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

older | 1 | .... | 1513 | 1514 | (Page 1515) | 1516 | 1517 | .... | 1846 | newer

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    Instagram Photo

    While we’re getting excited over goat meat and cauliflower steaks, over in Tokyo there’s a much more exciting food trend afoot.

    In the Harajuku area of Tokyo, the Sweet XO Good Grief cafe is now serving up something called Unchi-kun Soft Serve ice cream.

    Unchi-kun is a polite way of saying poo.

    So yes, we are talking about poo ice cream.

    Thankfully, the ice cream is not flavoured like poo (if you are interested in that concept, though, you should watch the frozen yoghurt clip from Nathan For You), but is simply designed to look like a poo.

    Brown ice cream is handed out in a neat spiral, along with chocolate eyes, a mouth, and even a crown. It’s served in a container designed to look like one of those squat-style toilets.

    Instagram Photo

    SoraNews24 reports that the flavour is a rich chocolate, and that you can customise your poo ice cream with toppings and accessories, such as marshmallow bunny ears.

    One serving of Unchi-kun costs 650 yen (£4.60).

    Of course, Sweet XO isn’t the first place to take up the ‘ice cream that looks like faecal matter’ concept.

    In Taiwan is the restaurant Modern Toilet, which – you guessed it – is entirely themed around toilet trips. There, food including hot pots, noodles, and chocolate ice cream is served in miniature toilets.

    Instagram Photo

    It all seems pretty obvious when you think about it. Chocolate ice cream does look quite a bit like poo. Why not lean into that?

    We’ll have to wait and see if this trend spreads to the UK, where we’re a little cagier around the topic of excrement, but if you are keen to feast on food made to replicate bodily waste, Tokyo and Taiwan are clearly the places to go.

    MORE: People are giving potatoes makeovers and they look better than all of us

    MORE: There’s a new easy way to figure out the perfect portion size for food

    MORE: Which foods are high in fibre? How to get your daily allowance


    ice cream-bd63ice cream-bd63ellencscottice cream-bd63ice cream-bd63ellencscott

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    I wholly underestimated just how much of a ‘thing’ my albinism is to people.

    That was until my brother dropped the biggest bombshell of our 38-year relationship on me.

    Telling him about this article, with stunning ambivalence, he said, ‘Mate, whenever my friends meet you for the first time, days later, the one question I’m asked more than any other is, “Why didn’t you tell me your brother is an albino?”’

    I took a sharp breath, incredulous, wondering why anyone would expect my brother to give them a PowerPoint briefing ahead of my arrival.

    He then unveiled his stock response to these people, ‘He’s always been an albino.

    ‘I didn’t wake-up one day and he was suddenly really white. I don’t think about it. He doesn’t think about it. I don’t understand what you want from me.’

    CK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    ‘Would people with albinism be inspired if I spoke about albinism more?’ (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    And it’s true, I don’t think about. But what is clear is that other people do.

    Recently, a drunk dude stumbled over to me in a bar and spluttered, ‘Mate, if I were you, I’d milk my albinism for all it’s worth.’

    The guy, who approached me with uninhibited zeal, was called Ben*. I hardly know him, but we share mutual friends.

    Apparently, said friends routinely tell Ben, who is a digital specialist, about my video content. So, following prolonged nudging, he finally conceded and visited my YouTube channel.

    As he recounted which video he liked most, his single piece of advice was, ‘TALK ABOUT YOUR ALBINISM. Why don’t you milk it? Do you know how many other albinos, who aren’t as confident as you, would look up to you?’

    CK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    ‘Playing ‘the albino card’ would almost certainly build my presence further, but there’s one problem: I don’t care.’ (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    As he said this, scanning the room for details of where his next Corona was coming from, I had one prevailing thought, and that was, ‘You’re absolutely right.’

    Playing ‘the albino card’ would almost certainly build my presence further, but there’s one problem: I don’t care.

    To elaborate, I mean I have no time for the most glaring cultural contradiction of all: labels.

    Often, in society, we hear trite platitudes like ‘we’re all the same’, but I doubt most people truly believe this, because if they did, using albinism as a gateway to exposure would never be a consideration.

    Now, would people with albinism be inspired if I spoke about albinism more?

    Probably, but my theory is that it’s even more inspiring for me to do cool things with utter disregard for whatever ‘thing’ it is that society sees as a ‘thing’.

    CK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    ‘I think about my albinism as often as I think about soil: rarely.’ (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    I released my debut film last year and amid the responses commenting on the film, one woman wrote, ‘is he an albino?’

    Understand, her question didn’t annoy or hurt me. If anything, it puzzled me.

    It was just like the TV producer I recently met. He was casting for a big new show and invited me to a meeting.

    Poor guy, I could feel him squirm as he negotiated his words carefully, settling for, ‘So, um, your albinism, how does that, um… does it attract any remarks and so on?’

    ‘Well, growing-up, I was called names like Casper and The Milky Bar Kid, but nothing damaging,’ I said. ‘Occasionally, as an adult, people will ask me about it, but mostly, my albinism isn’t a life feature.’

    CK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk
    ‘Often, in society, we hear trite platitudes like ‘we’re all the same’, but I doubt most people truly believe this.’ (Picture: Paul David Drabble/Metro.co.uk)

    And that’s the plain truth, I think about my albinism as often as I think about soil: rarely.

    With the exception of laughable eyesight, which I’ve long since made peace with and adjusted to, it’s not a label I feel defined by.

    Interestingly, with age, my albinism is something I’m even less mindful of, perhaps because fewer people are shouting ‘ALBINO!’ at me from across the street.

    Being on the receiving end of this has never been my favourite thing, I mean, let’s be honest, ‘A-L-B-I-N-O’ isn’t the softest of words, it’s pretty sharp – unlike ‘donut’ or ‘cupcake’: smoother words the ear is naturally designed to enjoy.

    This happened a lot in my teens, often in my 20s, and now I’m in my 30s, it hardly ever happens.

    Why doesn’t it happen anymore? Maybe society is more aware of what’s inappropriate.

    Maybe I look big enough to make the shouters think twice.

    Or, perhaps my brother has already given all living humans the PowerPoint briefing that his friends expect.

    No idea.

    *Name changed

    CK Goldiing’s debut short film, 61 HUGS, in which he seeks out 61 hugs from strangers, can be found here. To see more from CK, you can find his YouTube channel here

    Labels

    Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

    If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

    MORE: My Label and Me: Being middle class makes me feel stuck in between

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

    MORE: My Label and Me: I didn’t talk about my mental health in case people called me a psycho


    Labels: AlbinoLabels: AlbinojessrubyaustinCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukLabels: AlbinoLabels: AlbinojessrubyaustinCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.ukCK Golding Sheffield Writer, Creator & Photographer talks about his Label Albino 11 October 2018 Copyright Paul David Drabble www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk

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    Sexual assault is not a problem we can solve with a ‘consent app’ (Sirena)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    I have a close friend who finds it really funny to tease and troll me on Instagram.

    She will post like five to 10 comments on a single photo, telling me I don’t look good or making joke death threats against my cat, or telling me I can do better with writing a funny caption, and so on and so forth.

    It obviously bothers me a lot. She’s capable of being quite a supportive and lovely friend in person, but for some reason she thinks it’s funny to force this dynamic on Instagram where she’s like the social media police, putting me down all the time.

    The thing is, it’s not funny. And other friends of mine have noticed her doing this and questioned who she is, or come to my defence thinking she’s a regular troll that I don’t know, asking why I put up with it.

    She’s a writer and it’s part of her ‘online brand’ to be this sour critical troll online, which I already find unimpressive, but it upsets me when it gets personal like this.

    I’ve spoken to her about it and let her know that I don’t find it funny and that it bothers me a lot. Short of blocking her on Instagram I don’t know what to do — do you have any ideas?

    Caroline, 32

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

    Dear Caroline,

    Nope. No, thank you. Absolutely not. This is not on.

    You are correct – trolling a close friend is, in fact, not at all funny. It’s strange, cruel behaviour and I’m not surprised it’s seriously bothering you.

    I am generally a huge fan of the internet and, in particular, the way it’s enabled young people to communicate with one another. I’ve been known to say the World Wide Web is like Lindsay Lohan: she has a worse reputation than she deserves.

    I think we can and do conduct perfectly valid and delightful friendships via social media all the time. I’m here for online banter.

    This is not harmless banter – she has gone way past this territory and strayed into straight-up bullying. I won’t stand for it and I don’t think you should, either.

    What’s happening here, dear Caroline, is that this girl is putting her own personal brand above your friendship. There is simply no excuse to do that. I’m not sure what’s motivating her. Vanity? Jealousy? A destructive sense of humour?

    Whatever it is, it isn’t good.

    If you’ve already confronted her about this, then she can be under no delusions.

    She knows her behaviour has upset you, hurt your feelings and made you feel uncomfortable – yet, she continues on her odd campaign of cruelty in your comments.

    At the moment, the act itself is irrelevant; the point is that you’ve approached her with a concern regarding her behaviour and she has outright ignored you.

    She has made her own bitter amusement a priority over your feelings and frankly, it’s inexcusable. If this woman was truly your friend, she would listen when you tell her that this nonsense hurts you.

    She would apologise.

    She would take your feelings into account and refrain from slandering your perfectly lovely selfies.

    She would – and I can barely believe I have to say this – not send death threats to your cat.

    The truth is that it doesn’t matter how sweet this woman is in person or when she’s in the right mood.

    She is no friend of yours; not truly, not really, not at all. I suspect if you thought about it long enough, you’d realise that you already know that.

    Anyone who persists with hurtful, destructive behaviour like this, especially after they’ve been notified of its hurtful consequences, is not deserving of your love and companionship.

    I know you probably worry that you’re being hypersensitive, or that this is somehow a trivial matter because it concerns Instagram, but please know that you’re right to feel weird and hurt by it.

    Your feelings are valid – this woman is the only person treating you as though they’re not.

    My advice is to block her on Instagram.

    It might just be what she needs to realise that you were serious when you said you didn’t appreciate her comments.

    Then, if I were you, I’d think very seriously about whether you want this person in your life at all. Turn down brunch invitations, postpone dinner, leave her texts on read and wait it out until she changes her ways.

    She may earn back your friendship when she realises what a life lived without you is like.

    She may not.

    She may move on to threaten someone else’s cat.

    The point is, so long as she thinks it’s OK to pick up her phone and type out hateful little comments to you, she does not deserve you.

    Block her on- and offline until she does.

    MORE: Lean On Me: Should I tell my friends I want our holiday to be boyfriend-free?

    MORE: Lean On Me: How do I tell my mum she should get rid of her toxic lifelong best friend?

    MORE: Lean On Me: My friend’s boyfriend hit on me (and my mum). Do I tell her?


    KATE LEAVER: LEAN ON MEKATE LEAVER: LEAN ON MEkateleaverSexual assault is not a problem we can solve with a ‘consent app’ (Sirena)Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration IllustrationsKATE LEAVER: LEAN ON MEKATE LEAVER: LEAN ON MEkateleaverSexual assault is not a problem we can solve with a ‘consent app’ (Sirena)Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk) Metro Illustration Illustrations

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    (Picture: SophiaCK/PrettyLittleThing)

    Usually when it comes to online shopping mishaps, the clothing items causing the nightmare are too small, too tight, or they reveal a little more than intended.

    Sophia CK, the creator and host of excellent podcast She’s All Fat, had a different issue.

    She ordered a plus-size coat from PrettyLittleThing. It was described as ‘oversized’, but the coat that arrived was, well, a little more ‘oversized’ than Sophia expected.

    By which we mean it’s quite large indeed. The sleeves are much wider than her arms, the shoulders hang way past Sophia’s, and the pockets are spacious enough to fit a book or a small kitten.

    Sophia shared some comparison photos on Twitter, which ended up being liked more than 50,000 times.

    The pictures also attracted some pretty brilliant comparisons to that meme of Kendall Jenner wearing a massive jacket, Kanye’s I Love It costume, and Gossamer from Looney Tunes.

    It turns out Sophia isn’t the only one who wasn’t expecting the coat to be quite so large. Other people have responded to the tweet with their own photos wearing the coat.

    The good news is that Sophia hasn’t been put off the coat entirely, despite its size.

    She tweeted that she’s pondering keeping it as a travel outfit, and has says she’s been living in the coat for a while as it’s so blimmin’ cosy.

    Shockingly, she has not yet attempted to place kittens in the pockets. Sophia, if you’re reading this, please do so.

    We’ve reached out to PrettyLittleThing for their thoughts on using the coat as a kitten carrier, and will update this article when we hear back.

    MORE: Boohoo is selling ‘reverse jeans’ and people are not fans

    MORE: I needed a vitiligo champion like Primark’s new model when I was a teenager

    MORE: Meghan Markle wears £25 H&M maternity dress – and here’s how you can get it


    Pretty Little ThingPretty Little ThingellencscottPretty Little ThingPretty Little Thingellencscott

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    Blackfishing – where people change their skin colour and hair to appear black – is a strange trend.

    One blogger accused of blackfishing told Metro.co.uk that there’s nothing wrong with her deep tan and braids.

    While many of the women accused of blackfishing appear to be doing it for personal gain – more followers and brand deals, for example – there’s an uncomfortable question that has to be asked: Are women blackfishing to meet some men’s preferences for racially ambiguous women?

    And what does it say about society that women appropriating black features may be considered more sexually attractive than actual black women?

    Some of the women allegedly blackfishing are from predominantly white countries, some from Scandinavian ones.

    To look like a black woman or a racially ambiguous person in these spaces is to look different, interesting, ‘exotic’ even, and may attract more male suitors.

    Even in diverse spaces, racially ambiguous or light skin black women (often referred to as ‘lighties’) are often preferred over dark-skinned individuals (the reverse is true for women too, as some prefer light skin men).

    What some of these blackfishing girls seem to be doing is tapping into that thirst for ‘exotic’ looking women and catering to it.

    If you spend time scrolling through the images of these girls, you’ll find plenty of complimentary comments from men and women, so their blackfishing tactic is working – they have presented a ‘palatable’ version of a black woman, tanned, curvy, and curly-haired to be ‘exotic’ but not quite black enough to pass as performing blackface.

    Black women are punished for being black – called ugly for having big lips, sent home from work and school for having dreads, and more – but when appropriated by white women these things are praised.

    Look at the rise of lip fillers and bum injections.

    Perhaps it’s because these things can be removed from white women’s bodies when trends pass but are usually permanent for black women.

    White women who blackfish are able to take on the features men deem attractive, without bringing along the racist stereotypes and stigma associated with black women. As such, blackfishing allows women to be ‘safe’ for men to fancy. They get to enjoy an attraction to full lips, braids, and a big bum without the stigma (or ‘hassle’ as some see it ) of being with black women.

    If you can’t beat them, join them

    Let’s not forget that white people have historically tried to limit the beauty of blackness through tignon laws, passed in the 1700s to change the appearance of black women and make them less attractive to white men.

    These laws required black women to cover their textured hair as their features kept attracting white suitors, which stood as a threat to white women.

    Centuries later, beauty has evolved. Tanned and curvy (being thicc) is in.

    Light skin and mixed-race women are fetishised. The more unusual the mix, the more interesting she is perceived to be.

    Studies show mixed-race women are also preferred over dark skin ones romantically and even in the legal system – dark skin women are given harsher prison sentences than their lighter counterparts in the U.S.

    One man who has a preference for light skin women told Metro.co.uk that it’s simply down to a trend.

    He likes light skin women of colour but not black girls because of their ‘attitude’ – something that black women are predominantly ostracised for.

    ‘I think it’s a bit like a fashion statement, it’s a trend that will change. I remember when I was younger liking mixed-race girls and light skin ones wasn’t in fashion.’

    ‘It’s because mixed-race women have owned their brand, they’ve given themselves status in society and acceptance of themselves.

    ‘This creates the hype around them. Everybody wants one, everybody recognises one.’

    (Picture: henote)

    Some men will only approach women that are racially ambiguous, thinly veiling their disappointment if the mix isn’t exciting enough.

    Writer Narjas Zatat, who is half Algerian and half Greek, told Metro.co.uk how she is often mistaken for a light skin black woman.

    ‘I get a lot of “what’s your mix?” questions when men approach me. I once went to this rock gig in and this guy sidled up to me and his opening line was “I like mixed-race curvy girls.”

    ‘There’s an assumption there that I’m half black but it’s quite interesting to see how some guys take one look at my hair and assume I’m a “lightie”.’

    Natalie Morris, who is a mixed-race black woman, says a lot of the time it’s black men who show this preference for light skin black women.

    ‘I feel like there are certain men (mostly black men) who have a thing for “lighties” – so I think it’s more I get approached because I’m light skin. Because I don’t think it’s necessarily apparent that I’m definitely mixed-race when they first approach.’

    Similarly, Raveena Islam, who is Bangladeshi, says her light skin and curly hair are the objects of some men’s attention.

    ‘Men approach me because of my curly hair, but it’s like “nappy” so that in itself is a fetish,’ Raveena tells us. ‘To them, it’s nice to have some flavour, a yellow skin tone that tans easy.

    ‘I have no idea why they find that attractive, but probably because the way society defines beauty.’

    The media has certainly contributed to this, elevating white-passing women of colour and leaving out dark-skinned ones, perpetuating colourism – the idea that the closer to whiteness you are, the better looking or smarter you are.

    Culturally we’ve picked specific aspects of black women that are now seen as desirable – being tanned, big lips, big bums, thick thighs (just look at the worth of Kardashians, and the popularity of Instagram influencers). So now these looks are all the rage, especially on light skin women. But where’s this energy for black women with these features?

    This has filtered down to men’s interactions with women, with men believing that light skin women are ‘just more attractive’.

    Why is having a preference a problem?

    Some will argue that preferences are preferences, which is true to an extent.

    But to say one is only attracted to a subculture is to make generalisations about not only that group but other groups.

    Seeking ‘exotic’ mixes reduces multifaceted women to just their racial breakdown, something the women have no control over.

    People may argue that those accused of blackfishing are just appreciating the culture, they’re not being malicious, or that imitation is a form of flattery.

    But much like cultural appropriation, blackfishers are picking and choosing parts of a culture they don’t belong to, without acknowledging their cultural significance or the parts of being black that aren’t praised.

    Unlike white people blackfishing, black people cannot take off their braids or tone down their melanin in order to go unnoticed when they want to for their own health and safety.

    Blackfishing takes advantage of a system that prefers light skin black women over dark skinned ones. It allows white women to enjoy ‘advantages’ that come with appearing as a ‘lightie’ – standing out from their peers, being looked upon favourably by men who genuinely take them to be mixed-race light skin women.

    Men have sent the message that the most attractive form of a black woman is a light skin one; so white women are trying to become that, whether subconsciously or not.

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

    MORE: We need more spaces dedicated to black hair and beauty

    MORE: ‘Edgy’ humour is the opposite of revolutionary


    black faceblack facefaimabakar1black faceblack facefaimabakar1

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    i slept with my best friend and it ruined everything
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    I’d always had a crush on Amber*.

    She was exotic to me. Nothing about her sharp blonde bob and stylish Scandi uniform felt familiar. Even her social life was unbelievably cool and unreachable, like something out of Gossip Girl.

    So I was surprised when we clicked on a work night out just a few weeks after I’d moved to London.

    She approached me, which at the time seemed unbelievable, but after a few drinks we were whipping out our best stories trying to impress each other, laughing loudly at anything the other one said. I questioned her motives that night but fast forward six years and countless straight relationships on both sides, we were firm friends. Best friends.

    My crush had never developed. I thought it might during those first few intense weeks, but looking back it wasn’t the kind of filthy, adult infatuation that had you daydreaming about sex, or even the cute, teenage kind that gave you butterflies.

    It was more that I wanted to be her, or at least be like her. What I hadn’t noticed through my admiring gaze was how she felt about me – and how that was the beginning of the end.

    Our friendship faltered after a drunken night out in which we spent most of the time flirting outrageously with other people. I don’t know if that stirred a sexual desire in us but before I knew it we were back at my flat talking about our fantasies over another drink.

    The conversation switched to experimentation. Had she ever slept with a women? Had I ever been tempted? Our answers both led us to the same resolve; we should have sex.

    In hindsight we probably should have laid down some rules, or at least spoken about what this meant for our friendship, but in that moment we were two grown women making a joint, consensual decision to challenge our sexuality. A choice. A bold one, sure, but one for the taking.

    We stripped off – there was no foreplay, kissing or even touching at first. I took my own clothes off, as did Amber, then we slotted our legs together, moving closer until our lips were squashed up next to one another’s.

    (Picture: Getty)

    I must admit it felt good, but it also felt awkward and I let out a laugh to break the silence.

    After that, we both relaxed. I closed my eyes, letting myself enjoy the feeling that was building up inside my stomach. We moved our groins back and forth in a soft rhythm, rubbing ourselves together until we both came, then lay next to each other processing what had just happened.

    It was over so quick I didn’t really think much into it – and then it was morning.

    When I woke up Amber had gone, which was the first sign our brief sexual encounter meant something more to her than it did to me.

    I was ready to laugh it off over some burnt toast and a cup of strong tea. I already had it pegged as one of my finest stories – the night I stopped being so vanilla and small town, the night I let my wild side out. I thought we’d tell this liberating tale to strangers who’d be jealous of how free and close our friendship was – set some kind of sexual friend standard.

    However simple I’d sold it to myself, it certainly didn’t stay that way in the days that followed.

    My phone was met with endless, essay-like texts that revealed Amber’s deep feelings for me – ones that she’d been harbouring since that very first work night out. I spent hours on the phone to her explaining that I just wanted to stay friends, that my feelings were purely platonic.

    I’m not proud of myself but over the weeks I had to create some distance – not only for my own sake but for hers, too.

    Our exchanges had become a painful and frustrating string of arguments, so I stopped answering the phone. After that, I’d text occasionally to check in on her but I was met with short, curt responses. One day her calls and texts just stopped. Our friendship was officially over.

    It’s sad, I know. Maybe I was naive to think you could have no-strings sex with a friend. Maybe I was even more naive to think you could have no-strings sex with a friend of the same sex. Female friendships tend to run on a deeper level than male friendships, in my experience.

    Just know this: If I could rewind the last year of my life and save her from feeling any pain, I would. Second time round I’d pick a stranger. Or maybe even a sex toy with no feelings at all.

    As told to Claire Blackmore.

    MORE: I'll never forgive myself for cheating on my girlfriend with her best friend

    MORE: People share their stories of the first time they had sex

    MORE: 11 women reveal their erotic hotspots


    i slept with my best friend and it ruined everythingi slept with my best friend and it ruined everythingellencscotti slept with my best friend and it ruined everythingi slept with my best friend and it ruined everythingi slept with my best friend and it ruined everythingellencscotti slept with my best friend and it ruined everything

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    There are many reasons to ditch the meat and go vegan.

    The avoidance of animal suffering, for example. The potential of saving the planet. A lactose intolerance.

    But PETA seems insistent on pushing one reason to eat more veg: sex.

    After suggesting that people shouldn’t eat chicken because it will make their ‘kid’s dick small’, PETA has released a video of men wearing vegetable strap-ons to suggest penises. Think long carrots, beefy marrows, and so on.

    Along with the video PETA tweeted: ‘Traditional” masculinity is DEAD. The secret to male sexual stamina is veggies.’

    The reference to masculinity makes us think this might be the group’s answer to Gilette’s hugely popular ad encouraging men to be better.

    The main point, though, is that, PETA claims, going vegan improves your sexual stamina.

    That’s a common refrain from vegan groups, who like to suggest that veganism is the path to better sex in the knowledge that, well, sex sells.

    METROGRAB: PETA really wants you to eat veggies for the sake of your penis
    (Picture: PETA)

    The idea is that because a vegan diet could improve your overall health (and that’s a hotly contested ‘could’), it could also improve your sexual performance, as erectile dysfunction is linked to physical health causes, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

    PETA previously told metro.co.uk: ‘The consumption of animal-derived foods has long been linked to artery blockages that cause inadequate functioning of not only a man’s heart but also his other vital organs.

    ‘In contrast, consuming foods high in fibre – including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – helps scrub the plaque off arterial walls and get blood flowing to the parts he needs it flowing to, improving his love life and bringing satisfaction to someone else.

    ‘Viagra may help men last one night per pill, but a vegan diet (“vegan Viagra”) will benefit them throughout their lives, which are usually longer than those of meat-eaters.’

    While these claims sound like a tempting reason to give veganism a go, it’s worth noting that there’s no scientific evidence that directly links a vegan diet with lasting longer in bed or experiencing increased sexual pleasure.

    It is the case that eating healthily, with recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, could improve your physical health, which could then have a knock-on effect on your sex life, but there’s currently no evidence that definitively declares that going vegan will sort out any sexual issues.

    Simply cutting down on meat and upping your vegetable intake could pose similar benefits.

    As is standard, PETA’s video has pissed off some people online.

    We would also like to note – just in case anyone has watched this video and got the wrong idea – that vegetables should not be used for penetrative purposes.

    The risk of a chunk of veg breaking off inside your vagina or anus is high, which could result in infection and a very embarrassing trip to the doctor.

    Stick to eating the vegetables, not using them as strap-ons or dildos.

    MORE: You’ll soon be able to ice-skate with real penguins in London, and PETA isn’t happy

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    MORE: Over in Tokyo the next big food trend is poo ice cream


    sei_47964597-8468sei_47964597-8468ellencscottMETROGRAB: PETA really wants you to eat veggies for the sake of your penissei_47964597-8468sei_47964597-8468ellencscottMETROGRAB: PETA really wants you to eat veggies for the sake of your penis

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    What is cognitive fog/cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it?
    ‘Half of London-based employees who took time off for a mental health issue told their manager it was for a different reason.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    In 2006, I was pulled into a disciplinary meeting at the law firm where I then worked and asked to explain my less than impressive recent performance.

    I had been expecting this.

    I’d been struggling with severe bulimia, along with accompanying depression and anxiety (which I had misguidedly been self-medicating with alcohol) for the past seven years. In the past months, both my physical and mental health had deteriorated with terrifying speed, rendering me unreliable, unprofessional and unfocused.

    What I hadn’t anticipated was that my HR manager had instructed a member of staff in the IT team to monitor everything I did on my PC and screengrab anything he considered ‘evidence’.

    Among the resulting folder of documents was an email I’d written to a friend, in which I confessed that I was bingeing and purging several times each evening.

    ‘So that’s why we’re paying you, is it? To spend money on food to throw up?’, I was asked.

    When I recount this story now, in a cultural landscape so much more aware of mental health issues, people are usually aghast.

    I might have been tempted to think this sort of thing never happens anymore – were it not for the decade of work I’ve since conducted as a mental health campaigner, and the hundreds of similar stories I have been told.

    I now believe only a change in law will kickstart the workplace revolution needed to tackle this almighty issue.

    More than 70 academic studies show Mental Health First Aid is effective in giving people the knowledge, skills and confidence to support their friends and colleagues.

    If we are physically unwell with a recognisable illness, there is a shared understanding that additional support will be needed. We know that recovery and management is likely possible, and that it isn’t our fault.

    The same cannot be said of mental health – stigma is still rife.

    A 2018 Bauer Media survey discovered that 50 per cent of London-based employees who have taken time off work for a mental health issue told their line manager it was for a different reason.

    This in turn means that the true cost to businesses of mental ill health is unknown, although the Centre for Mental Health has estimated the cost of sickness absence and reduced productivity to be around £35 billion every year.

    That’s £1,300 for every employee in the country.

    It is for all these reasons that in May 2018, I launched the Where’s Your Head At campaign in partnership with Bauer Media and Mental Health First Aid England, calling for a change in the law so there is a requirement for employers to make provisions for mental health first aid (MHFA), in exactly the same way as they currently do for physical first aid.

    The campaign has already gained more traction than I ever could have imagined. Almost 210,000 people have signed our Change.org petition. Fifty business leaders, including CEOs of Ford, Lloyds Bank, Thames Water and WHSmith wrote an open letter to the prime minister backing the change in law.

    That’s before we take into account our numerous celebrity ambassadors, including Professor Green, Rachel Riley and Peter Andre.

    As a result of our campaign, last November the government’s Health and Safety Executive revised its guidelines around workplace first aid to make the expectation of mental health provision more explicit. 

    I’m encouraged by the political momentum we’ve gathered. More than 60 MPs from across the parties have given their support, and Where’s Your Head At will be debated in Parliament today, led by MPs Luciana Berger, Norman Lamb and Johnny Mercer.

    Of course, MHFA provision at work won’t magically cure all mental illness, but the training teaches vital skills in communication and signposting.

    More than 70 academic studies show MHFA is effective in giving people the knowledge, skills and confidence to support their friends and colleagues, and to encourage help-seeking behaviour.

    It will also be a way for the government to show they are committed to providing the ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health, which they have been promising the public since 2011.

    In short, if this campaign is successful, it will go some way to ensuring people like me, who struggle with their mental health at work, receive the compassion and understanding they deserve.

    Need support?

    If you’re struggling with mental health issues and need help or support, you can contact the UK’s mental health charity, Mind via its helpline on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.

    You can also visit the website for more information or to find your local Mind service.

    If you need assistance immediately, use the urgent help tool on the site or alternatively, if you need medical assistance call NHS 111.

    MORE: Doctors shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to assisted dying

    MORE: Netflix’s You subverts the idea women must be wholesome and faultless to deserve justice

    MORE: I voted for Brexit but now, to protect my LGBT+ rights, I want a People’s Vote


    what is cognitive fog-cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it-78ebwhat is cognitive fog-cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it-78ebsirenabergmanukWhat is cognitive fog/cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it?what is cognitive fog-cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it-78ebwhat is cognitive fog-cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it-78ebsirenabergmanukWhat is cognitive fog/cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it?

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    (Picture: Getty Images)

    So, you have the perfect duvet, now you need the best pillow to get a good night’s sleep.

    But what are the best pillows for you? Do you go for hard or soft? What about a pillow for neck pain? And you can’t forget side-sleepers.

    Don’t worry, we’re on hand to find the best, most comfortable pillows to buy for all types of sleepers.

    Here you’ll find the best pillows to buy for all of these categories and more.

     

    Best all round pillow

    Coop Home ‘Eden’ Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

    Coop Home ‘Eden’ Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
    (Picture: eBay)

    It is hard to not pick a pillow that can be adjusted for size as the best all-round pillow.

    Coop Home’s Eden Pillow is able to do just that. Coming with adjustable and made from shredded gel memory foam, the Eden Pillow also features a gusseted design that keeps the pillow even all the across and provides more support for the neck.

    Coop Home ‘Eden’ Shredded Memory Foam Pillow, prices vary, ebay.co.uk

     

    Best memory foam pillow

    Tempur Comfort Pillow Original

    Tempur Comfort Pillow Original
    (Picture: Argos)

    Tempur is famous for their absorbing mattresses and the same philosophy is applied to its pillows.

    Featuring the foam-like Tempur micro-cushions, the Comfort is a medium-softness pillow that doesn’t lose its firmness when needed most.

    Tempur Comfort Pillow Original, £9, argos.co.uk

     

    Best travel pillow

    Soak & Sleep Feather and Down Travel Pillow

    Soak & Sleep Feather and Down Travel Pillow
    (Picture: Amazon)

    If you take your pillows seriously, you need a travel pillow.

    After all, there’s no point having the perfect one at home that keeps your neck pain-free but then suffering when you go on holiday and have to make do with a plane pillow, and take a risk with the hotel ones.

    Soak & Sleep’s travel-sized one is designed to be easily fit into the overhead compartment and comes with its own carry-on bag. It even comes with a travel-sized cost at just £12.

    Soak & Sleep Feather and Down Travel Pillow, £16.49, amazon.co.uk

     

    Best pregnancy pillow

    DreamGenii’s Maternity Support Pillow

    DreamGenii’s Maternity Support Pillow
    (Picture: Amazon)

    Voted the best pregnancy pillow on Mumsnet, it’s no surprise DreamGenii’s Maternity Support Pillow is also a bestseller on Amazon.

    A unique shape that features a leg support cushion, bump and back supports and a centre panel, DreamGenii’s pillow was designed to prevent mums from rolling onto their backs and helps them stay on their sides, the best position for both mum and babe.

    DreamGenii’s Maternity Support Pillow, £42.95, amazon.co.uk

     

    Best pillow for neck pain

    Tempur Original Pillow

    Tempur Original Pillow
    (Picture: John Lewis)

    Voted by Tuck as the best pillow for neck pain, Tempur’s Original Pillow differs from the Comfort pillow through its ergonomic design, which is designed to help keep  the spine aligned during sleep on either your back or side.

    The company also says that it could offer relief to breathing problems and snoring. It also comes in three sizes to cater to different body shapes.

    Tempur Original Pillow, £99, johnlewis.com

     

    Best pillow for side-sleepers

    Dunlopillo Super Comfort Specialty Pillow

    Dunlopillo Super Comfort Specialty Pillow
    (Picture: John Lewis)

    This latex pillow from Dunlopillo offers medium-firm support and moulds to your spine and neck, making it a great one for side-sleepers.

    Dunlopillo also says that latex’s natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-dust mite properties make it perfect for allergy sufferers.

    Dunlopillo Super Comfort Specialty Pillow, £70, johnlewis.com

     

    Best pillow for front-sleepers

    Rested The Butterfly

    Rested The Butterfly
    (Picture: Amazon)

    If you sleep on your front, be it starfish or plank style, Rested’s Butterfly pillow is specifically designed for you. Its unique cross-shaped design caters to people who like to hug their pillows at night, and also provides space for easy, unencumbered breathing.

    Plus, you can make as many X marks the spot for sleep jokes as you want.

    Rested The Butterfly, £20, amazon.co.uk

     

    Best anti-allergy pillow

    Soak & Sleep’s Anti-allergy Pillow

    Soak & Sleep’s Anti-allergy Pillow
    (Picture: Soak and Sleep)

    Nothing can ruin a good night’s sleep like a dirty pillow that makes you sneeze or worse. Soak and Sleep’s hollowfibre anti-allergy pillow has been treated with Sanitized, which protects the pillow from the moisture that evaporates from us when we sleep.

    This prevents any build-up of allergy-causing bacteria, mould and dust-mites.

    Soak & Sleep’s Anti-allergy Pillow, £14-£26.50, soakandsleep.com

     

    Best down and feather pillow

    The White Company Hungarian Goose Down Support Pillow

    The White Company Hungarian Goose Down Support Pillow
    (Picture: The White Company)

    The one to go for if you really want to treat yourself.

    The White Company’s pillow is made up of 80 percent Hungarian goose down and 20 percent Hungarian goose feather outer filling and 85 percent feather-15 percent down core filling, which means it’s got the best of both, soft and firm worlds.

    The White Company says it’s ideal for both back sleepers and side-sleepers.

    The White Company Hungarian Goose Down Support Pillow, £75-£100, thewhitecompany.com

     

    Best synthetic pillow

    Casper The Pillow

    Casper The Pillow
    (Picture: Amazon)

    Casper’s pillow asks the question: Why choose between soft and firm, when you can go for both? The company’s pillow-in-pillow design means the inner pillow provides the firmness while the outer pillow provides the softer cushioning.

    Because it’s made from just under a billion coated fibres, with each fibre cluster being individually blown into the cover, Casper’s pillow is springier than any down pillow, and also doesn’t feature any foam, which Casper says makes it ‘too sensitive to temperature’.

    Casper The Pillow, £60-£75, casper.com

     

    Honourable mentions

    Eve The Pillow, Simba Hybrid Pillow with Outlast

    Eve The Pillow, Simba Hybrid Pillow with Outlast
    (Picture: Simba)

    Start-up companies like Eve and Simba have all left their mark on the sleep industry with innovative products like the latter’s hybrid pillow, which uses both synthetic materials and duck down and can be adjusted for height, and Eve’s memory foam pillow.

    Eve The Pillow, Simba Hybrid Pillow with Outlast, £95, simbasleep.com


    Bed with white pillows, close-upBed with white pillows, close-upemilyknott17Coop Home ‘Eden’ Shredded Memory Foam PillowTempur Comfort Pillow OriginalSoak & Sleep Feather and Down Travel PillowDreamGenii’s Maternity Support PillowTempur Original PillowDunlopillo Super Comfort Specialty PillowRested The ButterflySoak & Sleep’s Anti-allergy PillowThe White Company Hungarian Goose Down Support PillowCasper The PillowEve The Pillow, Simba Hybrid Pillow with OutlastBed with white pillows, close-upBed with white pillows, close-upemilyknott17Coop Home ‘Eden’ Shredded Memory Foam PillowTempur Comfort Pillow OriginalSoak & Sleep Feather and Down Travel PillowDreamGenii’s Maternity Support PillowTempur Original PillowDunlopillo Super Comfort Specialty PillowRested The ButterflySoak & Sleep’s Anti-allergy PillowThe White Company Hungarian Goose Down Support PillowCasper The PillowEve The Pillow, Simba Hybrid Pillow with Outlast

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    (Picture: Gregg Eichhorn/Facebook)

    Gregg Eichhorn, from Ohio, U.S, who has adopted nine disabled children with his wife, wanted his family to enjoy the snow over the weekend.

    But his disabled son Elijah and daughter Zahara both use wheelchairs, making it difficult for them to play in the snow.

    After a meeting with all his children, not all of whom use wheelchairs, Gregg – with the help of his sister – decided to make the fort and make sure everyone could play in it.

    Having built igloos as a child, Gregg built his children an accessible fort which included a mini igloo and second-floor snowball deck.

    Though he was widely applauded for his efforts, the dad-of-nine said it was just another day of having fun with his family.

    A dad from the US state of Ohio decided to build an igloo out of snow for his disabled daughter. With a wider and taller front porch than most home-built igloos would generally have, Gregg Eichhorn's daughter Zahara was able to access it in her wheelchair.
    Zahara, was adopted from Uganda where it doesn’t snow (Picture: Gregg Eichhorn/Facebook)

    Sharing the picture on his Facebook, he wrote: ‘Built this handicap accessible igloo today with my sister. Includes mini igloo and second-floor snowball deck. Not the first ambitious thing I’ve done.’

    Talking to disability support group The Mighty, Gregg said: ‘I had talked it over with the kids and decided we were going to make it so that a wheelchair could roll into it so that Elijah and Zahara could come into the igloo the same as the other kids.

    ‘Our family includes all of our kids in every activity that we can. Nothing was super extraordinary about the day.’

    A dad from the US state of Ohio decided to build an igloo out of snow for his disabled daughter. With a wider and taller front porch than most home-built igloos would generally have, Gregg Eichhorn's daughter Zahara was able to access it in her wheelchair.
    Gregg’s sister helped him put the igloo together (Picture: Gregg Eichhorn/Facebook)

    Gregg and his wife knew early on that they wanted to build a family through adoption but didn’t expect to have adopted all disabled children.

    Shortly after, they got their foster parents license and started welcoming kids into their home.

    ‘We received a call for Elijah, a terminally ill unhealthy baby boy who was inevitably going to die in about two weeks,’ explained Gregg.

    ‘Elijah is now 11 years old and I cannot imagine not having him. He makes me a better person and even taught me to adopt children with medical needs.

    ‘He has cortical vision blindness and had his eyes closed most of the morning until we rolled him into the snow fort. He widely opened up his eyes and was looking around.’

    ‘And Zahara is from Uganda, where it doesn’t snow.’

    After Gregg’s friend shared an image of the igloo on Reddit, the post blew up, with many commending Gregg for his family spirit.

    The humble dad simply responded: ‘Everyone needs a loving family’.

    MORE: Book celebrates women with facial and body disfigurements

    MORE: Gorgeous moment disabled baby hears her sister’s voice for the first time

    MORE: Amputee without legs joins circus to perform the most impressive stunts


    Dad builds accessible iglooDad builds accessible igloofaimabakar1A dad from the US state of Ohio decided to build an igloo out of snow for his disabled daughter. With a wider and taller front porch than most home-built igloos would generally have, Gregg Eichhorn's daughter Zahara was able to access it in her wheelchair.A dad from the US state of Ohio decided to build an igloo out of snow for his disabled daughter. With a wider and taller front porch than most home-built igloos would generally have, Gregg Eichhorn's daughter Zahara was able to access it in her wheelchair.Dad builds accessible iglooDad builds accessible igloofaimabakar1A dad from the US state of Ohio decided to build an igloo out of snow for his disabled daughter. With a wider and taller front porch than most home-built igloos would generally have, Gregg Eichhorn's daughter Zahara was able to access it in her wheelchair.A dad from the US state of Ohio decided to build an igloo out of snow for his disabled daughter. With a wider and taller front porch than most home-built igloos would generally have, Gregg Eichhorn's daughter Zahara was able to access it in her wheelchair.

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    (Picture: Ben & Jerry’s)

    Ice cream is a major staple on Valentine’s Day; whether you’re cosying up with bae for a Netflix and chill sesh or just enjoying the stuff by yourself.

    And everyone’s fave ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s is launching a brand new flavour inspired by the annual day of love.

    Called Topped Love Is, it comes with buttery brown sugar ice cream, laced with a cookie swirl, with pink salted caramel cups, and topped off with a layer of pink chocolate hearts.

    And the creamy goodness comes with a heartfelt message as the brand is donating its proceeds to charity Refugee Action to help those seeking asylum in the UK.

    (Picture: Ben & Jerry’s)

    The new flavour, out in stores in February, is also a bit pricier than its usual tub (normally retailing at £4.50) but some of the proceeds from the £5.49 price tag for a 500ml tub will go to a good cause, don’t forget.

    Ben & Jerry’s told Metro.co.uk it can’t divulge exactly what percentage will go to the charity but it will be a ‘considerable amount’ and hopes everyone will buy a tub to spread the love.

    ‘At Ben & Jerry’s we’re all about sharing the love, whether that’s the love of ice cream or the love of one person for another,’ said the brand’s Mission Manager Rebecca Baron.

    ‘So we’ve unapologetically dreamed up a flavour straight from the heart to share a little love with our friends at Refugee Action for those who need it most.’

    It might just be the sweet and salty dessert you crave but health-conscious folks might want to remember that it comes with 273 calories per 100ml portion or 1,365 calories for the whole tub (not that you were planning on eating the whole thing in one go anyway, right?).

    But you’re allowed to treat yo’ self every once in a while, so go forth and enjoy.

    And whether you’ll be heading to the frozen aisles when the new flavour hits or not, you can still support Refugee Action here.

    MORE: A daily dose of chocolate could lower your blood pressure, study says

    MORE: Veganuary folks, Ben & Jerry’s has a new ice cream flavour for you to try

    MORE: Over in Tokyo the next big food trend is poo ice cream


    024_li_4495x3000__1-1_launch_-51ca024_li_4495x3000__1-1_launch_-51cafaimabakar1024_li_4495x3000__1-1_launch_-51ca024_li_4495x3000__1-1_launch_-51cafaimabakar1

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    (Picture: Tyrrells)

    There’s a lot to love about crisps – but they don’t usually scream ‘sexy’.

    These new aphrodisiac crisps from Tyrrells though, claim they will ‘get pulses racing’.

    They’ve released the limited edition honey and chilli flavour for Valentine’s Day.

    Apparently honey with the spice of chilli will ‘heat up date night as both ingredients have provocative effects on the body by releasing endorphins and increasing your heart rate’.

    There have been some studies to show that honey can help to boost your libido by encouraging hormone production, while chilli makes your tongue tingle.

    What are the aphrodisiac crisps like?

    I’m absolutely not a crisp fan. In fact I have a whole box filled with leftover packets that people have brought to my parties that have just never been opened.

    But Tyrrells sweet chilli crisps are one of my favourite flavours when I do indulge.

    Adding honey seemed like a great idea to me – a bit of sweetness to cut through the spicy taste.

    And when I tried them, they were certainly delicious.

    The crisps are well, very crisp with just the right amount of chill and sweet honey.

    As for the effects, I can’t say they were much of an aphrodisiac at all but maybe sitting at my desk in work wasn’t the perfect environment.

    I’d buy them for the taste alone though. Whether you need something to get in the mood or just want some really nice crisps, the aphrodisiac crisps are pretty good.

    You can pick up bags in selected independent retailers from mid-January.

    Sarah Lawson, Tyrrells Marketing Manager, said: ‘At Tyrrells, we’re always looking for ways to introduce new and different additions that bring our unique and often quirk personality to life.

    ‘Our new Honey and Chilli variety has an extra special place in our hearts as it is the first crisp with aphrodisiac properties that’s ever been created.’

    MORE: I scissored my best friend and it ruined our relationship

    MORE: PETA really wants you to go vegan for penis-related reasons


    Aphrodisiac CrispsAphrodisiac Crispslauraabernethy6Aphrodisiac CrispsAphrodisiac Crispslauraabernethy6

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    What does the ideal healthy working day look like?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It’s January. It’s cold and dark. Everyone’s got the flu.

    You’re likely to be hating your job right now and plotting out all the places you’d rather be.

    Take a pause before you book a bunch of weekend breaks. There’s a way to make the most of your annual leave, and it requires some careful planning.

    Handily, GearHungry has worked out the formula for effectively doubling your holiday in 2019.

    The trick is to book in trips away so they work with bank holidays, allowing you to have a significant chunk of time off rather than a day here or there.

    Here’s how to do it.

    When to book holiday to make the most of your annual leave:

    April

    In April, book off the 15th to the 18th and the 23rd to the 26th.

    The Easter Bank Holiday hits on the 19th and 22nd, so you get a full two weeks off while only using up eight days of annual leave.

    May 

    For May, you’ll want to book off two holidays.

    The first is from the 7th to the 10th. There’s a bank holiday on the 6th so you get five days for four, plus the weekend before and after, meaning you get to spend nine days free from the office.

    The second one to book is from the 27th to the 31st. Again, there’s a bank holiday on the 26th followed by the weekend after the 31st, so you get seven days away but only have to book off four.

    August

    In August, book time off from the 27th to the 30th. The bank holiday hits on the 26th and you’ll have the weekend afterwards, too. Get some summer sun.

    December 

    To make the most of time off over Christmas, book of the 23rd and 24th, then the 27th to the 31st. You should have Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day off anyway, so you’ll have a nice uninterrupted festive stretch of ten days.

    Of course, another option is to book off whenever you like and enjoy the bank holidays as unexpected treats. But if you want to provoke envy and confusion in your colleagues, inspiring them to wonder where you’ve been for what feels like months, this is the way to go.

    Just make sure you book those days off first before anyone else on your desk gets in there.

    UK public holidays for 2019:

    • 19 April, Good Friday
    • 22 April, Easter Monday
    • 6 May, early May bank holiday
    • 27 May, spring bank holiday
    • 26 August, summer bank holiday
    • 25 December, Christmas
    • 26 December, Boxing Day

    MORE: What is a twitterbang?

    MORE: It’s time to Marie Kondo your online life


    What does the ideal healthy working day look like?What does the ideal healthy working day look like?ellencscottWhat does the ideal healthy working day look like?What does the ideal healthy working day look like?What does the ideal healthy working day look like?ellencscottWhat does the ideal healthy working day look like?

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    (Picture: Getty/Marjorie Zarbaugh)

    When you reach a certain age, you’re inevitably going to be asked by your parents when you’ll be giving them grandkids.

    Whether you’re single or in a solid relationship, your mum will probably bring it up at some point (sorry, mum, still not happening).

    Some are a bit more subtle than others though.

    One woman who really wanted a granddaughter just couldn’t resist buying a wee dress for her future grandchild. So she bought it, seven years before her granddaughter was even born, coincidentally on the exact date of her future birthday.

    METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Marjorie ZarbaughGrandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayCredit: Marjorie Zarbaugh
    (Picture: Marjorie Zarbaugh/Facebook)

    Expectant mum Marjorie Zarbaugh was delighted to receive the ‘First Impressions’ dress from her excited mum last year.

    Her mum had bought it from a Macy store in Winter Haven, Florida on September 9, 2011. When Marjorie got pregnant last year, her mother gave her the present at the gender reveal.

    A few months later, Marjorie gave birth to baby Madelynn. The baby was too small to fit into the cute little dress so her mum put it away.

    But in January 2019, Marjorie decided Madelynn was big enough for the dress and went to find it.

    When she went to remove the tag and receipt, she noticed that it had an almost eight-year-old date on it.

    ‘This is too good not to share! My mom gave me a gift at our gender reveal party,’ Marjorie wrote on Facebook.

    ‘She had bought this little dress, years before hoping she’d have a granddaughter one day. I thought it was cool so I kept the tags on.

    ‘Tonight I snapped this picture to remember it before cutting the tags off to wash the dress. When I sent the picture to my mum I noticed something, she bought this dress on Madelynn’s birthday seven years prior. How do you explain that! Tears, happy tears.’

    Anybody else secretly stocking things up for their future grandkids?

    MORE: 87-year-old grandma plays Animal Crossing for 3,500 hours – still hasn’t caught all the fish

    MORE: Meet Britain’s oldest ballerina as she celebrates her 81st birthday

    MORE: Woman records her grandad’s adorable reactions when she comes to the door


    Grandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayGrandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayfaimabakar1METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Marjorie ZarbaughGrandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayCredit: Marjorie ZarbaughGrandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayGrandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayfaimabakar1METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Marjorie ZarbaughGrandmother bought girl's dress seven years before her birthdayCredit: Marjorie Zarbaugh

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    (Picture: Kennedy News and Pictures)

    Aldi have launched a ‘flexitarian’ burger – made of a combination of meat and beans – and not everyone is happy about it.

    The new product is likely a response to the growing number of people choosing to consume less meat. But some people have already riled against it.

    One vegan accused the supermarket of pandering to meat-eaters who are just trying to make themselves ‘feel better’. She also claimed that being flexitarian ‘is not a thing’.

    Laura Jayne Paterson complained online after spotting the new burgers, calling the launch ‘wrong’ and a ‘poxy bit of advertising to flog products’.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE ALDI FLEXITARIAN BURGER THAT VEGAN LAURA JAYNE PATERSON WAS UNHAPPY WITH) A vegan blasted Aldi for 'trying to tap into a trend' by labelling a burger as FLEXITARIAN and claimed meat eaters were just trying to make themselves 'feel better'. Laura Jayne Paterson took umbrage when she spotted the retail giant had branded meat and bean patties as ???BBQ flexitarian burgers??? - slamming the decision as ???wrong??? and a ???poxy bit of advertising to flog products???. However Laura Jayne was branded a ???ranting hysterical bore??? when her complaint spiralled into an online spat as she brazenly informed anyone who called themselves ???flexitarian??? that they were just omnivores.
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Aldi aren’t the first brand to fall foul of a flexitarian misfire.

    Byron launched a flexitarian burger which was 70% meat and 30% mushrooms – and it left a lot of people feeling confused.

    But as Laura Jayne’s complaint gained attention online, people were quick to call her out.

    She was even branded a ‘ranting hysterical bore’ after saying that anyone who called themselves flexitarian are just omnivores.

    The 44-year-old then shared her vegan doctrine and told her critics that her veganism is a ‘way of life’ rather than just a trend.

    ‘Flexitarian is a term used for someone who eats plant-based but also has meat-based products when they want to. It’s a relatively new term, but if you’re eating meat, technically you’re an omnivore,’ said Laura Jayne.

    ‘Someone who wants to eat a meat burger buys a meat burger. Calling it a flexitarian or “flexi” burger is daft. It’s just trying to tap into a trend.’

    Her initial post on Aldi’s Facebook page posted earlier this week read, ‘Are you taking the mickey? Is this for real?

    ‘Flexitarian is not a thing. You either eat meat or you don’t. Don’t use Flexitarian as a poxy bit of advertising to flog your products. It’s a meat burger and that’s all there is to it. You’ve got this very wrong.’

    While Laura Jayne did concede that padding out a burger with beans may be a starting point for someone curious about veganism, she was firmly against calling any burger with meat in ‘flexitarian’.

    ‘Anything that helps someone become vegan is great, but calling burgers flexi is meaningless. By all means pad out the burger with veg or beans to bulk it up and use less meat, but it’s still using meat.

    ‘Veganuary is a great stepping stone for people and even if only a small percentage of people keep it up, then at least it’s a positive. The majority of vegans used to consume animal products – we’ve all been there.

    ‘But once you realise what it means for the animals and the environment, you know not using or consuming animal products is the right thing to do.’

    Self-proclaimed flexitarian, Marcus Riley, commented on the Aldi post to defend his dietary choice.

    ‘I’d say I’m a flexitarian. Just someone who reduces their intake of meat and has certain days I eat meat and other days I don’t,’ explained Marcus.

    ‘Obviously some people would do this coincidentally without thinking about it, but I purposely have days I don’t eat meat.’

    But, always sharp on her semantics, Laura Jayne wasn’t having any of it.

    ‘Marcus Riley you’re an omnivore and just cutting down your meat intake. That’s all there is to it,’ she quipped back.

    Laura says that as a vegan she faces a huge amount of backlash and criticism – but thankfully they’re mostly confined to internet debates.

    ‘Those kinds of comments are mainly online. Face to face you can have good interactions with people and good discussions about things without it ending in trading insults,’ says Laura.

    ‘If someone is considering going vegan I would recommend joining some local online vegan groups and see what support is available. I’d also recommend looking at vegan food groups and see that vegans don’t just eat grass.

    ‘There are lots of small independent vegan shops out there and despite not agreeing with Aldi over the marketing of this product, the supermarkets are doing really well and making things easier than they have ever been.’

    Aldi have been contacted for comment about the marketing of their burgers.

    But, flexitarian or not, the burgers contain less meat than standard supermarket versions, so they’re unarguably a good first step for cutting down on your meat – particularly if you’re not ready to cut it out completely.

    MORE: Cutting back on red meat ‘will save the planet’

    MORE: Couple save £160 a month to travel by eating food from bins

    MORE: Vegan fried egg, anyone? This Australian blogger teaches how to make it completely plant-based


    Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Medianataliemorris88PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE ALDI FLEXITARIAN BURGER THAT VEGAN LAURA JAYNE PATERSON WAS UNHAPPY WITH) A vegan blasted Aldi for 'trying to tap into a trend' by labelling a burger as FLEXITARIAN and claimed meat eaters were just trying to make themselves 'feel better'. Laura Jayne Paterson took umbrage when she spotted the retail giant had branded meat and bean patties as ???BBQ flexitarian burgers??? - slamming the decision as ???wrong??? and a ???poxy bit of advertising to flog products???. However Laura Jayne was branded a ???ranting hysterical bore??? when her complaint spiralled into an online spat as she brazenly informed anyone who called themselves ???flexitarian??? that they were just omnivores.Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Medianataliemorris88PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE ALDI FLEXITARIAN BURGER THAT VEGAN LAURA JAYNE PATERSON WAS UNHAPPY WITH) A vegan blasted Aldi for 'trying to tap into a trend' by labelling a burger as FLEXITARIAN and claimed meat eaters were just trying to make themselves 'feel better'. Laura Jayne Paterson took umbrage when she spotted the retail giant had branded meat and bean patties as ???BBQ flexitarian burgers??? - slamming the decision as ???wrong??? and a ???poxy bit of advertising to flog products???. However Laura Jayne was branded a ???ranting hysterical bore??? when her complaint spiralled into an online spat as she brazenly informed anyone who called themselves ???flexitarian??? that they were just omnivores.

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    (Picture: Getty)

    What would you do if you were accidentally sent an invitation to a party on the other side of the country?

    Immediately delete? Quickly decide it was too far away?

    That’s not what Will Novak did.

    After receiving the invite, intended for another Will Novak who lives in New York, Arizona-based Novak responded saying he wanted to attend.

    The trip in question was a ski weekend in Vermont, which is a five-hour flight away from Arizona, and would cost in total around $750.

    But Novak was determined to attended and show his support for bachelor Angelo.

    The initial email was intended for a different Will Novak (Picture: Getty)

    After responding to the email, Novak received a reply from the other party-goers, who were quick to reiterate their enthusiasm for his attendance.

    They said, ‘we don’t know if you’re serious, but we’re serious. You better show up.’

    Novak is so serious, he’s even set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of his spontaneous trip.

    According to the page, the party organisers told Novak they would collect him from the airport, give him clothes and pool their money to help cover the costs.

    They added, ‘We look forward to meeting you and helping us send Angelo off. If you think we are kidding we are not. You better be coming, as we all are all dying to meet you.’

    And it looks like the fateful meeting will go ahead, as he has now raised almost $3,500 – more than four times the figure Novak initially asked for.

    Novak has promised that any additional money raised will go to a fund towards Angelo’s new baby, as his wife-to-be is apparently pregnant.

    The trip will be taking place on 18-20 January, and Novak plans to document the entire trip so he can give everyone who donated regular updates on just how hard they partied.

    MORE: Aldi gets slammed by vegan for launching ‘flexitarian’ burgers

    MORE: Woman orders coat online, gets one a little more ‘oversized’ than she expected

    MORE: The world’s most Insta-worthy road trip has been revealed


    Low Angle View Of Airplane Flying Against SkyLow Angle View Of Airplane Flying Against Skynataliemorris88Low Angle View Of Airplane Flying Against SkyLow Angle View Of Airplane Flying Against Skynataliemorris88

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    TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO
    (Picture: Denise Crew/Netflix)

    In case you missed it, Marie Kondo is the tidying professional who’s going to transform your life.

    The world has been marveling at her hacks which include asking whether items spark joy before deciding which to keep and which to throw away.

    But how many of us are actually bothered to get up and Marie Kondo our homes?

    For those with more money than sense, you can now pay someone else to do it all for you.

    After all, watching someone else tidy up for you is sure to spark joy.

    Looks like someone could do with a KonMari Master (Picture: Getty)

    Online services marketplace Bark.com has launched what they’re calling the UK’s first national KonMari service to help people organise and declutter their homes in 2019.

    KonMari Masters will come into your homes, inspect your set-up, and teach you all about optimal spacing.

    But don’t worry, you won’t be expected to just allow strangers into your home. Bark.com will put you in touch with a tidying expert who you can chat to about a bespoke plan to declutter your house.

    If you’re particularly sentimental about things (looking at you, hoarders) then fret not, the KonMari Master will consult with you over which items to keep.

    The handy service doesn’t come cheap though; initial phone consultations and take home plans will cost £75, and then home visits start at £90 an hour.

    But still, requests have already begun rolling in, say Bark.com, as many are looking for more space as spring approaches.

    ‘There are massive benefits to living and working within tidy spaces – it reduces stress, helps us sleep better and there is even research that shows that those who have tidy spaces are more likely to exercise regularly,’ explained Kai Feller, Bark.com co-founder.

    ‘Demand for our service has already surpassed our expectations and the TV show’s popularity is proof that people want to declutter their homes, which our KonMari experts are more than happy to help with. After all, a “tidy space is a tidy mind!”‘

    If all that sounds like it’s up your street, you can book a KonMari master here.

    MORE: How to effectively double your annual leave in 2019

    MORE: 20 makeup organisers and skincare storage ideas

    MORE: It’s time to Marie Kondo your online life


    11faimabakar1TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO11faimabakar1TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO

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    Urinal etiquette
    Breaking the leave a gap and no talking rules (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Urinal etiquette, it turns out, is a bit of a minefield.

    A recent conversation with friends revealed that there’s a whole lot of rules – and men just instinctively know to follow them.

    As a woman, I’m more used to the female experience of going with a friend, even when I don’t really need to, and deep conversations through cubicle walls.

    Men pee in silence, even if they happen to run into their closest friends.

    So for those not so accustomed with this unspoken code, we asked some men to explain.

    Ben

    Rule number one when using the urinals: you do NOT talk when using the urinals – no matter the location. This includes the busiest clubs: while the girls’ toilets may be full of gossiping and giggles, men step off the dancefloor into a soulless and silent den, a quiet only occasionally broken by the sound of the hand dryer.

    This rule even applies if you step into the toilets with somebody you know. You could be talking to a close friend for an hour straight beforehand, but the conversation MUST halt if you’re both in the bogs.

    And by no means should you start a conversation if you see somebody you know in there, either. Urinal etiquette dictates that if you cross paths even with a long lost relative you can only acknowledge each other with an eyebrow raise and upward nod until outside the facilities.

    Also: given the option is available, never choose to pee in the urinal right next to another person. At best, you’ll give them the signal you’re a weirdo with no personal boundaries. At worst, a serial killer.

    Things can get really tricky if you walk into a busy loo and are forced to pee next to somebody else.

    Sometimes I just can’t go if two men are either side of me. And sometimes they can’t go either. On several occasions I’ve been in the situation where myself and whoever is using the urinal next to me have both pretended to pee – both knowing the other is pretending.

    We stand for up to 20 seconds silently, internally screaming for something to come out, giving up, shaking it to keep up the pretense and finally packing our tools away and retreating to the sinks. Our secret kept. Our bladders still set to burst.

    Peter

    Leave a gap if possible, prefer a cubicle to filling in a gap, if it’s empty then don’t go right for the middle because that’s weird.

    Obviously don’t go and stand right next to someone if you’re the only two people in there and there’s lots of space.

    Personally I think it’s icky that people stand and use their phones with one hand but a lot of people do that.

    Some people will bring their pints in, if it’s in the pub, but in that case you must be careful where you put them. A windowsill or ledge above the urinals is ideal

    You generally don’t speak, even if you’re with someone you know. If you enter while speaking to someone you will often stop speaking and then resume once you leave.

    If you’re with someone it’s also weird to wait for them inside the toilets – generally I would go wait in the corridor outside.

    There is probably some etiquette around cubicles if you’re standing. You sort of want to leave the door ajar so that it’s obvious it’s occupied, otherwise people will try to open the door into your back.

    Row of five urinals with infrared sensor, on marble wall, in men's public toilet
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/beer5020)

    Stephen

    Generally I’ll always use a stall if one is free as I don’t really like using urinals, being the awkward anxious person I am.

    If I do, it’s just eyes front, never make eye contact and never look at another guys business.

    Shake three times and be as clumsy and awkward as possible.

    Sam

    If it’s a big long trough, then go to the furthest corner, face the corner, focus intently on the corner and pretend not to notice anyone who comes along.

    Micheal

    Never use a cubicle adjacent to someone if there is another cubicle free – it’s never nice to see someone’s feet nextdoor.

    Flush the toilet upon entering to give others a chance to go about their business without silence making anyone feel uncomfortable.

    Always blame the person before you if there is something wrong with your toilet after your visit.

    Always turn on hand dryers after washing hands to avoid that awkward toilet noise which heightens ‘other’ noises in the toilet.

    If working in a building with several floors, never go to the toilet on your own floor, nothing worse than running into casual co-workers in the toilet and the awkward silence that ensues.

    Never get caught coming out of the ladies toilets which are much cleaner and better kept than the gents.

    Darren

    If there are three urinals and the ones on either end are occupied, never use the one in the middle, head for a stall.

    Simon

    Always respect the splash zone. It is acceptable to make the standard joke on arrival “So this is where you all hang out?”

    Joel

    Leave a gap – never take a central position in a vacant trough – edges first.

    Never speak, never make eye contact, never hum.

    Do your business and wash your hands.

    Names have been changed and contributions have been edited for clarity.

    MORE: Aldi gets slammed by vegan for launching ‘flexitarian’ burgers

    MORE: How to effectively double your annual leave in 2019

    MORE: Tyrrells launches aphrodisiac crisps to get you in the mood this Valentine’s


    Urinal etiquetteUrinal etiquettelauraabernethy6Urinal etiquetteRow of five urinals with infrared sensor, on marble wall, in men's public toiletUrinal etiquetteUrinal etiquettelauraabernethy6Urinal etiquetteRow of five urinals with infrared sensor, on marble wall, in men's public toilet

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    In the US, finding a surrogate to host a baby costs somewhrre between $90,000 (£69,700) to $130,000 (£100,700).

    An American gay couple who wanted to expand their family didn’t have the money to pay such high agency fees.

    So, Michael and David Johnson-Zaragoza, from Long Beach, California, decided to go on social media to see what options were available.

    Luckily for them, a woman named Gennifer Christianson, from North Dakota, reached out to them and agreed to be their surrogate. Now, she has just given birth to twins, a boy and a girl, making Michael and David parents for the second time.

    Michael,42, and David Johnson-Zaragoza,54, with adopted son Chance,3, and twins Braden Parker and Elizabeth Quinn .See SWNS story SWNYtwins; A gay couple became the proud parents of twins after finding a surrogate on Facebook. Michael and David Johnson-Zaragoza avoided surrogacy agencies??? high fees by finding Gennifer Christianson on the social network. The married couple, of Long Beach, California, USA, was overjoyed when Gennifer gave birth to their son Braden Parker and daughter Elizabeth Quinn, now five-months-old, in September 2018. Michael, 42, and David, 54, covered the bar manager???s medical costs and gave her $30,000 compensation for carrying their babies. Including medical bills and legal fees, the surrogacy cost the couple around $100,000. Gennifer, 31, a mom-of-one from Fargo, North Dakota, was inspired to become a surrogate when she became broody but didn???t want to raise another child. She even began rescuing and rehoming animals as a way to fulfill her maternal urges. Michael, a navy ER nurse, and David, a pharmaceutical sales account manager, now consider the surrogate a part of their family. Michael said: ???We send her pictures all the time, we do Facetime, we do random phone calls. ???We see her as more of an aunt. ???As the kids grow up, they???ll know her as the woman who helped us bring them into the world. Gennifer added: ???I began adopting all these animals because I felt broody. ???But being a surrogate and making that dream come true for another couple made me feel like I had served a purpose.??? Michael and David, who have an adopted son Chance, three, tied the knot in June 2017 after meeting on dating site OKCupid a year earlier. They wed in a romantic ceremony at Santa Monica Airport with the venue inspired by Michael???s love of flying. The couple was already searching for a surrogate on Facebook. Michael said: ???I had always wanted to be a father and we agreed that surrogacy would be the right fit for us.
    Michael (left) and David with their newborn twins as well as adoted son Chance (Picture: AJ Photography / SWNS)

    The married couple were overjoyed when Gennifer, a bar manager, gave birth to their son Braden Parker and daughter Elizabeth Quinn last year.

    Michael, 42, and David, 54, wanted to more children after they adopted their son Chance.

    Since Gennifer gave birth, the couple have kept in touch with her and continue to update her on how Braden and Elizabeth are doing.

    ‘We send her pictures all the time, we do Facetime, we do random phone calls. We see her as more of an aunt,’ said Michael, an ER nurse.

    ‘As the kids grow up, they’ll know her as the woman who helped us bring them into the world.

    Collect of Michael Johnson- Zaragoza,42, with Gennifer Christianson,31, and her partner Mitch,31, at the birth.See SWNS story SWNYtwins; A gay couple became the proud parents of twins after finding a surrogate on Facebook. Michael and David Johnson-Zaragoza avoided surrogacy agencies? high fees by finding Gennifer Christianson on the social network. The married couple, of Long Beach, California, USA, was overjoyed when Gennifer gave birth to their son Braden Parker and daughter Elizabeth Quinn, now five-months-old, in September 2018. Michael, 42, and David, 54, covered the bar manager?s medical costs and gave her $30,000 compensation for carrying their babies. Including medical bills and legal fees, the surrogacy cost the couple around $100,000. Gennifer, 31, a mom-of-one from Fargo, North Dakota, was inspired to become a surrogate when she became broody but didn?t want to raise another child. She even began rescuing and rehoming animals as a way to fulfill her maternal urges. Michael, a navy ER nurse, and David, a pharmaceutical sales account manager, now consider the surrogate a part of their family. Michael said: ?We send her pictures all the time, we do Facetime, we do random phone calls. ?We see her as more of an aunt. ?As the kids grow up, they?ll know her as the woman who helped us bring them into the world. Gennifer added: ?I began adopting all these animals because I felt broody. ?But being a surrogate and making that dream come true for another couple made me feel like I had served a purpose.? Michael and David, who have an adopted son Chance, three, tied the knot in June 2017 after meeting on dating site OKCupid a year earlier. They wed in a romantic ceremony at Santa Monica Airport with the venue inspired by Michael?s love of flying. The couple was already searching for a surrogate on Facebook. Michael said: ?I had always wanted to be a father and we agreed that surrogacy would be the right fit for us.
    Surrogate Gennifer Christianson said she felt broody but didn’t want to take care of a newborn (Picture: Michael Johnson-Zaragoza / SWNS)

    ‘I had always wanted to be a father and we agreed that surrogacy would be the right fit for us,’ added David.

    ‘Friends who had done it referred us to a couple of Facebook surrogacy groups and we went through five surrogate options before we ended up with Gennifer.

    ‘We’d find one but then a medical issue would come up or a family issue or they would change their minds.

    ‘It was a very emotional time.’

    Michael,42, and David Johnson-Zaragoza,54, with adopted son Chance,3, and twins Braden Parker and Elizabeth Quinn .See SWNS story SWNYtwins; A gay couple became the proud parents of twins after finding a surrogate on Facebook. Michael and David Johnson-Zaragoza avoided surrogacy agencies? high fees by finding Gennifer Christianson on the social network. The married couple, of Long Beach, California, USA, was overjoyed when Gennifer gave birth to their son Braden Parker and daughter Elizabeth Quinn, now five-months-old, in September 2018. Michael, 42, and David, 54, covered the bar manager?s medical costs and gave her $30,000 compensation for carrying their babies. Including medical bills and legal fees, the surrogacy cost the couple around $100,000. Gennifer, 31, a mom-of-one from Fargo, North Dakota, was inspired to become a surrogate when she became broody but didn?t want to raise another child. She even began rescuing and rehoming animals as a way to fulfill her maternal urges. Michael, a navy ER nurse, and David, a pharmaceutical sales account manager, now consider the surrogate a part of their family. Michael said: ?We send her pictures all the time, we do Facetime, we do random phone calls. ?We see her as more of an aunt. ?As the kids grow up, they?ll know her as the woman who helped us bring them into the world. Gennifer added: ?I began adopting all these animals because I felt broody. ?But being a surrogate and making that dream come true for another couple made me feel like I had served a purpose.? Michael and David, who have an adopted son Chance, three, tied the knot in June 2017 after meeting on dating site OKCupid a year earlier. They wed in a romantic ceremony at Santa Monica Airport with the venue inspired by Michael?s love of flying. The couple was already searching for a surrogate on Facebook. Michael said: ?I had always wanted to be a father and we agreed that surrogacy would be the right fit for us.
    Twins Braden and Elizabeth are now five months old (Picture: Michael Johnson-Zaragoza / SWNS)

    After writing a Facebook post, David and Michael had 60 interested people and whittled it down to 20 after video calling them.

    The couple finally drew up a shortlist of six potential surrogates, including Gennifer, and submitted their records to a fertility clinic which would decide the best match.

    When they were matched with Gennifer, they immediately got on, agreeing to cover her medical costs and give her $30,000 (£26,431.95) compensation for carrying their babies.

    The rules in the UK are different, with the law preventing parents from paying surrogates anything other than to cover expenses.

    Gennifer, mum to eight-year-old Violet, said she become interested in surrogacy after she suddenly became broody.

    ‘I realised I wanted to take care of these animals because I was broody. I wanted to have a baby but I didn’t feel the desire to take care of a newborn.

    ‘David and Michael seemed like fantastic people on Facebook.

    ‘They had a huge understanding of how serious it was. They were competent, kind and I saw what great dads they were to Chance.’

    After chatting to them Gennifer came to California for the embryo transfer where she donated 17 eggs which were mixed with sperm from Michael and David.

    A few weeks later, Gennifer gave birth which sadly David and Michael missed as her water broke earlier than expected.

    But pretty soon the family were united.

    David said: ‘It was just an overwhelming, joyous occasion.’

    MORE: Couple set up Instagram to share life with their 30 plastic children

    MORE: Dad who adopted two disabled kids creates accessible igloos so they can enjoy snow

    MORE: Grandmother bought dress for granddaughter seven years before she was born


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    (Picture: VaevTissue)

    Vaeve Tissue, a company based in Los Angeles, U.S sells, what their name suggests – tissues.

    But unlike the standard two-ply lavender-smelling roll you might be used to, their product has one fatal flaw: they’re all used.

    There’s method in the madness. Apparently using the old tissues can protect against colds and flu, though they have yet to get a doctor’s approval on the product.

    What’s more, their tissues, which ‘carry a human sneeze’, will set you back a whopping $79.99 (£62.10).

    Even more bizarre than that, the item has actually sold out on its website.

    Stay away from her (Picture: Getty)

    Before the paper is packaged, the American company asks people to sneeze on it so it can carry the germs needed to infect you, giving you the flu on your own terms.

    The idea is the more germs you encounter, the stronger your immune system becomes.

    ‘The product is a generic tissue that you might find at a store. The tissue is then treated with our hydrolayer, which is a human sneeze,’ said founder Oliver Neissen to The Sun. 

    ‘This sneeze is from a person who is sick and comes to our lab to sneeze on a batch of tissues which are then packaged and sold.

    ‘We have a rotation of people who get sick for the production of this product. The rotation guarantees that we always have at least one person sick/available to help make more. That is how the process works.

    ‘It’s natural, and we’re not burdened by any murky science.

    ‘Our customers respond very positively to how simple the product is, we just don’t write it as plainly in our marketing materials.

    ‘We just believe there should be a way to hand pick when you interact with germs or a cold.’

    He also added that their work is not backed by doctors nor does it claim to be a medical company, but more of a wellness brand.

    Though that might sound like the last thing you’d spend your money on, the tissues have been sold out for weeks.

    Oliver added that the tissues have been engineered to contain colloid buildup, salts, antiseptic enzymes, immunoglobulins and glycoproteins such as lactoferrin and mucins, produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes and submucosal glands. All the good stuff basically. And it’s apparently better than the flu job, he added.

    However, we would strongly advise looking into the difference between a flu jab and someone’s used tissues.

    What's in a flu jab?

    Unlike Vaeve’s tissues, the flu jab does not contain a live virus.

    The live strain from a tissue someone has sneezed into will most likely make you sick whereas there’s no active virus in a flu jab to make you sick.

    Contrary to some beliefs, the vaccine does not give you the flu – some people who get the shot already had a cold brewing which may manifest after the vaccination.

    The flu vaccine stimulates your body’s immune system to make antibodies to attack the flu virus.

    Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs, such as viruses, that have invaded your blood.

    MORE: Men reveal the unspoken rules of using a public urinal

    MORE: People share their stories of the first time they had sex

    MORE: How to effectively double your annual leave in 2019


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