others simply questioned what soda and helicopter hats are.

    All we can say is we can’t wait for the film.

    MORE: People aren’t impressed with a bride who plans to challenge guests with maths questions

    MORE: Japanese lesbian couple take ‘wedding’ pics in 26 countries where gay marriage is legal

    MORE: Childhood sweethearts who met at nursery school marry and have a child together


    Polygraph party results in for demanding bridePolygraph party results in for demanding bridefaimabakar1Polygraph party results in for demanding bridePolygraph party results in for demanding bridefaimabakar1

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    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ANDY WILLS, 25, WHO WAS SPOTTED OGLING HIS BEST FRIEND'S NEW WIFE IN JOKE WEDDING SHOT) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    A groomsman was caught checking out his best friend’s bride during their wedding photoshoot – only to be called out by her husband later that night.

    25-year-old Andy Wills had been celebrating his friend Rhys Couldrey’s wedding when he decided to pull a prank on his new wife Natalie.

    Sneakily ogling her from behind as she smiled at the camera, Andy lived up to his reputation as a prankster by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life.

    Luckily, the bride and groom saw the funny side and the photo is going to feature in the wedding album.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ANDY WILLS, 25, WHO WAS SPOTTED OGLING HIS BEST FRIEND'S NEW WIFE IN JOKE WEDDING SHOT) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Andy, from Farnborough, Hampshire, said: ‘At that point they had no idea what I was doing until they saw the picture later that night.

    ‘Rhys called me an a***hole to be honest. I thought it’d be quite funny.

    ‘Me and Natalie get on really well so she knows what I’m like – it was a bit of a joke.

    ‘Natalie saw the funny side of it. They know what I’m like – I like to take the p*ss.’

    Andy admits he’d ‘had a few beers’ and decided he would make the photographer laugh, if not the newly-weds.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: GROOM RHYS COULDREY WITH PRANKSTER FRIEND ANDY HILLS) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    During the photoshoot, the rest of the group posed dutifully, oblivious to what Andy was doing.

    He continued: ‘I thought I’d make it look like I was checking out the bride.

    ‘I’d had a few beers by then and thought it’d be a funny prank. I did it on purpose to wind them all up.

    ‘We’d just come out of the ceremony and the photographer was getting pictures of all the wedding group.

    ‘I thought it’d get a few laughs afterwards, but I’m not entirely sure anyone noticed at the time.

    ‘I saw our friend Deeno taking pictures from the side so decided to do it. He was in stitches behind the camera.’

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: NEWLY-WEDS NATALIE AND RHYS COULDREY POSING FOR WEDDING PHOTOS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Natalie said: ‘I think I’ll be putting this one in our wedding album because it shows the how cheeky the lot of them are.

    ‘I love that about them – it also shows that the wedding was fun.

    ‘This is a very Andy thing to do. He’s always been a prankster, he’s got a good sense of humour… most of the time.

    ‘I had no idea what he was doing while we were all posing – I only knew about it later on that evening when they showed me.

    ‘I thought it was funny and I did expect some type of prank from him, but it’s the only one, thank god.’

    MORE: Blind bride given multi-sensory album so she can experience her wedding pictures

    MORE: Is this bride in the wrong for kicking a crying kid out of her wedding?


    Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and MediahattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ANDY WILLS, 25, WHO WAS SPOTTED OGLING HIS BEST FRIEND'S NEW WIFE IN JOKE WEDDING SHOT) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ANDY WILLS, 25, WHO WAS SPOTTED OGLING HIS BEST FRIEND'S NEW WIFE IN JOKE WEDDING SHOT) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: GROOM RHYS COULDREY WITH PRANKSTER FRIEND ANDY HILLS) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: NEWLY-WEDS NATALIE AND RHYS COULDREY POSING FOR WEDDING PHOTOS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and MediahattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ANDY WILLS, 25, WHO WAS SPOTTED OGLING HIS BEST FRIEND'S NEW WIFE IN JOKE WEDDING SHOT) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: ANDY WILLS, 25, WHO WAS SPOTTED OGLING HIS BEST FRIEND'S NEW WIFE IN JOKE WEDDING SHOT) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: GROOM RHYS COULDREY WITH PRANKSTER FRIEND ANDY HILLS) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: NEWLY-WEDS NATALIE AND RHYS COULDREY POSING FOR WEDDING PHOTOS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY) This is the moment a cheeky groomsman checked out his best friend's blushing bride during their wedding photo shoot - only to get caught out by her husband later that night. Daring usher Andy Wills, 25, had been celebrating his childhood friend Rhys Couldrey's wedding when he decided to pull the prank on his new wife Natalie. Sneakily ogling her from behind as she beamed at the camera, the fabricator lived up to his reputation as a 'prankster' by winding up Rhys, 27, even on the most important day of his life. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266

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    Sometimes the best dates aren’t the ones at fancy restaurants where loads of money is spent.

    What makes a really great date is the thought that goes into it, and the person you get to spend your time with.

    Learn from Emmanuel Kei, 23, who treated his girlfriend to a surprise three-course dinner at KFC.

    Diane, 26, loves fried chicken, so the date was a perfect fit.

    Diane thought she and Emmanuel were going to visit Emmanuel’s cousin, who was supposed to be in KFC at the time. When she turned up, she spotted a booth decorated with a table cloth, rose petals, and candles.

    She was pretty pleased.

    PIC FROM Emmanuel Kei/Caters News - (PICTURED: Emmanuel Kei, 23, with his girlfriend Diane Del, 26, in in Adelaide, South Australia late last month [21 DECEMBER].) - A romantic boyfriend has taken his partners love of fried chicken to the extreme by surprising her with a fancy dinner date at KFC complete with candles, rose petals and table service.Forget about the Colonels top secret 11 herbs and spices Australian heartthrob Emmanuel Kei has discovered the ultimate secret for spicing up his love life: a romantic dinner date at KFC.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Emmanuel Kei/Caters News)
    The couple sat down and enjoyed a romantic three course dinner, with each dish brought to them on cardboard plates by ‘waiters’.

    The meal only cost £8, and was made up of an entree of chicken nuggets and chips, a main of a Twister wrap with salad, and a dessert of chocolate mousse with icing sugar and topped with sweets that Emmanuel had brought with him.

    A cheap but lovely date, right?

    Both Emmanuel and Diane absolutely loved it.

    Emmanuel said: ‘It was just something that popped into my head on the day. I was doing some shopping in town and I saw some candles and flowers.

    PIC FROM Emmanuel Kei/Caters News - (PICTURED: Emmanuel Kei, 23, with his girlfriend Diane Del, 26, in in Adelaide, South Australia late last month [21 DECEMBER].) - A romantic boyfriend has taken his partners love of fried chicken to the extreme by surprising her with a fancy dinner date at KFC complete with candles, rose petals and table service.Forget about the Colonels top secret 11 herbs and spices Australian heartthrob Emmanuel Kei has discovered the ultimate secret for spicing up his love life: a romantic dinner date at KFC.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Emmanuel Kei/Caters News)
    ‘I was really hungry, and just thought why not do a romantic dinner in KFC. We both love it, so I thought it would be perfect.

    ‘I went to the KFC about an hour before I was going to pick up Diane. I spoke to the manager there and he was really supportive of the idea.

    ‘I decorated one of their tables with a nice table tablecloth, some rose petals and candles that I’d bought, and also gave her a bunch of flowers.

    ‘I pretended my cousin was in the KFC and I needed to see him. She had no idea what was going on.

    ‘Diane was so excited and happy when she saw what I’d done. It was so lovely to see her like that.

    ‘The reaction of other customers inside the store was funny. One lady told me that I should write a book about romance and send it to men around the world.

    We agree with that lady, honestly.

    PIC FROM Emmanuel Kei/Caters News - (PICTURED: Emmanuel Kei, 23, with his girlfriend Diane Del, 26, in in Adelaide, South Australia late last month [21 DECEMBER].) - A romantic boyfriend has taken his partners love of fried chicken to the extreme by surprising her with a fancy dinner date at KFC complete with candles, rose petals and table service.Forget about the Colonels top secret 11 herbs and spices Australian heartthrob Emmanuel Kei has discovered the ultimate secret for spicing up his love life: a romantic dinner date at KFC.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Emmanuel Kei/Caters News)
    ‘I just wanted to do something to make her smile,’ said Emmanuel. ‘She is not the type to want expensive fancy dinners and would much prefer something like this.

    ‘It goes to show you don’t have to spend a lot to make someone happy. It was the thought and effort that I put in that meant a lot to her.

    ‘This kind of date comes from the heart and has real sentimental value.

    ‘It was the best date we’ve ever been on and the best part it only cost $15. To me it was better than getting lobster for dinner.

    ‘Now I’m thinking how I’m going to top this. It will have to be better, as I’ve set the bar now.

    ‘Valentine’s Day is coming up, so let’s see what else I can do for my girl.’

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    MORE: Childhood sweethearts who met at nursery school marry and have a child together

    MORE: Black women are constantly hypersexualised – it’s time to stop fetishising skin colour


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    Closeup of red bauble hanging from a decorated Christmas tree. Retro filter effect.
    Dispose of your Christmas tree responsibility (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Gaj Rudolf)

    Sadly, Christmas trees and cards alike can have a pretty negative effect on the environment.

    thumbnail for post ID 8324962Officials seize energy drink ‘which gives you an erection lasting for six hours’

    Even though Twelfth Night has come and gone, and ’tis no longer the season to be jolly, we can still carry on with the goodwill toward man part.

    We’ll be able to minimise our Christmas carbon footprint if we all do our part and responsibly dispose of our Christmas trees and any of the cards we don’t want to keep.

    Businessman offering cash money in envelope as bribe, corruption in business and politics
    Cards spread plenty of joy, but have you given any thought to their carbon footprint? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Igor Stevanovic)

    Why you need to recycle your Christmas trees…

    While some highlight the fact that artificial Christmas trees are reusable, the fact remains that they’re not recyclable and, according to the Carbon Trust, those fake trees have more than twice the carbon footprint than that of genuine, organic trees.

    That is certainly saying something, because the collective carbon footprint of throwing away real trees amounts to around a whopping 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

    That means you’d have to use your artificial tree for at least 10 Christmases if you wanted it to have a smaller carbon footprint than a real tree.

    … And your Christmas cards

    That’s not even taking cards into account. According to dontsendmeacard.com, we send 2 billion cards every year in the UK, and for every billion cards we send, it costs us 140 million tonnes of carbon.

    Not only that, but apparently one billion Christmas cards alone are thought to be chucked away or burnt every year. Collectively, it’s clear that we’re going to have to do better.

    TREFOREST, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 09: Plastic bottles are seen in the River Taff on September 9, 2018 in Treforest, United Kingdom. Approximately 38.5 million plastic bottles are used in the UK every day. Just over half make it to recycling, while more than 16m are put into landfill, burned or leak into the environment and oceans daily. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
    Don’t add your cards and Christmas tree to the landfill (Picture: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

    How to properly recycle your Christmas cards and tree

    With an organic Christmas tree, you have three options other than simply chucking it in a landfill. You can burn it, chip it, recycle it with your local authority, or, if the roots are still attached, you can replant it.

    Every council has different rules and regulations when it comes to the collection and recycling of Christmas trees, so you should double check yours before you put your tree out.

    As for Christmas cards, Recycle Now says that you can get rid of these with your other household recycling, or at any of your local recycling points designed for taking paper items, like the collection banks you sometimes see in supermarket car parks.

    However, any accoutrements such as ribbons and glitter cannot be recycled and should be removed first.

    If they can’t be fully removed, you’ll have to rip off that part of the card before you recycle it.

    Any batteries should also be taken out. You can dispose of these at a battery recycling point.

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

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


    Closeup of red bauble hanging from Christmas treeCloseup of red bauble hanging from Christmas treeaidanmilan6Closeup of red bauble hanging from a decorated Christmas tree. Retro filter effect.Businessman offering cash money in envelope as bribe, corruption in business and politicsTREFOREST, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 09: Plastic bottles are seen in the River Taff on September 9, 2018 in Treforest, United Kingdom. Approximately 38.5 million plastic bottles are used in the UK every day. Just over half make it to recycling, while more than 16m are put into landfill, burned or leak into the environment and oceans daily. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)Closeup of red bauble hanging from Christmas treeCloseup of red bauble hanging from Christmas treeaidanmilan6Closeup of red bauble hanging from a decorated Christmas tree. Retro filter effect.Businessman offering cash money in envelope as bribe, corruption in business and politicsTREFOREST, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 09: Plastic bottles are seen in the River Taff on September 9, 2018 in Treforest, United Kingdom. Approximately 38.5 million plastic bottles are used in the UK every day. Just over half make it to recycling, while more than 16m are put into landfill, burned or leak into the environment and oceans daily. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Danielle Alexandra is a 24-year-old writer from Essex. Her mother is white British, her father is African American, but most people assume that she’s white.

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

    With her light skin and eyes, Danielle has experienced a lot of confusion when it comes to her heritage. When your ethnic make-up isn’t immediately apparent, people tend to have questions.

    ‘I’ve often had people questioning and doubting my heritage, and even who my parents are,’ Danielle tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Kids in primary school would assume I was adopted, and when my dad came to visit us once when I was 10 and picked us up from school, I don’t think people were expecting him to be my dad. A lot of people have wrongly assumed that one of my parents is mixed-race themselves, rather than fully black.

    ‘My sister on the other hand, definitely takes after our dad more. She’s got darker skin and big, beautiful brown eyes from my dad, whereas I got the light skin and hazel eyes from my mum’s side.’

    An element that has added to Danielle’s racial ambiguity is her decision to wear wigs or a weave, rather than her natural hair. She says people are often shocked when they find out just how curly her natural hair is.

    ‘One thing I’ve always struggled with in particular is my hair,’ she explains.

    ‘Generally speaking, when you think of mixed-race people who are half black and half white, you’d tend to think of them having darker skin and looser curls. However, I’m the total opposite, and ended up with really light skin and very tight curls.

    Danielle with her natural hair (Picture: Danielle Alexandra/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Growing up, I always had issues with my hair. It would never go how I wanted it to go, which was especially frustrating when I wanted to fit in and have the typical mid-noughties emo fringe hairstyle that everyone else could pull off with ease.

    ‘It wasn’t until I started wearing weaves and wigs, once I was an adult, that I started to feel a better sense of self-confidence. As I’ve gotten older and experimented with straighter hairstyles, I’ve had people assume that I’m white, mixed with Asian, Spanish or even Brazilian. People will rarely get it right on the first guess.’

    People will often try to link external markers, like hair or appearance, to ethnicity. Does wearing your hair in a certain why dictate how you feel about your heritage? Danielle says it really isn’t that deep.

    ‘A lot of black and mixed-race women wear weaves all the time, I’m no different, my skin is just a lighter shade to a lot of other mixed-race women.

    ‘I don’t believe wearing wigs makes me any less mixed-race or takes away from my heritage, it just makes it harder for people to tell what I am from a first glance.

    I do have to give a shout-out to my mother who learnt pretty well how to deal with black hair, especially my 4c type hair which is really hard to manage, as I was growing up.

    ‘I have memories of sitting between my mum’s legs as a child on a Sunday evening after “hair-wash-Sundays” where she’d brush, comb, straighten and style my hair for another week.’

    It gets really boring having to explain your heritage and it’s insulting when people doubt or question what you’re telling them. Danielle admits that life might be easier in some ways if her racial mix was clearer.

    Sometimes I think things would be simpler, purely for the fact it would save me always having to explain to people what race both my parents are, and that my hair is a wig.

    ‘But at the end of the day, I am who I am, and the way I look doesn’t change the fact I’m biracial, despite what others might think.

    ‘Being mixed-race isn’t as black and white as it seems. People who are mixed-race come in all shades, shapes and sizes. We don’t fit a stereotypical mould or look, and as we have such as diverse selection of genes, you never know how someone is going to turn out, and which parent they’re going to look like more.

    ‘Just because someone doesn’t look like this race or that race, doesn’t mean they’re not.

    ‘And you would honestly be surprised at how many celebrities are mixed-race but white passing. It’s far more common than you’d think – singer Halsey and rapper Logic are two people who spring to mind who look white but are in fact mixed-race with a black parent.’

    Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
    Little Danielle with her dad (Picture: Danielle Alexandra/Metro.co.uk)

    This dissonance of having a black parent but being almost entirely white-passing is something Logic talks about a lot in his music. The rapper speaks about his sense of alienation from the black community caused simply by not looking black enough.

    Danielle has experienced similar feelings. Insensitive comments from other people are usually at the root of it.

    ‘Frustratingly, I’ve had the occasional person tell me, “you’re not really black, so you don’t count”, or ask, “why are you so offended at black jokes, it’s not like they affect you?”, which just goes to show the level of people’s ignorance.

    ‘Skin tone and ethnicity aren’t mutually exclusive. Regardless of whether I was mixed-race or not, I’d still be supporting causes such as Black Lives Matter, and the rights of not just black people, but everyone who faces discrimination.’

    A trend that Danielle finds particularly concerning is ‘blackfishing’ – the phenomenon where influencers and wanna-be influencers pose as black and mixed-race women online, through the use of make-up, hairstyles and photoshop.

    It’s damaging because it allows the perpetrators to pick and choose the elements of blackness that they find appealing and marketable, while ignoring the entrenched struggles and systemic discrimination that comes with actually being black.

    Danielle thinks the trend is particularly damaging for light-skinned women like her.

    ‘I feel like these kinds of controversies do set people like me back a thousand steps. 

    ‘For actual mixed-race people, blackfishing is just such a detrimental phenomenon – it makes a mockery of what it means to be mixed, and belittles the hardships and injustices that we have to face.

    ‘It’s just baffling to me that people would want to put so much effort in to pretending to be something they’re not.’

    Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
    Danielle and her sister (Picture: Danielle Alexandra/Metro.co.uk)

    Growing up in Essex, Danielle fears she may have missed out on some elements of black culture, she says this was particularly apparent at school.

    But for everything she’s missed out on, there has been plenty that she has gained.

    She says being mixed-race provides a unique perspective on the world – one that she would never trade.

    ‘I believe that coming from two or more cultures makes you more understanding and tolerant of those around you,’ she tells us.

    ‘You’re more likely to be more receptive of people who are different, since you’re different too – it’s easier to relate from the offset.

    ‘With both interracial marriages and the mixed-race population on the up, you can definitely expect to see more people with varied looks and features in the future, and I’m sure more people will find themselves ticking the ‘mixed’ box on forms.’

    Danielle’s family history has another layer of complexity in that her dad is American. With that comes an extensive and brutal history of racial discrimination, that is largely ignored in British education.

    ‘One thing I’ve always made sure of is to educate myself on the African American side of my heritage,’ says Danielle.

    ‘Having gone to school in the UK for the majority of my educational life, you can imagine how little we were taught about slavery and the civil rights movement.

    ‘I’ve always made an effort to make sure I fully know the history behind my dad’s side of the family, and the struggles they have gone through, but also the historical strides that African Americans have made throughout the ages.

    ‘African American culture is really prominent in the mainstream, especially in terms of music and entertainment, and I’m proud to say that is something I feel connected to.’

    One thing that’s important to Danielle is for other people to allow her the space to define her racial identity. She wants to reiterate that looking white doesn’t make her any less mixed-race.

    ‘Despite my outward appearance of looking Caucasian at first glance, I am still 50% African American, 50% White British – and 100% biracial. I never shy away from telling people my heritage, and I’m proud of both of the mixes that make me who I am.

    ‘I still feel really connected with the African American side of me, and every time I wash and style my natural hair, I’m in awe of how much hair I manage to fit under my wig!’

    Mixed Up is a weekly series focused on telling the stories of mixed-race people. Next week we speak to Lauren, she is half Bajan and has three brothers who are all different shades.

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

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

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


    DanielleDaniellenataliemorris88Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisMixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisMixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisDanielleDaniellenataliemorris88Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisMixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie MorrisMixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris

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    (Picture: Facebook)

    Oxford isn’t known for its diversity.

    Black students who apply are less likely to be accepted than white students, and in some colleges make up less than 1% of all UK students.

    The university has also been embroiled in a number of scandals, from professors holding secret ‘pro-colonialist’ meet-ups, to one student dressing up as a KKK member at a party.

    Now, students St. Hugh’s College has come under fire after advertising a ‘Romans and Roadmen bop’ to bring in the new year.

    St Hugh’s Entz posted the event on Facebook with a cover photo showing Big Shaq and clothes sterotypically associated with ‘roadmen’.

    The caption for the event read, ‘pls do not bring knives or large swords as part of your roadman or Roman costume’.

    METRO GRAB - taken from FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/760389621003756/Credit: Facebook
    (Picture: Facebook)
    METRO GRAB - taken from FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/760389621003756/Credit: Facebook
    (Picture: Facebook)

    Although roadman is used positively in many cases, the term can be used to stereotypically describe young men hanging around street corners, or selling and taking drugs.

    When used by those who self-identify as such or by those from communities where it’s commonplace to use the word, it’s not deemed harmful. However, it’s often used as a slur or to group communities that a person may find ‘threatening’. In short, it is a sign of dog whistle racism. Many have criticised the fact that young black men are automatically labelled as roadmen simply for the clothes they wear or for hanging around in groups.

    On a similar note, ASOS came under fire for profiting from the term by selling socks emblazoned with a ‘roadman design’, glossing over the fact that the demographic who would be labelled roadmen are subject to a number of disadvantages.

    As you may imagine, St. Hugh’s Entz were called out for fetishising and mocking black working class culture, and making light of the knife crime epidemic that currently blights Britain.

    The event was changed after the backlash, with organisers saying they didn’t ‘wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable or unwelcome’.

    It’s now called ‘Togas and Tiaras’, and features a link to a Dazed article about cultural appropriation in the caption.

    We reached out to the organisers, who said, ‘As soon as we made the event public, we received concerns about the bop theme. Hearing these concerns and being made aware of the racial and classist connotations with the term ‘roadman’, we immediately chose to change our event and apologise to everyone at the college last night.

    ‘We did not comprehend the gravity of the term, until this was raised to us, and we should have known better. We understand the mistake we made, and we are grateful for those who spoke out against it. As we are both BME students from South London, it is even more upsetting to us that our ignorance caused offence, especially in a space like Oxford.’

    St. Hughs College declined to comment, saying they were not involved in organising the event.

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    Oxford Uni roadman eventOxford Uni roadman eventjessicacvlMETRO GRAB - taken from FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/760389621003756/Credit: FacebookMETRO GRAB - taken from FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/760389621003756/Credit: FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventOxford Uni roadman eventjessicacvlMETRO GRAB - taken from FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/760389621003756/Credit: FacebookMETRO GRAB - taken from FacebookOxford Uni roadman eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/760389621003756/Credit: Facebook

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    Anika Cosgrove describes her vision as ‘a Van Gogh painting’ – colourful splodges, without any detail.

    But she feels lucky because she was given someone else’s eyes.

    Without that, she would see nothing but darkness in her left side.

    Two and a half years ago, the 33-year-old mum was given an eye from someone who had died after she lost the vision in her left eye.

    Although it hasn’t given her perfect vision, it has allowed her to continue working, enjoying life with her son and has reduced the chronic pain she suffered.

    Anika, from London, is one of around 2,500 people who receive a cornea (the eye’s outermost layer) transplant each year, but unfortunately there aren’t enough people agreeing to donate their eyes after death.

    Although corneas do not need to be tissue matched in the same way as other organs, waiting lists are still long.

    Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Anika Cosgrove at hospital before her transplant (Picture: Anika Cosgrove)

    In 2017, the number of eyes in banks in the UK were 21% below what is needed.

    According to NHS Blood and transplant, for those who choose to omit one of their organs from donation, the corneas were the most popular at 10.6%.

    Often viewed as ‘the window to the soul’ people are squeamish about donating their eyes but for Anika and others who have lost their vision, this gift has changed their lives.

    Anika said: ‘It’s seen as something that is a bit icky and it’s the “window to your soul”.

    ‘I am a religious person but I do say that if you keep the windows to your soul and you pass to the other side, how do you explain that?

    ‘When you are dead and buried, your body rots in the ground and your soul passes. The physical parts of you are needed by people.

    Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Anika and her son after her transplant (Picture: Anika Cosgrove)

    ‘This could be anyone. A lot of cornea transplants happen because of accidents and people get put on the emergency list. It could be you or someone you know.

    ‘It didn’t just change my life. It changed my little boy’s life too. He’s three and what human being doesn’t want to improve the life of a three-year-old? I explain to him that somebody gave mummy a really amazing present and now mummy can see better.

    ‘I do think that we should have an opt-out system. If you want to opt out for religious or cultural reasons then you can do that but everyone else should be automatically enrolled.

    ‘People who have visual impairment are in so much pain. A transplant saves that chronic pain – it’s not just about the sight improvements. That is life changing as well.’

    How are the eyes removed from a donor?

    Most people up to the age of 90 can register to donate their eyes.

    Short sightedness or a previous cataract operation does not mean that someone cannot become an eye donor.

    Any donor tissue which might not be suitable for transplant can be used for medical or research purposes, with consent from the donor.

    The whole eye is removed from the donor, but only the corneas are used for a transplant.

    Many people who sign up to be an organ donor are worried about facial disfigurement but, when the eye is removed great care is taken to ensure the facial appearance is restored and the eyelids are carefully closed.

    Eye tissues are very delicate and need to be stored under strict laboratory conditions at an eye bank. This must take place within 24 hours of the donor passing away.

    The eyes can be stored there until the transplant to the recipient.

    The cornea is the outer layer and is removed from the donor eye and then transplanted on the recipient’s eye.

    Moorfields eye hospital

    Anika was just 15 when she first realised something was wrong.

    She was struggling to read her exam papers at school and went to the opticians, thinking she might need glasses.

    But the optician told her they couldn’t help – she needed to go to the hospital.

    And at her first appointment, she was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a condition which means the cornea weakens, gets thinner and changes shape.

    She explains: ‘I don’t think I really understood or comprehended the magnitude of what was happening.

    ‘We went for an appointment at the hospital and they told me that it could end up in complete sight loss. There is little we can do about it and there are cornea transplants but they aren’t that common.

    ‘My dad offered to give me his eyes and they said that was ridiculous. He was saying that he had had two daughters, he was looking at retiring and he had lived his life. They explained that they would have to come from a dead donor.’

    As a young teenager, Anika wanted to enjoy nights out with friends and finish school so she kept her condition secret for years.

    Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Anika Cosgrove had to cover her eye for months after her transplant (Picture: Anika Cosgrove)

    She said: ‘I lived in a bubble of secrecy. None of my best friends knew.

    ‘One of the most difficult things I had to deal with was managing the perceptions of who I had become.

    ‘I was a woman and I wanted to feel that I was attractive and beautiful.’

    Initially, her condition was managed with hard contact lenses which stopped her eye bulging forward but in 2016, she realised they were no longer enough.

    She explains: ‘I went on holiday to Mauritius. Everyone else was asleep and I couldn’t so I was just looking around the room.

    ‘I was staring at the blinds and I realised that they looked a bit odd so I was shutting one eye and then the other and then I realised that my left eye was completely dark.

    ‘I was there for a month and I decided not to tell anyone but when I got home, I went to the doctor and they told I needed a transplant or the cornea would come right through.

    ‘Initially, I didn’t tell anyone, even my dad. I went home and sat on it. It was like a grieving process. I had my little boy then and I did a lot of looking at his face and trying to remember every single little detail. I just tried to take in as much as I could,’ she says.

    Anika eventually told her dad and she was placed on the waiting list for a cornea transplant, but while she waited, she started to come to terms with the reality of living with sight loss.

    She says: ‘My mobility deteriorated enormously because I kept falling over.

    Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Her transplant helped to improve her vision (Picture: Anika Cosgrove)

    ‘I got lost going home – a stranger was there and I had to give him my address and ask him to help me because I was completely disorientated.

    ‘Physically there are so many challenges but there is a huge mental challenge as well.

    ‘When I was younger, the hospital showed me a video and there was a woman in it who had grown whiskers on the side of her face because she couldn’t see them.

    ‘I just didn’t want that to happen to me. I wanted to maintain who I am and that was so important to me. I wanted to keep my sense of style.

    ‘For me, getting a cane was so difficult. It took my rehabilitation worker four weeks just to get me to put it in my hand.

    ‘Thinking about walking around with a thing in my hand that signified blindness made me want to be sick but I eventually agreed to start using a cane around the city.’

    In April 2016, she was called and told there was a transplant available. One week later she had the operation at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.

    How is a cornea transplanted?

    There are three types of corneal transplant.

    DALK – Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty

    DALK removes only the top layers from a very small area in the centre of the cornea, leaving behind the innermost ‘endothelial’ layer. The ophthalmologist then places a ‘button’ of donor cornea containing these top layers onto your cornea. This button of donor tissue is held in place by tiny stitches until it heals in place. DALK usually takes about a year to heal. Some stitches may be removed before this, but usually not before the first six months.

    EK – Endothelial keratoplasty

    EK replaces only the innermost layers of the cornea and is only suitable for dystrophies and conditions that affect the endothelial layer of the cornea. A bubble of air is used to hold the new endothelium onto the inside of your cornea.

    EK transplants are quick to heal. Most people notice their vision getting better within the first week or two but it may take three months to get the full improvement.

    PK – Penetrating keratoplasty

    PK is a ‘full thickness’ transplant. This is where the whole cornea is replaced by a donor cornea, which is held in place with stitches.

    Stitches are not normally removed until a year after surgery.  Vision can improve while the transplant is healing, but it takes 18 months for a PK transplant to fully heal, and for the person to see the full improvement in your vision.

    RNIB

    Although Anika was incredibly grateful for her donor, it was a difficult experience for her and her family.

    She says: ‘I had this layer of guilt that someone had died but I realised that I should also feel gratitude.

    ‘Someone who didn’t know me has given me the greatest gift so I could be a mother and carry on my with life.

    ‘I wrote a letter to my donor and posted it on social media. That was really overwhelming.

    ‘My transplant itself was incredibly painful though. I couldn’t pick up my little boy for three months. I couldn’t leave my blacked out bedroom for weeks.

    ‘My little boy wouldn’t come near me because he was so frightened of my face. I had a bandage across my eye.

    ‘I wanted to cry but the fear of it stinging was so overwhelming. It was one of the darkest periods for me.

    ‘The only way I knew time was passing was that my bad came in every three hours to put medicine in my eyes.

    Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Anika Cosgrove, now (Picture: Anika Cosgrove)

    ‘It was horrendous. It felt like someone had shaved off the front of your eye.’

    But every now and again, Anika would wake up and find some improvements in her vision.

    Her left eye went from being completely dark to picking up movement and being able to see colour. Unfortunately, being able to see detail has never returned.

    She says: ‘It’s like a Van Gogh painting. There’s loads of splodges of colours but no defined detail.

    ‘When the cornea was stitched on it, it was at an angle, which has created an astigmatism.

    ‘At the minute we are working through the options but I might need another transplant and it has deteriorated quite a lot in the right eye as well so they have told me I will need another transplant.

    ‘It is difficult for me now as I work somewhere else where the sickness benefits aren’t as good and I have my little boy to look after.

    ‘I am at the point where I might just settle with whatever happens and if I lose my sight, so be it.’

    Picture: Abbie Hale What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Abbie on her way to hospital (Picture: Abbie Hale)

    Abbie Hale, 19, from Warwickshire, was diagnosed with the same condition at 12 years old. She underwent a corneal transplant on her right eye in August 2018.

    Although it will be at least another six months before her stitches are removed and her cornea fully heals, she has already noticed significant changes.

    She says: ‘As I have only had one eye operated on, my left eye is still quite bad and I’m hoping to get that operated on this year.

    ‘My right eye has seen significant changes, and it’s made me realise how bad my left eye really is in comparison.

    ‘I can see more long distance so currently in my glasses I have a plain glass lens, and if I wear contact lenses I only wear one in my left eye.

    Picture: Abbie Hale What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Abbie Hale in hospital (Picture: Abbie Hale)

    ‘However, as my stitches are still in place and not due to be taken out till June, my surgeon says that my vision will improve more after the stitches are removed and my eye can relax.

    ‘Although I have seen changes already, I’m looking forward to the full benefits.’

    The operation has already made a big difference to the university student’s life and she wants others to realise why agreeing to donate your eyes is so important.

    ‘I think that organ donation is such a precious gift as you feel humbled that another individual that was less fortunate has given someone a chance of a better life when they don’t know who it is going to or anything about them.

    ‘I think that it’s the purest act of kindness as quite frankly if you do not need your organs anymore, allowing someone to receive them that does genuinely need them gives them an improved lifestyle.

    ‘When people say that they don’t want to donate their eyes, I understand it to a certain extent as your eyes are fragile and they are viewed as a more “squeamish” part of the body to be operated on.

    ‘It makes me feel slightly sad as many people desperately need a cornea graft for a better quality of life as it can restrict lifestyle choices such as learning to drive and playing sport.

    ‘So, if less people are donating, people are on waiting lists for a long amount of time while their vision is deteriorating. I never fully appreciated this, but after myself needing a transplant so badly you gain perspective.’

    Abby Cresswell had a cornea transplant in 2013 (Picture: Abby Cresswell)

    Abby Cresswell, 28, from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, had the operation in 2013. Her transplant means she can now see without glasses or contact lenses.

    She was diagnosed with Keratoconous at around 16 but in 2012, she was told she would need a transplant.

    After being on the waiting list for about the year, she was told they had a donor.

    She explains: ‘I was scared as it was actually happening.

    ‘On the day of my op I was extremely upset and nearly didn’t go through with it. My mum was there with me with the support I needed.

    ‘I was under general anaesthetic for about three and a half hours. When I woke up I was extremely sore and disorientated. I was sent home the same day to recover with steroid drops.

    ‘The recovery was a long one. I had around 30 stitches in my eye for a year. Then gradually over the next two to three years I had them removed. It was a strange experience as I was awake while my consultant removed them.

    ‘It has improved my life as I can now see without glasses and contact lenses. I also started to learn to drive again. I can see people’s faces and and expressions when talking to them.

    Picture: Abby Cresswell What is it like having a cornea transplant
    Abby’s eye as it healed (Picture: Abby Cresswell)

    ‘I have also been put on the waiting list for my left eye, which is a relief as I’m really struggling with that eye.’

    For Abby, the thing she is most grateful for is being able to see her son being born.

    ‘Organ donation means everything to me, as I wouldn’t of been able to see my son be born,’ she says

    ‘I basically got my life back when I had this done, people don’t quite understand what it’s like to lose your sight.

    ‘I never thought I’d need anything like this but here I am. I’m very grateful to my donor for the kind thing they did.

    ‘I think people that donate but not their eyes need to rethink this, and think about people like me, enjoying my life again.

    ‘Maybe if people put themselves in other people’s shoes they would think about it. People are quick to receive but not give.’

    How can you donate your corneas?

    It only takes two minutes to join the NHS Organ Donor Register at http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk

    You can donate your corneas up to 24 hours after you die, and unlike with organ donation you don’t have to die in a hospital intensive care unit or A&E department to become a donor.

    Donation can take place after death in hospital, in hospices or in funeral home.

    Make sure you have told those closest to you that you have signed up so that they know to honour your decision.

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I may be white-passing, but skin tone and ethnicity aren’t mutually exclusive’

    MORE: Dream man surprises girlfriend with romantic three-course dinner at KFC


    sei_46761080-a9ddsei_46761080-a9ddlauraabernethy6Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantPicture: Abbie Hale What is it like having a cornea transplantPicture: Abbie Hale What is it like having a cornea transplantPicture: Abby Cresswell What is it like having a cornea transplantsei_46761080-a9ddsei_46761080-a9ddlauraabernethy6Anika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantAnika Cosgrove What is it like having a cornea transplantPicture: Abbie Hale What is it like having a cornea transplantPicture: Abbie Hale What is it like having a cornea transplantPicture: Abby Cresswell What is it like having a cornea transplant

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    **ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Reasons why I don’t like receiving oral sex (Almara Abgarian)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Female orgasms are all too often seen as optional, while men’s orgasms are a necessity.

    Sex is ‘finished’ when the man half of a heterosexual couple ejaculates, even if their partner is left unsatisfied.

    There are many reasons why that perception should change (basic fairness, to start with), but here’s another one: having an orgasm could raise a woman’s chances of conceiving.

    Dr Robert King is a lecturer in applied psychology at the University College Cork, Ireland. He’s recently finished writing a book, titled Tulips at Midnight: Exploring the latest Research into the Nature and Function of Female Orgasm, which, as the name might suggest, is all about orgasms.

    During his research, Robert found that when a woman has an orgasm, it could boost her chances of conceiving by as much as 15%.

    The lecturer states that when a woman orgasms, a unique reaction causes a man’s sperm to be ‘sucked’ into the dominant ovary, boosting the chances of conception.

    So if you’re trying to have a baby, a woman’s orgasm could be especially important.

    It’s important regardless, if you care about your partner’s sexual pleasure, but this research could be an extra nudge towards closing the orgasm gap.

    ‘When I first started researching the female orgasm, it represented something of a puzzle,’ said Dr King.

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

    ‘The consensus in the field was that the female orgasm didn’t actually do anything, other than being a byproduct of male arousal.

    ‘Some argued that female orgasms mustn’t do anything, not even forge closer bonds between partners, because it’s hard to bring about.

    ‘But the fact that it’s sometimes tricky to achieve doesn’t mean that it’s not a vital evolutionary function.

    ‘And my research builds on growing evidence that female orgasm is intrinsically linked to fertility.

    ‘It’s my view that eroticism and intimacy are not optional add-ons for human sexuality and reproduction.’

    Dr King studied a group of six women aged between 26 and 52, and asked them to record orgasms at home over a period of a month, on multiple occasions, using a vibrator. Using a lubricant designed to represent semen, he measured the retention of liquid in the womb when a woman had an orgasm versus when she didn’t.

    When a woman climaxed, she retained up to 15% more of the fake ‘semen’ than when she didn’t orgasm.

    It makes sense that the more sperm is retained, the higher the likelihood of getting pregnant.

    Dr King suspects the phenomenon is caused by the release of the hormone oxytocin during female orgasm, which in turn causes ‘uterine peristalsis’, a mechanism that sees a wave of small contractions transporting the sperm to where it needs to be.

    Dr King adds: ‘Sperm retention in the womb equates to better chances of falling pregnant, as the sperm is taken up into the uterus via the cervix.

    ‘And female orgasm significantly aids this process.’

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

    Fertility expert Dr Hana Visnova points out that the female orgasm is important for conception in another way – it relieves stress.

    Dr Visnova says: ‘There’s growing evidence of a link between female orgasm and pregnancy rates and it’s an area that warrants further research.

    ‘And it’s also important to remember the psychological benefits of orgasm when it comes to stress reduction.

    ‘When your body is stressed, it essentially goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Hormones including adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine flood the bloodstream.

    ‘And they tell the body that because there’s a perceived threat, now is absolutely not a good time to fall pregnant. It’s an ancient, evolutionary reaction. And it’s a very real barrier.

    ‘One of the things which can combat stress is sex.

    ‘Couples trying naturally to conceive might fall into a strict patterns and routines when it comes to lovemaking, often detracting from the joy of the experience.

    ‘This can lead to emotional instability, relationship problems, sadness, anxiety, and even sexual estrangement. And I think couples need to be educated about how vital it is to maintain true intimacy.

    ‘The message is clear – we need to ditch the perfunctory, sex-for-a-purpose, and always make it enjoyable.’

    True that.

    So, to conclude: women’s orgasms are important, too, especially if you’re trying to make a baby. Have great sex, prioritise pleasure, and enjoy.

    MORE: Woman poses in her underwear to show off her stoma bag and body confidence

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    MORE: You shouldn’t have to move to Scotland to get the IVF you need to have a baby


    sexsexellencscott**ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Reasons why I don’t like receiving oral sex (Almara Abgarian)metro illustrationssexsexellencscott**ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Reasons why I don’t like receiving oral sex (Almara Abgarian)metro illustrations

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    What is the Low FODmap diet?
    (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    We’re always sceptical about diets, as many (if not most) are fads which are not only bad for you, but also focus less on healthy eating and more on speedy weight loss.

    Irregardless, the diet industry is thriving with plenty of options for people to choose from, including classics such as atkins and keto (low-carb), as well as paleo (a.k.a the caveman diet) to more unusual tastes such as the bug and snake diet.

    Veganism is technically also considered a diet – or lifestyle change, if you will – and was arguably last year’s biggest trend, continuing into January with one person signing up to Veganuary every six seconds. In 2019, experts predict it will be the pegan diet, a mash-up of vegan cuisine and paleo offerings.

    But there’s a new diet edging in from Australia, known as the low FODmap diet. We find out how it works, who it’s good for and what you can eat.

    What is the low FODmap diet?

    Firstly, let’s talk acronyms; the phrase itself is a mouthfull and stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols.

    In simpler terms, FODmap is a scientific classification for a group of fermentable carbohydrates that are synonymous with digestive issues such as bloating, gas or stomach pain.

    The ‘low’ is just added because those who follow the diet avoid high FODmaps.

    Originally introduced in Australia by a team of researchers, it’s now a primary dietary approach on the continent for those suffering with IBS.

    Foods that contain high FODmaps:

    According to the IBS Network, high FODmaps can be found in:

    • Certain vegetables such as onions and garlic, brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli), pulses (beans, lentils, peas) and beetroot
    • Milk and dairy items that have lactose in them, but this is only relevant to people who are lactase deficient
    • Wheat
    • Sweets, mints and chewing gum that contain sorbitol
    • High-fructose syrup (can be found in some drinks and ready meals)

    What happens to your body when you eat high FODmaps?

    ‘Because FODmaps are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, these molecules end up in the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there,’ Anne Marie O’shea, head of school of nutrition at Future Fit Training, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The bacteria then ferment these FODmaps, causing symptoms such as abdominal bloating, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.’

    Foods that contain low FODmaps:

    The main purpose of the diet is to avoid high FODmaps, but here’s a useful list by IBS Free of some items that are considered ‘low’.

    • Lactose-free dairy products and aged cheeses
    • Spinach, kale, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes
    • Fresh and frozen fruit (in favour of dried fruits)
    • Rice, cornmeal and quinoa
    • Bread, cereal and pasta made with rice flour
    • Sweets made with 100% sugar, pure maple syrup or stevia (though be cautious of your daily sugar intake)

    Does the diet work?

    Yes and no. A low FODmap diet can be beneficial for some people, including those who suffer from IBS or other gastro problems, such as gastroparesis.

    ‘Scientific research has found that following a low FODmap diet can significantly improve symptoms in those suffering from IBS and some other gastrointestinal disorders,’ Debra Thomas, a registered dietician with the health care professions council and member of the British Dietetic Association, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘It can be tricky to follow though independently, so finding expert advice and support from a dietitian trained in FODmaps gives by far the best results.

    ‘The low FODmap diet involves temporarily removing high FODmap foods from the diet and when symptoms improve, challenging with these foods to identify triggers. This food challenge phase is really important, as ultimately the diet needs to be as varied as possible and not all the FODmaps removed will be problematic.’

    It the diet gluten-free?

    By default, yes.

    ‘The low FODmap diet is not a gluten-free diet, however it does limit many gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye and barley,’ said O’Shea.

    How could the diet improve the lives of those suffering from IBS?

    ‘Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastrointestinal discomfort is a debilitating condition affecting the lives of 15-20% of the UK population,’ said Thomas, who is also the author of upcoming book, Tummy Revolution.

    ‘For some, symptoms are minor or just inconvenient. However, for many, IBS can dictate their lives.

    ‘Symptoms often mean sufferers miss out on holidays, evenings out socialising and it affects relationships and work.

    ‘Until recently, treatment has involved many trips to the GP, invasive procedures and medication, all at a significant cost to the NHS. But now there is hope for sufferers in the form of the low FODmap diet. It is evidence-based and is effective in over 75% of sufferers.’

    So, while not specifically a diet in the weight loss sense, the low FODmap diet could be one to look into if you have any gut issues.

    Like we always say though, it’s recommended that you speak to your GP or a qualified nutritionist before you embark on a new dietary plan.

    MORE: Why I failed every single diet I went on

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    What is the Low FODmap diet?What is the Low FODmap diet?allieabgarianWhat is the Low FODmap diet?What is the Low FODmap diet?What is the Low FODmap diet?allieabgarianWhat is the Low FODmap diet?

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    Metro Illustrations Metro Illustration via Dave Anderson What it's like to have sex with alopecia (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)
    (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

    The first two thoughts that hit me when I noticed a substantial chunk of hair had fallen out of my head were: ‘I’ve got cancer’ and ‘I’m going to go bald’.

    Neither was true.

    A few days later, a very expensive private dermatologist explained that I had alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, and confirmed that the patch would likely grow back within a year. I was also lucky enough not to suffer from alopecia universalis – a more severe strain of the disease where you lose all of your hair, including that on your head, as well as eyebrows, lashes and body hair.

    After the initial shock subsided, I faced an everyday dilemma.

    I’d accepted my chronic diagnosis, which was passed down through my family genes and was likely triggered through stress (it’s estimated 20% of alopecia cases are caused by hereditary factors) but soon realised that I’d have to tell any future partners – romantic or sexual – about the bald patch hidden underneath my hair.

    Once again, I’ve been lucky; my patch isn’t actually all that big, and located further down the right side of my head (meaning it’s not fully visible unless I whip my hair back and forth or deliberately part my hair sideways).

    But, of course, hair movement is pretty likely during sex.

    Unless I intend to enjoy the trusty missionary position until it grows back, and frankly, I will not resign myself to dull, monotonous sex just because I’ve had the unfortunate fate of inheriting an illness.

    That doesn’t mean the process of dating or sex is any easier, especially since I’m currently single.

    There was no boyfriend of years to hold my hand through the first few weeks (when I was afraid to shower in hot water or brush my hair, for fear I’d pull out even more of it).

    And no man to tell me that I looked just as beautiful this way, or to help me suffer through the truth that yes, it’s ‘just hair’ but actually, it’s also really not that simple. For most people, hair is part of identity – and it can be a really big f***ing deal.

    So, there I was. On a date, post alopecia-gate.

    We met at my flat and had a few drinks on my sofa.

    I deliberately faced him and sat on the side that was least likely to reveal the small patch of bald skin, because I really didn’t want him to run out of my house screaming ‘she’s bald!’.

    By the way, he didn’t.

    Suddenly, we’re making out and his hands are moving towards my hair. Oh, no.

    ‘Eh, so look, I need to tell you something,’ I said.

    ‘Basically, I was told I have alopecia a while back, and it means I’ve lost a small patch of hair and I’ve not really told anyone and this is my first date since.’

    He looked at me, said it was cool that I could so honest about it and then resumed kissing me. Sad to say the romance didn’t last, but we ended up becoming very good friends instead.

    OK, so perhaps alopecia wasn’t going to be the official end to my love and sex life that I had originally anticipated.

    Some weeks later, it was time for the big moment – getting freaky in the sheets.

    It’s worth noting before you read this that every case of alopecia is different, and so is every sexual experience. Here are a few things I learned personally, based on my version of it.

    Unless I put my hair up while I’m giving a blowjob, all I’m really thinking about is whether you’re going to a) pull my hair (please, don’t).

    And b) if you’re closing your eyes because my patch is playing ‘peekaboo’ or if it’s because I’m just that good at giving head.

    Based on the evidence I’ve carefully collected these past few months, I’d say it’s the latter.

    How to do coital aligment technique during sex
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    On to the big stuff. These days, I find it easier to just tell a man what I’m dealing with and I’m yet to have a bad reaction to the news.

    Honestly, so far all of them have been more interested in what’s underneath my clothes, rather than on top of my head. But, as mentioned, my patch is fairly small; so if you do meet someone with a worse case of alopecia, don’t be a d**k about it.

    That much should be obvious.

    We’ve started in missionary. The man I’m getting down and dirty with is aware of my hair issue – I told him before we got into bed.

    He’s busy having fun with my breasts, and my hair is lying flat on the pillow, so I start to relax. But ten minutes later, I’m suddenly on top.

    You’d think this would be a preferred position, since I’m in charge, but vigorous movement is always ‘risky’.

    Especially when I lean down towards him and my hair, the beautiful curtain that it is, parts the wrong way.

    He doesn’t notice. Or he doesn’t care. And at this point, despite my insecurity slipping into bed with us, I decide that neither do I.

    Then it’s wham-bam, backwards please ma’am. By far the most ideal position, since my patch is closer to the front. I’m also fairly certain he’s busy looking at my bum, so it’s a win-win.

    Once we’re finished with round one, I stand up and look at myself in the mirror. We’ve been snuggling in bed, and I’d forgotten about the patch.

    There it is, staring at me. And I realise that my lover has seen it, too. Of course he has.

    I feel awkward and the panic is setting in with a lump building in my throat, but he’s smiling – not standing there pointing a finger at me and shouting ‘be gone, demon’.

    And yes, that was a scenario I had envisioned would occur. That or him pulling out the rest of my hair and both of us fainting at the sight.

    Overall the first time with my patch, which I’ve now affectionately named Keith, wasn’t all that bad. Once I’d accepted that there was no running away from it, things got a bit easier.

    I’ll admit, there are still insecurities; I dread raising the issue on a date, as you never know how someone will react (and people’s eyes usually give them away, even if their words don’t).

    But whoever puts your value in the strands of hair you have, isn’t worth having. In your bed or in your life.

    So Keith and I are dedicated to getting freaky as much – and as filthily – as possible.

    Because really, life is too short to have shit sex.

    Need support or more information?

    If you need help or support about hair loss and alopecia areata, totalis or universalis, you can read more on the British Association of Dermatologists, contact your local GP for a referral to a dermatologist or find a private one, here.

    Beware that alopecia is a specialist hair loss issue; general clinics that boast about great results in assisting with hair loss are often not staffed by qualified dermatologists who are trained in how to treat alopecia.

    Private appointments can vary in price, but usually cost a few hundred pounds for the first appointment.

    MORE: 14 things you only know if you have alopecia

    MORE: The sex trends experts predict will be huge in 2019

    MORE: What to do if your partner keeps turning down sex


    sei_46849555-ea1asei_46849555-ea1aallieabgarianMetro Illustrations Metro Illustration via Dave Anderson What it's like to have sex with alopecia (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)How to do coital aligment technique during sexsei_46849555-ea1asei_46849555-ea1aallieabgarianMetro Illustrations Metro Illustration via Dave Anderson What it's like to have sex with alopecia (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)How to do coital aligment technique during sex

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    Every day when I return from lunch, I have a ritual.

    I log back into my computer, check my emails, then close Chrome, saying farewell to every tab open within it.

    It’s a thrilling experience. I’m free. I’m at tab zero. It doesn’t matter what tabs I may have lost, because I can always find them again.

    At this point in the day my tab count ranges from 18 to 43.

    A few desks over, Chris has 52 tabs open. Next to me, Laura has 33 tabs open in one window, 15 in another.

    My tabs are always a mix of work-related things – the CMS, articles I’m editing, Trello, analytics – social media, and articles I fully intend to read when I have a spare moment, you know, for fun. A lot of those articles go unread, but there’s still a reluctance to close them. It feels like I’m admitting failure, that I’ve let that longread down.

    There’s a strange guilt associated with closing tabs, and a guilt for having so many open. It feels cluttered and unorganised.

    So why do so many of us fall into the tab trap? And why is it so difficult to revert back to a life of only having one window at a time?

    Tab-hoarding happens for the same reason we attempt to multi-task, or we scroll Twitter when we’re watching TV: We like to have multiple stimuli available at all times.

    It’s a protection against boredom. We open a new tab of fun, or information, or as a means of productivity, and we feel like we’re doing something, whether that’s enjoyable or for work purposes. We get rewarded with online content, so we keep doing it… until we notice we’ve got so many tabs open we can’t even see what each one is.

    The problem is that we overestimate what our brains are capable of.

    People tend to believe they’re good at multi-tasking, that they really can pay attention to multiple things at once and get a load of work done. But that isn’t the case.

    Rather than multi-tasking, we task-switch, moving from thing to thing and experiencing a dip in concentration each time. Multi-tasking is a way for us to avoid deep focus and thought. We can look at lots of things fleetingly and tell ourselves we’re being productive, but the truth is that focusing on one thing would likely result in better outcomes.

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

    Having a bunch of tabs open is a digital way of us task-switching, and it’s the ultimate form of distraction. We may think that while we’re focused on one tab, we can block out all the others that are open. But in truth they’re still there, in the corner of our eye and taking up mental energy.

    Dr Daria Kuss, the course leader of Cyberpsychology at Nottingham Trent University, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Having lots of tabs open can potentially result in information overload – whereby multitasking is requested, which may be difficult to handle by the human brain, and rather than creating efficiency, switching frequently between tasks may lead to short attention spans and a lack of depth in the ongoing tasks.’

    Have a look at how frequently you switch tabs when you have a load open.

    I’ll quickly ditch the tab I’m working on to check another flashing with a notification, then find myself having a look at what’s going on over on Twitter, then open some more tabs when I spot things I want to read, before finally returning to my working tab, my ‘flow’ shattered.

    You might be doing the same. That’s the sort of task-switching behaviour having a bunch of tabs open promotes.

    But not all tabs are distraction, I hear you cry. You need all of these to reference. That’s entirely valid.

    Dr Kuss notes that there are two opposing reasons we keep loads of tabs open: to be efficient and ‘create a multi-source and multi-topic context for the task at hand’, or as a form of procrastination, ‘the additional online article to read, one more video to watch’.

    A problem many tab-hoarders face is the blurring of those two purposes. You might have a bunch of tabs you actually need, a lot you don’t, and soon the number is so immense that you can’t tell the difference between the two.

    There’s a reason we’re reluctant to close our tabs and only have the ones we definitely, clearly need: FOMO.

    ‘People are scared of missing out on any information so keep tabs open,’ says Professor Mike Berry, a psychologist at Birmingham City University.  ‘It is a case of “I might miss something ” if I close a tab.’

    In a sense, the tabs know this. That’s why notifications are visible just in the little tab icon, to get you to look that that tab and resist closing it in case you miss out.

    Right now, I can see there’s newness on Trello, on Twitter, and on Slack. It’s hard to resist looking – what if everyone else is discussing something important and I’m left out?

    Racking up the tabs and clicking between them doesn’t just put your computer at risk of slowing down, it could also lead to informational overload, building up tiny scraps of stress until you feel completely overwhelmed.

    Marc Hekster, of The Summit Clinic, explains: ‘Our computers/phones have become an extension of our brain. They have become an adjunct to our memory, or our creative source.

    ‘The tabs are another version of our working memory. We treat our computers as if they have an unlimited capacity, just like we treat our brain.

    ‘But when we overload our brain, we become tired, forgetful, irritable. When we overload tabs, the page slows down, and the computer/phone may be less efficient.

    ‘[When] we forget to close tabs, they use up our working memory.

    ‘Keep the tab open, it will always be there. So we see a certain emotional greed, an underestimating of our own (and our computer’s) limitations.’

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

    So having lots of tabs open might be bad for us in more ways than attracting criticism from our deskmates. How can we get rid of the sense of failure and guilt in closing a tab, and declutter our windows?

    The most important thing: You must be realistic about what your brain is capable of.

    No matter how skilled a multi-tasker you may think you are, there is no way you can properly focus on 50 things at once – and so there is no way you can pay attention to that number of tabs.

    Recognise that you cannot read everything on the internet or be updated on all things. Striving to scroll back to the last tweet you saw is a fruitless task, and being ‘updated’ is a myth. You will miss stuff. If it’s important, it’ll come back around, someone will send it to you directly, or – thanks to those annoying algorithm changes that hate chronological feeds – it’ll be at the top of your feed the next time you log on.

    Do not feel like a failure for admitting that you’ll never finish that longread or seeing the four generations meme (which is a delight, FYI) later than other people on the internet. You are a human, not an information processor. You have limits on both your time and your brain capacity.

    Accepting this new worldview will free you from ‘guilt’ tabs – those tabs that you keep open because you feel like you ‘should’. Close them and feel the freedom.

    Then it’s time to tackle procrastination tabs, the ones that distract you from what you’re working on with their enticing notifications and the promise of new and exciting things. These require more drastic action.

    When you know you need to focus on one particular task, close every single tab that isn’t related to it. Close any that you aren’t actively using for the purposes of said task. Do it now.

    Again, you’ll need to process feelings of FOMO. Try to remember that your notifications and your feed will still be there once you’ve finished your work. They do not have a time limit. You can see them later. But clearing the tab is a way to get rid of that visual temptation.

    Rather than having tabs open as an option for procrastination, realise that it’s really not that difficult to open a new tab for Twitter or Instagram when you’re ready to focus on that fully. Your browser probably remembers what you type, so you only have to put in the first letter of the site. Or you can bookmark your favourite procrastination zones. It’s really not that much work to open a fresh tab rather than leaving a bunch of cluttered ones dormant and waiting for your return.

    Essentially, it’s worth taking a Marie Kondo approach, and asking yourself with each tab: is this serving a purpose? Is this sparking joy?

    If it’s doing neither right in this moment, close it. It’s not gone forever.

    Finally, embrace new ways of keeping tabs on stuff you plan to read later. Faima will Slack herself links of things she wants to read later to avoid having a cluttered window. I’ve started putting links into an email then sending it to myself so I can read the articles on my way home.

    Be exorcised of excess tabs and feel smug at having only the ones you need. Embrace the freedom of window minimalism. Close your tabs.

    MORE: Climate change is causing ecoanxiety and damaging our mental health – what can we do?

    MORE: Conversation envy: Why does it feel like you’re always missing out on the better conversation?


    Why you have so many tabs openWhy you have so many tabs openellencscottmetro illustrationsWhy you have so many tabs openWhy you have so many tabs openellencscottmetro illustrations

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    (Picture: Getty)

    The ketogenic diet is high-fat, low-carb and promises to help you lose weight.

    The restrictive diet is booming in popularity, with a growing number of people in the UK giving it a try.

    And with January resolutions at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it’s no surprise that more people are looking for options to overhaul their diets and meet their weight-loss goals.

    But can a high intake of fats and extremely low intake of carbs really be good for your body?

    Or is the keto diet dangerous in the long term? We took a look at the facts.

    (Picture: Getty)

    The point of the ketogenic diet is to force the body into a state of ketosis.

    This is when low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. Hence the weight-loss.

    Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis, which is an extremely dangerous complication of type 1 diabetes. But does that mean that ketosis is also dangerous?

    Not necessarily.

    Experts have generally consented that the keto diet, while it wouldn’t be recommended for everybody, is generally safe.

    Expert nutritionist and founder of Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu-Robb, explains it like this:

    ‘Renowned for its ability to source calories from protein and fats, as opposed to carbohydrates and sugars, in a bid to elevate weight loss and boost energy, the state of ketosis has been credited for aiding a range of health problems.

    ‘However it is not without its criticism, such as the safe longevity of the method. But what must be said is that the ketogenic diet is most definitely safe and is a viable dieting technique.

    ‘Before starting a keto diet its important to do your research – of your own body! It’s very important to examine your relationship with fats as a traditional ketogenic diet will have lots of them.

    ‘Have a meal plan in place and opt for the best quality products, even if this means a spike in the prices – bearing in mind the keto diet should not be a long term plan.’

    And that is the crux of the issue. Experts seem to agree that the keto diet is safe and viable – when it’s only used in the short-term.

    According to some, leaving your body in a state of ketosis indefinitely can cause extreme fatigue, muscle loss and even make it harder for you to lose weight.

    Some experts have even warned that a long-term keto diet can damage the heart muscle.

    Geeta says that there’s also another concern with consuming high volumes of meat on this diet.

    ‘While the upside of this plan is that people end up eating healthier fats, less sugar and see their insulin levels mellow, it can often mean that people become reliant on saturated animal fats in meat,’ Geeta tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘This is why vegan variations of the keto diet are much healthier options as you still reap the weight and health rewards of a keto diet but avoid the harmful fats in meat, which are hard to avoid when you consider the fact that carbohydrates are almost completely disregarded.

    ‘Vegan ketosis will see plant-based healthy nutrients maintained.

    ‘The ketogenic diet will see its best rewards when implemented between one and two weeks at a time. It certainly shouldn’t be a long duration diet method.’

    The benefits of a keto diet

    Overall the keto diet plan is positive. When you eat high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.

    Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy which means the fats you eat, your body stores.

    But when you go into ketosis, your body burns stored fat for energy instead of glucose and the benefits include:

    • Rebalancing the body
    • Reducing blood pressure
    • Resetting your insulin levels
    • Improving cognitive processes and mental stability

    The ultimate benefit is that you totally change your eating habits to include more fat and eat healthier as you adapt to this diet.

    Ms Geeta Sidhu-Robb, nutritionist

    Looking at all the evidence and the expert advice, it seems as though the keto diet is a good option to kick start your weight-loss goals.

    If your aim for the new year is to think more consciously about food and get to a healthier weight, then it might be worth doing the keto diet for a few weeks, and seeing how you get on.

    But, as with all dieting and restrictive eating, it’s vital to listen to your body and do it in the healthiest way possible.

    Well-rounded eating and regular exercise is still the best way to be healthy and maintain your weight.

    If you’re considering trying something new then speak to your GP or a nutritionist for tailored advice to fit your needs.

    MORE: All the easiest Keto dinner ideas

    MORE: What is the low FODmap diet and is it good for you?

    MORE: Are vegan meat substitutes actually bad for you?


    SteakSteaknataliemorris88SteakSteaknataliemorris88

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    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    A mum-of-one spent the night of her wedding party in hospital after falling and breaking both her arms.

    Kirsty Bridges, 39, should have been enjoying the night with her new husband Phil, 40.

    But instead, the pair – still dressed in their wedding outfits – were turning heads in A&E after the bride, of Braunton, Devon, was accidentally knocked over by a guest and, falling awkwardly, broke both arms.

    Kirsty, who has recently welcomed her first child with designer Phil, said: ‘The last thing I expected was to spend my night in hospital, getting X-rayed in my wedding dress.

    ‘When Phil and I first walked in, in all our finery, everyone was looking at us.

    ‘I had to go back to the same hospital a few times to attend the fracture clinic, and eventually it became a notorious story. Staff would see me and say, “You’re the one who came in in your wedding gear.”‘

    Sadly, the painful tumble was not the first setback Kirsty, who runs her own business called Lovebird Jewellery, faced around her nuptials.

    She had originally planned to tie the knot with Phil, who she met through mutual friends in 2013, on New Year’s Eve 2016 – 10 months after he proposed in Lisbon, Portugal.

    However, just two months after announcing her engagement, she was dealt a devastating blow when her dad Barry was diagnosed with cancer.

    ‘My sister owns a barn, so Phil and I had hoped we could marry there on New Year’s Eve. It all seemed great, and easy to plan – but then my dad’s diagnosis was a massive bombshell,’ said

    Kirsty. ‘I’d actually been hospitalised with pneumonia right before he was diagnosed, so I couldn’t even see him at first due to infection risk.’

    Kirsty and Phil at their August wedding (PA Real Life/Robert Longford)
    Kirsty and Phil at their August wedding (PA Real Life/Robert Longford)

    Explaining that doctors diagnosed Barry with cancer of unknown primary, where the origin of the disease cannot be found, she added: ‘It was horrific to deal with.’

    Keen for her dad to be there on her big day, Kirsty decided to move everything forward to September 2016 – but sadly, Barry rapidly declined.

    So, worried a big ceremony may be too much for him, she instead opted to marry at The Hermitage, a country house on the Isle of Wight, in August 2016, organising everything in just a week.

    ‘The original dress I’d wanted to wear wasn’t ready, so I had to go out on a shopping spree in Southampton and get basically everything there,’ she said. ‘Absolutely everything was organised in a week.

    ‘It was a very intimate wedding day, with only around 20 people there, but Dad walked me down the aisle and even made a speech, which meant the world.’

    Though they had officially wed, Kirsty and Phil still wanted to celebrate their union with all their loved ones who hadn’t been able to make the last-minute August ceremony, and so planned to keep the September date as a part of their nuptials.

    Tragically, though, Barry passed away, aged 73, just days before.

    In no state to celebrate, Kirsty opted to cancel the day, escaping instead to Italy on what should have been her honeymoon.

    ‘It was very surreal,’ she said. ‘People kept seeing we were recently married and gushing about us being on our honeymoon, when it wasn’t exactly like that. It was bittersweet.’

    Kirsty in hospital after surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Kirsty in hospital after surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

    Back home, Kirsty realised she still wanted to celebrate her marriage with her nearest and dearest, but, given that it is such an in-demand time, everything was booked up for New Year’s Eve, her original wedding date.

    Instead, she rearranged everything for 30 December 2016, holding the party for around 100 in her sister’s barn at New Barn Farm in Calbourne, on the Isle of Wight.

    At first, everything was going perfectly, until a guest accidentally knocked into her and she fell to the floor.

    She recalled: ‘It was a total accident, but I fell awkwardly, going face forward and putting my arms out to stop myself.

    ‘I landed and shouted out for Phil as I was in pain.

    ‘I hoped he’d tell me that I was being silly and to get up, but when I saw his face, I knew something was wrong.

    ‘Everyone was crowding round me looking really panicked. My arm was quite bent and very obviously broken.’

    Rushed to St Mary’s Hospital on the outskirts of Newport, she didn’t even have time to change out of her finery.

    With Phil, suited and booted, by her side, she was X-rayed and given gas and air for the pain.

    Confirming that she had broken both her left and right arm, she was told she would need surgery.

    ‘They didn’t have any beds that night, though, so they told me I could either wait in A&E or go back to my sister’s house and try and get some sleep,’ she said. ‘I ended up leaving about 4am, then getting a call around 8am to say it was time to come back.’

    The next day – New Year’s Eve – she returned to St Mary’s for K-Wire surgery, where stainless-steel wires are used to hold broken bones in the corrected position, sticking out of the skin so they can be easily removed once the break has healed.

    ‘I saw in 2017 from my hospital bed, which wasn’t what I’d planned,’ she laughed.

    Kirsty and Phil in hospital on the night of their wedding party (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Kirsty and Phil in hospital on the night of their wedding party (PA Real Life/Collect)

    In total, her arms were in casts for six weeks, after which she underwent physiotherapy to rebuild her strength.

    Now, she said that she and Phil count their wedding anniversary as being in August, to coincide with the ceremony her dad could attend.

    And they have jokingly dubbed 30th December their ‘wristiversary’.

    Discussing whether she would ever renew her vows, Kirsty laughed, ‘I’m not sure what else would happen if we did!

    ‘We always laugh that everything that went wrong felt like the universe telling us not to get married, but actually, despite it all, we’re really well matched and really strong.

    ‘Even though he hates hospitals, Phil has been by my side throughout and I couldn’t be more grateful.’

    MORE: Why you have so many tabs open

    MORE: Groomsman caught checking out best friend’s bride in brilliant wedding photo


    Bride broke armsBride broke armslauraabernethy6Kirsty and Phil at their August wedding (PA Real Life/Robert Longford)Kirsty in hospital after surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)Kirsty and Phil in hospital on the night of their wedding party (PA Real Life/Collect)Bride broke armsBride broke armslauraabernethy6Kirsty and Phil at their August wedding (PA Real Life/Robert Longford)Kirsty in hospital after surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)Kirsty and Phil in hospital on the night of their wedding party (PA Real Life/Collect)

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    (Picture: RunHoly)

    A word of advice on trying to save money by doing a vampire facial at home: Don’t.

    You’ve probably spied celebs and influencers touting the benefits of PRP (plasma rich platelet) facials – also know as vampire facials – in which plasma is taken from the blood then injected back into the skin.

    Or perhaps you read about our experiences of the treatment.

    The procedure is claimed to reduce the signs of ageing, smooth the skin, and improve discolouration. The results are pretty impressive, which explains why the treatment is in high demand.

    The only issue – apart from the redness you’ll experience for a few days afterwards – is the price. A single facial will set you back hundreds, and you’re advised to have a top up every six months or so.

    So it makes sense that blogger Lauren Shivers, who goes by RunHoly, is advising people how to do a ‘DIY Vampire Facial’ so they can get the effects without spending a load of cash.

    But there’s an important thing to know before you read her guidelines and try out the facial for yourself: it poses a lot of risks when not done in a medical setting and carried out by a professional.

    Woman advises doing DIY vampire facials... don't
    (Picture: RunHoly)

    Lauren includes links to buy centrifuge machines, which separate the plasma from the blood, disposable turniquets, needles, syringes, and blood collection tubes.

    She says: ‘I just like to see if I can DIY cosmetic procedures.

    ‘I’m just putting out info that I gathered from lots of online sources so that I could do this on myself and save some money.’

    Lauren does note that she’s not a professional and people can proceed at their own risk, but it’s worth knowing exactly what those risks are.

    London plastic surgeon Christopher Inglefield warns that attempting a vampire facial puts you at risk of ‘bleeding, severe infection, nerve injury, blindness, and tissue necrosis’.

    Tissue necrosis is essentially when tissue dies. Cool.

    These risks are to do with using dirty equipment as well as the placement of any needles, which needs an expert hand.

    ‘This is a medical treatment which should only be performed by a trained medical practitioner or under supervision of a medical practitioner,’ says Dr Inglefield.

    ‘Risks start from drawing blood which could lead to sepsis or haemorrhage.’

    And, he adds, there’s a ‘risk of contamination of blood during preparation of the PRP and subsequent injection with infected blood.’

    Not really worth the risk, right?

    So, to recap, if you’re desperate for a vampire facial, go to a professional. It’s expensive, yes, but spending a bit of money is better than ending up with a major infection.

    Or you can just try facial massage and a decent night oil at home. Easy.

    MORE: New beauty products: 11 launches from Morphe, Fenty Beauty and Benefit you need to know about

    MORE: Artist gives iconic women 2018 makeovers, with botox, lip fillers and more


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    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    Meet Kazou – he might not have eyes but he still knows how to have a good time.

    He was found as a kitten at around eight weeks old but he was in a pretty bad way.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    He only had one eye left when a local animal rescue organisation in Germany found him and it was heavily infected.

    His foster mum tried to save it but unfortunately, it had to be surgically removed and the eyelids of both his eyes were sewed together to prevent infections.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    In November 2014, he was adopted by Sabine Fallend, who was a friend of his foster mum’s.

    She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I got to know him there. I was concerned about his handicap at first but as I met him, all fears and worries were gone and my husband and I decided to adopt him. After his recovery he moved in with us.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    ‘His foster mum described him as a very calm cat to me – but after his eye surgery, he grew to be a very active and “sassy” cat.

    ‘What I’m trying to say: removing his eyes was like a release for him. All the pain was gone and he started to “bloom”.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    ‘I assume that he was never able to see in a good way so he grew up with that handicap.

    ‘He acts like every other cat, there’s nothing he can’t do.

    ‘The only difference is in climbing downwards.He needs something to touch with his front paws to find his way down.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    ‘When he’s stressed (because of loud, strange noises) you notice that it’s harder for him to navigate around objects.’

    Despite his disability, four-year-old Kazou is a cat who embraces life.

    Sabine added: ‘He is a very self-confident cat. He knows exactly what he wants (and not) and he’s a little stubborn and sassy but in a very lovely and charming way.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    ‘He’s curious and loves to explore and to learn new things.

    ‘I also taught him some tricks like high five (left and right), spin (both ways), play dead, roll over, stand up and so on.

    ‘He loves his training and reminds me every day when it’s time for it. He knows about 20 tricks.

    Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)
    (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

    Kazou created a Facebook page with pictures of all the things he does and she said she hopes it will help other animals.

    She said: ‘He is very inspiring for many people and of course for me. He had a great effect on my life and my way of thinking. That’s also the reason why I created this page and keep talking about him.

    ‘My vision is that he becomes an ambassador for animals with special needs – to show the world how awesome they are and how much they have to give. They deserve a chance.’

    MORE: Expert warns against doing at-home vampire facials

    MORE: Bride spends wedding night in A&E after breaking both her arms


    Kazou - blind cat photographsKazou - blind cat photographslauraabernethy6Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographsKazou - blind cat photographslauraabernethy6Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)Kazou - blind cat photographs (Picture: Sabine Fallend Fotografie)

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    (Picture: Lush/Metro.co.uk)

    Look, Lush knew exactly what they were doing when they unveiled an aubergine bath bomb as part of their Valentine’s Day collection.

    We all know that the aubergine emoji means a penis. It’s fun. It’s cheeky.

    But what perhaps Lush didn’t consider is that if you make something that looks like the go-to penis emoji, at some point someone will consider using that thing as a dildo.

    We don’t make the rules. This is just how humans work: We take perfectly innocent things and ruin them with smut.

    So, to ward off this bad decision before anyone makes it, let us be clear.

    You absolutely should not use Lush’s new aubergine bath bomb as a dildo. You should not insert it inside your vagina, anus, or mouth.

    The same goes for any bath bomb, really, but as the aubergine is the one that suggests a penis, that’s the one we’re focusing on today.

    While, as one unnamed coworker suggested, you might imagine a pleasant fizzing sensation, you’d be more likely to end up with a vagina injured by the bath bomb’s roughness.

    Plus, you’re putting the vagina at risk of a nasty infection.

    Dr Vaness Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We would strongly discourage the use of bath bombs internally as these could disturb the fragile balance of good bacteria inside the vagina.

    (Picture: Lush)

    ‘This natural flora helps to protect the vagina and disrupting it could lead to irritation, inflammation and infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.

    ‘Women are advised to use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva), not inside it, gently every day.’

    To repeat: it is not a good idea to put any kind of bath bomb or soap inside your vagina.

    In addition to the risks of infection and irritation, the aubergine bath bomb is also at risk of breakage, which makes it a dangerous thing to use for anal play. You don’t want a bit of bath bomb getting broken off inside you.

    Consuming it orally might make you a bit poorly.

    We asked Lush for a comment on this important matter, and they responded: ‘We don’t need to comment on that.’

    Fair enough.

    Let us recap one more time for the people in the back: Do not insert Lush’s new aubergine bath bomb – or any bath bomb – inside yourself. Do not put it in your vagina. Do not put it in your anus. Do not put it in your mouth.

    Think Green Eggs and Ham, but with your various orifices not liking bath bombs.

    Stick to throwing them in the tub for a far more relaxing experience.

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    Do not use Lush's new aubergine bath bomb as a dildo LUSH METROGRABDo not use Lush's new aubergine bath bomb as a dildo LUSH METROGRABellencscottDo not use Lush's new aubergine bath bomb as a dildo LUSH METROGRABDo not use Lush's new aubergine bath bomb as a dildo LUSH METROGRABellencscott

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    (Picture: Morrisons)

    Morrisons Cafe is introducing a new meal deal, where families of four can eat and drink for just £10.

    The deal will be available from 3 February in all Morrisons cafes, and includes four mains, four drinks and two pieces of fruit, to give families on a budget a chance to eat out.

    Adults can choose from a range of meals from the recently updated menu including hand-battered fish and chips, freshly prepared chicken and avocado salad or the Morrisons Makes it Burger which is handmade by Butchers in store, as well as drinks such as soft drinks or coffee.

    Other dishes on offer are lasagne, macaroni cheese, sausage and mash, and steak pie.

    (Picture: Morrisons)

    For the kids, the offer includes kid size chicken nuggets, pizza or spaghetti Bolognese along with drinks such as Tropicana or milk.

    Children will also receive a piece of fruit.

    Helen Tordoff, Head of Café at Morrisons says: ‘We’ve listened to our customers and we know that this is the time of year when they might feel the pinch.

    ‘We know that families want to be able to eat out and we hope that by offering this deal, we can help them afford an enjoyable cafe meal without the washing up.’

    MORE: Is the keto diet actually dangerous?

    MORE: People are baffled that an 18-inch pizza is more pizza than two 12-inch pizzas


    MORRISONS CAFÉ DEAL FEED A FAMILY OF FOUR FOR JUST £10MORRISONS CAFÉ DEAL FEED A FAMILY OF FOUR FOR JUST £10hattiegladwellmetroMORRISONS CAFÉ DEAL FEED A FAMILY OF FOUR FOR JUST £10MORRISONS CAFÉ DEAL FEED A FAMILY OF FOUR FOR JUST £10hattiegladwellmetro

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    (Picture: Beth Wilson)

    Inclusivity is a great, beautiful thing.

    A wedding store in Portishead, Bristol, has been praised on Twitter for its all-embracing attitude to women with physical disabilities. The window of the shop, known as the White Collection Bridal Boutique, features a mannequin in a wedding dress, sat in a wheelchair decorated with greenery.

    The scene was captured by Beth Wilson, 36, who herself is a wheelchair user, and tells Metro.co.uk it’s the ‘first time’ she’s seen one displayed in a shop window this way (not counting mobility shops).

    ‘This is the first time I’ve seen a wheelchair in a shop window like this (mobility shops not included) and it was so surprising to see and made me feel represented.

    ‘I’ve been using a chair for about five years now – not full-time, but usually when I leave the house. I think most disabled people experience inaccessibility often when they go out; I know I do, pretty much every time I go anywhere.

    ‘The world isn’t designed for us.’

    Beth also complimented the store’s creative use of greenery on the chair.

    ‘Mobility aids are also often portrayed as negative things that people want to hide when actual mobility aids like wheelchairs give us freedom.

    ‘It’s great that they decorated the chair rather than try and hide it away.’

    Beth, who lives in Portishead, believes there’s a lack of representation for people with disabilities in the fashion world.

    She doesn’t currently need a wedding dress herself, but messaged the store when she got home, to tell them how much she appreciated their display.

    ‘So often disabled people feel invisible, because we don’t see ourselves in the media much and especially not modelling beautiful clothes,’ she said.

    ‘The reaction on Twitter has shown that it means a lot to other people too; 20% of the population is disabled in some way, so it’s about time we see that reflected in media, advertising – everything!’

    Responses on social media have been very positive, with one user saying the dress ‘looks fabulous with the chair’.

    Another said she’d noticed this in a shop on TV once, but had ‘never seen any such thing in real life’.

    ‘I don’t need a wedding dress, but if I did I’d definitely be far happier about going to a shop where I knew that I’d be accepted, wheelchair and all,’ Beth said.

    ‘I messaged the shop when I got home from being out, just to say how much I appreciated their window display.’

    We have approached the White Collection Bridal Boutique and will update this article if we hear back. 


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