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

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    (Picture: Rate My Plate)

    You need to have a strong sense of humour – and stomach – for the Facebook page Rate My Plate.

    It is essentially a page on Facebook where people can upload photos of their dishes – and people are allowed to give their honest opinions.

    However, it almost always turns into people commenting the harshest things they can think of.

    And one woman in particular who has fallen victim to the tough criticism is Carol C – a woman who won’t stop uploading her dishes despite all of the mean stuff that gets said about them.

    Over the past few months, Carol C – as she is known on Facebook – has been posting dishes which include eggs, beans and chips, ham and boiled vegetables and roast pork.

    And let’s just say, the people of Facebook haven’t been impressed.

    Here is one of Carol’s delightful dishes:

    (Picture: Carol C/RateMyPlate)

    And here’s another:

    (Picture: Carol C/RateMyPlate)

    Lots of effort went into this one…

    (Picture: Carol C/RateMyPlate)

    We can’t quite work out what this is meant to be…

    (Picture: Carol C/RateMyPlate)

    But it seems like she likes Brussels sprouts

    (Picture: Carol C/RateMyPlate)

    Since being shared to various pages, people have been commenting some hilarious things which have each received thousands of likes.

    One person asked whether Carol had used to whisk to flip her eggs over…

    (Picture: Rate My Plate)

    Another suggested nothing on her plate looked edible

    (Picture: Rate My Plate)

     

    Someone else asked whether she’d run out of electric half way through cooking the meal

    (Picture: Rate My Plate)

    And another person was a little nicer…

    (Picture: Rate My Plate)

    Let’s just say, with all the likes, shares and comments, Carol C has proved to be pretty popular over on Facebook.

    Just not for her cooking.

    MORE: Forget the love sausage, the sweetheart steak is the next meaty treat for Valentine’s Day

    MORE: What are nightshade vegetables and should you be cutting down?


    Carol C on Rate My PlateCarol C on Rate My PlatehattiegladwellmetroCarol C on Rate My PlateCarol C on Rate My Platehattiegladwellmetro

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    Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 with wedding fixer Natasha Killip (left) during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria?s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.
    (Picture: PizzaExpress / SWNS)

    A couple got married in a surprise wedding ceremony at PizzaExpress, and they even had a wedding cake made out of dough balls.

    29-year-old Maddie Jones and her now-husband Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted a competition to create a spontaneous marital ceremony.

    The nuptials began when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, went for dinner at PizzaExpress in London.

    After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ‘I have had a crazy idea, why don’t you get married today?’

    Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 with wedding fixer Natasha Killip (centre) during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.
    (Picture: PizzaExpress / SWNS)

    When Milly explained the couple’s friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.

    Within hours the restaurant was completely converted into a room with 30 seats for guests from Cumbria and Durham where the couple are from.

    Maddie chose one of 16 dress options and she was then whisked off to have her hair and makeup done while Alex underwent a quick shave and a trim.

    At 6pm wedding celebrant Sheron Burt presided as the couple pledged their futures to each other and exchanged rings.

    Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.
    (Picture: PizzaExpress / SWNS)

    Bride Maddie said: ‘It was an amazing day, of course a bit of a shock initially but the whole thing was lovely. We love pizza, so the wedding food was perfect, and the giant Dough Ball Heart shaped wedding cake was an absolute showstopper.

    ‘I can’t say a big enough thank you to Natasha for her secret planning and of course to PizzaExpress for bringing everyone together to make this happen.’

    Natasha Killip, best friend of the bride for over 14 years, who answered the initial Facebook ad added: ‘I put them forward and didn’t think any more of it, so when the confirmation came through, I was a little panicked.

    ‘Planning the whole wedding and keeping it all a surprise was somewhat daunting, but the whole day was so unique and magical.

    Maddie Jones and Alex Sung giant Dough Ball Heart shaped wedding cake at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.
    (Picture: PizzaExpress / SWNS)

    ‘It was fantastic to be able to bring all Maddie and Alex’s loved ones together for such a special celebration.’

    Natasha, 29, put forward her friends for the ceremony, by responding to a Facebook challenge from PizzaExpress back on 10 January.

    The post asked for nominations for the UK’s biggest pizza lovers who would then go on to win an exclusive all-expenses-paid wedding experience and honeymoon to Italy.

    Maddie and Alex met on Tinder in 2016, which led to a romantic proposal from Alex at the top of the Rockefeller Centre in New York in 2017.

    Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.
    (Picture: PizzaExpress / SWNS)

    After selecting the couple, organisers quickly got in touch with Natasha to set the wedding plans in motion.

    Natasha worked closely with a surprise wedding production team, led by expert wedding planner, Ann Nicholas, to tailor every aspect of the day, including inviting all the couple’s friends and family, who were also in on the secret.

    Natasha told the couple they had won a complimentary meal at Pizza Express on Russia Way in the City of London.

    The pair were then invited down to the pizzeria, where 19 secret cameras were hidden, to capture every step of the surprise moment.

    Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria?s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.
    (Picture: PizzaExpress / SWNS)

    PizzaExpress also installed 20 hidden mics.

    With 30 of the couple’s closest friends waiting in the wings, an intimate wedding ceremony was held, before the venue came alive with an evening of celebrations that same day.

    The special occasion was complete with confetti cannons, sparklers, a live jazz band and even a giant Dough Ball Heart shaped wedding cake, created especially by renowned baker, Juliet Sears.

    The activity was set up in celebration of the fact the brand has been bringing people together to celebrate good times for over 50 years.

    PizzaExpress is now considering licensing a number of its pizzerias to become wedding venues, to allow more of its superfans to say ‘I Dough’ over a slice of their favourite pizza.

    MORE: What are nightshade vegetables and should you be cutting down?

    MORE: Forget the love sausage, the sweetheart steak is the next meaty treat for Valentine’s Day


    SEI_51707742-4187SEI_51707742-4187hattiegladwellmetroMaddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 with wedding fixer Natasha Killip (left) during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria?s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 with wedding fixer Natasha Killip (centre) during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones and Alex Sung giant Dough Ball Heart shaped wedding cake at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria?s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.SEI_51707742-4187SEI_51707742-4187hattiegladwellmetroMaddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 with wedding fixer Natasha Killip (left) during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria?s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 with wedding fixer Natasha Killip (centre) during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones and Alex Sung giant Dough Ball Heart shaped wedding cake at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria???s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30 during their wedding at PizzaExpress in London. See SWNS story SWBRwed; A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. A loved-up young couple who said: ''I dough!'' enjoyed a full-scale wedding celebration minutes later - in a pizza restaurant. Maddie Jones, 29 and Alex Sung, 30, were nominated for the ultimate shotgun wedding by a friend who spotted the pizzeria?s Facebook offer to create a spontaneous marital ceremony. The quick-fire nuptials began on Sunday, 27 January when Maddie and Alex, who had been engaged for a year, arrived for dinner at PizzaExpress in London. After revealing a friend of theirs had tipped off staff about their 12-month engagement, waitress Milly Threw declared: ''I have had a crazy idea, why don't you get married today?'' When Milly explained the couple's friends and family were already on their way to the restaurant on Russia Way in the city of London, primary school teacher Maddie and electrician Alex agreed to instantly tie the knot.

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    Your friend just got engaged. Hurrah!

    She’s over the moon, you’ve liked the picture of her ring on four different social media platforms and you’re already planning your outfit for the big day. It’s all going so well, until she starts talking about her hen.

    Back in the day a Hen do was a night out. A meal at a restaurant, maybe some clubbing. Perhaps a stripper. But it was all over and done with in one night and there was certainly no question of leaving the country.

    But in the last decade things have changed. A curry and a boogie isn’t good enough anymore. A ‘proper’ hen means going away for a weekend in the UK if you’re lucky. Or a long weekend abroad if you’re really unfortunate.

    The words ‘I said yes’ now come with context. I said yes, so you’ll need to transfer £127 to my Maid of Honour for your flights to Spain, then there’ll be the £95 for your accommodation. That includes two bottles of wine and no transport from the airport.

    Oh and you’re now in a Whatsapp group called ‘Henz’ for the next five months, even though you’ll never actually read the messages.

    Isn’t it all so exciting?

    One or two of these trips might be fun, but by the time you’re going on five a year, as well as attending the actual weddings, it’s easy to get to a point when you’re spending thousands of pounds a year on celebrating other people’s relationships. There are women who’ve admitted to getting into significant debt because of the obligation to go to weddings and hen do’s.

    The average UK based hen or stag costs £494 to attend. The average one abroad is £998. If you go to four in a year you’ve spent between two and four grand.

    So whether you can’t afford the cost of the hen do, or you can afford it but you’d honestly much rather save the money for something you actually want: how do you get out of going on an expensive Hen Do?

    The first thing is to be honest. ‘My bridesmaid couldn’t afford to come to my hen’ said Georgia, a 31 year old designer from London. ‘Which was fine. It in Ibiza and it cost around £450 per head. I knew it was expensive, but I’d been on so many hens abroad I wanted it to finally be my time.’

    ‘I didn’t mind that she couldn’t come, I knew that was a risk when I chose to have it abroad. But what upset me was that she pretended she was going to come, talking about trying to find the cash and getting back to us later to let us know. We spent so long chasing her to find out what was happening, and it held up the process of booking the flights.

    ‘If she’d just told me she couldn’t come it would have been fine.’

    As is so often the case in terms of Modern Etiquette, honesty is always the best policy.

    If you tell the bride that you haven’t got the cash to come and that doesn’t work, what next?

    ‘My best friend offered to pay for me to come to her hen’ said Alex, a 27-year-old teacher from London. ‘It was so nice of her, but I couldn’t face it. I didn’t want to be the person sponging off the bride, she already had loads of things to pay for, and it would have made me feel like a freeloader.

    ‘Plus, when we got there I’d either have had to pay for all my own drinks and food which would have cost a fortune, or kept asking her to get stuff for me. I was too embarrassed. I told her no, and she was really upset about it for a while.’

    If you’re not going to attend an expensive hen do even if the bride offers to pay, you might want to consider organising an alternative hen in the UK.

    ‘In the end’ said Alex, ‘I did an afternoon tea at my house for her with some games. It cost me about  £40, we all had a really nice time and she felt like I’d made the effort, which was all that really mattered.’

    Doing something thoughtful to show that you do care (just not to the tune of £500) is a great compromise. But remember, no is a complete sentence, and you are not obliged to spend your money on celebrating someone else’s marriage.

    They’re already gearing up for the happiest day of their life. They can afford to be generous about your not coming on the hen, as long as you’re transparent about the fact that you won’t be attending.

    Modern Etiquette is a weekly series. Rather than telling you what to do with a salad crescent or which shoes are most appropriate for Ascot, we’ll be working out how to navigate shared houses, drugs, ex-boyfriends and that moment when you send the screenshot of the person you’re bitching about to them. 

    MORE: Modern Etiquette: I liked an Instagram photo from 2014 – what do I do?

    MORE: Modern Etiquette: My Tinder date doesn’t look like their pictures – what now?

    MORE: Modern Etiquette: I got period blood on someone else’s sofa, what do I do?


    I don't want to go to a spenny hen do.I don't want to go to a spenny hen do.rebeccacnreidI don't want to go to a spenny hen do.I don't want to go to a spenny hen do.rebeccacnreid

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    Can YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 seconds Credit: Holiday Cottages
    (Picture: Holiday Cottages)

    Valentine’s Day is just a few days ago, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a romance-filled brainteaser.

    People are taking almost four minutes to find a lost engagement ring and other hidden items in this Valentine’s brainteaser.

    It was made by Holiday Cottages, to celebrate the day.

    According to them, the brainteaser features Sophie and Sam, who have gone on a trip to the countryside to stay in an idyllic cottage.

    Sam has plans of proposing, but he has lost the ring. We know, it’s a typical scenario.

    So, the idea is for you to find the bits he needs to propose with – which includes a single rose, a box of chocolates, a Valentine’s card and a gift box.

    It’s taking people an average of three minutes 54 seconds to find all of the hidden objects.

    How long will it take you?

    If you’ve found all the items, congratulations, you’re helping the make-believe people get married.

    If not, the answers are below…

    How long did it take you to find them all?

    (Picture: Holiday Cottages)

    Let us know in the comments.

    MORE: Women, don’t feel you have to accept Valentine’s gifts from men you’re not interested in

    MORE: Forget the love sausage, the sweetheart steak is the next meaty treat for Valentine’s Day


    Can YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 secondsCan YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 secondshattiegladwellmetroCan YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 seconds Credit: Holiday CottagesCan YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 secondsCan YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 secondshattiegladwellmetroCan YOU solve this Valentine?s brain teaser? Most people take 3 minutes 54 seconds Credit: Holiday Cottages

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    A yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a "unique experience" which are "great for mind, body and soul".
    (Picture: Rosebud Alpacas / SWNS)

    A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes in a field full of alpacas.

    Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among countryside, and is the perfect place for yoga.

    To make the experience even more amazing, owners Nick and Lucy Aylett decided to run the classes in the same field where the keep their alpacas.

    They say their alpaca yoga classes, which take place in South Molton, Devon, are a ‘unique experience’ which is ‘great for mind, body and soul’.

    A yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a "unique experience" which are "great for mind, body and soul".
    (Picture: Rosebud Alpacas / SWNS)

    Nick said: ‘They live outside and the chickens are protected by the alpaca herd who are quick to alert all around to any unwelcome visitors.

    ‘We want our land to be an inviting place for others to come and enjoy.

    ‘It is our home and is a very special place that we would really love other people to enjoy too.

    ‘It’s a place where people can come to escape, take time out from technology and busy lives, a chance to spend time connecting with the land, the animals and each other.

    A yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a "unique experience" which are "great for mind, body and soul".
    (Picture: Rosebud Alpacas / SWNS)

    ‘Our dream is for this place also to be a sanctuary for people to come and feel at home as well.’

    The pair say all their animals are ‘raised ethically with freedom of choice, their welfare being paramount’.

    Each session is led by qualified instructor Sian Bartlett and light food and drink are provided after each class.

    In addition to the alpaca yoga, they also offer alpaca walking, alpaca picnics, alpaca art sessions and a special ‘alpaca connection’ package.

    The alpaca connection session is where guests are guided in meditations and have the opportunity to ‘walk amongst the herd in mindful observation’.

    MORE: Flying dogs will make your day infinitely better

    MORE: Can you smell your way to stronger orgasms?


    SEI_51734582-6eadSEI_51734582-6eadhattiegladwellmetroA yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a SEI_51734582-6eadSEI_51734582-6eadhattiegladwellmetroA yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a "unique experience" which are "great for mind, body and soul".A yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a "unique experience" which are "great for mind, body and soul".A yoga class is held at Rosebud Alpacas in Devon. See SWNS story SWPLalpaca; A farm has become the first place in Britain to offer yoga classes - in a field full of ALPACAS. Rosebud Alpacas is located on a remote smallholding among rolling countryside and has been hailed as the perfect location for calming exercise. But to add to the experience owners Nick and Lucy Aylett have decided to run their yoga classes in the same field where they keep their alpacas. And they say their alpaca yoga classes in South Molton, Devon, are a "unique experience" which are "great for mind, body and soul".

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    (Picture: Godiva)

    Long have we waited for a hybrid food to match the brilliance of the cronut.

    Godiva may have just done it.

    The chocolate brand has just unveiled the croiffle; a glorious mashup of a croissant and a waffle – AKA the two best breakfast foods combined in one neat package.

    This is a big deal (to us, anyway), as we’ve been let down by hybrid food attempts in the past.

    There was the tacro, which combined a messy-to-eat croissant with a difficult-to-eat taco. Then there was the wildly impractical conut. Please don’t remind us of the sushi croissant.

    Unlike those monstrosities, the croiffle makes sense.

    Both the croissant and waffle are delicious breakfast foods that you can enjoy on their own or spread with a sauce, such as jam or chocolate spread. They were meant to be, and Godiva has done the Lord’s work of bringing them together.

    Picture: Godiva)

    The Croiffle will be on the menu at Godiva’s first cafe in Penn Station, New York, so unless you happen to live there you can’t get your paws on it.

    It’s a buttery croissant with your choice of filling (pick from dark chocolate, milk chocolate, three cheese, ham and ceese, bacon egg and gouda, or sausage egg and gruyere) that’s then stuck in a waffle iron for that grid-y goodness.

    As we said, it’s currently only available in New York, so we must think of the croiffle fondly and send our wishes to Godiva to bring it over here, stat.

    In the meantime, however, anyone with a waffle iron can try to recreate the croiffle experience at home by placing a croissant of your choice in the iron’s grooves and pressing down.

    Voila, you have a croissant-meets-waffle bit of joy. Wonderful.

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    croiffle-f784croiffle-f784ellencscottcroiffle-f784croiffle-f784ellencscott

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

    If Lovehoney’s Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Vibrating Clitoral Suction Vibrator doesn’t awaken your clitoris, I don’t know what will.

    Upon first glance, this sex toy could easily be pass as a skincare device. But it is in fact a cunnilingus imitator and the first sex toy of this kind I’ve tried.

    What is it?

    The sleek and compact purple pebble is made from soft silicone and unlike bullet vibrators, it doesn’t make any direct contact with your clitoris.

    Rather the nozzle slips over the top of your clitoral hood and sends pressure waves towards it and has a light suction to mimic the feeling of oral sex.

    Sex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Vibrator

    How did it perform?

    On first use I had played around with just one pattern variation and speed before I experienced a short and intense clitoral orgasm – even the lowest setting of vibration is quite something.

    Now, not to brag or anything but I don’t struggle to get the job done solo, so I wasn’t after another sex toy for a quick fix.

    With that in mind, I persisted and on my third attempt, with the help from a little lube, I found the perfect variation of patterns, speed and suction. That consisted of short pulsations like a heartbeat and the manual lifting off and placing the nozzle directly back on to the clitoris in quick succession.

    This resulted in my vagina getting insanely wet, followed by sweating, rapid breathing (aka climaxing) and a quivering orgasm that knocked my previous clitoral vibrator off its pedestal.

    I even lost all sense of self-awareness and was quite vocal during climax. I could only focus on the sensation. Let’s just say I’m thankful my flatmates weren’t in.

    Is it loud?

    The lower settings are rumbly and relatively quiet. But unsurprisingly, they get buzzier and much louder the higher the speed of vibration. But bear in mind it’s not the sex toy that necessarily makes all the noise.

    Will it give my clitoris a love bite?

    It doesn’t actually do much sucking, it’s very subtle. But don’t be disheartened if you expected more. The way I experienced it, if the suction was any stronger there’s the possibility I might have peed myself.

    Sex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Vibrator

    Does it replicate oral sex?

    Let’s be honest, no toy can ever truly replicate the utter exhilaration of having someone give you oral sex. However, despite the fact it doesn’t suckle your clit (as I had expected) it’s as close as I’ve come to the real thing.

    Who’s it for?

    If you struggle to get aroused, or wet, or you’re a lover of a bullet vibrator but you’re yet to experience toe-curling clitoral orgasms, this device is for you.

    Final thoughts?

    Right off the bat I wish the Lovehoney Desire Luxury Vibrating Clitoral Suction Vibrator came with a bottle of water-based lube (clits don’t self-lubricate), as it performs best with a dollop of the slippery stuff – I had to pop to Boots and grab a bottle of Durex along with my meal deal.

    Lack of lube aside, let’s just say I’m quite looking forward to my next duvet day.

    Sex toys on trial: Lovehoney Desire Luxury Clitoral Suction Vibrator

    Overall score 4/5 Not the full package, but not far off either.

    Satisfaction 4/5 Intensely satisfying orgasms when the technique hits the spot (pun intended). 

    Ease of use 2/5 Practice makes perfect.

    Noisiness 2.5/5 It’s not you, it’s me.

    The Sex toys on trial: Lovehoney Desire Luxury Clitoral Suction Vibrator is available to buy online for £79.99 here.


    sleep wellsleep wellemilyknott17sleep wellSex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction VibratorSex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Vibratorsleep wellsleep wellemilyknott17sleep wellSex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction VibratorSex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Vibrator

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    Meg Mathews, 52, was once at the centre of London's party scene but now lives a healthy lifestyle and runs megsmenopause.com, a website offering advice and support to women going through the menopause (Picture: Meg Mathews)
    Meg Mathews, 52, was once at the centre of London’s party scene but now lives a healthy lifestyle and runs megsmenopause.com, a website offering advice and support to women going through the menopause (Picture: Meg Mathews)

    Water, weight training and cannabis oil are three of the most important ways to stay strong during the menopause, according to Meg Mathews.

    If passing your half-century means you should be slowing down, Meg Mathews does not appear to have read the memo. She is now 52 and showing levels of energy and enthusiasm that most people don’t achieve at any age. But getting to where she is now has been very far from easy.

    In the 1990s, Mathews became one of the faces of the whole Britpop/Cool Britannia thing that was sweeping the nation back in the days when Tony Blair still seemed like a good idea.

    As the wife of Oasis’s Noel Gallagher, whose songs helped put Britain back on the musical map, Mathews experienced all the highs and lows of fame.

    At first it was thrilling, but then her treatment at the hands of press and paparazzi turned into an ordeal.

    ‘I had the worst experience,’ she told me on the Healthy Beast podcast. ‘In the early 2000s they were horrific to me. One minute I was the girl that met Noel Gallagher, the Paul and Linda McCartney of the 90s, and then all of a sudden, as they do with everything, they got me.’

    Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (277275h) NOEL GALLAGHER WITH WIFE MEG MATHEWS TONY BLAIR'S PARTY AT 10 DOWNING STREET, LONDON, BRITAIN - 1997
    Meg with then-husband Noel Gallagher at the Houses of Parliament in 1997 (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

    She added: ‘It was absolutely exhausting, and it wasn’t even the nicest things all the time… the press just decided that they were going to make me a target, for unknown reasons, and it went on for years.’

    But the 1990s is a long time ago. The marriage is long over, but Mathews and Gallagher still get on, and appear to have done a very good job of bringing up their 18-year-old daughter, Anais.

    Anais Gallagher has modelled for Dolce & Gabbana, is the new face of Reebok and is a contributing fashion editor for Tatler – an issue of which she posted on Instagram recently, when she starred on the cover accompanied by the headline ‘Britpop 2.0 comes of age’. She is outspoken on animal and women’s rights and appears to have a very grown-up head on her young body.

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: (L to R) Meg Mathews, Kate Moss and Anais Gallagher attend the Bella Freud store launch in Marylebone on December 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Bella Freud)
    Meg Mathews, left, with long-time friend Kate Moss and daughter Anais (Picture: David M. Benett/Getty)

    Mathews herself came around to the sensible life in a slightly more roundabout way. Following much publicised partying with the likes of Kate Moss and Sadie Frost, there were bouts of depression and stints in rehab. Then just as she was about to turn 50 she was hit by another blow: the menopause.

    At first Mathews did not know what was happening, she just felt wiped out, anxious and couldn’t sleep. She was prescribed anti-depressants – which were, in her to-the-point manner, ‘shit’. They were a temporary help with the anxiety, but robbed her of even more energy.

    When she realised that the menopause was at the root of her problems, she set about getting back to full health and became passionate about helping other women.

    She was ‘shocked’ by the lack of support and understanding shown to women at this time in their lives and made it her mission to break the stigma around the menopause.

    She started megsmenopause.com, providing advice and support for women like her to help them understand the symptoms that accompany the menopause and what they can do to alleviate them.

    Meg says she is enjoying life more as a healthy menopause advisor than she did as a party girl (Picture: Meg Mathews)
    Meg says she is enjoying life more as a healthy menopause advisor than she did as a party girl (Picture: Meg Mathews)

    She writes about such topics as loss of libido, vaginal dryness and anxiety and brings experts in to talk about how to handle the issues and the things that can help.

    When it comes to her own menopause symptoms – Meg says she had 32 of the 34 most common, which she lists on her website – Meg developed her own ways to cope.

    She has the start of osteoporosis, a bone weakening condition that killed her mother, and stresses the importance of lifting weights to maintain strength and bone density.

    She is evangelical about drinking plenty of water, and she has started to take cannabidiol, or CBD.

    Often referred to as cannabis oil, CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana and hemp. The resulting oil does not have the THC element that gets you high, which also means it is legal to buy.

    It has been used to treat a whole range of conditions and was recently cleared by the Home Secretary for use as a prescription medicine.

    After being recommended CBD oil by a friend for her anxiety, Meg began to take it daily. ‘I’ve spoken a lot about my anxiety during the menopause and even though I was taking HRT, I still had anxiety on most days,’ she said. ‘Not long after taking the CBD oil, I noticed that I was feeling much calmer and less anxious.

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Anais Gallagher (L) and Meg Matthews attend the launch of #megsmenopause at Home House on January 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images )
    Anais Gallagher, left, and Meg Matthews at the launch of Megsmenopause in January 2018 (Picture: David M. Benett/Getty)

    ‘For me, the worst kind of anxiety is the anxiety that has no root cause; feeling anxious for no reason at all was one of the worst things about my menopause experience.

    Now, Meg says that her anxiety levels have dropped to ‘practically nothing’. ‘A lot of people have noticed the difference in me and I feel a sense of calm that I haven’t felt for a very long time,’ she says.

    ‘I was really pleasantly surprised because I really couldn’t believe that something so simple could help me so much. But I noticed a huge change in myself.’

    Not only did the CBD oil help with Meg’s anxiety, it also helped with her insomnia, assisted in getting her off the anti-depressants she was taking for her anxiety – and pretty much cured her joint pain, too.

    Meg Mathews, 52, was once at the centre of London's party scene but now lives a healthy lifestyle and runs megsmenopause.com, a website offering advice and support to women going through the menopause (Picture: Meg Mathews)Rumour Mill: our round-up of football gossip, rumours and speculation

    She was so impressed by the effects that she has designed her own range of CBD products, including CBD gummy bears, and started selling them through her website.

    Anything you take must be part of an overall healthy approach to life, she says – hence the water and the weights – but the CBD, which she talks about passionately on her blog and her Instagram, has been a major factor.

    She may once have been known for her hedonistic lifestyle, but she is going at her health kick just as hard. Now Meg says she says she gets far more of a thrill from helping women with their health problems than she ever did from impressing people with red carpet outfits.

    Talking about all the positive feedback she gets online for the advice she gives, she said: ‘I love it, there’s nothing better’. She tells how she recently looked back at the comments on one of her old, rather more glamorous Instagram posts. ‘Everyone was saying, “we love your shoes”, or “we love your dress” – I just thought, no, let’s go back on Megsmenopause, because that means so much more to me.’

    The advice she is giving seems to be working for her too – she looks like she’s having more fun as a health guru than she ever did as a party girl.

    Meg was speaking to Richard Holt of the Healthy Beast podcast, which you can listen to here or find on Instagram

     

    WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE AND WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

    The menopause is the exact point in your life when you have stopped having periods for a total of 12 months.

    This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. The average age in the UK is 51. The menopause is caused by changes in your hormone levels. When your body is at its most fertile, estrogen and progesterone keep your periods and production of eggs regular. As you get older, you can’t store as many eggs in your ovaries and you might find it harder to conceive. That is because your body is producing less and less estrogen. This gradual process is called the perimenopause.

    The menopause is a natural process that every woman will eventually go through. Some of you may have quite a difficult experience while others may sail through it. Your experience of the menopause will greatly depend on a number of things including body type, family history and lifestyle. There are 34 common symptoms of menopause, which include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and fatigue, and are typically due to the natural decline in estrogen. Fortunately, all symptoms are manageable through lifestyle and diet changes, as well as natural and medical treatments.

    COMMON SYMPTOMS

    1. Hot Flushes
    2. Night Sweats
    3. Loss of Libido
    4. Vaginal Dryness
    5. Irregular Periods
    MENTAL SYMPTOMS
    6. Anxiety
    7. Irritability
    8. Panic Disorders
    9. Difficulty Concentrating
    10. Mood Swings
    11. Foggy Brain
    12. Depression

    PHYSICAL CHANGES

    13. Fatigue
    14. Hair Loss
    15. Sleep Problems
    16. Dizziness

    17. Weight Gain
    18. Bloating
    19. Allergies
    20. Brittle Nails
    21. Osteoporosis
    22. Irregular Heartbeat
    23. Changes in Body Odour
    24. Bladder Problems

    PAINS

    25. Breast Pain
    26. Headaches
    27. Joint Pain
    28. Burning Mouth
    29. Electric Shock
    30. Nausea and Digestive Problems
    31. Dental Problems
    32. Muscle Tension
    33. Dry and Itchy Skin
    34. Tingling Extremities

     

    Fertility Diaries

    This story is part of Fertility Diaries, an ongoing series covering all aspects of fertility.

    We launched it thanks to an overwhelming response to Metro.co.uk's Fertility Month, a month-long series of content that we published across November.

    Across four weeks, we spoke to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who shed light on the most important issues.

    The feedback we received has been uniformly positive.

    We talked to so many women and men who had the courage to share their stories with us and who told us how much it helped them to hear stories from others.

    We had dozens of stories flooding our inbox every day throughout the month. As a result, we simply did not have time to tell all of the stories.

    For that reason, we have decided to continue our fertility month as Fertility Diaries and we will continue to publish articles - and to tell your stories - under this tag.

    If you have any feedback on the content or your own story to tell, please do get in touch at fertilitystories@metro.co.uk.

    You can find all Fertility Diaries content here and a selection below.

    MORE: Fertility Month: Why we are talking about fertility this month

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    meg mathews portrait (copyright meg mathews)-b7e4meg mathews portrait (copyright meg mathews)-b7e4akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdMeg Mathews, 52, was once at the centre of London's party scene but now lives a healthy lifestyle and runs megsmenopause.com, a website offering advice and support to women going through the menopause (Picture: Meg Mathews) Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (277275h) NOEL GALLAGHER WITH WIFE MEG MATHEWS TONY BLAIR'S PARTY AT 10 DOWNING STREET, LONDON, BRITAIN - 1997LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: (L to R) Meg Mathews, Kate Moss and Anais Gallagher attend the Bella Freud store launch in Marylebone on December 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Bella Freud)Meg says she is enjoying life more as a healthy menopause advisor than she did as a party girl (Picture: Meg Mathews) LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Anais Gallagher (L) and Meg Matthews attend the launch of #megsmenopause at Home House on January 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images )meg mathews portrait (copyright meg mathews)-b7e4meg mathews portrait (copyright meg mathews)-b7e4akismet-2fcb28243f975bb512a587b829a23dfdMeg Mathews, 52, was once at the centre of London's party scene but now lives a healthy lifestyle and runs megsmenopause.com, a website offering advice and support to women going through the menopause (Picture: Meg Mathews) Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (277275h) NOEL GALLAGHER WITH WIFE MEG MATHEWS TONY BLAIR'S PARTY AT 10 DOWNING STREET, LONDON, BRITAIN - 1997LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: (L to R) Meg Mathews, Kate Moss and Anais Gallagher attend the Bella Freud store launch in Marylebone on December 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Bella Freud)Meg says she is enjoying life more as a healthy menopause advisor than she did as a party girl (Picture: Meg Mathews) LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Anais Gallagher (L) and Meg Matthews attend the launch of #megsmenopause at Home House on January 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images )

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    (Picture: Sonni Abatta)

    Diet culture starts early.

    It lurks in the way our parents talk about their bodies, the adverts we see between TV shows, and even, according to one mum, on our lunchboxes.

    Writer and podcaster Sonni Abatta wrote an important post on Facebook asking why she spotted a lunchbox with ‘cheat day’ written on the front in sequins.

    She says that the lunchbox seems to be intended for young girls as it was stacked next to sweets and other pink lunchboxes, and that she’s ‘sickened’ to see the phrase on something designed for children.

    Sonni writes: ‘We scratch our heads when we see our little girls struggle with body image, with self worth, with confidence.

    ‘We wonder, “Why do our girls worry so much about their bodies so young?” … “Why does my five year old call herself ‘fat?'” … “Why does my middle schooler stand in front of the mirror and find all her flaws?”

    ‘THIS. This is part of the reason why.

    ‘Our world is telling our girls that it’s “cheating” if they eat something that’s not 100% fat-free and perfectly healthy.

    ‘In turn, that tells them that self-control and denying herself is to be valued above all. And that if she dares to step outside of the foods that will keep her perfectly slim and trim, then she is by default “cheating” and needs to feel some sense of remorse.

    Sonni Abatta, a mum and blogger, has a bone to pick with a store she recently visited. According to a now-viral Facebook post, she spotted a lunchbox promoting dieting to young girls. After spotting the pink "Cheat Day" lunchbox, Sonni explained that it was extremely problematic, regardless of whether or not it was in the kids' section specifically.
    (Picture: Sonni Abatta)

    ‘Look, I’m not saying a diet of strictly sugar and chips is right either; but by God, why would a company ever pile onto our girls’ already-fragile senses of self by making her feel as though she’s “cheating” by eating something that’s–gasp–not made of vegetables and air?’

    Before anyone accuses Sonni of overreacting, she explains that ignoring the lunchbox’s messaging is simply accepting the unfair way the world treats girls.

    She says: ‘Can you imagine a similar message directed toward little boys? For the record, I’d be equally offended… but I haven’t seen anything that is aimed at making our boys feel bad about what they eat, or how they look.’

    And that’s a valid point – we’re so used to dieting being marketed directly at women and girls that it’d feel strange to see the same lunchbox for boys.

    Sonni ends by explaining to any women and young girl reading that eating food that tastes good is never ‘cheating’.

    ‘You are not “cheating” when you eat pizza,’ she writes. ‘You are not “cheating” when you have a cookie, or two, on occasion. You are not “cheating” when you live in moderation and allow yourself things that make you happy.

    ‘Girls – you are MORE than your bodies. More than your faces. More than your complexions. More than the clothes you wear and the things you buys and the other girls you hang out with.

    ‘You are beautiful, worthy, intelligent, and whole beings–whole beings who are worthy of so much love and respect, no matter what anyone, or anyTHING, says.’

    That’s a lesson we all need to hear – not just young girls.

    Sonni’s post has been shared more than 100 times, and has received comments of support from other parents concerned about the messages their daughters receive from modern culture.

    One grandmother wrote: ‘Our 5 yr old granddaughter asked her mom if she was fat.’

    Another commented: ‘No one should feel like this with a lunchbox that has a message like this. Girls shouldn’t, boys shouldn’t, women shouldn’t and Men shouldn’t.’

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    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I would never say I was black, that shuts off half of me – that half is my mum’

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘My lungs are broken but people don’t think I am disabled’


    Mum questions 'cheat day' lunchboxMum questions 'cheat day' lunchboxellencscottSonni Abatta, a mum and blogger, has a bone to pick with a store she recently visited. According to a now-viral Facebook post, she spotted a lunchbox promoting dieting to young girls. After spotting the pink Mum questions 'cheat day' lunchboxMum questions 'cheat day' lunchboxellencscottSonni Abatta, a mum and blogger, has a bone to pick with a store she recently visited. According to a now-viral Facebook post, she spotted a lunchbox promoting dieting to young girls. After spotting the pink "Cheat Day" lunchbox, Sonni explained that it was extremely problematic, regardless of whether or not it was in the kids' section specifically.

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    Women have long been indoctrinated with the idea that you have to look a certain way in order to be fit.

    It’s everywhere. Adverts, social media, TV shows – the only women who get to be strong, healthy and love their bodies are size 6 Instagram models, clad head-to-toe in lycra with intimidating abs and an inexplicable thigh gap.

    It teaches us over and over again that this is the ideal female form. And anything that doesn’t fit the mould is wrong, even shameful.

    The world of fitness and women’s sport is crying out for more diverse representation.

    Women of all ages, sizes, races and abilities can be strong, fit and unbelievably inspirational. But we never get to see them.

    A huge study by Sport England found that 75% of women say fear of judgement puts them off being active. And 40% of women over the age of 16 aren’t meeting the recommended levels of weekly fitness.

    So it’s more important than ever for women to reclaim the narrative and celebrate their inner strength. Regardless of what they look like.

    This series aims to redefine what it means to be a strong woman. We will meet some of the incredible ladies who are challenging accepted norms every single day.

    This week we meet Ella Foote, an outdoor swimmer who braves the cold year-round and couldn’t care less how you think she looks in a swimming costume.

    Ella Foote holding some ice as she goes for an outdoor swim.
    (Picture: Ella Foote/Metro.co.uk)

    Tell us about your relationship with fitness

    At school, fitness and exercise was something either compulsory or not enjoyable.

    The exercise I enjoyed most was the kind where I didn’t notice I was getting in shape when I did it. Spending hours on my bike with my mates, dancing, heading to the ice rink to meet boys, evenings at the roller disco and Saturdays at the swimming pool.

    When I left university, I didn’t really know how to keep in shape. I hated the gym.

    Around 2007 I asked myself – what sport do I really enjoy doing when it doesn’t feel like effort? The answer was swimming.

    Ploughing up and down the pool wasn’t fun though, swimming in the sea – now that is what brought me joy.

    I found a mile sea swim challenge raising money for the British Heart Foundation and set my sights on it. I went to the pool to train. I was covering a mile no problem, but when it came to the event. My weak breaststroke wasn’t enough and I didn’t finish the mile. The tide was against me and I had to walk to the finish. I was so embarrassed.

    So I went back to the pool, had a couple of lessons to improve my front crawl and then practiced it. The following summer I conquered  the mile sea swim. It felt fantastic, I wanted to do more.

    I didn’t live near the sea, I started to seek rivers and lakes locally to get my outdoor swimming fix. I was interested in wetsuits or speed. I wanted to feel the water.

    I met strangers in riverside car parks, I swam in lakes with eels swimming beneath me and weeds stroking my legs. It was a combination of love and fear. I was hooked.

    I started to learn I was a pretty hardy swimmer, could handle the cold well and my stubborn nature spurred me on to finish a swim despite my fleshy and wobbly figure.

    I had always hated my body – consistently striving to be thinner – but in the water I loved it. By the end of 2012 I had completed many more short distance open water swims and an English Channel relay swim. In 2014 I set myself the task to swim the Dart 10k and also completed the Thames Marathon swim of 14k from Henley bridge to Marlow.

    Today I swim all year-round, rain, shine or snow.

    What challenges have you faced?

    In 2015, the annual Active People survey found that almost half a million women in England have given up swimming in the past decade amid fears about how they look in a swimsuit. I am consistently asked about my relationship with my body and wearing a swimsuit. I don’t think men are asked this question or women who are thinner.

    Swimming is the kind of sport where you can’t actually judge a person’s fitness by what they look like. You can be a strong and decent distance swimmer and be overweight.

    I am overweight, I don’t look ‘sexy’ in a swimsuit. I have had to learn not to care what people think of what I look like in my cossie, because I know my body is strong in the water.

    It breaks my heart when I hear women put themselves down, not go for a swim for fear of what their body looks like in a swimming costume. Many women have said to me, “I love swimming, but can’t face putting a swimsuit on – I don’t know how you do it.”

    Another barrier is that brands, particularly outdoor brands, don’t do plus size clothing. I realise it is an investment in time and money to explore bigger clothing ranges, but often the biggest barrier into exercise is failing at the first hurdle and not being able to find something comfortable to wear.

    I often walk across hills and up mountains for a good swim spot, it is impossible to find decent, confidence boosting clothing that supports my body and is practical. I’m often forced to wear men’s clothing.

    Ella Foote takes a selfie under a waterfall.
    (Picture: Ella Foote/Metro.co.uk)

    Why do you think of yourself as a strong woman?

    People often say I am fearless. But that is rubbish. I am human, I am often afraid. The difference is I do it anyway.

    I can’t ever look back and know I didn’t do something because I was afraid. I will get into rivers, lakes, ponds and seas. I look marine creatures in the eye underwater and let the weeds brush against my skin. I peer off into deep dark shelves in the seabed, not knowing what is down there. I have swam across channels and leapt off rocks.

    I have scared myself, I have gasped in fear of not knowing what just touched my leg. The trade-off is I am having the time of my life.

    I have met the most inspiring, kind and wonderful people. Listened to stories, become a story. Swam in the most stunning parts of the UK and parts of Europe.

    I am not afraid to do it alone, because there isn’t someone willing to hold my hand, or be at the end of the finishing line or rescue me when it goes wrong. I live in the faith that on the whole, people are good and it will be alright in the end.

    What about role models – what do we need to see more of?

    In the media there are no women like me. Across social media there are lots of amazing women breaking down the barriers, challenging ideas and doing it anyway. You have to really seek them out.

    I am not a bigger woman who is overweight and proud. I would like to be in better shape, for my health and strength. Not for any other reason.

    I realise images of me in my swimsuit aren’t going to sell swimsuits to the masses, but it might sell more swimsuits to more women who have been afraid to swim for fear of what they look like.

    I often get messages on through my social media thanking me for inspiring them to get back in the water. You don’t have to be thin or athletic looking to be strong. But you do to sell products.

    Ella Foote stands on a beach wearing a swimsuit and a woolly hat.
    (Picture: Ella Foote/Metro.co.uk)

    I don’t think women are scared to be perceived as strong. The fear comes from not ever being able to crack or be seen as anything but strong. Once you are seen as a strong person, it is hard to admit when you feel like marshmallow.

    There are still women who I meet, even some of my friends, who ask for help when they are capable and strong enough to do things themselves. While there is no shame in asking for help, it is still a perception that we are more attractive when we play the needy, girly and cute card.

    While many men love strong women, there are a great number who don’t. While they might say they do, they like nothing more than to be a rescuer.

    My exercise isn’t just a way to keep mentally and physically fit, it is also a passion and joy.

    To be immersed in nature, feel the pull of the water down your body as you glide down a river or along a coast. A mix of fear of all you can’t see below you and joy from all you can see above.

    The pins and needles of winter swimming, red prickled skin. Mud between your toes and anxiety of how far the end point is. Not knowing, but knowing your body is good and strong. There is no greater feeling.

    This Girl Can

    Find out more about Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign on the website.

    There are inspirational stories, workouts you can do in the park or on the school run, and loads of advice on how to build fitness into your daily routine.

    You can even become a #ThisGirlCan supporter to help encourage women and girls of all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds to get active.

    Strong Women is a new weekly series that, after today, will be published on Saturdays at 10am.

    MORE: Meet the group helping black people reconnect with the natural world

    MORE: Is paying for a PT worth the money?

    MORE: We need to talk about the psychological effects of suffering a sports injury


    #StrongWomen#StrongWomennataliemorris88Ella Foote holding some ice as she goes for an outdoor swim.Ella Foote takes a selfie under a waterfall.Ella Foote stands on a beach wearing a swimsuit and a woolly hat.#StrongWomen#StrongWomennataliemorris88Ella Foote holding some ice as she goes for an outdoor swim.Ella Foote takes a selfie under a waterfall.Ella Foote stands on a beach wearing a swimsuit and a woolly hat.

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    (Picture: Getty Images)

    Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – three days away, to be precise.

    Now, there are many ways to show your affections from flowers, funny cards to sex toys, but if you’re looking for alternative gifts that are either edible or alcoholic you’re in the right place.

    So however you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day we’ve rounded up 13 gifts, including pink gin – perfect for a refreshing Valentine cocktail – and an ever-so-slightly passive aggressive Grow A Dick Willy Chillies kit for the lighthearted couple that like a giggle.

    Grow A Dick Willy Chillies, £9.99, firebox.com

    Grow A Dick Willy Chillies
    (Picture: firebox.com)

     

    Straight From the Heart Chocolate Box, £40, hotelchocolat.com

    Straight From the Heart Chocolate Box
    (Picture: hotelchocolat.com)

     

    Beeefater Pink Strawberry Flavoured Gin, £14, amazon.co.uk, asda.com and tesco.com

    Beeefater Pink Strawberry Flavoured Gin
    (Picture: beefeatergin.com)

     

    Chocolate Bananas, £12, notonthehighstreet.com

    Chocolate Bananas
    (Picture: notonthehighstreet.com)

     

    Lanson Rosé Label Champagne & Exclusive Champagne Stopper, £45, moonpig.com

    Lanson Rosé Label Champagne & Exclusive Champagne Stopper
    (Picture: moonpig.com)

     

    Valentine’s Cupcakes, £19.20, lolascupcakes.co.uk

    Valentine's Cupcakes
    (Picture: lolascupcakes.co.uk)

     

    Marshmallow Vodka, £24.99, firebox.com

    Marshmallow Vodka
    (Picture: firebox.com)

     

    Personalised Valentines Marmite Jar, £11.99, prezzybox.com

    Personalised Valentines Marmite Jar
    (Picture: prezzybox.com)

     

    Six Pack Of British Craft Lagers, £22.75, notonthehighstreet.com

    Six Pack Of British Craft Lagers
    (Picture: notonthehighstreet.com)

     

    Thanks For Putting Up With My Sh*t Chocolate, £7.99, firebox.com

    Thanks For Putting Up With My Sh*t Chocolate
    (Picture: firebox.com)

     

    Photo Upload Prosecco – Forever, £22.90, gettingpersonal.co.uk

    Photo Upload Prosecco - Forever
    (Picture: gettingpersonal.co.uk)

     

    Perfect Match Personalised Chocolate Box, £20, notonthehighstreet.com

    Perfect Match Personalised Chocolate Box
    (Picture: notonthehighstreet.com)

     

    Chocolate Prosecco and Strawberries, £12.99, prezzybox.com

    Chocolate Prosecco and Strawberries
    (Picture: prezzybox.com)

    Dominique Ansel’s Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea

    Visit Dominique Ansel Bakery in Belgravia London from Thursday 14 – Sunday 17 February for a limited edition Valentine’s Afternoon Tea.

    Enjoy five new savouries and four new sweets created by Chef Dominique, including a selection of heart-shaped sandwiches and truffles filled with cream and strawberry jam to spread onto your scones.

    From £42, advanced tickets are available to purchase now online at dominiqueansellondon.com

    Instagram Photo

    MORE: M&S wants you to taste their ‘Love Sausage’ this Valentine’s Day

    MORE: There’s a Valentine’s dog walk this weekend for humans and hounds to celebrate their love

    MORE: Valentine’s Day beauty gifts 2019 from Huda Beauty, GHD and more


    original_the-perfect-match-valentine-personalised-chocolate-box-2ebcoriginal_the-perfect-match-valentine-personalised-chocolate-box-2ebcemilyknott17Grow A Dick Willy ChilliesStraight From the Heart Chocolate BoxBeeefater Pink Strawberry Flavoured GinChocolate BananasLanson Rosé Label Champagne & Exclusive Champagne StopperValentine's CupcakesMarshmallow VodkaPersonalised Valentines Marmite JarSix Pack Of British Craft LagersThanks For Putting Up With My Sh*t ChocolatePhoto Upload Prosecco - ForeverPerfect Match Personalised Chocolate BoxChocolate Prosecco and Strawberriesoriginal_the-perfect-match-valentine-personalised-chocolate-box-2ebcoriginal_the-perfect-match-valentine-personalised-chocolate-box-2ebcemilyknott17Grow A Dick Willy ChilliesStraight From the Heart Chocolate BoxBeeefater Pink Strawberry Flavoured GinChocolate BananasLanson Rosé Label Champagne & Exclusive Champagne StopperValentine's CupcakesMarshmallow VodkaPersonalised Valentines Marmite JarSix Pack Of British Craft LagersThanks For Putting Up With My Sh*t ChocolatePhoto Upload Prosecco - ForeverPerfect Match Personalised Chocolate BoxChocolate Prosecco and Strawberries

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    (Pictures: Lucy Dawes)

    A five-year-old model with albinism has become one of the new faces of Primark’s kids range.

    Elijah Enwerem, five, from Willenhall, West Midlands, is mixed race but because of his condition, he has light skin and white hair.

    Albinism is a condition that affects the production of melanin – a pigment that colours skin, hair and eyes. People with albinism will produce less melanin and some won’t produce any at all.

    Elijah has struggled to understand why people would point and stare at him and why he looked different to his siblings.

    So when a chance Facebook post led to suggestions he should be a model, his mum Lucy Dawes decided to go for it to see if it would boost his confidence.

    Earlier this year, Elijah had his first big campaign, modelling a range of kids clothes for high-street retailer Primark – and his confidence soared.

    Lucy explained: ‘He was always asking why he looked different and why people would stare and point at him.

    ‘I wanted him to understand that the reason everyone does that is because he is so remarkable.

    Elijah in the campaign (Picture: Primark)

    ‘When he walked into Primark and saw himself on the wall, it was like mission accomplished.

    ‘He gets it now and his confidence over the last year has grown phenomenally. He has gone from hiding from people and growling at them to happily speaking to people.

    ‘Elijah has an Instagram page and he connects with people all over the world, including people with albinism.

    ‘Next weekend, we’re meeting up with another model who has albinism and they are going to do a shoot together. That helps him understand too.’

    (Picture: Lucy Dawes)

    Elijah’s modelling began In 2017, when Lucy posted a picture of Elijah making cinnamon buns on a Facebook group called Black Country Vegans.

    She explains: ‘People have said ever since he was really small that he should be a model because he does look really striking, but you don’t think anything of it.

    ‘I am a member of Black Country Vegans – I have been vegan for about three years now – and I have quite a few friends in that group. I posted the picture and lots of people said “aren’t they cute” but one lady said: “I hope you don’t mind me saying this but I think your little boy could be a model.”

    ‘I told her lots of people say that but she was serious and she told me to look at a group for modelling on Facebook.

    Primark albino model Credit: Lucy Dawes
    Elijah’s ad in store (Picture: Lucy Dawes)

    ‘I requested to join and it gave advice on agencies and how to avoid scams.

    ‘They had a list of agencies and I decided to try and send some photographs to some of the agencies.’

    From there, Elijah was signed by Zebedee management and after some small jobs, they were approached by Primark to see if he could appear in their campaign.

    Last month, the store was praised for using model Kaiden Williams, who has skin condition vitiligo, in their campaign.

    Lucy said modelling has been great for Elijah but she is determined that it won’t get in the way of his school work or day-to-day life.

    She explains: ‘Modelling is very London centric and we are up in the Midlands. Everything happens down there. People do it as a hobby down there and it’s not like that for us.

    Elijah in the Primark campaign (Picture: Primark)

    ‘I have held him back to a point because I don’t want him to miss school or anything important.

    ‘You do see some kids who go all over the world but we don’t want it to be like that. It can’t disrupt school and our day-to-day life.’

    Elijah enjoys modelling and even at five years old, he says he wants to spread a message.

    Lucy laughed: ‘When he said ‘why does everyone look at me?’ I told him that when he was a grown up, he’s want people to look at him.

    ‘We all want people to take notice of us. I told him he was halfway there – everyone was already taking notice of him.

    ‘When they take notice of you, you just have to tell them what it is you want to tell them because they’ll be listening to you.

    ‘He said he wants people to know a few things:

    You mustn’t hurt animals

    And you have to love everybody, even ansty people because that is how you teach them to love.

    ‘That shows what he’s like. He is the most compassionate child I have ever met.

    ‘He had a birthday party and he said he wanted to invite a boy who I had never heard about. He is the boy who has special needs in his class and he thought no one else would invite him so he wanted him at his.

    ‘Mind you, he can still be an absolute pain in the bum at times.’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘People say I am fearless. But that is rubbish. I am human’

    MORE: Behold the croiffle, the croissant waffle hybrid we’ve all been waiting for


    RBO_D5_2BRIPCREWTOP_1473-28c5RBO_D5_2BRIPCREWTOP_1473-28c5lauraabernethy6Primark albino model Credit: Lucy DawesRBO_D5_2BRIPCREWTOP_1473-28c5RBO_D5_2BRIPCREWTOP_1473-28c5lauraabernethy6Primark albino model Credit: Lucy Dawes

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    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Lauren (in the blue shirt) and Sarah (wearing black) share a three-bedroom house with Graham (not pictured, in case you hadn’t noticed) in Highbury (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    What I Rent is a weekly series that takes you around people’s rented properties.

    Why? Because we’re nosy and love looking at how people live.

    But more importantly, we’re on a mission to take a realistic look at the state of renting, especially in London.

    There’s a lot of nonsense renters have to put up with – unreasonably high rents, massive deposits, dodgy landlords – and it’s difficult to know whether you’re dealing with the standard stuff or you’re being ripped off.

    We want to look at what people get for what they pay, and how they turn their rented spaces into homes.

    This week we’re chatting to Lauren and Sarah, who share a three-bedroom house in Highbury with their third housemate, Graham.

    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    They each pay around £780 a month (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    Hi Lauren and Sarah! How much rent do you pay?

    Lauren: All together we pay £2,300 a month for a three bedroom. Bills are about £100 each which isn’t bad.

    Sarah: So that’s £780 each including bills.

    And what do you get for what you pay?

    Lauren: We have three bedrooms and one bathroom, one living room/kitchen area, plus a conservatory and a nice garden, and a basement.

    How did you end up living here?

    Lauren: I’ve been here for two and a half years now. I found it after much searching and almost giving up all together. I live with my best friend, so it’s no problem for us. We know each other too well to fall out over house stuff. We met a guy on SpareRoom for the third bedroom and we all get on well.

    Sarah: We found it through an estate agent. I knew Lauren from School and we met Graham via Spare Room – we have a great balance as we are all busy but then Sunday eve we will all stay in together and catch up on what we got up to over the weekend!

    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Lauren and Sarah are best friends who’ve known each other for years. They met Graham through SpareRoom. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    Do you like the area?

    Lauren: We live in the lovely leafy Highbury barn. I absolutely adore the area, the people are friendly and the shops are great and there are a tonne of amazing restaurants.

    Sarah: I LOVE living here. The area is so quiet and green and a lovely neighbourhood feel with the highbury barn shops.

    And are you happy with the house?

    Lauren: Very happy, the house is great and definitely feels like a ‘home’. we’ve been able to add our own personal touches so it doesn’t feel like a student-esque shared house like i’ve lived in the past.

    Do you feel like you have enough space?

    Sarah: Yes.

    Lauren: I do, though I recently forced myself to have a huge clear out to get rid of loads of clothes I don’t wear. It helps that we have a basement to store all the bulky stuff and keep the Babadook hidden. Plus we have the conservatory as a kind of second living room which comes in handy and having a garden is dreamy in summer.

    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    The three housemates have made the place feel like home with photos, plants, and knick-knacks (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    How have you made the house feel like home? 

    Lauren: Lots of pictures, plants and soft furnishings.

    Sarah: I did my room up and filled it with photos which makes me feel like it’s mine.

    Are there any issues with the house you’re putting up with?

    Lauren: The neighbours above seemingly wear bricks for slippers, but that’s about it. The house is lovely and we love our landlady, she’s always quick to fix anything.

    Any plans to move again?

    Lauren: Not at the moment, I like it here.

    Sarah: Not planning to move any time soon, I don’t think we would ever get better than this wonderful place!

    And what about buying a place? 

    Lauren: I put an offer in on somewhere last year, but it was Help to Buy and if the government stops that in a couple of years it’ll reduce property prices a lot. I could have ended up buying a 1 bedroom new build for 500k that’ll suddenly drop in value. It was too high risk.

    Sarah: I am trying to save to hopefully buy at some point, but in no rush.

    Shall we have a look around the house?

    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Here’s the living room (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    A strong DVD collection (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    The stairs you can spy lead down to the basement (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    The dining area sits opposite (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    And there’s the kitchen, too (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    A healthy spice rack (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    We’re fans of the tea towel (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Spot the cat (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    The basement works as a second living room (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    The bedrooms are back upstairs (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Here’s Lauren in her room (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    We like the artwork on the walls (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    And the plants, of course (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    We’re envious of anyone with a dressing table (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Major bonus points for this sign (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    (flatmate) Highbury
    Now let’s look at Sarah’s room (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    Pretty, right? (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    And finally, the bathroom (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    All very standard (and clean) (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Lauren Crouch, Highbury
    (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.

    How to get involved in What I Rent

    What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.

    If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

    You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

    You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.

    MORE: Take a look at every single toothbrush that’s been featured on What I Rent so far

    MORE: What I Rent: Hannah, £620 a month for a room in a three bedroom house in Brockley

    MORE: What I Rent: Alex and Andy, £1,400 a month for a maisonette in Hither Green


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    Brunel University has become the first to launch its own sports hijab for female Muslim students.

    The university noticed that there was a significant gap in the number of Muslim women taking part in sport – particularly those wearing hijabs.

    A traditional hijab is made of cotton, which means it would get uncomfortably hot and sweaty during sport. This puts a lot of Muslim women off taking part in sport altogether.

    A 2017 Sport England study found that only 18% of Muslim women regularly play sport, compared to 30% of the UK female population.

    Brunel’s specially designed hijab aims to tackle this and make sport more inclusive for everyone.

    Their designs are made from materials that will keep the wearer cool, while also respecting their religious beliefs.

    Muslim women playing sport at Brunel University.
    (Picture: Brunel University)

    There are a couple of sports hijabs on the market – Nike launched one in 2017 – but it’s great for Muslim athletes to feel part of the community with a ‘Team Brunel’ branded product.

    And at just £15, Brunel’s hijab is much cheaper than the Nike alternative.

    To begin with, the hijab will only be available in ‘Brunel blue’ and in two sizes – but if it sells well creators are hopeful that they will be able to introduce a larger range of products.

    ‘When we narrowed it down, we found the main gap to be in BAME female sports participation – specifically, we found there to be a barrier to Muslim women taking part in team sport,’ says Ranjeet Rathore, president of the Union of Brunel Students.

    ‘Of course, they were participating in sports on their own and in private, but they weren’t really going out to competitions, or using sport as a social tool to get involved in activities.

    ‘There are now other unis that want to partner with us, who want to take samples off us, who want to do their own hijab – which is great news.’

    MORE: Meet the group helping black people reconnect with the natural world

    MORE: LGBT Role Models: ‘It’s difficult to be seen as queer when you wear a hijab’

    MORE: Publisher pledges to print books by 20 black authors in 2020


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    SEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Lubrication is one of the main ingredients for a successful sexual experience.

    It turns out, however, that many women are experiencing sexual discomfort, and are reluctant to use lube for a variety of reasons. What might be even sadder is that there is a big disconnect between women having painful sex and men’s awareness of it.

    A study by Durex found that 73% of British women have had discomfort during sex, but only 57% of men have noticed it with their female partners.

    One third of women said discomfort made them want sex less, and 9% said it had affected their relationships as a result.

    Surprisingly, however, only a third would use lubricant in bed despite 9 out of 10 agreeing that sex felt better with it.

    This resulted in a number of those asked saying they’d faked orgasms, hurried their partner to finish, or quit having sex altogether due to the pain.

    Although the reasonings behind the discomfort range from simply feeling drier at points in their menstrual cycle to not enough foreplay, it’s odd that this taboo still exists around using lube.

    This study clearly shows that lack of lubrication is a common problem faced by women of all ages, even if it is one that isn’t often publicised.

    Durex’s campaign aims to take a stand against the idea that we’re supposed to lie back and think of England, and instead asks why we’re still putting up with pain during sex that could be easily rectified.

    They’ve got a number of influencers on board to raise awareness, including author Chidera Eggerue, who says: ‘In a world where women are constantly scrutinised for existing, it isn’t surprising that so many of us choose to silence ourselves in exchange for comfort or safety. But it’s time we choose ourselves for once.

    ‘We’re calling for all women to stop suffering in silence and prioritise their pleasure!’

    Which lube should you go for?

    Steer clear of sugars in lube (if you want to try something with flavour, look for those with aspartame or stevia instead to avoid thrush).

    Water-based lubes are best for use with condoms or sex toys.

    Silicone lubes can be more long-lasting, which is better suited to anal. Just make sure you don’t use these with silicone sex toys, as they can make surfaces more porous and more likely to harbour bacteria.

    Try a small bottle first, and stay attuned to whether your body reacts well to it. You can then decide whether it’s the one for you.

    Don’t bother with DIY solutions. Although you might that think the coconut oil or petroleum jelly in your bedside cabinet will do the trick, neither of these are condom-safe, and could cause a reaction.

    Use as often and as much as you need. Forget the stigma, and forget putting up with uncomfortable sex.

    Hannah Witton, British sex and relationships YouTuber echoed Chidera’s statements: ‘Using lube should be a totally normal part of sex as not only does it avoid any discomfort, but it’s also really fun! The female body is an amazing thing but depending on where we’re at in our monthly cycle, we shouldn’t have to ‘grin and bear it’ by pretending we’re enjoying sex when really we’re uncomfortable.

    ‘I hope this campaign encourages women to put their pleasure first and enjoy sex without compromise.’

    The Durex study spoke to over 1,200 people, and the breadth of those grinning and bearing vaginal dryness issues is staggering.

    It shows that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and that taking control of your sex life is something we should all be doing, whether that’s using lubrication for ourselves, or being more in tune with our partner’s needs.

    MORE: Sex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Vibrator

    MORE: A woman with sclerosis discovers best way to give orgasm without using hands


    SEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy metro illustrationsSEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy metro illustrationsjessicacvlSEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy metro illustrationsSEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy metro illustrationsjessicacvl

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    Initiating sex can become a not-at-all-thrilling stalemate.

    You try, you get turned down, you don’t try again and thus your partner thinks you’re not interested. They don’t initiate, neither do you, and you’re both stewing in disappointment and horniness.

    One way to deal with this is through better communication and learning that turning down sex with a partner doesn’t mean you’re not attracted to them.

    But why go through the effort of changing how you talk about desire when you can just buy a bit of tech to sort out the issue for you?

    A Kickstarter has been launched for a new product called LoveSync, which is essentially a button you can lazily press to declare ‘yep, I’m horny, and I would like to get sexual’.

    The idea is that you have two of these buttons, one on each side of the bed.

    If one of you taps, nothing happens. But if both of you tap your respective buttons, both will have a glowing circle of light, indicating that you’re both keen to get busy.

    LoveSync say that this way you won’t have to deal with the rejection of trying to initiate sex and being turned down, because if your partner isn’t keen, there’s no big blaring notification.

    LoveSync button available on Kickstarter
    (Picture: LoveSync/Kickstarter)

    Naturally, we have some questions.

    If the buttons both glow, who must then make the first move? Won’t there still be the awkwardness of going ‘I see you have tapped your button’ and getting things going?

    If you’re consistently tapping your button and your partner never taps theirs, won’t you still feel sh*tty?

    If the buttons are both by your bed, doesn’t that mean you could be hanging out in the living room, unaware that the buttons are glowing and permitting sexual activity? Isn’t a slight green glow too subtle? What if you then both arrive in bed, see the buttons, but are too tired to act on it?

    And won’t the button-pressing become a bit passive aggressive, with one partner making a big show of pressing theirs then staring at their other half and asking why they won’t press theirs right back?

    We guess this product meets the needs of couples for whom the conversation around sex is uncomfortable. There’s no need for chit-chat when you can both push a button to indicate interest.

    But surely the best solution to mismatched sex drives is not tech that lets you skip the communication and ignore rejection, but to just get more comfortable with honest, open conversations about sex?

    Despite our many questions, the LoveSync buttons appear to be quite the hit so far.

    £2,354 has been pledged towards the Kickstarter’s £5,830 goal, and 36 backers have contributed enough to get their own buttons sent to them.

    If you fancy getting your hands on your own love buttons, you just need to pledge $44 (£34.25) or more.

    Just remember that talk is cheap(er than any fancy tech).

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

    MORE: Almost two-thirds of women have experienced sexual discomfort, but only around half of men have noticed

    MORE: Sex toys on trial: The Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Clitoral Suction Vibrator


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    Woman performing during Lio Cabaret Show
    Ibiza’s famous cabaret show Lio is coming to London for a limited run (Picture: Lio London)

    It has sequin-encrusted acrobats and feathered dancers to rhinestone-sparkling burlesque performers and champagne flowing in every direction – and now Ibiza’s racy and raucous cabaret club Lio is bringing all of that to London.

    Lio London kicks off on 21 February – and is set to bring a hefty dose of hedonism to the capital.

    And after a dry and dreary January, it looks like London is more than ready for some action. Beginning with a six-week residency at the London Cabaret Club, Ibiza’s wildest night is already sold out, though organisers have just added more dates.

    Currently the show runs from 21 February throughout March, with the dancing and debauchery carrying on late into the night in a swanky space just beneath London’s Bloomsbury Square. Already the stuff of legend in Ibiza, Lio has attracted celebrity revellers including Beyonce and Jay Z, Idris Elba, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerry Butler and Eva Longoria.

    Lio London Cabaret Show
    (Picture: Lio London)

    And with burlesque dancers, singers, clowns and live acrobats running around, Lio visitors will be thrilled to discover that the dancing and debauchery is by no means restricted to the stage. Not for the shy and retiring, the whole experience is wildly fun and completely immersive.

    The food is also rather good: think zesty sea bream ceviche with lime juice, coriander and fiery chilli, Lio Hawaiian poke bowl with fresh fish and crispy seaweed, or the decadent Eat Me, I’m Caviar – a bouji bread ball stuffed with caviar and crème fraiche.

    Lio London Cabaret Show
    (Picture: Lio London)

    Started in 2011, Lío London is part of the Pacha Group and is the dreamchild of visionaries looking to create a dazzling night that combined gastronomy, theatre and of course, partying. 

    To that end, after the show, guests can party on into the night, with world-renowned DJs like HOUSEKEEPING, Carlo Lio, MAZE, Birds of Minds and Audiofly expected to headline. Club entry is included for dining guests, but tickets can also be purchased separately at £20 to enter the club from 11:30pm.

    Lio London Cabaret
    (Picture: Lio London)

    Running four nights a week, Lio lovers can expect a three-course immersive dining experience, a live cabaret show, and dancing into the night. A reservation includes a set menu and the Lío show experience, and costs from £180pp.

    On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, an after-dinner club night will take you through to 2am. Friday and Saturday shows will be followed by a late-night club night until 3am and, during Lío’s residency, four special events hold an extended licence until 5am.

    Both club and cabaret tickets can be bought at Liolondon.co.uk.


    lio-914alio-914aashleysinlondonWoman performing during Lio Cabaret ShowLio London Cabaret Show Lio London Cabaret ShowLio London Cabaretlio-914alio-914aashleysinlondonWoman performing during Lio Cabaret ShowLio London Cabaret Show Lio London Cabaret ShowLio London Cabaret

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    Teigan Bayliss and with her mum Rebecca (Picture: Rebecca Bayliss)

    Teigan Bayliss was born a healthy baby but at two weeks old, she was kissed by someone with a cold sore.

    She was infected with the herpes virus – which is a minor infection for adult but babies haven’t developed a strong enough immune system to fight it.

    Her parents Rebecca and Tony rushed her to hospital when

    Despite their quick action, Teigan was seriously ill and was left with cerebral palsy.

    Now, her parents are speaking our to warn people not to kiss a baby on the lips.

    ‘We want to spread awareness of it because at the same time Teigan was on the Rainbow Ward at West Suffolk Hospital the same thing had happened to another child and they didn’t make it,’ Tony said.

    ‘I would say under no circumstances should anyone, even their parents, ever kiss a newborn baby on the lips.’

    Rebecca added: ‘Sometimes there is more meaning kissing your baby on their forehead.’

    Teigan’s condition began when she was two weeks old and mum Rebecca noticed something wasn’t right.

    She was breastfeeding her newborn when she noticed Teigan was lethargic and didn’t want to feed.

    She phoned for a doctor and as she did Rebecca and husband Tony noticed Teigan’s arm begin to twitch.

     

    WESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows Teigan in page from family awareness website
    Teigan now (Picture: Wessex News Agency)

    The panicked couple rushed their daughter to A&E at West Suffolk Hospital.

    The triage nurse tried to reassure the couple, but Rebecca admits she knew at this stage they knew their daughter was seriously unwell.

    ‘The first doctor who looked at Teigan said she was fitting and at that point your world tears down’ said the mum-of-five.

    Doctors were quick to diagnose Teigan with neonatal herpes, better known as the cold sore virus.

    ‘They asked us if Teigan had been around someone with a cold sore that might have kissed her on the lips,’ said Rebecca.

    The family believe the newborn baby had been in contact with someone who may have passed the virus on.

    For adults, the virus causes simple cold sores but it can be incredibly dangerous for babies who have not developed the immune response to fight it.

    For some baby’s, only their eyes, mouth or skin is affected and they can make a complete recovery.

    However, the virus can spread to the baby’s organs and it is much more difficult to treat.

    According to the NHS, nearly a third of infants with this type of neonatal herpes will die, even after they have been treated.

    Doctors were able to treat Teigan but she remained on the Rainbow Ward of West Suffolk Hospital for three weeks but her ordeal was not over.

    Over the next nine months doctors carried out developmental reviews on and she was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the result of meningitis, caused by the virus.

    The experience was a harrowing one for Rebecca, Tony and their family but they believe it was Teigan’s smile that got them through the incredibly difficult time.

    Now the family are campaigning to raise awareness of the herpes simplex virus that causes neonatal herpes.

    Tony and Rebecca have started TeiganSmile to help raise even more awareness of the dangers of kissing a baby on the lips and they are planning an event called TeigyFest.

    They also want to raise funds to help with the cost of the equipment Teigan needs.

    WESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness website
    Rebecca and Teigan (Picture: Wessex News Agency)

    Ultimately, they want to send Teigan overseas for stem cell therapy that could greatly improve the quality of her life.

    Helen Smith, consultant midwife at Ipswich Hospital, says that midwives do have conversations with mums and mums-to-be that have signs of a cold sore but neonatal herpes is not something they routinely warn about.

    However, she said the advice to not kiss newborns on the lips is ‘sensible’.

    ‘A baby’s immune system is not fully developed so they are more susceptible to infection,’ she warned.

    She also stressed the importance of washing your hands before holding a newborn.

    For the most up-to-date information about neonatal herpes, parents can visit the NHS choices website which is regularly updated.

    It says, ‘If you develop a cold sore or think you are coming down with a herpes infection, do not kiss any babies, wash your hands before contact with a baby.

    Further advice includes: ‘Wash your hands before breastfeeding and cover up any cold sores to avoid accidentally touching your mouth and then breast -this is enough to transfer the virus.’

    MORE: Almost two-thirds of women have experienced sexual discomfort, but only around half of men have noticed

    MORE: University launches sports hijab for female Muslim students


    WESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness websiteWESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness websitelauraabernethy6WESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows Teigan in page from family awareness websiteWESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness websiteWESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness websiteWESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness websitelauraabernethy6WESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows Teigan in page from family awareness websiteWESSEX NEWS AGENCY Jim Hardy email news@britishnews.co.uk mobile 07501 221880 STORY CATCHLINE: LIPPY You should never kiss a newborn baby on the lips, say a couple whose little daughter has a life-crippling illness. Pic shows mum Rebecca Bayliss with Teigan in page on family's awareness website

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    (Picture: Hannah Woodman)

    A mum has revealed how she set up a ‘dentist game’ at home to turn around the nightmare of cleaning her toddler’s teeth.

    Hannah Woodman, 31, from Wiltshire, said the ‘dreaded’ morning and evening routine would always result in tears and a tantrum with two-and-a-half-year-old Liberty.

    Hannah and her husband Andy, a builder, were at their wit’s end, so decided to turn teeth brushing into a game.

    The childminder revealed on Facebook how she told Liberty she was opening up a dental practice upstairs at home, the little girl had to wait her turn, and was called when the ‘dentist’ was ready.

    Hannah said Liberty loved the game, and now even asks if the dentist can open early.

    The post, in the group Gentle Parenting UK, has resonated with parents, and received more than 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments in just a few hours.

    Posting a picture of the successful teeth-cleaning sessions, which have been happening for more than a week, Hannah wrote: ‘I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s had a nightmare with teeth brushing with little ones.

    ‘I was filled with dread, even mentioning the word she would run a mile, we would have tears, we tried everything.

    Picture: Hannah Woodman Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teeth
    (Picture: Hannah Woodman)

    ‘So I told her I was opening up a dentist upstairs.

    ‘I told her she had to wait in the “waiting room” I would come and get her when I had got the room ready (at this point I thought she would probably run off once she saw the brush).

    ‘Anyway, I came out and said “Liberty Woodman would you like to come in”, she came walking in, I asked her to lay down and rest her head on my lap, I said I would count her teeth first.. and my assistant (dad) would write the numbers down.

    ‘I said I would now make them sparkle… so I started brushing while talking to her saying “wow you must really look after your teeth they look amazing!!

    ‘”You must eat really well I can’t see any bad spots.”

    ‘I brushed her teeth more thoroughly than ever before! She got up, said thank you very much I will see you again tomorrow. She went out and ‘paid’ at the ‘reception’.

    ‘She even asked earlier if we can go and open the dentist.. it may not work for everyone but it’s literally transformed our evening routine, it’s totally stress free!!!!!’

    The post quickly attracted more than 1,000 likes.

    Laura Holloway wrote: ‘This I’m trying this tomorrow… Actually want to wake her up now and do it!’

    Picture: Hannah Woodman Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teeth
    (Picture: Hannah Woodman)

    Sarah Browne added: ‘Genius! I’m so opening a dentist surgery tomorrow evening.’

    While other mums revealed their top tips for getting little ones to clean their teeth.

    Siobhàn Danielle Draper Etherington revealed: ‘This is genius. We’ve started Teethy Tickle Races where both boys have their teeth brushed at the same time and see who wins.

    ‘We count them in, I brush one’s teeth, hubs does the other, when we’ve finished thoroughly brushing, we give them the tooth brush to do it themselves and who ever finishes first is the winner.

    ‘Working great in a 4 year old and near 2 year old who would hide so we couldn’t brush their teeth previously.’

    Collette Poore added: ‘We have a similar approach! I have to become the tooth brushing machine and have a funny voice!

    ‘I say “next please” and call her name. If she presses my nose that “button” causes me to sing! It is always a bit embarrassing if someone is visiting but it has taken away the tooth brushing battle.’

    Thea Panter wrote: ‘Kids love play! We also use teethy tales, when we ask each tooth what it has been up to that day! Stories always seem to divert attention from negative feelings.’

    Hannah said she follows a ‘gentle parenting’ approach, explaining: ‘It means we treat Liberty as an equal, talking about our emotions and including her in decisions when we can.’

    The NHS advises parents to continue to brush their children’s teeth until the child is fully able to by themselves, usually around seven years old.

    MORE: Mum reveals how her five-year-old with albinism became a Primark model thanks to a Facebook post

    MORE: Parents warn never to kiss a baby on the lips after their daughter suffered brain damage


    Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethMother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethlauraabernethy6Picture: Hannah Woodman Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethPicture: Hannah Woodman Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethMother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethMother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethlauraabernethy6Picture: Hannah Woodman Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teethPicture: Hannah Woodman Mother has genius trick for getting her toddler to clean her teeth

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    Embargoed to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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.
    (Picture: PA)

    No matter how much you adore your other half, waking up in the night to find they’ve monopolised the mattress is not romantic.

    Ross from Friends created the ‘hug and roll’ technique to create some space in bed, but that didn’t end up working too well for him, and there’s been precious little development on the matter since then.

    Ford (yes, the car company) are trying to rectify this with a new prototype called the Lane-Keeping Bed.

    Using the technology that keeps cars in the centre of lane, the bed senses when someone has rolled too far onto the other side and automatically moves them back.

    It uses motion control, a revolving mattress, and pressure sensors to adjust throughout the night, ensuring that both sleepers have their fair share of the bed.

    Just when you think you’re in for a night of the foetal position, a conveyer belt redresses the balance once again.

    Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert and author who worked on the project said: ‘When sleeping together, many couples each have less space than a small child has in a single bed. Humans are most vulnerable when sleeping, so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly.’

    ‘If someone moves onto your side of the bed this defence mechanism will kick in and you’ll have a broken night, often while they continue to sleep soundly. I’ve seen it ruin relationships.’

    Anyone who’s experienced night after night of interrupted sleep will agree that it can make you extremely snappy.

    The Lane-Keeping Bed is part of a series by Ford called Interventions, which looks at how auto technology can make our day-to-day lives better.

    They also built a noise-cancelling dog kennel to make fireworks night easier for our furry friends, and have more inventions in the works.

    At the moment, the bed isn’t available for purchase, but hopefully if enough people show their interest, we can make bed-hoggers a thing of the past.

    MORE: You can tap this button to let your partner know you want to have sex

    MORE: Mum reveals how her five-year-old with albinism became a Primark model thanks to a Facebook post


    Embargoed to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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 to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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.jessicacvlEmbargoed to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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 to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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 to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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.jessicacvlEmbargoed to 1000 Tuesday February 12 Undated Ford handout photo of their prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 12, 2019. The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Bed. Photo credit should read: Ford/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.

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