Articles on this Page
- 01/11/19--05:00: _Teen with rare cond...
- 01/11/19--05:51: _What is a twitterbang?
- 01/11/19--06:43: _Photos capture the ...
- 01/11/19--07:23: _Everything you need...
- 01/11/19--23:27: _Zita West fertility...
- 01/12/19--01:39: _Missing cat Thomas ...
- 01/12/19--02:00: _I used to worry wha...
- 01/12/19--02:34: _Benefits of being g...
- 01/12/19--03:07: _When is the Boots 7...
- 01/12/19--03:40: _Animal rescue centr...
- 01/12/19--03:46: _Could Pantone’s col...
- 01/12/19--04:23: _You’ll soon be able...
- 01/12/19--04:30: _It’s time to Marie ...
- 01/12/19--04:39: _When is Mother’s Da...
- 01/12/19--06:14: _What your personali...
- 01/12/19--06:29: _Why the Maldives is...
- 01/12/19--06:40: _There’s an awesome ...
- 01/12/19--07:15: _A music lover’s gui...
- 01/12/19--07:39: _Giant bad-tempered ...
- 01/12/19--07:43: _How to do the KonMa...
- 01/11/19--05:51: What is a twitterbang?
- 01/11/19--07:23: Everything you need to know before you dye your hair blue
- 01/12/19--03:07: When is the Boots 70% off sale 2019?
- 01/12/19--04:30: It’s time to Marie Kondo your online life
- 01/12/19--04:39: When is Mother’s Day 2019 in the UK?
- 01/12/19--06:14: What your personality says about your sexual preferences
- extraversion/introversion (E/I)
- sensing/ intuition (S/N)
- thinking/ feeling (T/F)
- judging/perceiving (J/P)
- Logistician (ISTJ) – least likely to share what they want in bed
- Advocate (INFJ) – masturbates the least
- Architect (INTJ) – loves doggy style
- Protagonist (ENFJ) – second most willing to use sex toys
- Virtuoso (ISTP) – most willing to have a threesome and is submissive in bed
- Consul (ESFJ) – will likely decline threesomes and anal sex
- Mediator (INFP) – difficult to satisfy in bed and most likely to be mistaken about what they like in bed
- Entertainer (ESFP) – least likely to experiment with someone of the same gender
- Campaigner (ENFP) – most likely to experiment with someone of the same gender
- Entrepreneur (ESTP) – doesn’t really fancy using sex toys and easy to please in bed
- Executive (ESTJ) – has the highest average number of lovers and is most satisfied sexually
- Commander (ENTJ) – most willing to use sex toys, likes role play and bondage, and very dominant
- Logician (INTP ) – lowest average number of sex partners
- Defender (ISFJ) – least adventurous in bed
- Debater (ENTP) – most willing to have anal sex
- Adventurer (ISFP) – second most likely to be mistaken about what they like in bed
- 01/12/19--06:29: Why the Maldives is the perfect honeymoon destination
- 01/12/19--07:15: A music lover’s guide to visiting Budapest
- 01/12/19--07:43: How to do the KonMari folding method, as popularised by Marie Kondo
- Lay your t-shirt with it’s back on the ground.
- Run your hands over it and try to impart some of the joy you feel for the item into it (this also helps to flatten it).
- Fold the right side inwards – it should reach almost halfway in.
- Fold the arm back in half towards the outside of the tee.
- Do the same for the other side. You should have a rectangle shape at this point.
- Take the bottom of the rectangle and bring it up to about an inch before the neckline.
- Take the bottom of this new rectangle and fold it up to the halfway point.
- Fold in half again and flatten so you can stand the t-shirt upright like this:
- Lay your pants down on a flat surface.
- Fold the crotch up to the waistband.
- Take the right side of the waistband and bring it in to the halfway point.
- Do the same with the other side.
- Fold into thirds like you did with your t-shirts, and once again they should stand up.
- Lay your socks out as a pair, with one on top of the other.
- Take the toe, and fold upwards to about an inch away from the top of the sock.
- Fold in thirds, again making them stand-uppable.
- Lay your trousers on the floor with the back to the ground.
- Fold the left leg over the right.
- If the crotch is sticking out, fold it inwards so you have a rectangle.
- Take the bottom of the trousers and bring them up to (almost) the waistband. Leave an inch of space.
- Again, fold into thirds so they stand up in your drawer.
Devin McLane, a teen from Montana, USA, has Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a rare condition that causes curved joints, muscle weakness, and stiffness.
As a result, he has limited use of his arms as most of the muscles in his shoulders don’t work.
So, the 14-year-old has taught himself to use his feet to get by.
Now he can write, eat, brush his teeth and make a full English breakfast with his feet. He can even fire a bow and arrow with his toes.
Devin can walk on his toes but mostly uses a wheelchair while at school.
But the resilient teenager won’t allow the condition to hold him back and is even a member of his school’s wrestling team, using his lower body strength to overcome opponents on the mat.
‘I love wrestling. It’s a team sport but also an individual sport,’ said Devin.
‘I work just as hard as everybody else. I challenge everybody and I fight as hard as I can.
‘During my first year of practice, the coach tied one of my teammate’s arms to his side and asked him to wrestle me so that he could see what it’s like.’
‘I avoid getting pinned and use my legs and lower body to get on top of them and pin them to the mat.’
After being born with the condition, Devin learned to adapt to his surroundings.
Mum Michelle first began to teach him to use his feet when he was a toddler and by age six, Devin was eating, brushing his teeth and writing with his feet and, so Michelle decided to begin teaching him how to cook.
‘I needed to teach him to cook so that he can be independent,’ said Michelle.
‘He has always enjoyed cooking. He’s been able to crack an egg with his feet ever since he was six.
‘Every Saturday morning, we cook together. He makes pancakes, bacon and egg, burritos and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.’
What is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita
What is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita?
According to the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine, this condition is:
A disease of newborns resulting in decreased flexibility of the joints. Symptoms differ drastically from person to person, including stiff joints and muscle weakness. The areas that are most likely to have lack of movement are the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, and feet.
The lack of movement, unlike many other diseases, does not get worse as time goes by. However, it is necessary to seek treatment to prevent further impediments of the joints.
Devin also uses his mouth to get dressed and open doors but it has become harder since he has had braces put in.
He also struggles to open certain jars. But mum Michelle is always there to help.
Devin has excelled in school, showing a passion for art and drawing regularly.
Now Devin, who plans on becoming an architect, embraces his differences.
He added: ‘I have a favorite quote from Dr. Seuss. “Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?”‘
Twitterbang. As far as sexual lingo goes, it’s not too offensive.
But it’s still a sexual term it’s worth knowing in case you overhear it thrown your way.
So, what is a twitterbang?
The exact definition – and the source of the definition – is murky, but the most popular one is this: A twitterbang is someone you have sex with having spoken 140 words or less to them.
Bang means sex. Twitter refers to the social media site in which you were once only able to post tweets of 140 characters or less. Hence twitterbang.
Now, there are some obvious issues with this, the first being that the Twitter restrictions have never been 140 words, but 140 characters – which would be considerably less interaction.
Also, now that the limit has increased to 280 characters, we’d imagine that the definition of twitterbang would expand, too, perhaps to a full 280 words – which isn’t too few when you think about it.
In essence, a twitterbang in this definition is simply having sex with someone you haven’t had many lengthy chats with. Perhaps you meet them in a bar, swap names, numbers, and relationship status, and then get right down to it.
Nothing wrong with that in our view, as long as your twitterbang is safe and consensual.
This is not to be confused to the similar but not identical Twitter-Twitter Bang-Bang, which is a one night stand that starts through Twitter and quickly progresses to sex.
There are other definitions of twitterbang, as we mentioned.
According to Urban Dictionary, to twitterbang is to pursue a flirtatious relationship through Twitter. So sliding into someone’s DMs, liking all their funny tweets, and responding to every question they ask with a joke that took you three hours, all because you’d like to one day have sexual interactions with them, would be twitterbanging.
Another definition describes twitterbanging as simulating sex through Twitter, in the vein of phone sex or cyber sex. That one makes sense, too.
There are less sexual uses of the word twitterbang, too.
Some use the term to describe an extremely busy thread of tweets in which loads of people are replying. But that’s quite similar to a tweetstorm, no?
Our favourite definition of twitterbang has to be this one we spotted a few times on – where else – Twitter: when you type out a tweet that ends precisely on zero characters remaining. The dream.
What is a Twitterbang?What is a Twitterbang?ellencscott'Self-driving cars will lead to more car sex' - what are the rules around having sex in your car?
In case you need a reminder: Our plastic waste is out of control.
We consume to excess then chuck things away without a thought of where they’ll end up.
A lot of the time, they end up in the sea, killing off sealife and polluting our oceans.
Sometimes they’ll be washed to shore, turning our beaches into graveyards of every single-use item we’ve used and abused.
To remind us of the sheer scale of the problem is the Guidebook of Marine Debris, created by Citibank Taiwan and Re-Think. The project documents all the types of typical marine waste that washes up on the shores of Taiwan, ranging from condoms to once-loved children’s toys.
The idea of the site is to wake people up to the reality of marine pollution, and get everyone engaged in working towards fixing things.
Take a look at some of the strange and dismal things that survive their journey through the waste system and into the sea.
Taiwan's Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine DebrisellencscottTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine DebrisTaiwan's Guidebook of Marine Debris Credit: Re-think/The Guidebook of Marine Debris
2018 might have been a time for pinks and purples, but this year we’re feeling blue.
Kylie Jenner kicked the blue hair trend into superdrive when she shared a photo of her sky blue crop, then Lady Gaga reminded us just how dreamy blue can be at the Golden Globes, with a cerulean tint to match her dress.
So if you’re thinking of doing a drastic colour change, blue might be the way to go.
You can pick a shade that feels most you: Sky blue, midnight, teal, denim. As long as it’s blue, you’re doing it right.
But before you commit, there are a few important things to consider.
Blue hair is a commitment (unless you’re a fan of wigs), and not one to be taken lightly. We chatted to Sophia Hilton, the director of Not Another Salon, who shared the five things you need to know before you head to the blue side.
1. Blue doesn’t budge
Blue is one of those colours that can hang around in hair for ages.
‘Don’t go thinking that a blue might be fun for a quick festival or party because once it’s in, it’s in for life,’ Sophia tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Our advice is to have it done professionally and at a salon that really understands these colours and their temperaments so you have all the right information.’
Be certain that blue is a colour that you genuinely like for your hair. Don’t just do it to jump on the trend if you’re not planning to keep it for at least a year. If you’re not sure, you’ll regret it.
2. Blue needs to sit on a very light blonde
If your hair is not super, super blonde – meaning your hair is almost white – the yellow tones in your hair will mix with the blue and make green.
That’s fine if you’d prefer a more turquoise shade, but it’s something to consider if you have your heart set on a true blue.
3. Blue bleaches out green
When you do get bored of your blue and try to swap colours, removing the blue will leave you a soft mint green hue.
‘To be fair, you might just love it,’ notes Sophia. ‘But if you didn’t know this in advance it might catch you out!’
4. Blue needs taking care of
‘If you have white blonde hair, the blue will fade fantastically going through stages of baby blue and ice,’ says Sophia. ‘However, if you had a yellow blonde under your blue (and don’t like it going green) it’s likely you’re going to need to top it up a lot.
‘This is not the end of the world though, you’ll just need to chuck a bottle of direct blue on when in the shower.’
5. There are limited options after going blue
Again, this is an issue if you get bored easily.
There are certain colours that are extremely difficult to get to after going blue, and others that will come with challenges.
Sophia advises: ‘Blonde is pretty much off the menu, but lilac can be a great option if you are feeling bored.
‘Going back brown is an option but your hairdresser will need to colour your hair with a red first, otherwise your brown will keep sneaking up green on you every now and then and you’ll be fighting a losing battle.’
Don’t let all this put you off, though. Blue can be a lot of fun, and it’s not a life sentence of green hair – it just requires some care and work.
We’d recommend going to a professional to get it done, so they can talk you through how the colour will fade out, as well as making sure you don’t end up with Smurf-tinted ears.
We’ve popped a load of Instagram inspo below.
kylie blue hair-ddddkylie blue hair-ddddellencscott
We know how awkward it can be to discuss embarrassing sex questions with your doctor. So to help save your blushes, fertility expert Zita West answers the top ten most common questions she is asked by couples trying to conceive…
1 Does a woman need to orgasm to conceive?
No, not at all. An estimated 50 to 80% of women struggle to orgasm during sex, but there are plenty of women still getting pregnant. I will say that the odds are slightly in your favour if you do manage to orgasm as the muscles involved help to propel sperm towards the egg so it progresses quicker. But as a whole, do not worry that a lack of orgasm is the reason you’re failing to get pregnant.
2 Can oral sex improve your chances of falling pregnant?
No, it’s important to avoid oral sex during and around ovulation. Saliva contains enzymes and other agents that can damage sperm and hinder their journey towards the egg. If oral sex is something you enjoy as a couple, then by all means keep doing it – but avoid the fertile window.Zita West: 6 top tips to boost sperm health
3 How often do I need to have sex to stand a chance of conceiving?
Three to four times a week is perfect for getting a good supply of sperm during fertile times. When trying to conceive, I ask patients to focus less on when the egg is released, and more on how much sperm is available. Sperm lives for three to five days, so regular sex will ensure there is a constant supply and therefore maximum potential for conception to take place.
4 What is the best sexual position for getting pregnant?
Men in particular worry that they need to be penetrating deeply to improve their chances. Women on the other hand are more interested in whether certain positions will help the sperm stay inside them. The truth is, it doesn’t matter one little bit. Any position is good, providing you’re relaxed, comfortable and enjoying the moment together.
5 Can you have too much sex to get pregnant?
When trying for a baby, you can never have too much sex. A lot of women worry that, by having too much sex, they are reducing the amount of sperm available or affecting its quality. In fact, the opposite is true. If a man stores up his sperm it will come out in greater quantity, but a lot of it will be dead. Sex also releases a lot of fertility friendly hormones in both men and women, so if you’re trying for a family, more is better.
6 Is it OK to use lubricants and gels when trying for a baby?
It’s best to avoid using a lubricant if you can, although for some women who suffer with vaginal dryness, this is not possible. If sex is uncomfortable without a vaginal lubricant it’s important to make sure that you are using a safe one that is not going to affect the sperm’s ability to swim through the cervix to reach the egg – there are many sperm friendly lubricants on the market.
7 How do I stop fluid running out of my vagina after sex?
To an extent you can’t, but that’s completely normal. Women worry that flow-back means the sperm is coming out of them, and therefore not reaching the egg. Don’t panic. Sperm are generally good swimmers and will pass through cervical secretions very quickly after ejaculation. There will always be some residual seminal fluid containing weaker sperm left in the vagina. This will run out of the woman’s vagina about 10-15 minutes after sex, regardless of what position was adopted. Having said this, it makes sense to lie flat for about 20 minutes and avoid wiping inside the vagina or washing immediately.
8 Do you need passion to conceive?
For men, more testosterone is produced in the morning. It has been proven that sperm is healthier when more testosterone is present, so having sex first thing could improve your chances, despite it conflicting with busy schedules and ideals.
9 What is the best fertility gadget to increase my chances of conception?
A lot of women swear by ovulation kits, apps and measuring basal body temperature. That’s fine, although they should be used alongside an understanding of how your cervical secretions change during your fertile time. Fertility gadgets also present the danger of making you more obsessive and conscious of the fertility process, and therefore adding to your stress levels.
10 Is my partner right to worry about how long he lasts?
Men often have a lot of pent up anxieties surrounding their performance in the bedroom and how this will affect their fertility. How long they last, what size they are, how much sperm they produce. None of this will make a difference in making a healthy baby.
11 ‘My partner seems to be avoiding sex and when we have sex he can’t finish. What can I do?’
Anxiety around fertility is a perfectly normal and natural feeling, for men as it is for women. The way in which some women constantly track and monitor their fertility can put pressure on their men, especially around the time of ovulation. The woman focuses on her fertile time, her anxiety goes up, she tells her partner to ‘come home immediately’, his anxiety goes up, and so on. Sound familiar?
ZITA WEST'S TIPS TO TO REDUCE STRESS WHILE TRYING FOR A BABY
If trying to conceive is giving your partner performance anxiety, then here are my top tips:
1. Don’t feel like you need to tell your man every little detail about your cycle – at the end of the day, it’s a passion killer!
2. Try talking to each other properly about how you can get past this hurdle together, or, if you can’t, seek couples counselling
3. For a man to be able to perform, he needs passion, and scheduling your sex life and giving him specific times when he needs to be home can ruin that, so try to come up with a plan together on how to manage this. It can be hard to have fun and be romantic all the time, but it’s important to try and take the pressure off in any way you can.
4. For many men with performance anxiety, it’s present for a short period of time – such as during the time that you are trying for a baby. But for others, it can be a sign of something underlying. Don’t be afraid to go to your GP, just to make sure everything is okay.
5. Don’t take your temperatures month after month it is a constant reminder that you are trying for a baby and waking up to a bleep every morning becomes very wearing. You may want to try for a couple of months to familiarise yourself but no longer. Temperatures change if you have had late night a cold alcohol etc.
6. Don’t text your man at work telling him it’s your fertile time – it’s only adding pressure.
7. Consider putting aside your fertility kit. A lot of women swear by ovulation kits, apps and measuring basal body temperature. And while that’s fine – although they should be used alongside an understanding of how your cervical secretions change during your fertile time – fertility gadgets also present the danger of making you more obsessive and conscious of the fertility process, and therefore adding to your stress levels, and his too.
You can find more by Zita West at zitawest.com, or you can make an appointment to visit the Zita West Clinic (020 7224 0017), where Zita and her team specialise in natural fertility and IVF as well as working with couples who have already had failed IVF cycles.
This story is part of Fertility Diaries, an ongoing series covering all aspects of fertility.
We launched it thanks to an overwhelming response to Metro.co.uk's Fertility Month, a month-long series of content that we published across November.
Across four weeks, we spoke to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who shed light on the most important issues.
The feedback we received has been uniformly positive.
We talked to so many women and men who had the courage to share their stories with us and who told us how much it helped them to hear stories from others.
We had dozens of stories flooding our inbox every day throughout the month. As a result, we simply did not have time to tell all of the stories.
For that reason, we have decided to continue our fertility month as Fertility Diaries and we will continue to publish articles - and to tell your stories - under this tag.
If you have any feedback on the content or your own story to tell, please do get in touch at email@example.com.
You can find all Fertility Diaries content here and a selection below.
metro illustrationmetro illustrationakismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdmetro illustrationsmetro illustrations
We don’t normally like gimmicky days that don’t seem to serve any purpose beyond a hashtag.
But when cats are involved, we’ll make an exception.
We might not be celebrating Kiss a Ginger Day (12 January, if you were wondering), but we can use this special time to appreciate the story of Thomas, a ginger cat who’s been reunited with his owner.
Thomas went missing two months ago, leaving owner Susan Kovacs distraught.
She put up posters and shared photos on a lost and found Facebook page for the area, noting that the cat is microchipped.
Eventually Thomas – who’d become known as Teriyaki by locals – was found living near a Subway, Starbucks, and Travelodge in Rhostyllen, four and a half miles away from his home.
His microchip meant vets were able to get in touch with Susan and arrange for his collection.
The pair were reunited this week at Cats Protection’s Wrexham Adoption Centre.
‘I’m absolutely made up to see Thomas again and be able to give him a great big kiss,’ said Susan. ‘I can’t wait to get him home and settled in.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I heard Cats Protection had Thomas in its care and he was safe and well – I was devastated when he went missing and after so many weeks had gone by I was convinced I’d never see him again.
‘Thank goodness I’d had him microchipped so they could let me know he’d been found.’
Susan and Cats Protection staff have no clue how Thomas strayed so far from home.
They reckon he might have climbed into a vehicle, gone on an unintended road trip, then struggled to find his way home. Poor cat.
Thankfully he’s now back home, happy and healthy.
Cats Protection Wrexham Adoption Centre manager Suzan Kennedy said: ‘We were so pleased to see Thomas reunited with Susan – this amazing story shows the importance of microchipping cats and keeping the contact details up to date.
‘We were able to reunite Thomas with his overjoyed owner quickly and easily – without a microchip, sadly that may never have happened.
‘Microchipping is the most effective way to identify a lost pet and increase the likelihood of a happy reunion if a cat goes wandering.
‘The procedure itself is simple, doesn’t cause any harm and once chips are inserted, cats are unaware of their presence.’
Hear that, cat owners? Get your kitties microchipped. It’s important.
Is it safe to kiss your cat? Advice from Cats Protection
It’s fine for people to kiss their own cat, as long as the owner and their cat are medically healthy (e.g. no ringworm or campylobacter for either of them, and neither are immunosuppressed etc.), and that the cat is well socialised to people and used to that level of contact from their owner.
Kissing on the head would be less invasive than other areas and kissing on the cat’s stomach is a big no, no!
Cats tend to prefer brief interactions to prolonged, intense interactions and tend to do ‘nose to nose touching’ as a greeting. This could be incorporated to make it less scary for the cat, e.g. present the face to see if the cat chooses to come forward for a sniff, which could be perceived as a ‘kiss’ from the cat.
Cats certainly prefer the ‘playing hard to get’ approach, rather than someone slobbering over them like a dog!
thomas edited 1-0a49thomas edited 1-0a49ellencscott
When I was 27 and diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, it came as a bewildering, life-changing shock when surgeons told me that a bit of my small intestine would be brought out onto my belly to allow me to pass waste into a bag.
Looking at my stoma for the first time was like seeing some kind of alien attached to my body; I knew next to nothing about ostomy bags or how to live with one.
I had also lost four stone in weight, having been physically unable to eat any food due to the ulceration in my bowel. When I came out of hospital after three weeks inside, I looked liked a skeleton and had to take six months off work to get back to full health.
I was determined from the outset to not have bad vibes about it – as this thing had ultimately saved my life – but the experience can be harrowing for many, with research showing that up to 26 per cent of those who undergo this surgery have negative psychological reactions to it.
And a stoma bag doesn’t come with just physical challenges, but also with the stigma attached to it, despite over 120,000 people currently living with an ostomy in the UK, and 13,500 people having stoma surgery every year.
It’s as though it’s impossible for some people to comprehend that you can live a normal, happy life with an ostomy bag.
But you absolutely can, and that’s why I, alongside many others, share our photos and stories. Partly to fight the stigma, but also to encourage and help others who are still adjusting to life with an ostomy bag.
Back in 2010, when I had my surgery, I was mostly worried about people’s perceptions of my body. As a result, I decided not to tell anyone other than my family about it at first. It was my secret and I got on with my life as normally as I could without drawing attention to it. It’s not that I was embarrassed, but I just felt better dealing with it on my own in a private way.
But now, when I talk about it with my friends and family, they are all very supportive and don’t look at me any differently.
Having an ostomy also doesn’t mean you can’t find a loving partner; I am engaged to be married to my fiancé Naomi and she is very accepting of it.
It does however take time to adjust to stoma life and there are certain challenges, like ballooning (when gas collects in the bag), pancaking (when the sides of the bag stick together) and constipation, or a dreaded bag leak, which in my opinion can be one of the hardest to deal with.
My worst experience occurred in the car, when my bag practically burst off my skin due to being too full, causing a significant mess and smell. Usually I carry spare bags for emergencies, but I didn’t have them with me on that day.
It was a long one-hour drive home.
Since I have no colon, I also have to take up to eight Imodium tablets a day to help thicken up my output from the bag, and have a routine where I wake up and empty it in the middle of the night.
During the day, I wear a waistband to keep the bag flatter and more disguised under my clothes. It gives me more confidence when I’m out and about.
But, generally speaking, an ostomy is not too tricky to deal with – and I refuse to let it hold me back. I can and regularly do play football and squash, and even go swimming with the bag.
My stoma is also more or less silent, although it did once make a fart noise in a quiet cinema; I just had to laugh and shrug it off. After all, everybody farts and I have no physical control over this, unlike ‘normal’ people who control it through their bum.
Public understanding around ostomies is slowly improving, but there are still social barriers that we need to overcome in order to help open up positive discussion about stomas, ostomy bags, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Hopefully, by sharing my story, I can offer support to others who are worried about ostomy surgery or adapting to life with an ostomy bag.
Just remember, it doesn’t define who you are – so don’t let it hold you back.
Tom is an ostomy advocate and inflammatory bowel disease campaigner, and can be found on Facebook at Tom’s Gut Reaction.
You can find more information and advice on inflammatory bowel diseases, stomas and ostomy bags on Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
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Today is a joyous occasion, where redheads across the country get mauled with smooches – it’s national #kissagingerday.
But apart receiving copious amounts of love on their own special day (ask permission before you go in for that kiss, please), gingers actually have plenty more to celebrate.
Yes, they are inundated with strange jokes like being questioned on why they smell and have no souls, but gingers will have the last laugh.
Their hair pigmentation actually provides a whole bunch of health benefits, according to a recent study from researchers at Edinburgh University, that included DNA from 350,000 people.
Gingers will always look younger than the rest of us
The MC1R gene, one of nine genes that makes people develop ginger locks, is actually good for more than colour changes. It also helps make gingers look on average two years younger than they are.
Gingers produce more vitamin D
While the rest of us can look forward to brittle bones in old age, unless we keep those vitamin D levels nice and high with supplements, gingers can sit back and relax, as they produce more of it naturally.
Ginger men are less likely to develop prostate cancer
Yet again, the gingers win.
Gingers have more sex
Not technically a health benefit, although sex is proven to lower blood pressure, among other nifty bonuses, like orgasms.
So, next time you feel tempted to tease someone for their firey red hair or subtle ginger shades, just remember: the gingers will prevail in the end.
Benefits of being gingerBenefits of being gingerallieabgarian
While a number of retailers aim to target people for Black Friday, Boots has something help cure our January Blues.
There’s already an up to 50% off sale going on, but in an effort to clear stock from the festive season, there’s also a 70% off sale coming this month.
Bargain hunters wait for the discounts each year, and after a pattern has emerged over the last few Januaries, we think we might have an idea of when to get your cards at the ready.
Since Boots haven’t confirmed the exact start date, we can’t be completely sure. However, last year the sale fell on Friday 19th January.
The year before that it was Friday 20th January, and the year before that, Wednesday 15th January.
Every year before that has been a Wednesday. Therefore, if it isn’t the Wednesday coming (16th January), the sale will most probably begin on Friday 18th.
As with previous sales, you’ll likely see the biggest discounts in store, so get down there to bag the best bargains.
It’ll most likely be Christmas stock reduced the heaviest, so brands like Soap & Glory, Jack Wills, and Champneys are a great place to start.
Sign For Brand Boots The ChemistSign For Brand Boots The ChemistjessicacvlSign for the health, beauty and chemist brand Boots in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)Boots the Chemist shop in Knightsbridge, London, as US retailer Walgreens has confirmed it is to take full control of Boots the Chemist owner Alliance Boots after announcing a £9 billion cash and shares deal to swallow up the 55\% of the company it does not already own.
Can you help Bertie jump and run again?
An animal rescue centre in Bicester, Oxon is imploring people to donate money to help a beautiful shih tzu run and jump again.
One-year-old Bertie has a genetic condition that caused his legs to stop growing – his feet are now rolled underneath his body and he’s in agony. The funds will go towards his surgery, which costs £4,000 in total, and will allow him to live life like a normal dog.
To correct the issue, vets will need to break both of his front legs and fit them with metal plates. The procedure includes two operations, one for each leg, six weeks recovery and months of physio.
Bertie will also need to be kept in a crate while his legs heal.
His condition is rare, and the pooch wasn’t diagnosed until he was nine months old. His former owners couldn’t afford the surgery or the rehab, and so brought Bertie to Ardley Rescue Kennels.
‘If you imagine your elbow to your wrist you have the two bones – the radius and the ulna – in Bertie those stopped growing,’ said Annabelle Weir, from the centre.
‘Because all the other bits continue growing it made his legs bow and caused his paws to go underneath him. He can’t really run or jump and if he does too much it leaves him in pain and he just limps around.’
‘He’s still a puppy really and he wants to run around and play and meet other dogs, but he just can’t,’ she said. ‘It’s a genetic condition he was born with, but it wasn’t apparent when the owners got him as a puppy.
‘You could see there was something wrong when he was about five months old. But it wasn’t until October when they took him to the vet and he was diagnosed.
‘I think it would be very difficult for a member of the public to cope with him now and it was just going to be too much for his owners.’
Annabelle said: ‘He will need two operations, one on each leg, which will cost about £4,000. The vets are kindly doing it not-for-profit for us, so we just have to pay for equipment and anaesthetic and X-rays he’ll need afterwards.
After the operation he will need to be in a crate and not move around, which is going to be hard for him, but it will be better in the long run, it will give him a new lease of life.
‘He’s a happy and active dog, he loves being outside and it’s such a shame that he’s not going to be able to but it will be so much better for him in the long run. These operations will give him a new lease of life.
‘If everything goes smoothly Bertie will be able to do everything a normal dog can, although he is likely to suffer badly with arthritis when he’s older.’
Can you help Bertie? To donate money, visit his Go Fund Me page.
The centre is also trying to raise an additional £6,000 to save his friends, including 12-year-old Jack Russell, Molly; one-year-old rottweiler cross, Hank, and four-year-old Bichon Frise, Doug.
sei_47212053-be1csei_47212053-be1callieabgarianBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS Plucky Bertie with rescue centre worker Melissa Bull. Meet Bertie the bow-legged Shih-Tzu puppy... A rescue centre has launched a crowd funding page to raise the ?4,000 needed to help him run around again. One year old Bertie has been abandoned by his owners who couldn't afford the cost of his life changing operations, but Ardley rescue centre boss Annabelle Weir from Bicester in Oxfordshire is determined to give bow-legged Bertie a second chance.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS Bertie is unable to run around at the moment. Meet Bertie the bow-legged Shih-Tzu puppy... A rescue centre has launched a crowd funding page to raise the ?4,000 needed to help him run around again. One year old Bertie has been abandoned by his owners who couldn't afford the cost of his life changing operations, but Ardley rescue centre boss Annabelle Weir from Bicester in Oxfordshire is determined to give bow-legged Bertie a second chance.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS Meet Bertie the bow-legged Shih-Tzu puppy... A rescue centre has launched a crowd funding page to raise the ?4,000 needed to help him run around again. One year old Bertie has been abandoned by his owners who couldn't afford the cost of his life changing operations, but Ardley rescue centre boss Annabelle Weir from Bicester in Oxfordshire is determined to give bow-legged Bertie a second chance.BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS Right leg - Berties x-rays show the chronically curved Ulna and Radius bones. Meet Bertie the bow-legged Shih-Tzu puppy... A rescue centre has launched a crowd funding page to raise the ?4,000 needed to help him run around again. One year old Bertie has been abandoned by his owners who couldn't afford the cost of his life changing operations, but Ardley rescue centre boss Annabelle Weir from Bicester in Oxfordshire is determined to give bow-legged Bertie a second chance.
Pantone has declared that the colour of the year for 2019 is living coral, also known as Pantone 16-1546.
It’s a warm, peachy orange tone that’s meant to brighten our moods and remind us of the joy of nature.
You can expect to see it all over interiors magazines and stationery, but it turns out Living Coral could provide the perfect inspiration for a hair makeover, too.
Sophia Hilton, founder of Not Another Salon, reckons the colour of the year is the best way for blondes to change up their colour without wrecking their strands for a passing trend.
‘Unlike cooler tones like blue, green and purple, warmer tones, in the pink family, wash out well and don’t stain the hair,’ explains Sophia. ‘If you’re fancying a quick refresh, no strings attached, this Pantone Colour is the one to opt for.
‘There’s also no need to go the whole hog, damaging your hair with a scalp bleach. It’s a myth that you need a fully bleached base to play with these kinds of shades.
‘Be kinder to your hair and opt for a balayage base instead. I’ve seen a huge increase in this technique being paired with vivid colours; it looks beautiful, damage is kept minimal and the regrowth process is much easier to manage!’
Sophia isn’t the only colourist who’s been inspired by Pantone.
Marc Jacobs tinted models’ hair on the spring/summer 2019 runway, while over on Instagram you’ll spot influencers rocking coral crops.
The pink-meets-orange shade is ideal for brightening up your skintone and making you feel more wide awake for the year ahead – plus it makes your all-black wardrobe suddenly seem cheery.
Try dip-dyed ends, balayage, or dye all over with a blunt cut. We’ve popped some inspiration for you below.
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Ever dreamed of ice skating as real real penguins waddle past?
Yeah, us neither.
But if there’s one thing London’s popup culture is known for, it’s fulfilling wishes that no one actually expressed.
On Saturday 19 January, Queens Skate Dine Bowl, near Bayswater, will – or so they claim – hold an event allowing skaters to meet five Humboldt penguins.
They say this is to honour Penguin Awareness Day and raise money to birdlife.org.
‘We feel the best way to understand how wonderful these flightless birds are is, to get to meet them & their loving handlers – so we’ve invited a raft of penguins to join us on on SATURDAY 19TH JANUARY from 4pm till 8pm,’ says the event’s description.
‘Penguins are amazingly adapatable creatures, some are at home on beaches of South-Africa and others rule over the Antarctic ice. We are excited to see them make QUEENS ice rink their home for the afternoon!’
Now, to be clear, we don’t think the penguins will be skating around the ice rink as people go around. We think it’s more like you skate, then meet the penguins, then skate again.
We’re a little puzzled by the promo image Queens Skate Dine Bowl has shared, too, as the penguins shown on the ice aren’t Humboldt penguins, which look this this:
In fact, not one of the penguins on the event’s description page are Humboldt penguins.
Which makes us question: Where are these penguins coming from? Have the event organisers seen these penguins yet?
We’ve reached out to Queens Skate Dine Bowl to find out more, but haven’t heard back yet.
Regardless, the announcement of the event has pissed off PETA, who has sent a letter to a manager of the venue to ask them to cancel the event.
PETA wrote on Twitter: ‘Using penguins to draw in paying customers is cruel and unthinking. Humboldt penguins belong in cold water and on the rocky islands off the coast of South America, not on a skating rink in London.
‘Forcing them to endure the stress of being hauled around and then let loose in an unfamiliar environment – with hordes of strangers – can only leave these sensitive animals confused, stressed, and petrified.’
A petition has been started by PR Hayley Smith, who writes: ”Using animals for entertainment is shameless and dangerous, and these penguins are being put in an incredibly vulnerable situation and will be left confused and flustered, and scared.
‘And what’s more, unbelievably, this is to support PENGUIN AWARENESS DAY, a day that is supposed to raise awareness of the plight of this bird, whose numbers are dwindling.’
So far the petition has 680 signatures.
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It’s a wonderful time on the internet when the topic causing the most contention is a Japanese lady advising you to give away books you no longer read.
With a Netflix show based on her book, which is now inevitably taking up space on everyone’s jam-packed shelves around the world, Marie Kondo has wisely jumped on our January desire to feel fresh, cleansed, and new to encourage us to clear our homes of clutter.
Oh, and appreciate the art of folding.
The KonMari Method is all about appreciating your home as a personal living space. It’s about making it spark joy in every way, turning it into a place where you can relax and find comfort.
That’s a lovely concept, but Marie’s missing one major thing.
Yes, our rented properties are where we eat and sleep. But there’s another place we live: the internet.
You can store your jumpers vertically and buy all the joyfully decorated containers you like, but your life won’t be truly joyful until you clear out your online living space, too.
Look at the dirt pits in which you currently live.
If you’re anything like me (please, say you are, otherwise I am alone in this misery), the internet at large is a thing of necessity and pain.
Your inbox is a place of overwhelm, a graveyard of emails you keep forgetting to respond to and a deeply unsettling number of messages listed in the corner.
My email number right now is 7,297. That’s not even that bad compared to some people I know, who have 43,000 unread emails, the red number flashing and judging each incoming message they see and don’t even bother to open.
I can try to delete them. I can try to put them into neat little folders. But five minutes a day does nothing to cut through the mass. I strive endlessly for the zen of inbox zero, then try to reply to everything the moment it lands, but soon I’m drowning in the sea of questions, people checking in, press releases about failing New Year’s resolutions and why I should be taking supplements. Should I be taking supplements?
Then there are the tabs. The tabs, the tabs, the tabs.
The ‘I should read this’ tabs, the ‘I need to make sure I don’t miss any notifications’ tabs, the ‘oh wait, it’s just another tab for Twitter, why do I have four different tabs all open to Twitter?’ tabs.
Then come the notifications, clamouring for attention like magically appearing furniture in your feng shui-ed flat. I can’t just ignore them. They’re right there. So I’ll click them so they disappear. Click. Click. Tap.
I might as well have a scroll while I’m seeing what’s new though. An article about how the internet is destroying my brain. Better read that. A photo of someone standing outside a door covered in flowers. Cool. I should do more candid photos.
My internet bedroom, the internet space I’ve carved out for myself with the job I’ve chosen, the people I follow, the apps I download, the content I consume like fistfuls of McDonald’s fries, is a dump.
There are glimpses of treasure – genuine moments of connection, brilliant articles, heartwarming videos, the opportunity to create something cool – but I have to dig through trash to get there.
I think it’s time for a serious clear-out.
Not a digital detox, to be clear. That’s the equivalent of deciding to camp out in a forest because your house is a mess. The house is still a mess that you’re going to return to, but you get to feel smug for a bit while you’re in the fresh air. That’s pointless.
No, what I propose is that we apply the KonMari method to the space of the internet we call home.
Let’s recognise that just as our homes and offices should be filled with joy and calm, as they’re the physical places we spend our time, our online lives should be clear of mental clutter.
We know full well that our internet living spaces are making us feel shit. Look at every bit of research into how smartphones are f***ing up our sleep. Note how hard people relate to articles about millennial burnout sparked by constant communication and the omnipresence of working thanks to the internet. We know that having loads of tabs open is wrecking our focus, that notifications are little hits of dopamine and we’re entirely dependent, that social media sets us in a cycle of unhealthy comparison.
Too much of the advice around this is basically well, get off the internet then. Or cut down your time on the internet. Lock your phone in your kitchen and slide your laptop under the sofa.
But that’s missing the point. The internet is here, and it’s where we reside.
We now consume more online content than we eat food or sleep. And just like food or sleep, if we’re not doing it properly, the answer isn’t to do away with a concept entirely.
We have to eat, we have to sleep, we have to find shelter on the internet. We can’t just ditch it.
But what we can do is be more conscious of what we’re consuming, and how.
And that, my fellow internet-dwellers, is where Marie Kondo steps in. She doesn’t actually cover the internet in her books because she’s more interested in actual, physical mess, so we’re not suggesting that this would be her actual advice – it’s more that we recommend taking her basic theory and applying it to online things.
Okay? So the KonMari Method is about holding each object in your arms and asking whether it sparks joy or serves a purpose. Marie explains that this process will take time, and that your home may be messier than before in the process, but that there will be an end to the tidying.
Let’s all carve out a day to do the same online.
Look at the apps on your phone. Do they spark joy? Do they serve a genuine purpose? Really, you still need that app that lets you date a horse that you downloaded so you could understand some memes?
If they’re not serving you up pure happiness or serving a genuine purpose, delete them.
The same goes for social media sites. If you need to be on Twitter for work purposes, cool, you go right ahead and keep it. If Instagram makes you honestly happy, you keep scrolling.
But if you open either of these apps and feel despair, and find yourself questioning why you bother, it’s time to say thank you, next. Thank these sites for how they have served you previously – that time loads of people liked your Brexit pun was great, right – then let them go.
Before you do that, though, KonMari all the content you’ve thrown into your online space.
We are in a time in which whatever dickish thing you did on the internet may one day be dragged up and questioned. Just look at Kevin Hart. Or Donald Trump, who appears to have a spot-on tweet that undermines every single thing he currently does.
Thankfully, you are likely not about to become President or host the Oscars, so no one’s searching your handle with slurs to see what terrible stuff you’ve said, but you never know – one day you could have a moment of success that makes people want to drag you down. Or maybe you’ll make an enemy who wants to enact your destruction.
It’s worth taking the time to go through and delete any tweet you’re deeply ashamed of. Make the time to do it. Clear out your online attic and explode that tiny bit of worry that something horrific is hiding up there.
While you’re at it, clear your Facebook.
You know full well that one day soon, Facebook will show you a terrible photo of yourself and tell you it’s been ten years since that moment. It will make you feel old and inspire self-hatred. Do not allow Facebook the satisfaction. Do not let one of your ‘friends’ comment on an embarrassing photo of you from year eight and thus bring it back to everyone’s feeds.
If it does not spark joy, delete it. Free yourself of your dodgy internet past.
Once you’ve dealt with the old clutter, it’s time to address the bits you bring into your living space on a daily basis. Hate-follows are now cancelled. They’re a waste of time and mental energy. Unfairly attractive influencers that serve only to make you question the firmness of your bottom, unfollow them.
Remember that each thing or person you follow, like, or subscribe to is forming your little space of the internet, a space that should spark joy, where you should actually enjoy hanging out.
Online can be a wonderful home, but only if you fill it in a way that makes you happy. That means saying no to ‘controversial’ tweeters who just want to bait you with a hurtful opinion, clearing that bookmarks folder of all the articles you never got around to reading, and only taking in content that either makes you happy or serves a purpose – whether that’s to inform, to open your eyes to a different experience, to challenge your ideas.
And yes, becoming the Marie Kondo of the internet will mean tackling your inbox and deleting whatever you no longer need. You could just declare an email amnesty if that feels more freeing – deleting every email in your inbox in the knowledge that if it’s important, the sender will be in touch again – or go through each message one by one, seeing what sparks joy.
Just like with your living space, you have the power to make your spot on the internet a place that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed and cluttered.
Screw going cold turkey when the internet has cat videos and brilliant longreads. Let’s just bin the stuff we don’t want anymore and make the internet a joyful place.
It’s time for a clearout.
Pitfalls of FreelancePitfalls of Freelanceellencscott
Even though we still have a couple of months left before we get to Mothering Sunday, it’s never too soon to start planning something nice for your lovely mum.
It’s better to plan ahead than to panic when we’re well into the New Year, and you realise that, yet again, you’ve gotten American Mother’s Day confused with Mother’s Day in the UK.
Here’s the UK-specific guide to the British Mothering Sunday. Get the flowers pre-ordered and the bubbly in the fridge folks.
When is Mother’s Day in the UK?
Mother’s Day 2019 is on Sunday, 31 March.
Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent, and exactly three weeks before Easter.
In the UK, this holiday has roots in the church, and was initially completely unrelated to American Mother’s day, which falls way later on the 12 May.
The origins of Mother’s Day
Mothering Sunday used to be a day where Christians would visit their ‘mother church’ where they were first baptised.
An upshot of this was that when people visited these churches, they often ended up having a visit with their mums at the same time.
Nowadays, we like to give the mums and/or motherly figures in our lives cards and gifts on Mother’s Day, to show our appreciation for everything they’ve done for us.Rhea Ripley calls Toni Storm's supporters 'pathetic' after naked picture leak
This is at least partly due to influence from the United States and their version of Mother’s Day, which began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in a church in Grafton, West Virginia.
She initially started campaigning for Mother’s Day to be a recognised holiday in 1905, the year her mother Ann died.
Ann had been a peace activist and cared for wounded soldiers who fought on both sides of the American Civil War. This was certainly not a task for the faint of heart, considering that the Civil War is thought to be America’s bloodiest conflict to date.
Ann also created Mother’s Day Work Clubs, which sought to address public health matters.
To honour her mother’s work and legacy, Anna worked to make Mother’s Day a holiday until 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation stating that the second Sunday in May was to be a national holiday for celebrating mother’s.
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Ever wondered why you like to get freaky in a particular way?
Why some people are dominant in bed and others are submissive? Why certain folks are very keen on anal sex and others dread the idea of entering the back door?
Apparently, there’s a reason and yes, we have the answers (or rather, a new survey does) – it’s all based on your ‘personality indicators’.
There are four categories:
According to the research, which measures personalities and preferences, there are 16 combinations of these indicators, with each given its own sexual description and title.
For instance, if you’re a Virtuoso (ISTP), you’re ‘most willing to have a threesome’, whereas the Executive (ESTJ) is most satisfied in bed and has had the highest number of sexual partners.
Meanwhile, the Commander (ENTJ) really likes role play and bondage.
Basically, it’s something like a horoscope, for your sex life – except instead of being based on the stars, you take a personality test to get your indicator combo.
The test will present 100 questions such as ‘you do not usually initiate conversations’ or ‘you rarely do something out of sheer curiosity’, where you agree or disagree on a scale of one to six.
Once finished, you’re presented with your letters.
The 16 combinations and what they mean
Curious about what your personality says about your preferences?
You can take the personality test here.
How to do the CrabHow to do the CraballieabgarianHow to do the Crab
Tropical fish of all shapes, sizes and colours are darting past us in every direction.
We’re drifting through the brilliant blue ocean outside our wooden hut, our home during the honeymoon of a lifetime.
In that one peaceful moment, the pressure of planning a wedding feels a million miles away – and trust me, if there’s anything more stressful than sorting out a wedding, I haven’t experienced it yet.
It’s all worth it in the end, of course, especially when you can cap off the best time of your life with the dream honeymoon – which is exactly what we found in the island of Kani in the Maldives.
Late night walks on pristine white beaches; nightcaps on the balcony as you take in the eerily calm sea; laughing and dancing to strange but catchy music from all corners of the globe; you’re guaranteed to have some of the most memorable dates of your entire life. It’s not a bad way to start a marriage.
Paradise is a concept that’s overused in today’s Instagram-obsessed world, but it’s no exaggeration to say that’s what we experienced on the luxurious island of Kani.
Picture perfect views cover the entirety of the landscape, from the gleaming blue of the ocean to tall banyan trees that I could swear were plucked straight from a jungle.
From the moment we dock at the all inclusive Club Med resort courtesy of a private boat from Male, the Maldives’ only airport, we are made to feel like the only guests on the island.
Welcome cocktails at the Manta Lounge, an exclusive bar for guests staying in the wildly beautiful ocean huts? Tick. A bottle of champagne waiting for us in the villa? Yep. Rose petals sprinkled on the bed? Uh huh.
Let’s face it, the overwater villas that hang over the sea aren’t your standard holiday accommodation. And they’re just as impressive on the inside.
I mean, seriously. Just look at this bath.
But forget the aesthetics, if you can, for just a second. The huts give you completely privacy, with the only interruptions coming from cleaners and waiters who bring a pre-ordered breakfast straight to your door every morning.
Where we stayed
We stayed in Kani’s overwater suites, which includes access to the Manta Lounge and a private beach.
Prices for an overwater suite for two adults for seven nights, departing from London Heathrow, start at £5,562. Visit Club Med’s website for booking enquiries.
Of course, the resort isn’t exclusively for honeymooners. But the romance of the Maldives is effortless – the mood sets itself and doesn’t feel manufactured in the slightest.
Here’s how to make the most of it.
Go swimming with turtles and manta rays
Once in a lifetime experiences don’t often feel that way in the moment, but swimming just a few metres away from an enormous manta ray was exactly that.
The waters surrounding Kani are a snorkeller’s fantasy – you wouldn’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, so don’t visit the Maldives without snorkelling at least once.
The experience is nothing short of incredible.
Swimming around a reef untouched by man, we glimpsed thousands of fish, which were more than happy to emerge from their homes to say hello.
We frantically try to get one another’s attention underwater so no sights are missed, especially when we spot a couple of turtles swimming around nearby.
But the highlight is seeing a manta ray – a rare sight, we’re assured when we get back to dry land. Proper bucket list stuff.
Or skim along on top of the water instead
In the Maldives, the sea is your playground – and thrill seekers won’t find themselves with nothing to do in Kani.
If swimming isn’t your thing, you can learn how to sail, hire a jet ski, or jump on a boat to try to spot some turtles.
We were looking forward to taking a kayak tour around the island, and though it was sadly called off due to high winds, we were still allowed to take a two-person kayak out for a spin – which turned out to be one of the best ways to take in the island’s sheer beauty.
Dance the night away
Entertainment is a huge part of life at a Club Med resort, and fuelled by an endless supply of cocktails (this is where all inclusive comes in very handy), it’s not hard to get into the party spirit.
Every night, workers put on music, dance or comedy shows for guests – the resort’s general manager Youssef Tobrouki, who seems to be everywhere all the time, is usually at the centre of the fun.
Sure, the entertainment is on the cheesy side – it almost has to be to cater for an international audience – but you’ll have a brilliant time provided you leave your stiff upper lip behind at the airport.
Without doubt, Kani’s best, most lively evening is the white party, where guests and staff dress in all white (surprise surprise) and restaurant tables are moved out onto the beach.
After a meal by the shore, a live band set up by the beachside bar and start playing under the night sky. Perfection.
Pretend you’re an Instagram influencer
You may be celebrating committing the rest of your life to the person you’ve fallen in love with, but let’s not forget the real reason you’re in the Maldives – Instagram, baby.
We spent so much time laughing and joking as we posed for the most ridiculously over the top photos.
It goes without saying that any island in the Maldives is an Instagrammer’s dream, and Kani is no different.
Your stage is truly set, whether it’s the swings suspended over the waves, hammocks between two palm trees, or the island’s stunning natural beauty.
There’s more than enough photo opps that will leave your followers foaming at the mouth in jealousy.
Walk along the beach at sunset
Sunsets in the Maldives really do need to be seen to be believed.
They’re fleeting, but once you’ve worked out what time it happens, it’s a sight you don’t want to miss.
Yellows and pinks shine over the glimmering water, making it the perfect time of day to take a hand-in-hand stroll along the shore with that special person.
Do absolutely nothing and soak it all in
It’s oh so tempting to do close to nothing at all – I could have spent entire days lounging on the Manta Lounge’s day beds just a few feet above the sea, rum punch in hand.
While there’s no shortage of opportunities to exercise – the island has a gym as well as daily organised runs and power walks – importantly, there is no pressure whatsoever to be active.
If you want to spend the time relaxing with your new husband or wife in your villa, finding out how many cocktails you can see off in a day, or having a swim just outside in the ‘back garden’, as my wife called it, no one’s going to stop you.
After all, how many chances will you have to enjoy life on a desert island?
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Samoa was one of those destinations I dreamed about while at my desk staring out of the window on grey London days. A tropical paradise with exotic traditions, captivating music and impressive tattoos.
In reality though, I had no idea what Samoa was actually like, how it was different from the other islands in the South Pacific, and what qualities made it unique.
It turns out that Samoa holds a festival to celebrate just that. The Teuila Festival takes place every September and showcases the best of the country’s music, dance, food and craft.
The name Teuila (pronounced te-oo-wee-lah) comes from the country’s national plant, otherwise known as red ginger. This can be seen all over Samoa, but especially so during the festival, where floral decorations are proudly displayed.
In fact, flowers are a big thing in Samoa, which happens to have some pretty stunning natural flora, including colourful hibiscus and beautiful frangipani.
On our first day in Samoa, we were informed that a flower over the left ear means you’re single and on the right, that you’re married. So worth remembering when you’re donning a floral earpiece!
Music is a huge part of Samoan life and so features heavily in the Teuila festival. The opening night showcases choirs from across the country performing a mixture of traditional Samoan music and Christian hymns.
Christianity is strong in Samoa, with almost all of the population belonging to a faction of the Christian church. It is said that when missionaries arrived in Samoa in 1830, the similarities between Christianity and the Samoan beliefs were so similar, that all but a few were easily converted.
While here, we took the opportunity to visit a Sunday church service at the newly built Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Though I’m not a regular churchgoer, I felt incredibly welcome and the music was powerfully emotive. Each village has at least one church and pretty much everything is closed on Sunday, as Samoans head to the church service, followed by a big family meal known as To’onai.
The week-long Teuila festival gives villages, church congregations and communities the chance to compete against each other through traditional dance and music.
For me, the most impressive of these was the fire knife dance (Siva afi). Male performers dance with two knives set alight on either end, often while wearing grass legwear. This was once part of traditional Samoan warfare, but thankfully is no longer required, and so instead has become a big part of the Teuila celebrations.
The following night it was the group dance competition. The groups feature both male and female dancers, with a percussive accompaniment and lots of hand and body slapping. The festival offers an impressive display, with some of the best dance groups across Samoa.
If you’re visiting outside the festival it’s still possible to see both the dancing and fire knife dancing at a Fia Fia Night.
Most of the resorts hold a Fia Fia once a week, usually, this involves an expansive buffet of Samoan dishes, including Palusami (coconut cream in taro leaves) and Oka (raw fish marinated in lime juice with fresh coconut cream), followed by a traditional dance and a fire knife performance. We were lucky enough to view a number of Fia Fia nights during our stay. Standouts included Saletoga Sands Resort and Taumesina Island Resort.
You will also find Samoan arts and crafts at the Teuila Festival, from traditional and modern clothing to jewellery and carvings. A great way to learn more about these is to visit the Samoa Cultural Village, also in Apia. This is free and an amazing introduction to Samoan culture and traditions. Here you can observe wood carving, the making of fabric from paper mulberry trees and enjoy lunch prepared in an ‘uvo’ oven.
The most interesting was watching a traditional tattoo artist. Samoa, like many other Pacific islands, has a tradition of tattooing; it’s one of the few places where these traditional tattoos are still applied and it is thought that the word tattoo is derived from the Samoan word Tatou.
Men have a full body tattoo, called pe’a, from waist to knee, which takes a couple of (excruciatingly painful) weeks to complete. It marks the transition from boy to man, and though not compulsory, if a man chooses to start the tattoo process, he must complete it; otherwise, he will bring shame on himself and his family. Women get off slightly easier, with a tattoo of the thighs, known as malu.
The festival culminates with the Miss Samoa pageant. Miss Samoa is a highly respected role and offers the winner an incredible opportunity to represent their country around the world. Miss Samoa is a spokesperson for Samoan culture, and the pageant is dedicated to supporting opportunities for young Samoan women.
This year for the first time, Miss Samoa took place on the larger island of Savai’i, a 1.5 hour ferry ride from Upolu. The pageant includes a number of categories; a talent section, an interview and the more unusual recyclable artwear attire category.
Contestants include Samoans living overseas in New Zealand and Australia, as well as young women from the villages in Savai’I and Upolu. For Samoa, it’s one of the biggest events of the year and thousands of people attend to cheer on their favourite. In fact, the event is so popular it was sold out with queues of people standing outside trying to get a glimpse of the show.
Samoans are extremely proud of their culture and heritage, and the Teuila Festival is an important way to keep the traditions alive. Whilst many tourists attend the event, it’s much more a local festival than something put on for foreign visitors. So if you really want to experience the uniqueness of this beautiful country, make sure you visit during the Teuila Festival.
Other things to do in Upolu, Samoa
Make sure you take a trip to the To Sua Ocean Trench, possibly the most Instagram worthy place in all of Samoa. A pool of turquoise water surrounded by tropical plants climbing the trench walls.
The climb down the ladder can be a little nerve-racking for those with vertigo but it’s worth it once you get down there. Entrance to the To Sua Ocean Trench is £6 ($20 WST) per person.
One of the most interesting snorkelling spots in Upolu is at Savaia, here you can swim with giant clams. Entrance to the giant clams sanctuary is £3 ($10 WST) per person.
The famous author Robert Louis Stevenson moved to Samoa in the final years of his life, as the climate suited his ill health. He built a house here, which has been turned into a museum and offers a very interesting insight into his life and what life would have been like for an expat in Samoa in the late 1800’s. Robert Louis Stevenson Museum entrance fee is £6 ($20.00 WST) per person.
Other things to do in Savai’i, Samoa
Visit the impressive Alofaaga Blowholes. Entrance fee is £1.50 ($5.00 WST) per person.
Relax on the white sands of Falealupo beach. In my opinion, this is the best beach in Samoa. It’s a little off the beaten track, but well worth the drive. Pristine white sand is lined with palm trees and the beautiful clear water teems with marine life. A fee of £3 ($10.00 WST) is payable to the locals upon arriving in the area.
Explore the remains of Sale’aula Lava Fields, which were engulfed in molten lava when Mt Matavanu erupted in 1905. An impressive sight is LMS Church, its walls still intact, but full of volcanic rock as lava flowed through the aisles. Entrance fee is £1.50 ($5.00 WST) per person
Where to stay and how to get there:
Where to stay:
Stay at the beachfront Taumeasina Island Resort from £260 (WST 885.50) for a double room. One of hte newest and most upmarket resorts in Samoa.
South Coast of ‘Upolu
A beachfront villa at Seabreeze Resort starts at £212 ($419.00 NZD per room per night). Even if you don’t stay there, be sure to stop for lunch at their fantastic restaurant.
Rooms at Saletoga Sands start from £114 ($225.00NZD). Plan to stay on a Wednesday, to enjoy the Fia Fia night.
East Coast of ‘Upolu
The stunning waterfront Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort has Deluxe Ocean View Rooms (with King or Twin bed) from £204 (USD264.50) per night and makes a great base before heading over to Savai’i.
Manase is one of the best beaches on Savai’i. Stevensons at Manase has beautiful rooms from £82 ($280 WST) per night overlooking the beach.
VIP Rooms at Rosalote start from £35 ($120.00 WST) per person with breakfast and dinner.
How to get there:
There are direct flights to Samoa from Australia and New Zealand with Samoa Air.
Return flights from London to Sydney start from £741 and to Auckland from £790 with Etihad.
Return flights from Sydney to Samoa cost from £512 (AUD938), and from Auckland to Samoa from £345 (NZD684) with Samoa Airways.
8 Hayley Lewis - Enrico Favaro - A Lovely Planet - To Sua Ocean Trench 4-13418 Hayley Lewis - Enrico Favaro - A Lovely Planet - To Sua Ocean Trench 4-1341hayleyalovelyplanetcom
From outdoor concerts on the historic Heroes Square to international acts on a tranquil Danube island, Budapest is an unassuming utopia for music lovers.
Budapest may be renowned for its thermal baths and Gothic architecture, but it’s also one of the more unorthodox European cities when it comes to music.
Some cities are set in their ways, but I find Budapest to be the ideal city for trying new things – and this is reflected in its musical offerings.
Without a doubt, the jewel of Budapest’s bustling music scene is Sziget.
Each August, Budapest becomes an international hub of music as some of the world’s most popular musicians perform on an idyllic island on the River Danube, Óbudai-sziget.
Sziget is one of the leading European festivals and it’s certainly eclectic – previous headliners have included Blur, David Guetta, Rihanna, Arctic Monkeys and Kendrick Lamar.
While Sziget offers some of the biggest names in world music, Budapest also offers some of the newest at its quirky ruin bars.
Proudly the centrepiece of Budapest’s nightlife scene, ruin bars are former derelict buildings turned sprawling spaces for live music and DJs, seven days a week.
Szimpla Kert was Budapest’s first ruin bar and has been a mainstay in the city’s cultural Jewish Quarter since 2004.
I’ve been to Szimpla Kert several times and I find something new every time I visit. It’s full of hidden corners and secret balconies, while its walls are adorned with bric a brac style furnishings. There are even bathtubs to sit in.
Szimpla Kert hosts live music most afternoons, with DJs taking over on evenings until 4am. Not ready to finish the party? Take a short walk to another ruin bar, Instant, which is open until 6am.
Budapest’s varied music offerings don’t end there.
St. Stephen’s Basilica may be one of the city’s landmark attractions, but it also plays host to live music on a regular basis.
Though its live offering is predominantly organ-led, the occasional big name star is known to pass through, with Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli performing a free concert here in 2016.
Another of Budapest’s big-hitters is the Hungarian State Opera House, which I’d definitely recommend experiencing regardless of your musical inclination.
Open since 1884, this beautiful neo-renaissance building was the directorial home of famous Austro-Bohemian composer Gustav Mahler between 1888-1891.
In a similar vein, Heroes Square (Hősök tere) hosts classical concerts and traditional Hungarian folk performances over the summer months, with temporary tiered seating erected around the periphery of the landmark.
Such is Budapest’s diversity however, Shaggy and Sting are set to perform a free concert at Heroes Square on November 24 2018, marking the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Lottery No.6.
Budapest is great at repurposing spaces for live music too.
Take Tüskecsarnok, for example, an ice sports centre by day and lively concert hall by night.
I recently saw Californian punk band The Offspring play live at Tüskecsarnok. Upon approach to the arena it feels like you’re entering an old school P.E hall – the only difference being that cacophonous sounds crashed around its oval dome rather than the echoed bounce of a basketball.
Another of Budapest’s repurposed spaces is a former Soviet stone-carrier ship, A38.
A38 aims to inspire and excite with its diverse programme of concerts, festivals and exhibitions which have attracted more than one and a half million visitors since opening in 2003.
A38 attendees can expect to discover weird and wonderful sounds from worldwide artists at one of the most culturally significant institutions in Hungary.
Jazz is prominent in Budapest and there are a handful of clubs to choose from. Just a fifteen minute walk from A38 is Opus Jazz Club, while Budapest Jazz Club, the most popular jazz hangout in the city, is a short walk from Margaret Bridge.
If you fancy yourself as a jazz star, the clubs in Budapest regularly host improvisation nights.
From rock to rap and opera to jazz, Budapest really does offer something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for familiar sounds or something you’ve never heard before, I’m certain you’ll find what you’re looking for.
After all, Budapest is the perfect place to step outside of your comfort zone.
Other things to do while in Budapest
Budapest boasts more thermal springs and medicinal waters than any other capital city in the world – no visit would be complete without a dip.
There are 11 thermal spas and open air baths in the city, with Széchenyi and Gellért two of the most frequented. The former sits within Budapest’s beautiful City Park, which is also home to Vajdahunyad Castle and Budapest Zoo.
Hopping on the funicular is a fun experience in itself, though the views at the top of Buda Castle Hill are worth the 1,800HUF (£4.95) return ticket price alone. If you time your funicular ride right, you can watch the changing of the guards at the Hungarian Presidential Palace in Buda Castle for free (daily, on the hour between 9am-5pm).
Gellert Hill is also an incredible vantage point, and if you opt to walk up the hill across the road from Danubius Hotel Gellért you’ll be able to visit a hidden cave chapel – an active church which belongs to the Pauline monks.
Other highlights include the famous Great Market Hall, the peaceful Margaret Island and Shoes on the Danube Bank, a moving memorial of permanent shoes on the exact spot where Jews were shot by fascists during WWII.
Where to stay in Budapest and how to get there:
Budapest is split in half by the River Danube, with Buda on the east and Pest to the west.
The Hungarian capital is vast and benefits from an influx of travellers, so there are plenty of options for resting your head.
Hostelworld offers dorms on both sides of Budapest for as little as £7 per person per night, while there are also mid-priced apartments available on the lively Pest side for around £35 a night between three people.
If a lavish lifestyle is more your bag, Budapest’s prestigious Hilton and Marriott hotels offer rooms priced upwards of £100 a night.
Most major UK airports fly to Budapest directly, with Ryanair offering return flights from London Stansted for as little as £60. British Airways, easyJet, Jet2 and Wizz Air also offer direct flights. From the airport, central Budapest is around 30 minutes by car.
Budapest Parliment From The WindowBudapest Parliment From The Windowellencscott
Bow to Liu, your new pig king.
Liu is a massive hog weighing in at 940kg (2,073lb), who this week was crowned Pig King in Meishan city in China.
The contest was held to welcome in Chinese New Year, which happens to be the Year of the Pig.
The idea is to find the heaviest and largest pig in the area, to find out just how large a well-cared for pig can grow.
At nine years old, Liu is the heaviest pig around.
Befitting his title as our new pig ruler and icon, Liu is, according to his breeder, arrogant and bad-tempered. We stan.
Having been bred at Chengdu Yuanbaofeng Agricultural Development Group, Liu now weighs the equivalent of 12 fully grown men. His size is thanks to experimental breeding and a diet of large amounts of corn, soybeans, wheat bran, and daily supplements packed with all the nutrients he needs.
He’ll live out his days as a reigning Pig King, so his breeders can see just how long a pig bred in this way can live.
When he does eventually die of old age, his body will be given to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences for research.
As the winner of the contest, Liu was carried through the city in his own parade. 24 men were needed to lift the decorated carriage off the ground.
When the New Year arrives on 5 February, he’ll be honoured with further celebrations.
‘It’s very rare to see such a healthy and heavy pig,’ Liu’s breeder said.
Watch out, big cow. You’ve got some competition in the ‘large animals we adore’ stakes.
MEISHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 08: A pig weighing 940.5kg (1,881 catty) stands in a cage during a weighing ceremony at Renshou County on January 8, 2019 in Meishan, Sichuan Province of China. Nearly 200 people participated in the 940.5kg pig weighing ceremony held in Meishan on Tuesday to welcome the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig. (Photo by Liu Guoxing/VCG via Getty Images)MEISHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 08: A pig weighing 940.5kg (1,881 catty) stands in a cage during a weighing ceremony at Renshou County on January 8, 2019 in Meishan, Sichuan Province of China. Nearly 200 people participated in the 940.5kg pig weighing ceremony held in Meishan on Tuesday to welcome the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig. (Photo by Liu Guoxing/VCG via Getty Images)ellencscottMEISHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 08: A pig weighing 940.5kg (1,881 catty) stands in a cage during a weighing ceremony at Renshou County on January 8, 2019 in Meishan, Sichuan Province of China. Nearly 200 people participated in the 940.5kg pig weighing ceremony held in Meishan on Tuesday to welcome the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig. (Photo by Liu Guoxing/VCG via Getty Images)MEISHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 08: A pig weighing 940.5kg (1,881 catty) walks out of a cage during a weighing ceremony at Renshou County on January 8, 2019 in Meishan, Sichuan Province of China. Nearly 200 people participated in the 940.5kg pig weighing ceremony held in Meishan on Tuesday to welcome the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig. (Photo by Liu Guoxing/VCG via Getty Images)MEISHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 08: Twenty-four workers carry a pig weighing 940.5kg (1,881 catty) during a weighing ceremony at Renshou County on January 8, 2019 in Meishan, Sichuan Province of China. Nearly 200 people participated in the 940.5kg pig weighing ceremony held in Meishan on Tuesday to welcome the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig. (Photo by Liu Guoxing/VCG via Getty Images)
The world has officially been converted to Marie Kondo’s way of life.
From making sure your clothes spark joy to putting everything order, people have been getting on board in a big way after watching her Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.
There is plenty of good advice in the show, as she helps people deal with their clutter and streamline their lives. One of the most ingenious things, though, is her folding technique.
Your wardrobes and drawers will never look the same, as items are stacked up vertically to save space. It doesn’t even take that long.
We’ve got step-by-step guide on how to use the KonMari method to fold some popular items.
Before you start
You really need to take an all-in approach to this, as the folding technique won’t work properly if you have other disorganised bits in your drawers.
Take all your clothes and put them in a pile. Work out where each category of thing will go – make sure everything has a designated home.
Then, as you pick up each item, work out if it sparks joy in you (this can be because it’s your favourite top or some comfy pants or whatever reason you love to wear this item). Don’t keep stuff just because you think you ‘should’ or you might wear it one day. If it doesn’t spark joy, give it to a friend or donate to charity.
From there, we fold.
Trust us, your drawers and wardrobes will thank you, and will be so full of joy.
Marie Kondo, author. The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: TheMarie Kondo, author. The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: ThejessicacvlMarie Kondo, author. The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering and Organising by Marie Kondo, which has sold more than two million copies worldwide since its release last year. 09-kondo-lede.jpgCAMBRIDGE, MA - FEBRUARY 5: Otti Logan, 16, gets a folding lesson from zen tidiness guru Marie Kondo who comes to the U.S. for the first time and visits the Logan family for her TV show broadcast in Japan. (Photo by Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)