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- 03/03/19--03:32: _Dogs dress up for B...
- 03/03/19--04:33: _Bride, 72, who turn...
- 03/03/19--05:06: _You can now buy esp...
- 03/03/19--05:41: _Florist Bloom & Wil...
- 03/03/19--05:52: _When I finally left...
- 03/03/19--23:33: _Woman who survived ...
- 03/04/19--00:00: _I need a stem cell ...
- 03/04/19--00:38: _Ikea has launched a...
- 03/04/19--00:55: _A cafe is selling C...
- 03/04/19--01:27: _Young couple are st...
- 03/04/19--02:41: _Surrogacy treats wo...
- 03/04/19--02:42: _How to do the perfe...
- 03/04/19--02:59: _Strawberries and cr...
- 03/04/19--03:07: _Nostalgia alert: Bi...
- 03/04/19--04:30: _How to make America...
- 03/04/19--04:44: _Strange phobias: Wh...
- 03/04/19--04:52: _Man ‘mistakenly thi...
- 03/04/19--05:18: _Glossier Play has a...
- 03/04/19--05:39: _Man sends hilarious...
- 03/04/19--06:46: _McDonalds Monopoly ...
- 03/03/19--03:32: Dogs dress up for Blocao parade at Rio carnival
- 03/03/19--05:06: You can now buy espresso martini in a can
- One in four women experience domestic abuse in their lives. For men, this figure is one in six.
- Two women are killed by a current or former partner every week in England and Wales.
- Globally, one in three women have experienced sexual or physical violence – in most cases from a partner or family member.
- Around 54 per cent of rapes reported to police take place within the context of domestic violence.
- Every minute a domestic violence case is reported to police. But…
- Only 35 per cent of domestic violence cases are actually reported to the police.
- 03/03/19--23:33: Woman who survived 96% burns has now become an Avon model
- A stem cell transplant involves taking healthy stem cells from a donor and transferring them to another person
- You can sign up to donate by sending a spit/swab sample to organisations like DKMS and Anthony Nolan
- If you end up being someone’s match, you will notified and asked to provide blood samples to make sure you are healthy
- Once approved there are two ways to donate – via your blood or bone marrow
- Via blood involves a series of injections to increase the number of stem cells. The collection process takes around five hours
- You can also donate stem cells through the bone marrow in your pelvis, which is done by a doctor while you are under general anaesthetic
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- 03/04/19--02:59: Strawberries and cream is Britain’s favourite pancake topping
- 03/04/19--04:30: How to make American pancakes for Pancake Day
- 03/04/19--04:44: Strange phobias: What is emetophobia?
You’ve probably heard of the Rio carnival and know what to expect – colourful outfits and lots of music.
And it turns out everyone gets involved, even the pets.
These dogs got into the spirit with a range of great costumes at the annual event in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
The event, called the Blocao, is now in its 20th year.
The dogs are dressed in everything from clown costumes to superhero capes.
Millions of people attend every year to see these cute doggos in their finest outfits.
Around 100 dogs took part in the parade this year, along Copacabana beach.
Let’s take a look at some of the best costumes:
A dog as a bird
Sausage dogs in colourful outfits
A pretty bow
A princess getting around in style
Rio Carnival dog parade
Colin Jones, 74, had asked girlfriend Pauline Young, 72, to marry him every year since they first met in 1976, but after the latest ‘no’ had resigned himself to never being able to put a ring on her finger.
So the B&B boss, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, was stunned when late last year pensioner Pauline, from London, turned to him and popped the question herself – before the pair tied the knot with a blessing ceremony last month.
Colin, who now visits his love in a care home in Telford, Shropshire, every fortnight, said: “When Pauline asked me, I almost fell off the bed.
‘I’d been asking her all this time so now she was asking me, I said “of course I will”.
‘We literally lived and worked together for 43 years, I have been floating on air ever since.
‘People say they’ve been together years but really they have maybe an hour before work and then they see each other in the evenings – we were always together.
‘When we saw each other it was instant, we fell in love – hook, line and sinker.
‘The magic of life allows you to me people like Pauline, our marriage was a combination of our 43 years together.’
The pair, who were both in previous relationships and have five children between them from their those marriages, met after in the South East when their kids went to the same playgroup.
They then moved to Newtown, in Powys, Wales, where they ran a cabinet-making business named Young Jones for 30 years.
Pauline finally decided to pop the question in December last year after suffering from rare neurological condition Corticobasal Degeneration, which causes slower movements and tremors.
Her diagnosis also saw the couple pack up and move to Gozo, Malta, 14 years ago for a different pace of life and they ran a bed and breakfast on the island together.
But three years ago they made the difficult decision for Pauline to come back to England after her condition worsened.
Carers initially tended to Pauline at her daughter’s home, but three years ago she moved into St Georges Park Nursing Home in Telford.
With their business still to run, Colin now splits his time between Gozo and the nursing home in Telford, where he visits Pauline every several weeks.
Colin said: ‘We absolutely loved our business, but fourteen years ago there were a few signs Pauline wasn’t too well, so we packed it all in and moved to Gozo.
‘We never found anywhere we were really comfortable until Gozo, it is very laidback – it suited us down to the ground.
‘We had to work together, getting separate jobs would have meant being apart, which we never wanted.
‘But eventually I could see a deterioration. It was very slow at first, but it started to become more noticeable.
‘It was not discernible to other people, but when you’re that close to someone you really are that close to them.
‘When you’re actually living and working with somebody you pick up on the small changes straight away.
‘When Pauline moved to the care home, she felt at home.
‘They made her feel so welcome and safe, science doesn’t really have an answer to the condition.’
The exact cause of Pauline’s condition is still unknown, so there is no effective treatment available.
The regular visits carried on, and last December the two were relaxing at the home when Pauline said the four words Colin never expected to hear – will you marry me?
The couple struggled to get their legal affairs in order in time for an official marriage to be held, but St Georges Methodist Church in Telford agreed to hold a blessing service that fulfilled the same purpose.
On Valentine’s Day this year, the two donned their finest clothes for the ceremony in the church, with Pauline’s wheelchair suitably decorated.
After the ceremony they decamped to the care home for celebratory drinks and a wedding cake which the two cut together.
Colin said: ‘I had given up all hope of us getting married, I thought it would never ever happen.
‘It was a real mix of emotions, I was surprised, I was worried.
‘But we gradually worked through it and now here we are.
‘The service was a blessing ceremony, but as far as we’re concerned it’s a marriage, it’s a show of love.
‘The vicar has been absolutely incredible. She wrote out a whole service as close as she could to a wedding service.
‘The care home did the reception, they said it was their wedding present to us.
‘The home has bent over backwards for us, it’s really unbelievable.
‘There is so much love here at the moment. Everyone round about us is so happy.’
COUPLE MARRY AFTER 43 YEARS
You can now buy espresso martini in a can.
Yes, that’s right, you can make this delicious drink without digging that old cocktail shaker out of the back of the cupboard.
Instead, all you have to do it pull the tab, pour and voila.
The drink is made with Kahlua coffee liqueur, coffee and vodka.
It also has added nitrogen to create the foam at the top, a trick similar to the one used by Guinness.
When you pour the drink into a glass, the foam rises to the top leaving you with a cocktail that looks like it came straight from a bar.
The cans are on sale at Waitrose for £1.80 or you can get three for £5.
Each can contains enough for two cocktails so you can share or just enjoy two to yourself.
The description on the Waitrose website says : ‘Enjoy a velvety smooth cocktail made with carefully selected ingredients: Roasted coffee, a dash of vodka from grain, coffee liqueur and magic nitro foam.
‘The Espresso Martini foam is created with magic nitrogen.’
We can’t wait to try it.
Espresso martini in a can
Mother’s Day can be hard for some people.
Some have difficult relationships with their mums and for others, the day can be upsetting if their mum has passed away.
So being bombarded with cards, flowers and gifts everywhere, including in your inbox, can be distressing.
Bloom & Wild, an online florist, has been praised for their approach.
Obviously lots of customers will appreciate emails to see the latest offers and ideas for what to get their mums.
But for those who find this time of year hard, they have a service to allow you to opt out of seeing them.
An email sent to customers explains that customers opt out by signing up to the service. They will continue to receive other Bloom & Wild emails but not those mentioning Mother’s Day.
Lottie Lamour tweeted about the email and said: ‘Can we just talk about how fantastic @BloomandWild are at customer satisfaction? This email is so thoughtful – I don’t know of any brand that does this. I’ll always buy my flowers from them for this reason!’
Can we just talk about how fantastic @BloomandWild are at customer satisfaction? This email is so thoughtful – I don’t know of any brand that does this. I’ll always buy my flowers from them for this reason! ♥️♥️♥️ pic.twitter.com/w6S0AEoEmy
— Lottie 🌈✨ (@Lottie_Lamour) March 3, 2019
Other customers responded and said it was a great idea that would really help them.
This is great for those of us who had abusive/neglectful mothers, and also for those of us whose mothers have died…
— Releasing balloons hurts sea life (@Lilysea) March 3, 2019
As someone who lost their Mum and Nanna, this is amazing. I know many people celebrate but it’s not always nice getting constant reminders
— Kathryn (@kathrynsloves) March 3, 2019
Absolutely brilliant for those who have lost children also! Thanks for sharing and thank you @BloomandWild
— JESS (@TheLegacyOfLeo) March 3, 2019
Well done Bloom & Wild. Let’s hope more companies follow this idea in the future.
Artificia Floral background
Content warning: This piece includes descriptions of domestic abuse.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when my last relationship ran aground.
The moment that most often springs to mind is New Years’ Day last year, when she came to bed at gone five in the morning and promptly punched me in the head as I slept, screaming at me for not saying goodbye to our guests (I had – she was too drunk to notice).
It could, of course, have been done long before then, when she smashed up a hotel bathroom to the tune of €1,000 because I hadn’t been granted a plus one to an old friend’s wedding.
Or after a gig earlier that spring, where she shoved me around a tube platform, threatening to throw herself in front of a train because no one had talked to her enough in the pub post-show.
Perhaps it came apart when she stormed out of a party because the DJ played Kylie Minogue – a teenage crush of mine whose very existence would frequently send her into a fit of rage.
Any one of these moments, or the hundreds of other micro and macro-aggressions I went through in our 16 months together could’ve been the moment our relationship died. It’s hard to tell, even now.
Even conventional wisdom doesn’t help, here. Arguing that the relationship was done when I finally left, almost a year after her first violent outburst, doesn’t hold up in my head – not after the months that followed, where I was subjected to a near-constant stream of texts, emails, direct messages and tweets begging for me to return, and sidestepping any of her wrongdoings. At one point, she even turned up at my front door, uninvited and unannounced.
Through the course of our relationship, I was excruciatingly anxious, panicked and severely depressed – I remain as much even now, months after we broke up, largely unable to move forward.
As recently as last month, she was continuing to insult my appearance online, and messaging a friend of mine to say I’d made all of the above up.
Specificities aside, none of this is particularly surprising, I’m sure. Domestic abuse is depressingly common – according to the Office for National Statistics, 2million of us suffer from it every year, that number overwhelmingly female.
It’s had high-profile, recent headlines in the #MeToo movement and the horrific story of Natalie Connolly’s death at the hands of her partner, which hit the news towards the tail end of last year, as her former husband was charged only with manslaughter, not murder.
These cases are as disgusting as they are prevalent, and deserve the spotlight they’ve been given – indeed, a far brighter one. But they’re not a woman’s issue alone.
Given the prevalence of violence against women, it becomes difficult to discuss the flip-side – the third of domestic abuse victims who are male, and are being repeatedly failed by both the system and society at large.
In the aftermath of my own experiences, the isolation felt unending. Afraid of being seen to speak over my ex-partner, or ‘silence’ her as so many men do, I followed friends’ advice and kept as quiet as I could bear (bar a few hastily-deleted, desperate and drunken tweets, denying what she was claiming, all of which she systematically shut down and silenced).
Her own friends soon waded in, too, also encouraging my silence or suggesting that she deserved kindness and support – many of them, despite publicly presenting themselves as staunchly anti-abuse and consistently posting online about the importance of others holding their friends accountable, continued to side with my ex-partner, and chastise or ostracise me and my friends for keeping our distance, long after she admitted what she’d done.
Through lie after publicly-posted lie, I bottled up my experiences, my mind spiralling between feeling weak and embarrassed about what had happened to me, fearing being ‘cancelled’ if I were to try to speak against her and her friends’ actions, and wondering if – actually – my anger and resentment at what happened (and was still happening) to me made me a bad feminist.
The last thing I wanted was to play into the ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’ trope, and I was fearful that publicly denying what she was saying could be perceived as gaslighting.
For years I’d sided with the ‘believe women’ rhetoric so prevalent in online anti-abuse campaigners – was this not now hypocrisy in action?
It’s something that I’ve heard echoed through others.
One friend, who opened up to me after hearing second-hand about my experiences, said he was made to feel ‘like a men’s rights activist’ for ever attempting to speak out against his abusive ex-girlfriend.
In the unsure mind of someone who’s suffered from abuse, and in post-#MeToo climate of believing women, ‘men can be victims too’ can sound an awful lot like ‘not all men’.
It becomes simpler to bottle it up, rather than traverse this unsteady terrain, and risk coming off like a meninist.
The facts: Domestic abuse in the UK
The conversations that surround a male victim are muddy, too. Close friends of mine will think nothing of cracking jokes about what happened, laughing about ‘taking things on the chin’, or the time she hit me with the oh-so-appropriately titled ‘Bosh!’ cookbook – something, I should note, I’m all too ready and willing to join in with.
Cracking jokes about it seems par for the course; it’s textbook deflection of male emotion, the type we’re increasingly warned of as toxic masculinity continues to dominate discussion.
And yet if the gender roles were reversed, the situation would become a whole lot less palatable for all. I can’t picture a situation among progressive, liberally-minded people in which someone would joke about a man punching his girlfriend, right to that very victim’s face.
It’s certainly easier to laugh it off than process exactly how it’s affected me. We’re in an era where men are being increasingly encouraged to talk, and dissect their own emotions – those big, bad buzzwords ‘toxic masculinity’ are everywhere.
But when it comes to unpacking a violent girlfriend, there’s precious little support out there.
At various points during our time together, I found myself desperately searching for support lines, or online advice on what to do as a male victim of female violence. I was met with the online equivalent of tumbleweeds – only the ManKind Initiative popped up, while charities I knew and trusted were blank on the subject.
Subsequent Google searches, at my very lowest, soon turned me towards forums glorifying and offering advice on suicide. I remember laughing grimly, even then, at how much easier it was to find information on how to end my life than information on how to deal with my situation.
But once again, it’s not really all that funny. Male abuse victims, both gay and straight, are being failed.
David Edwards, a 51-year-old man, was murdered by his wife just days after their 2015 wedding, following a relationship fraught with abuse and assault. Last summer, it was reported by the ManKind Initiative that he had been extensively let down by both the authorities and those around him.
In September 2018, the BBC published an interview with another domestic violence victim who went under the pseudonym Tony: ‘I still feel ashamed even today to admit I was in an abusive relationship,’ he said. ‘I think it’s something to do with being a man.
‘You’re supposed to stand up for yourself, you’re supposed to protect yourself.’ A former partner of his laid out some reasons she believed he let his abuse go on for so long: ‘Embarrassed,’ she said, ‘The stigma. It’s a man thing.’
It’s time for us to move the conversation forward, and for that stigma to be demolished. Much as the #MeToo movement galvanised countless women into acting against their abusers, and refusing to lay dormant, a sea change is needed across the gender gap.
‘Believe women’ is a hugely important mantra – ‘believe survivors’ perhaps more so. Because as long as we exclude vulnerable men from the conversation of victimhood, we are continuing to fail a third of people who are already suffering in silence.
John Oldcastle is a pseudonym used to protect the identities of those involved
Who to call if you need help
You can call the ManKind helpline for support on 01823 334244 between 10am and 4pm on weekdays.
You can also call the Men’s Advice Line for confidential help, information, advice and support on 0808 801 0327.
Please call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Help is out there.
how can we get more in touch with our senses? and why should we?
Catrin Pugh has become Avon’s first ever model with a visible difference after she suffered 96% burns in a coach accident six years ago.
Catrin, from Wrexham, was left with only the soles of her feet unburned after a coach she was travelling on in the French Alps in 2013 crashed and burst into flames.
The 25-year-old is fronting Avon’s ‘True Nudes’ campaign alongside a host of diverse faces, including male beauty influencer Gary Thompson, also known as The Plastic Boy, 60 year old influencer Lucia Whitehouse – Grandmother Pukka, and Love Island star Megan Barton Hanson.
Avon is the first beauty brand to sign a pledge created by charity Changing Faces to feature more diverse models within its campaigns to help tackle the stigma around looking different.
The move comes following research by Avon which found that 80% of women feel too much pressure from the media to be perfect, and 40% can’t relate to the women represented in the media.
Avon’s research also found that 60% of women feel pressured to meet a certain beauty standard.
In response to the figures, Avon has announced Stand4her, a global initiative to tackle some of the greatest barriers that are holding women back from achieving their full potential.
They aim to improve the lives of 100 million women each year – and Catrin is delighted to be involved.
‘To be a part of a beauty campaign that challenges traditional beauty stereotypes, and the stigma around “looking different” is so refreshing,’ explains Catrin.
‘I hope that it will open the eyes of people in the beauty and fashion industries, and society in general, that we should be championing a diverse range of role models, especially for young people.
‘I hope to inspire others to embrace their appearance, no matter what you look like.
‘For people with a visible difference, the beauty counter can be an intimidating place to go, because most brands champion traditional beauty ideals. I love makeup, but the experiences I had at beauty counters following my accident made me want to hide away.
‘Through featuring in the campaign, I want to send out the message that it’s OK to be different, and that true beauty is about being proud to be yourself.’
The Perfect Nudes campaign will be the first to reflect the charity’s pledge to feature more people with visible differences in advertising.
Catrin is Avon's first model with a visible difference.
Five months ago, I received the news that I urgently needed a stem cell transplant if I wanted to see my sons grow up.
This came after a devastating diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia. The doctors had urged me to start immediate chemotherapy, which I did, but the treatments weren’t enough for me.
In order to find the right match for a transplant, I have to find my genetic twin. It might be strange that someone from Nigerian-German descent is asking Londoners for help but London actually has the biggest Nigerian community outside of West Africa, with Peckham often known as ‘Little Lagos’.
Due to my Nigerian Igbo-German heritage, the probability of finding my genetic twin is highest among people with a similar genetic mix.
My diagnosis came out of the blue. It seemed innocuous at first.
I went to a doctor’s appointment for a seemingly normal sore throat. The doctor prescribed lozenges and advised me to take some rest over the weekend.
However, I began to feel a lot, lot worse. I had a fever, became very lethargic, sweaty and had very inflamed gums.
After the weekend, I went back to the doctor again and he took a blood sample. On a phone call, which seemed to last for an eternity, the doctor told me it could be leukaemia and asked me to go to the hospital immediately for further tests.
I remember hoping that the doctor had mistakenly picked up the wrong blood sample. He hadn’t.
As a parent, I dreamt of taking my children to their first day of nursery, their first day of university, seeing them getting married and having a family of their own.
Until my diagnosis, I took these dreams for granted. They were just going to happen. But now I wonder if they will turn into reality.
The thought of not seeing my little boys grow up and not being able to be there for them and for my husband, who has been in a wheelchair since a terrible accident five years ago, is unbearable to me.
If one parent of yours comes from West Africa, ideally from the Nigerian Igbo ethnic group and the other from Europe, you may be able to save my life with a stem cell donation.
The search for a donor is a very tricky task. I need to find someone whose tissue characteristics are as close to mine as possible, nearly 100 per cent.
Currently only 69 per cent of blood cancer patients can find the best possible match with a stranger, but this drops drastically to 20 per cent if you are a patient of black, Asian or ethnic minority origin.
And it gets even more difficult with an ethnic gene mix, like I have. Today, less than three per cent of people registered as stem cell donors worldwide have a mixed ethnic background.
Given the advanced nature of the cancer, every day, every hour, every minute counts.
I urge you to seek any friend, family member, colleague who may share the same ethnic background as myself.
Even if you cannot help me, you may be able to save someone else by registering with your nearest bone marrow registry.
If you were found to be a match, the stem cells would typically be collected non-surgically from your blood stream through a method called peripheral blood stem cell collection, which is similar to a blood donation.
There must be a match for me out there – possibly in London – but they may not be registered. I hope that my story will motivate others to put themselves forward.
Although finding an eligible donor for me is a tough challenge, I strongly believe that I will see my children grow old and make their mark on the world.
If you’re aged 17-55 and in good general health, please find out more about blood stem cell donation and request a donor registration swab kit at www.dkms.org.uk.
More about stem cell donation
What is stem cell transplantation and how to donate
Ikea is famed for its simple, cost-effective self-assembly products – tables, chairs, beds – anything you can think of, Ikea will sell it in flat-pack form.
And apparently this rule even extends to its edible chocolate products.
The Swedish furniture brand is launching a flat-pack Easter bunny that comes in pieces and requires assembly before you eat it.
Well, technically you can just eat the separate pieces – but that would be cheating.
The VÅRKÄNSLA bunny is a three-piece milk chocolate rabbit made using certified cacao from sustainable sources. When built correctly, it stands up, just like a bunny on its hind legs.
Ikea flat-packs are notoriously difficult. Surrounded by screws, bolts and random pieces of plastic, the journey from flat-pack to furniture can be fraught with arguments, melt-downs and tears.
The good news is that this chocolate bunny doesn’t require screws, tools or the frenzied translation of Swedish instructions.
With just three chocolate pieces, assembly should be the simple part – with the only potential arguments occurring when it’s time to decide who gets to eat it.
At £2.95 the bunny is the perfect pick-me-up after a tiring stint of furniture shopping.
Or if you have any kids it could be the perfect treat to get them training for future flat-pack sessions. The early you start them the better.
Ikea launches flat pack Easter Bunny
Last March we told you that a cafe in Wales was selling mouth-watering cheesecake Easter eggs – and the incredible-looking chocolate treats are back on the shelves this year.
Which is fantastic news for serious chocoholics.
There’s nothing like a massive slab of Easter egg to mark the bank holiday weekend.
The more chocolate the better.
And if you’re a fan of Creme Eggs or Ferrero Rocher, then you might want to head down to this Valleys cafe.
The Cottage Coffee Shop & Lunch Bar in the Rhondda is once again filling chocolate egg shells with Creme Egg and Ferrero Rocher cheesecakes – and topping them with your favourite chocolate treats.
Each shell costs £3.50 or two for £6 which is a massive bargain when you think of just how much chocolate is involved here.
‘As our Easter cheesecakes are so popular, we’ve been experimenting and trying to make them even more delicious,’ says Josie Staple, who co-owns the cafe with her mum.
‘And we’ve come up with Creme Egg cheesecakes – inside an Easter egg, topped with even more Creme Eggs!’
Not that the cafe’s a stranger to creating extravagant, incredible-looking puddings and treats:
Jessica Phoenix and Liam McMahon were absolutely gobsmacked after accidentally falling pregnant with twins for the second time.
The couple, both 23, found out that they were going to have twin boys just six months after starting their relationship.
The first twins, Harry and Elijah, were just two years old when Jessica realised she was pregnant for a second time – again with twins.
This time it was girls, and when Phoebe and Aria arrived in September, the family of four became a family of six.
Both the pregnancies were unplanned and medics told them the chances of having twin boys followed by girls was rarer than being struck by lightning.
Though the couple may never have thought they would have four children this early in life, they say they wouldn’t change a thing.
‘It might not be what we had planned when we first met but we’ve got our whole family done and dusted in the space of a few years,’ explains Jessica.
‘Two boys, two girls, two sets of twins – it’s just the perfect package.
‘We’re the perfect family to me and it feels meant to be.
‘It was four unexpected babies, but now I wouldn’t change it for the world.’
Liam added: ‘To think that I’m a dad of four does feel pretty crazy.
‘People my age are usually living at home with their mum and dad, just thinking about going out or going to uni.
‘Having them has made me want to do more in my life. It makes me want to make them proud.’
Both Jessica and Liam have twins in their families, but they never expected to end up with two sets.
‘In some ways it has been easier with four than two,’ says Liam.
‘With the boys, because we had just got together and we were so young, Jessica would get looks.
‘Now we’ve been together, got the boys, got a house and we’re settled.
‘But having said that, when you have two toddlers and two newborns, it is a lot to get your head around.’
The young parents are still getting used to their big family, but they say the boys love being big brothers and are helping out with the new babies in every way that they can.
Jessica and Liam have had two consecutive pairs of twins
If you read anything about the Kardashians over the weekend it was most likely to have been the Tristan/ Khloe/ Jordyn Woods drama.
But there was also a much more complex conversation taking place about Kim and Kayne’s use of a surrogate for their fourth child.
This conversation has shown that it’s time to discuss what it means if a woman’s most valuable commodity is one of her internal organs.
Kim and Kanye’s third daughter, Chicago, was born via surrogate last year after Kim was told by doctors that it wouldn’t be safe to carry more children.
Some people would have taken this as a sign that their family is complete, but rather than stopping at two children, Kim and Kanye employed the service of a professional womb.
Much of the discussion of the Kardashian West surrogacy centers around the exploitation of black women, specifically that Kim and Kanye have chosen an African American woman to carry their child both times.
As a white person I don’t have the experience to be able to comment on the racial aspects of this discussion. But there are myriad articles online about the family’s treatment of black culture.
As a woman I do, however, feel a prickle of fear at the idea that wombs are for rent.
Fertility issues are extremely common. Women increasingly want to start their families later in life. Men in same sex couples want to become fathers.
All of which means that, according to Dr Suvir Venkataraman from the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, ’Surrogacy is on the rise.’
How does surrogacy work?
Surrogacy works but giving a woman IVF, but instead of the woman’s own egg, she’s fitted with the fertilized egg from another woman – the baby’s biological mother.
The surrogate then carries the pregnancy, gives birth and hands over the baby.
For couples who are reproductively challenged, or same sex couples who aren’t able to conceive, surrogacy might be one of the only ways that they can have a biological family, which is a beautiful thing.
That said, you can’t get away from the fact that renting a woman’s womb sounds like the premise of a futuristic Sky Atlantic drama.
No matter how gorgeous the baby, or how loving the parents, surrogacy drags up some complicated moral issues.
The premise of the Handmaid’s Tale is that high profile couples are provided with a fertile woman who they attempt to impregnate. If they manage it, she lives under their ‘care’ until she gives birth and hands over the baby. She then breastfeeds for a while and is sent on her way to provide the same service all over again.
Now, real life surrogates might not be kept in a house and forced to wear a red cloak, but if you give the handmaids better clothes and a bit more freedom then you’re not that far off.
Women are more than incubators for human life, and by attaching a financial incentive to pregnancy you open a very complicated can of worms, which is reflected in the deeply complex laws surrounding surrogacy.
There is little consistency around the legality of surrogacy across the world. While most of our moral codes are clear, easy and consistent (don’t steal, don’t murder etc), surrogacy varies from culture to culture.
In Sweden all surrogacy, paid or unpaid, is illegal.
In the US there is no official cap. The going rate for a surrogate is around $50,000, but in California the average total cost rises to between $90,000 (£67,982) and $130,000 (£98,197). Kim and Kanye are reportedly paying theirs $45,000.
Pregnancy doesn’t look easy or especially fun, but you can see how a woman who has had previous pregnancies without much trouble might decide that earning 80K over nine months while getting on with her daily life could be tempting.
But what does it say about the experience of being a woman if your internal organs and their capabilities are one of your most valuable commodities?
The debate around surrogacy is fascinating because it doesn’t split down liberal and conservative lines. Most topic moral issues, like same sex marriage or abortion, are cut along easy lines. Liberal people approve, conservative people don’t.
Surrogacy totally throws this logic out. How do you balance a belief that women should not be used as incubators for baby making with a belief that same sex couples should be able to have families?
How do you square off allowing women to sell their bodies (usually frowned upon when it’s sexual) with the capitalist stance that we all have the right or even responsibility to earn as much money as we can?
The commodification of pregnancy has, unquestionably, caused problems. Back in 2015 pictures emerged of an Asian ‘baby farm’, where women were being paid £10,000 for their newborn babies.
But is allowing rich people (and let’s face it, if you can afford surrogacy then you’ve either got money, or you’re bankrupting yourself) to defeat the cruelty of nature really right? Or fair?
It would be a hard-hearted person who could look at a picture of Tom Daley and his husband with their son and think for a moment that they shouldn’t be parents.
Or to see Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet’s post about becoming a first time mum aged 52 and begrudge her that joy.
But behind those beautiful scenes there’s an ugly reality.
Surrogacy requires rich people to rent women’s wombs. It is a practice where women experience a long, painful, dangerous medical procedure in order to provide a wealthy couple with a baby.
It’s perfectly possible to believe that women should be able to have babies later in life, and that same sex couples should be allowed to be parents, but to still have qualms about the renting of a woman’s internal organs.
However gorgeous the resulting family is, surrogacy is morally complex, and we need to be having the conversation if we’re going to find any kind of answers.
***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** A guide to lesbian conception (Lesbemums)
So many women – and men – are intimidated by the testosterone-drenched weights room in the gym.
And with all the muscle-heads grunting, posing and sweating on every surface – we can’t really blame you for being put off.
But if you know exactly what you’re doing, there’s no reason to be scared of using free weights. And adding weights to your workout routine can be incredibly beneficial for your strength, stability, balance and confidence.
A great move to get you started in the weights room is the simple weighted squat.
Just like a regular squat, the weighted squat works your quads, glutes and hamstrings – it helps you to build strength and explosive power in your legs.
By adding weights – in the form of dumbbells – you are taking your squat to the next level and giving yourself a bigger challenge.
All you need is a small amount of floor space and a couple of dumbbells. Start light until you build up your confidence and nail your form.
Melissa Weldon is a master trainer at Sweat It London – she told us exactly how to do perfect weighted squats.
How to do a weighted squat
Start off with your feet hip-width apart to give you a strong, stable base for the movement.
You can hold the dumbbells down by your side, or lift them up and hold them at shoulder-height – it depends on what feels comfortable for you.
When you squat, sit back on to your heels, squueze your glute muscles and engage your core.
You want to make sure your knees are pointing straight ahead throughout – not collapsing inwards.
Squeeze yourself back up in to a standing position and repeat. The dumbbells are static throughout the movement.
Start off with ten squats and see if you can build up to 20, before progressing to a heavier weight.
The benefits of weighted squats
Squats are a functional lower-body strength exercise. They simulate everyday activities, such as picking a box up off the floor.
Weighted squats provide a perfect challenge as you get stronger and need to progress from body-weight squats.
The squat exercise works several muscles in your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and erector spinae, your low back muscles.
Over time, your muscles adapt to the stress of an exercise routine. You must make sure you are always making your program more challenging so your progress doesn’t stagnate. Adding weight is one method of achieving that.
Weight Training Woman
Forget lemon and sugar, apparently strawberries and whipped cream is the nation’s favourite pancake topping.
Uber Eats made the shocking discovery after revealing the UK’s top 10 toppings ahead of Pancake Day 2019, which is on Tuesday 5th March.
Based on data from the app, strawberries and whipped cream has taken the top spot, followed by banana in second place and Nutella in third – though we suggest combining the second two together. Yum.
The data also showed that people prefer sweet toppings over savoury.
Ranking of the UK’s Top Pancake Toppings:
1. Strawberries and Whipped Cream
4. Belgian Chocolate
6. Maple Syrup
7. Served with Vanilla Ice Cream
8. Icing Sugar
9. Mixed Berry
The data also looked into the top three pancake toppings in each major city.
For London, it’s strawberries and whipped cream, banana and Nutella, but in Birmingham it’s strawberries and cream, Belgian milk chocolate and brownie chunks.
For Leeds, it’s strawberries and whipped cream, ice cream and banana, which is also Manchester’s favourite, while in Sheffield people love ice cream, chocolate and Ferrero Rocher.
Henry Harding, Head of Marketing for Uber Eats UK & Ireland said: ‘Pancake Day is one of the nation’s favourite foodie celebrations in the calendar.
‘Whilst many will be attempting to make their own, we’ve all experienced our own pancake fails – whether that’s getting them stuck on the pan, floor or ceiling!
‘Uber Eats is here to help, with a range of delicious sweet and savoury pancake options conveniently delivered to your door.’
PANCAKE DAY: Strawberries and Whipped Cream Crowned the Nation's Favourite Pancake Topping, Reveals Uber Eats
Ready for some serious nostalgia this Pancake Day?
Birds Eye is bringing back its iconic crispy pancakes – and we couldn’t be more excited.
The frozen food brand has given its classic crispy pancakes a modern makeover.
Formerly known as Findus, the new Birds Eye Crispy Pancakes have a more golden and crispier breadcrumb crust and include more filling made from premium ingredients such as fresh tomato and mozzarella.
They are now available in three flavours: mozzarella, tomato and mozzarella and ham and mozzarella. Yum.
Alessandro Solazzi, Marketing Manager at Birds Eye, said: ‘Findus Crispy Pancakes were an unforgettable part of childhood for many people living in the 70s, 80s and even early 90s. We want modern families to enjoy the same memorable mealtime moments.
‘The new Birds Eye Crispy Pancakes still have the iconic crunch of the breadcrumb coating but thanks to new recipes and extra filling they are oozing with delicious flavour.
‘We’re so confident in the new taste that we are putting our money where our mouth is and allowing customers to claim their money back if they disagree.’
Birds Eye Crispy Pancakes, which are free from artificial colours and flavours, are now available in Sainsbury’s for just £1.75.
So if you fancy something savoury for Shrove Tuesday, you know where to go.
Many of us will be feasting on pancakes today as part of the annual Pancake Day celebration.
Uber Eats has even revealed Britain’s favourite pancake toppings with stawberries and whipped cream coming out on top, with banana in second place.
Also know as Shrove Tuesday, it is a Christian tradition that encourages people to eat a feast ahead of the fasting period of Lent, which begins the following day on Ash Wednesday.
The reason for eating pancakes on this day is because they use up ingredients such as eggs, sugar and milk which are considered to be rich foods.
Typically people in the UK cook and eat the thin pancakes based on the French crêpe, but if you’re looking to enjoy some of the bigger, fluffier pancakes that America is famous for, then here is everything that you need to know.
How to make American pancakes
There is actually not too much difference between the crêpe-style pancakes that we typically eat in the UK and the thicker pancakes that you’ll usually find in America.
English pancakes are traditionally made with milk, plain flour, egg and milk, while American pancakes usually use one or two tablespoons of baking powder, depending on how many you plan to make.
This helps the pancakes to rise a bit and become slightly thicker and fluffy.
Many American pancake recipes also make them slightly sweeter by either adding sugar or caster sugar to the initial mix, although this isn’t a requirement.
Typically these pancakes are also stacked on top of each other and eaten all at once, instead of being rolled separately and eaten one at a time like we do in the UK.
American’s also typically eat there’s with a wide range of toppings with warm maple syrup being the most popular choice, as well as whipped cream or fruits such as blueberries or strawberries.
American pancake ingredients
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar or caster sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch of salt
Blueberry Pancakes with Syrup
Many of us have phobias – be that of heights, water or spiders.
But some are less common and more misunderstood, such as emetophobia – a phobia of vomiting.
Emetophobia falls under the umbrella of obsessive compulsive disorder. It is defined as having severe anxiety in relation to vomit.
This can be a fear of vomiting or the fear of seeing vomit. It affects a wide range of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and is something that is commonly seen from childhood onwards, although some people may develop it later in life.
There isn’t one given explanation for why someone might develop emetophobia, but for some people, it’s the sensation of losing control of one’s body when they vomit that makes them fear it the most.
For others, there is an element of the disgust that surrounds vomit.
Maria Kane, an NHS CBT therapist, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The main symptom is a tendency to avoid anything that might make you vomit or put you near vomit – depending on which type of emetophobia you have.
‘We take for granted just how many things fit into the category of ‘could make you sick’ but it really is a wide range.
‘Some common examples of things people might avoid include: sick people for fear of catching their germs and getting sick themselves, any foods that might give them food poisoning e.g. seafood, looking at or hearing any references related to vomit and many more.
‘Sufferers might also do more of certain things – such as washing their hands more for fear of catching any germs that might make them sick.
‘In this way, emetophobia can be an incredibly distressing and debilitating thing to live with.
‘It can also be quite tricky to diagnose as some of the symptoms, such as a preoccupation with germs and compulsions to clean can be confused with OCD.
‘As well as that, emetophobia is a lot like any other anxiety disorder in the way it can affect a sufferer physically.
‘Sufferers can experience panic symptoms whenever they feel at risk of being exposed to anything vomit-related.
‘Experiencing nausea and stomach pain are common features of anxiety for some people but experiencing such physical symptoms of anxiety can worsen a sufferers’ anxiety as it makes them feel like they might be sick.
‘In this way, the symptoms of their anxiety disorder can keep them locked into a bit of a vicious cycle.’
Maria suggests that a person struggling with emetophobia should seek a referral for cognitive behavioural therapy, as it’s the most suitable therapeutic intervention for the disorder.
She said: ‘If you live in England, you can access CBT for free through your local IAPT service.
‘In CBT, sufferers are taught to manage the distress they feel when experiencing vomit symptoms or when they are around vomit.
‘A lot of the therapy involves being exposed to things sufferers might fear and might also involve behavioural experiments where sufferers are encouraged to try reducing some of their unhelpful behaviours such as excessive handwashing.
‘Essentially, CBT tries to teach sufferers that vomiting is unpleasant but that it can be an unpleasant experience they can survive.’
Reddit is the wild west of confessional writing.
One bemused husband is using the site to try and sort out his marital problems, which started when his wife bought him a birthday massage.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view) the massage included a happy ending.
The husband claims that he thought his wife had intended him to enjoy a bit of relief at the end of the session, but when she found out what had happened was not best pleased.
He writes: ‘My birthday was last month and my wife surprised me with a gift certificate to a local massage parlor.
‘I’ve started to get back into weight lifting after several years of being too busy and that makes things extra sore, so it was a thoughtful gift.
‘I went yesterday, and on my way out the door, my wife said “I hope you enjoy yourself” and winked.
‘The massage was thorough, but I was caught off guard because towards the end, the masseur started to rub my genitals. I almost stopped her, but then I remembered what my wife said as I left and assumed she had intended this to be part of the experience. I got a happy ending and left.
‘When I got back home, my wife asked how the massage was and I said something like “it was great, I didn’t realize your gift would include all that.” She asked what I meant and I told her about the happy ending.
‘It turns out my wife did NOT intend for that to be part of the experience. She had no idea the parlor did happy endings and if she had known, she wouldn’t have bought me a massage there.
‘She asked why I went through with it and I explained how her comment and wink before I left made me think she had planned the whole thing. She said she winked because she planned on having sex with me when I got back after I was nice and relaxed (sometimes I’m too sore from lifting and sex can be painful).
‘My wife is devastated and says that I cheated on her. I said I’m very sorry but it was a mistake.
‘She left to go stay with her sister and I haven’t heard from her today. I miss my wife, who is my best friend in the world. I wish I didn’t hurt her. Is there anything I can do to get through to her and salvage my marriage?’
Bit of a tricky one that.
We should mention that given Reddit is an anonymous site, it’s not possible for us to verify this story. Some of the comments raise questions about whether or not this really happened.
But, it’s still an interesting question. Is it cheating if you’re honest with your partner and made genuine mistake?
Are happy endings legal?
Exchanging or participating in sexual activities for money or other goods is legal in the UK, so technically yes. But many of the activities that surround sex work are not legal – such as running a brothel. So, the handjob itself would not be illegal here, but patronising a brothel would be. Complicated, eh?
The most legal way to see a sex worker in the UK would be to contact them via their own website, do your best to ascertain that they are not a victim of human trafficking and meet at a neutral space such as a hotel.
people tell us the things people said during sex that instantly killed the mood
Say hello to Glossier’s new sister brand, Glossier Play.
That’s right, Emily Weiss’s cult beauty brand, famed for its skin-focused, Instagramable makeup and beauty products, such as Milky Jelly Cleanser, Cloud Paint and best-selling Boy Brow, have finally ventured into colour cosmetics.
And we’re here for it.
The creation of the new line has been more than two years in the making, but comes as no surprise as Emily spoke for her love of experimentation of skincare and makeup back when the brand originally launched in 2014 ‘I think that having fun sets you free,’ she said.
‘Beauty, like fashion, touches everyone in different ways and offers you endless choices about how you’d like to feel and act and appear.’
And Glossier Play, despite being a world away from the essentials, allows you do to just that, with their four dialed up-beauty extras.
Included in the mix is Colorslide (£13), a gel eyeliner pencil available in 14 shades in matte and metallic finishes, ranging from a metallic copper – that’s perfect for blue-eyed babes – to a rich mustard, aptly named Nectar.
For lip product lovers, there’s Glossier Play’s Vinylic Lip (£14), a high shine lip lacquer in a funky click pen format.
And for a major glow, their vegan highlighter, Niteshine (£17), provides a buildable pearlescent sheen with its precise doe-foot applicator.
But the standout product from the range is undoubtedly Glossier Play Glitter Gelée (£12), a potted glitter, that comes in four shades and creates an instant multi-dimensional, jewelled effect on the lids – it’s like grown up glitter.
All the products can be bought separately, but if you fancy treating yo’ self, you could splash out and get one of each with Glossier Play’s The Playground set (£53).
Is the era of no-makeup makeup over? Maybe no yet, but what we do know is creativity rules the school and Glossier Play allows you to express your creativity and expression.
We can’t wait to see what Glossier Play brings to the playground next.
Tinder is a bit hit-and-miss. There are some good eggs on there and there are plenty of bad.
In an attempt to fish out one of the good ones for a potential wedding date, Laynie asked her matches to send her a resume to explain why they’d make such a good date.
To her surprise, one of her matches, Nate, actually did design a CV. And we are seriously impressed.
Laynie matched with Nate on Tinder and he told her he was there to apply for the ‘super cool date position’ – to which Laynie replied that she would need to see a ‘formal resume’.
Nate went on to ask what Laynie was expecting from this resume, and she explained she needed interesting facts about him and what makes him qualified to be a good date.
And he obliged.
Forwarding over his resume, his objective read: ‘To be the super cool date to Delaynie’s sister’s wedding’.
In his experience, he wrote that he had been to multiple weddings and had even been a best man at one.
Then he wrote a section called ‘Reasons to choose Nate’, which included being super cool, very respectful, a decent conversationalist and ‘just the right amount of extra’.
Hilariously, he even added an awards and acknowledgements section, which included his dad calling him the ‘best son’ he’s ever had.
Laynie was super impressed by the resume, and shared it on Twitter alongside the caption: ‘So as a joke, I told this guy I needed a formal résumé on why he would be a good date to my sister wedding. This happened…’
so as a joke, i told this guy i needed a formal résumé on why he would be a good date to my sister wedding. this happened… pic.twitter.com/NlRm00meUb
— laynie (@delayniemarie) May 25, 2018
The tweet attracted more than 13,000 retweets and 50,000 likes.
But despite his efforts, Laynie went on to say that she and Nate have remained just good friends.
But hey, Nate has set a great example for how much effort guys on Tinder should be putting into their matches – much better than a d*ck pic.
This year’s McDonald’s Monopoly event is set to begin later this month and fast-food fans couldn’t be happier.
The promotional giveaway means that customers can find and collect stickers to try to win prizes that range from free food to holidays and large sums of cash.
Usually the Monopoly event runs for over a month and it known to give millions of prizes to the public each year.
Last year saw customer Steven Spratt offer to split his £100k winnings if he could find someone with the Mayfair sticker that matched his Park Lane ticket, which was needed for him to claim the prize.
A company even started recruiting people to play McDonald’s Monopoly, with them expecting to earn £45 an hour.
When is the McDonalds Monopoly 2019 start date?
According to a post on hotukdeals McDonald’s Monopoly is set to return on Wednesday 20 March 2019.
A user posted a picture of a McDonald’s poster online with the text ‘starts 20th March’, which would mean that the event is just over two weeks away.
McDonald’s hasn’t confirmed the date officially yet, but it matches the Wednesday 21 March start date that occurred last year.
What are the McDonalds Monopoly prizes?
McDonalds has yet to confirm what prizes will be available during this year’s event, but they are likely to be similar to last year.
In 2018 some of the biggest wins included an XBox One X, Universal Orlando holiday for four people, a Mini Cooper and a £100k cash prize.
Single stickers can get your free fries or a free McFlurry, but you can also collect them to try to get all the colours for a certain set, which would earn your bigger prizes.
In the past these have included free meals, a NowTV Pass, wireless speakers and vouchers.
Menu items that featured Monopoly stickers last year
Medium Carbonated Soft Drink
Large Carbonated Soft Drink
Premium Salad (excluding Shaker Side Salad)
Chicken Legend with Bacon
Chicken Selects – 3 or 5 Pieces
Big Tasty with Bacon
The Signature Collection
Cadbury Creme Egg or Cadbury Caramel McFlurry
Big Flavour Wrap
Regular Iced Frappé/Iced Fruit Smoothie
Large Iced Frappé/Iced Fruit Smoothie
Shaker Side Salads
Medium or large hot drinks or drinks served in a bottle or carton
POLICE PLEA AFTER ARMED MAN STEALS MCDONALD'S MONOPOLY CARDS