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- 03/02/19--00:32: _What to know if you...
- 03/02/19--02:00: _Can skiing in Switz...
- 03/02/19--02:01: _Strong Women: ‘I we...
- 03/02/19--02:45: _Please look at thes...
- 03/02/19--02:46: _Alert the authoriti...
- 03/02/19--03:40: _What’s it like bein...
- 03/02/19--04:21: _Should you give you...
- 03/02/19--04:27: _Man rushing for fli...
- 03/02/19--05:09: _Everyone wants Holl...
- 03/02/19--05:41: _Can you find the tw...
- 03/02/19--05:53: _Gorgeous pigs strol...
- 03/02/19--07:49: _Mum makes dolls for...
- 03/02/19--07:58: _Why is the tech ind...
- 03/02/19--08:22: _This derelict Londo...
- 03/02/19--08:39: _Dying mother spends...
- 03/02/19--09:52: _Mum slams trading c...
- 03/03/19--00:59: _My Odd Job: I run a...
- 03/03/19--01:01: _You Don’t Look Sick...
- 03/03/19--01:25: _Mum raising money f...
- 03/03/19--02:07: _Kind firefighters s...
- 03/02/19--00:32: What to know if you’re dating someone with depression
- 03/02/19--02:00: Can skiing in Switzerland really be affordable?
- Easyjet offers direct flights from Gatwick to Zurich starting from £72 for the round trip
- Gatwick’s No1 Lounge can be booked starting from £32 (£40 on the door)
- A Swiss travel pass from the Swiss Tourist Board starts from £215 for four days but connections are included with Flexiski
- Ski and equipment hire was provided by Intersport with branches in both Wengen and Grindelwald
- Flexiski offers flexible travel and bespoke packages. Three-day trips to Wengen for three days start from £690-per-person based on two sharing. Three day trips to Grindelwald start at £980-per-person
- Hotel Silberhorn is a four-star hotel in Wengen, offering spa facilities and food on the premises
- Hotel Belvedere is a four-star premium hotel in Grindelwald, with a restaurant, spa and games room
- Lift passes are extra, even booking through Flexiski, and they’re around 205 swiss francs (£150) for three days
- 03/02/19--03:40: What’s it like being autosexual, when you’re attracted to yourself?
- 03/02/19--04:21: Should you give your dog pancakes this Pancake Day 2019?
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- macadamia nuts
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- 03/02/19--05:41: Can you find the two identical peas hidden in this brainteaser?
- 03/02/19--07:58: Why is the tech industry still not catering to women’s pleasure?
- 03/02/19--09:52: Mum slams trading cards for featuring baby dressed like ‘prostitute’
- 03/03/19--02:07: Kind firefighters step in to babysit during a family emergency
Dating someone with depression can be a bit tricky for both parties, to put it lightly.
The helplessness of watching someone you care about experience dark thought patterns, hold themselves in such a negative light and often distance themselves from you can, in turn, make you feel like you’re not good enough.
I mean, you might be an absolute berk, but if you care enough to read this then chances are it’s really not you and it’s really not them; it’s their depression.
‘I was with my ex boyfriend when I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety,’ Sarah* tells Metro.co.uk. ‘At first, he was supportive and helped me to research mental health, treatment, and counselling. This was new for both of us so we were both struggling to understand what was happening.
‘However, within a few weeks he didn’t understand why I wasn’t doing ‘better’, because I’d started taking medication and had had a few weeks away from work.
‘He didn’t seem to understand me when I told him I wasn’t able to get out of bed, how I couldn’t even shower some days, and how I felt so low.
‘His messages of support and love soon felt hollow and were replaced with emotional blackmail; HE needed me. HE was lonely. HE felt abandoned.
‘I had to break up with him […] he was making me feel 100% worse. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.’
If you’re currently with someone who’s depressed, you might be able to relate to Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. It’s easy (and understandable, so try not to feel like a crappy partner if this applies to you) to blame yourself for your other half’s mental health struggles, or to get cranky about how they ‘put on a show’ for everyone else, and then with you they’re always silent, retreating to bed or simply not engaging.
Chris* told me that before he knew his girlfriend was depressed, he was convinced she was always annoyed at him and that he was letting her down.
‘But as soon as she told me that she’d started to take antidepressants I realised that she wasn’t being moody, she was ill,’ Chris says. ‘She wasn’t locking herself up in our room because she hated me, it’s because she needed time to herself because her depression was flaring up.’
Look, depression has a different effect on everyone unfortunate enough to be encased in it.
I cannot in any way speak for everyone suffering, but as someone who has been very ill with it before I can say that from my experience, depression makes you fairly self involved; it doesn’t occur to you that your partner or friend may be wondering how they can help, or be feeling like you’re shutting them out. It would never cross your mind that anyone else is interested in why you’re feeling or behaving a certain way.
When it was at its worst for me, depression essentially turned me into a narcissistic teenager, oblivious of anyone else.
So don’t be afraid to ask your partner questions, because they’re unlikely to present any answers to you unprompted.
Sandra Dean from Counselling Directory agrees: ‘For example, if it seems that your partner is making more of a problem of something than you think necessary (referred to as catastrophising), instead of saying “I think you’re overreacting”, ask why they feel the way they do about it.
‘Someone [with depression] can over-think things or may need more time to do things, or seem confused.
‘If you take time to ask questions, you can learn to empathise and thus help them to be themselves, and not worried to show or tell you what they are going through.
‘Acceptance is key in any relationship, so if you can both be yourselves and if you are compatible, there can be a lot of fun to be had. Look for compatibility as you would with any person.’
How your partner is feeling is in no way under your control, and is unlikely to be your fault (if you’re reading this piece then all evidence suggests you do actually care, bless your heart).
Obviously every couple is different – as is every experience of depression – but a good place to start is to do your own research into depression and mental health, and to take Sandra’s advice, I’d say.
Simply asking someone what they need from you or how you can support them can make a huge difference, as can a heads up from your partner if they’re feeling far from 10/10.
‘I do struggle with my girlfriend’s depression,’ says Chris. ‘It’s stressful not knowing who I’m coming home to.
‘I told her this and we talked about having some kind of signal, so she started to use a raincloud emoji when she was feeling her worst and cancelling on plans, or to symbolise in advance that she would be in bed when I got home.
‘It’s such a small thing but it’s made it a little easier to manage for both of us.’
The poo emoji will probably work just as well.
What works for Chris and his girlfriend won’t work for every couple, but it all ultimately comes down to compatibility, as Sandra highlights.
If you’re prepared to learn about the condition and empathise with your partner’s struggles – as, say, you would if they were suffering from a broken rib – then evidence suggests you guys will be ok.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, you can find a qualified local counsellor in your area with Counselling Directory . Mental health charity Mind also offers counselling services, and you can call The Samaritans on 116123 (UK and ROI). The NHS even has a little quiz you can take. If you can, visit your GP for further advice.
How Dry January can improve your sex life
It has all the clichés of expensive watches, chocolate and a country filled with billionaire’s bank accounts.
But when a ‘come review an affordable skiing holiday in Switzerland’ call came in, we had to wonder if things in the country were changing.
Skiing holidays aren’t known for being budget-friendly, after all.
Wengen and Grindelwald, two villages in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, are part of the Jungfrau region. They have partnered with Flexiski to allow more flexible travel than off the shelf packages.
We travelled to both areas though would probably advise travelling to one or the other unless you’re staying for over a week.
All the slopes we skied are available under the one Jungfrau region ski pass and all can be travelled to from either village.
Transport links and travelling from the UK
Flying from London’s Gatwick Airport into Zurich takes just under two hours. The journey from the airport to the Jungfrau region and the hotel actually takes longer, around three hours.
Given Switzerland’s well resourced public transport system, it’s relatively easy to navigate, smooth and quick.
The highlight of the journey is the last train into either village as the whole experience seems to be from another time.
The journey is steep and slow but the views are something to behold. It feels like rail travel from the time of Poirot rather than 2019 but with all the advantages of modern safety measures. It’s highly recommended, not least because of the isolation of the village of Wengen itself.
Hotel Silberhorn and Wengen
Wengen, much like the train up to the village, is a journey back in time. There are no cars in the whole village because there is no road down to the main routes through Switzerland. It’s a place where time has stood still.
It is a village to escape to when you want to get away from everything. There is a quiet to the area and a real sense of community as people are either permanent residents or working there for a full season. There is little industry other than tourism so the place is built to make people feel welcome.
It does a very good job of it.
The place is limited by strict planning permission (in the same way as Grindelwald) but Wengen’s location on the mountain means there is nowhere for it to grow to. Either side of it are steep slopes up and down so it sits as a unique and beautiful enclave on the mountainside.
We stayed at Hotel Silberhorn, the sort of hotel that still has a room for a ‘library and internetstation’. It’s very much a place befitting of its surroundings.
The hotel is going through a major refurbishment at the moment but the rooms were lacking in modern facilities. It was a perfectly pleasant stay, but for over £200-a-night, the food was average and it felt old-fashioned without being a vintage worth revisiting.
The village is welcoming and a highlight was a curling lesson, with an instructor who was the life and soul of the party. With a group of friends and some drinks, what we thought would be a dull introduction to the sport turned into one of the highlights of the trip.
Hotel Silberhorn, for three nights in February/March: from £690-per-person including flights, accomodation and transfers.
Skiing in Wengen
From Wengen, we skied from the Jungfrau Ski Region – Kleine Scheidegg – Männlichen – Wengen lifts.
The slopes are very well tended to, well marked and well thought through. The tricky thing is the variety of skill levels required even on individual runs. The runs jump between blue and red quite frequently and there are ample opportunities to swap between the two.
Sometimes there is no option, making Wengen daunting for beginners or even lower intermediate skiers. The runs all require attention and thought rather than a gentle ski. The shallowest run is actually the one down to Hotel Silberhorn, which offers ski-in and ski out.
The journey up from the hotel is a challenging one, with the walkable gondola only departing once every half hour. It was a full carriage each time we made the journey.
Once up the first gondola though, the lifts are well run without queues. The skiing, as long as you’re with competent skiers, is wonderful. Whiteouts prevented a second day of skiing from Wengen but it is thought of as one of the premium slopes in Europe.
The Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen makes the start of the Classic season in World Cup skiing. It took place just after our visit and preparations were already underway. It is seen as one of the more prestigious races of the season.
Hotel Belvedere and Grindelwald
Travelling across from Wengen to Grindelwald felt like time travel. Everything jumped into the 21st century, with cars, shopping centres and modern cafes rather than Wengen’s village restaurants.
Grindelwald feels much bigger than Wengen and more like a town than a village.
We stayed at Hotel Belvedere, with some of the best views I’ve ever seen. You walk into the main atrium to a beautiful fireplace, a piano and a view of seemingly the entire mountainside.
The bathrooms come with underfloor heating and a full wetroom, the balconies offer a similarly beautiful view and the bedrooms are spacious. The hotel also talks of sustainability and extras can be booked on a tablet provided in the room.
The restaurant in the hotel served genuinely good food. The only downside were the spa treatments which relied on freelance staff members who didn’t appear to be present.
With transport links more immediate, Grindelwald felt a lot busier, with bars full of tourists and local people. We visited Barry’s, a Swiss restaurant named after a dog who saved many lives two centuries ago.
The food was good but Swiss prices are to be taken into account. There is little way of leaving this restaurant without spending 50 Swiss francs (£38). As a guide, a large beef fillet risotto costs 56 Swiss francs (£43).
Hotel Belvedere, for three nights in February/ March: from £980-per-person including flights, accomodation and transfers.
Skiing in Grindelwald
From Grindelwald, we skied from the Jungfrau Ski Region – Grindelwald – First lifts.
The slopes here are significantly more forgiving with no steep surprises and an area designated for beginners. Because of the weather, visibility was relatively poor but it was a simple and pleasurable ski with excellent views similar to Wengen.
The lifts from the bottom were more frequent and similarly brisk after reaching the slopes. The snow was perfectly kept, despite the difficult weather, and offered a wide range of different slopes for different levels of skiing (not all were open during our trip because of the heavy snowfall).
The advantage here was that runs didn’t change their difficulty until you were given choices of which level to continue with. There were also fewer changes between very steep and very shallow sections without warning.
Skiing in the Jungfrau region is seen as one of the most prestigious places to visit and with the quality of the runs, the beauty of the scenery and the accessibility between different lifts, it’s easy to see why.
Can skiing in Switzerland really be affordable?
This holiday is a wonderful experience and shows off just how beautiful the Swiss Alps can be. It’s a more affordable holiday but that’s only compared to normal Switzerland, an incredibly expensive place.
Beer is still £5 for 500ml, you will still pay 44 Swiss francs (£34) for a fondue and you’ll still pay £300-a-night for a hotel.
A week in Slovenia for two people with flights, transfers, accommodation and lift passes comes to around £600-per-person for a week. The same here would cost around £2,000.
For reference, we got a quote to travel to Grindelwald for two people for five days at the Hotel Belvedere in March and that came to £3,400 plus lift passes.
If you want beautiful skiing in Switzerland in a close knit community with wonderful people and amenities, Flexiski offers a less expensive way to do that than would otherwise be possible in Switzerland and their customer service was personal and commendable.
If you want a truly affordable skiing holiday, eastern Europe (Romania, Slovenia or Slovakia) is still likely your best bet.
Adverts, social media and TV shows teach us again and again that women have to look a certain way in order to be fit.
The only women who get to be strong, healthy and love their bodies are Instagram models, dressed head-to-toe in lycra with intimidating abs and an inexplicable thigh gap.
This is presented to us as the ideal female form, and anything that doesn’t fit that prescriptive mould is wrong, even shameful.
Women of all ages, sizes, races and abilities can be strong, fit and unbelievably inspirational. But we never get to see them.
A study by Sport England found that 75% of women say fear of judgement puts them off being active.
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.
Lorna Al-Ani faced a devastating diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and thought her days of running were over. But now she’s training for a 50-mile ultra marathon.
How did fitness become a part of your life?
Fitness is a huge part of my life and has been from an early age.
I think if you have always led an active lifestyle, when you have a break from it you don’t feel good. Lack of exercise makes me unhappy, lacking in confidence and generally low in spirit.
I also feel it gives me body confidence. Knowing your body is fit and strong makes you feel better about how it looks. I’m not saying that I look in the mirror and love what I see, but I certainly feel better about it than when I don’t exercise.
In 2010 I discovered long distance running. It was my sister who encouraged me as I had never really been interested in doing these kind of races, but this time I thought I’d give it a go, and I have never looked back from there.
From running a half marathon, to joining a local running club, running 10 full marathons and now training for a 50-mile ultra marathon this year, my passion for running and everything it involves has just grown and grown.
I actually enjoy this form of exercise. It is not a chore or something that I have to get done. Especially when I am out on the trails on a long training run, I take it all in and realise how lucky I am to be able to do this and how amazing our bodies are to be able to allow us.
My appreciation of my body and what it allows me to do has certainly strengthened over the last three or four years, as my fitness journey has not been without its blips.
What obstacles have you faced?
With eight marathons and many other races under my belt, I was feeling stronger than ever, invincible even.
But runners are renounced for being good at ignoring certain things; the odd niggle or pain. I carried on running, but the pain got increasingly worse.
It is ridiculous when I think about it. At one point in 2015, I could hardly walk without pain, but I convinced myself that it was fine when I ran and so managed to run a whole 26.2 mile marathon despite it.
Two weeks later, running a team relay race, it finally got too much.
I was already taking anti-inflammatories for a knee twinge, but in the last couple of breaks I was bent over double with stomach pain.
My last lap, bringing my total mileage to 40, was horrendous. Even spectators told me I should be stopping. I came back into camp and waved the white flag. I was done.
My health deteriorated further and I went from a fit, active runner to someone who couldn’t get off the sofa in pain. Long story short, three months later I ended up being admitted to hospital and they diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease.
I lost more than two and a half stone in weight during this time. When I was finally discharged from hospital, I got out of breath walking round the block.
When I was initially diagnosed, I felt like my world had been shattered.
So much I had done before, I thought I could no longer do. And one of the biggest things was running.
However, I was under the care of some very good doctors and they started me on a treatment that allowed me to get my life back.
Amazingly, it helped the pain within a matter of days, but having lost so much fitness and muscle density, getting back to running was very hard. I started off with one or two miles and even that I struggled with, but I was determined to get back.
My goal was to get to five miles comfortably so I could run with my club again, and eventually I got there.
I remember my first run with them again. I always used to be at the front, but this time I was struggling to keep up!
Perseverance, determination and just a love of running drove me on and I did get back to where I was before – and more.
Last year, I completed my first 50K race and also a trail marathon in Scotland; tougher than anything thing I had ever done before. This year I’ve got some more goodies lined up too, all leading up to my 50-mile race in June.
I will be on medication for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, Crohn’s is not something they have a cure for yet, but I will not let it keep me down and it actually pushes me to do more because I feel so lucky to be able to.
Why do you think of yourself as a strong woman?
On paper I suppose you could say I am a physically strong amateur runner. I compete a lot for my club and do tough and gruelling races, but it’s not just that for me.
My strength is more mental and emotional.
It is the determination to keep pushing and not give up, even when things get tough. It is getting up at 5 am to go for a run when it is sub-zero temperatures outside so that I can achieve my goal. And it’s doing it with a smile on my face.
How should we encourage more women to embrace their own strength?
We should make people aware that they don’t have to be elite fitness fanatics to get involved in local races that go on every weekend across the country.
When I first started racing in 2010, I was worried about how competitive it would be. But this is something that I ended up loving about running.
People from all backgrounds, genders, shapes and sizes get together to run. And it is a great feeling of community that is very supportive. If there was an increased awareness of this fact, I think it would encourage more people to take up running and exercise in general.
Strong does not have to mean not being feminine or losing your curves in replacement for muscles.
I enjoy get dressed up and being girly too. You can be both, and being strong also allows you to be healthier, both physically and mentally, as well as opening up so many new and exciting doors for you too.
Some of my best friends have been made through running and I have been lucky enough to visit some gorgeous places through the events that I have taken part in. I would encourage women to get involved, as life is too short not to live life to the full.
Being fit and strong makes me happy. It is that simple. I am happier when I am out reaching for my goals, pushing my limits and finding out what I can achieve.
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 published every Saturday at 10am. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strong Women: Lorna
Two hand-reared flamingos are being walked every single day so that they can develop fully – but they will only follow the zookeeper with the longest legs.
Senior bird keeper at Jersey Zoo Simon James has taken up responsibility for walking two baby birds around the zoo as he is the tallest in the team – and the visitors love it.
The chicks have to be exercised every day for half an hour in preparation for integrating them into the main enclosure.
It will take a month before they are fully independent.
Slayer and Seal-pup are ten-week old Chilean flamingos – the sixth and seventh to be born at Jersey Zoo in recent months.
And because they grow so quickly, zoo staff said it was imperative their keepers take them for regular exercise to ensure their long legs can develop properly.
But deputy head of birds Harriet Whitford said it had not always been the easiest task – due to their obsession with following ‘whoever has the longest legs’.
She said: ‘When people see us walking them they do a double-take and when they do realise what is happening they stop.
‘But the flamingos follow anyone with the longest legs, or if they think someone has more attractive legs than us.
‘We have been taking them out in front of the bird department, which you can see from the restaurant, and the children who see it particularly like it – they are pressed against the windows watching.’
The chicks have been hand-reared on a diet of fish soup, syringe-fed to them every few hours between 6 am and 11 pm.
They will shortly be introduced to their flock, where the other chicks born a few weeks before them are already living.
All seven chicks born this season have names beginning with ‘S’ and are being introduced to the flock in stages to ensure they learn the pecking order.
The three oldest chicks, which are around four months old, are currently spending a few nights at a time with the flock and are brought in every few days to check they are getting enough food and thriving.
And Ms Whitford, who has been looking after the birds alongside Mr James, said the keepers had worked hard to prepare the birds for life with the flock – even using her child’s old flamingo toys so they get used to the shape and colour of the adult birds.
She added: ‘They will be on show over the next couple of months for visitors to see.
‘These guys are fluffy and grey and very slowly over time they will turn pink, but not fully until they are three or four.’
When you scroll through Twitter, you’re bound to find at least one post that offends you.
But this woman’s tweet about adding breadcrumbs into her tea for added ‘texture’ will have you asking whether it’s possible to delete someone else’s tweet for them.
The atrocity was the suggestion of university student Jessica Bamidele from Kent and she has no regrets.
After casually asking her followers: ‘Did anyone else use to scrape toast crumbs into their tea to give it texture?’ she was met with outrage, naturally.
One woman even tagged London’s Metropolitan Police because it offended her so much.
Plenty of users sent GIFs to Jessica to demonstrate their contempt and some even asked whether she was okay.
But brave Jessica stuck to her words and told her followers she’s simply living in the future where tastes have evolved and apparently breakfast foods can be mixed.
We spoke to Jessica to ask her how she even came up with the idea to mix breadcrumbs – so perfect on potato or chicken – with tea, a daily, important British staple that needs no changing.
Did anyone else use to scrape toast crumbs into their tea to give it texture?
— khaleesi (@tamija_x) February 26, 2019
‘I first did it back when I was in secondary school by accident,’ Jessica revealed to Metro.co.uk.
‘I didn’t have time to make another cup of tea so I just drank it like that and it tasted really nice! It’s normal tea with a bit of a bite to it really, similar to the texture of orange juice with bits in it.
‘I never make it for other people though, it’s not a very popular way of having a cuppa!
‘I saw the woman who reported it to the Met police, that was so funny. I think it’s definitely is British tradition to make your tea a certain way, anything out of the ordinary will get criticised quite swiftly.’
— YT: Fourens (@Fourens_) February 26, 2019
Jessica, who claims her tastebuds are elite also added that she sometimes dips her toast into tea, which seems like a bit of abomination to us but apparently it’s a thing.
Some of her followers revealed they too dipped their buttered toasts into their beverage as they would a biscuit. Surprisingly though, even they disagreed with the breadcrumbs thing.
We’re still not convinced.
Woman says she puts breadcrumbs into her tea for added ?texture?
Sexuality is fluid. As with lots of things, it can evolve and boomerang in accordance with different individuals.
Though we might’ve grown up thinking of it in binary terms, as with gender, there are many different sexualities people identify as.
Autosexuality is one such identification that is seldom talked about. It’s the idea of being sexually attracted to yourself, and can also come with being autoromantic – experiencing the relationship with yourself as romantic.
It can mean being turned on by your own look and nudity, getting butterflies when you think about yourself, being excited to spend time alone, and masturbating to the idea of yourself. It’s all the feelings we get for a potential new suitor but for ourselves.
Ghia Vitale is autosexual and autoromantic. She is also engaged to get married to herself after proposing in March 2017.
After becoming aware of her sexuality at the age of seven, she didn’t explore her feelings until she was in college.
Now, after unlearning her preconceived notions about relationships and the idea that you have to be with another person for it to be valid, Ghia wants to normalis autosexuality.
She spoke to Metro.co.uk to explain how she discovered her orientation and what it entails.
‘My definition of autosexuality is being attracted to yourself. I’ve been attracted to myself for as long as I’ve been cognizant of attraction.
‘My earliest memories of checking myself out in the mirror and feeling attraction happened at around age seven. I didn’t learn the term “autosexual” until after I graduated from college in 2013.
‘My attraction to myself made me confused at times, but once I learned about autosexuality, I was glad there was a word for my experience.
‘I’ve recognised myself as being in a relationship with myself since I was in college. I just didn’t have the vocabulary to express my experiences.
‘Before that, I still had sexual and romantic feelings about myself, but always assumed a relationship had to be with another person in order to be valid. I now realise that my relationship with myself is as valid as any other relationship.’
Though sologamy – marriage to oneself – is not widely practiced, it’s not a new idea. Growing numbers of people are saying I do to themselves, though it is not currently legal anywhere in the world.
One Japanese company even offers self-marriage packages for single women and those unhappy with previous marriages.
Though Ghia has been engaged to herself for some time, she is yet to say I do. But she does have a ring.
‘Although I will one day be my own wife, I am enjoying the feeling of being engaged.
‘This is the first time I’ve ever been engaged to anyone. I’m glad it’s with myself. I try to be a good lover unto myself.
‘The relationship I have with myself is special. I sometimes get butterflies in my stomach when I think of myself. I know I can always turn to myself if I’m having a problem. I love myself for my uniqueness, creativity, and beauty.’
Ghia has written about her experiences of being autosexual and wants more people to explore their relationships with themselves.
‘I want other autosexuals to know that it’s okay to be attracted to yourself,’ she added.
‘Other people aren’t attracted to themselves like we are to ourselves, but that doesn’t mean our desires are wrong. Don’t be afraid to explore that attraction towards yourself.’
Though it might seem strange, it makes sense to be kind and loving to yourself. We could certainly do with more of it.
What happens if you put sweets up your vagina?
Pancake Day is Tuesday, and we’re super excited to wake up and smother our pancakes in lemon and sugar.
Or maybe Nutella and banana, if we’re feeling a little adventurous.
But you should hold the chocolate if you’re going to be treating your dog to a pancake – which likely a lot of you will be doing, because dogs should get to enjoy things with the rest of the family, right?
If you’re worrying about whether it’s okay to give your pup a pancake this Shrove Tuesday – don’t. It’s totally fine, as long as you make sure they’re safe.
TV Vet & animal welfare campaigner Marc Abraham tells Metro.co.uk that pancakes are absolutely okay for dogs as long as they’re only given as a special treat.
However, they mustn’t contain chocolate, sultanas, raisins, grapes or anything containing the sweetener xylitol, as these can all be poisonous. It’s also best you stick to savoury pancakes instead of ones that are sweet and sugary.
Marc says: ‘Stick to savoury rather than feeding pancakes too sweet/sugary, as they can increase chances of your dog developing painful, and often hard to treat pancreatitis; and of course long-term obesity is a risk with any treats, so please reduce your dog’s daily food ration to try and avoid this, and always exercise your dog appropriately.’
So, it’s absolutely fine to let your pup join in with the Shrove Tuesday celebrations, just be aware of what goes in the pancakes.
Keep them safe and savoury for your doggo, and they’ll be fine.
Foods you should never feed your dogs:
We all know it sucks when you’re out for dinner but you’re also in a rush to get somewhere else – which always means that for some reason, the meals take longer to arrive, the restaurant gets busier and there’s never any sign of a waiter with your bill.
But one guy who had to rush his dinner to catch a flight came up with the best way not to waste money: By spooning it all into a plastic bag.
30-year-old Nathan, from London, was recently flying from Stansted to Rome with his girlfriend and her family.
He was having dinner at Wetherspoons when he realised he was a bit pushed for time to catch his flight.
However, he didn’t want to waste his dinner – he had paid £16 for it with a pint, after all.
And so, thinking on his feet, Nathan put all of his leftover dinner into a bag for clear liquids. Genius.
His friend, Elliot, took to Twitter to show off Nathan’s hack, and the tweet went viral with nearly 2,000 retweets and over 11,000 likes.
He captioned the screenshots of Nathan telling him all about his plan with: ‘Honestly what the f*** am I friends with.’
Elliot told Metro.co.uk: ‘It wasn’t a money thing, he was pushed for time and didn’t want to miss his flight, or leave the breakfast, so improvised.
‘In his words “it cost me £16 with a pint, you don’t just leave that on a table and walk off”.’
On the success of his tweet, Elliot continued: ‘I honestly didn’t expect this reaction at all, I just thought it would be something shared around our friendship group, but I’m glad to see his curly hack is getting some publicity.
‘Reaction wise it’s been mixed, and it’s pretty much a 50/50 split between people saying he’s a genius, or a total wrong’un.’
Man puts spoons meal into plastic bag
Holly Willoughby could pretty much wear a bin bag and rock it (she might want to check out ASOS’s version of one).
The presenter just launched her latest line of must-haves for Marks and Spencer and good news denim lovers, there’s a lot of it.
The one staple catching everyone’s eyes is a simple white t-shirt, the most affordable of the range which has already become the best-seller.
Holly showed off the chic tee, which has the words ‘like the wind, free’ printed, on her Instagram where it’s got a lot of love.
One of her 1.5 million followers said she looked like an angel posing with the t-shirt under the unexpected February sun.
Others wrote the top was ‘amazing’ and ‘elegant’ and looked beautiful on the ITV presenter.
Plenty of followers wrote that they had already bought items from her Must-Have range.
‘I’ve just bought this t-shirt, the denim skirt, and two denim dresses. I’m going to be Holly Willoughby styled to the max,’ wrote one person.
Holly also launched a pair of trendy white boots in a press shoot, revealing how she enjoyed putting the range together.
‘This edit has been really fun to pull together,’ she said. ‘I live in high-waisted skinny jeans at the weekend. These pieces are really versatile and super stylish too.
‘I’ve always loved the simplicity of a denim dress. This one is perfect for the weekend and looks great styled with trainers.’
Slightly pricer, but it pays to look good.
Everyone wants Holly Willoughby's M&S tshirt
If you’re having a lazy day this Saturday, or spending the morning in bed watching Netflix, take a couple of minutes to stimulate your brain by attempting to crack this brainteaser.
This puzzle, featuring broccoli, sweetcorn, beans and peas, has two identical peas hidden within it.
Can you find them?
The visual puzzle was created by Birds Eye to mark its involvement with Veg Power and ITV’s Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign, which promotes healthy eating for children.
A spokesman said: ‘We are so used to seeing our peas already out of their pods that some people won’t even realise they aren’t grown as they appear on our plate.
‘That will make this puzzle all the more difficult as you try to search for the two peas sat together in their pod.
‘Sweet and tender peas, which are a great source of vitamin C and protein, are picked from their pods at the perfect time so hold their nutritional value when frozen and even count as one of your five-a-day.
‘We hope to get kids on our side by helping us to defeat the peas – by eating them.’
The peas are a little difficult to find, and if you’ve given up on looking, the answer is below:
If you didn’t give up, how long did it take you to find the two identical peas? Let us know in the comments below.
This brainteaser follows on from one we shared on Valentine’s Day 2019.
The picture showed a couple, Sam and Sophie, sitting together on the sofa in a countryside cottage – but Sam had lost the ring.
And, Holiday Cottages, the company behind the brainteaser, challenged us to try to find it, among a number of other Valentine’s themed items, such as chocolates, a Valentine’s card, a single rose and a gift box.The average time it took people to find the ring was three minutes 54 seconds.
But can you do it in less?
Ten pigs have shown off their looks, charm and pot bellies in Texas’s first ever pig pageant.
The contestants paraded in front of an audience of 700, oinking, eating carrots and wagging their tails.
The competition was to name the most beautiful pig, and it included Charlotte, a seven-month-old piglet, Otis James, a 62lb dappled pig and Harriet, a 150lb five-year-old pot bellied pig.
The other contestants were pigs called Hamlet, Althea Lorraine, Tank, Tig and Dahlia.
There was just one round in the pageant held at the Buzz Mill in Austin, Texas, USA, on Sunday, to raise funds for Central Texas Pig Rescue.
The pigs walked down the runway as their owners described their personalities to the crowd.
The audience learned that Gumbo can get bad sunburn if his owner forgets to apply SPF to his hairy hide, that Otis Jones struggles with terrible car sickness and that Harriet’s cheeks always smell of maple syrup.
Charlotte beat her piggy rivals to be named the winner and the adorable piglet was decorated with a garland of red flowers.
Tracey Stabile, who co-runs the rescue and organised the vegan pageant, explained that Charlotte wasn’t just cute, she is also helping her owner as she undergoes chemotherapy treatment.
Tracey, 28, of Austin, Texas, said: ‘The winner is a sweet pink piglet and her mom actually adopted her on a test day as she is going through chemotherapy.
‘She is training Charlotte to become a therapy animal and help her survive cancer.
‘Charlotte was so calm and well-behaved but she also had charisma.’
The animal lover wanted the event to celebrate pigs in all their hefty glory and hoped it would move people away from the trend for mini pigs who look good in Instagram pictures.
Tracey said: ‘The idea was to have a pig pageant where it was all about pot bellies and chubby, properly grown, happy and healthy pigs.
‘We wanted to showcase the pigs’ personalities and promote body positivity for pigs.
‘The way the animals are shown on social media is worrying.
‘A lot of the pigs you see on Instagram are piglets that are just days, weeks or a couple of months old.
‘Those pigs look much smaller and conventionally cuter than a farm pig which can weigh between 400 and 700 pounds.’
But Tracey warned would-be mini pig buyers that the pigs won’t stay small.
She said: ‘Pigs grow.
‘Even mini pigs grow to a minimum of 175 pounds.’
She blamed celebrities like Paris Hilton, who owns a teacup pig, and Ariana Grande, who bought Piggie Smalls with ex-fiance Pete Davidson, for promoting the trend.
She said: ‘Celebrities have had mini pigs but it can be dangerous as people pay thousands of dollars to purchase these pigs from breeders who don’t care about the animals’ well being.
‘They don’t realise the pig will become much larger as time goes on.’
Despite their big size, Tracey insisted that pigs can be perfect pets.
She said: ‘Pigs are similar to dogs in that they are loving, they crave affection and they like being part of a family.
‘But they are also different.
‘Pigs need more communication.
‘Dogs are all about trying to please their family and offering unconditional love.
‘But pigs actually have the emotional and intellectual capacity of a two-year-old human.
‘They can be opinionated, willful and hold grudges.
‘You have to work with them a little bit more on their terms.
‘It takes repeated safe interactions with a pig to build trust and that then becomes love.’
The Central Texas Pig Rescue is a non-profit organisation that looks after around 250 pigs which have been rescued from abusive and neglectful homes, slaughterhouses and animal testing experiments.
The rescue is currently raising funds for a medical trailer to help their special needs pigs.
Tracey said: ‘Most of our pigs come to us from situations of neglect, abuse and abandonment.
‘Last August we took in over 100 pigs from a breeder who was selling them as micro pigs and keeping them in appalling conditions.
‘We want to promote compassion towards pigs and help influence people to minimise the animal products in their diet and lives in general.
‘We need the trailer because we have so many special needs pigs who need constant monitoring.
‘A lot of them have respiratory issues and pneumonia because they were kept in such filthy conditions.
‘We want people to see pigs as loving creatures.’
PIG PAGEANT - Ten porkers showed off their looks, charm and pot bellies in Texas?s first ever pig pageant.
Mum-of-three Amy Jandrisevits noticed that dolls, like a lot of things, aren’t diverse enough. Children with different skin tones and those with disabilities were only seeing dolls that are white and able-bodied.
So, four years ago, the social worker from Wisconsin, US, started making play dolls for fun, except hers were of different ethnicities and featured children with limb differences.
After a friend noticed the creations and told Amy there really weren’t enough like these but there ought to be, Amy decided to take orders from people.
Pretty soon, she was left with 200 orders. And she didn’t let them down.
Using skills learned from her seamstress mother, Amy made dolls for children with amputations, black girls and boys with dreads, those with facial marks and scars, albino children, those without hair, and more.
‘It is my heartfelt belief that dolls should look like their owners and they should be available in all colours, genders, and body types,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.
‘We do kids such a disservice in not offering a wide variety of toys. In an ideal world, limb difference, body type, medical condition, birthmarks, and hand differences would be as accepted as all of the other things that make us unique.’
Amy explains how she first started off making dolls of different skin colours before moving onto those with disabilities, something she learned more about from her work as an oncology social worker and by contacting limb difference organisations.
Sometimes a doll can take up to six hours to put together but Amy says that’s only on a good day, when her children don’t get in the way. But ultimately, it’s worth it, she explains.
‘When a child has cancer, everything is out of their control, but they need something to give them comfort.
‘You want a child to be able to see themselves in a doll, we do a disservice to them to not cater to all of them. It can be so damaging to not see yourself reflected, it can mean we learn to internalise how we feel about our physical appearance.’
Amy was moved by one particular incident when a 13-year-old girl with Poland Syndrome burst into tears after receiving her own custom-made doll.
But it’s not just about having a toy that looks like them, it’s also about allowing them to adjust and feel ‘normal’. Amy even wrote about the healing power of play in her masters thesis.
‘Everyone should have something to cuddle, everyone should have a doll that looks like them (especially when you don’t have any hair!), and medical play is helpful for psychosocial adjustment.’
Amy says she loves putting fabrics together and seeing what she can come up with.But these things cost money and time. Though she would prefer to not charge anything, she does get paid for some of her work.
Ideally, she wants to turn her work into a non-profit organisation so she doesn’t need to charge.
She doesn’t think these dolls should be inaccessible to families who can’t afford it. So in the meantime, she has set up a Go Fund Me page. You can support her here.
Here are some more from Amy’s Doll Like Me collection:
Mum makes dolls to match children's disabilities
Female sex toy company Lora DiCarlo was delighted to be nominated for a tech innovation award last year for its Osse Massager which facilitates blended orgasms for women,
However, after being named as an honouree in the Innovation Awards at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the award was then revoked.
The female-led brand then claimed CES was guilty of gender bias and didn’t cater to women’s pleasure.
Lora Haddock from the sex toy company said the award being taken back shows how the tech industry is failing women and women’s pleasure.
She believes the issue is a reflection of a larger diversity problem in tech.
With the massager, which is said to mimic all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, out in autumn 2019, Lora hopes that conversations around sexuality and masturbation will be more accepted.
CES, however, has said that it’s not to do with sexuality but rather that it was a mistake as the product doesn’t fit any of their categories.
‘Diversity is being blocked at every level, from hiring and career development to gate-keeping of what kind of technology is allowed to be viewed as “innovative”,’ Lora told Metro.co.uk.
‘We start seeing those biases crop up in the technology itself – from HR employee hiring artificial intelligence that is found to discriminate against women to AIs that learn how to be racist and even health tech that is designed first for a male body with only a few afterthoughts thrown in for people with vaginas.
‘It’s crucial to have diversity in tech – whether it’s women, non-binary, gender non-conforming, LGBTQ+, people of colour – when you have a diverse group of people designing tech it has more space for innovation and growth.’
Lora also mentioned how female sex toys in the past have been made by male designers and engineers. She said that needs to change as it’s important that products are made by people who understand the female anatomy and how the product is going to be used.
‘Pleasure is a part of life and the human experience, pretending that it’s dirty and a secret does no one any good – regardless of gender. Sex is good for you, masturbation is good for you, pleasure is good for you.
‘We know there are so many issues with bias and sexism in tech and business as well as stigma wrapped around the embracing of sexuality, period.
‘We’re striving for a world where folks can feel comfortable in their own skin and their sexuality and help lift other people up and make sure more diverse people have their place in tech and business.’
We reached out to CES who said: ‘The product referenced does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program. CES does not have a category for sex toys. CTA had communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo and we have apologised to them for our mistake.’
Why is the tech industry still afraid of catering to women's pleasure?
A rundown semi-detached home is on the market for £1.8 million, and it’s the perfect house to fix up… If you’ve got the cash to splash, that is.
The Edwardian property, in Chiswick, London, is a stunningly proportioned home featuring five bedrooms and three reception rooms spread across 1,874 sq/ft.
It has period features, large windows, high ceilings and a decent sized back garden.
For the past 60 years it was owned by the same person, a retired railway engineer who passed away last year.
The house has been practically untouched during his ownership, and despite its rundown condition, the property has been put on the market for £1.8 million.
This is eight times the average house price in England and Wales and almost four times as much as a typical home in London.
Euan Rollo, from Savills’ Chiswick branch, said: ‘I’ve worked in agency for over a decade and I’ve never come across a home as unmodernised as Airedale Avenue.’
Savills, which is marketing the property, do estimate, however, that a £1 million overhaul could transform it into a stunning modern home worth around £3.2 million.
Euan continues, ‘It has to be one of the last remaining opportunities to redevelop a home in one of west London’s most desirable streets and since launching yesterday, we have already received significant interest and enquiries.
‘It’s the type of home that could have widespread appeal but particularly with the family market, be it locals or those coming from central London who are looking for a long-term home with the space they need that’s close to good schools and Chiswick’s lifestyle offering.’
The house is being offered as a probate sale and the Land Registry does not keep records for sale prices in the 1950s and 1960s.
However, the average home in England in 1960 cost around £2,000. The current asking price for the unmodernised Chiswick home is 89,990% more.
A similar home on the street, which was extended and meticulously refurbished, was sold last year by Savills for a guide price of almost £3.7 million.
Euan believes, subject to planning, if the buyer spent around £1 million on a basement build, full internal refurbishment, wrap-around extension and loft conversion the home could be worth around £3.1 – £3.2 million.
He added: ‘Properties like this do not come up often.
‘It was under the same ownership for 60 years and it’s incredibly exciting to be in a position to find a buyer who’ll take it into the next phase.’
So, while the earning potential is solid, it’s certainly not something you can pick up with the spare change from under your couch. Whoever does clinch the sale will have their work cut out, that’s for sure.
GET YOUR FIX HERE! Rundown semi-detached Edwardian home is a developer's dream after hitting the market for the first time in 60 years - for ?1.8 MILLION
A woman has recalled how her mother spent her very last day out of hospital at her wedding.
27-year-old Jessica Quigley’s mother Leona had been diagnosed with a rare form of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, at the start of 2016.
But she dreamed of attending Jessica’s wedding.
She was diagnosed in January 2016, 10 months before Jessie got engaged to her now-husband Adam.
Leona’s health wasn’t that bad when they got engaged, and she went away with the couple on a holiday and knew all about the proposal before it happened – Which Jessica says was impressive as she could ‘never keep a secret’.
When Adam and Jessica got engaged, the pair wanted a year-long engagement, not contemplating the idea that Jessica’s mother wouldn’t be there for the big day – because she was so ‘strong’.
However, when she started to deteriorate rapidly months before their November 2017 nuptials, the couple tried to bring the wedding forward.
But Jessica’s mother was having none of it.
She told Daily Mail Australia: ‘She was stubborn and downplayed how sick she was.
‘She wouldn’t let us bring it forward, however, and so we kept the original date.’
Adam and Jessie’s wedding day – 4 November 2017 – was Leona’s last day out of hospital.
It was also the last day she spent with her daughter.
Jessica continued: ‘Mum was a fighter and even though doctors told her she didn’t have long, she fought every single hurdle and continued fighting on the day.
‘She was that sick she had to be specially transported up to the wedding in the New South Wales Southern Highlands from Sydney and back on the same day.
‘She fell over there when she got there and so had bruises on her face and neck which my makeup artist covered up extremely well.
‘My brother-in-law, the NRL player Anthony Watmough, took mum down the aisle; by this stage she was using a walker.
‘She later walked down the aisle to give me away with his assistance.’
Leona also delivered a speech to her daughter, which Jessie has kept next to her bed and still reads ‘all the time’.
‘She wrote: “I may not be there to hold your hand each day, but I’ll always be there in your heart”.’
‘It was touching, beautiful and I’ll remember it forever,’ Jessica said.
Jessica’s mother died on 4 December 2017. In July last year, Jessica fell pregnant.
Jessica said: ‘You always think your mum will meet your baby and you don’t contemplate a future without that.
‘But it was good to be able to say goodbye to her. Me, my aunt and other family members were all with her in the hospital for the final four days of her life. We got to spend time with her and say our farewells.
‘My older sister had had a baby before mum died, so I’ve picked up all of her parenting tips and tricks from her,’ she said.
‘Mum was also prepared for me to become a mother and had knitted beanies for the baby, even though they weren’t yet born.
‘She left me a gift box for the baby; she was the most prepared person in the world.’
Jessica says she and Adam can’t wait to start a family, and that they want to create the special memories that Jessica’s mum did for her as a child.
‘I can’t wait to pass on her legacy,’ she said.
And, her wedding recently won Easy Weddings’ Wedding of The Year for 2018, where her story was also shared.
She said: ‘It didn’t matter that the weather wasn’t perfect for the day.
‘Because what mattered was that everyone was together for one final time.’
Bittersweet moment mum dying of cancer walks her daughter down the aisle
A mum has blasted the makers of the children’s LOL Surprise! trading cards, claiming they sexualise kids after discovering images of children dressed ‘like prostitutes and wearing BDSM gear’.
Victoria Bianchi, 30, took the ‘offending’ card away from her four-year-old daughter Iona Bianchi-Overend after spotting the Lady Gaga-inspired ‘Goo-Goo Queen’ depiction last month.
The drawing, which appears to imitate the Oscar winner’s ‘Telephone’ outfit, shows a toddler-like character wearing a crop top, hot pants, fishnet tights, leather jacket and knee-high boots topped with drinks can hair rollers.
Drama and education lecturer Victoria argues the ‘problematic BDSM-infant’ images may lead to young girls wanting to dress that way and see themselves as sexualised from too young an age.
MGA Entertainment Inc said the L.O.L. Surprise! Range is a creative representation of inclusivity and diversity for girls and boys and that the ‘BDSM’ look was ‘OK’ as it showed everyone was unique.
Victoria, from Glasgow, Scotland, said: ‘It’s so wildly inappropriate for that image to exist but also the fact that it’s marketed to little kids – predominantly girls – too.
‘It’s definitely supposed to be Lady Gaga from the Telephone video. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lady Gaga but for most of that video she’s barely got any clothes on.
‘It’s one thing to wear it if you’re a grown-up singer but that’s just not an outfit for little children to be wearing.
‘If you’re going to feature babies on these cards, at the very least just dress them like babies.
‘If you’re going to have them in a nappy, don’t also dress them so sexually in bondage gear.
‘In my years as a parent I’ve seen some things targeted towards little girls but that has got to be one of the most messed up ones I’ve ever seen.’
The image was found in a £1 pack of L.O.L Suprise! Cards Victoria bought at the Byres Road branch of Waitrose in Glasgow on 19 February.
Iona had initially asked for a magazine but Victoria, mindful of the cost and plastic, said no and suggested a small pack of trading cards instead.
Mum-of-one Victoria said: ‘Iona wanted a magazine but she can’t read yet so there was no point her having a magazine.
‘They’re so expensive too, I wouldn’t spend £4.50 on a magazine on myself, never mind a four year old that can’t read.
‘She really likes the little cards and asked if she could get a wee pack of cards and picked these.
‘I’ve never got her the dolls so I didn’t really know what to expect I just thought they were little dolls for kids.
‘The trading cards were with the magazines and cost around £1, they’re cheap and at eye level where kids can see them.
‘I thought I was doing the economic and ecological thing not buying the magazine with all this plastic but when I opened them up I saw this and another dressed in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s outfit they looked slightly weird.
‘They look like toddlers but are dressed in fishnets and leathers or as a prostitute from a famous book, I just can’t understand it.
‘They’ve got big eyelashes, they look like they have makeup on and it’s super pink and super gender normative.
‘That’s a problem I know is harder to fight but in this case at the very least just dress them like babies.
‘I want to know what they were thinking when they made this baby dressed in fishnets, a crop top and leather.
‘How many layers of decision making did that have to go through before it appeared on the shelves? So many people must have signed that off.’
Victoria took the Goo-Goo Queen card away as she didn’t think it was appropriate for Iona, explaining to her that the character was wearing an outfit unsuitable for children.
Victoria said: ‘When I saw these cards, which are targeted at very young girls with sparkly and brightly-coloured packaging, I was absolutely horrified.
‘I took that one off her and said she couldn’t have it, she wanted it because she liked the sparkles on it.
‘There are certain things that are difficult to explain to a four-year-old, so I just said it wasn’t an outfit that any little children should be wearing.
‘She mentioned it a few times throughout the day but she’s forgotten about it now. If she was a little bit older I would have explained the idea a bit more.
‘She’s pretty strong willed so I think in a few years I would have had a fight on my hands.
‘This brand is wildly popular with children and if you’re fed these images at such a young age, you don’t question them you just think ‘that’s fine’.
‘I think it also strengthens the idea of sexuality being something that starts way too young and it ties into the idea that it’s really sexy to be young and attractive – something that is so pervasive in our culture.
‘It will probably lead to young girls wanting to dress like that for one thing and probably see themselves as sexualised much earlier than they should and this is the kind of thing that will stay with them into adulthood.’
Isaac Larian, CEO and founder of MGA Entertainment Inc., said: ‘Our LOL Surprise! dolls are a creative representation of inclusivity and diversity for girls and boys. We believe, that just like real people, each LOL Surprise! doll has its own distinct characteristics, including personalities, styles and skin tones.
‘We purposely do not design our dolls to ‘fit a mould’ as we do not want our products to dictate how girls or boys should look and/or act because societal norms say so.
‘LOL Surprise! dolls show that everyone is unique in their own special way – and that’s OK!’
An outraged mum has blasted the makers of children's L.O.L. Surprise! trading cards - claiming they sexualise kids after discovering images of tots dressed 'like prostitutes and wearing BDSM gear'
I never intended to open a breadboard museum.
My mum used to collect breadboards and would joke, ‘One day I’ll throw it open to the public’ when our guests would stare gog-eyed at all her Dickensian knick-knacks.
Then Mum got Alzheimer’s and one of the best things for sufferers is to keep them in touch with their old passions so I got her collection off the floors and onto the walls for her to enjoy safely.
Friends and specialists rallied round to make decisions about displays, wall colours and lighting.
The gallery was her therapy room for nearly three years, as we cared for her at home till the end. After she passed away, I thought: why not?
I am trying not to buy any more breadboards, but I have weak moments! Kempton Antiques Fair is great and we have also received a few donations from families who cannot bring themselves to throw their own mums’ boards away.
On display you will also see 100+ ornately carved breadboards spanning the Victorian period up to the present day, collected over 40 years, with their accompanying bread knives, butter dishes, cheese platters and wooden breakfast items, like egg trays.
They are endlessly varied and skilled, and charged with stories: the tree it came from, the type of wood, the motifs and their symbolism, the carver’s home style, the mottos reflecting owners’ values, the size connected to status and so on.
My favourite board is a platter with wheat round the border, deep-carved naturalistically with no symmetry. It’s as if the carver plumped a few sprigs down on his work bench and ran with the irregular bunchings and spacings.
An average tour day involves cleaning and tidying the whole ground floor up to health and safety standards, oiling some boards to nourish and protect them and adjusting the humidity to 40-80 per cent.
I’ll spend some time shopping for special requests for tea – you get fed at my museum – and I also keep track of sales, as we sell bespoke breadboards carved by a contemporary artist, Tom Samuel. We are privileged to be working alongside him, keeping the tradition alive.
The final touch is to hang a breadboard up on the front door to make us easy to find!
In the one year we’ve been open we’ve welcomed just over 300 visitors and each tour is personally curated by me.
Every group is different as I prefer a Q&A style, so our guests define what they learn according to their backgrounds and interests. We attract small museum lovers, woodworkers, heritage hunters, bakers, stylists, nostalgia seekers, collectors, vintage and antique buffs, and fans of quirky things.
We’ve also been supported by our local community who have adopted us as an alternative ‘tea room’ for special occasions such as birthdays and reunions.
The best moments are when a visitor unlocks a mystery in the collection, or adds insight into bread rituals or tells a great breadboard story! I collect everyone’s observations and it’s fast turning into a social history archive.
This museum is a bit unusual in inviting visitors to contribute their knowledge, and everybody knows something valuable without exception.
The greatest challenge is time management and keeping all the balls in the air, because I am a one-woman-band running a ‘pioneering’ business for the first time.
My background in teaching has helped, as both require a mix of opposites such as self-discipline and creativity, solitary and social, initiative and follow-through. My next big project is a book on breadboards called Vintage Breadboards, which is due out in October.
Breadboards were used daily at the heart of the family routine, because bread was a staple, and are therefore often associated with ‘mum’ and maternal love, caring and sharing, feeding and routine, safety and ordinariness.
We have given breadboards little attention in the same way the quiet daily sacrifices of motherhood also go unsung.
Consider that fact we have had them around us for at least 200 years and only now are we finally getting a book on the subject.
When our parents pass away, they seem to become precious as a memento mori, reconnecting us to our childhoods.
Tours of the Antique Breadboard Museum can be booked via Airbnb Experiences.
How to get involved with My odd job:
My odd job is a new weekly series from Metro.co.uk, published every Sunday.
If you have an unusual job and want to get involved, email email@example.com.
Bread Board museum
Welcome to You Don’t Look Sick – our new weekly series about invisible illness and disabilities.
There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK, but for many of them, you would have no idea anything is wrong.
Lots of people suffer from debilitating symptoms and daily struggles but when they are out in public, they are challenged when they use priority seats or disabled parking.
They’re told ‘but you don’t look sick’ because they don’t use a wheelchair or something people associate with disability.
This series is a look at what it’s really like to live with a disability or illness that no one can see, discussing the symptoms that affect their lives every day and how they are treated when they are out in public.
Leanne Yewer, 31, from Addlestone, Surrey has Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Inversa.
Her condition causes painful blisters in patches over her body, including inside her mouth and throat.
Although some people have blisters across their face and hands, the placement of Leanne’s mean that when she is wearing clothes, most people have no idea about her condition.
It has also caused osteopenia, a weakening of the bones, and means that she has frequent muscle and bone pain.
She used a blue badge to allow her to park in disabled bays so she didn’t have to walk as far but after an incident where she was shouted at by a stranger because she doesn’t look visibly disabled, she decided to give it up.
Leanne explains:’I get a lot of people most days saying they don’t believe I am ill or that I don’t need help.
‘There are no signs there is anything wrong. If I am out for a long time I tend to wear a knee strap to support my knees as this is where I struggle the most with my osteopenia but they will always be under clothing so I won’t have them on show.
‘I actually had an old lady scream at me and tell me I didn’t look ill on the way to a medical appointment.
‘We were parked in a disabled bay waiting for my appointment and we got there early as it is first come first served with the spaces.
‘She said I shouldn’t be allowed to park there as I didn’t deserve my blue badge and she now had to walk around our car to get in.
‘This really affected me and what hurt even more was the woman with her let her have a go at me.
‘I showed them it was my badge and said I wouldn’t have it if I don’t need it but they were not listening.
‘Since then I have actually given up my badge and I make myself walk now no matter how much it hurts.
‘I still have my disabled card with me just in case I need it.
‘I am very lucky in the sense that my EB is inside as this is much easier to cover up however this doesn’t mean I am not in pain.’
She was diagnosed at birth as doctors noticed her foot was damaged and was missing skin.
She explains: ‘A doctor in the room believed he knew what it was so went home and researched, I was diagnosed the following day.
‘My sister actually got diagnosed shortly after as she had the same symptoms but had gone four and half years with no help.
‘Every day is different with this condition. On a good day I can be up and about going for walks and feel no pain anywhere, sometimes even without any medication.
‘However, after a while the pains will kick in and I will have to sit down and rest. I am on paracetamol most days and steroids for when it gets really bad.
‘On bad days, my bones and muscles ache all over. It will be painful sometimes just to lift my arm.
‘I also suffer with blisters in my mouth and two blisters in my throat, which will never heal due to where they are.
‘When any of these are infected it can knock me out for days. I’m not able to eat much and I don’t get enough nutrients so I feel weak and don’t heal as quickly. It then goes round in a circle.
‘With the blisters in my mouth, if they are on my tongue, I won’t be able to talk for days either as every time I move my tongue, it rips open the blister.
‘When the blisters in my throat are inflamed, I can go a couple of weeks without solid food due to the razor feeling.’
Leanne now has had seven operations in six years on her throat where they use a balloon and stretch her skin which means even though her blisters are inflamed, she is still able to have a small amount of food.
Although her condition causes problems for Leanne most days, she has always struggled to speak to people about her condition.
She explains: ‘I really struggled until my twenties to even tell or show anyone the problems I had. It would only be people who I saw every day that knew and even then I still hid a lot.
‘I have started to learn to accept it and talk about it more as I’ve got older.
‘I wrote an article I did was for the DEBRA charity website to help raise awareness and I began to share this with everyone.
‘I had family members message me because they had never realised what I was dealing with.’
Although she often feels ill, Leanne tries to have a positive outlook and doesn’t want her condition to hold her back.
‘I tend to push my boundaries a lot and don’t listen to my body when I feel ill because I won’t let my EB control my life. However, this has a knock-on effect and can wipe me out for days after,’ she adds.
Leanne tries to manage her condition and says she receives a lot of support from her friends and family.
‘My mum has always been at my side throughout the whole process.
‘She is always the face I see or the hand I feel as I come round from my operation and it always helps to cope with it and helps me to understand I am safe.
‘I have been with my partner for nearly 10 years now and he is so supportive. He helps encourage me to speak out and knows all my ‘secret’ signs of when I am in pain and need a time out without making it obvious to anyone.
‘I tend to choke a lot with my foods and normally people wouldn’t realise I am choking however I have exercises I do to get rid of whatever is stuck and he knows what these are so will nod or check on me without anyone seeing it.
‘There are weekends away set up by the DEBRAcharity for people who have the same condition where we can all feel welcome and safe to talk about how we feel and how we cope with things.
‘Since attending these I have made some good friends who we now contact through social media and we have private groups set up where we can discuss everything, which is incredible.’
You Don’t Look Sick is a weekly series telling the stories of people with invisible illness and disabilities. Next week, we speak to Grace who has a brain tumour.
How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick
You Don’t Look Sick is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that discusses invisible illness and disabilities.
If you have an invisible illness or disability and fancy taking part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll need to be happy to share pictures that show how your condition affects you, and have some time to have some pictures taken.
You Don't Look Sick series
A successful businesswoman is terrified after being diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that means she could be ‘internally decapitated’ at any time.
Mum-of-two Karen Scott was diagnosed with craniocervical instability in January 2019. Ever since, the married 51-year-old has been living on edge and is unable to leave the house without a neck brace or wheelchair.
Craniocervical instability, also known as the Syndrome of Occipitoatlantialaxial Hypermobility, is a structural instability of the craniocervical junction which may lead to apathological deformation of the brainstem, upper spinal cord, and cerebellum.
Karen first discovered she had the illness after also being diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which can cause craniocervical instability, in May 2018 in London.
EDS is a condition which affects the connective tissue which holds muscle, bone and organs in place.
Karen suffered from poor health throughout her 20s and would routinely dislocate her joints.
But she claims she spent years visiting GPs who finally diagnosed her with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 2003 – but did not discover the true cause.
She said: ‘My health has not been good since the age of 23.
‘In 2005 I was bedridden for six months
‘For years I was ill, I had a knee that regularly dislocated and when I was 23 I had a virus and didn’t really recover.
‘I was constantly exhausted.’
Karen is now dependent on her husband David to get down the stairs and frequently misses out on family occasions with children Megan, 22, and Henry, 19, and grandchild Emma-Rose, two, because of the severe pain she suffers.
She said: ‘I’ve always been an active and positive person but I’ve deteriorated rapidly over the last three years.
‘I never know what I’m going to wake up to.
‘It’s affected family life hugely.
‘My kids Megan and Henry have grown up knowing that any given point I could be suddenly ill or need to lie down so it’s affected them a lot.
‘Some of their childhood has been spent with them sitting on the edge of my bed.
‘I couldn’t go to my daughter’s 22nd birthday party because I was too ill.
‘I feel like I’ve lost out on precious moments with my kids that most people would have.
‘I’m indoors for most of the day upstairs as I don’t have a stair lift. I try to come down when my husband David is back at home so he helps me down the stairs.
‘During the day I’m either resting or talking to people online but most of the day is spent in bed.’
Karen is now using GoFundMe to raise £100,000 for surgery to repair the damage to her neck.
She said: ‘Without it I could die or be paralysed.
‘The NHS are amazing, they’ve done a really good job to help me but they don’t have the resources or the neurosurgeon available to provide the surgery.
‘I go through phases, sometimes I feel very blessed but occasionally I can feel very bitter.
‘I notice and appreciate the small things.
‘I can be stuck in bed and see something like a bird outside and it makes me smile even though most people wouldn’t notice it.
‘As I can only walk a few steps, I rarely go out of the house without using a wheelchair.’
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Despite the rarity of Ehlers Danlos syndrome the NHS does fund surgery when it is recommended by clinicians.
‘However, the decision to undertake such complex procedures has to be based on whether the benefits to the individual patient outweigh the risks.’
A successful businesswoman is terrified after being diagnosed
When a family emergency meant a couple had to go to hospital, these kind firefighters stepped in to care for their two kids.
The firefighters from Harrisburg NC Fire Department, in North Carolina, U.S. were called out to a medical emergency and soon realised the patient would need to go to hospital.
His wife needed to go with him but their kids’ grandparents were 30 minutes away.
With the parents not wanting to leave the children alone or take them to the hospital, the firefighters stepped in and offered to stay and play with the children until their grandparents arrived.
In a post on Facebook, they said: ‘Sometimes we do what needs to be done. So was the case at a medical call last night.
‘The parents of these two guys needed to get to the Hospital by Ambulance and it was going to be about 30 minutes till Grandpa could make it from another county.
‘The crew of Engine-3 to the the rescue!
‘The guys enjoyed the next bit being awesome kid sitters till family arrived, we love our community.’
They added some pictures of them with the kids, including one of them pushing them around the garden on a toy car.
It looks like both the firefighters and the kids they had alot of fun and they received lots of praise for stepping in and helping out.
The mum of the two boys spotted the post and said: ‘I wanted to thank the Harrisburg Fire Dept! Words can’t express how grateful we are you were there for us. We appreciate all of you for helping us.’
Another person commented: ‘That’s what it’s about…class act, guys.’
Well done Engine-3 team!
Firefighters step in to babysit