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- 01/31/19--06:13: _Shisha lounges are ...
- 01/31/19--06:24: _Covering your dog’s...
- 01/31/19--06:56: _7 best sex toys for...
- 01/31/19--07:02: _15 men share their ...
- 01/31/19--07:27: _A cashmere jumper i...
- 01/31/19--07:49: _Mum throws a party ...
- 01/31/19--22:17: _Marks & Spencer rel...
- 01/31/19--22:19: _You can now buy you...
- 01/31/19--22:37: _Photos show mum wit...
- 01/31/19--23:50: _Chunky pug who weig...
- 02/01/19--00:48: _Grandma, 45, says s...
- 02/01/19--01:00: _Trans people are be...
- 02/01/19--01:29: _How to keep your ca...
- 02/01/19--02:04: _Five people open up...
- 02/01/19--02:05: _This is what it rea...
- 02/01/19--02:37: _Man who lost part o...
- 02/01/19--03:05: _Good dog Kevin has ...
- 02/01/19--03:36: _How to keep your do...
- 02/01/19--03:48: _Your next girl’s tr...
- 02/01/19--05:11: _Follow our new Inst...
- 01/31/19--06:56: 7 best sex toys for couples
- 01/31/19--07:02: 15 men share their wildest sex stories
- 01/31/19--22:17: Marks & Spencer releases its own pretty pink Valentine’s cocktail
- 01/31/19--23:50: Chunky pug who weighs the same as a toddler is going on a diet
- 02/01/19--00:48: Grandma, 45, says she’s always mistaken for her daughter’s sister
- 02/01/19--01:29: How to keep your cat safe in the snow and cold weather
- Provide outdoor shelter
- Regularly check your cat flap to make sure it hasn’t frozen
- Check under the bonnet of your car before starting your engine, as cats may hide underneath cars for warmth
- When your cat comes in from the snow, wipe off any grit
- Check your cat for signs of frostbite
- 02/01/19--02:04: Five people open up about what it’s like to experience PTSD
- 02/01/19--02:05: This is what it really takes to be an NFL cheerleader
- A growth or ulcer on the penis, especially on the glans or foreskin.
- Changes in the colour of the penis.
- Skin thickening on the penis.
- Persistent discharge with foul odour beneath the foreskin.
- Blood coming from the tip of the penis or under the foreskin.
- Unexplained pain in the shaft or tip of the penis.
- Irregular or growing bluish-brown flat lesions or marks beneath the foreskin or on the body of the penis.
- Reddish, velvety rash beneath the foreskin.
- Small, crusty bumps beneath the foreskin.
- Irregular swelling at the end of the penis.
- 02/01/19--03:05: Good dog Kevin has been trained to do laundry to help out his owner
- 02/01/19--03:36: How to keep your dog safe in the snow
- 02/01/19--03:48: Your next girl’s trip should really be a sports tour
- Like-minded people. Everyone is there to have fun, make friends, watch some great sport and celebrate together.
- It’s cheaper than an 18-30 holiday. Sports tours are paid in advance, much cheaper than standard festivals or holidays abroad. All you need is money for alcohol and some food, and you’re all set.
- Best for bonding. Sports tours help bring women of different ages and abilities together, making friendship bonds even stronger.
- You won’t get bored. At Bournemouth 7s there are bars, dance tents,challenges, food stalls and beer pong tables – and that’s all extra do the daily sports tournaments.
- Endorphines. Being active makes you happy – it’s a scientific fact. The combination of endorphines from playing sport, hanging out with your friends and dancing, is a fantastic boost for your mood.
‘Salaams bro, can I get my usual mix, please?’ asks a man with a shaped-up beard, clean kicks, and puffer jacket as he joins his friends in a booth.
He, like many other young Muslim men and women, has found his regular shisha spot; a lounge with mismatched sofas and chairs, menus trapped between the surface of the glass tables and heaters above every seating area.
The majority of users would argue that addiction to flavoured tobacco itself is not the main cause of their return – so what is it that makes shisha lounges so enticing?
What is shisha and where did it come from?
Shisha, sometimes known as hookah, is a contraption for vaporising and smoking flavoured tobacco. The vapour or smoke is passed through a water pipe before you can inhale it.
You can get it in many different flavours such as bubblegum, grape, mint, vanilla, apple, and shisha connoisseurs are always experimenting with new tastes, such as paan (a type of beetle nut popular in Asia), as well as more obscure favourites like Code 69.
It is especially popular in Muslim countries, particularly the Middle East, Turkey, and parts of Asia and Africa, and is thought to have originated in India in the 15th century.
Shisha ranges from affordable to seriously high end, available at luxury venues such as London’s Syon Lounge; a stylish rooftop garden offering hookah for upwards of £30, the most expensive option being £130.
Shisha culture means catching up with friends, meeting new people, going on dates, dancing, – all the things pubs were used for before they went into decline.
Live DJs, belly dancers, networking, spoken word events and more are now all part of the culture. Film festivals have even been held in shisha bars allowing customers to smoke and enjoy cinema. All of these make lounges popular on any given night, but particularly on weekends.
Some young people go to shisha every week. Some have a supply set up at home. Ilyas, a 24-year-old teacher, smokes shisha once or twice a week, whether at home or away. He tells Metro.co.uk that it’s a form of stress relief.
‘Shisha places are good spots for Muslims to socialise – I would equate it to non-Muslims going to the pub,’ he says. ‘You do it to socialise with your mates after a long day or week at work and it’s a stress relief.’
Ilyas explains that shisha places are unique in allowing large groups to lounge for long periods of time without judgement, a luxury not always afforded in majority white spaces.
‘Sometimes we go in big groups and it’s a good place to meet new people as well, to network or talk about jobs, careers and we offer each other advice on our lives.
‘One time we helped a friend who was struggling at the time to apply for a certain job and it worked out for them, so that was a positive.’
Many Muslims don’t drink, so going to the bar or a pub doesn’t feel like an option. Most shisha places don’t offer alcohol as they know their demographic isn’t made up of drinkers.
‘I feel like it’s a safe space for minorities as most socialising in non-Muslim cultures is around alcohol,’ added Ilyas. ‘Going to shisha isn’t as formal as going to a meal and sometimes we feel like that’s our only other accessible option to socialise.’
Though originally they were male-dominated spaces, now shisha lounges are bubbling with female groups.
Secondary school teacher Bushra, 25, tells us: ‘For me, it’s affordable chilling. With nice music, chai, and chat with your friends.
‘They’re so popular because they highlight a lack of spaces for young Muslims and the like. The alternative is eating out which is too expensive.’
That’s certainly true, you can chill for up to three hours if you’re in a group of four with two shisha pipes, costing you each about £10 for the evening.
Her thoughts are shared by Yasmin, 29, who says lounges have upped their game in terms of decor, flavours, food, and amenities.
‘I’ve had amazing dates there,’ Yasmin tells us. ‘Shisha lounges are perfect to keep the night going. Me and the girls go every week for our life update session.
‘They’re safe spaces for women too. They’re better in terms of ambience and not as dodgy as they were a few years ago when there would be raids and fights every day.
‘They now have a chilled, grown-up vibe and usually the people are so nice.’
For some people, shisha lounges have meant accessible means of employment. Nahid, 19, reveals that his first job was at a popular lounge in East London which paid him above the living wage at the time.
‘I was 17 and they paid £6.20 an hour. They treated me well and the job was good but wasn’t always flexible, you’d have to come in on the days they needed you.
‘It helped me gain good customer service and cash handling skills which allowed me to move on to other employment.’
But there’s a dark side to the use of shisa lounges as go-to spaces for minority groups – shisha poses health risks. Many petitions have tried to limit the number of lounges, due to noise nuisance, or even antisocial behaviour.
How harmful is smoking shisha?
Shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.
According to the British Heart Foundation, it’s difficult to say exactly how much smoke or toxic substances you’re exposed to in a typical shisha session. People smoke shisha for much longer periods of time than they smoke a cigarette, and in one puff of shisha, you inhale the same amount of smoke as you’d get from a smoking a whole cigarette.
But the question remains, where else can these individuals go?
For some, long gone are the days you could spend hours chilling in the confines of a fried chicken shop. But as these youngsters grow up, there are fewer options for leisurely places.
As adults who need adult spaces, shisha lounges feel like the best option. As long as these lounges continue to foster community feeling, they’ll continue to be popular with adults who know the associated risks but still enjoy each visit.
Those who want to see fewer shisha lounges will need to provide different community spaces that will offer the same welcome.
Are shisha lounges the Muslim equivalent of a pub? an investigatAre shisha lounges the Muslim equivalent of a pub? an investigatfaimabakar1
But this trend of adding some sparkle to your dog’s testicles might be a step to far.
We’ve all heard of blue balls but this canine version takes the idea very literally.
The glitter is edible and attached with cornstarch so although it’s not harmful if dogs eat it, vets and animal welfare charities are warning that it’s probably not a good idea.
The trend was first spotted by a salon in High Point, North Carolina and they posted on Facebook to let their customers know they wouldn’t be taking part.
They said: ‘I just thought I would let everybody know the latest creative grooming trend is glitter balls!
‘Please know that I love doing creative but, I will NOT be doing this. Posting for your entertainment.’
Other pages though, showed off dogs with ‘the nicest set of testicles in the Grooming Industry.’
Most people were pretty taken aback by the idea though.
One poster said: ‘That has got to itch their skin or irritate it at least on the inside of their legs. I find this concerning, upsetting, and disturbing. Please don’t do this!!!!!’
‘Glitter is bad for the oceans, the environment, and for the dogs digestion when he licks this off! Omg! Animals, not even our pets, are purely for our selfish entertainment! What is wrong with people!?’ another added.
We spoke to Battersea Cats and Dogs home who said that any sort of dyeing or adorning should not be recommended.
A spokesperson said: ‘Dogs are sentient beings that deserve respect, not fashion accessories.
‘Owners have a duty of care to look after their pets responsibly in ways which don’t threaten their welfare.
‘Battersea would not encourage anyone to dye or adorn their dog in any way that threatens the animal’s health.’
In short, you probably wouldn’t like it if someone did this to you.
They added that neutering your dog (and therefore removing the testicles altogether, glittery or not) is the best thing to do for their health.
‘We also believe neutering your pet is something all responsible owners should do as a matter of course,’ they said.
‘Not only will it reduce the number of unwanted animals ending up in rescue centres, it also has health and behavioural benefits for dogs.’
Neutered male dogs are at a lower risk of testicular tumours and it prevents the onset of prostate conditions.
In terms of behaviour, unneutered male dogs may escape or run away on walks when trying to look for a mate.
Neutering male dogs can remove some of the undesirable behaviours such as scent-marking or humping.
To find out more about neutering your dog, speak to your vet.
sec_50019809-fce6sec_50019809-fce6lauraabernethy6Conkers could kill your dog
Sex toys are a sure way to enhance sexual pleasure during masturbation, foreplay and sex.
And they’ve come a long way since the days of ancient Greeks and Romans with products programmable via smart phones and vibrators that can sync with your music.
Although many sex toys are made with you in mind, they can be a great shared experience for you and your partner.
So if you’re looking to treat your partner (or yourself) in the bedroom this Valentine’s Day, we’ve selected a handful of products, gifts and games to consider trying from sleeves to anal beads .
It’s time to unleash your kinky side.
GLUVR Purple Rechargeable 6 Function Finger Vibrator
For electric fingertips opt for the GLUVR Purple Rechargeable 6 Function Finger Vibrator.
Designed to turn your index finger and thumb into two vibrators for dual stimulation, it instantly ups anyone’s masturbation game – solo and partner play.
And it offers seven stimulation patterns to get you seriously hot and bothered.
GLUVR Purple Rechargeable 6 Function Finger Vibrator, £39.99, lovehoney.co.uk
For anyone who’s been thinking about bondage and is feeling a little raunchy, this under mattress restraint is bound to please.
You’ll be able to transform your bedroom into a Christian Grey-approved den in seconds and totally immobilise your lover for light spanking, teasing or tickling.
Bondage Boutique Black Bound to Please Under Mattress Restraint, £17.50, lovehoney.co.uk
Enhance the sex you’re already having by slipping this vibrating love ring over your partner’s penis for amazing clit pleasure during penetration.
And it provides enough vibration and simulation for both partners – fun times all around.
Lovehoney Desire Rechargeable Vibrating Love Ring, £44.99, lovehoney.co.uk
How about a specially designed cherry massage candle?
The double-duty candle can be burned while you have sex, or drizzled onto your lover’s skin for a romantic and sensual massage.
Lovehoney OK! Cherry Lickable Massage Candle, £5.99, lovehoney.co.uk
If you and your partner are new to sex toy shopping and want to invest in a selection of the best, the Wild Weekend Mega Couple’s Sex Toy Kit includes everything you will need to set the night alight, from a g-spot vibrator to anal beads (a must-have for any couple interested in anal play).
Wild Weekend Mega Couple’s Sex Toy Kit , £55.99, lovehoney.co.uk
If you have a male partner who loves oral sex you can’t go wrong with a BlowYo Stroker.
This bestseller is designed to create an incredible sucking feeling and will spice up any kind of hand or mouth action.
You simply slip on and hold BlowYo between the two rings, and grip or twist more firmly whenever you want a tighter sensation.
BlowYo Sensation Swirl Textured Blowjob Stroker, £24.99, lovehoney.co.uk
Heighten the sexual atmosphere and take foreplay to the next level with Lovehoney’s Oh! Roll Play Foreplay Dice.
Just roll the action die with either the romantic or the naughty die to discover your instruction, and which body part you’ll be performing it on.
Lovehoney Oh! Roll Play Foreplay Dice (3 Pack), £5.99, lovehoney.co.uk
Lovely affectionate couple in the bedLovely affectionate couple in the bedemilyknott176 best sex toys for couples GLUVR Purple Rechargeable 6 Function Finger VibratorBondage Boutique Black Bound to Please Under Mattress RestraintLovehoney Desire Rechargeable Vibrating Love RingLovehoney OK! Cherry Lickable Massage CandleWild Weekend Mega Couple's Sex Toy Kit BlowYo Sensation Swirl Textured Blowjob StrokerLovehoney Oh! Roll Play Foreplay Dice (3 Pack)
Many of us have had some wild sexual experiences.
However it happened, having consensual sex – no matter how kinky – is nothing to be ashamed of.
We all like to try new things – some of us more than others – and often we’re left with memories we tend to keep to ourselves.
But 16 men decided it was time to share their stories with Metro.co.uk. They told us about the most out-there things they’ve ever done in the bedroom – and outside of it.
The one with their hairbrush…
‘I had my wife and friend buttf*** me with a hairbrush. And once inserted my wife’s big vibrator in me.’
The one with the gangbang…
‘Went to a Naturist Spa in Kentish Town and banged a 47 year old in a steam room. I’ve also been in a gangbang.’
The one who likes to share…
‘For most of my adult life I have found that when I am in a relationship for quite a while then I become fixated on the idea of sharing my partner with other men.
‘I’ve had partners just shut that down and say its not their thing (I’d never try to be pushy about this kind of thing) and others who’d be up for dabbling. With my wife, as we have been together for 10 years, it has been something that is “there” for ages.
‘She has always been keen on the idea but sensibly wary about damaging a relationship. In the beginning it was “this is just a fantasy, we shouldn’t risk it”.
‘Over the years that evolved towards dipping our toes in to the water, so to speak, and eventually to the point where she was as keen as me to try. We have done it with a handful of different people and she has also been with someone while I’m not present.’
The one who likes to take risks…
‘I had sex in the parking garage at my place of work. It was the risk of getting caught that made it amazing.’
The one who got high…
‘Most extreme thing I did was take GHB and let my ex and her mate strap-on me while we were all off our faces and drunk.’
The one with the older woman…
‘Weirdest sex I’ve had was with a woman who was 41 when I was 19 in a field. Did loads of oral and different positions. Didn’t plan it.’
The one with the surprise four-way…
‘My ex decided she wanted a four-way, promised me it was other women, and that all would be a surprise.
‘I had to turn up at her house, and go straight to the bedroom, where she came in and locked the door.
‘Tied me to the bed and blindfolded me. I had to remain blindfolded until they removed it.
‘I was completely at their disposal, was pegged and peed on, used in every way.
‘Took the blindfold off midway to see that the other two women were her cousin and her best friend. I was then untied and allowed to continue on into a dominant role.
‘Genuinely the strangest evening, night and morning I have ever had.’
The one who finished in pain…
‘Craziest thing ever was tearing my foreskin during sexual intercourse and not knowing which of us was bleeding after climax as the pleasure masked the pain for about 10 seconds.
‘Had to go to hospital for surgery. How embarrassing.’
The one who just couldn’t wait…
‘Well, I was at University in Leicester and was seeing a girl, who I’ll call Sally, who was, like me, studying Maths.
‘We had a shared sense of adventure and lived to live life on the edge. Having tried sex in (among other places) rooms in the Holiday Inn which we weren’t staying at, the library at the University and many more, we had spent the day in London.
‘Being poor students we had hitchhiked down there and back. On the way back, Sally started becoming, shall we say, amorous, in the back of the car that had kindly given us a lift.
‘The couple in the front were completely unaware of anything that we were doing in the back of their car and, when we approached Leicester, the guy driving just pulled over onto the hard shoulder instead of of leaving the motorway.
‘We jumped out and passion got the better of us so we had the most incredible sex right there on the grass bank next to the M1. It was early evening the sun was setting, but still light enough for a lot of cars to toot their horns to let us know they’d seen us!’
The one who got caught…
‘In a tent… my ex and I were wild camping and obviously decided to have some fun, I don’t know if it was the risk of being “outdoors” but we were definitely a bit louder and friskier.
‘We were interrupted by a torch shining on the tent. It turns out we woke a small village just outside the forest. The guy said he thought someone was being attacked.’
That one time, in a car…
‘Craziest sex ever was in the back seat of my car while on the train through the channel tunnel.
‘My wife and I had driven for about six hours before getting there and she’d been teasing me by saying things she knew would turn me on and by rubbing my penis.
‘By the time we got there I was ready to explode. We climbed into the back and I lasted less than a minute.’
That time in Iraq…
‘I’d been injured and was kept in the medical centre for observation for 48 hours. I connected with a nurse, who was a commissioned officer, Captain, and I was a JNCO, Corporal.
‘So any relationship was a military crime on two levels, she was an officer, I wasn’t. She was a nurse and I a patient.
‘We’d had some heavy petting my last night in the medical centre but it was too risky to go further as the Doc and the medics slept in there.
‘We made a plan to do it covertly elsewhere. We arranged to meet near the phones and then make our way to one of the Warrior armoured fighting vehicles.
‘It was January and got dark very early.
‘We snuck into my Warrior and disabled the power so the hydraulic door wouldn’t open. As we were having sex, which was amazing, the camp came under attack from both mortar and 107mm rockets.
‘The vehicles being a very safe place to be we kept going. With the sound of alarms and explosions we continued to go at it as though the world were about to end.
‘It’s a special memory.’
The one whose experience happened during a time of alcoholism…
‘All of my wild sex escapades were in the midst of my disease and not with my wife. For me, it all centred around being pursued and pursuing others, it was never about the sex itself.
‘I was with men, women, men and women at the same time, with cross-dressers, and have cross dressed myself.
‘I’m not proud of these experiences, some were good and fun, some I put myself into danger, and all in all I carry a lot of shame.
‘The worst of it all, through my actions, I put my wife’s health in jeopardy with my affairs.
‘To my knowledge, she is completely unaware. Today, I am living my amends to her by being faithful and placing my sex life on to a spiritual plane.
‘I know if I let myself succumb to my own desires, I get pulled into a spiralling circling of thoughts and actions that led me to make decisions that placed my wife’s health and my health in danger.
‘Thank goodness I was fortunate and never picked up an infection or was raped or murdered.’
The people watchers…
‘I hooked up with a guy and we went to the park after opening hours. I was f***ing him in the trees when we realised there were loads of men in the bushes watching us.’
And finally: The one who broke his penis…
‘When I first got with my partner we were at it all of the time, trying new moves and weren’t afraid of anything!
‘One day I decided to turn her around 180° while still on top of me, and we both just heard SNAP, she got off me straight away because we both knew something was definitely not right, and sitting at the end of my dick was blood coming out.
‘Luckily it stopped fairly quickly, but I still got a paramedic to take a look – which must’ve been the most embarrassing moment of my life.
‘For a few weeks afterwards my willy was clearly bent sideways from around the middle of it, but thankfully it went back to normal soon afterwards…’
Stories have been edited for length and clarity.
ella byworth car-sex-6ad3ella byworth car-sex-6ad3hattiegladwellmetroJust a list of all the weirdest injuries I?ve sustained during sex (Miranda Kane)The couple who share a sex dollpeople tell us the things people said during sex that instantly killed the moodILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Don’t do it! XX people share their horrifying and cautionary stories of sex with their ex (Bibi Lynch)'Self-driving cars will lead to more car sex' - what are the rules around having sex in your car?
When it comes to advertising, it seems anything goes.
Whether it makes sense or not, as long as it grabs your attention, that’s all that matters.
And one Ebay ad has certainly caught our attention – and the attention of others, with its bizarre selling technique.
An Ebay seller is selling a secondhand, luxury Scottish cashmere jumper, from the brand Brora.
It features a cowl neck and is apparently in ‘impeccable condition’.
While there are normal images of the jumper within the ad, there’s one that has stood out: a picture of the woman in the jumper tied up in rope.
And no, we don’t understand it either.
We’re not sure why the woman is tied up in rope – or what it has to do with a cashmere jumper – but people are laughing about it over on Mumsnet.
One woman said: ‘Well obviously you will need to purchase a boat to enable you to wear it properly… Or you won’t be able to organise your sails!’
Another wrote: ‘Is it one of those secret signal ebay ads, like ‘trashed slippers’? Is this secretly an ad for Japanese rope bondage services? Kinbaku I believe it’s called.’
Someone else said: ‘Wtf where they thinking grin ! The rest of the photos are normal pictures of the jumper, what possessed them to put that one on.’
The picture of the £12 jumper, which is ‘luxuriously warm and soft’ first appeared on the front cover of German magazine Psychologie Heute back in 2013, which is where the rope came from.
So, it’s not like it’s the seller covered in the rope – but we’ve got to question, what on earth was the need to place the photo within the ad?
Bizarre cashmere jumper advert with model wrapped up in rope confuses eBay shoppers ? with some joking it?s ?secretly an ad for bondage?Bizarre cashmere jumper advert with model wrapped up in rope confuses eBay shoppers ? with some joking it?s ?secretly an ad for bondage?hattiegladwellmetroThe BRORA cashmere jumper listing on Ebay (Picture: Ebay)The BRORA cashmere jumper listing on Ebay (Picture: Ebay)The image was actually taken from the cover of Psychologie Heute magazine (Picture: Psychologie Heute)
While you certainly don’t want your vagina bleeding to be the cause of a party, it kind of makes sense to celebrate your introduction to womanhood, right?
That’s the message one mother is sending out by throwing her daughter a period party to welcome the teen into the menses club. A menstruation celebration, if you will.
Mum Shelly Lee from Jacksonville, Florida, made a period pack for her 14-year-old daughter, Brooke, complete with tampons, pads, wipes and new underwear, and to top it all off, a sweet red velvet cake.
The 46-year-old has encouraged other families to do the same and make it a trend. She wants to take the taboo out of periods and advocates for better open conversation surrounding the time of the month.
The mum-of-two said: ‘It’s a big deal for young girls and I think it was an important message to let her know it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We all go through it.’
So who knows, we could be seeing it all over the UK soon, though not everyone thinks it’s a great idea.
The mum-of-two said: ‘My daughter had been excited to get her period.
‘I had already bought her a period pack and Brooke and her friends were all really excited for the time to come.
‘When it did come I thought it would be fun to have a small celebration. It really was just our family and just a fun thing to do at home.
‘I ordered the cake at a local store and when I asked them to write “congratulations on your period”, they laughed. They even suggested we do a red velvet cake.
‘I made her a little pack of everything she might need, tampons, pads, wipes and new underwear. I set it all up while she was in the shower.
‘It wasn’t an elaborate party at all, just a little bit of fun.
‘I am glad it’s becoming more popular, we got a lot of positive feedback when my niece shared the images on social media.
‘I think when my other daughter Brynne gets hers we will have to do another party.
‘Some people roll their eyes at the idea of a period party but I think it’s harmless and sends a good message to young girls.
‘My husband stayed out of it though, I think he was happy to watch football while it was all going on.’
Period parties are not a particularly new concept and families, as well as charities, have been throwing them for some time.
Last year British charities Bloody Good Period and The Cup Effect joined forces to orchestrate a huge period party.
The charities, which raise money to provide sanitary products for asylum-seekers and women in low-income countries, threw the event to educate young girls on all things period.
If that’s got you itching to organise your own period-themed party, then we have some suggestions for you.
Brooke Lee's 'period party' cake. See SWNS story SWBRperiod; A colourful new craze now sweeping the UK sees mums throwing parties for their daughters - when the youngsters start their first PERIOD. One of the first people to go public about celebrating the beginning of menstruation was Shelly Lee from Florida, USA who said: "At the time, my daughter had been excited to get her period. "I had already bought her a period pack and Brooke and her friends were all really excited for the time to come. "When it did come I thought it would be fun to have a small celebration. "It really was just our family and just a fun thing to do at home.Brooke Lee's 'period party' cake. See SWNS story SWBRperiod; A colourful new craze now sweeping the UK sees mums throwing parties for their daughters - when the youngsters start their first PERIOD. One of the first people to go public about celebrating the beginning of menstruation was Shelly Lee from Florida, USA who said: "At the time, my daughter had been excited to get her period. "I had already bought her a period pack and Brooke and her friends were all really excited for the time to come. "When it did come I thought it would be fun to have a small celebration. "It really was just our family and just a fun thing to do at home.faimabakar1Girl holds up sanitary products and smiles at her period partyBrooke Lee (second right) with her mum Shelly, dad Mike and sister Brynne. See SWNS story SWBRperiod; A colourful new craze now sweeping the UK sees mums throwing parties for their daughters - when the youngsters start their first PERIOD. One of the first people to go public about celebrating the beginning of menstruation was Shelly Lee from Florida, USA who said: "At the time, my daughter had been excited to get her period. "I had already bought her a period pack and Brooke and her friends were all really excited for the time to come. "When it did come I thought it would be fun to have a small celebration. "It really was just our family and just a fun thing to do at home.A red velvet cake that reads - congrats on your period.Brooke Lee at her 'period party'. See SWNS story SWBRperiod; A colourful new craze now sweeping the UK sees mums throwing parties for their daughters - when the youngsters start their first PERIOD. One of the first people to go public about celebrating the beginning of menstruation was Shelly Lee from Florida, USA who said: "At the time, my daughter had been excited to get her period. "I had already bought her a period pack and Brooke and her friends were all really excited for the time to come. "When it did come I thought it would be fun to have a small celebration. "It really was just our family and just a fun thing to do at home.
Yesterday, we told you that Asda has just released a new pink glittery gin just in time for Valentine’s Day.
And now, Marks & Spencer has followed in its footsteps – launching a new cocktail as part of its Valentine’s Day range.
The cocktail is rum-based, and pre-mixed with cranberry juice, lime and orange peel.
The Be My Valentini cocktail is red and comes in a red bottle – sticking to its Valentine’s colours – and is apparently best served over ice with a twist of orange peel.
And, just like Asda, the cocktail is pretty cheap, as it only costs £10 for a bottle. Not bad, right?
Jenny Rea, Marks & Spencer’s drink developer, said: ‘It’s all about staying in this Valentine’s day and we were determined to bring the romance of cocktails at the bar to the comfort of your own home.
‘It’s a zesty mix of orange, cranberry and lime perfectly matched to the smooth finish of rum – it’s the perfect cocktail to start the evening without the hassle.’
The cocktail is available in M&S food halls now – alongside the store’s £20 Valentine’s Day meal deals.
Night in for Valentine’s, anyone?
MS's Valentini Cocktail Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth This Valentine's DayMS's Valentini Cocktail Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth This Valentine's Dayhattiegladwellmetro
The worst thing about taking your pup for a walk in the winter is getting home and they’re all damp and covered in mud.
But one company has created a special dryer for your dog – and we can’t believe nobody thought of it before.
The Puff-N-Fluff is a huge coat that fastens with Velcro and features an attachment for your hair dryer. The warm air gets trapped within the coat, drying more than one area of your dog at a time.
It comes in four sizes: an extra small, which costs £26.62, a small, priced at £30.42, a medium for £34.23 and a large for £49.46.
According to the company, it’s more time effective than using a hair dryer alone.
The coat aims to relieve the anxiety associated with using hair dryers on animals – and apparently also reduces the ‘wet dog’ smell.
It features four elasticated holes for your dog’s legs, and the sides are fixed with Velcro to be fastened.
The company says ‘virtually any blow dryer’ can be attached, with the length of the drying process depending on the size of your dog and the thickness of its fur.
However, you do have to be careful with the coat – as your hair dryer needs to be on a low temperature. Never use it on a high heat, as the coat is constructed so that the air can flow out through the neck, tail and legs.
The description adds: ‘Please monitor your dog for any signs of overheating such as heavy panting or tongue hanging out of the mouth.
‘Remove the Puff-N-Fluff if you see any signs of overheating.’
So far, the coat has had amazing reviews – with one person calling it the ‘best invention ever’.
Someone else says their Yorkie absolutely loves it.
They said: ‘The first time we used it, he seemed unsure of it.
‘But on the second time, as soon as he saw it laid out on the floor, he jumped on it and sat there, waiting to be fluffed!
‘It takes less than 10 minutes to dry him, which is great because I never dried his hair in the past and it would take two towels to remove excess water from him, plus another hour for him to completely air dry.
‘On the most recent drying session, he even laid down, tucked in his legs into the bag, and almost fell asleep.
‘I put my hand inside the bag to kind of toss his hair around to make sure he gets dried evenly, and also so that I can monitor the heat.
‘If the bag gets a bit too hot, I just give him a blast of the cool air from the hair dryer. I’m a fan!’
You can now buy a ?30 dryer for your dog? and it?s perfect after a long, muddy walk picture: thedogdryer https://thedogdryer.com/You can now buy a ?30 dryer for your dog? and it?s perfect after a long, muddy walk picture: thedogdryer https://thedogdryer.com/hattiegladwellmetroYou can now buy a ?30 dryer for your dog? and it?s perfect after a long, muddy walk picture: thedogdryer https://thedogdryer.com/You can now buy a ?30 dryer for your dog? and it?s perfect after a long, muddy walk picture: thedogdryer https://thedogdryer.com/
A brave mum has bared her mastectomy scars in beautiful photos of her breastfeeding her baby to celebrate conceiving – something doctors said that, after the amount of surgery she has had, would never happen.
Charli Crowe, who has had a total mastectomy of her left breast, was so happy as she breastfed her daughter Poppie-Grace Bailey, five months, for a photo shoot on 19 January.
The mum-of-three, 31, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at the age of 28 in November 2015 after discovering a hard ‘marble-like’ lump in her left armpit.
After three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, Charli was given a 1% chance of ever conceiving again.
However, she and her partner Matthew, 22, discovered they were expecting in January 2018.
At a pregnancy check-up, doctors informed the mum-to-be it was unlikely she would be able to breastfeed due to damage from the radiotherapy – but Charli continued to defy expectations.
Charli woke up to discover her milk had come in just three days after Poppie was born in August 2018 and she has been breastfeeding ever since.
To celebrate the self-confidence she has fought to find since losing her breast, Charli visited Baby-Bloom Photography in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Charli, of Great Yarmouth, said: ‘The fact that I’m breastfeeding after everything is out of this world.
‘So when I saw that Baby-Bloom had posted about offering a discounted breastfeeding shoot on their page, I thought ‘you know what, why not? Why not celebrate it?’
‘I wanted to show that if I can breastfeed then anybody can and the photos showed exactly what I wanted to get across.
‘It was amazing doing the shoot. Kelly made me feel so relaxed and didn’t push me to do anything I didn’t want to. I felt completely confident. And she was amazing with Poppie.
‘Now I’ve got all these amazing memories to commemorate breastfeeding.
‘Some people who’ve seen the photos have said they’re quite inspiring and liberating and that’s exactly how I felt on the shoot.
‘It was so liberating to be able to show off my mastectomy scars and be proud of the fact that I’ve done it all and defied the odds.’
The mum was taught to check her breasts regularly when she was 15 by her grandmother, Helga, who passed away from breast cancer aged 77.
During a self-check on November 13 2015, Charli discovered a hard and ‘immovable’ lump in her left armpit and booked and appointment with her GP the next day.
Charli was referred to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where she met a consultant and had an ultrasound and biopsy on 19 November – two days before the mum’s 28th birthday.
The tests confirmed the lump was stage two breast cancer and on 18 December Charli had surgery to remove her left breast and five nodes from her armpit.
After two more surgeries to remove more nodes followed by months of intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Charli was given the all clear on 18 August 2016.
The whirlwind of devastating events left Charli’s self-esteem shattered and she struggled to cope with looking after her two girls Summer-Rose Crowe, now seven, and Lillie-Mae Crowe, now five.
But since meeting her new partner Matthew, a football referee, in September 2017, Charli has been able to rebuild her confidence and overcome the trauma of fighting cancer.
Charli said: ‘It was two days before my 28th birthday, I had two young kids who were just two and three at the time and the last word I ever expected to hear was cancer.
‘I lost my [grandmother] to it but she was in her 70s. You do think of breast cancer as an old woman’s disease. You don’t think of it being someone in their 20s with two young kids.
‘It was less than a month between my diagnosis and the surgery to remove my left breast. It was just so much information to process.
‘For a 27-year-old to be told you have to have surgery to remove one of the things that makes you look like a woman was devastating.
‘I went through a hell of a time trying to come to terms with losing one of my breasts. For a long time afterwards I was very self-conscious about it.
‘After all my treatments my husband at the time and I made the decision to separate. At the time my mental health took quite a downturn and he looked after the girls full-time.
‘I was trying to deal with all these emotions and struggling to be a mum and come to terms with everything.
‘There was a year of me almost having a mental breakdown and hanging around with the wrong people and partying all the time.
‘I was trying to prove to the world that nothing had changed and I was absolutely fine. Then I met Matthew and he showed me that I didn’t have to prove anything.
‘My scars and my short hair didn’t matter to him.’
Despite initially accepting that they would probably never have kids together, Matthew and Charli got a happy surprise in January 2018.
Charli said: ‘I had been told I was unlikely to ever fall pregnant again. I had a one per cent chance. I told him and it didn’t bother him at all.
‘He told me it wasn’t something he had on the cards any time soon and if that ever changed we would discuss it.
‘Then we went away to Malta and I started feeling really sick all the time. Matthew came home one day and threw this pregnancy test at me.
‘I took it but the whole time I was thinking ’there’s no way, I’m not going to be pregnant’. Then I looked at the stick and saw two lines.
‘Suddenly we had this shock appearance of another baby. We had this amazing home water birth.
‘The consultant had told me I probably wouldn’t be able to breastfeed but three days after Poppie arrived, I woke up and my top was wet because my milk had come in. It’s amazing.
‘She is an angel. Her sisters adore her. When my five-year-old’s around I don’t even get a look in, she wants to do everything for Poppie. It’s great.
‘She is the perfect little addition to our family.’
A mum to her own miracle baby, Kelly Bloomfield who runs Baby-Bloom Photography offered the discounted shoot as she wants to make embracing the beauty of breastfeeding ‘the norm’.
After four years of trying to conceive, Kelly, 26, and her husband Billy Bloomfield, 30, were told they couldn’t get pregnant.
The couple were over the moon when they found out they were expecting their daughter Amelia Bloomfield, two, in 2016, and Kelly longed for the day she would breastfeed her baby.
But when Amelia was born she had to spend 10 days in NICU and Kelly’s milk dried up, leaving the mum feeling ‘robbed’ of her chance to breastfeed.
And that’s when she became determined to capture other mothers feeding their babies, launching her breastfeeding shoots with Charlie as her first model.
Kelly said: ‘I’ve always seen breastfeeding as beautiful.
‘As a photographer you offer newborn sessions, family sessions, sitters and cake smash sessions but one thing that isn’t really around is breastfeeding shoots. I want to make it the norm.
‘When I first met Charli we instantly clicked. I love how confident she was, stripping off and just doing what she does naturally.
‘Hearing what Charli has been through to just be here is nothing short of a miracle and she is the definition of a fighter.
‘I’m 26 and I’d never thought of checking my breasts but after I met Charli and heard how young she was when she was diagnosed I started checking.
‘I felt like we have both been through so much to have our miracle babies and I wanted to give her something I couldn’t have.
‘I hope people who see the photos feel hope. Hope for any parent going through anything traumatic.
‘I want people to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel hence why my style is bright and pure. You can be in the darkest place mentally but there will always be light.’
sei_50005404-3a2esei_50005404-3a2ehattiegladwellmetroPIC FROM Baby-Bloom Photography/Kennedy News (PICTURED: MUM CHARLI CROWE , 31, BARES HER MASTECTOMY SCARS FOR A BREASTFEEDING PHOTO SHOOT WITH HER DAUGHTER POPPIE-GRACE BAILEY, FIVE MONTHS) A brave mum has bared her mastectomy scars in a stunning photos of her breastfeeding her miracle baby to celebrate beating the odds after doctors told her she would never even conceive. Charli Crowe, who has had a total mastectomy of her left breast, was beaming with pride and joy as she breastfed her daughter Poppie-Grace Bailey, five months, for a photo shoot on January 19. The mum-of-three, 31, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of just 28 in November 2015 after discovering a hard ???marble-like??? lump in her left armpit. After three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, Charli was given just a one per cent chance of ever conceiving again. To her surprise, the self-employed celebrant and her partner Matthew Bailey, 22, discovered they were expecting in January 2018. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Baby-Bloom Photography/Kennedy News(PICTURED: MUM CHARLI CROWE , 31, SAID THE BREASTFEEDING PHOTO SHOOT WITH HER DAUGHTER POPPIE-GRACE BAILEY, FIVE MONTHS, WAS LIBERATING) A brave mum has bared her mastectomy scars in a stunning photos of her breastfeeding her miracle baby to celebrate beating the odds after doctors told her she would never even conceive. Charli Crowe, who has had a total mastectomy of her left breast, was beaming with pride and joy as she breastfed her daughter Poppie-Grace Bailey, five months, for a photo shoot on January 19. The mum-of-three, 31, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of just 28 in November 2015 after discovering a hard ???marble-like??? lump in her left armpit. After three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, Charli was given just a one per cent chance of ever conceiving again. To her surprise, the self-employed celebrant and her partner Matthew Bailey, 22, discovered they were expecting in January 2018. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: THE RADIATION BURNS LEFT ON CHARLI CROWE'S CHEST DURING RADIOTHERAPY) A brave mum has bared her mastectomy scars in a stunning photos of her breastfeeding her miracle baby to celebrate beating the odds after doctors told her she would never even conceive. Charli Crowe, who has had a total mastectomy of her left breast, was beaming with pride and joy as she breastfed her daughter Poppie-Grace Bailey, five months, for a photo shoot on January 19. The mum-of-three, 31, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of just 28 in November 2015 after discovering a hard ???marble-like??? lump in her left armpit. After three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, Charli was given just a one per cent chance of ever conceiving again. To her surprise, the self-employed celebrant and her partner Matthew Bailey, 22, discovered they were expecting in January 2018. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: CHARLI CROWE'S SURGICAL SCAR A FEW DAYS AFTER THE TOTAL MASTECTOMY OF HER LEFT BREAST) A brave mum has bared her mastectomy scars in a stunning photos of her breastfeeding her miracle baby to celebrate beating the odds after doctors told her she would never even conceive. Charli Crowe, who has had a total mastectomy of her left breast, was beaming with pride and joy as she breastfed her daughter Poppie-Grace Bailey, five months, for a photo shoot on January 19. The mum-of-three, 31, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of just 28 in November 2015 after discovering a hard ???marble-like??? lump in her left armpit. After three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, Charli was given just a one per cent chance of ever conceiving again. To her surprise, the self-employed celebrant and her partner Matthew Bailey, 22, discovered they were expecting in January 2018. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: CHARLI CROWE, AGED 28, AT NORWICH AND NORFOLK HOSPITAL DURING HER BATTLE AGAINST BREAST CANCER) A brave mum has bared her mastectomy scars in a stunning photos of her breastfeeding her miracle baby to celebrate beating the odds after doctors told her she would never even conceive. Charli Crowe, who has had a total mastectomy of her left breast, was beaming with pride and joy as she breastfed her daughter Poppie-Grace Bailey, five months, for a photo shoot on January 19. The mum-of-three, 31, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of just 28 in November 2015 after discovering a hard ???marble-like??? lump in her left armpit. After three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, Charli was given just a one per cent chance of ever conceiving again. To her surprise, the self-employed celebrant and her partner Matthew Bailey, 22, discovered they were expecting in January 2018. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
Sugar the pug is seriously overweight.
She weighs 1 stone 12lb (11.9kg) – twice what she should and the same weight as a toddler.
The dog piled on weight because her previous owner, who was partially sighted, wasn’t able to take her for walks or give her any exercise.
Now, finally, she has an owner who’s committed to getting the dog back to good health through a diet and exercise plan.
It’ll be a challenging journey, as Sugar has a whole host of health issues that may have been worsened by her size. She’s got poor vision, she’s deaf, and in the last few weeks she had to have all her teeth taken out.
Her owner Steve, from Caerphilly, south Wales, is up to the task, though. He has another dog, Winston, a bichon frise, who is a healthy weight, and since adopting Sugar he’s already helped her lose one kilogram.
Steve takes Winston and Sugar out for four walks a day.
‘I take Sugar out as well but we have to go at her pace and it takes a lot longer so she is walked once a day at the moment,’ says Steve.
‘Since she’s had her bad teeth removed she seems healthier and happier, so we’re going to try and increase her exercise.’
Sugar has enrolled in the annual PDSA Pet Fit Club competition, so there’s even more of a reason to drop the excess pounds.
Best of luck, Sugar. We believe in you.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: ‘Obesity has been a huge problem among UK pets for a number of years and sadly there is no sign of improvement.
‘It is one of the biggest long-term health concerns for our pet population, because it is so commonly seen by vets and nurses.
‘Animals who are overweight have a much greater risk of developing health problems such as arthritis and diabetes – which can have drastic consequences.
‘Excess weight can also seriously aggravate other medical problems, for example making it even more difficult for flat-faced breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs to breathe.
‘Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can even reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to two years and six months.’
Pug goes on dietPug goes on dietellencscottEmbargoed until 0001 Friday February 1 Undated handout photo issued by the PDSA of Sugar the Pug who weighs the same as a toddler and is going on a diet. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 1, 2019. The 12-year-old dog was rescued eight months ago by her current owner Steve Jones when she was already massively overweight. See PA story ANIMALS Pug. Photo credit should read: Tom Martin/PDSA/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.Embargoed until 0001 Friday February 1 Undated handout photo issued by the PDSA of Sugar the Pug who weighs the same as a toddler and is going on a diet. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 1, 2019. The 12-year-old dog was rescued eight months ago by her current owner Steve Jones when she was already massively overweight. See PA story ANIMALS Pug. Photo credit should read: Tom Martin/PDSA/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Becky Brown is a 45-year-old grandma, but not everyone can tell.
She says she’s often mistaken as being her daughter’s sister, as she looks so youthful.
Becky’s daughter is Scarlett Saunders, 22, who has a 20-month-old daughter called Arabella Ray.
Scarlett and Becky are incredibly close and regularly share clothes, which likely doesn’t help with the confusion. If you look similar to someone and wear the same sort of clothes, it makes sense that people might think you’re siblings, right?
That being said, Becky still sees being mistaken for Scarlett’s sister as a massive compliment.
‘People do say that Scarlett and I look alike,’ says Becky. ‘It’s very flattering.
‘People are shocked that we’re mum and daughter when we go out together. They say we look like sisters.
‘Me and Scarlett are very alike in a lot of ways. Not just looks but also our personalities. We’re very close.
‘She loves to raid my wardrobe. Even when she was little she would be in there putting on all my makeup and trying on clothes and shoes. When she got older she would just help herself.
‘We can still share now because we’re a similar size. It’s nice we can share and both have similar tastes.’
There’s no secret trick to Becky looking great at 45 – she says it’s all down to genetics.
People are often shocked to find out that Becky is not just a mum, but a grandmother.
‘When I go out with Arabella people are shocked I’m her nan,’ says Becky. ‘It’s so nice for me. It’s really sweet.
‘People presume I’m her mum and when they hear her call me nan they come over to tell me I don’t look old enough.’
Scarlett hopes that she’ll inherit the eternally youthful gene, too.
‘People do say that my mum could be my sister, especially on Instagram when they see a photo of us together,’ Scarlett said.
‘A lot of the time people think my little girl is hers too. People are shocked when they hear Arabella calling her nan.
‘She does look good for her age. I hope I look like her at her age.’
sei_50005298-c243sei_50005298-c243ellencscottPIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: SCARLETT SAUNDERS, 22, AND HER MUM BECKY BROWN, 45, AT SCARLETT'S BABY SHOWER ) A glamorous gran who often gets confused for her beauty queen daughter???s SISTER says her youthful looks are down to ???good genes???. Beautiful brunettes Becky Brown, 45, and Scarlett Saunders, 22, look so alike that strangers are often stunned to find out they???re not siblings. The mum and daughter don???t just look alike but have a close relationship and similar fashion sense, regularly sharing clothes as they???re both a svelte size 8. While being told she looks like Scarlett???s sister is a huge compliment for Becky, she insists she can???t take any of the credit. The soon-to-be gran-of-two, who has no special dietary, fitness or beauty regime, says her young appearance is all thanks to the luck of the genetic draw. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: PEOPLE ALWAYS MISTAKE SCARLETT SAUNDERS, 22, AND HER MUM BECKY BROWN, 45, FOR SISTERS) A glamorous gran who often gets confused for her beauty queen daughter???s SISTER says her youthful looks are down to ???good genes???. Beautiful brunettes Becky Brown, 45, and Scarlett Saunders, 22, look so alike that strangers are often stunned to find out they???re not siblings. The mum and daughter don???t just look alike but have a close relationship and similar fashion sense, regularly sharing clothes as they???re both a svelte size 8. While being told she looks like Scarlett???s sister is a huge compliment for Becky, she insists she can???t take any of the credit. The soon-to-be gran-of-two, who has no special dietary, fitness or beauty regime, says her young appearance is all thanks to the luck of the genetic draw. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: GRAN BECKY BROWN, 45, AND HER DAUGHTER SCARLETT SAUNDERS, 22, ON SCARLETT'S WEDDING DAY) A glamorous gran who often gets confused for her beauty queen daughter???s SISTER says her youthful looks are down to ???good genes???. Beautiful brunettes Becky Brown, 45, and Scarlett Saunders, 22, look so alike that strangers are often stunned to find out they???re not siblings. The mum and daughter don???t just look alike but have a close relationship and similar fashion sense, regularly sharing clothes as they???re both a svelte size 8. While being told she looks like Scarlett???s sister is a huge compliment for Becky, she insists she can???t take any of the credit. The soon-to-be gran-of-two, who has no special dietary, fitness or beauty regime, says her young appearance is all thanks to the luck of the genetic draw. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
The conversation around trans people and our bodies is one of the media’s current play toys.
From discussions around our ability to exist in certain spaces, to how we shop and do other mundane activities, we are put under the microscope for just existing.
As a gender non-conforming person, it’s hard for me to understand not only why we are constantly on newspaper front pages but why we are actively being shut out of the conversation entirely.
Why are trans people not being allowed to authentically share their lived experiences within the turbulent media landscape that we find ourselves drowning in?
Earlier this week, I turned on the radio for some light-hearted relief as I sat down to a mountain of emails, and tuned in to an unexpected show about trans people, specifically trans children.
Callers from across the country were ringing in to offer their opinions on the topic.
The worst thing about this wasn’t the random surprise of hearing a community I hold dear being spoken about on air, but the fact that callers were allowed to share vile transphobic vitriol that went unchallenged.
At no point did the host argue against callers – including one who said that ‘men can’t just identify as women’, which is a severely transphobic comment – but instead simply continued to highlight that this topic is clearly something ‘that people have strong opinions on’.
This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussions around our identities – the media landscape for trans people over the past two years has been an absolute nightmare.
From headlines depicting perfectly happy couples as ‘Tran and Wife’ to continued scaremongering about women’s only spaces such as changing rooms and the infiltration of ‘men’ in these environments, we are perpetually being discussed by cisgendered heterosexual people.
Our inherently basic and everyday habits such as shopping, visiting the doctor and getting the tube – where we do sometimes encounter problems – are suddenly turned into a hostile talk about whether or not we’re even supposed to be there in the first place.
And that’s just written journalism. TV debates are a whole new ball game.
They open us up to conversations that are less filtered and more likely to include transphobic commentators who fill the screen time with their entitled opinions. And this isn’t just specific to certain channels or demographics.
The trans debate has taken over all mainstream channels, with Channel 4’s Genderquake and subsequent car crash of a debate the elephant in the room among trans people when we discuss the media and all its tropes.
This wasn’t only an example of how to profile trans people in a sensationalist way, but showed us how mainstream channels still don’t seem to understand that putting trans people in positions that are both unsafe and offer mass exposure isn’t enough.
We don’t want to be thrown into the lion’s den when it comes to sharing our lived experiences.
Our inherently basic and everyday habits such as shopping, visiting the doctor and getting the tube – where we do sometimes encounter problems – are suddenly turned into a hostile talk about whether or not we’re even supposed to be there in the first place.
History will serve true as we look back on the treatment of people such as Munroe Bergdorf and Fox and Owl on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Their motivations to highlight incredibly important experiences on what it’s like to navigate the world as trans and non-binary, were flipped on their heads, and turned into what can only be described as a battle.
Owl themself spoke to me about the trans inclusion in British media and said: ‘To me it just seems like a given that if you’re talking about trans people, you make sure they are included and their voices are heard.
‘They’re the experts on their own lives and experiences. Giving platforms to voices that have no relevance, qualifications, or have ever worked with trans people isn’t going to be helpful, and that’s how prejudice and misinformation gets peddled out.’
This is far too common and something that is strangely very easy to change.
Allowing trans people to speak about themselves is step one, and is so unbearably obvious, I can’t believe I even have to write it. Step two is to ensure that we are safe in these circumstances.
Putting us up against someone who is questioning our literal existence isn’t ‘in the nation’s interest’ or doing a service to the ‘many people who have concerns’.
It’s allowing transphobic views a platform to be heard – as if our identities and expressions are comparable to ‘should we put sugar in our tea?’ or ‘is the vegan sausage roll as good as the meat version?’
There are many people, like myself, who use their words to provide an honest and truthful viewpoint on, in my case, a non-binary existence.
It’s about time we were taken seriously and not made to constantly fight for empathy.
As cute as seeing pawprints in the snow may be, there are serious considerations to be taken when it comes to cats and cold weather.
Cats Protection recommends that everyone follows a few simple tips to keep cats – all cats, not just your own – safe when it’s snowing.
To start with, it’s key to provide shelter for both strays and cats who are allowed outdoors so that they don’t end up shivering out in the cold for hours.
Wedge doors of sheds and outbuildings slightly open (so cats who manage to get inside don’t get locked in) or install a catflap, or create a mini snow shelter cats can take cover under. A sturdy cardboard box under plastic sheeting will do the trick.
Speaking of cat flaps, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t become frozen over or blocked by snow. Check it regularly.
Essential tips to keep cats safe in the snow:
It’s important that your own cat has access to water indoors, as water points outdoors may have frozen over. Your kitty needs to stay hydrated even when it’s chilly outside. Make sure they’re well fed, too – running around in the cold can really build up their appetite.
Check your car to make sure cats aren’t using it to steer clear of the cold, looking under the hood and banging lightly on the car to alert any cat that it’s time to move.
If it’s the first time your cat’s seeing snow, it’s handy to introduce them to its wonders.
Take them outside to explore a safe, enclosed environment, and stay with them for a while so they know you’re there if they panic and want to rush back inside. The cold on their paws can be a little startling.
Post-exploring, check your cat’s paws when they come in and gently wipe off any grit, salt, or compacted snow, and check all over for signs of frostbite. If you notice any skin discolouration, pain, swelling, or blisters, take your cat to the vet for treatment.
To make sure your cat stays warm and cosy throughout winter, it’s worth having them stay in during the night when temperatures drop, and making sure they have comfy beds near radiators to snooze in. Screen off fireplaces so your cat can safely rest in front of them, too.
Follow all these tips and your cat should have a lovely winter. Please do send pictures of any kitties frolicking in the snow.
Black cat in the snow outdoorBlack cat in the snow outdoorellencscottred male cat watching the snow
Post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, is a severe anxiety disorder which can be triggered by stressful, frightening, distressing or traumatic events.
There is a common misconception that PTSD only affects veterans, but this isn’t the case.
PTSD can be caused by many situations – such as near-death experiences, sexual assault, mugging and robbery and traumatic birth – and can have a serious affect on your day-to-day life.
Metro.co.uk spoke with five people who each live with PTSD, stemming from different incidents.
They told us how the disorder affects their life and the stigma surrounding it.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
According to the NHS website, Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
The symptoms of PTSD are enough to severely affect a person’s day-to-day life and mental state.
Dan, 26, was 20 when he started therapy because he was having suicidal thoughts. He struggled to go outside and his body would go into ‘fight or flight’ mode when he was in public spaces.
His therapist identified that he had the symptoms of PTSD.
Dan explained: ‘I knew that there was a problem because I couldn’t see any reason for wanting to live anymore.
‘I was assaulted when I was 16 years old which is when I started to feel the symptoms of PTSD.
‘Symptoms I was having were nightmares around the event that caused my PTSD, and more thematic dreams where I would be drowning or out of control of a certain situation.
‘When out in public places I would be looking for any exit signs or places I would feel more comfortable, I would panic and think that people were out to get me, my stomach would feel like it was on fire and it would feel like I have electricity in the veins in my arms, and I would snap easily at family and friends because I was always on edge.’
Dan’s PTSD has had a massive effect on his life – and on who he is. He feels he now naturally avoids conflict.
He continued: ‘PTSD is extremely difficult to live with because of the social nature of our lives these days, but I think it can be managed well and coping mechanisms can be taught through therapy.
‘I’m now able to lead a more normal life than before and continue to work on overcoming my PTSD by constantly pushing my boundaries further and further.
‘I think there is a stigma attached because usually PTSD is associated with the military or emergency services, when in fact PTSD will develop as a consequence of a traumatic event. It is more widely spread than I think we consider.
‘I will add that there is great support networks out there and I have been able to find lots of key contacts and help from Twitter and Instagram.’
25-year-old Jessica was diagnosed with PTSD in November 2017.
She was having severe panic attacks and flashbacks in public and at work. She lost jobs and became homeless as a result.
She said: ‘I knew there was a problem because of how frightened I was all the time.
‘I had nightmares and felt constantly unsafe. My panic attacks were visible to other people and I’d get caught up in flashbacks at work and around other people.
‘I was assaulted and had been through several traumatic experiences. I hadn’t dealt with any of them or received any support, or just love and care.
‘I learned the hard way that people lie, abandon you and are crap.’
Jessica adds that she ‘wouldn’t wish PTSD on anything’ and feels it is a constant battle to live with.
She continued: ‘The tiny bit of hope you carry with you is all that keeps you going, even when you want the pain to stop, the memories to go away and to just feel safe and supported.
‘I think the stigma around PTSD and mental health is still f***ing disgusting.
‘More needs to be done. Everyone is human. People need to be kind.’
32-year-old Jamie was diagnosed with PTSD in 2015, and has been living with it for four years now.
It all started after he was attacked with metal bars by a gang. They broke his eye socket, cheekbone and jaw.
Jamie told us: ‘It started with general anxiety, the shakes, and this overall feeling that something is wrong; there was this impending sense of doom.
‘I’d had a panic attack at work, left without saying anything to anyone in the office and went and sat in a graveyard.
‘PTSD is like living with gremlins. I have suffered with depression for most of my life and learned to read the warning signs and deal with the “monkey on my back”.
‘PTSD is terribly inconsistent in my experience so far. There is no standard routine in my life and that’s what I find the hardest to cope with.
‘One day I can feel like I’m ok-ish, the next I’m crawling around my house in confusion, completely dizzy and out of it.
‘My wife does her best but it’s so hard for her, I can see it in her all the time.’
Kiera, 22, was diagnosed with PTSD last year, in May 2018.
She was working in a psychiatric hospital and a life-threatening incident happened. Afterwards she started having panic symptoms including a racing heart, feeling on edge, being unable to relax, feeling very alert and intense sweating.
‘I knew something wasn’t right,’ she said.
‘I was having nightmares, replaying the incident over in my mind, dissociating, so I went to my GP for some support and I ended up being signed off work for three months. I was then referred to a psychiatrist who made the diagnosis.
‘It’s not a matter of think, I know the incident at work caused my PTSD.
‘However, I wouldn’t say that it was the incident alone, it was the lack of support from my employers at that time. I feel that if I got therapy and help sooner that it wouldn’t have developed into PTSD.
‘I know a lot of people with PTSD don’t think their trauma is valid enough, it’s constant comparing yourself to others.’
Lucy, 24, developed PTSD after a near-death experience. She had fallen sick and had been admitted to hospital. She remembers being in unbearable pain and being told she might not make it. She was then given life-saving surgery.
‘For a long time, I blocked out the entire experience,’ she tells us. ‘It was as if nothing had happened. But I now realise it was because my brain was trying to protect me from the pain – the memories were too terrifying, and so it was almost as if my head was trying to stop me from re-experiencing the trauma.’
On the anniversary of the experience, something snapped.
‘I remember waking up one morning after a horrible nightmare, and everything came flooding back. Everything that had been blocked out of my mind for so long had returned in full-force.
‘I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I know lots of people get flashbacks of the memory – but for me, PTSD is flashbacks of the emotions.
‘When I panic, I feel all those fears I felt the moment I was lying in a hospital bed being told I might die.
‘For me, PTSD is going back to those terrified feelings and emotions, and reliving the fear over and over again.’
Lucy is currently in therapy for her PTSD. It’s made her realise that the illness can come in all shapes and forms.
‘I feel there is this confusion – and I’m guilty of it – that PTSD only affects men who have fought in the war.
‘But PTSD can stem from all sorts of things, anything traumatic can manifest into it.
‘I wish more people realised that.’
If you are worried you may have PTSD, or know somebody who may be struggling with it, please visit your GP for advice – or call Samaritans on 116 123.
Metro IllustrationsMetro IllustrationshattiegladwellmetroWhat it feels like to confront a traumatic memory if you have PTSD Picture: Ph?be Lou Morson PhebeEcoanxiety Electricity power save eco money anxiety disorder mental health body mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk PhebeWhy imposter syndrome makes me feel like I'm faking my mental illness Mental health depression sad cry woman mask fake pills illness sick Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk
The word ‘cheerleader’ summons up images of American teen movies, pom-poms, high kicks and rigid dance routines.
But modern, elite cheerleading is worlds away from this.
And as American Football continues to boom in popularity on UK soil, cheerleading is set to grow with it.
NFL-standard cheerleaders are incredibly athletic, strong and immensely skilled.
They want you to know that they are so much more than the half-time eye candy – they are athletes in their own right.
Lexy Wedgwood is the head cheerleader and choreographer for Redzone.bet cheerleaders, a dance-based troupe who perform at UK NFL games.
Lexy’s mission is to change perceptions about the sport and turn her dancers into household name, just like the big cheerleading stars based in America.
‘When we have a gig coming up – it will take me two days to choreograph a three-minute piece,’ Lexy tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I’ll then teach it to the girls for a day, and then there’s normally a day, or two days, of cleaning the piece to make it absolutely perfect.
‘We never go out until I’m completely happy with it.
‘So it takes around four days of work to create one three-minute piece. And I think that’s quite hard for people to grasp.
‘But when you think about the music – each song is broken down into hundreds of counts, and every count can be a different step – so the routines can be infinitely complex.
‘I then might hit the girls with a new routine straight afterwards, because sometimes we will have two or more dances to do at one event. So there’s even more choreography.
‘That’s why the girls need to be incredibly on the ball with picking up choreography. We could technically do it quicker, the girls are so good, but I have ridiculous standards and I want it to be the best.’
The schedule to learn routines is grueling. But then, this is more than dancing. The troupe not only have to pick up reams of intricate choreography at break-neck pace, but they also have to throw in tricks, leaps, jumps and splits.
It’s hugely demanding, but the crowds in the UK absolutely lap it up.
‘We have been cheerleading for Redzone at the NFL games here in the UK, and the reception has been fantastic,’ explains Lexy.
‘I think in the UK, there are lots of misconceptions about cheerleading – firstly that it’s for children or school kids, or secondly that it’s mostly about gymnastics.
‘We are more like the American model of cheerleaders. We are a dance troupe, so everybody is a professional dancer.
‘I have girls who have been in West End shows, they dance for artists such as Rita Ora and Olly Murs – but then they come and do the troupe as well. So they are all seriously talented.
‘I think people think that we’re just going to stand there, almost like promo girls, and not really do anything, but then they see all the girls bust out these dance moves and they’re just like, “wow – they’re the real deal”.
‘So the reception is actually sometimes just a bit surprised, if I’m honest.’
It’s athletic, it’s intense, it’s hard-core. But the team haven’t got rid of everything you associate with cheerleading – there are certain elements that just have to be there.
‘We do use pom-poms, because otherwise it wouldn’t be cheerleading, but that doesn’t take away from the ridiculous levels of athleticism and skill that the girls are displaying,’ says Lexy.
‘Pom-poms are what everyone expects, and we do want to give people what they expect.
‘We rehearse for hours, I choreograph for hours. The choreography is slick and fast, and in order to keep up you have to be a talented, switched-on professional.
‘We’re in rehearsals right now and the girls, they won’t mind me saying this – they are sweating. It’s full-on choreography.’
So if you’re still harbouring teenage dreams of becoming a cheerleader – it’s not quite as simple as picking up some pom-poms and learning some chants. The audition process to join a professional team sounds, frankly, terrifying.
‘I audition all the girls that work for me. Hundreds of girls come in to the room, and then, round-by-round, they are taught a piece of choreography. We cut them down depending on what we’re looking for,’ explains Lexy.
‘Height can be a factor, fitness levels are really important, they also have to be incredibly strong and have a huge amount of stamina, because the routines are so high-energy.
‘Picking up choreography quickly is essential, because we might get a last-minute booking for tomorrow – so we would have to be like, right, get in the studio and pick something up.
‘All of my dancers have all trained at the top dance schools in the UK. I tend to take on girls that have had experience in the industry already.
‘I’m looking for hardworking, dedicated girls – but they really do have to be fit. We’re not just dancing, the girls are high-kicking, they’re jumping, they have to be flexible, they jump into the splits and do all the tricks.
‘What we do takes a toll on the body. But all of the girls are brilliant and so well prepared for all of the challenges.’
So what of the critics? The ones who say cheerleading is outdated, misogynistic, that it objectifies women?
Lexy doesn’t agree.
‘I think there’s this association of cheerleaders being like the “pit girls” from Formula One, which have now been scrapped,’ says Lexy.
‘I have friends who were “pit girls” and they’re sad they don’t get to do it any more, so I feel bad for the girls who enjoyed the modelling.
‘But we’re not the same. We’re not models. We are professional dancers.
‘I understand some of the criticism, and there is an element of that. There are always going to be some people who are for it and some people are going to be against it. But it’s up to every individual dancer to decide whether they want to be part of it.’
For Lexy, performing as part of the NFL isn’t objectifying, it’s empowering and, most importantly for her, it’s fun.
‘If they were just standing there, looking pretty – I wouldn’t be part of it. But what we’re doing is so much more than purely eye-candy,’ she tells us.
‘We are as much a part of the entertainment and the spectacle of the game as the men on the field.
‘The girls want the job, they want the work, they’re self-employed and they get to choose whether they want to do it or not.
‘Ultimately it’s fun, we have a laugh. The guys do their bit, and we come out and do our bit – we’re all on the same team, we’re all trying to entertain the crowd.
‘It’s a pure adrenaline rush. You get this electric feedback from the audience and it’s an amazing feeling – it just makes you feel powerful.’
If you want to see some American NFL cheerleaders in action, the 2019 Super Bowl is this Sunday, and you can watch it in the UK at 10.45pm on BBC One.
Richard Stamp wants to break the taboo of talking about cancer in your penis.
Last year, he was diagnosed with penile cancer after he found a lump.
Nine months on from having a partial penectomy (removal of part of the penis), he is telling his story in a new show.
With three shows at the Ovalhouse, Dick tells Richard’s story from the moment he found a lump through to amputation.
Richard, 53, who has worked as an actor, clown and street performer for over 20 years, was in Cambodia touring with a show when he found a lump.
Initially he tried to ignore it but as the pain increased, he visited the doctor on his next stop in Adelaide.
There he had scans and tests which confirmed it was cancer.
He explains: ‘I had been doing outdoor shows and installations for years. I was getting to a point where I might stretch myself, possibly even do an indoor show.
‘I knew I wanted to do something with a lot of meaning. It was a case of careful what you wish for.
‘I was working in Cambodia and when I was there, I found a lump on my penis and I didn’t know what it was.
‘I didn’t go to the doctor until I was in Australia and I knew it was serious then.
‘Something can go horribly wrong with you but there is some dark comedy in that situation and it is almost the thing that spurs you on.
‘Sometimes you think it can’t be any more stupid. I was going to see the doctor in Australia and sat in reception and the receptionist said: “You’re here to see Dr Cox.” Some of the things were ridiculous.’
He was told in Australia that his full penis would have to be removed but he decided to get a second opinion.
Richard returned home to London and discovered that his local hospital St George’s in Tooting was actually the leading hospital for the condition in Europe.
There he was told that his condition could be treated with surgery to remove just part of his penis.
He explains: ‘I didn’t have to have any chemo or radiotherapy, which was amazing. The tumour that was 8cm by 2cm and it was a stage three cancer so if they hadn’t done the amazing operation of saving my life, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the summer.’
The operation was a success and Richard was given the all clear soon after his operation.
He adds: ‘It’s been quite a whirlwind trip. I have been in a state of being quite ill. I could have had the cancer for a long time and wouldn’t know about.
‘Not having a penis or not much of it can cause physiological damage. I am ok and I have a good support network.
‘But it is ok – I am thinking about reconstruction and I might get my full function back.
‘Now I am clear of the cancer and go back to three months checks for two years, then six monthly checks for three years.
‘There is a 4% chance of it coming back and I am still recovering. Doing the show has made be very tired and I haven’t done any of my other work since getting ill.’
Throughout his journey, Richard wrote down what was happening and made some short films about his experiences.
What to know about penile cancer
Cancer of the penis is very rare in the western world; there are around 630 cases in the UK each year.
It is most often diagnosed in men over the age of 60 years however men in their 30s and 40s can also be affected.
It is is usually a slow growing cancer and if caught early before further spread the chances of survival are high and around 70% of men diagnosed with penile cancer will survive the disease.
He felt that more needed to be done to break down the taboos around penile cancer and decided he wanted to use these notes and videos to raise awareness.
He explains: ‘It is a taboo subject and it is hard for men to talk about.
‘I think we are better at talking about testicular cancer and prostate cancer now as well as with women’s cancer now but I think if you mention penile cancer, people don’t always know what you mean – you have to be more explicit and say ‘penis cancer’ or ‘cock cancer’.
‘They generally laugh and because I have been doing a lot of comedy for years, they generally say something like “of course you have that one” but this is serious.
‘If it is caught early enough, the odds are good. If you go to the GP early enough it doesn’t go to the extreme measures that happens in some cases.
‘It is something that can be cured and we need to get the awareness out there that we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.
‘I have been supported throughout this by a brilliant charity called Orchard, an organisation that works specifically on men’s cancers.
‘They are doing amazing work in raising awareness and they have been such a huge inspiration and support to me throughout my illness and this project.’
Richard was supported by friends in the industry throughout his illness and one of them helped him to apply for a programme with Ovalhouse called First Bites, which gives opportunities for people with new work.
What are the symptoms of penile cancer?
The show is a multimedia performance created by a team of top class animators and film makers.
Richard says: ‘It has been brilliant for me because we got the rehearsal space and the theatre for three nights as well as money. Without their help, I wouldn’t be at this point now.
‘It was written by himself and James Chaplin and I hope it’s going to go well. It is on for three nights but I would like to continue it in other places. At some point, I might think I don’t want to be the penis cancer man any more but for now, it is helping me and helping to raise awareness.’
Dick will run at the Ovalhouse until 2 Feb at 7.45pm. Tickets are £5 in advance or £8 on the door.
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Take a look at Kevin, a very good dog.
Kevin is a three-year-old golden Labrador who provides all kinds of support to his owner, 54-year-old Wendy Martin.
Wendy developed spinal disc generation in her teens. The condition causes her chronic pain and she uses a wheelchair to get around.
She’d had help from her partner for years, but the couple split in 2013, leaving mum-of-four Wendy struggling to cope.
After her support dog Oscar retired, she met Kevin through Support Dogs in April last year.
Kevin, as we mentioned, is pretty special. He’s been trained do lift clothes in and out of the washing machine, open doors, active Wendy’s panic alarm, take off her socks, and help put her coat on.
Wendy says there was a connection the first time they met.
‘The first day I met Kevin, he came running in, jumped on the sofa and put his head in my lap,’ she said.
‘It was love at first sight. He had such a caring, lovely look at me.
‘Lots of people go to stroke him when they meet him, which he likes.
‘Even when they do, he’ll carry on looking at me to make sure I’m fine.
‘If he had his way he’d be on my lap. He curls up on my legs when I’m on the sofa and then gets on the bed with me when I go to sleep.
‘He’s almost as good as having a hot water bottle.’
Kevin has become a member of Wendy’s family, there to help her with whatever she needs.
‘He’s one of a kind, he’s so happy to do anything for you and to help you at any time,’ says Wendy. ‘Kevin and I are like our own little family.
‘Kevin is like my shadow, if he’s asleep and I move he wakes up instantly. He’s switched on 24/7.
‘He’s with me all the time and follows me everywhere.
‘Now that I’m on my own, having him around is fantastic. He makes a huge difference to my day-to-day life.
‘Having Kevin is almost like having a man in the house looking after me. He even answers back!
‘He’s my companion. It’s nice to have him by my side to know he’ll be there.’
It’s cold! It’s snowing! It’s all very exciting!
But before you start shaping your snowballs and digging your mittens out of that cupboard under the stairs, take a moment to consider your dog.
Yes, your pooch. If you’re cold, they’re cold too, and it’s vital to take some extra steps to make sure they’re happy and healthy when it’s snowing.
Don’t stress if you’re a cat person – we’ve published a guide to taking care of them in the cold and snow as well.
For any puppies and dogs you’re hanging out with this winter, just make sure to follow these steps, as recommended by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Wrap up warm
You can’t just stop going for walks, but just like you, your dog needs a coat.
Grab a waterproof coat just for your dog to make sure they’re not shivering when they’re outside. This is especially important if your dog is elderly or has a short coat, like greyhounds and staffies.
Check your dog’s paws
All that salt and grit on the roads could get stuck in your dogs paws, causing irritation and pain.
Plus, snow can compact between dogs’ toes, turning into tiny ice balls which can be incredibly painful.
To prevent any issues, have a proper check of your dog’s paws when they return inside, and give them a good dry with a towel.
Make sure they have a warm and cosy bed
Give your dog their own spot to run to when they come in from the cold – think a cosy bed with their very own pillow and blanket, away from any draughts.
Do some indoor exercise
You may need to shorten your usual daily walk to make sure your dog doesn’t get too cold or tired (and save yourself, too). Make sure they remain active with plenty of toys and puzzles indoors to prevent boredom.
It’s important to maintain activity levels or adjust the amount of food your dog is given to avoid weight gain.
Stay away from rivers and lakes
Your usual route may go around the pond in the park, but when it’s freezing, you’ll need to mix things up.
An iced over body of water is far too tempting for most dogs, who’ll race to slide around.
The issue there is that you don’t know how stable that ice may be. It could shatter, leaving your dog absolutely frozen.
Never leave your dog in a car unattended
You know the drill for hot weather, but the same rule applies in winter. A car’s interior can get mighty chilly.
Know the signs of frostbite in dogs
A dog can’t tell you when they’re feeling uncomfortable, so it’s vital to know what signs to look for.
Signs of frostbite in dogs include very pale skin with a blue tint, skin that feels very cold or brittle to touch, blisters, and sore, red areas.
If you notice any symptoms, don’t blast your dog with a hair dryer or stick them next to a radiator. Instead, warm a towel in your clothes dryer or on a radiator, then gently apply the towel to the affected areas.
If areas go darker, head straight to the vet.
Giving your dog special boots can help to prevent frostbite in the paws.
Midsection of woman with puppy standing outdoors during winterMidsection of woman with puppy standing outdoors during winterellencscottsausage dog is carried in snow by woman wearing puffa jacketdog shuts his eyes in a field packed with snow
With all the hen dos, birthdays and endless reunions, the girl’s weekend away can get a little bit… samey.
The same old European cities, wherever Ryanair is willing to take us for under £100, the same Air Bnbs, the same wine bars.
Sure, we’re with our besties and it’s all very lovely – but the backdrop could definitely do with a bit of a shake-up.
Sports tours and festivals are on the rise in the UK. Bournemouth 7s now attracts more than 30,000 festival-goers over the weekend and 400 sports teams every year.
It’s basically an extravaganza of sport, live music, alcohol and partying. And if you and your friends like drinking, dancing and being active – this could be the perfect weekend away for you.
By day, rugby, netball, hockey, dodgeball and volleyball teams compete in elite and social sports tournaments across the 65-acre festival site in the Dorset countryside.
By night, the festival transforms into an epic party, with 40 live bands and DJs, and 15 themed arenas playing R’n’B, dance, garage, hip hop and house music.
It’s a little bit more full-on than your average weekend in Prague – but if your pals are adrenaline junkies and thrive on being active, you might find it a lot more fun.
It’s essentially a music festival, but you spend your days playing sport with your mates instead of lying in a hangover coma in your sweaty tent. Which definitely sounds more appealing.
You can come to the festival as a ready-made team, or you can buy tickets in smaller groups and join up with other people to make teams when you arrive.
And if you’re trying to persuade less-sporty mates to get involved, dodgeball has been added to this year’s line-up, which is a fun, non-contact option for people who are not natural athletes.
Imogen Talbot loved playing sport when she was a student. She says going on sports tour weekends is a fantastic way to keep her old university friendships alive.
‘Sport made my university experience the best three years of my life, and that togetherness and team feeling is something you never lose,’ Imogen tells Metro.co.uk.
‘But since I graduated, living thousands of miles away from my girls is not ideal. So we live for weekends such as Bournemouth 7s. We have been going for a couple of years now and we look forward to it all year round.
‘There’s nothing like being with your best friends, surrounded by like-minded guys and girls with great music, unbelievable sport and, of course, plenty of booze.
‘Without a doubt, the best place to be during the weekend is the VIP tent, it’s where it’s at – great music, perfect pitch-side views of the rugby and plenty of room for your team drinking games.
‘My team especially love a bit of fancy dress, a Wednesday social night at uni was the highlight of the week. We love being able to dress up and for it to be normal. So many other teams make so much effort with their fancy dress, it’s amazing.
‘There is a real sense of belonging and community at a sports festival, as opposed to an 18-30 holiday where I think you can feel secluded and lonely.’
For Rebecca, going on a sports tour weekend is the perfect way to make her netball season last longer
‘I love being able to round the season off with a final weekend filled with fun, laughter, fancy dress, more competitive sport and all-night music.
‘In our club alone we have 22 girls now going on the Bournemouth 7s tour, with new options each year to upgrade to things like glamping and VIP, which makes the whole experience more personalised and bespoke.
‘It always marks the start of summer, almost every year we have been lucky with the weather, but even without the sun you will still have fun.
‘We also love the eye candy and being able to mingle with various athletes. It’s amazing to spend time with each other outside of work and real life stress. We see it as time for the girls, doing something we love with the people we love.’
Why should you go on a sports tour?
Tickets for Bournemouth 7s go on sale Friday 1st February, and if you’re quick you can get an early bird ticket for £50.
Journey to the frozen landscape along Lake Michigan to the inside of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
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Take a longer look at the stories you know all about and peek into the stories you have yet to discover.
Lake Michigan, Chicago
Freezing temperatures suspend Lake Michigan in a magical ice landscape, by Getty Images.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt
King Tut’s tomb is now reopened to the public after a nine-year closure, by Getty Images.
As snow takes over the UK one man prepares to board his Reliant Robin in Shap, by PA.
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Lerwick, Shetland Islands
A long ship is engulfed in flames to celebrate the Viking history in Shetland, by Getty Images and PA.
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Icicles form on the walkway at North Avenue Beach of Lake Michigan in ChicagoIcicles form on the walkway at North Avenue Beach of Lake Michigan in Chicagotashsalmon