Articles on this Page
- 02/28/19--22:20: _ASOS is selling hig...
- 02/28/19--22:58: _How often should yo...
- 02/28/19--23:33: _Influencers slammed...
- 03/01/19--00:09: _Sex toys on trial: ...
- 03/01/19--00:15: _Do not dehumanise m...
- 03/01/19--00:55: _Agender alien wants...
- 03/01/19--01:29: _Otherkins – the ‘tr...
- 03/01/19--02:10: _Disabled woman with...
- 03/01/19--03:35: _Space NK launching ...
- 03/01/19--03:55: _Three best friends ...
- 03/01/19--04:12: _Eating Disorders Aw...
- 03/01/19--04:34: _Study finds that at...
- 03/01/19--04:53: _Women say they’re s...
- 03/01/19--05:40: _I had difficulty de...
- 03/01/19--06:01: _Man creates surviva...
- 03/01/19--08:11: _Spill it: How much ...
- 03/01/19--08:15: _Woman says her pet ...
- 03/01/19--08:39: _Milk coke – what it...
- 03/01/19--23:44: _Britain’s loneliest...
- 03/01/19--23:48: _These five adorable...
- 02/28/19--22:58: How often should you wash your bra?
- 03/01/19--00:55: Agender alien wants to give hope to other people who feel different
- 03/01/19--01:29: Otherkins – the ‘trans species’ people who don’t identify as human
- 03/01/19--03:35: Space NK launching cute beauty bag to support women’s charity Refuge
- 03/01/19--04:12: Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2019: What is binge eating disorder?
- 03/01/19--04:34: Study finds that attractive people have more liberal views
- doesn’t have a strong or unpleasant smell
- is clear or white
- is thick and sticky or slippery and wet
- a fishy smell is often bacterial vaginosis
- discharge that is thick like cottage cheese is often caused by thrush
- green, yellow, or frothy discharge is often caused by trichomoniasis
- your discharge changes smell, colour, or texture
- you produce more discharge than normal
- you feel itchy or sore
- you bleed between periods or after sex
- you feel pain when urinating
- you’re experiencing pelvic pain
- Do not clean inside the vagina
- Gently wash the external parts of the genitals, the vulva, with warm water or unperfumed soap
- Avoid scented products as these can cause irritation and infection
- 03/01/19--06:01: Man creates survival guide for guys to judge girls on their nails
- 03/01/19--08:11: Spill it: How much a 27-year-old journalist drinks in a week
Maybe builders’ attire is underrated. PrettyLittleThing previously sold a high-vis jacket for £45 but it lowkey screamed fashion.
And now ASOS is following suit with its very own take on construction clothes, offering a builder’s hoodie. Yep, these are hoodies just like the orange ones with grey reflecting lighting we’re used to seeing construction workers or security folks wear.
The fashion retailer is selling its Collusion Everyone Together Unisex hoodie with reflective tape for £30. And you know what? It doesn’t look that bad.
But naturally, the online community doesn’t seem to think it’s all that and have joked that if they were to wear the jumper it would make them feel like they’re about to go and build some houses.
Hey, at least you’ll be visible at night if you’re a cyclist. It’s certainly one way to stand out.
People questioned the price of an outfit inspired by builders which could be bought for a much cheaper price on a construction company website.
It’s certainly not the first time ASOS has come out with a controversial creation; earlier this month it revealed a dress which can only be described as resembling a bin bag.
Honestly, save yourself £26 and rummage through your kitchen drawer.
In the grand scheme of things, ASOS’s orange hoodies are quite toned down.
But if you think the security look is high fashion, you can check out almost identical garments for about £12 on eBay.
Any builders looking to stock up on a durable high-vis jackets might want to check out safety gear website Arco, though it’s a bit more spenny.
If you like the look of it but want it in a more lowkey colour then bad news, it only comes in orange.
But at least it’s unisex so you and bae can both sport matching looks before you go and build houses together.
ASOS selling sweaters that look like they belong to a BUILDER.
Wearing my second backless top in two weeks, I realised I haven’t changed my bra, and worry people will notice and brand me a filthy little thing.
This got me wondering, how long does everyone else wear their bras for before they put it in the wash? It seems to be a question asked and answered in various corners of the internet.
Previously we reported that we’re apparently supposed to wash our over-the-shoulder boulders after two wears but that doesn’t seem at all realistic (who’s got that kind of time?)
Most of us, probably, rotate the same ‘good’ bras we’re used to wearing, and wash and wear the same one over long periods of time. But that means the garment quickly loses its elasticity and functionality, meaning we could be damaging our breasts.
We spoke to two bra fit experts who told us how often they recommend we wash them and that the life expectancy of a bra should be no more than a year.
So yeah, might be time to do an old rummage of the delicates drawer.
Julia Mercer from specialist service Bra Fit tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I would recommend washing after each use as this keeps your bra clean and fresh.
‘A bra is at its best in its first year of being worn.
‘My top tip on caring for them to help prolong life is reshaping padded bras in your hands when damp which will help to keep its shape.
‘The best temperature for washing is 40 degrees in order for this to be hygienically clean. Store your bra carefully in your lingerie drawer to avoid any bra wire damage.’
Lingerie buyer from Boux Avenue Lisa Annand said it’s all about the individual.
‘How often you should wash your bra depends on the person really, though if you wear it more than once you should rest it between wears,’ she says.
‘You should get machine washable bras to keep it looking its best for longer, bras should be put in a separate lingerie bag to protect them during a wash.
‘And ideally, you should be fitted every six months to make sure you are always wearing the right size that is most suitable and comfortable for you, so I would say that’s a good milestone to go by when considering buying a new bra.’
While some experts recommend washing after every use, we know it’s not always possible. So having looked at various online communities it seems washing a bra after every two to three wears is acceptable, depending on your lifestyle. If you’re not washing them in this time, try to give them a break so bras can regain some of their elasticity.
Basically, just try not to go weeks without your undergarments.
It’s easy to make fun of influencers.
Whether they’re pretending tortillas are pancakes for a sponsored post or spending hours perfecting their strandid, their work requires some slightly out-there activities.
But most influencers’ actions are funny and harmless. This particular action has been accused of being irresponsible and straight up dangerous.
Portuguese travel bloggers Raquel and Miguel, who go by @exploressaurus_ on Instagram and have more than 200,000 followers, have been slammed for hanging out of a moving train in Sri Lanka just to get the perfect picture for the ‘Gram.
Photos show Raquel and Miguel hanging out of a train riding along the tracks of small town Ella. In one, Raquel holds on to the rails with her entire body outside of the train, Miguel kissing her on the forehead. In another, Miguel holds Raquel’s hand so she can lean back.
Now, before you get any ideas of a high-speed train rocketing around the tracks, the couple has clarified that the train they were on was ‘moving super slow’.
But that doesn’t mean the pose is safe. Perhaps most worryingly, these photos could inspire aspiring Instagrammers to replicate the pose for the same high number of double taps.
Someone else might not be riding a slow train and could hang outside of a speeding carriage, risking serious injury and death.
One person commented: You’d risk your lives just for a picture? Just so you can upload it on social media? Or do you do this because this gives you ‘the rush’? How is this sensible? Anything could’ve happened.’
Another said: ‘I would never promote a picture like this since there are not few people stupid enough to feel encouraged to try and recreate the idea. What you do and the models do is only their own responsibility. But you should see your responsibility for influencing others.
‘It doesn’t matter how slow the train was moving! It’s stupid and dangerous and most importantly you will inspire others to take similar risky and dangerous shots. How do you not understand that?’
Raquel has responded to the backlash, repeating that the train was moving slowly and stating that she doesn’t think the pose ‘is dangerous at all’.
It’s not the first time the couple has taken risks for an Instagram shot. A quick scroll through their profile shows them standing on precarious ledges with massive drops, leaning on balconies, and diving off cliffs backwards.
Meanwhile, we can’t upload a picture of poached eggs without our mum commenting: ‘make sure that’s cooked, don’t want to get sick xxxx’.
Here’s hoping they’ve got decent travel insurance, and are perhaps thinking of hiring a health and safety manager.
Influencer couple slammed for posing hanging out of a moving train
Nooky’s Bonkin’ Bunny Vibrator is the latest sex toy offering from Poundland, and it only costs one English pound.
Yes, a whole vibrator for £1. But price isn’t everything.
On first appearance, the Bonkin’ Bunny looks like it’s going to give you a wild ride. But the reality is actually a bit of a let down.
You’ll probably cum, because there’s enough clitoral stimulation to make that basically an inevitability – but you’re not going to see God.
I had big hopes for the Bunny – with its fleshy exterior, different buzz-strength settings and cute little rabbit ears. But I have high standards for my solo pleasure sessions, and it just didn’t quite hit the spot. So to speak.
What does it look like?
The Bonkin’ Bunny is pretty intensely phallic. So if you like your sex toys to look like actual penis then you’re in for a treat.
It’s firm but squishy, like an erect cock, and it has a pronounced head that really resembles the tip. The only real differences are the fact that it is aggressively purple, and it has rabbit ears attached to the front.
The ears are super flexible and, I felt, a tad on the flimsy side. I want the ears to be as firm as a finger or a tongue, but these were more like two sad dandelion stalks.
On the bottom – at the base of the vibrator – there is a twisty section, which adjusts the strength of the vibration. Turn it all the way and the device will turn off. That’s also where you unscrew it to insert the single AA battery that it needs.
What can you do with it?
It’s your pretty standard buzz-and-penetrate combo really.
So, settle yourself down somewhere comfy, grab your favourite porn stash or conjure up something from your wank bank, and get ready to go to town.
It comes with lube, which is handy because it’s 7.2 inches from tip to base, and it is a rather girthy contraption.
If pure penetration is your jam then you can jump right in, no need to mess around with any buttons. Or if you need the buzz to get you off, just twist the base to feel the vibes.
The idea is that main body of the vibrator will provide pleasure through penetration and the bunny ears will buzz nicely against your clit, bringing you to orgasm.
The different buzz settings mean you can start off slow and build the intensity – or just keep a low-level buzz throughout, depending on what you’re after.
And, in theory, that all sounds great.
What don’t we like about it?
Penetration isn’t really my go-to when it comes to masturbation. I’m not averse to it at all, but I know my orgasms come from clitoral (and nipple) stimulation – so I tend to focus on that for consistant, reliable results.
The Bonkin’ Bunny is way more about penetration, so if that’s what you’re in to then you might find it much more effective than I did.
For me, the vibration is the important part (I mean, it is actually in the name of the device, vibrator), and that’s where the Bunny was lacking.
It buzzed. It certainly buzzed. But it was loud, and juddery at times. Particularly when switching between the buzz strength settings.
I love the idea of having different settings. I like to take my time over masturbation, so the idea of a long, torturous build up before that sweet release is incredibly appealing.
But the settings just don’t deliver.
On the lowest buzz setting, rather than a delicate hum, you get a jerky, irregular wobble. As you move up the strength settings, the buzz kind of lurches and shudders. It’s off-putting and just doesn’t feel great.
When it comes to climaxing, rhythm is key.
I need the vibration to be smooth, consistent and ridiculously stimulating. The only setting where this was the case was at maximum buzz strength. So my dream of a teasing build up never materialised.
And the twisty base mechanism was tricky to handle. You need one hand on the shaft and the other twisting the base – so you don’t have a free hand for your nips (which, as I’ve mentioned, is crucial).
Also, it can be hard to remember which way to twist to increase the buzz and which way to twist to turn it down. You don’t want to find yourself at a critical moment and accidentally turn the vibration off instead of up.
That is, quite literally, a buzz kill.
I mentioned that it was also loud. I wouldn’t want a flatmate or family member in the next room while I was using it. It sounds quite aggressive and very mechanical – which can definitely make you lose focus.
What do we like about it?
It is so ridiculously cheap. It isn’t perfect, but at £1 you can forgive a multitude of sins.
If you like penetration when you masturbate then you will definitely like the Bunny.
The girth coupled with the fleshiness makes it feel really comfortable, as well as feeling pleasantly substantial inside you.
Also, at maximum strength, the vibration is really effective, so if you’re home alone and can put up with the noise, it will definitely get you off.
It’s latex and phtalates-free, which is also great if you have any allergies that you have to consider.
Despite the clear economic value, the Bunny didn’t live up to expectations – but I know that’s partly down to personal preference.
There just wasn’t enough focus on the nuanced possibilities of vibration stimulation for my liking.
I would rather the additional buzz settings just weren’t an option, because they don’t work in a smooth or enjoyable way. It’s essentially a case of – you get what you pay for.
The lowest buzz setting was just annoying rather than teasing, and I really don’t want to be annoyed when I’m pleasuring myself.
Nooky's Bonkin' Bunny Vibrator
Overall score: 3/5 The vibration issues really let the side down – but also it costs ONE POUND.
Satisfaction: 2/5 Nobody wants to judder their way to orgasm.
Ease of use: 3/5 It’s simple, if a bit on the big side.
Nosiness: 2/5 Way too noisy. Awkward if you have housemates.
When you put yourself out there online there’s almost an expectation that you’ll be trolled for whatever reason.
There’s always going to be someone that doesn’t agree with what you’ve written, like your Insta photo or agree with your status. Unfortunately it’s a sad reality of internet culture. But when you’re a disabled person and use the internet, the comments go from unkind to extremely creepy.
I’m a wheelchair user and I post a lot of fashion and lifestyle content on my Instagram account. The majority of images include me sat in my powerchair, often with a caption about how my day has been or an affirmation about body positivity.
What I didn’t realise was that by posting more photos of me, I’d open myself up to nauseating comments and messages regarding my disability.
I’m not completely naïve, I knew there’d be the odd ableist remark but not on a daily basis and not to the extent that my boyfriend has to vet my direct message requests to make sure they’re from genuine people and not someone telling me that they’ve never ‘tried a chick in a wheelchair’.
Yes, believe it or not, someone actually commented on one of my pictures, ‘I’ve always wanted to try a chick in a wheelchair.’ My initial reaction upon reading it was, ‘you should be so lucky, mate,’ but when I considered what he’d written, what he’d said on my public Instagram account, when I really unpacked his statement, I felt a bit sick.
Not only was he implying that I was some limited edition flavour of crisps he’d love to taste but he also seemed to believe he was doing me a favour, like I wouldn’t have a say in the matter, that I am just an object to be consumed.
Because how could I, a 32 year old disabled woman that has been in relationships all her adult life, possibly ever find someone to have sex with?
Surely I wait patiently for men online to present themselves to me? Surely I don’t have any other option. He’s doing me a favour, right? What a solider he is, taking one for the team – trying a chick in a wheelchair like some sort of philanthropist.
Minimising me to nothing more than my wheelchair is massively ableist and it’s downright ridiculous to think disabled people can’t find themselves a partner.
Disabled people are sexy; we want love and sex the same as everyone else. We’re not your fetish, we’re not a new toy you can try and discard, we don’t unlock an achievement if you bed us.
We’re people. We have feelings, we have wants and needs just like you, we’re not aliens and we’re not here to be a commodity for you.
The gross comments don’t stop there; I’ve also had a guy tell me he loves me in my wheelchair and can’t wait for my next picture because I turn him on. Now is that okay to say to someone, ever?
I always go by the rule of, ‘if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online’ but a lot of people haven’t received that memo and I really wish they would.
I post images online for me, to raise awareness, to spread positivity and start discussions; I do not post images online for men to fantasise over. Do not fetishise me. It makes me feel unnatural, othered, a monster.
I know I’m not, and luckily I am a very confident person but saying this kind of thing to someone who questions themselves could do some real damage.
As well as those vulgar comments, I receive messages pitying me, telling me that I’m a hopeless person, countless crying emojis, and wanting to know my medical history or why I use a wheelchair.
I’m a pretty positive person so I won’t be attending a pity party and I am certainly not hopeless or upset about the cards I’ve been dealt.
However, one thing I will not accept is being made to feel less than anyone else just because of my disability.
Do not dehumanise me. I am a person. I am a disabled person and I’m not here to be your fetish.
Jareth Nebula previously identified as a transgender man. Now they are an agender alien.
Jareth, 33, was assigned female at birth and changed their name and transitioned when they were 29.
Now, they no longer identify as belonging to any human gender, instead believing they are an alien stuck in human form.
Jareth said that in an ideal world people would call them ‘thing’ or ‘it’ rather than using the ‘he’ pronoun. Throughout this article we’ll use the gender neutral ‘they’, as Jareth identifies as agender.
If the name Jareth sounds familiar, that’s because the alien named themself after David Bowie’s character in the 1986 film Labyrinth. The Nebula bit describes a space cloud.
‘After coming out as transgender and believing I had finally found myself, I realised I was wrong – I wasn’t male or female, or even human,’ says Jareth.
‘I don’t think or feel like humans. I can’t really explain it to others – I’m simply otherworldly.
‘I didn’t feel comfortable as either gender or even anything in between. I know I’m stuck in a human form and that’s how I’m perceived by others – but to me, I’m an alien with no gender.’
Jareth has long felt they didn’t fit in with the crowd, in part because of their diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a chronic condition affecting connective tissue.
EDS causes Jareth to have stretchy skin, leading to the nickname ‘Mr Elastic’ from his doctors, and intense pain.
Jareth says: ‘The condition means I can pop my joints out on purpose, which was a fun party trick when I was a kid.
‘Now I realise why I could do that. My pain in my joints got worse as I got older and I would find it harder to move day to day.
‘I get to a chiropractor once every two weeks and see a physical therapist once a week, as well as smoking medicinal marijuana for the pain – but there is currently no cure for EDS.’
In their late 20s, Jareth began to take testosterone injections and had surgery to remove their breasts.
But even during transition, things didn’t feel quite right.
‘I thought being a trans man would solve all of my issues and inner battles with finding out who I was, but I wasn’t as happy as I expected to be,’ says Jareth.
‘I felt like I was trying to fit into someone else’s box. I didn’t want to be constrained – that’s when I discovered what agender was.
‘I’d always been obsessed with aliens, too, and what it means to be extraterrestrial, so the idea of being an agender alien fit perfectly as an identity for me.’
Part of Jareth’s identity is body modifications to appear as unique as possible.
Jareth has a huge circuit board tattooed on their face, does not have nipples following top surgery, shaves off their eyebrows, and has 78 stars tattooed all over their body. They hope to get 333 star tattoos eventually, as three is their lucky number.
Fashion helps, too. Jareth wears neon, gothic, and pastel clothing inspired by Harajuku style.
Sadly, Jareth’s family does not support their decision to become an alien.
But Jareth hopes that by sharing their story, they’ll give hope to others who feel different.
‘My family still see me as a trans man, because they don’t understand what agender or alien really means,’ says Jareth.
‘I have online friends who support me, but offline is harder. Not everyone understands – but that’s okay. I don’t expect them to get it, I only want acceptance.
‘People treat me like a freak because I’m an alien, but it’s a completely valid thing to call yourself.
‘Who is anyone to tell you who you can or can’t be? If someone wants to identify as anything, even an animal, let them.
‘I feel sorry for people who attack me online. I think they lack empathy and just want to target me, so I deal with it pretty well by brushing it off.
‘I’m happy with who I am and will continue to become more alien-like every day.’
A former transgender human who claims that they now identify as an agender alien wants to raise awareness of those who feel so different that they believe they belong to another planet
Otherkins are a group of people who do not identify as human.
The origin and exact definition of otherkins is somewhat nebulous. Some otherkins regard themselves as transspecies, others believe that their identity is genetic, a result of reincarnation, or feel that being otherkin is a religion.
Some otherkins identify with a specific animal, others identify as mythical creatures. Some common otherkin identities include angels, demons, fairies, aliens, cartoon character and sprites.
According to the Twitter account Otherkin FAQ, people who identify with ‘real’ animals, like cats or dogs, are not otherkin but Therians.
The account shares other observations about being Otherkin such as ‘Otherkins know that they are biologically human’ and ‘There is no solid definition of how one can be
Otherkins are believed to have started from an internet community of online elves in the 1990’s.
The University of Cambridge did a deep dive into what it means to be an otherkin, which cites a paper titled Doctors Herding Cats: The Misadventures of Modern Medicine and Psychology with NonhuMan Identities.
The author, Pedro Feijo writes: ‘We have witnessed, in the last half a century, an explosion of politics grounded on new identities, and on their overcoming.
‘People have been experimenting with and transgressing the limits of what it means to be a woman, of what it means to have a gender, a sex, or a sexual orientation.’
‘Across the western world, individuals and collectives are defying our identity as organic beings, in contrast with mechanical ones, and exploring cyborgism. Social movements of trans and disabled people started questioning what it means exactly to be an able body.
‘The neuro-diverse and BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder – people who would prefer to be ‘disabled’) have followed in the same footsteps.
‘I thought it would be worth exploring the worlds of those who clash with one central dichotomy: humanity and non-human animality.’
You can read the full article here.
Low Section Of Woman Holding Illuminated Liquid In Jar On Field
Sherise Dreyer, 32, has osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease.
A lack of calcium in her body mean her bones could snap and shatter easily, making all physical activity unsafe – particularly anything that puts her in danger of taking a tumble.
But despite advice from doctors and strangers, Sherise risks her life to be extremely active, doing rockclimbing, running, yoga, and aerial silks.
Yep, aerial silks. The exercise in which you hang from the ceiling and could slip, fall, and – in Sherise’s case – shatter all the bones in your body.
It’s not the safest choice, but Sherise isn’t bothered. She loves a challenge, and her doctors are amazed by not only her determination but her physical strength, which she describes as ‘not normal’.
‘I’m stronger than anyone I have ever met with my type [of osteogenesis imperfecta],’ Sherise tells Metro.co.uk. ‘As I got older, I have gained strength. My calcium levels increased and I haven’t had a fracture in years.’
Sherise has always been active.
Years ago she was a dancer, doing contemporary, ballroom and Latin styles, but quit to focus on academics and her career in marketing.
A sedentary job left her restless and worrying about her fitness and general health. Sherise joined the gym, but it wasn’t for her. Then she tried stretching classes, which she enjoyed, which led her to aerial silks.
Aerial silks is an activity that’s tricky in itself, but Sherise’s disability adds further challenge.
Sherise, who uses a wheelchair, has shorter arms that make it difficult to reach up the silks. Immense strength is required to pull yourself up using just your arms, which she’s built over time.
Plus, she absolutely cannot fall.
‘Taking into account the nature of my disabilty I must also be extra careful; falling is not an option at all,’ Sherise explains. ‘Most people argue I shouldn’t be doing silks at all.’
But Sherise loves a challenge. She refused to give up.
‘Initially, I couldn’t pull myself up at all,’ she says. ‘I thought to myself: how could this even be possible?
‘I severely underestimated the level of strength and fitness that is required to do silks.
‘There is an extreme sense of accomplishment when I master what other people regard as being the basics — knowing that I have overcome a personal challenge or obstacle.
‘I thrive on challenges.’
Sherise has always been confident in her body, but doing aerial silks has strengthened not only her body, but her relationship with it.
‘I am very comfortable in my skin,’ says Sherise. ‘My arms and legs are stronger; so now I manage to pull myself up into my car faster. Since I am short it is a climbing mission to reach anything.
‘[Doing aerial silks has given me] muscle, muscle and more muscle… my biceps are popping like never before.’
The mental benefits of exercise are huge, too, and Sherise shares her aerial workouts online to show people how much joy can be found in getting active.
‘When life gets too much mentally training, dancing and being active is a sense of relief and helps ground me,’ says Sherise. ‘Physically I am far fitter and more active than anyone I know with my type.
‘I’m always trying some new fitness challenge, even if it’s just once.’
It’s always enjoyable treating yourself to new beauty products, right? But it’s even nicer when you know that the brands and stores you love are giving back to charity too.
This March, high street retailer Space NK is partnering with Selfish Mother founder Molly Gunn to create a bespoke Space NK Selfish Mother Beauty Bag to help fundraise for Refuge, a charity that aids women, men and children escaping domestic abuse.
The Space NK Selfish Mother Beauty Bag is packed with best-selling beauty products worth £90, but is priced at £50. From every sale, £5 (+ vat) will be donated to Refuge.
Molly launched her signature MOTHER T-shirt in the summer of 2014 to show solidarity and to raise money for women in war-torn countries. But this collaboration with Space NK is Selfish Mother’s first in beauty and comes as Molly has reached an impressive £1million milestone in donations to charities who are doing incredible work.
The grey beauty bag contains an edit of six of Molly’s must-have beauty products worth £90 and there’s not a dud in sight. Inside you’ll find favourites from brands such as Drunk Elephant and By Terry. And a full sized 100% vegan lipstick from beauty brand ILIA.
The Space NK Selfish Mother Beauty Bag
Contents value: £90
Total value including the Selfish Mother Beauty Bag: £107
Chief executive of Refuge, Sandra Horley said: ‘Refuge is delighted to be working with Space NK and Molly Gunn. Domestic abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in the UK today; a staggering one in four women will experience domestic abuse at some time in their lives and over 800,000 children in England alone live in homes where domestic violence is taking place.’
‘Thanks to Space NK and Molly, aka Selfish Mother, we can reach many more women who need our life-saving and life-changing services, while raising essential funds for our frontline services. Together we will save and change yet more lives.’
So why not make your next beauty purchase one that gives back too?
The Space NK Selfish Mother Beauty Bag will be available to purchase in-store and online at spacenk.com for £50 from Tuesday 5 March.
Who are Refuge and what do they do?
Refuge opened the world’s first refuge in Chiswick, West London, in 1971. Since then it has grown to become the country’s largest single provider of specialist support to women and children escaping domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence.
On any given day Refuge supports more than 6,000 women and children.
Refuge’s national network of specialist services include: safe emergency accommodation through refuges in secret locations across the country; community-based outreach services; culturally specific services for women from South Asian, African and Caribbean, Eastern European and Vietnamese backgrounds; a modern slavery service; independent advocacy services for women at the highest risk of serious injury and homicide; a range of single point of access services for women, children and men across entire regions; and the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership with Women.
(Registered charity number 277424)
Space NK charity beauty bag
Three women have been pictured posing in their underwear to show off their stoma bags.
Each suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, Sarah Anderson, 25, Beth Gallagher, 24 and Lydia Andrew, 23, have all had part of their digestive system removed and stoma bags fitter.
Boosted by their common bond, they are all now ‘out and proud,’ feeling happy to reveal their stomas in the gym and on the beach.
Sarah, a masters student, who had her stoma bag fitted at 23, said: ‘Meeting Beth and Lydia lifted me up and they helped to reassure me about all my insecurities.
‘I still find it difficult showing my bag off in person. I went to the beach for the first time last year and I knew some people were looking.
‘But now I feel far more prepared to get out in public and head down to a beach or a gym with my bag on show – because I feel now that if someone tries to be negative about my body they are taking on all of us.’
Sarah was 15 when she first started experiencing symptoms of IBD, passing blood every time she went to the toilet.
She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, where the colon and rectum become inflamed.
She was treated for seven years with steroids, to help reduce the inflammation as well as infusions to suppress the immune system.
Her condition worsened over the years, making it difficult to lead a normal life.
‘There were days when I couldn’t even leave the house as I was constantly having to go to the toilet,’ she recalled.
‘I remember once, when I was working at Tesco, not being able to make it to the toilet in time which, in such a public place, was totally mortifying.’
Despite the debilitating symptoms that included pain so bad that she twice passed out from it, which turned her into a virtual recluse, for years Sarah fought her doctors’ advice to have a stoma bag fitted.
Finally, in 2016, aged 23, she succumbed when she realised that having her life restricted by her constant trips to the bathroom was worse than any stoma bag could be.
Going under the knife that May at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Sarah had a four-hour long surgery to remove part of the large intestine, leaving her with a stoma – an opening in the abdomen which allows waste to be diverted out of the body and collected in a pouch.
Like Beth and Lydia, having the stoma bag fitted left her feeling isolated and alone, as she did not know anyone who identified with her situation.
She said: ‘It is very isolating to be a young woman with bowel disease as it’s the sort of thing you normally associate with older people.
‘Especially being single it can be pretty tough as you really don’t want to have to go around explaining to every man you sleep with why you have a bag attached to you.
‘I know it’s selfish, as I could be dead without it due to the risk of developing cancer, but I really miss my old body.’
Suffering with anxiety and depression as a result of her surgery, Sarah’s mood lifted when she started bonding with women in a similar situation online.
Taking to Instagram one day in a week after her operation, she vented her dislike of her new physique to her 100 followers, saying: ‘It’s one week post op for me and it’s been the hardest week of my entire life.
‘I got my colon removed to reduce my cancer risk and to live without pain but mentally living with an ileostomy isn’t as easy as I thought.
‘Emptying my bag is a dreaded thought and I need help and support to constantly do anything.
‘I know things will get better but this disease and what people suffer needs more awareness.
‘I’m not ashamed of living with this and I never will be.’
The post, which received 89 likes, was spotted by Lydia, a design assistant at an art studio, who had just had similar surgery because of ulcerative colitis.
‘Lydia contacted me out of the blue and said that she was going through a similar situation,’ said Sarah.
‘She said that she respected my brutal honesty, the fact that I told it like it is and didn’t shy away from the reality of how it is to be a young woman living with a stoma. After that, we were pretty much in contact all the time.’
Exchanging their daily concerns about their situation using WhatsApp, Sarah explained how she felt her condition had held her back for years while her friends were getting on in life.
She also confided her sadness over a relationship with a man, which she had started a few months after her surgery, but which fell apart due to her anxiousness about the bag.
The support she received from Lydia and the identification they shared was invaluable.
Then, when teaching assistant Beth joined their WhatsApp group conversation at the end of 2017, after Lydia made contact with her over Instagram, they became firm friends.
‘I’m from a small town,’ said Sarah, who describes herself as the ‘wise owl’ of the trio. ‘This meant I didn’t know anyone like me, who was going through the same thing.
‘You can try talking to your best friends about it, and they will try to be as supportive as they can.
‘Really, though, only someone who has had the same thing happen to them can know the true reality of life with a stoma bag.’
But, living in different parts of the UK meant it took a while for the three women to meet in person.
Eventually, after two and a half years of almost daily conversation, they gathered at Beth’s flat over a weekend in January 2019.
‘Before we met up I was a bit nervous – because girls can get bitchy and two’s company, three’s a crowd,’ said Sarah.
‘But it was amazing. It felt like we all had so much to say to one another and we spent hours just sat indoors chatting about everything, from our health to relationships, and everything we’d been through over the years.’
They also fulfilled a plan they had discussed to take a series of photos of themselves posing together in their underwear.
Both Sarah and Beth had previously snapped themselves showing their stoma bags, which they had posted on social media, but they wanted the pictures of the three of them to symbolise their solidarity.
Together, they posed in several photos to show off their bags, all wearing black Calvin Klein underwear.
Sarah said: ‘I’m really not the sort of girl who posts pictures of herself just wearing her knickers.
‘But it felt like we were sending out a strong message, and more than that helping ourselves see that we can still be happy in our own skin despite the bags.
‘I was expecting at least some kind of rude comment or negative backlash. But actually the feedback was so positive, especially from other women, which felt very empowering.’
Now best friends, the girls plan to meet more regularly.
Sarah continued: ‘I don’t want people to look at those pictures we took and just think we’re just some girls who take their clothes off for the camera.
‘The photos show how close we are as friends and, while we may all be quite different people in terms of our personalities, we have become pals for life. I would honestly call these girls my sisters.’
Bethany, who has a fiancé, Michael Saul, 23, an administrator, feels exactly the same.
She said: ‘Before having the stoma operation, I was totally petrified. Even though by that stage I had lost five stone and was going to the toilet 40 times a day, it was terrifying to think, especially as a young woman, that you’d have a bag.
‘When people think of stomas, they don’t think of young women. All of the leaflets I was given by the hospital talked about old people and it felt like I was this strange exception.
‘But meeting the girls really changed my life. When we met, we all had so much to say to each other and couldn’t stop talking. The diahorrea was verbal for once!
‘I felt more comfortable with them than I even do with Michael, because I wasn’t worrying about my bag filling up and them being grossed out by it.’
Lydia, who also has a boyfriend, Jefferson Bunney, 23, an estimator, said: ‘When I had my stoma operation I was in my second year of university and though my friends were really supportive, no one really understands what you are going through.
‘But with Beth and Sarah, I trust their judgement 100%.
‘We aren’t just three girls with stomas who have posted underwear pictures – we are people with a very deep and strong friendship, developed by having all had a pretty rough time. Having them as pals means I don’t feel like I’m coping with this on my own any more.
‘Meeting Beth and Sarah has reaffirmed that we are all attractive women and that having a stoma bag hasn’t changed that one bit.’
Online friends who forged an unbreakable bond after all having stoma bags fitted meet in real life for defiant underwear photoshoot
We’re nearing the end of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a week to spread awareness of disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
The latter often goes unspoken of. Many put binge eating disorder down to being ‘too greedy’, when it is in fact recognised as a mental illness.
It’s incredibly common, too.
Tom Quinn, Director of External Affairs at eating disorder charity Beat, says binge eating disorder is a ‘serious mental illness’ in which people experience a loss of control and eat large quantities of food over a short period of time.
It can affect people of any age, though commonly develops later in life.
It’s not about choosing to eat extra-large portions, nor are people who suffer from it just ‘overindulging’. The disorder is not enjoyable. People who binge find it distressing, and often those who do it find themselves out of control, unable to stop even if they want to.
According to the NHS website, symptoms of binge eating disorder include eating very quickly during a binge, eating until you feel uncomfortable full, eating when you’re not hungry, eating alone or in secret, and feeling depressed, guilty, ashamed or disgusted after binge eating.
It is not a case of eating a little bit more than the average person.
Tom tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Exact figures for the number of people suffering from binge eating disorder aren’t known, although studies suggest it is considerably more common than anorexia.
‘Many people who suffer from binge eating disorder experience stigma as a result of fat-shaming, on top of the feelings of guilt and low self-esteem that are associated with the illness.
‘This can make it more difficult to ask for help, and may mean some sufferers go undiagnosed for a long time.
‘Binge eating disorder is as serious as any other eating disorder, and it’s really important that those suffering get the support they need as soon as possible to have the best chance of recovery.
‘If you’re concerned about yourself, the best thing to do is to contact your GP, and you can also get in touch with Beat to talk about the best steps to take.’
If you think you may be suffering with binge eating disorder, contact your GP to talk about your symptoms and to seek help.
You can also phone Beat’s helpline on 0808 805 0677 – it is open from 12pm-8pm during weekdays and 4pm-8pm on weekends.
The question of sex and morality is a complex one.
Having a lot of sex isn’t always bad, and having very little sex isn’t always good. But a recent study has found that using the old fashioned metrics of sexual morality, attractive people have less stringent sexual boundaries.
But why do attractive people have more liberal views?
According Robert Ubatsch from Iowa State University, it’s partially because attractive people have more options when it comes to sex.
If you look like Ryan Reynolds or Blake Lively then there is a pretty much 100% chance that on a night out you could find someone who wants to bone you.
If you look like a foot then it’s going to be more difficult. So you can end up having less sex, but not because you’re a morally better person or less of a horndog, just simply because you lack the chances.
Being able to have sex whenever you want, Robert theories, makes you likely to be less judgemental of those who have casual sex.
According to the report’s author: ‘In the data from 2016, 51 percent of those whose looks were rated above average said a woman who wants an abortion for any reason should legally be allowed to have one.
‘Only 42 percent of those with below-average looks said the same. This nine-point difference increases to 15 points when accounting for factors like age, education, political ideology and religiosity.
‘This pattern repeated for almost all questions. The one exception was a question that asked when adultery was morally acceptable. Almost all respondents said “never” to that, washing out differences between the more and less attractive.’
So attractive people are more likely to be liberal in their views around reproductive rights, but not more likely to cheat on you. Sounds like a win win.
How Dry January can improve your sex life
The ketogenic diet – or keto, for short – is the big wellness thing right now.
The diet is all about eating low carb, high-fat foods with moderate amounts of protein. Low levels of carbohydrates cause blood sugar to drop, pushing the body into a state of ketosis, which breaks down fat to use as energy.
Fans praise the ketogenic diet’s ability to help you drop pounds, fast.
Over on Reddit, followers of the keto diet are complaining of ‘a strange smell from down below’ and changes in discharge.
Nutritionist Lisa De Fazio told INSIDER that the keto diet could ‘change your vaginal pH, which alters your vaginal odour’, suggesting that the high levels of fat and low carbohydrates could disrupt your vagina’s delicate bacterial balance and make it smell.
This sounds reasonable, and ‘keto crotch’ is a catchy name, but some experts don’t think the diet could cause such issues.
Vagina expert Dr Jen Gunter tweeted in response to the article: ‘Food does not change vaginal odour and the doctor quoted here is incorrect. If your sweat or breath smells of ketones then everywhere else will too.’
Going into ketosis will make the body release ketones – chemicals made in the liver – throughout the body, which could affect how breath, poo, urine, and sweat could smell.
So yes, going on the ketogenic diet could affect body odour, including that emanating from your genital region. But what’s not the case is that it’s the cause of disrupted pH levels and bacteria balance in the internal bit of the genitals, the vagina.
In basic terms, the ketogenic diet may make you smell all over. It’s not accurate to say it targets your vagina and makes your discharge turn into swamp water.
Many people complain of ‘keto breath’, saying their breath smells of acetone when they are on the diet.
But those discussing ‘keto crotch’ don’t seem to be talking about a general change in body odour, which may in fact occur. Instead they’re suggesting that the diet may alter your vagina’s pH, which experts don’t think is the case.
A representative for sexual health charity FPA tells Metro.co.uk: ‘There is no research to suggest that following a low-carb, high-fat diet such as the keto diet could affect your vaginal health.
‘If you’re experiencing irritation, or an unusual smell or discharge, see your doctor or get a sexual health check-up as these could be symptoms of thrush, bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection.’
What we do know is that high levels of sugar can increase your likelihood of developing thrush, but there’s no evidence to suggest issues could be caused by low carbohydrates and lots of fat.
What could also be causing an issue is exercise, and letting your vulva wallow in warm, sweaty environments.
Think about it – if you’ve gone on the keto diet to lose weight or get super toned, you likely also work out.
Workouts mean getting hot and sweaty, often in tight leggings or shorts. And that could cause issues.
Dr Shazia Malik previously told Metro.co.uk that the sweaty ‘vagina triangle’ is ‘an ideal environment for bugs to thrive and multiply – especially those that cause yeast infections (candida) and boils’.
If you notice a change in your vagina’s scent or discharge, don’t be too quick to dismiss it as the result of a trendy diet. Instead chat to your GP right away to check what’s going on, and consider how you’re caring for your vagina.
Tight underwear, lots of sweat, synthetic fabrics, irritation and infection are more likely to cause issues than what you’re eating.
A guide to discharge:
If your discharge experiences certain changes, this could indicate an infection:
You should go to a GP or sexual health clinic if…
How to keep the vagina and vulva clean:
let's talk about the gym vaginal sweat triangle
I remember having my first panic attack when I was five years old. I sobbed uncontrollably until I exhausted myself, and my parents, to sleep.
I had not yet graduated past picture books, so didn’t have the vocabulary to communicate what was going on in my head. Now, 25 years later, I still struggle to describe it.
When it comes to mental health, our language is still in its infancy. It’s unsurprising, considering how recently we, as a society, have felt able to talk about it. We are constantly being encouraged to open up about how we are feeling, but what if we don’t have the words to explain?
Limited as our mental health vocabulary may be, the terminology we actually do have is steeped in stigma and more often than not, used incorrectly. Just think about terms like ‘psycho’, and ‘schizo’ that are thrown around so often their meaning has evolved to something far-removed from their origin.
Conditions such as multiple personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, despite being very different, are confused for one another simply because they sound similar. The mental health language barrier endures.
Words like ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ have only become palatable in the last few years, but they are umbrella terms for a whole spectrum of feelings, emotions and symptoms that singular words couldn’t possibly do justice.
I believe that the broad use of these terms is unhelpful, and categorises very different struggles into the same mental health melting pot, when in fact they need very specific treatment.
Imagine you go to the doctor with stomach ache and all she prescribes is painkillers without further investigation. Menstruation, IBS, appendicitis, a dodgy curry: there’s a whole host of different causes and possible remedies for conditions with confusingly similar symptoms. But if we only treat the symptoms we will never discover the cause.
My parents thought my panic attacks were a childhood phase that I’d grow out of. Then they thought it was a teenage phase I’d overcome. Like any illness, ignoring the symptoms only makes things worse.
My entire life I had doctors trying to make me fit a diagnosis, rather that finding a diagnosis that fit me. I’m glad to say I’m now lucky enough to have been treated as a person, not an illness.
Our limited mental health vocabulary means that describing our symptoms often gets lost in translation.
I discovered this the hard way.
For years I was treated for different diagnoses. I was prescribed a variety of medications, therapies and treatment for very different conditions, when in fact my symptoms remained pretty much the same. They just varied in degrees of severity.
I still had panic attacks, but now they ranged from minor heart palpitations to full-on hyperventilation. At the time I was being treated for depression, my panic attacks got so bad I would hit my head against a wall in a desperate attempt to make them stop.
I was embarrassed to admit this to a doctor. Shame and guilt washed over me. I didn’t want my friends or family to worry, I didn’t want to push them away. I didn’t want them to think I was attention-seeking, or doing it on purpose to manipulate them. Eventually I decided to be honest, I didn’t want it to have a hold on me anymore.
I told my doctor. But it didn’t fit the bill for a depressive, so it was dismissed.
When my symptoms worsened, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and hospitalised. Relieved to have a new diagnosis, I kept quiet about anything that didn’t match, terrified I would have the label taken from me.
I had symptoms I didn’t talk about. They didn’t fit into the predetermined list of ‘qualifications’ for bipolar. I wanted so desperately to fit in because I so desperately wanted to get better.
I spent two years being heavily medicated and treated for bipolar disorder, a condition I never had.
I’ll never get that time back. But I can try and make sure it wasn’t a complete waste.
In hindsight, there were very clear indicators that I wasn’t receiving the right treatment. Hindsight is useless for me but by talking about my experiences, I hope to make it useful for someone else.
My entire life I had doctors trying to make me fit a diagnosis, rather that finding a diagnosis that fit me. I’m glad to say I’m now lucky enough to have been treated as a person, not an illness.
To anyone reading this who is struggling with their diagnosis, stick in there. Be honest with yourself, be honest with your doctor and be honest with those closest to you. Never feel like you’re making a fuss.
Never feel like there is an issue to small to mention. You are not alone. You are not an imposter. You are worthy of health and happiness.
I wish I had been able to communicate what I was going through to my family and doctors. I wish there were more words to describe the sliding scale of depression because one word doesn’t do it justice.
I’m not suggesting our attitudes are an easy thing to fix but we have to start somewhere and educating ourselves beyond depression and anxiety will help that. At school, in the media and with each other. It’s a learning curve, but we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.
‘Depression’, as we currently define it, can last for minutes, days or years. It can manifest itself physiologically and psychologically or both. It can lead people to cry, to lose their personalities or even their lives. Which is why one word, one definition, one singular diagnosis isn’t enough.
The way we approach mental health needs a serious shake up. A new system of identifying and categorising conditions is vital. We must also erase the stigma associated with certain symptoms so that people feel able to accurately describe that which cannot be seen.
If you’ve ever wanted to know whether you’re dating the right girl or not, one Twitter user has come up with a solution for you: His ‘book’ ‘Nails at First Sight’.
A man who goes by the name of Rocky has created a ‘survival guide’ for his ‘bros’ to help them decide whether to invest time in a woman or not, based on their choice of false nails.
Rocky created a video showing off his guide, alongside the caption: ‘Tired of chasing the wrong girl? Just found out your girl is psycho? Want to know the signs before making that investment? My book “Nails At First Sight” will help you.’
He says he did ‘countless hours of research’ into the nails, before letting us all know that apparently, if you have nude nails, you’re safe.
If someone’s nails are black or white, they could be dangerous, and if they’re yellow? Well, apparently, if they’re yellow you should stay the hell away.
He said: ‘If she has the courage to get yellow nails, she has the courage to chop off your balls’. Interesting.
He also went on to talk about the various shapes.
While square and rounded nails seem to be safe, Rocky says you should stay away from pointed nails, such as the stiletto shape, saying that they are ‘meant to hurt you’.
And apparently, the size of the nail says a lot about a woman.
For instance, regular false nails usually say a woman is a pumpkin spice latte lover, while apparently women with medium nails like ‘vacations with old men’. Hmmm.
And it gets worse.
When it comes to long nails, these say the girl’s ex boyfriend is in jail and that they’re a ‘twerk master’.
Rocky’s video has been pretty successful so far, as it’s currently between retweeted by more than 88,000 people and liked by more than 240,000.
And since, women have been replying with pictures of their own nails:
Nude. But long.— oh my laurrrrd (@laurcathmarie) February 26, 2019
Sweet but will definitely kill you if prompted to do so. pic.twitter.com/ZEzp3t8JBw
What power level are these? pic.twitter.com/RdvZ8pxxvw— disco tits (@ASStronautalexa) February 26, 2019
Can be safe, can be dangerous. Can be normal, can be crazy. It’s 50/50 ?? pic.twitter.com/x0Dnphl6Kb— Paulette (@paulettexo_) February 26, 2019
I think of myself as a pretty nice person ? pic.twitter.com/g3eowu9F5s— ?????? (@briisza) February 27, 2019
We’d just like to say that ladies, you do you when it comes to your nails. Go for the long. Go for the yellow. Who cares what people assume – go for the colours and the lengths you like.
Spill it is a new series where we get people to anonymously tell us about their drinking habits.
We’re talking to men and women from all over the UK (unless anyone volunteers from abroad in which case we’re going international) about how much they really drink.
Not how much they tell their doctor they drink, or a rough guesstimate – but the unvarnished boozy truth.
This week we’ve got a 27-year-old writer from London, who we’ve dubbed Claudia.
This week has been absolutely mad, so decide to have night in with husband. Am terrible at having a Friday night in because I’m convinced that everyone else is having amazing fun without me and I’m the only loser stuck in watching Graham Norton.
Wake up hungover from a party the night before to celebrate a big work project. Spend the day ‘working’ from home, which means having rows on Twitter, drinking three Diet Cokes to try to ease the hangover. Eventually, I had a long, hot shower to try and rid myself of the hangover grime.
Husband comes home around 6.30pm and I open a bottle of my current favourite wine, Souverin. It’s a really buttery Chardonnay.
It’s £10.50 a bottle so try not to neck it. Husband and I share the bottle between us between 6.30pm and bedtime around 11.30pm. I make meatballs and we watch a truly brilliant/s**t program about mermaids.
After Thursday’s big party and Friday’s half bottle of wine I’m feeling a bit poisoned. I wake up, drink a load of San Pelligrino and then call an Uber to Fulham (a long way, but I feel grimy and hungover and can’t face the tube.)
Arrive at Fulham for childhood best friend’s birthday brunch. She has already poured me a glass of Prosecco. I don’t actually like Prosecco (too sweet) but it’s very cold and everyone else is drinking so I have a glass.
I order a Diet Coke with my food (croque madame) which is both flat and warm. Perfect.
Bill comes and best friend insists on paying for everyone. We call an UberXL to take us over to the pub where the next part of her birthday is happening.
Pub is absolutely rammed because of the rugby. Husband arrives wearing Welsh rugby regalia, immediately starting the worry that husband will be lynched if Wales win.
I order a Peroni from the bar for husband and a half for myself. Decide after a few sips that Peroni isn’t doing it for me so give it to husband and order a passion fruit martini. Bartender looks very sad when I say this, so change order to Blood Orange Cosmo which is on tap. It tastes like juice.
At half time, husband is in foul mood as Wales are losing. Wales then pull it back in the end and husband is delighted, orders another beer to celebrate. Someone gives me a glass of Prosecco which I tip into my Cosmo to try disguise the taste.
We leave the bar around six and go to the Everyman in Kings Cross to watch The Basis of Sex. I have a fizzy water and pee about 15 times during the course of the film because of all the Cosmos.
Sunday means Sunday Lunch (with a capital L). Today we’ve got my sister and two of our close friends coming over. I’m making roast lamb and dauphinoise. Husband and I have a slow start in the morning, after we’ve had sex, showered and eaten a hot cross bun each it’s almost midday.
I spend the morning prepping lunch and listening to Radio 4 while my husband tidies the house.
Friends arrive with champagne. We drink three bottles between five while sitting on our balcony and smoking too much. We then move on to white wine. I have a glass and a half.
I serve lunch around five (it’s sort of lunch, sort of supper) and we open two more bottles of red wine. I have two glasses.
After lunch we go back out to the balcony for a cigarette, but we’re all so full of wine and food that we’re almost falling asleep. Everyone leaves around 8pm. Husband and I tidy up a bit and get into bed for a gloriously early night around half nine.
I work from the office on Monday and Friday, which means Monday is an early start. I get up a bit after six, look at my phone for a few minutes and then get ready for work. I’m a bit hungover from the night before, so I weaken and call an Uber.
When I’m still writing #viralcontent in my 80s it’ll be because I spent my pension fund on Ubers.
After work I get home before my husband, prep supper (fajita) and watch Gossip Girl. He comes home, we stay off the booze.
There is only one Diet Coke in the house so I have to ration myself. I could probably drink three if I gave myself permission.
I’m working from home today. A quick radio discussion, send some invoices, some work on my next book proposal and a bit of house tidying. Quite a few episodes of Gossip Girl, too.
Husband is home around seven. I make aubergine parmigiana and we don’t drink alcohol.
Working from home again, this time on my next novel. I get engrossed in it so don’t get dressed or put on a bra until after lunch. After eating Weetabix for lunch, I indulge in long fantasy about someone making a film of my first novel.
Meet husband at the pub just before seven. I order a double gin and soda water because I hate tonic. Friend arrives and orders a glass of wine. Husband has a beer.
We have drinks outside, I smoke a couple of cigarettes and revel in how warm it is. Catch up with friend about what is going with her. Her new(ish) boyfriend arrives and to my relief he is absolutely lovely.
We order a bottle of wine to share between two during the quiz, while our other halves drink beer (what a cliché). We win a quiz question which means we get free shots. I don’t really want tequila on a Wednesday night but when in Rome.
We don’t usually drink on Wednesday or Thursday, but this week seems to be a boozy one.
We come second in the quiz, much to my surprise, and win a £14 bar tab, which we spend on a large glass of wine each. I am very drunk by now.
I get some disappointing news in the morning to do with my mortgage application. Spend most of the day feeling sorry for myself.
Husband bumps into my sister and her best mate on the way home from work so they all go to the pub. I’ve made quite a labour intensive curry ahead of husband coming home so am not best pleased. After a brief row on WhatsApp I call an Uber to go and join them. We drink two bottles of wine between four, and eat three packets of Mini Cheddars.
Stumble home from pub when the beer garden closes and eat reheated curry while watching Alan Partridge. Curry is bloody good, even if I say so myself.
Surprisingly not hungover, must have drunk a lot of water last night. Call Uber to go to work because I’ve spent about seven million quid this week and I’m never going to get a mortgage so shouldn’t bother about saving money.
It’s currently only mid-afternoon so unsurprisingly I haven’t had a drink yet. Will have a glass of wine, possibly two, this evening when I get back to my parents’ house in the country. And will then resolve to do better next week.
Units drunk: 29
Units advised by doctors: 14
Next week we’ll be speaking to another drinker about their units.
If you’d like to take part in Spill it, you can email email@example.com
Spill it - new series
A couple have a pet raccoon, and they say he’s just like their child.
Two-year-old Tema is a playful raccoon who has a hobby of destroying the house he shared with his owners Elena and Oleg Troskina, who live in the city of Kemerovo, Russia.
The animal isn’t very well behaved – as he eats the furniture – but his owners love him anyway.
A recent video even shows Tema digging a hole into the sofa and then sliding into it to hide.
But Elena said Tema is as clever as a three-year-old child and can open doors, switch on the oven and run water himself.
The blogger and former model, 35, said: ‘Raccoons are pretty difficult animals to have at home.
‘They need constant communication and attention, you need to spend at least a couple of hours a day playing with them.
‘When you have one, you need to forget about normal furniture and all your doors must be locked.
‘You can’t have a holiday and ask your neighbour to come and feed your pet, as within two weeks a raccoon will be wild again.
‘All my evenings are busy giving him attention, if you don’t give it in the afternoon and evening he will demand it in the night.
‘I still love him very much though, I don’t remember my life before him.’
Elena and Oleg, 27, got Tema when he was eight weeks old after buying him from a zoo.
But when he was sent to the couple from Moscow by train, he was so small he could fit in their hands and had to be fed every two hours.
She added: He is very social, but I am his favourite family member.
‘We have no conflicts with him, he understands everything but of course can be as much of a nuisance as any other kid.
‘Raccoons are a pretty clever animals, they are as clever as a three-year-old child.
‘Tema can open any door himself, run the water or switch the oven on.’
Elena said true to his breed’s stereotype, Tema eats everything – with cookies, fresh quail eggs, fresh fish and grapes some of his favourite foods.
And she admitted the he has full run of their flat, which they also share with a dog and a cat, despite having his own house on their balcony.
Elena added: ‘Sometimes Tema sleeps next to my head, sometimes on the sofa.
‘I can say one thing – if I knew everything about raccoons I do now before I adopted him, I would never have done it.
‘Everyone thinks they are cute but no one thinks about how hard they are to keep at home.
‘He made our life change suddenly – now we need to think ‘raccoon’ when we plan anything.
‘But already, I am scared to think there will be a time when he will pass away.
‘I love him and will never give him to anyone, he is like a child to me.’
Pet racoon is loved like a child
Today, as we casually scrolled through Twitter, we saw something that shook us to our core.
You know, just like every other day on the internet.
But this was not about the colour of people’s toast or a truly terrible opinion about relationships.
No. This terrible thing was ‘milk coke’.
Writer James Felton is the evil being who decided to inflict this monstrosity upon us, tweeting: ‘Milk coke is a real thing. Brummies love it. We can all move on from this discussion now, I will be taking no further questions.’
Of course, we cannot simply ‘move on from this discussion’.
We are repulsed, horrified, and disturbed. And intrigued.
Is ‘milk coke’ really a common thing sipped by those from Birmingham? I tried to ask the Birmingham local who usually sits by my desk, but he was off ill. I’d also seen murmerings that milk coke is enjoyed by the Scottish. And the two Scottish people near me are also off sick. Is this some kind of conspiracy?
We took to Twitter and Instagram to search #milkcoke, certain that someone most have posted a photo of their favourite beverage on social media. On Twitter, the only results were from those responding to James Felton. But on Instagram, we found the truth.
Milk coke is indeed a thing, but it appears to be popular in Thailand and China, not Birmingham.
Traditional milk coke is made with condensed milk, rather than regular semi-skimmed, giving it a creamy consistency not unlike the dregs of a coke float. It actually looks rather good.
But this is not the milk coke we are interested in. No, we want the pure evil concoction of a can of coke swished around with some milk from the fridge.
We decided we must try milk coke for ourselves, and witness what toxic poison we shall bring into the world.
Will it curdle? Yes.
Will it form strange, chewy clumps? Absolutely, if you leave it for 20 minutes or so.
But does it taste good? This is the big question.
What we think of milk coke
Ellen: ‘This tastes like a melted ice cream coke float. I don’t mind it.’
Rebecca: ‘Milk is gross. Full fat coke is gross. Shockingly the combination of the two is even worse. I would have to be paid a significant sum of money to drink it again, though I admit that the concept is worse than the flavour.’
Aaron enjoyed the milk coke, but he also ate spaghetti topped with pink foam shrimp last night and thus we cannot take his opinion seriously.
Britain’s loneliest dog has finally found a home after spending more than 500 days at an animal shelter, and we couldn’t be happier for him.
Staff and volunteers at the RSPCA’s Little Valley Animal Shelter in Exeter had been desperately trying to find a family for two-year-old Hector ever since he was rescued in 2017.
The shelter said they could never understand why he was continually overlooked, despite having a fan club online.
But after a recent appeal went viral, hundreds of people from all over the world came forward offering to re-home him.
Staff at Little Valley say they are overjoyed that their longest-staying resident has finally found a new ‘forever’ home.
Shelter manager Jo Evans said: ‘We couldn’t be happier for him. We can’t stop smiling.’
The shelter thanked its supporters and everyone who came forward.
Jo added: ‘Hector is hilarious. He never fails to make us smile and is a firm favourite with all who meet him.
‘He’s adored by staff and we couldn’t understand why he was always overlooked.
‘He’s an active boy who is looking for like-minded owners who can take him on plenty of adventures. He especially loves the beach, and we have learnt he likes to swim.’
LONELY NO MORE - Dog labelled Britain's loneliest after spending 500 days at a rescue centre finally finds a home
Five adorable newborn lambs have been pictured dressed in woolly jumpers to keep them warm.
Babies Finn, Flora, Freddy, Fleur and Freya, were only born six days ago. They live at Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Comrie, Perth and Kinross, but were born at a nearby farm.
The adorable lambs are fed four times a day and live in a hatchery in a little pen. They’re cared for by 21-year-old Shona Coutts.
She said the woolly jumpers they are dressed in were originally designed for dogs, and cost a couple of pounds from a shop.
Shona said: ‘We got the lambs from a local farm, they gave us the pet lambs.
‘We feed them for a bottle for eight weeks, then they are weaned and go back to the farm.
‘It is still cold, so the jumpers were bought from a shop – they are dog jumpers.
‘At the moment, the jumpers are how we tell them apart.’
The teeny jumpers are different colours and fit over the lambs’ bodies although they do not have sleeves.
Finn and Freddy have been given red and blue jumpers to wear, while their sisters have pink jumpers decorated with white hearts.
Shona added: ‘It does get hard to tell them apart.
‘Some are quieter than others.
‘The two boys are the cheeky ones, and Fleur is quite in-your-face.
‘She’s very curious.
‘The lambs aren’t bothered by wearing the jumpers.’
Lambs have been coming to stay at the wildlife centre for the past decade.
Shona said: ‘It is quite early in the year for lambs.
‘They are fed four times a day, with two feeding sessions that customers can see.
‘The little kids love them.’
Five newborn lambs dressed in woolly jumpers to keep them warm